Jerusalem from BL Royal 15 D I, f. 203
Miniature of Jerusalem captured by Ptolemy, with a partial border. Image taken from f. 203 of La Bible Historiale, part 4 (Bible Historiale of Edward IV). Written in French.
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.
Bible Historiale was composed between 1291 and 1295 by priest and canon Guyart des Moulins, who added a prologue in 1297 announcing his recent election as dean of his canonial chapter at the collegial church of Saint Pierre d'Aire-sur-la-Lys. Describing his own role as translating and "ordering" the text, Guyart censored or omitted portions of the Bible that "should not, according to reason, be translated", rearranged materials "so that the laity might find them better ordered" and, on rare occasions, added further commentaries of his own or from other sources to produce the work known as the Bible Historiale. The work was copied in many manuscripts, of which more than a hundred survive, most of them richly illuminated, some with more than 300 miniatures, including La Bible historiale complétée (Proverbs - Revelation), France, Central (Paris?), Grand Bible historiale complétée à prologues, and more.