TitleKeynote Lecture 2014:
Editing Empire: The Kaiserchronik as Literature and History (Language: English)
Date/TimeMonday 7 July 2014: 09.00-10.30
SponsorBoydell & Brewer, Woodbridge
RespondentLen Scales, Department of History, Durham University
SpeakerMark Chinca, Department of German & Dutch, University of Cambridge
Christopher Young, Department of German & Dutch, University of Cambridge
IntroductionBjörn Weiler, Department of History & Welsh History, Aberystwyth University
AbstractThe Kaiserchronik (Chronicle of Emperors) is one of the great works of medieval literature, chronicling the reigns of Roman and German kings and emperors, from the earliest times to the 12th century. It projects a magnificent historical narrative in which the German-speaking peoples and their rulers feature as actors on the stage of ancient history and heirs to the legacy of Rome as the capital of the Christian West.

Completed around 1150 in Germany, the Kaiserchronik was written at the same time as two works of dynastically inspired history from the Anglo-Norman world: Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), and the Roman de Brut, an adaptation of Geoffrey's history by Jersey-born poet Wace. Like the Kaiserchronik, these histories recount the exploits of kings and rulers in chronological order, use the past to justify contemporary political arrangements, and foster a sense of cultural identity.

Fifty surviving manuscripts, dating from the late 12th to the late 16th century, transmit the Kaiserchronik in at least three distinct recensions. In this lecture, Young and Chinca will address the challenges of producing the first-ever full critical edition of the Kaiserchronik, as well as setting it in the manifold literary and cultural historical contexts of northwestern Europe in the High Middle Ages.

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets for the event. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment. The room will open 15 minutes before the beginning of the lectures.