Writing History in Medieval European Towns
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries we find the beginnings of something new in European historiography, as men holding office in urban administrations began to write chronicles. This paper focuses on three towns where we first see this phenomenon witnessed: London (Arnold fitz Thedmar), Cologne (Gottfried Hagen) and Genoa (Caffaro/Jacopo Doria). This paper argues that historical writing in these three towns was based upon two practical preconditions: the creation of civic political institutions and the emergence of a mercantile culture. It then, by way of a comparative study, analyses how the writers in these cities independently placed their cities in the wider world, defined liberty and articulated their philosophies of history against a backdrop of civic unrest.
6th October 2018