EDBURY, P.W., and J.G. ROWE,
William of Tyre. Historian of the Latin East.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1988. 1st ed. X,187p. Original blue gilt titled cloth with dust wrps. Pages yellowed due to paper quality. ‘William of Tyre, born in Jerusalem in around 1130, is a little-known figure until we hear of his elevation to the archbishopric of Tyre in 1175 at the probable instigation of his patron, count Raymond of Tripoli, who was regent of the Latin state of jerusalem. A worldly individual, absorbed with politics and intrigue as well as with his service as chancellor to the royal court, William spent most of his career currying the favor of secular lords like Raymond to neutralize ecclesiastical rivals. It is not surprising that he should meet with an unsavory end (…). What does give one pause is that during the last decade and a half of his life, when faced with opposition and political challenges, William should have devoted time to writing the massive ‘Historia rerum in parties transmarinis gestarum’. His ‘Historia’ describes the earlier Crusades and, as such, is concerned with conflict, massacres, atrocities, and betrayal as well as the formation and maintenance of the Latin states. (…) ‘the History of Deeds done beyond the Sea’ was not widely read by William’s intended audience - Western Europeans who might be enlisted to aid the beleaguered Latin East agains Muslim and Byzantine armies. Nor has it excited scholarly interest. (…) Peter W. Edbury and John Gordon Rowe have provided (…) a slim, elegant volume in the Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and thought series - an outstanding introduction or accompaniment to a complex work and its obscure author. They conduct a probing character study based on a thorough analysis of William’s few surviving writings (…) and the real to us not only the impulses behind William’s words but the issues which were important to him. They capture the reader and sweep her/him into the twelfth-century Latin East and into the mind of William of Tyre. (…) Edbury and Rowe ascribe clear values to William: legitimacy, stability, and the unfolding of God’s plan influenced his interpretation of history as much as did political survival. (…) These values (…) underlay both William’s main motive in writing history and the themes that pervade the work. William was convinced of the necessity of Western support for Jerusalem. (…) Not only does ‘William of Tyre, Historian of the Latin East’ answer the need for a hitherto absent analysis of William tyre’s history, It is a book about the making of history in the late twelfth century from which the reader learns much.’ (STEPHANIE EVANS CHRISTELOW in Speculum, 1990, pp.658-59). From the library of Prof. Carl Deroux.