William of Tyre’s Chronicon is well known to most scholars of the crusades. It has long been recognised for its complexity and value for understanding the Latin East, in particular for the period 1127–c.1184, for which it is the only surviving text produced in Outremer. Though not ignored, William’s coverage of the years preceding 1127 has often been sidelined, seen as lacking in empirical value due its distance from events and apparent reliance on other narratives. Thus, for those seeking to peak behind the curtain of William’s authorial persona, and to trace the means by which he sought to construct his narrative or to reconstruct his personality and mentalities, the earlier parts of the Chronicon is comparatively under-considered. This paper sits within a wider project that seeks, in part, to challenge this assumption. It focuses, therefore, on William’s account of the First Crusade, tracking the author’s source material, his use thereof, and his own original versions of events, to offer insights into the purpose of the Chronicon, its composition process, and the underlying authorial agendas which punctuate the text.
All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but booking in advance is required.