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Historical Narrative in the Levant

Historical narrative was one of the most popular genres in the Levant, and the surviving sources provide great insight into the Crusades as a whole and to the political climate of the communities of settlers who remained in the Latin East after the First Crusade. Many of the writing styles that make up medieval historical literature are represented in the repertoire, including chronicles, histories, and annals. The traditions of the the individual works, and the work of William of Tyre especially, are convoluted due to their immense popularity and how often they were copied and modified. The information below will aim to clarify this confusion. Works from the historical narrative genre of Outremer include:

  • The Old French Translation (Eracles) of William of Tyre and its various branches of continuations produced here (Acre) and elsewhere (Lyon, and Rothelin, the Chronique d'Ernoul-Bernard)
  • Annales de Terre Sainte
  • Li Estoire de Jerusalem et d'Antioche


Peter W. Edbury and John Gordon Rowe, William of Tyre: Historian of the Latin East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

Peter Edbury, "The French Translation of William of Tyre’s Historia: The Manuscript Tradition," Crusades 7 (2007), 69-105.

Peter W. Edbury, "Famagusta and the Tradition of History Writing in Frankish Cyprus," in M.J.K. Walsh, P. W. Edbury, & N S. H. Coureas (eds), Medieval and Renaissance Famagusta: Studies in Architecture, Art and History (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), 43-52.