Paper II questions The Chroniclers of the First Crusade
What is so important about some dead chroniclers? The answer is really very simple. You need to know who wrote the sources before you can understand why they were written This is essential in the answering the Origin and Purpose sections of the Paper II questions.
The chronicles Chronicle Deeds of the Franks (Gesta Francorum) Probably written by a crusading knight from Southern Italy Purpose The Author was a vassal of Bohomend, and was thus sympathetic towards him It gives a knights perspective on events of the crusade
Chronicles History of the Expedition to Jerusalem Written by a professional cleric named Fulcher of Chartres Purpose Fulcher admired Baldwin and eventually became his personal chaplain, and is therefore slightly biased to Baldwin Fulcher lived the rest of his life in the middle east and came to cherish the people who lived there. He is very tolerant of Eastern Cultures
The Alexiad Written by Anna Comnena, the daughter of Alexius I Her work is very detailed but she was strongly influenced by her dislike of western Christians
Lesser known Chroniclers Raymond d’ Aguilers Chaplain of Raymond of Toulouse He was very religious and always writing of supernatural events and holy visions. In other words he is writing for a particular audience Albert of Aachen His works date after the crusade, and he generally relies on others work This makes him very unreliable He was commissioned to write his history by Godfrey after the crusade and is therefore very biased to the new rulers of the middle east
The opposing viewpoint Ibn al Athir Born into the nobility of Mesopotamia he was a professional historian with a degree from the University at Mosul. Writing mostly of the Third Crusade (which he was an eye witness) he makes many references to the previous struggles Ibn al Athir tends to be far more generous to crusaders than crusading chroniclers are to Muslims
Third Crusade chroniclers Baha ad-Din – Wrote a biography of Saladin, he was a professor in Mosul university Estoire d’Ecacles – a continuation of the work by William of Tyre by several people, represents the views of the settlers Matthew Paris – A monk who wrote the Greater Chronicle, he added the story of the Duke of Austria’s banner Roger of Howden – A Parson from Yorkshire, Richard’s royal chronicler, at the siege of Acre Itinerary of Richard I – Written by Richard a cannon in London, and several knights on the crusade. Possible written to encourage others to go on a future crusade
Paper II Questions Some questions ask you to comment on the origin of a source Your answers will be significantly better if you can remember something about the author of the source Questions also ask about the purpose of the source This is more than just bias You should inform the examiner why the source was written Obviously know who wrote it in the first place will make this easier.