chapter  13
10 Pages

Thoros of Armenia and the Kingdom of Jerusalem

ByPeter W. Edbury

Thus begins the earliest recension of the narrative that since the nineteenth century historians have called La Chronique d’Ernoul et de Bernard le Trésorier. The Chronicle of Ernoul is an anonymous work, apparently composed somewhere in northern France. There are three main recensions which, at the risk of oversimplification, can most easily be categorized as breaking off in 1227, 1229 and 1232, respectively. Internal evidence – for example, a reference to Jacques de Vitry’s elevation to the cardinalate which occurred in 1229 and which is to be found in all the manuscripts2 – shows that even the 1227 recension, which would appear to have been the first, was completed after that date. On the other hand, it is likely that the 1232 recension, which ends with the arrival of John of Brienne in Constantinople charged with bringing aid to the ailing Latin Empire, was probably completed in that year or very soon after. The Chronicle of Ernoul traces affairs in the Latin East and elsewhere from 1100 to the time of writing. Whereas it is likely that the author was probably responsible for originating most of the narrative covering the last two decades of his history, for his account of the twelfth century he would have been largely reliant on existing materials. He thus included descriptions of the sacred geography of Palestine and the topography of Jerusalem which are clearly taken from other works,3 and he utilized a history composed by a certain Ernoul, the squire of Balian of Ibelin.