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Book/Printed Material The Major Chronicles of France. Grandes Chroniques de France

About this Item


  • The Major Chronicles of France.

Other Title

  • Grandes Chroniques de France


  • Grandes Chroniques de France (The major chronicles of France) is a compilation of the history of France, begun during the reign of Saint Louis (ruled as King Louis IX, 1226-70) and completed between the 13th and the 15th centuries. The manuscripts in this volume were completed in 1375-77, and comprise two sections of the chronicles dealing with two separate periods: from the origins of France to the death of Philippe VI de Valois (1293--1350, reigned 1328-50), originally composed in Saint-Denis Abbey (folios 1-389); and the reigns of John the Good (1319--64, reigned 1350-64), and Charles V (1338--80, reigned 1364-80), on folios 389-492. The copyists were Henri du Trévou (the first section), and Raoulet d'Orléans (the second section). The manuscript offers an unprecedented account of the history of French royalty. The text and illustrations were intended to strengthen the legitimacy and power of the Valois family during the last quarter of the 14th century and offer a rare look into the genesis and evolution of royal political thinking. The way the manuscript is decorated reflects the three phases of its composition. The copy of the chronicles by Henri du Trévou, which made up the original manuscript, is dated to before 1375. The iconographic cycle, mainly composed of small paintings located at the top of the major divisions, highlights themes central to the legitimacy of the young Philippe de Valois: the legacy of the dukes of Normandy; Charlemagne and Saint Louis as models for their successors, the Valois; and the independence of the king of France from the Holy Roman Emperor. A few larger images (spreading across two columns) illustrate the reigns of Charlemagne (folios 85 verso and 124), Louis the Pious (King Louis I, folio 128), Philip Augustus (folio 223), and Saint Louis (folios 265 recto and 266 verso). A second phase in the composition of the book took place before 1377, when Raoulet d'Orléans transcribed, under the supervision of Pierre d'Orgemont, the chronicle of the reigns of John the Good and Charles V, introducing common titles and changes in the last folios about the life of Philippe de Valois. A cycle of 26 paintings adorns this part of the text. The first group illustrates the battles of Charles V against Étienne Marcel and Charles of Navarre. A second series illustrates the ceremonies celebrating the positive events of the reign. Two themes are highlighted: French supremacy over the English (vide the celebration of the Order of the Star, folio 394), and the continuity of the lineage of the Valois family represented by the young Charles VI (vide the baptism of Charles VI, folio 446 verso). As in the first part, the importance of certain events is emphasized by the spread of the relevant images over two columns: the entry of John the Good into London (folio 438); the coronation of Charles V and Queen Joanna of Bourbon (folio 439); and the queen's funeral (folio 480 verso). This claim of dynastic recognition and the consolidation of power find their full expression in the second continuation of Raoulet of Orleans, in his account of the events between 1378 and 1379. The 14 folios relating the visit of Emperor Charles IV to Paris in 1378, added between folios 466 and 481, particularly reinforce the idea of French supremacy; 19 paintings depict the event.


  • Du Trévou, Henri Scribe.
  • Master of the Coronation of Charles V Attributed Name.
  • Master of the Coronation of Charles VI Illuminator.
  • Raoulet d'Orléans Scribe.
  • Remiet, Pierre, 1350-1430 Attributed Name.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], [1375 to 1377]


  • -  France
  • -  1375 to 1377
  • -  Carolingians
  • -  Chronicles
  • -  History
  • -  Illuminations
  • -  Kings and rulers
  • -  Merovingians
  • -  Miniatures (Illuminations)
  • -  Valois, House of


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "The scholar François Avril distinguished at least five different hands for the illustrations. A large number of vignettes and the five frontispiece paintings were executed by two early artists: the Master of the Coronation of Charles VI and one of his close collaborators. The remaining illustrations are attributed to three other painters: the Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V; a disciple of the Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy; and the artist Pierre Remiet. The manuscript was originally in two volumes of equal thickness, of which the second has been thickened as a result of an intercalation of 14 folios: first volume, folios 1-263 verso (from the origins to Louis VIII); second volume, folios 265-543 (from Saint Louis to Charles V, 1379) and endpaper of the lower panel. The volumes are separated with a blank folio (folio 264), and the frontispiece paintings. The text stops on folio 492: folios 493-543, prepared for the rest of the text (ruling), are blank."--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: 492 folios : illuminated.
  • -  Original resource at: National Library of France.
  • -  Content in French.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Merovingian Manuscript Collection

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021668229

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Du Trévou, Henri Scribe, Master Of The Coronation Of Charles V Attributed Name, Master Of The Coronation Of Charles Vi Illuminator, Raoulet D'Orléans Scribe, and Pierre Remiet. The Major Chronicles of France. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, to 1377, 1375] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Du Trévou, H. S., Master Of The Coronation Of Charles V Attributed Name, Master Of The Coronation Of Charles Vi Illuminator, Raoulet D'Orléans Scribe & Remiet, P. (1375) The Major Chronicles of France. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, to 1377] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Du Trévou, Henri Scribe, et al. The Major Chronicles of France. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, to 1377, 1375] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.