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chronicle

chronicle, official record of events, set down in order of occurrence, important to the people of a nation, state, or city. Almanacs, The Congressional Record in the United States, and the Annual Register in England are chronicles. From ancient times rulers have made certain that written records of their achievements proclaimed their glory to posterity. King Alfred of England was perhaps the first to encourage objectivity. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in lively English prose, notes the inauspicious beginnings of the British navy in A.D. 897: while pursuing the Danes, Alfred's long boats ran aground at low tide. Other chronicles of literary as well as historical interest are Tacitus' Annals (1st cent. A.D.), Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (7th cent.), Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (c.1135), and Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577). Modern developments of the form include the daily metropolitan newspaper, which provides exhaustive coverage of a panorama of events, from space exploration to kitchen range experimentation; and such codifications of journalistic sources as The New York Times Index and the New York Times Idea Bank —the latter a computerized Index, which makes any name or fact instantly available.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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