Chroniclers often relied upon their personal memories to relate history. There were numerous tools for ordering memories at chroniclers’ disposal including the topoi literary sources, historical texts, and prophecies. This paper will focus on how the chronicler Adam of Usk reshaped his memories through the use of prophecy to construct his history and manipulate the past, as he chose to remember it, for his readers. Adam arranged his chronicle around the interpretation of vatic material. He created a self-conscious and subjective account under the fiction of prophetic objectivity, and I suggest his account was a deliberate act of memory construction.
This paper explores the connection between English and Welsh political and social memory, and prophecy in Adam Usk’s Chronicle. The word prophecy could be seen as innately linked to the future. In late medieval chronicles, however, it was utilised as a tool for creating a past with a linear narrative, particularly in relation to the construction of identities. When an event occurred that undermined the continuity of a communal character or political ideal, the function of prophecy was to demonstrate how the event was the will of God and thus inevitable. Adam Usk’s Chronicle is a compelling case study because the writer negotiates English and Welsh communal, as well as political, identities and frequently utilises prophecy as an efficient device.
Medieval chronicles often described the relationship between the realm and its ruler as parental bonds. A series of texts, both verse and prose, from early 1420 challenge Sigismund of Luxembourg’s rule over Bohemia, using gendered images of familial relations and roles. This paper will investigate the way how these images construct historical memory of a particular community through the celebration or denigration of present and past rulers. The rich material from 1420 will be compared to some earlier applications of similar concepts in Czech sources.
One of the most important Czech medieval historiographical texts, the so-called Dalimil’s Chronicle, is well known for its attempt to construct a coherent political national community not only by means of accentuating its language singularity, but also through elaborately mapped evolution of gender relations. These are conceived, following the Latin chronicle by Cosmas, as a key element to the nation’s earlier history. In this context I will investigate the role of a narrative trick based on the principle of a ‘site of memory’ – a castle connected to a story of abduction, familiar only to the author and the readers. The characters passing by the castle know nothing of its past, but then they still react to it or even reproduce it in their own lives.