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Art. 95, L’enqueste que le patriarche de Jerusalem fist: Introduction

Abbreviations: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); DOML: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; FDT: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Sinclair 1979); FDT-1French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, . . . First Supplement (Sinclair 1982); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

This Anglo-Norman prose description of the Saracen rulers and their lands is found in three manuscripts. According to the incipit in MS Harley 2253, it is a report sent by the patriarch of Jerusalem to Pope Innocent III as a help to Christian crusaders. Cataloguers of the Harley manuscript have generally listed it as an extract from Jacques de Vitry’s Historia Orientalis, but that work appears instead to be one of its various sources. Jacques de Vitry, Bishop of Acre and later of Tusculum (ca. 1160–1240), was a noted preacher and historian of the crusades.

As an informative guide on exotic sites that concern Christian pilgrims, this work is comparable to booklet 5’s Pilgrimages in the Holy Land and Pardons of Acre (arts. 38, 39). In how it records distant geography and conveys diverse lore from faraway places, it seems to have been intentionally set beside the next two items: Heraldic Arms of Kings and Letter for Pilgrims on the Relics at Oviedo (arts. 96, 97). On the existence of a Latin source and several Old French analogues, see R. Dean (ANL 332). This work has not been previously printed. The paragraphing of this edition adheres in general to the markings of the Ludlow scribe, who also tended to mark in red the initials of its place-names.

[Fols. 129v–130v. ANL 332. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 14. Layout: Prose written with no columns. Editions: None. Other MSS: Cambridge, CUL MS Gg.6.28, fols. 57r–61r; Oxford, Bodl. MS Bodley 761, fols. 195v–200v. Translations: None.]

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