The Medieval Chronicle Society is an international and interdisciplinary organization founded to facilitate the work of scholars interested in medieval annals and chronicles, or more generally medieval historiography. It was founded in 1999 and in February 2011 had 380 members.
Annals and chronicles were the main genres of historical writing in the Middle Ages. Consequently, they have always been of great importance to historians. The extent to which they are also of interest to students of medieval literature or of historical linguistics was only fully realised in the latter part of the 20th century. Since many chronicles are illustrated, they are also a fruitful object of study for art historians. It was the desire for a forum in which these disciplines could operate together that led to the foundation of the society.
The history of the society began with a series of triennial conferences initially in Utrecht, but later moving from place to place. These early conferences were hosted by Erik Kooper (English studies, Utrecht). It was at the second of these conferences, in 1999, that the society was formally founded.
The society maintains a website financed by the University of Liverpool, and publishes a regular newsletter with information on recent publications in the chronicles field.
Volumes of proceedings of the first three conferences were published by Rodopi. When the society was founded, this triennial publication was transformed into a yearbook, now the peer-reviewed journal The Medieval Chronicle.
The journal is trilingual, with articles in English, French and German. As well as the proceedings of the society's conferences, and also of the Cambridge Chronicle Symposium, the journal includes research submitted independently of the conferences. A number of text editions of chronicles have also been published here.
Conferences to date:
A number of interdisciplinary projects have been inspired by the society, including Repertorium Chronicarum an on-line database of Latin chronicle manuscripts maintained by Dan Embree on the website of Mississippi State university.
A major project of the society was the Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle published in Leiden by Brill. The EMC contains around 2500 usually quite short articles on individual authors or on anonymous works. A majority of these are from Western Christendom, but there are also entries on Slavic, Byzantine, Syriac, Islamic and Jewish chronicles. These give information on the date, language, form and manuscript tradition, and discuss issues which have been highlighted in recent scholarship. There are also about 60 longer "thematic" articles on particular aspects of chronicles. The two-volume paper edition appeared in 2010 and runs to around 1830 pages, with about 60 black-and-white full-page illustrations. About 450 scholars collaborated in writing it. An electronic edition with additional articles appeared in 2012; an update with significant expansions appeared in 2016.