Rewriting Roman History in the Middle Ages

The 'Historia Romana' and the Manuscript Bamberg, Hist. 3

The Historia Romana was the most popular work on Roman history in the Middle Ages. A highly interesting aspect of its transmission and reception are its many redactions which bear witness to the continuous development of the text in line with changing historical contexts. This study presents the very first classification of such rewritings, and produces new insights into historiographical discourse in the Middle Ages. Drawing on an analysis of the paraphrase contained in the manuscript Bamberg Hist. 3, which is edited here for the first time, the author offers numerous examples of textual transformations of language, style and ideology, all of which give us a clearer picture of textual fluidity in medieval historiography.

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Marek T. Kretschmer, Ph.D. (2006) in Latin, NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim), is Associate Professor of Latin at the Department of History and Classical Studies, NTNU, and affiliate researcher at the Centre for Medieval Studies (CMS), University of Bergen. Rewriting Roman History in the Middle Ages is his first major publication.
“his well-written and very clear introductions and conclusions to each chapter should be beneficial for most readers. Scholars of medieval literature and historiography will also be interested in Kretschmer's analysis, in particular from his discussion of the linguistic transition from Latin to early Romance that he sees in the paraphrased text. Finally, this work provides an excellent methodological example for future research in medieval historiography” Eric H. Limbach. Review in H-HRE, H-Net Reviews. March, 2008. URL:

“All medievalists will find Kretschmer’s book a stimulating read. A must for any self-respecting university library”. F. Le Saux. Review in Medium Aevum. LXXVII, 2008/1.
„Für die Philologie hat K. das grosse Verdienst, einen Codex in seiner Gesamtheit untersucht zu haben un die starke Individualität der eigentlich bekannten Texte in ihrer Kontext herausgearbeitet zu haben“. Julian Führer. Review in Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 44/1 (2009), 167-169

“Kretschmer’s study makes for a very dense read, heavily laden with detailed evidence, but it is well worth the effort”. David Foote. Review in Speculum 83, 2009, 1017-1019


1. Introduction
2. Classification and preliminary survey of manuscripts containing abbreviations and/ or paraphrases of the Historia Romana (HR)
3. Class P-4: Relationship and Historical context
4. Edition of the Historia Romana (=HR) contained in MS Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Hist. 3 (=B)
5. The language of texts contained in B
6. Analysis of the paraphrased version of the Historia Romana (=HR) contained in B

Summary and conclusion
Appendix: variant readings from S and U

Index of names and places for the edition of B (chapter 4.4)
Index of names
Index of places
Index of manuscripts
All those interested in medieval historiography, transmission of manuscripts, transition from Latin to vernacular, as well as the intellectual milieu of the Ottonian dynasty.