The Peter van Os Chronicle up until 1523

Edited by A.M. van Lith-Droogleever Fortuijn, J.G.M. Sanders and G.A.M. Van Synghel

The chronicle of Peter van Os, town secretary to ‘s-Hertogenbosch (1498-1542), describes events that took place in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Brabant every council year until 1523. The introductory part of the chronicle contains a legitimisation of the status of the dukes of Brabant.

Van Os begins with Adam and, after weaving his way through the Trojans, Greeks, Romans, Merovingians and Carolingians, finally arrives at Duke Henry I, the founding father of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. After this, the main focus shifts to the town, bailiwick and duchy. Other issues, such as exemptions from toll duties, oaths taken during the inauguration of a new sovereign, and wars and conflicts are also examined. The Gelderland wars in particular are described in great detail after 1478. Even the ‘petite histoire’ is not forgotten. Details are given, for example, about the climate, the construction of the city walls, fires that swept through the town, and the casting of a church bell in the graveyard of St. Jan’s Cathedral.

The chronicle-like notes are of a political, monetary and economic nature and are often supported by charters that are either paraphrased or else reproduced in full. The text of these documents is in a two-volume cartularium kept at the Royal Library in The Hague.

Details of political and legal matters from the beginning of the 16th century are essential for any study of the relations between the Town and Bailiwick of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and between the town and the areas lying northeast of the Bailiwick. The chronicle is written in Middle Dutch, although it does contain a couple of Latin passages. In cases where the Latin text does not originate from a charter it is translated in the notes. The Peter van Os Chronicle can be easily searched using the comparison of the chronicle and cartularium that was made based on the chronicle and cartularium, as well as the index of personal and place names.