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The three subchapters demonstrate the early attempts at Christianizing historiography. The start of history is made by the historically perceived Resurrection of Christ, as outlined by Iulius Africanus. Christians are not simply part of a long history of human development, but they mark a new beginning of human history. What existed before, Paganism and Judaism, were only ephemeral preparations for Christianity. Like Eusebius later, he draws on pseudonymous writings, particularly documents that he refers back to the archive of Edessa. Origen, before him, had already approached history from a spiritual angle, largely disregarding the historical and chronological side of it, and making use of the canonical writings of the New Testament in an allegorical way by which he dissociates Christian history from that of Jews and Pagans, and sees it guided and foreseen by God. Very similar to Origen, Tertullian in the Latin speaking world portraits Christians in fighting of Pagans and Jews, but also deviant Christians, heretics and less commited brothers and sisters which he contrasts with those prophetic Christians who are fully engaged, are prepared for asceticism, rejection of pagan pasts and are willing martyrs. Instead of canonical scriptures it is the prophetic reading of the church traditions that inform about the origins of Christianity.
From the Iberian colonization on, the American Indians were understood based on their skin color and the place where they were living. They were imputed a corporal condition and/or a complexio linked to the preponderance of the melancholic and phlegmatic ‘humor’ which expressed a kind of specific morality and behavior according to medical discourse of the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. This chapter analyzes how these medical assessments were transferred to the American Indians with a high degree of generalizing essentialism in order to naturalize a condition of permanent servitude. This knowledge transfer used to describe them, implied a series of strategic analogies and correspondences among the generalized significations and representations of complex melancholy on the individuals in the Old World and the observed practices and behaviors of the Natives of the New World.
Early Rus written culture, and eventually literature, developed following the spread of Christianity, which was adopted as the official religion at the end of the tenth century. Christian writings reached Rus in Church Slavonic translation, mainly from Greek originals. Church Slavonic was close enough to local East Slavonic to be treated as the learned register rather than a different language. This learned register was not a closed system. Much Rus writing sticks closely to imported Church Slavonic linguistic and stylistic models, notably in homiletics and in some kinds of hagiography. However, where there is significant local content (in chronicles, for example), there is also more linguistic flexibility across registers. Surviving local compositions are not common. They cannot provide hard evidence of an established culture of literariness. However, they are sufficient to suggest patterns of production in two areas. Prominent among the earliest works are the ‘foundational’ texts whose principal theme is the origins and dignity of Rus itself and of its Christian institutions. Second, a small number of texts hint at a culture of verbal display beyond the devotional, perhaps at court.
Medieval societies did not exclusively and inflexibly conceive kingship as the remit of a mature man, even if adult male rulers were more typical. This introduction shows the urgency and timeliness of looking beyond the ‘unspoken hegemony’ of adulthood to understand the intersections between childhood and kingship. Focusing first on the interconnectedness of representation and reality, the chapter highlights the necessity of uniting an emphasis on children’s lived experiences as political actors with an examination of cultural representations of ideas about childhood and rulership. The introduction then turns to consider three essential components which shape this study’s methodology: a comparative approach, a diachronic analysis and a holistic approach to the sources. This section argues for the importance of contextualising child kingship within a wider comparative framework which accounts for political, social, cultural and legal change. It also sketches the benefits of adopting a broad approach to the source material which incorporates chronicle, documentary, didactic, epistolary, legal and literary sources.
With his ‘Solomonic Connection’, David Firth observes the man Solomon as he appears in Kings and Chronicles. Solomon is ‘paradigmatic’ for understanding wisdom in both of these books and yet he is not treated identically therein. Kings and Chronicles offer different portraits of the exceedingly wise king, whether that be his foundational role for wisdom or his problematic relationship with it. Matters of the temple, Solomon’s behaviour, torah, and the very conception of wisdom itself all have a place in biblical presentations of Solomon. Firth looks closely at 1 Kings 1–11 and 2 Chronicles 1–9 with a literary and theological reading that does not let one account determine the other or allow the Solomonic portraits in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes to have all of the attention.
This article examines a corpus of over forty Italian civic histories produced from the mid-thirteenth to mid-fourteenth century, when the wealth of many of the peninsula's inhabitants increased significantly. Evidence from this corpus demonstrates that attitudes about wealth in historical writing changed over time and argues for a shift from a more static to a more dynamic representation of material goods in these texts. The novel mechanisms for accruing wealth that developed in the Italian urban context were important factors in the historigraphic turn, but as the period wore one, changes in the types of people writing history also contributed to modified presentations of wealth in their writings. Whether describing the display of luxury or its regulation, civic improvements or the destruction of a town's buildings by warring factions, taxation in a city or the corruption of its offiicials, views towards material goods in medieval Italian urban histories were neither wholly positive nor negative. Rather, the historiographic value of material goods was complex. The frequency with which wealth was a topic of discussion in civic histories highlights how the peninsula's inhabitants were coming to terms with the influx of wealth and the material goods they could acquire as members of their urban communities.
Chapter 2 probes the temporal dimensions of the memory of the dissolution, which it traces across the period c. 1540–c. 1640 and in the context of the transition from personal to inherited memory. It explores the place of the suppression in both Protestant and Catholic historiography, and its role in what recent scholarship has identified as the reformation of English history. It uses evidence gleaned principally from chronologically organised sources such as histories and chronicles, including those by John Foxe, John Stow, Peter Heylyn, Nicholas Sander, and Gilbert Burnet, as well as lesser known authors. It examines how – far from the insignificant episode described in many modern studies – the dissolution was seen by many commentators as a critical, if not the critical, episode in the Protestant Reformation. It also interrogates the emerging tendency exhibited by Catholic and Protestant authors alike to judge Henry VIII’s reputation by the dissolution. In the context of English Protestantism, it is particularly striking that this tendency developed as perspectives on Henry’s reign became increasingly anxious and critical. At the heart of this chapter are questions of how and when the suppression came to be considered a rupture with the medieval past and a critical Reformation event.
Shakespeare’s plays suggest not so much a preoccupation with war as his recognition of its inescapability. He seems never to have experienced warfare firsthand, but no doubt had spoken to people who had. But most of what Shakespeare knew came from books. Chief among these were the chronicles he depended upon for his histories, primarily the group project we refer to as “Holinshed.” What he found was that warfare is more or less indistinguishable over time, a fact revealed in the tedious repetition of battle accounts, further blurred by the echoing of aristocratic family names over generations – and, in the often-overlooked source of the 1577 Holinshed, in which the recycling of a limited number of woodcuts to illustrate events separated by hundreds of years reveals the dispiriting reality. Ironically, it is in Henry V, Shakespeare’s seemingly most triumphal presentation of English military heroism, in which “the question of these wars” finds an answer.
This chapter assesses the significance of a variety of genres of written and material sources for an understanding of political culture in Byzantium, including narratives and chronicles, encomia, orations, ceremonial handbooks and lists, monuments, silks, coins, archival documents, lead seals and letters. It distinguishes between narratives produced at the centre of Byzantine political life and those produced by outsiders: the former not simply windows into Byzantine political culture but integral elements of that culture, projecting the norms and expectations of the governing elite; the latter offering alternative perspectives, valuable for plugging chronological gaps but also as correctives to the propaganda that characterises so much Byzantine historiography. Few administrative records survive from Byzantium, especially compared to the Latin west, although legions of lead seals point to archives once far richer. Our surviving sources, particularly speeches, suggest that only in the later period were alternatives to the prevailing political order countenanced, and even then, despite a loss in territorial reach, the emperor’s court still formed the focal point of political life.
Too little scholarly attention has been paid to the paradox that those from the southern kingdom of Judah wrote, collected, and edited a foundational narrative not of Judah but of Israel, the ethnonym more closely associated with the northern kingdom even within the biblical narratives. This chapter argues that, rather than staking their claim to be the sole heirs to the heritage of the covenant with YHWH, the Judahite biblical editors constructed a biblical narrative that emphasizes that Judah is only one portion of a larger Israel that is presently—from the perspective of the editors and their implied audience—incomplete and awaiting reunion and restoration. By constructing an Israel of the past and rhetorically situating the reader in exile, the editors of the Primary History (Genesis–2 Kings) and 1–2 Chronicles establish a perspective of restoration eschatology in which an idealized biblical Israel (of course under the leadership of Judah) does not presently exist, having lost its status due to covenantal disobedience and disunity, but remains a social and theological aspiration.
This chapter examines how the suppression of religious houses undertaken by Henry VIII’s government between 1536 and 1540 was transformed into the event that has come to be known as the ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries’. It begins by considering this transformation through the lens of an eye-witness chronicle, compiled by Charles Wriothesley in the 1530s and 1540s. The second part of the chapter then turns to explore how the protracted and uneven process witnessed by Wriothesley acquired the qualities of temporal specificity and cultural significance that are the hallmarks of historical events. It traces evolving perspectives across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with a view to highlighting that the ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries’ was an invention of posterity: it emerged only in hindsight and largely in critical perspective. The final part of the chapter asks how early modern processes of naming, commemorating and selectively forgetting the dissolution have shaped modern historical scholarship. In seeking to expose the ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries’ as a seventeenth-century construct, this chapter also exposes modern historians’ reliance on a vocabulary and temporal framework that were themselves products of the dissolution and the wider English Reformation.
My essay examines Bob Dylan’s relation to sound recording, still a neglected topic even with the recent explosion of scholarship on the legendary singer-songwriter. Drawing on historical accounts of Dylan and his career, as well as recent histories of studio recording, I trace the artist’s mercurial relation to record making as evidenced in his turbulent encounters with various record producers. My chief focus is on Dylan’s account of his late 1980s creative crisis in his 2004 memoir Chronicles: Volume 1, which I argue also provides a condensed account of the songwriter’s philosophy of sound recording.
Examines less prototypical/less commonly studied types of reuse, including limited reuse, historical résumé, and pastiche; also considers how other modes of relating to earlier tradition (e.g., use of known themes or characters) resemble and differ from reuse.
This chapter examines the ways in which medieval romance acts to narrate history in late medieval culture. In this chapter I examine the role that the romance genre – often dismissed as merely entertaining tales of knights and giants, dragons and damsels – played as a mode of historical writing in medieval England. Romance can be understood as a mode of historical writing in medieval England through its widespread influence and lasting effects upon the material and textual history of the period. Adopted as a mode of historical rewriting of the past by the Norman and Angevin baronial classes, the narratives that it produced made their way from the pages of these early texts into chronicles and other historiographical genres such as genealogical rolls and civic memorials. They also had a lasting impact upon the terrain of England, in place names and origin stories for landmarks both manmade and natural, inscribing the local landscapes of memory with their histories. The importance of romance as a mode of narrating history should suggest that medieval historiography was a more flexible and encompassing practice than it is sometimes considered. History is not just confined to the pages of chronicles and universal histories, but is a malleable and flexible story that moves with ease between the oral, textual, and material cultures of medieval England.
This chapter focuses on narrative texts from Wales largely comprising annals, chronicles and histories composed from the twelfth to the fifteenth century and situates these in their cultural, political and social contexts. After identifying key themes of the historical culture evidenced, for example, by poetry, prose tales and genealogy, the discussion highlights the significance of Geoffrey of Monmouth in the development of medieval Welsh historical writing and compares his work with other Latin histories from twelfth-century Wales. It then considers the vernacular chronicles known as Brut y Tywysogion (The History of the Princes) whose coverage extends from the late seventh century to the eve of the Edwardian conquest of 1282. While based on Welsh-Latin chronicles, these were intended as a continuation of Geoffrey, and from the fourteenth century are associated in some manuscripts with Welsh translations both of his History and of Dares Phrygius’ account of the Trojan War.
This chapter contends that forgery should be considered a form of historical writing. It presents evidence to show that, in the Middle Ages, forgeries not only frequently constituted significant parts of archives and other resources for the writing of history, but that forgeries themselves were often the products of historical research on the part of their authors. If forgeries are considered one end of a spectrum of historical writing (rather than the binary opposite of the true historical document) then a nuanced understanding of the relationships between forgeries and genres such as hagiography and the medieval chronicle becomes possible. After discussion of these relationships, the chapter concludes with an examination of the criticism of forgeries during the Middle Ages. Forgeries were often denounced; yet they could also survive denunciation, not because of a lack of critical sense on the part of medieval audiences, but because of the importance of their function as historical writing.
Flodoard’s Annals are a crucial source for the history of the post-Carolingian kingdoms in the first half of the tenth century. Yet in spite of the text’s importance, it has seldom been studied as a piece of historiography. Flodoard’s highly reticent prose has often been noted, but the work presents several puzzles that have yet to be resolved. Building on the findings of Chapter 1 concerning Flodoard’s political activities, this chapter considers the Annals in the context of his deep knowledge of history and the different ways it could be represented. It examines aspects of the text that were highly traditional as well as those that were exceedingly novel. While the Annals have often been interpreted as a gloomy but accurate account of tenth-century political decline, this chapter argues that this narrative of failure was a more deliberate authorial construction than has been supposed. Disillusioned by political calamities and personal disappointments, I suggest that Flodoard found in the chronicle form a vehicle for a subtle but pointed critique of the ills of his day.
The repeated patterns of metropolitan urban activities that act as palimpsest in Chaucer’s fiction also impose themselves on our understanding of his place and achievement in late medieval and early modern London book history. The London Chaucer legacy takes on many different, often quasi-autobiographical, forms in the two hundred years following his death. Sensitivity to the dynamics of reader response inherent in his fiction among near contemporary and later writers ensured Chaucer’s works remained an important part of a vibrant metropolitan English literary culture. The making and celebration of an English past that glorified London remained a high priority within that culture among the book producers, copyists and printers who also serve as the first chroniclers of London’s Chaucer.
What is ‘heresy’? One answer would be, ‘that which orthodoxy condemns as such’; though we may also wish to consider when conscious dissent invites such a condemnation. The main ‘heresy’ in late medieval England was that usually termed Lollardy, understood to be inspired by the radical theological thought of John Wyclif (1328-1384), which among other things emphasised the overwhelmingly importance of Scripture, and of lay access to Scripture, through vernacular translation. Orthodox repression of heresy began in the late fourteenth century and developed in various ways in the fifteenth. There are small traces of these much wider battles in Chaucer’s oeuvre, but it would be very hard to say quite how he saw them. We might instead see the fluidity of attitude toward aspects of religion in Chaucer as a sign of his times. ‘Dissent’ can encompass more than that which is solidly decried as heresy, and ‘orthodoxy’ can turn out to be more than one mode of religious thought and expression.