The Historia Ierosolimitana of Baldric of Bourgueil

The Historia Ierosolimitana of Baldric of Bourgueil

Edited by Steven Biddlecombe


Boydell Press



First modern edition of an undeservedly neglected account of the events of the First Crusade.
Baldric of Bourgeil's Historia Ierosolimitana is a fascinating Latin prose account of the events of the First Crusade (1095-99), and a clarification of their miraculous meaning. It was composed around 1105 by Baldric, the abbot of Bourgueil, who later became the archbishop of Dol. It is a crucial text, yet, in part because its manuscript tradition has not been fully explored, it has been hitherto neglected.
This volume presents the first critical edition of the text for nearly 150 years. Importantly, the editor has established that the text exists in over three times as many manuscripts as originally thought, thus indicating a far greater impact, geographically and chronologically, for Baldric's work than has been previously considered, and placing it at the forefront of crusade accounts of the period. In addition to a careful examination of the greatly extended manuscript tradition, the editor's critical analysis explores Baldric's career; his writing style; the dating and reception of his text; the amplification of the language, narrative and characters found in his recapitulation of his primary source, the Gesta Francorum; the influence of the text on medieval authors from Orderic Vitalis to Humbert of Romans; and its perspective on the crusade as a means of protecting the familia Christi .

Dr Steven Biddlecombe lectures in Medieval History at the University of Leicester.

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April 2014
1 line illustrations
261 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843839019
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS010020, REL033000
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Table of Contents

The Manuscripts
Editorial Conventions
The Historia Ierosolimitana of Baldric of Bourgueil
Appendix 1: Letters between Baldric and Abbot Peter of Maillezais
Appendix 2: The Breton and Norman Origins of Baldric's lesser known Crusaders
Index of Quotations and Allusions


Biddlecombe's weighty introduction to Baldric's text provides an excellent overview of the life and works of the author... [He] has sought to reveal the original work, thus favoring Medieval Latin spellings, avoiding unnecessary divisions, and taking care with punctuation. It is in every way a success. MANUSCRIPTA

[T]his is scholarship of the highest order, and it should serve to place Baldric's chronicle at the forefront of future studies of the narrative transformation of the First Crusade from a desperate and bloody Near Eastern conflict to a touchstone of European cultural memory. SPECULUM

With an introduction to the text nearly matching the length of the edition itself, Biddlecombe's edition also provides the current understanding of Baldric's biography, new information on the dating and dissemination of his text, and a fresh look at the ideas contained therein . . . . These attributes make Biddlecombe's text a welcomed contribution to the field. COMITATUS

This new edition will be invaluable both to scholars of the First Crusade, of its reception, and of the development of the idea of crusade, as well as to students of medieval Latin literature. CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW

Steven Biddlecombe has done historians of the crusades and of Latin literature a great service by providing the first critical edition of Baldric of Bourgueil's Historia Ierosolimitana. H-FRANCE

[T]his new edition of Baldric is something to be celebrated. Biddlecombe has clearly met his goal, as stated his preface, of placing Baldric "where he belongs, among the preeminent historians of the First Crusade." THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW