The chronicle of Otto of Freising and the Anonymous Imperial Chronicle, dedicated to Emperor Henry V, both originate in the 12th century. Although they both comment on contemporary history, a comparison of the methods and frameworks used by the authors to portray the politics of their own time has not been undertaken so far. However, it can be demonstrated that Otto and the writer of the Anonymous Imperial Chronicle are using specific ancient writings as models to present their respective interpretation of contemporary history: Otto draws heavily on Lucan in order to create a pre-apocalyptic atmosphere, whereas the author of the Imperial Chronicle uses (Pseudo-)Platonic references in order to highlight Henry’s ideal rule as philosopher king.
Sermons from late medieval England are not only occupied with the care of souls: they introduce the reader into a narrative cosmos, in which the human and divine protagonists of ancient (mostly ovidian) mythology are very much alive. Other than suggested by Smalley, though, this ‘mythographic’ style of preaching was not a specifically mendicant habit: rather it was the campaign-like effort of a scholastic establishment, whose traditions of learning and writing came under an increasing threat by scepticism and Lollardy. My paper will try to explain this urge to establish a continuity with the pagan past by analyzing the social background, discursive context, and development of respective sermons from c. 1330-1450.