Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2014
Guibert of Nogent wrote his crusade chronicle, God's Deeds through the Franks, in 1107–8, while living in his former monastery of Saint-Germer de Fly. Exiled from his abbacy in Nogent, he had a great deal of time on his hands, which he filled by writing a scholarly, elegant history of the crusade. His main source was the Gesta Francorum. Like his contemporaries Robert the Monk and Baldric of Bourgueil, Guibert found the Gesta Francorum dissatisfying, particularly in terms of style. On factual matters, by contrast, he stuck close to his source – sometimes to his frustration. The author of the Gesta Francorum, for example, fails to include the name of Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, and somehow at Saint-Germer Guibert had difficulty tracking down anyone who knew it. Not until near the end of Book II could he write, according to a crusade veteran, ‘that precious man was called “Aymar”’. The passage is emblematic of Guibert's overall historical method: he rewrote the Gesta Francorum and supplemented it, where possible, with information from eyewitnesses. By the end of 1108, he had largely finished the book. Since his exile ended at the same time, he was able to return to Nogent to present the final product to Bishop Lisiard of Soissons.