Robert the Monk

People involved in this project

Principal investigator:


School(s) Humanities
Department(s) History
Dates 01 October 2007 - 31 March 2012
Funder(s) AHRC
Contact person Dr Brendan Smith

More about this project

This project, originally led by Professor Marcus Bull and now led by Dr Brendan Smith, aims to locate, collate and edit the approximately ninety manuscripts of the 35000-word Latin history of the First Crusade (1095-1101) known as the Historia Iherosolimitana. The author is conventionally known as Robert the Monk. Writing in about 1107, Robert was just one of a number of people who told the dramatic and compelling story of the crusade during or soon after the event, but, to judge from the number of manuscripts to have survived, his version was the runaway ‘best-seller’ for more than a century; its popularity waned a little thereafter, but seems to have picked up again in the fifteenth century as the conquests of the Ottoman Turks revived Europeans’ interest in the First Crusade.

An understanding of Robert and his work is the key to larger questions about the impact of the First Crusade on the western European imagination, the ways in which stories are told to preserve and perpetuate memories, and the status of works of history in medieval culture.