Post-classical history

Rigord

Author of the Gesta Philippi Augusti; the only writer contemporary with the Third Crusade (1189-1192) to give an account of it from the point of view of Philip II Augustus, king of France.

Rigord’s chronicle survives in only two manuscripts. It was an independent work, not commissioned by the king and sometimes critical of him. Rigord was a medical man by profession, who became a monk at the abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris before 1189. He began to write his history before 1186, and was the first to give Philip II the title Augustus. His references to the crusade mainly concern the king: a brief description of the events of 1187, Philip’s preparations for the crusade, the course of the crusade from his departure for the East to the capture of Acre (mod. ‘Akko, Israel), and the king’s return to France, which Rigord attributes to Philip’s severe illness and distrust of King Richard I of England, his fellow crusader. As he was writing a history of the king of France and not the king of England, he says no more of the crusade, except to criticize Richard for its outcome. His work was used by Guillaume le Breton and later French historians. He died soon after 1205.

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