Portrait of Professor Barbara Bombi

Professor Barbara Bombi

Professor of Medieval History
Director of Research


Professor Barbara Bombi studied at the Catholic University in Milan, where she completed her PhD in 2000. In 2001 she was a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Rome. Between 2002 and 2004 she had a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Padua before moving to Oxford where she took up the post of Lyell Research Fellow in Latin Palaeography at Corpus Christi College. In 2006 she moved to Canterbury after being appointed as a Lecturer in the School of History at the University of Kent. She was appointed Professor of Medieval History in 2018. 

Research interests

Barbara's research interests cover ecclesiastical and religious history in the High Middle Ages (1200-1450) and she specialises in the medieval papacy and canon law. Barbara has worked on the Crusades of the early 13th century, writing a monograph on mission and Crusade in the Baltic area during the pontificate of Pope Innocent III. Her research also includes the history of the Military Orders, especially the Teutonic Knights in the 14th century. 

In the past few years, Barbara has edited the register of the representative at the papal curia of Edward II and Edward III and has started to compile a catalogue of the manuscripts of the Liber Extra (Decretals of Gregory IX), which are preserved in the British Libraries. She has recently completed a monograph on Anglo-papal relations in the 14th century, published by OUP.


At undergraduate level, Barbara teaches on later medieval Europe, religion and heresy, and the Crusades. At postgraduate level she teaches on ecclesiastical history, theology, medieval canon law and medieval political thought.



  • Bombi, B. (2017). The English Crown and the election of Pope John XXII. Journal of Ecclesiastical History [Online] 68:260-284. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046916000580.
    This article investigates the involvement of Edward II in the negotiations that led to John XXII's election on 7 August 1316 after a two-year papal vacancy between 1314 and 1316. The main source for this analysis is a dossier of sixteen diplomatic documents, found among the Chancery records in The National Archives in London. The article concludes that Edward II tried to exploit the papal vacancy as a means to re-establish his international profile and seek support abroad in order to face opposition at home, thus ensuring a place for the English Crown within the European political milieu.
  • Bombi, B. (2013). The Debate on the Baltic Crusades and the Making of Europe. History Compass [Online] 11:751-764. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12080.
    The Baltic Crusades represent a long-term phenomenon that lasted for about 300?years (1147–1525). The nature of these crusades has been controversial from the very beginning, as they aimed at conquering new land, expanding and consolidating the borders of Christendom, as well as at converting the local pagan population. Along with the ethical issues that are linked to conversion by means of crusading, the debate on the Baltic Crusades has also been heavily influenced by the political situation in the Baltic region and the making of Europe in the 20th century, from German domination and the rise of National Socialism, to the Cold War and finally the independence of the Baltic republics. Two historiographical approaches are mainly addressed in this essay: on the one hand, some works have focused on the religious aspects of mission, conversion and crusading, taking into account the role of the papacy, preaching and ecclesiastical institutions; on the other hand, historians have been interested in conversion and crusading in the Baltic region as means of economic, social and political expansion that contributed to the formation of political unity in Europe during the High Middle Ages, foreshadowing to some extent the well-known events of the 20th century.
  • Bombi, B. (2012). The Roman rolls of Edward II as source of administrative and diplomatic practice in the early fourteenth century. Historical Research [Online] 85:597-616. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2281.2012.00609.x.
    This article addresses the debate on petitioning between England and the papal curia in Avignon during the reign of Edward II (1307–27). The first part of the article attempts a comprehensive historiographical survey of petitioning on the continent and in England during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while the second part suggests a new methodogical approach to the topic, which is illustrated by means of case studies. The main sources of the article are the Roman rolls, which are preserved at The National Archives and enroll petitions sent from the English chancery to the papal curia. Where possible, these English records have been matched with the papal responses to the petitions, recorded in the Registra Vaticana and Registra Avenionensia. Arguably, the cross-examination of secular and ecclesiastical sources allows a comparison between different administrative practices and will help to redefine the nature of diplomacy in the early fourteenth century, challenging some of the existing historiography.
  • Bombi, B. (2010). The Babylonian captivity of Petraccolo Parenzi dell’Incisa, father of Francesco Petrarca. Historical Research [Online] 83:431-443. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2281.2009.00510.x.
    This article focuses on the discovery of two unedited notarial instruments preserved among Westminster abbey muniments and compiled by Petracco di ser Parenzo dell’Incisa, father of the Italian poet Francesco Petrarca. The two documents are dated February and April 1310 and prove that Petracco was working at Avignon earlier than it has been thought until now and in contrast with the claims of his son Francesco, who states that his family moved to Avignon between 1311 and 1312. The documents also highlight the connections between Petracco and the merchant company of the Frescobaldi, who traded at the papal curia in the early fourteenth century. The company employed a number of exiled Florentine Bianchi, who were interested in humanist ideas and classical texts, forming the first humanist circle at Avignon under the patronage of Cardinal Niccolò da Prato, who also became one of the patrons of Francesco Petrarca.
  • Bombi, B. (2008). Andrea Sapiti: His Origins, and His Register as a Curial Proctor. English Historical Review [Online] CXXIII:132-148. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cen006.
    The article concerns the register of Andrea Sapiti, who was the proctor of Edward II and Edward III at the papal curia during the first four decades of the fourteenth century and had among his clients a number of English prelates and royal officials. Andrea Sapiti was a Florentine notary who moved to Avignon in the early fourteenth century, soon becoming the main advisor of Walter Reynolds, archbishop of Canterbury. His career was unique and favoured his family, which managed to establish connections in England, France, Italy and Ireland. The register of Sapiti sheds new light on the system of petitioning the papal curia at the time. The article analyses two case studies, which provide new evidence on communication between English and papal administrative systems and indicates interesting issues concerning the papal policy on benefices in England and more generally Anglo-papal relations on the eve of the Hundred Years’ War. The register of Andrea Sapiti is matched with documents produced by the apostolic chancery and chamber, the English royal chancery as well as episcopal and local records. Three documents, which are analysed in detail in the article, are edited in two appendices.
  • Bombi, B. (2005). Einige Beispiele für Geschäftsgang der Suppliken im ersten Viertel des 14. Jahrhunderts, anhand des Registers des Kurienprokurators Andrea Sapiti. Archiv für Diplomatik, , Schriftgeschichte, Siegel- und Wappenkunde [Online] 51:253-284. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7788/afd.2005.51.jg.253.
  • Bombi, B. (2003). Andrea Sapiti, un procuratore Trecentesco, fra la Curia avignonese, Firenze e l’Inghilterra. Mélanges de l’École française de Rome. Moyen Âge [Online] 115:897-929. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1400/13418.
  • Bombi, B. (2003). Due inediti rotoli pergamenacei. L’Ordine Teutonico e la sua organizzazione archivistica al principio del XIV secolo. Scrinem [Online] 1. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Scrineum-12095.
    After a brief overwiew on the archival history of the Teutonic Order in the thirteenth and early fourteenth century, the article focuses on the problem of conservation practices and record keeping that the Order adopted during the period of displacement and reorganization of its archives. Two parchment rolls are analyzed, both preserved in the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin and containing headings of mostly papal documents issued in favor of the Order in the thirteenth century. The first roll was drawn up at the beginning of the fourteenth century on the documents preserved in the Roman church of Santa Maria in Domnica: the roll is one of the last witnesses of the size of the Roman archive of the Order before its dispersion. The second roll was commissioned in 1318 by the procurator generalis of the Order in the Avignon Curia and was compiled to affirm, first of all, the lawsuit of the Teutonic Knights on rights in Livonia against the archbishop of Riga. The authors of this second roll used, in all probability, compilations made by the will of procuratores of the Order at the Papal Curia in the thirteenth century and based on registers of Papal Chancery.
  • Bombi, B. (2002). Un documento inedito di Uguccione, vescovo di Novara († 1330–1331ca). Novarien 31:213-222.
  • Bombi, B. (2002). I procuratori dell’Ordine Teutonico tra il XIII e XIV secolo. Studi sopra un inedito rotolo pergamenaceo del Geheimes Staatsarchiv PK di Berlino. Römische Historische Mitteilungen 44:193-297.
  • Bombi, B. (2002). Un inedito memoriale dell’Archivio dei procuratori dell’Ordine Teutonico del principio del XIV secolo. Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 82:47-121.
    Sul rotolo Berlin, Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, XX. HA. Hist. StA Königsberg, Schiebl. 17 Nr. 33, contenente 62 documenti papali risalenti agli anni tra il 1221 e il 1294


  • Bombi, B. (2019). Anglo-Papal Relations in the Early Fourteenth Century: A Study in Medieval Diplomacy. [Online]. Oxford University Press. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198729150.001.0001.
  • Bombi, B. (2009). Oliviero Di Colonia, I Cristiani E Il Favoloso Egitto. Scontri E Incontri Durante La V Crociata. Milan: Studi di Aldo Angelo Settìa e Giancarlo Andenna.
  • Bombi, B. (2007). Il Registro Di Andrea Sapiti, Procuratore Fiorentino Presso La Curia Papale Nei Primi Decenni Del XIV Secolo. Rome, Italy: Viella.
    Il notaio fiorentino Andrea Sapiti, trasferitosi in Francia all’inizio del Trecento, per circa trent’anni – dal 1308 al 1338 – fu il procuratore dei re d’Inghilterra Eduardo II e Eduardo III presso la curia papale avignonese. Oltre ai due sovrani, rappresentò e curò gli interessi anche di numerosi esponenti della nobiltà e dell’alto clero inglese.
    Il registro che tenne di questa sua attività costituisce pertanto una fonte unica nel suo genere, preziosa per lo studio delle relazioni tra la corona inglese e la curia papale negli anni che precedettero lo scoppio della guerra dei Cent’Anni.
    Dall’analisi del registro di Andrea Sapiti, inoltre, emergono particolari inediti – e che aprono nuove prospettive di ricerca – sulla pratica di inviare petizioni presso la cancelleria apostolica e sull’attività dell’amministrazione curiale nei primi decenni del XIV secolo.
  • Bombi, B. (2007). Novella Plantatio Fidei. Missione E Crociata Nel Nord Europa Tra La Fine Del XII E I Primi Decenni Del XIII Secolo. Rome, Italy: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo.

Book section

  • Bombi, B. (2019). Networking at the papal curia as a survival strategy: the Teutonic Order and the crisis of the military orders in the early fourteenth century. In: Morton, N. ed. The Military Orders Volume VII: Piety, Pugnacity and Property. Routledge. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351020428.
  • Bombi, B. (2018). Benedict XII and the Outbreak of the Hundred Years’ War. In: Bueno, I. ed. Pope Benedict XII (1334-1342): The Guardian of Orthodoxy (Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West). Amsterdam University Press, pp. 191-216. Available at: https://www.aup.nl/en/book/9789462986770/pope-benedict-xii-1334-1342.
  • Bombi, B. (2017). The papacy and the Hundred Years’ War. In: The Hundred Years’ War. Routledge.
  • Bombi, B. (2017). La proiezione verso l’esterno della Chiesa: attività missionarie nei primi due decenni del XIII secolo. In: D’Acunto, N., Andenna, G. and Filippini, E. eds. Spazio E Mobilità Nella Societas Christiana (secoli. X-XIII). Milan, Italy: Vita e Pensiero, pp. 141-165. Available at: http://www.vitaepensiero.it/scheda-libro/autori-vari/spazio-e-mobilita-nella-societas-christiana-secoli-x-xiii-9788834333709-345399.html.
  • Bombi, B. (2016). The conversion of non-Christians during the Fifth Crusade. In: Mylod, E. J., Perry, G., Smith, T. W. and Vandeburie, J. eds. The Fifth Crusade in Context. Routledge, pp. 68-91. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/9781472448576.
  • Bombi, B. (2016). Innocent III and the Baltic Crusade after the Conquest of Constantinople. In: Nielsen, T. K. and Fonnesberg-Schmidt, I. eds. Crusading on the Edge: Ideas and Practice of Crusading in Iberia and the Baltic Region, 1100-1500. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, pp. 117-133. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/M.OUTREMER-EB.5.111261.
  • Bombi, B. (2016). ’Archival organization and central powers. The Teutonic Order and its archives between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In: Conservation Et réception Des Documents Pontificaux Par Les Ordres Religieux. Brepols.
  • Bombi, B. (2015). The “Avignon Captivity” as a means of success. The circle of the Frescobaldi,. In: Brilli, E., Fenelli, L. and Wolf, G. eds. Immagini E Parole in Esilio. Avignone E l’Italia Alla Prima Metà Del XIV Secolo (1310-1352ca.) / Images and Words in Exile. Avignon and Italy During the First Half of the 14th Century. Firenze, Italy: SISMEL - Edizioni del Galluzzo.
  • Bombi, B., Alberzoni, M. and Montaubin, P. (2014). Papal legates and their preaching of the crusades in England between the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries. In: Legati, Delegati E Impresa d’Oltremare (secoli XII-XIII): Papal Legates, Delegates and the Crusades (12th-13th Century): Atti Del Convegno Internazionale Di Studi Milano, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, 9-11 Marzo 2011. Brepols, pp. 211-261. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/M.EMI-EB.5.103491.
    This essay is concerned with the papal legatine missions dispatched between 1095 and 1204 to the Anglo-Norman territories to preach the crusade to the Holy Land. The essay focuses on legates a latere, legates nati and semi-permanent legates, addressing their prosopographies, their faculties and the outcomes of their missions, especially as far as funding, preaching and organization of the crusade were concerned. New evidence, now preserved in Canterbury Cathedral Archives and dealing with the organization of the crusade in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, is provided and edited in the Appendix. This evidence sheds new light on Innocent III ’s use of ‘semi-permanent’ legates as well as legates a latere to the Anglo-Norman territories, underpinning the papal attempt to centralize and manage the local organization of crusading through a careful and ad hoc delegation of papal faculties to the most suitable candidates, who were chosen because of their individual abilities, often in defiance of their status and education and notwithstanding the prerogatives of the local ordinaries. Furthermore, the study allows us to challenge Christopher Tyerman’s argument that the papacy was unsuccessful in organizing and systematically controlling crusade preaching, recruitment and money-collection in England until the time of the Third Crusade. As argued in the essay, in organizing the Fourth Crusade Innocent III did not ‘invent’ papal control over preaching, recruitment and fundraising for the Holy Land. On the contrary, the pope built on a lengthy tradition that had seen a continuous papal involvement in the organization of the crusade through the employment of papal legates in the localities from the late eleventh century.
  • Bombi, B. (2012). An archival Network: the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In: Gregory, J. and McLeod, H. eds. International Religious Networks: SCOS 2003 Conference. Ecclesiastical History Society, pp. 83-95.
  • Bombi, B. (2012). Codicological and Canonistic Examination of the Decretal Manuscripts Oxford, Bodl. Lat. theol. b.4 and Durham, Cathedral Library C.I.9. In: Bertram, M. and Di Paolo, S. eds. Decretales Pictae. Le Miniature Nei Manoscritti Delle Decretali Di Gregorio IX (Liber Extra): Atti Del Colloquio Internazionale Tenuto all’Istituto Storico Germanico, Roma 3-4 Marzo 2010. Istituto Storico Germanico, pp. 218-256. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2307/684.
  • Bombi, B. (2012). The role of judges delegate in England. The dispute between the archbishops of Canterbury St. Augustine’s Abbey in the thirteenth century. In: Alberzoni, M. P. and Zey, C. eds. Legati E Delegate Papali. Profili, Ambiti d’azione E Tipologie Di Intervento Nei Secoli XII-XIII. Vita e Pensiero, pp. 221-260.
  • Bombi, B. (2012). The papacy and the Teutonic Order. In: Ferreira Fernandes, I. C. ed. As Ordens Militares. Freires, Guerreiros, Cavaleiros, Actas Do VI Encontro Sobre Ordens Militares, 10 a 14 De Marc?a?O De 2010. Palmela, Portugual: Câmara Municipal de Palmela: GEsOS [Gabinete de Estudios sobre a Ordem de Santiago].
  • Bombi, B. (2010). Legittimazione e tempo. Gli archivi dei procuratori di curia all’inizio del XIV secolo. In: Kehnel, A. and Andenna, C. eds. Paradoxien Der Legitimation. Ergebnisse Einer Deutsch-Italienisch-französischen Villa Vigoni-Konferenz Zur Macht Im Mittelalter. Firenze, Italy: SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo, pp. 295-307.
  • Bombi, B. (2009). Petitioning between Avignon and England in the first half of the 14th century. In: Ormrod, W. M., Dodd, G. and Musson, A. eds. Medieval Petitions: Grace and Grievance. York Medieval Press, pp. 64-81.
  • Bombi, B. (2008). Celestine III and the Conversion of the Heathen on the Baltic Frontier. In: Doran, J. and Smith, D. J. eds. Pope Celestine III (1191-1198). Diplomat and Pastor. Ashgate, pp. 145-159. Available at: http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754656715.
  • Bombi, B. (2008). La disputa tra l’arcivescovo Federico di Riga e l’Ordine Teutonico ad Avignone. In: Houben, H. and Toomaspoeg, K. eds. L’Ordine Teutonico Tra Mediterraneo E Baltico: Incontri E Scontri Tra Religioni, Popoli E Culture. Galatina, Italy: Congedo Editore.
  • Bombi, B. (2008). Innocent III and the Origin of the Sword Brethren. In: Mallia-Milanes, V. ed. The Military Orders, Volume 3. History and Heritage. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, pp. 147-154.
  • Bombi, B. (2007). Registrazioni ufficiali e registrazioni private. Il registro di Andrea Sapiti, procuratore alla curia avignonese. In: Jamme, A. and Poncet, O. eds. Papauté, Les Offices Et Les Charges Publiques, XIVe-XVIIe siècle. Rome: Ècole Française de Rome, pp. 687-683.
  • Bombi, B. (2007). The Authority of Miracles: Caesarius of Heisterbach and the Livonian Crusade. In: Bolton, B. M. and Meek, C. E. eds. Aspects of Power and Authority in the Middle Ages. Brepols Publishers, pp. 305-325. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/M.IMR-EB.6.09070802050003050207030502.
    The Dialogus miraculorum of Caesarius of Heisterbach as a Source for the Livonian Crusade
  • Bombi, B. (2006). Innocenzo III e la relazione sulle condizioni del Medio Oriente coevo. In: Gensini, S. ed. Fedi a Confronto. Ebrei, Cristiani E Musulmani Fra X E XIII Secolo. Florence, Italy: Polistampa: Comune di Montaione, Firenze.
  • Bombi, B. (2005). Innocent III and the «praedicatio» to heathens in Livonia (1198–1204). In: Lehtonen, T. M. S., Villads-Jensen, K., Malkki, J. and Ritart, K. eds. Medieval History Writing and Crusading Ideology. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.
  • Bombi, B. (2004). L’Ordine Teutonico nell’Italia centrale. In: Houben, H. ed. L’Ordine Teutonico Nel Mediterraneo:Atti Del Convegno Internazionale Di Studio, Torre Alemanna (Cerignola) – Mesagne – Lecce, 16-18 Ottobre 2003. Lecce, Italy: Congedo.
  • Bombi, B. (2002). Gli archivi dei procuratori dell’Ordine Teutonico. Considerazioni intorno a due documenti inediti dell’inizio del XIV secolo. In: La Memoria Dei Chiostri. Brescia.

Edited book

  • Bombi, B. (2015). Textus Roffensis. Law, Language, and Libraries in Early Medieval England. [Online]. O’Brien, B. R. and Bombi, B. eds. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols N.V. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/M.SEM-EB.5.108433.
    Twenty experts in law, linguistics, literature, history, and religion analyze one of the most important books produced in medieval England.

    Textus Roffensis, a Rochester Cathedral book of the early twelfth century, holds some of the most significant texts issued in early medieval England, ranging from the oldest English-language law code of King Æthelberht of Kent (c. 600) to a copy of Henry I’s Coronation Charter (5 August 1100). Textus Roffensis also holds abundant charters (including some forgeries), narratives concerning disputed property, and one of the earliest library catalogues compiled in medieval England. While it is a familiar and important manuscript to scholars, however, up to now it has never been the object of a monograph or collection of wide-ranging studies. The seventeen contributors to this book have subjected Textus Roffensis to close scrutiny and offer new conclusions on the process of its creation, its purposes and uses, and the interpretation of its laws and property records, as well as exploring significant events in which Rochester played a role and some of the more important people associated with the See. The work of the contributors takes readers into the mind of the scribes and compiler (or patron) behind the Textus Roffensis, as well as into the origins and meaning of the texts that the monks of early twelfth-century Rochester chose to preserve. The essays contained here not only set the study of the manuscript on a firm foundation, but also point to new directions for future work.


  • Mesiano, P. (2019). Medieval Diplomacy in Practice: Anglo-Papal Relations Between King Henry III (1216-1272) and Pope Alexander IV (1254-1261).
    This thesis looks at the diplomatic relationship between Pope Alexander IV (1254-1261) and King Henry III of England (1216-1272). Using Anglo-papal correspondence, English administrative records and thirteenth-century narrative sources, it will explore the political relationship between these two rulers as well as the diplomatic and administrative practices and procedures which underpinned this relationship, with a particular focus on the agents who conducted these exchanges between England and the papacy in the mid-thirteenth century.
    Until recently, diplomatic relations between rulers have largely been understood through the outcomes of their interactions. Yet, this thesis seeks to highlight the methods, agents and language underpinning this relationship in order to better understand how diplomatic practices were conducted and how the machinery of government was utilised in diplomatic exchanges between these two rulers.
    There has been very little study into the pontificate of Alexander IV, as such, this thesis will shine light on his political activities and style of rulership through his relationship with the English king and the English realm. Indeed, Alexander's pontificate was particularly shaped by his relationship with the English as it covered a period of political turbulence in both England and the Italian peninsula.
    This thesis has been arranged into three sections addressing the themes of: (1) 'mediation and arbitration', (2) 'representation' and (3) 'communication and correspondence'. The first section on 'mediation and arbitration' comprises of Chapter One which highlights the key political events effecting England within which this pope intervened. The second section, 'representation', consists of Chapters Two, Three and Four which shed light on the variety of agents who significantly shaped Anglo-papal relations through their activities. Finally, section three, 'communication and correspondence', covers Chapter Five which explores the production, structure and language of the diplomatic letters, exploring the development of letter-writing practices between England and the papacy as well as the political relationship between Henry III and Alexander IV through the correspondence.
  • Vandeburie, J. (2015). Jacques De Vitry’s Historia Orientalis: Reform, Crusading, and the Holy Land After the Fourth Lateran Council.
    Jacques de Vitry (†1240), a noted preacher in Brabant and Languedoc, served as canon regular of Saint-Nicholas d’Oignies (1211-16), bishop of Acre (1216-29) and auxiliary bishop of Liège (1226-29), and ultimately as cardinal-bishop of Tusculum (1229-1240). Whilst his letters, sermons, and the Historia Occidentalis have been extensively studied, the Historia Orientalis, Jacques’s encyclopedic work on the Holy Land, has so far escaped any such interest. Considered as yet another crusading history or pilgrimage guide drawing on previous writings, the few editions and brief studies of this work published since the nineteenth century are based neither on a detailed textual analysis nor on a complete investigation of the manuscript tradition.
    This thesis, therefore, addresses an important gap in the historiographical debate by providing a detailed analysis of the contents of the Historia Orientalis and its sources, in combination with an examination of the manuscript tradition up to the early fourteenth century. In it, I argue that the work is composed of different genres, each addressing a topic that served Jacques’s agenda and his activities as theologian, preacher, historian, pilgrim, and crusader. Moreover, by examining the rich manuscript tradition, I establish the book’s legacy and show that Jacques’s contemporaries perceived the text as an eclectic work. Jacques’s combination of different popular genres contributed to the influence of the text which is preserved in no fewer than 126 extant manuscripts.
    The thesis falls into three sections. In the first, I introduce my investigation and provide a long overdue revised biographical note and contextualisation of Jacques’s writings. In the four chapters of the second section, I analyse the text to see how Jacques combined the editing of existing source material with his personal knowledge into a work that served the reform and crusade agenda of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. The four chapters discuss the medieval genres that can be found in Jacques’s work: a history of the crusades, an account on Islam, a description of the Holy Land, and an ethnographical treatise. In the third section, using codicological research to discuss the text’s compilation, influence, readership, and legacy in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, I argue that each genre found within the Historia was intended for and read by a different audience, thus explaining the wide appeal of the work as a whole. The sixth chapter focuses on the early manuscript tradition and dissemination of the Historia Orientalis while the seventh chapter addresses, on the one hand, the use of these manuscripts and the relationship to other texts in the same codex and, on the other hand, the authors who copied or used Jacques’s text in their own works.
    By combining a detailed textual analysis with extensive manuscript research, this investigation into the contents, readership and legacy of the Historia Orientalis sheds new light on the mechanisms behind the dissemination and influence of religious propaganda, as well as highlights Jacques’s seminal contribution to Church reform and the approach to crusading in the thirteenth century in accordance with the agenda set by the Fourth Lateran Council.


  • Bombi, B. (2018). Pragmatic methods of record-keeping? The English chancery diplomatic enrolments between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Archiv für Diplomatik, Schriftgeschichte, Siegel- und Wappenkunde.
  • Bombi, B. (2018). Henry of Blois and his legation in England. In: Kynan-Wilson, W. and Munns, J. eds. Henry of Blois. Brepols.
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