Numerous Byzantine and Western sources describing the events of the Fourth Crusade have now been translated into English. However, the same is not true for material on Frankish Greece, despite this region’s importance to late medieval crusading. The Chronicle of Morea is the key source for the history of the Frankish states established in Greece after the conquest of Constantinople in 1204 and their relations with the reviving Byzantine Empire during the 13th century. It is also an important source for the growth of the Venetian maritime empire. Most of the action centers on the Peloponnesus, then called Achaia or Morea, where crusaders William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin (nephew of the famous chronicler) established a principality and the Villehardouins a dynasty. Preserved in a unique fourteenth-century manuscript, the Old French version of the Chronicle of Morea is a contemporary account of Frankish feudal life transposed onto foreign soil. It describes clashes, conquests, and ransoms between the Franks and Byzantines, as well as their alliances and arranged marriages. A rich source, the Chronicle of Morea brims with anecdotes giving insight into the operation of feudal justice, the role of noble women in feudal society, the practice of chivalry, and the conduct of warfare. Versions of the Chronicle exist in Aragonese, Greek, and Italian, as well as in Old French. However, this is the first translation into English or any other modern language of the Old French text, thus opening its content to a wider audience.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Historical timeline; Glossary; The Chronicle of Morea; Bibliography; Annotated index of persons and places; List of unnamed women; Index.
Dr Anne Van Arsdall is a research associate with the Institute for Medieval Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA; Dr Helen Moody is an independent scholar, specializing in literary history.
"The Chronicle of Morea (CoM) is a fundamental source concerning a major episode in the history of crusading and Medieval Greece."
-Nikolaos G. Chrissis, Democritus University of Thrace