Medieval streaming

A 12th-century streaming world chronicle. The news-stories appear year by year under/alongside red headings. Such works were often updated by subsequent scribes, and they could grow for centuries, Sarnen, Benediktinerkollegium Cod. membr. 10

The entertainment ‘industry’ in the medieval period was huge, according to medieval standards. Dark or no dark ages, fun was aplenty. Especially on-the-line streaming, as the many annals, chronicles and romance narratives produced and streamed in this period demonstrate.

The bestselling “Roman de la Rose” came in two dramatic episodes, each written by a different poet, produced by hordes of editors, and distributed by an army of scribes. The allegorical poem which everyone was so mad about and which traced the struggle between virtue and vice in an age where everything was a symbol, integumentum and prefiguration of something else and something more, streamed line by line to an emergent yet no less avid literate European audience. Guillaume de Lorris wrote the first season. Jean de Meun created the follow-up. Their opus rose to be Nr 1 in the courtly literature ranking as readers’ eyes streamed down the manuscript pages across the continent.

Dante released his very own Divine Comedy almost episode by episode, canto by canto, to different audiences in various Italian cities, until the three seasons, Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, hit every shelf in the Romance world.

Monks streamed their line-by-line annals and chronicles to admittedly narrower markets, but with huge impact nonetheless. The newsreel of world chronicles, trickling year by year in endless annals, sent readers asking for more. A comet spotted in England, a flood in Flanders, a crusade in Southern France, there was not much room for boredom, or in the words of contemporary theorists, for acedia, in medieval Europe.

More stories, more news, more stuff. Everyone was doing their bit, and readers kept subscribing and coming back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: