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The Capture of Constantinople: The `Hystoria Constantinopolitana' of Gunther of Pairis.

Alfred J. Andrea, The Capture of Constantinople: The `Hystoria Constantinopolitana' of Gunther of Pairis (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998). xiv + 194 pp. ISBN 0-8122-3356-5. $16.50. For the first time, Alfred J. Andrea provides a complete English translation of the Cistercian Gunther of Pairis's Hystoria Constantinopolitana, one of the more eccentric texts to have emerged from the Fourth Crusade. Reedited from the three surviving manuscripts, Andrea's translation corrects the errors of earlier editions and offers new insights into Gunther and his work. In a detailed introduction, he examines the complex structure and allusive style of the text, a combination of verse and prose strongly influenced by Boethius. He also locates it in its wider historical context, discussing the religious and political culture of Pairis and the career of Abbot Martin, whose crusading exploits from Acre to Zara the text celebrates. Although unreliable as a historical source, Andrea argues that the Hystoria does shed new light on the role of the Cistercian order and the papacy in the Crusade and also reveals something of an individual's impulse to crusade, depicting as it does Abbot Martin torn between the spiritual rewards and the material and political benefits to be gained for his community.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Clark, James G.
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1999
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