Journal Article

The Continuation of the <i>Eulogium Historiarum:</i> Some Revisionist Perspectives

G. B. Stow

in The English Historical Review

Volume 119, issue 482, pages 667-681
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/119.482.667
The Continuation of the Eulogium Historiarum: Some Revisionist Perspectives

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Valuable and informative insights into the tumultuous reign of King Richard II (1377–1399) are afforded in the Continuatio Eulogii, or continuation of the Eulogium Historiarum. Important as it is, the Continuatio has been the subject of considerable scholarly controversy. The chronicle survives in a single manuscript, BL, MS Cotton, Galba E. VII, whose text covers the years 1364 to 1413. F. S. Haydon, the chronicle’s first editor, viewed the text as a composite, compiled sometime after the year 1428. C. L. Kingsford concurred in this view, and identified the earlier texts, among them one ending in 1401 and the other extending from 1402 to 1413. The Continuatio’s latest editor, S. N. Clifford, rejected both earlier views, and argued instead that the original text of the Continuatio was a seamless narrative, written by a single author in or near 1413.

Upon closer analysis, however, all conjectures concerning the construction of the Continuatio may now be put to rest. It seems likely that the first part of the Continuatio was written by an anonymous author in or near the year 1405, who relied heavily upon a Latin text ending in 1401. From 1405 to 1413 the text was cobbled together from several component sources, all pulled together at some date well after 1428. Most important is the observation that the anonymous 1405 compiler interpolated into his text several anti-Ricardian sentiments. Principal among these is a description of Richard II conducting a crown-wearing ceremony near the end of his reign, an incident consistently interpreted by historians as indicative of the king’s ‘undisguised absolutism.’

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Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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