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Baldwin IV from BL YT 12, f. 152v


Baldwin IV from BL YT 12, f. 152v



Detail of an historiated initial 'M'(ot) of a group of boys with bleeding arms; they include Baldwin IV, who was found to have leprosy. Image taken from f. 152v of Histoire d'Outremer, continued to 1232. Written in French.

Henry Yates Thompson (1838-1928) was a British collector and philanthropist who assembled this remarkable collection over his lifetime. The collection is now housed at the British Library in London.

Henry Yates Thompson was born into a wealthy family in 1838. Thompson began collecting manuscripts and other items in the 1870s. His collection quickly gained recognition for its exceptional quality and breadth. He had a keen eye for illuminated manuscripts, which are manuscripts decorated with intricate illustrations and calligraphy. The collection has a particular emphasis on medieval manuscripts.

William of Tyre has always been considered one of the greatest medieval writers. An archbishop of Tyre, he grew up in Jerusalem at the height of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which had been established in 1099 after the First Crusade, and spent twenty years studying the liberal arts and canon law in the universities of Europe. in In 1165, King Amalric made him an ambassador to the Byzantine Empire. After Amalric's death, William became chancellor and archbishop of Tyre, two of the highest offices in the kingdom, and in 1179 he led the eastern delegation to the Third Council of the Lateran. William wrote an account of the Lateran Council and a history of the Islamic states from the time of Muhammad. Neither work survives. He is famous today as the author of a history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. William composed his chronicle in excellent Latin for his time, with numerous quotations from classical literature. The chronicle is sometimes given the title Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum ("History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea") or Historia Ierosolimitana ("History of Jerusalem"), or the Historia for short. It was translated into French soon after his death, and thereafter into numerous other languages. He is considered the greatest chronicler of the crusades, and one of the best authors of the Middle Ages.



1300 - 1500


British Library

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