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John of Worcester and the science of history

Lawrence-Mathers, A. ORCID: (2013) John of Worcester and the science of history. Journal of Medieval History, 39 (3). pp. 255-274. ISSN 0304-4181

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03044181.2013.798742


Although the ‘chronicle of chronicles’ compiled at Worcester c1095-c1140 is now firmly attributed to John of Worcester, rather than Florence, major questions remain. A central issue is that the semi-autograph manuscript of the chronicle (now Oxford, Corpus Christi College, Ms 157) underwent several alterations to its structure and contents, as codicological evidence demonstrates. These included the incorporation of important illuminations, which have been surprisingly little considered in their overall manuscript context. This article focuses on these illuminations, and will argue that their presence in this version of the chronicle makes it something even more distinctive than the learned, revisionist chronological work of Marianus Scotus upon which it was based. John of Worcester’s chosen images are linked not only to his political narrative but also to theological works and to cutting-edge science, newly translated from Arabic. The presence of such miniatures in a twelfth-century chronicle is unique, and they are central to the final form given to the Worcester chronicle by John of Worcester himself in this key manuscript. Their analysis thus brings into focus the impressive assembly of materials which the chronicle offered to readers, to shape their understanding of ongoing events.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:30180
Uncontrolled Keywords:Chronicles, England, Monasticism, Chronology, Computus, Science, Iconography
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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