Otia imperialia‘Recreation for an emperor’

Gervase of Tilbury
  • Latin
  • prose
  • Anglo-Latin texts
Encyclopaedic work written by the English jurist and cleric Gervase of Tilbury. It was dedicated to Emperor Otto IV and intended for his instruction and entertainment, although it is unclear if he ever heard or read the work. The work is divided into three books or decisiones: book I covers the early history of the world, from Creation onwards; book II offers a historical geography of the world (mappa mundi) and its provinces, with excursions on the Holy Land and the six ages of the world. While anecdotal material, including legends about marvels (mirabilia), is found throughout the first two books, book III is entirely devoted to marvellous phenomena.
Gervase of TilburyGervase of Tilbury
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  • Latin
early 13th century
prose (primary)


Anglo-Latin texts


Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] [tr.] Banks, S. E., and J. W. Binns, Gervase of Tilbury. Otia imperialia: Recreation for an emperor, Oxford Medieval Texts, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002.
[ed.] Liebrecht, Felix, Des Gervasius von Tilbury Otia imperialia: in einer Auswahl, Hannover: Carl Rümpler, 1856.
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Dennis Groenewegen