A textual comparison of the first six chants of the Chanson d'Antioche with the Latin eyewitness chronicles of the First Crusade

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1975

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Abstract

When Pope Urban II requested aid for the eastern Christians in November, 1095, he set in motion a series of events which produced repercussions throughout two continents and eventually came to be called the First Crusade. Through the intervening centuries this Crusade has aroused interest among scholars, and not least among the reasons for this interest is the literature produced by the European participants in the army. Only a few western accounts written by crusaders are extant, and among these the most important ones are the four Latin chronicles and the French chanson de geste. The Latin chronicles--the Anonymous Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolymitanorum, Peter Tudebode's Historia de Hierosolymitano itinero, Raymond of Aguilers' Francorum qui ceperunt Iherusalem, and Fulcher of Chartres' Historia Hierosolymitana--have each been critically examined both separately and in relationship to each other. Although similar studies have been undertaken regarding the French Chanson d'Antioche, these studies have tended to concentrate on the relationship between the epic and the secondary accounts of the First Crusade written after the event by non-participants. Thus the Chanson has not been submitted to a systematic textual comparison with all four Latin eyewitness chronicles to determine what, if any, textual relationships exist between them. In spite of this lack scholars have ventured to suggest that the Chanson either served as a source for one or more of these chronicles or was modelled upon one or more of the accounts. This thesis will compare the first six of the eight chants of the Chanson d'Antioche to the accounts of the four Latin chronicles and thus will attempt to fill the gap of textual examination and determine possible crosstextual influences between them. In this way it will also be possible to determine what portions of the first six chants may be considered independent eyewitness accounts, what sections have been altered by later poets, and to what extent these chants may be relied upon as primary eyewitness testimony.

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Keywords

History, Europe, Eleventh century, Crusades--First, 1096-1099, Chanson d'Antioche

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