Chronicle of Morea

The "Chronicle of Morea" ( _el. Το χρονικόν του Μορέως) is a long 14th century text, of which 4 versions are extant, a French, a Greek (in verse), an Italian and an Aragonese. The "Chronicle" is more than 9,000 lines long and it narrates events of the establishment of feudalism in mainland Greece, specifically in Peloponnese (called Morea at the time) by the Franks (West European Crusaders) following the Fourth Crusade, covering a period from 1204 to 1292 (or later depending on the version), giving significant details on the organization of the Principality of Achaia.

The extant texts of the Chronicle of Morea

The Greek text is the only text written in verse. The French, Italian and Aragonian texts are written in prose.Jean-Claude Polet, Patrimoine littéraire européen, De Boeck Université, 1995, ISBN 2-8041-2077-5]

Greek text

The verses of the Greek text are written in a 15 syllable metre called "versus politicus". The verses are accented but not rhymedWilliam Smith, page 579 in "A History of Greece", publisher R. B. Collins, 1855] . It is written in the spoken Greek of the time, with the inclusion of several French words.

There are two parallel Greek texts, as well as three copies:
*Ms Havniensis 57 (14th–15th century, in Copenhagen) 9219 verses
**Ms Taurinensis B.II.I, library of Turin, closely related to the Copenhagen text
*Ms Parisinus graecus 2898 (15th–16th century, at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris) 8191 verses
**Ms Parisinus graecus 2753 and
**Ms Bern 509 grecboth of them copies of the Paris version.

The oldest text is that of Copenhagen, the language of which is more archaic. The Parisian, more recent, text is simpler in language, has less foreign words and is less contemptuous of Greeks, since the copier has omitted several antihellenic references. [P. Kolonaros, "Το Χρονικόν του Μορέως (The Chronicle of Moreas)", Athens 1940, page η']

The difference of about one century between the Copenhagen and Parisian version shows a considerable number of linguistic differences due to the rapid evolution of the Greek language. The text of the Copenhagen version describes events until 1292.

French text

*Royal Library of Belgium No 15702This text is known under the title: "The Book of the Conquest of Constantinople andthe Empire of Roumania and the country of the Principality of Morea", since in the incipit, it is indicated "C'est le livre de la conqueste de Constantinople et de l'empire de Romanie, et dou pays de la princée de la Morée"

There are also other copies of the French text:
**National Library, Paris, No. 2753
**University Library of Bern, No.509

Information in this text reaches until the year 1304.

Italian text

*"Cronaca di Morea", is a summary which was compiled later than the previous texts and contains several mistakes. Its source is the text found in the manuscript in Greek of Turin.

Aragonese text

*"Libro de los fechos et conquistas del principado de la Morea", was compiled at the end of the 14th century (around 1395), from the Greek version and other later sources, at the request of the Grand Master Jean Fernandez de Heredia of the Knights of St. John [Encyclopedic Dictionary, entry on "Χρονικόν Μωρέως", Eleftheroudakis ed., 1931 ("in Greek")] . It contains information until 1393.

Which text is the original? Which version came out first?

It appears that the original text of the Chronicle of Morea has been lost. Even though the Aragonese and Italian texts have been clearly identified as later texts, there is no widely accepted answer on the priority of either Greek of French text [M. Jeffreys, The Chronicle of the Morea: Priority of the Greek version, BZ 68 (1975) 304-350] [A. Panagiotis, Study Medieval Greek, Museum Tusculanum Press, 1992, ISBN 87-7289-163-7] [Cyril A. Mango, The Oxford History of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-814098-3] .

The author

The author of the original text of the chronicle seems to be a Franc or a "gasmoule" (a French-Greek, born from a mixed French-Greek marriage, the word seems to have an etymology from "garçon" (boy) and "mule"), since his attitude is of admiration for the Franks and contempt of the locals and everything that has to do with the Byzantine Empire.

The significance of the Chronicle

The "Chronicle" is famous in spite of certain historical inaccuracies because of its lively description of life in the feudal community and because of the character of the language which reflects the rapid transition from Medieval to Modern Greek.

Polet explains that since the author admires the Franks and has contempt for everything Byzantine, the Chronicle of Morea has lost a chance to be repeated in the popular culture, when the Franks eventually disappeared from Peloponnese.

A significant number of administrative laws and practices of the Principality of Achaia is mentioned in the Chronicle, making it a significant source of the Frankish period in Greece. [P. Zepos, "Το δίκαιον εις το Χρονικόν του Μορέως (The Law in the Chronicle of Morea)", "Επετηρίς Εταιρείας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών (Annals of the Society for Byzantine Studies)" 18(1948), 202-220, "in Greek"]

Language of the Chronicle

Since the year of the Fall of Constantinople, 1453, marks the symbolic boundary between Medieval and Modern Greek, the Chronicle of Morea is generally classified under Medieval Greek [R. Browning "Medieval and modern Greek"] [G. Horrocks "Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers", London & New York 1997, p. 276-81] H. Tonnet "Histoire du grec modèrne", chapter “la langue médievale” )] [Kriaras in the "Dictionary of Greek Medieval Vernacular Literature" includes the Chronicle in his sources [http://195.251.48.156/greekLang/medieval_greek/bibliographies/sources/contents.html] ] . However, the Chronicle of Moreas, along with Ptochoprodromic poems and acritic songs are considered as the beginnings of modern Greek literature and they are called both "byzantine / medieval vernacular" and "(early) modern Greek". [N. Andriotes - History of the Greek language]

The first editions in print

The first printed edition of the Chronicle was published in 1840 by J.A. Buchon and it contained the Greek text from Paris [J.A. Buchon, Chroniques etrangères relatives aux expéditions françaises pendant le xiii siécle, 1840] J.B. Bury, in page 386, Appendix of volume 9, Notes by the Editor, in the (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906) edition of "Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776)", ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky.]

In this book, Buchon gave without authority to the Chronicle the title "Βιβλίον της κουγκέστας του Μωραίως" (Book of the conquest of Morea). This title was therefore given to the Chronicle by Buchon and it is not found in the text. The second printed edition of the Chronicle was that of the Greek text from Copenhagen, published again by Buchon in 1845. [J.A. Buchon, Recherches historiques sur la principauté française de Morée et ses hautes baronies (1845)] John Schmitt published in 1889 both texts of the Copenhagen and Paris manuscripts side by side. [John Schmitt, Die Chronik von Morea, Munich, 1889] [John Schmitt, The Chronicle of Morea, [To Chronikon Tou Moreōs] A history in political verse, relating the establishment of feudalism in Greece by the Franks in the thirteenth century, Methuen & Co., London, 1904]

The text

The book begins with a prologue of 1302 verses. The first three verses are:

:I will tell a tale to thee rehearse, a tale of import mighty:And if attention you do lend, I hope the tale will please you:T'is how the Frank by arms did gain the realm of fair Morea

Notes

References

* [http://www.phys.uoa.gr/~nektar/history/2romanity/to_xronikon_toy_morews.htm The original text of the Chronicle of Morea]
*"Crusaders as Conquerors: the Chronicle of Morea" translated from the Greek with notes and introduction by Harold E. Lurier, Columbia University, 1964.
*Peter Topping in a review of "Crusaders as Conquerors: the Chronicle of Morea" of H.E. Lurier, "Speculum", Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1965), pp. 737-742


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chronicle of the Morea — Text from the Chronicle of the Morea [1] The Chronicle of the Morea (Greek: Το χρονικόν του Μορέως) is a long 14th century history text, of which four versions are extant: in French, Greek (in verse) …   Wikipedia

  • Morea — For other uses, see Morea (disambiguation). Map of the medieval Peloponnese with its principal localities The Morea (Greek: Μωρέας or Μωριάς, French: Morée, Italian …   Wikipedia

  • Morea —    Name for the Peloponnesos (q.v.) from the time of the 13th century Latin occupation. The etymology of the word is obscure; it may derive from morea, the Greek word for the mulberry tree, whose leaf has an outline not unlike that of the… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Chronicle of the Tocco family of Kefalonia — The Chronicle of the Tocco family of Kefalonia or simply Chronicle of the Toccos is a chronicle in fifteen syllable blank verse written in medieval Greek, which refers to the era of the Tocco family and especially to the years of Carlo I Tocco,… …   Wikipedia

  • Morea, Chronicle of —    See Morea …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Theodoros I. (Morea) — Theodor I. Palaiologos (griechisch: Θεόδωρος Α Παλαιολόγος,Theodōros I. Palaiologos) (* 1355; † 24. Juni 1407 in Konstantinopel) war byzantinischer Despot von Morea von 1383 bis 1407. Er war der vierte Sohn des byzantinischen Kaisers Johannes V.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Theodor I. (Morea) — Theodor I. Palaiologos (griechisch: Θεόδωρος Α Παλαιολόγος,Theodōros I. Palaiologos) (* 1355; † 24. Juni 1407 in Konstantinopel) war byzantinischer Despot von Morea von 1383 bis 1407. Er war der vierte Sohn des byzantinischen Kaisers Johannes V.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Theodoros II. (Morea) — Theodor II. Palaiologos (gr. Θεόδωρος Παλαιολόγος, Theodōros (II.) Palaiolόgos, * um 1396; † 1448) war von 1407 bis 1443 Herrscher (Despot) über das Despotat Morea. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Familie 3 Literatur 4 Siehe auch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Theodor II. (Morea) — Theodor II. Palaiologos (gr. Θεόδωρος Παλαιολόγος, Theodōros (II.) Palaiolόgos, * um 1396; † 1448) war von 1407 bis 1443 Herrscher (Despot) über das Despotat Morea. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Familie 3 Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros partof=the Fourth Crusade caption= date=1205 AD place= Messenia, Peloponnese result=Decisive Frankish victory combatant1=Franks combatant2=Byzantines commander1=William of …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.