This article is dedicated to Liesbeth van Houts, editor of the Gesta Normannorum ducum, generous mentor, colleague, and friend.
This article offers an analysis, edition, and translation of the Brevis cronica compendiosa ducum Normannie, a historiographical account of the dukes of Normandy and their deeds, written at the turn of the fifteenth century by the Norman jurist and man of letters, Simon de Plumetot (1371–1443). Having all but escaped the attention of modern scholars, this study is the first to examine and publish the Brevis cronica. It not only demonstrates that the work is of greater importance than its rather scrappy form might at first suggest, but it also looks to place the text within the broader context of Simon's literary and bibliophilic practices and to determine its raison d’être. In doing so, it argues that the Brevis cronica was perhaps created as part of a much larger historiographical project, namely an extended chronicle of Normandy, written in the vernacular, the text of which is now lost. By exploring these important issues, the article sheds new light on a wide range of topics, from early humanist book collecting to the writing of history in France in the later Middle Ages.