The Old French translation of William of Tyre

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Handyside, Philip David
  • Subject: DE | DA

While the Latin version of William of Tyre’s chronicle of the Latin East, Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum, is a valuable tool for modern historians, it was not particularly well-known during the medieval period with only nine copies surviving. However, William’s history did become extremely popular through a translation of the original into Old French, the so-called L’Estoire de Eracles, with fifty-one surviving manuscripts. The Eracles text has been overlooked by scholars who have assumed that it is a simple translation of William’s text, and there has also been little work in to establishing a provenance for the translation or determining the translator’s motives.\ud This thesis seeks to identify the extent to which the Eracles is a simple translation and assess its importance to historians. While, for the most part, the translator is faithful to William’s text, he made alterations throughout. Many are of a stylistic nature, and the translator did not simply abridge William’s text for a new audience. He made several additions that serve to identify him and his audience. In particular, he regularly added background material on French crusaders, and on events in France, including additional information not found in any other source. On occasion the translator alters William’s criticism of certain individuals and gives a very different version of events that may be more accurate.\ud The major difficulty with studying the Eracles text is the fact that the nineteenth-century editions were reliant upon a limited number of manuscripts. There has been little work on these manuscripts and no clear understanding of the relationships between these manuscripts. This thesis also seeks to tackle this problem by presenting a critical edition of six sample chapters that takes into account all the surviving manuscripts and by establishing the relationships between these manuscripts.
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    15 references, page 1 of 2

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