Post-classical history

Radulph of Caen (d. after 1130)

Author of the Gesta Tancredi, a rhetorically sophisticated Latin account of the First Crusade (1096-1099) and the early years of Frankish Outremer, in prose with interspersed sections of verse (Lat. prosimetrum).

The Gesta Tancredi was composed between 1112 and 1118 and dedicated to Radulph’s former teacher, Arnulf of Chocques, then Latin patriarch of Jerusalem (d. 1118). It survived in a single twelfth-century manuscript (MS Bruxelles, Bibliothèque royale Albert 1er, 5373) that was hardly known during the Middle Ages. Radulph was probably born around 1080. Since he served in the entourages of Bohemund I of Antioch (1107) and Tancred (1108) in Epiros and Syria and mainly relied on information supplied by them, the Gesta appears to be an appraisal of the Norman part in the events from 1099 to 1108.

The work shows a certain distance to the more popular histories of the First Crusade, of which Radulph may have known the Gesta Francorum as well as a first redaction of the HistoriaHierosolymitana of Fulcher of Chartres. The inserted poems concerning the fighting at Dorylaion, Antioch, and Jerusalem introduce the Normans and their ambitious leaders rather like the heroes of classical epic.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!