ART AND SCIENCE IN THE MANUSCRIPTS OF MATTHEW PARIS

in The Medieval Chronicle IX

Abstract

The figure of Matthew Paris (c.1200–1259) dominates the study of thirteenth-century English chronicles. A monk from St Albans, he is celebrated for his lively illustrated chronicles and saints’ lives. In this article I am interested in the ways he integrated science and history into all aspects of his work. Within these texts Paris included descriptions of natural phenomena, as well as drawings of animals and birds, together with maps, diagrams and tables. These reveal his knowledge of contemporary ideas about both natural philosophy and the role imagery played in exploring these ideas. Science played an integral part of his historical imagination.

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