The Gesta Tancredi of Ralph of Caen: A History of the Normans on the First Crusade, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Gesta Tancredi of Ralph of Caen

A History of the Normans on the First Crusade, 1st Edition

By Ralph of Caen


195 pages

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This is the first translation into English of Ralph of Caen's Gesta Tancredi. This text provides an exceptionally important narrative of the First Crusade and its immediate aftermath, covering the period 1096-1105, but is often neglected, due in no small part to the difficulties of its Latin. A native of the Norman city of Caen where he was a student of Arnulf, the future patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1107 Ralph joined Bohemond of Taranto's army as a military chaplain. After arriving in the East, Ralph took service with Bohemond's nephew Tancred, who ruled the principality of Antioch from 1108 to 1112. Although dedicated to Arnulf, the Gesta Tancredi focuses on the careers of Bohemond and, especially, of Tancred. It is one of the most important sources - indeed the most important Latin source - for the Norman campaigns in Cilicia (1097-1108), and for the early Norman rule of Antioch. The work as a whole has a striking Norman point of view and contains details found in no other source, providing a corrective to the strong northern focus of most of the other narrative sources for the First Crusade.


'University teachers and students will welcome this translation.' Military History '[The] text reads well, any difficulties are clearly signalled, and historians of the crusades as well as students of the medieval biographical genre will find this book a valuable resource.' Medium Aevum 'The translation is a lively piece of writing, as befits the vigour of the original language… The introduction is informative and astute, and […] the volume will serve its purpose of making Ralph's Gesta Tancredi accessible to a wider number of students very well.' Medieval Review ’The appearance of the Gesta Tancredi in English translation is very welcome… The translators have earned our gratitude for providing access to this wealth of material.’ Crusades ’…traduction irréprochable… Elle rendra de nombreux services aux historiens…’ Le Moyen Âge

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: Our knowledge of Ralph, Ralph as a historian, Ralph's subject matter, Ralph as an independent source, Ralph as a Norman historian, Principles of translation; The Gesta Tancredi; Bibliography; Index.

About the Authors

Bernard S. Bachrach is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, USA. David S. Bachrach is Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, USA.

About the Series

Crusade Texts in Translation

The crusading movement, which originated in the 11th century and lasted beyond the 16th, bequeathed to its future historians a legacy of sources which are unrivalled in their range and variety. These sources document in fascinating detail the motivations and viewpoints, military efforts and spiritual lives, of the participants in the crusades. They also narrate the internal histories of the states and societies which crusaders established or supported in the many regions where they fought. Some of these sources have been translated in the past but the vast majority have been available only in their original language. The goal of this series is to provide a wide ranging corpus of texts, most of them translated for the first time, which will illuminate the history of the crusades and the crusader-states from every angle, including that of their principal adversaries, the Muslim powers of the Middle East.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General