Albert of Aix(-la-Chapelle) or Albert of Aachen (floruit circa AD 1100), historian of the First Crusade, was born during the later part of the 11th century, and afterwards became canon (priest) and custos (guardian) of the church of Aachen.
Nothing else is known of his life except that he was the author of a Historia Hierosolymitanae expeditionis (“History of the Expedition to Jerusalem”), or Chronicon Hierosolymitanum de bello sacro, a work in Latin in twelve books, written between 1125 and 1150. This history begins at the time of the Council of Clermont, deals with the fortunes of the First Crusade and the earlier history of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and ends somewhat abruptly in 1121.
The Historia was well known during the Middle Ages, and was largely used by William, archbishop of Tyre, for the first six books of his Belli sacri historia. In modern times, it was accepted unreservedly for many years by most historians, including Edward Gibbon. In more recent times, its historical value has been seriously impugned, but the verdict of the best scholarship seems to be that in general it forms a true record of the events of the First Crusade, although containing some legendary matter.
Albert never visited the Holy Land, but he appears to have had a considerable amount of discourse with returned crusaders, and to have had access to valuable correspondence. Unlike many other chronicles of the First Crusade, Albert did not rely on the Gesta Francorum, but used his own independent interviews; he may also have had access to the Chanson d'Antioche, as his work shares textual similarities with that poem. The first edition of the history was published at Helmstedt in 1584, and a good edition is in the Recueil des historiens des croisades, tome iv (Paris, 1841–1887). A modern edition in Latin and English translation by Susan B. Edgington is available in the Oxford Medieval Texts series.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911) "Albert of Aix" Encyclopædia Britannica 1 (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press p. 499 Endnote: See
- F. Krebs, Zur Kritik Alberts von Aachen (Munster, 1881)
- B. Kugler, Albert von Aachen (Stuttgart, 1885)
- M. Figeonneau, Le Cycle de la croisade et de la famine de Bouillon (Paris, 1877)
- H. von Sybel, Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzuges (Leipzig, 1881)
- F. Vercruysse, Essai critique sur la chronique d'Albert d'Aix (Liege, 1889).
- Albert of Aachen, Historia Ierosolimitana, i. I; i.24, 35; ii. 33, 65; iv. 53, 55; vi. 24; viii. 21
- S. Edington (2007), pp. xxvi-xxvii
- Susan B. Edgington, "Albert of Aachen and the Chansons de Geste" in The Crusades and their sources: essays presented to Bernard Hamilton ed. John France, William G. Zajac (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998) pp. 23–37. ISBN 978-0-86078-624-5
- Albert of Aachen, Historia Ierosolimitana, ed. and trans. S. Edgington (Oxford: Oxford Medieval Texts, 2007).
- Albert of Aix at The Latin Library (from the Patrologia Latina edition).
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