A collection of annals or notes of yearly events. Such recordings developed from the practice of annotating Easter Tables (see Calendar).

A collection of annals or notes of yearly events. Such recordings developed from the practice of annotating Easter Tables (see calendar). Early chronicles took the form of world or universal histories, such as those written in the fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea and Sulpicius Severus. Local chronicles began to appear in the ninth century: among the most notable are the Annals of Ulster, the Frankish Royal Annals, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and a history of the Saxon kings by the German bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in the early eleventh century. World chronicles continued to be written, however, perpetuated by historians such as Marianus Scotus in the later eleventh century. The Historia ecclesiastica, completed in 731 at Jarrow in northeastern England by the Venerable Bede, marked an influential new approach to the writing of history: Bede perceived a relationship of cause and effect between events, collated material in accordance with a central theme (the growth of Christianity in England), and promoted a consistent system of dating (from the Incarnation). The Normans produced a number of historical works relating to Normandy, England, and the Holy Land in the later eleventh and twelfth centuries; these include the Gesta Normannorum ducum of William of Jumičges, the Gesta Guillelmi ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum of William of Poitiers, and the works of Sigebert of Gembloux, Robert of Torigni, and Ordericus Vitalis. History writing in Britain continued to proliferate throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with chronicles by Florence of Worcester, William of Malmesbury, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Gerald of Wales, and Matthew Paris. Important Continental historians of the thirteenth century include Salimbene (Cronica) and Vincent of Beauvais (Speculum historiale), the latter representing a move toward a more encyclopaedic world view. Histories based on the Bible, such as the thirteenth-century Weltchronik of Rudolf von Ems, were also compiled. The thirteenth century also witnessed a proliferation of Vernacular histories, among them Villehardouin's Conquęte de Constantinople, the Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, the Grandes Chroniques françaises de Saint-Denis, Jean Creton's Histoire de Roy d'Angleterre Richard, and Jean Froissart's Chroniques de France, d'Engleterre et des paďs voisins, the last representing a fusion of the traditional chronicle with the Romance genre. During the Gothic period, many historical works were illustrated, a practice largely initiated in England by Giraldus Cambrensis and Matthew Paris, who incorporated marginal drawings into some of their works. In the thirteenth century, some authors attempted to integrate pagan and Christian history by grafting books such as Peter of Poitiers' Genealogy of Christ onto universal chronicles. The genealogies of kings were also included, giving rise to a tradition of illuminated genealogical manuscripts, often in roll form.

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Michelle Brown. Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).