Category Archives: Primary Sources

The Battle of Stamford Bridge (1066) and the life of Haraldr Sigurðarson, according to Theodoricus Monachus

Theodricus Monachus’s De antiquitate regum Norwagiensium is one of the oldest historical works of Norwegian history. It is a Latin account of the kings of Norway from Hardaldr harfaagri (around the ninth century), to Sigurð Magnusson, who died in 1130. Continue reading

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The Siege of Tarsos in 965, according to Leo the Deacon

The history, divided into ten books, covers the years from 959 to 976, that is, the reigns of Romanus II (959-963), Nicephorus Phokas (963-969) and John Zimisces (969-976). It describes the wars against the Arabs including the recovery of Crete from the Arabs in 961, the conquest of Antioch and Northern Syria (968-969), the Bulgarian War (969) and the defeat of the Southern Russians (971), one of the most brilliant periods of the later Empire. Continue reading

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French Chronicle of London: Naval Battle of Sluys (1340), Siege of Tournai (1341)

The French Chronicle of London, detailing events from 1259 to 1343, provides one of the best accounts of the naval battle of Sluys, and the siege of Tournai by Edward III in 1340. 12 Edward III. [A.D. 1337, 8]. Henry … Continue reading

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Alessandro Beneditti, The Battle of Fornovo (1495)

Charles VIII, attempting to seize control of southern Italy for use as a platform for war against the Ottoman Turks, lead the most powerful army in Europe at that time down through Italy, defeating one Italian province after another. Continue reading

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The First Crusade (1095-99), A short narrative from contemporary sources.

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me… Continue reading

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Letter from the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, with news of the defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk (July 22, 1298)

On Saturday the Feast of St. Peter’s Chains (August 1st), there came a messenger from Sir Walter de Langestone, Bishop of Coventre and Lychfeld, and Treasurer to our Lord the King of England, bringing a letter from the said Bishop … Continue reading

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Matthew of Edessa, Chronicle, Warfare in the Crusader States (1104-1127)

The Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa is considered by scholars to be a primary source of major importance for the history of the Near East during the period of the early Crusades.  This work relates events that occurred between the … Continue reading

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Jan Duglosz, The Battle of Tannenberg or Grunwald (1410)

On July 15, 1410, one of the most important battles took in the later middle ages.   Fought between Tannenberg and the nearby village of Grünwald, Polish and Lithuanian forces under Ladislaus II (Wladyslaw Jagiello) halted the eastward expansion of the … Continue reading

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Walter of Exeter, Siege of Carlaverock

This poem, written in French, is thought to be authored by Walter of Exeter, a Franciscan friar.  The story details the siege of the Scottish castle of Carlaverock in July 1300 by Edward I.  The first portion of the poem … Continue reading

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John Cantacuzenus, “History”, The War of Galata (1348)

One of the most important figures in the history of fourteenth century Byzantium was John Cantacuzenus, a military commander under Andronicus III, who then rebelled against the regency government of Anna of Savoy, and himself emperor from 1347 to 1354.  … Continue reading

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The Siege of Ascalon (1153) According to Contemporary or Near-contemporary Western European Sources

Translated by Helen Nicholson from the editions in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores, ed.Bill Zajac. In 1153, Baldwin launched a major attack on Ascalon, with an army large enough to invest the great city completely. The siege dragged on for months, with … Continue reading

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Chronicle of James the Conqueror, Siege of Burriana (1233)

James I, King of Aragon (1208-76), king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1213-76), was nicknamed the Conquerer because of his many wars and conquests, which included the capture of the Balearic Islands (1229-35) and Valencia (1238) form the Moors, … Continue reading

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Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum, Battle of Stiklastaðir (1030) and Campaign of King Magnus Barelegs against the British Isles (1102-3)

Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum wrote his account of the history of the Norwegian kings around 1190.  Along with Theodoricus Monachus’ Historia de Antiquitate Regum Norwagiensium and the anonymous Historia Norvegiae, this work represents one of the earliest surving accounts of the history of Norway and … Continue reading

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