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Fulcher of Chartres

From Academic Kids

Fulcher of Chartres (born around 1059 in or near Chartres) was a chronicler of the First Crusade.

His appointment as chaplain of Baldwin of Boulogne in 1097 suggests that he had been trained as a priest, most likely at the school in Chartres. However, he was probably not a member of the cathedral chapter, since he is not named in the listing of the Dignitaries of the Church of Our Lady of Chartres.

The details of the Council of Clermont in his history suggest he attended the council personally, or knew someone who did, perhaps bishop Ivo of Chartres, who also influenced Fulcher's opinions on Church reform and the investiture controversy with the Holy Roman Empire.

Fulcher was part of the entourage of Count Stephen of Blois and Robert of Normandy which made its way through southern France and Italy in 1096, crossing into the Byzantine Empire from Bari and arrived in Constantinople in 1097, where they joined with the other armies of the First Crusade. He travelled through Asia Minor to Marash, shortly before the army's arrival at Antioch in 1097, where he was appointed chaplain to Baldwin of Boulogne. He followed his new lord after Baldwin split off from the main army, to Edessa where Baldwin founded the county of Edessa.

After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 Fulcher and Baldwin travelled to the city to complete their vow of pilgrimage. When Baldwin became king of Jerusalem in 1100, Fulcher came with him to Jerusalem and probably continued to act as his chaplain until 1115. After 1115 he was the canon of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and was probably responsible for the relics and treasures in the church. Fulcher died most likely in the spring of 1127.

At the earliest, Fulcher began his chroncile in the late autumn of 1100, or at the latest in the spring of 1101, in a version that has not survived but which was transmitted to Europe during his lifetime. This version was completed around 1106 and was used as a source by Guibert of Nogent, a contemporary of Fulcher in Europe.

He began his work at the urging of his travelling companions, who probably included Baldwin I. He had at least one library in Jerusalem at his disposal, from which he had access to letters and other documents of the crusade. In this library the Historia Francorum of Raymond of Aguilers and the Gesta Francorum must also have been available, which served as sources for much of the specific information in Fulcher's work that he did not personally witness.

Fulcher divided his chronicle into three books. Book I described the preparations for the First Crusade in Clermont in 1095 up to the conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by Godfrey of Bouillon. The second book described the deeds of Baldwin I, who succeeded Godfrey and was king of Jerusalem from 1100 to 1118. The third and final book reported on the life of king Baldwin II, until 1127 when there was a plague in Jerusalem, during which Fulcher apparently died. The second and third books were written from around 1109 to 1115, and from 1118 to 1127, compiled into a second edition by Fulcher himself.

Fulcher's work was used by many other chroniclers who lived after him. William of Tyre and William of Malmesbury used part of the chronicle as a source. His chronicle is generally accurate, though not entirely so. It was published in the Recueil des historiens des croisades and the Patrologia Latina, and a critical edition of the Latin version was published by Heinrich Hagenmeyer in 1913.de:Fulcher von Chartres

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