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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).>br>Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.

IX. Latin Chroniclers from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Centuries

§ 13. Roger of Hoveden

The chronicle ascribed to Benedict forms, with some slight alterations and additions, one of the most substantial portions of the ambitious historical compilation attempted by Roger of Hoveden. The chroniclers generally had little scruple about thus transcribing, and embodying in their own works, the writings of their predecessors; it was, indeed, held among the monastic annalists to be a perfectly legitimate, not to say a necessary, practice. Thus Matthew Paris, the greatest monastic historian of the thirteenth century, makes the compilations of two of his predecessors at St. Albans the nucleus of those parts of his Chronica Majora which deals with events before his own time. Roger of Hoveden not only borrowed the so-called Benedict chronicle almost in its entirety, but made use of everything that he could find from the hands of the northern chronicles. In the first part of his work, extending from 732 to 1148, he copies from a Durham compilation, based upon the narratives of Simeon and of Henry of Huntingdon, which is known as the Historia post Bedam. His main source from 1148 down to 1169 is the chronicle of Melrose. The third part, extending to the year 1192, is substantially “Benedict of Peterborough,” illustrated by several new documents; the final portion, ending with the year 1201, is Roger’s own work. Roger was a man of affairs, and had exceptional opportunities for watching the development of public events. He was at one time in attendance upon Henry II in France; he subsequently held public office, as justice itinerant of the forests. It is disappointing, however, to find in Roger’s Chronicle few of the intimate personal revelations which might be expected in the narrative of one who had such opportunities of intercourse with the leading men of his time. Roger makes up to some extent for this reticence by the compass of his narrative; for the later portions of his chronicle include not only a survey of English affairs during the reign of Henry II and Richard I, but a fairly comprehensive history of Europe during the same period.