A video of my presentation, “Emory’s Fifteenth-Century English Chronicle Roll: Late Medieval History Writing and Sixteenth-Century Nobility,” is available at this link or in the embedded video below. I gave this paper on March 1, 2019 as part of the Materiality of Devotion exhibit and symposium organized by Sarah Bogue, Emma de Jong, and Kelin Michael at Emory University’s Pitts Theology Library.
At over 22 feet long, Emory’s fifteenth-century chronicle roll manuscript unites biblical, mythical, and royal history. The genealogical diagram and accompanying text begins with the seven days of creation, describes biblical and mythical rulers, and documents the kings (and some queens) of England, extending to Queen Elizabeth I with a sixteenth-century addition. Scholars have only begun to study the Emory roll, but it participates in a tradition of history writing—works known as universal chronicles—popular in the pre-modern world. I have recently discovered that the Emory roll is part of a family of English chronicles, which includes a manuscript owned by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand (digital and physical facsimiles of this roll are on display in the exhibit). After locating the Emory roll within the tradition of universal chronicles and the “Noah family” of manuscripts, the presentation will focus on the work of a later scribe who added a membrane to the Emory roll to update the chronicle to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The sixteenth-century scribe documents the marriages of several members of English noble families; this content will frame a discussion of the potential noble patrons and uses for medieval chronicle roll manuscripts.