• Revisiting the compilation of Matthew Paris’s Chronica majora: new textual and manuscript evidence

      Greasley, Nathan; University of Derby (Taylor & Francis, 2021-03-15)
      The Chronica majora of Matthew Paris (c.1200–59) is a vital source for the study of thirteenth-century Europe. This article explores its compilation and dating. Much previous scholarship has rested on the assumption that the first part of the text, a revision of the Flores historiarum of Roger of Wendover covering the years from the Creation to 1235, was written at the same time as Matthew’s continuation of it (stretching to the year 1250). Textual, codicological and palaeographic evidence suggests that this was not the case. Matthew at first wrote only to revise the Flores, and only later was it extended to become the Chronica majora. This article also puts forward evidence that Matthew’s continuation was begun in the year 1247. The complex compositional process of the Chronica majora offers rare insight into the methods available to medieval authors charged with writing large-scale projects.