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Matthew of Paris

Matthew of Paris or Matthew Paris, d. 1259, English historian, a monk of St. Albans. He became the historiographer of the convent after the death (c.1236) of Roger of Wendover . The first part of his Chronica majora [great chronicle], a history of the world, is largely a reworked version of Wendover's chronicle. However, the second part, from 1235 to 1259, is original and valuable because its material was carefully collected from eyewitnesses or written from personal knowledge. Paris was an excellent stylist and narrator, and in his rewriting of Wendover's chronicle he formulated the hostile image of King John that has been copied by historians until very recent times. The standard edition of this work is by H. R. Luard (7 vol., 1872–83) a translation by J. A. Giles (1852–54) begins with 1235. Paris wrote a history of England, the Chronica minora [little chronicle], also called the Historia Anglorum, largely taken from the great chronicle but with some added material.

See biography by R. Vaughan (1958).

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

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