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John of Winterthur

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(Johannes Vitoduranus.)

Historian, born about 1300 at Winterthur (Switzerland); died subsequently to 1348, probably at Zurich. All that is known of his life is that he attended the school of his native town from 1309 to 1315, and that as a Franciscan he lived at Baslein 1328, at Villingen in 1336, and at Lindau from 1343 onwards. His chronicle (Chronicon a Friderico II Imperatore ad annum 1348) was at first published by Eccard, "Corpus hist. medii ævi", I (1723); a better rendition was provided by Füsslin, "Thesaurus historiæ Helveticæ" (1735), but the best edition was givenby Wyss in "Archiv für schweizerische Geschichte", XI (1856). It was translated into German by Freuler (Johannsvon Winterthur Chronik", 1866). It was begun in 1340, and is a full history of events to that year. His record of the following years consists of notes or annals; whether he revised it later, remains to this day a matter of uncertainty. It is at any rate a fruitful source of information on the first half of the fourteenth century, and gives us in particular a clear idea of the conflicts which arose between the cities and the nobles of Upper Swabia. At the same time it affords us a general view of events in the empire, especially of Louis the Bavarian's conduct toward the papacy and of the attitude assumed in these controversies by the Franciscan Order, which hechampioned with great ardour. He was a man of culture, well-versed in spiritual and in secular literature,but he not infrequently showed great credulity, and took delight in reporting at length the observations of others, which fact has made his work of great value to the history of civilization.

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