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.
"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
Contents: Introduction; Historical timeline; Glossary; The Chronicle of Morea; Bibliography; Annotated index of persons and places; List of unnamed women; Index.
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.