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The Johannes de Beke Chronicle up until 1430

Edited by H. Bruch

During the late Middle Ages, the chronicle of Jan Beke (Johannes de Beke or Beka) was one of the most popular Dutch epic sources. Beke, who was most likely a monk from Egmond abbey, described the history of the bishops of Utrecht and the counts of Holland (and Zeeland) and their territories from Roman times until 1346. His work was primarily a compilation of material derived from contemporary annals and chronicles such as the Rhyming Chronicle of Holland by Melis Stoke and other authors. This prompted later copyists and writers to make revisions, new versions, and sequels using data from other sources as well as from their own memories and personal experiences.

The Latin chronicle was edited by other authors and parts were added to it up until 1393. It was translated into the vernacular roundabout 1395, after which supplements were added until well into the 15th century. The supplements are of great significance. They constitute a source of extremely useful information about the history of the rivalries between the Hoeks and the Kabeljauws in Holland and between the Lokhorsts and the Lichtenbergers within the bishopric. They also provide details of the history of successive counts and bishops within these provinces.

The following items have been included in the publication: the Latin chronicle up to 1346, with one supplement that goes as far as 1393, including the Middle Dutch translation and revision until 1393, with supplements up to 1430. The editor, H. Bruch, reconstructed the author’s version for the publication of the Latin chronicle. The translated edition is based on one specific manuscript. The microfilms of foreign manuscripts that were collected by the editor were transferred to the Department of Special Collections of the National Library in The Hague.