The Great History of the Crusades, Les Passages d’Oultremer (The Overseas Passages), year 1474


Facsimile edition of great luxury of Passages D’Oultremer (The Passages of Ultramar), also well-known like “The Great History of the Crusades”, manuscript of century XV,

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ISBN: 9788493772765 Categories: ,
Reference: 760VER Tags: Brand:


Deluxe facsimile edition of Les Passages D’Oultremer (The Overseas Passages), also known as “The Great History of the Crusades of Louis de Laval”, a 15th-century manuscript, dated 1474, the original of which is preserved in the National Library of France, number Fr. 5994.

Single print run, limited to 480 copies, numbered and notarized, made in 2012.

Bound by hand in red leather with gold stamping and shield on the front and back, ribs. Format 25.5 x 33.5 cm. 586 pages that include 145 beautiful miniatures plus historiated capitularies.
Facsimile presented in an elegant box-case, with metal closure, 32 x 39.5 x 7 cm format.

The edition is complemented by the corresponding study book: codicological, paleographic study, translation of the text into Spanish and study of the miniatures. Authors: Manuel Candelario Castilla and Alfonso García Leal. Format 24 x 33 cm. Bound in hardcover with illustrated dust jacket. 352 pages.

This Great History of the Crusades, of rigorous historical content, includes a large part of the Middle Ages, since it begins with the story of the legend of Charlemagne in Jerusalem (S. VIII), to which he dedicates the first folios, and ends with the fall of Constantinople (S. XV). After the Eighth Crusade and the death of Louis IX of France, he made a leap to the counter-crusades of the Turks Bayezid I and Mohamed II, and the defense of the West by the French Kings and Knights and allies. It could be affirmed that, verbatim, this manuscript refunds and broadens the content of The Chronicles of the Crusades (Vienna, National Library of Austria, Ms. 2533) and the Site of Rhodes (National Library of France, Lat. although the miniatures obey different patterns. The president was Louis de Laval-Châtillon, related to King Louis XI of France and Governor of Champagne; and the author Sébastien Mamerot, his secretary, who had already written the Grail cycle in three volumes and the also extensive Romuleon. Les Passages D’Otourremer was completed in Vierzon on April 17, 1474, a village near Bourges where the codex was illuminated by Jean Colombe.

Jean Colombe (1430-1493) composed several codices for Luis de Laval, and also for Carlota de Saboya, wife of King Louis XI, and for his circle of nobles. Carlos I of Saboya appointed him official painter of the court. Between 1485 and 1490 he finished the Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry and the Apocalypse of El Escorial. Apart from the many details: armies, battles, cities, idyllic landscapes, buildings and characters of all social conditions, also incorporates elements of his time, such as ships and naval battles, heavy cavalry, and artillery, as we will see scenes where Cannons play a decisive role. Les Passages D’Outremer was his first lay job, although later others would arrive.

In order to maximize the canvas, Jean Colombe leaves the margins very narrow to paint a main miniature and others in registers in order to link the facts within the same episode. Such is the case of the Presentation of the Book (f 5r) whose edges have placed a series of records with scenes that will be happening. Another example is the Siege of Antioch (f.59v), in whose lower register it has represented the capture of the city and massacre of its inhabitants.

After the conquest of Jerusalem (July 15, 1099) the Crusaders, composed of Nobles, Princes, Templars, and Knights of St. John, continued with the conquest of other cities, from the north of Egypt to the Euphrates; but they never got to take Damascus. In the Second Balduino III Crusade of Jerusalem, Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III of Germany decided to attack the city by gardens that were surrounded by mud walls and streams (f 148v). The Turks put up a fierce resistance and the crossed army was defeated.

Guy de Lusignan faced Saladin twice and was defeated. The first took place on April 30, 1187; and the final on July 4 of the same year near Tiberias, next to the mountain of the Horns of Hattin. The crossed army was composed of Reinaldo de Châtillon and his men, the Templars, the Hospitalers, Raymond of Tripoli and King Guy of Jerusalem. After this defeat Saladin laid siege to Jerusalem and Valiant de Ibelin negotiated his surrender (f.202v); since there was no army to defend her.

In Chapter LXXXIV (f.263v-267r) Mamerot narrates the Battle of Nicopolis (1395) in which Bayezid defeated an alliance of Knights among which were the Count of Nevers (future John without Fear, Duke of Burgundy) and Marshal Boucicaut. Bayezid murdered the prisoners (263v) and asked for a high ransom for the nobles, which he received.

The Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleólogo begged King Charles VI of France to help him against the Turks. The Knights of St. John of Rhodes, the Venetians and Genoese also sent messengers to the king warning him of the great danger in which the Greek Christians were, and that if the king sent an expedition they would also support him with ships and men. Marshal Boucicaut took charge of the expedition by order of the king. The Turks had prepared an ambush at the port of Gallipoli and on the route to Constantinople, but it was thwarted by Boucicaut, whose fleet defeated them on the high seas (f 269v). He was received with great honors by Emperor Manuel, and the emperor’s troops joined those of Boucicaut. They landed in Turkey, at a place called Paso de Narettes and, after a short and devastating expedition, returned to Constantinople. In a second expedition they took the city of Nicomedia, and later a strategic castle on the coast of the Black Sea called Iriva. Thus Constantinople was saved from the Turks; But not for much longer. Boucicaut was called to France to carry out other charges, which are reported in the work of Mamerot, and the Turks returned to the charge.

These passages related to the miniatures represented here are excerpted and summarized from the study book of the facsimile edition, which incorporates the translation of the text of the original manuscript of almost 600 pages, and an extensive commentary on all the miniatures among other studies. From before the fall of Jerusalem, and until long after, Sébastien Mamerot relates many Crusades and battles that Jean Colombe reinterprets with brushes.

Complete copy and in perfect condition.

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