Skip to content

Chronique de la Prise de Constantinople

Geoffroi (or Geoffrey) of Villehardouin was a French knight who joined the Fourth Crusade in the retinue of Theobald of Champagne in 1199. Villehardouin recorded the events of the undertaking from the moment of the crusade's preaching in 1197 until the year 1207, with the death of Boniface of Monteferrat, a fellow westerner who had quarreled with the Emperor Baldwin over territories in the newly created empire. The exact timing and locale of Villehardouin's death is unknown, but his status as an eyewitness to the events in the East and the dating of the Chronique to the years around 1207 strongly suggest that the work was written in the East with the expectation that it would circulate in France. Villehardouin's work is known among literary scholars as the earliest French-language prose history, a distinction which underscores the importance of the Latin East as a locus of French-language textual production. According to the Chronicle of Morea Villehardouin's nephew, named Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, became the second Prince of Achaea in 1209, a title he held until 1229.

Representative MSS
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français, 12203 (Vellum, s. xiii)
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français, 12204 (Paper, s. xiv)
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français, 15100 (Vellum, s. xiv)
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, français, 24210 (Paper, s. xv)

Faral, Edmond, ed. La Conquete de Constantinople, 2 vols. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1939.

Secondary Literature
For further information, see Arlima.