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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

§ 4. Florence of Worcester

The first Latin chronicler of any importance who belongs to southern England is Florence of Worcester, already mentioned as one of Simeon of Durham’s main sources. Florence’s work is notable as being the first attempt in England at a universal history beginning with the creation and embracing within its compass all the nations of the known world. But, as the title of his chronicle—Chronicon ex Chronicis—frankly indicates, Florence is not much more than a laborious compiler from the works of others; and he took as the basis of the early portions of his narrative the universal chronicle of Marianus Scotus, an Irish monk of the eleventh century. Marianus, in his turn, is, so far as English history is concerned, only a compiler from Bede and the Old English Chronicle. He brings his record of events down to the year 1082, but it is so fragmentary and perfunctory in its treatment of English affairs as to give Florence abundant opportunities for interpolation and addition. Florence’s account of his own times, which closes with the year 1117, possesses much independent value, and was largely drawn upon by subsequent chroniclers. It is less valuable, however, than its continuation by John, another monk of Worcester, from 1117 to 1141. A second continuation, down to 1152, was based mainly upon the work of Henry of Huntingdon. The task of still further extending Florence’s chronicle seems to have become a special concern of the monks of St. Edmundsbury, for it is to two inmates of that house that we owe two other additions to it which continue the record, without a break, down to the very end of the thirteenth century.