The History of the Counts of Guines and Lords of Ardres, a work made famous by Georges Duby, now appears in an expert translation by Leah Shopkow. Consisting of 154 surviving chapters, Lambert's chronicle is just one of many local genealogies produced in Flanders during the high Middle Ages. It is extraordinarily rich and idiosyncratic, however, in its treatment of two competing families, longtime rivals until they were joined by marriage in the mid-twelfth century. In the first 96 chapters, Lambert, priest of the church of Ardres, traces the lineage of the counts of Guines from the seventh century to his present. Suddenly, narrative control seems to be wrested away by the garrulous Walter LeClud, illegitimate son of Baldwin of Ardres, who tells the history of the other family for the next 50 chapters. At that point, Lambert's voice is finally restored, with an account of the now combined holdings of Guines and Ardres. With two storytellers recounting some of the same events from different perspectives, The History of the Counts of Guines and Lords of Ardres is a particularly useful source for probing the medieval aristocratic family and aristocratic attitudes.
Shopkow brings Lambert's chronicle to life in an accurate, lively translation and provides relevant historical and historiographical information in her extensive introduction and explanatory notes to the text.
Leah Shopkow is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University.
"Shopkow's translation . . . should be included in all courses on aristocratic society and culture in the Middle Ages."—Parergon
"This will join the handful of translated medieval chronicles that now hold canonical status."—Theodore Evergates, author of Aristocratic Women in Medieval France