William of Tyre

William of Tyre (c. 1130 in Jerusalem, † September 29, 1186 ibid ) was Archbishop of Tyre, Chancellor of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and is considered one of the most important historians of the Middle Ages.

He came from a wealthy family, who had emigrated in the early 12th century from Italy or France to Palestine.

Life and work

Main source for his life is his history and it contains autobiographical chapter.

About the year 1145 William went to the West to study there for almost 20 years. His study of the liberal arts, he began in Paris. 1155 he moved to theology and led it from 1160 in Orléans continued. From there he went to Bologna in 1161 or 1162 to study at the city's famous university law degree. He is the only known Palestinians, who studied in the West in the 12th century.

1165 he returned to Palestine, was a canon of the Episcopal Church of Acre and received on September 1, 1167 by Archbishop Frederick of Tyre consecrated to the archdeacon. In the spring of 1167 he entered the service of King Amalric I of Jerusalem, who brought him to write the history of the Crusader states. Wilhelm was also the tutor of the king's son, the future King Baldwin IV, who appointed him after his accession in 1174 to the Chancellor of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Around the year 1170 he started his Chronica, on German " history of the Crusader states " (formerly Historia rerum in partibus trans marinis gestarum, such as: history of the acts beyond the sea ). The most learned of all the Latin chroniclers of the Crusades went over this statesmanlike some of the dark chapter of the founding of the state, also ran him a few errors. Nevertheless, this is a considerable body of work and a major source for what is happening in Outremer dar. William of Tyre used ( such as Albert of Aachen ) narrated as well as lost sources. In addition, records him were from the archive chambers of the Kingdom are available.

Unlike many other chroniclers, he described the Muslims not only negative, although he deplored the increased authority. He lamented the lack of education of many clerics and their too- worldly setting, the Order of Knights and Byzantines he brought against little sympathy.

He has also written a "History of the Orient ", which is oblivion and possibly fallen even the fires of Muslim zealots. His attitude towards Muslims is through his studies due to more moderate than that of his colleagues. On June 8, 1175 William was consecrated as Archbishop of Tyre.

1179 he participated in the third Lateran Council and spent on his return to Jerusalem seven months at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus. 1180 he was a candidate for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, but was not elected. In 1184 ( at the latest in the spring of 1185 ), he resigned from the office of the Registrar.

William of Tyre was the only crusade chroniclers, who was born in Palestine. He also was also one of those historians who wrote much of their work based on their own experience.

The Chronica

Also known as the "Historia rerum in partibus trans marinis gestarum " work of William of Tyre was built between about 1168 and 1184 or 1186 and are essentially treated the history of the Crusades and the Crusader dominions, starting at the Council of Clermont in 1095 and breaking in 1184th

The 23 books in structured with each chapter work is divided into two conceptually: The first section dealt with in the books I-VIII the First Crusade. In the following section each parent dynastic rulers of Jerusalem, from Godfrey of Bouillon, mostly devoted two books.

The Chronica was added to the 13th century by various sequels and received by their transfer into French an almost canonical character of the representation of the Crusades in the late Middle Ages.

Your first edition took place in 1549.

For the period after the First Crusade, the Chronica is the only major, albeit chronologically incorrect source from the East.

Sources of William of Tyre

Albert of Aachen served for the time of the First Crusade as a reference, along with your own parts. Thereafter, until 1127, Fulcher of Chartres was the source. Until about 1145 Wilhelm took oral, z.T. well- written statements of others, followed by our own memories. From 1163 to outweigh the personal experiences of William, which are important for its political and ecclesiastical career. Many documents ( diplomas King ), letters (including the Pope ) and state treaties found their way into the Chronica.


  • Willelmi Tyrensis archiepiscopi Chronicon / Guillaume de Tyr Chronique. Édition critique par R. B. C. Huygens. Identification des sources historiques et Determination of dates par HE Mayer et Gerhard Rösch. Brepols, Turnholti 1986 ( Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio mediaeualis 63)