Dudo of St Quentin: History of the Normans

July 1998
2 line illustrations
298 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780851155524
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

Dudo of St Quentin: History of the Normans

Translation with Introduction and Notes

Eric Christiansen

First English translation of key chronicle for study of the rise of the Normans.
This is the first English translation of a powerful work of semi-imaginary history which gave the Normans a past, present, and future at the outset of their triumphant century. Completed in or soon after 1015 by a visiting French scholar, it is a study in verse and prose of one family's rise from defeat and exile in the world of the heathen Vikings to an honoured place among the great territorial rulers of France. It recounts two campaigns in England by the founder, Rollo, and a series of stirring political, military and religious events on the Continent, most notably the dreadful murder of Rollo's son William, and the kidnapping, escape and precarious early career of Dudo's first patron, Count Richard I.
The author's exuberant imagination is matched by his language, so presenting the unwary reader with difficulties, which ERIC CHRISTIANSEN notes and discusses throughout, defining and explaining the many poetic metres and prose embellishments used, and identifying the sources of numerous borrowings; he also re-examines and collates the manuscripts and printed versions of the text, and considers the most recent scholarship in the field.

The late ERIC CHRISTIANSEN was Fellow of New College and University Lecturer at Oxford.
Keywords: Medieval History


The translation is judicious and readable... even more valuable are the introduction and notes, which comprise the best brief introduction to early Norman history and its intellectual milieu - should now be the starting point for discussions of tenth-century Normandy. SPECULUM

Doubly valuable. The translation is fairly true to Dudo's style while at the same time being readable, [and] the introduction is the best brief introduction to early Norman history and its intellectual milieu... His overview of the early Norman world is sane, balanced and indispensable. ANGLO-NORMAN ANONYMOUS

Lively translation...makes more widely accessible [Dudo's] work... The introduction and copious notes will help greatly to explain the text's intellectual and cultural background. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

Magisterial English translation... Moreover, his historical and literary commentaries are models of information-packed brevity. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY