Few studies have explored news in the medieval world. This lack of research, combined with differences in the available source material, has led scholars of early modern and modern news to assume that news in the Middle Ages was a significantly different phenomenon. This essay challenges this idea by offering a new methodology for investigating medieval news. It proposes a framework for the identification of medieval news texts and shows how these texts should be understood alongside other sources and in the context of contemporary communications. The potential of this approach is demonstrated through a case study of the dissemination of three related international news stories from 1187: the defeat of Christian forces at Hattin on 4 July, the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin on 2 October, and the launch of the Third Crusade on 29 October. It concludes by offering some general observations on news in this period and emphasizing the potential for further research in this area.

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Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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Print ISSN: 0083-5897 Online ISSN: 2031-0234

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