The Good Bishop: Shifting Aretalogies in the Bishops’ Vitae of Ottonian-Salian Germany
by James Mitchell © 2011
ita castus et humilis nostris temporibus eligatur episcopus, ut, locorum quocumque pervenerit, omnia vitae propriae integritate purificet. A chaste and humble bishop should be chosen in our times, so that wherever he goes, he may purify everything with the integrity of his own life. Codex Iustinianus 220.127.116.11
In celebration of the eightieth birthday of Joseph Cardinal Höffner, Archbishop of Cologne, a Festschrift appeared in 1986 which included several articles chosen, in the words of the editors, to “describe the image of the bishop across various historical epochs.”1 The volume presents scholarly articles focusing on the nature and the office of bishops, arranged chronologically from the fourth century to the present. An impressive contribution to the book is provided by Odilo Engels, whose article entitled Der Reichsbischof investigates the careers of German bishops in the tenth and eleventh centuries as found in the abundant corpus of textual resources known as the bishops’ lives or vitae episcoporum. The relevance of Engels’ article, which discusses the exemplary qualities of bishops described and related in the vitae, is attested to by the similarity of episcopal virtues “Es sollen, das war der Kerngedanke, nicht Bischofsbilder der Kölner und der deutschen Kirche gezeigt werden, sondern das Bild des Bischofs in den verschiedenen Epochen der Geschichte.“ Höffner, Joseph, Peter Berglar, and Odilo Engels, Der Bischof in seiner Zeit: Bischofstypus und Bischofsideal im Spiegel der Kölner Kirche: Festgabe für Joseph Kardinal Höffner, Erzbischof von Köln (Cologne: J.P. Bachem, 1986), 11. 1
3 discussed by the other contributors, giving evidence of an ongoing discussion which seems to continue through the centuries. That the debate is by no means over is seen in the concluding essay by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who offers several thoughts on “the virtues of today’s bishop,” 2 virtues which seem in many ways to be already vigorously present in the tenth-century vitae considered by Odilo Engels. Modern scholarship concerned with the lives of the German bishops in the Ottonian-Salian era has had until very recently little to say about the virtues which are supposed to be exemplified by these lives. Although the association with hagiography, understood as literary narratives of Christian virtue and sanctity, is often conceded, the hagiographic element in the vitae has been downplayed by other historians, if not ignored altogether. It appears indeed that modern historiography may be divided into two separate camps: those who view these vitae as hagiographic and those who do not. A fully secularized approach to the definition of the bishops’ vitae for example is undertaken by C. S. Jaeger, who sees in them an early formulation of “courtly humanism,” continuing and flourishing in later centuries as an “international culture of educated, worldly clerics.” 3 Arguing that all episcopal 2 3
Ratzinger, Joseph Kardinal. “Wie sollte heute ein Bischof sein?”, in Höffner, Bischof, 469-475.
C. Stephen Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness: Civilizing Trends and the Formation of Courtly Ideals, 939-1210 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), 28. In "The Courtier Bishop in Vitae from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century," Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies. 58, no. 2 (1983): 293, Jaeger defines “courtly humanism” (humanisme courtois) as an “ethic of courtoisie appearing in vernacular romance,” derived from
4 biographies are to be clearly distinguished from “hagiographic legends and saints’ lives,” which he sees as popular “tales of miracles,” Jaeger insists that the bishops’ vitae originated instead in the traditions of ancient rhetoric, and in the historiography and biography of late antiquity. 4 Intended for the educated aristocracy and reflecting therefore its values, the vitae “kept classicalhumanistic, Ciceronian ideals alive, found a social context for these in service to the empire, and amalgamated them with Christian virtues.” 5 In contrast with hagiography, the secularized bishops’ vitae are intended to be “objective” and “realistic.”6 Conceding that they do contain “an element of fictionalizing,” for example in the “romanticizing” of the early life of a bishop, the intent is to represent the bishop as an “ideal embodiment of the demands and expectations of life at the royal/imperial court,” which shows the vitae to be “wholly different in nature and intent from hagiography.”7
his reading of Jean Frappier, Le roman breton: Les origines de la legende arthurienne: Chretien de Troyes, (Paris, 1951). 4 Jaeger, Courtliness, 25. 5 Jaeger, Courtliness, 25. A weakness in Jaeger’s argument is his omission of any definition or analysis of those virtues he labels Christian. 6
Jaeger, Courtliness, 26. Jaeger offers as evidence the often-quoted statement in Abbot Norbert of Iburg’s introduction to his Life of Benno von Osnabrück, which he translates: “Nor does it seem appropriate here to imitate the flattering tendency of some who, impelled more by arrogance than religion, seem more concerned with the praise of those whom they describe and seem more concerned with what they ought to have done than with what they actually did.” Nec enim imitanda hic videtur quorundam magis temeraria quam religiosa assentatio, qui in eorum, quos describunt, tantummodo laude versantur et non tam, quid egerint, attendere videntur, quam quid egisse debuerint.... Norbertus, and Harry Bresslau, Vita Bennonis II Episcopi Osnabrugensis. Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores rerum Germanicarum , LVI. (Hannover: Hahn, 1956), 10. 7 Jaeger, Courtliness, 27.
5 A literary genre associated with the bishops’ vitae but seen essentially non-hagiographic is that of the gesta episcoporum (here closely identified with the gesta abbatum), which are viewed mainly as an independent historiographic resource by both Michel Lot and Reinhard Kaiser. 8 These gesta are defined by their inclusion of a series of bishops or abbots specific to a given location, as for example the Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum or the Gesta abbatum Lobiensium.9 They are also seen as utilitarian and goal-oriented in nature, serving typically the twin interests of commemoratio and memoria within a designated institution.10 Another defining feature is the requisite linear succession of abbots or bishops in a specified time-frame, described by Sot as an armature chronologique which typically leads from the authorial present back in time to the foundation of the monastery or bishopric. 11 A third characteristic of the gesta according to both Kaiser and Sot is the varying degree of reliance upon the Roman Liber pontificalis as a source and model for the historical narrative. 12
Michel Sot, Gesta episcoporum, gesta abbatum (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1981), and Reinhold Kaiser, “Die Gesta episcoporum als Genus der Geschichtsschreibung,“ in Historiographie im frühen Mittelalter, ed. Anton Scharer and Georg Scheibelreiter, (München: R. Oldenbourg, 1994), 459-480. Kaiser counts “a little more than twenty” works bearing the title Gesta epicoporum between the sixth and the beginning of the thirtenth centuries (Kaiser, Gesta, 459). 9 Sot, Gesta, 14. Sot mentions as a prototype for the bishops’ Gesta the libellus of nineteen bishops of Tours listed in the conclusion of Bishop Gregory’s History of the Franks. 10 Sot, Gesta, 19. 11 Sot, Gesta, 15. 12 Kaiser, Gesta, 461, and Sot, Gesta, 13. Sot determines that in the German Liber pontificalis Eichstatensis (MGH, SS, 7, pages 239-250) “l’ambition de rivalisera avec le modèle romain est évidente.” Neither writer provides further explanation.
6 While Reinhard Kaiser does not discuss any correlation with the traditional vitae of bishops and saints, Michel Sot determines that although the gesta do indeed exist as a different form of historiography, they are also “impregnated with the hagiographic and liturgical culture of their authors,” and in this respect “they establish and celebrate a holy history.” 13 By reciting or reviewing the lineage of prelates or abbots in a given church or monastery, the reader is returned to a foundational “sanctity of origins” (sainteté des origines), a substratum which Sot suggests should be regarded as inherently hagiographical in quality.14 Although the written text may neglect miraculous events in the life of a bishop or abbot for the sake of an objectively fashioned narrative, an unspoken histoire sainte nonetheless obtains, since the universal sanctity of the succession of bishops transcends the accidents of history.15 Recent German scholarship, on the other hand, considers the lives of the bishops firmly embedded in the wider tradition of European hagiography, a predominant concern in two major works by Stephanie Coué and Stephanie Haarländer.16 Coué calls attention to the fact that no “consistent investigation” “....Ils sont fortement imprégnés de la culture hagiographique et liturgiques de leurs aucteurs: ils établissent et ils célebrènt une histoire sainte” (Sot, Gesta, 19). 14 “Les catégories du temps historique linéaire et irréversible sont alors bouleversées, et les gesta peuvent, par cet aspect, être rattachés a l’hagiographie” (Sot, Gesta, 18). 15 “La saintetê que les gesta dêmontrent, c’est la saintetê globale de toute la lignêe des prêlats... une saintetê qui transcende les accidents du temps de l’histoire” (Sot, Gesta, 18). In a different context Sot makes the point that one may regard the Roman Liber pontificalis as a history of the popes, but view it also as “holy history” since it relates the history of the Church as well, (Sot, Gesta, 7). 13
Stephanie Coué,, Hagiographie im Kontext: Schreibanlass und Funktion von Bischofsviten aus dem 11. und vom Anfang des 12. Jahrhunderts, (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997), and Stephanie Haarländer, Vitae episcoporum: eine Quellengattung zwischen Hagiographie und Historiographie, untersucht an Lebensbeschreibungen
7 (zusammenhängende Untersuchung) of the bishops’ lives has appeared since the dissertation in the early 1930’s of Oskar Köhler, who she states was the first and last to examine in detail the vitae of German bishops of the eleventh century. 17 In consideration of the notable progress in recent decades in the fields of both historiography and hagiography, and citing as well the recent substantial contributions made by French scholars in both fields, Coué calls for a new inquiry into the Salian vitae which will not only study them in terms of recent hagiographic scholarship but also investigate their function at the time of their composition and accept as a central point of concern the intention of the author in writing them.18 Expository devices of medieval rhetoric—for example the formal application of exemplum (inductive reasoning), signum (material evidence)
von Bischöfen des Regnum Teutonicum im Zeitalter der Ottonen und Salier (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 2000). 17
Coué, Hagiographie, 7. The dissertation by Köhler appeared in the early 1930’s and was lost during World War II. His doctoral work was reprised to an extent in Das Bild des geistlichen Fürsten in den Viten des 10., 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts (Berlin-Grunewald: Verlag für Staatswissenschaften und Geschichte GMBH, 1935). Haarländer considers this work “the last great investigation of bishops’ lives” (die letzte große Untersuchung von Bischofsviten) in the sixty years prefacing her own study Haarländer, Vitae, 462). She comments also that Köhler defines the Ottonian-Salian bishops as agents of the imperial church system (Reichskirchensystem), referencing Archbishop Brun of Cologne (Vita Brunonis) as a representative figure and prototype for the “Ottonian imperial bishop” or “spiritual prince” (Haarländer, Vitae, 12-13). The widespread acceptance of this designation has made Ruotger probably the most quoted of all the vita authors. Köhler’s fundamental argument is that the ideal representation (Idealbild) of the Ottonian bishop became increasingly spiritual and therewith less political during the onset of the Gregorian reforms in the late Salian period. This transformative process illuminates what Köhler calls somewhat obscurely the “entire complex of the interpenetration of the spiritual and political sphere” (den ganzen Komplex der Durchdringung der geistlichen und der politischen Sphäre), which he then refers to as a basic problem (Grundproblem) of the entire Middle Ages (Köhler, Fürsten, 138-139). 18 Coué, Hagiographie, 3, 8. Both Coué and Haarländer provide extensive summaries of recent hagiographic scholarship in Germany, which they regard as foundational to their own efforts. Coué argues that a congenial relationship exists between medieval historiography, which typically makes use of exempla as device to explain historical events, and hagiography, “whose intention by definition is to demonstrate examples of virtuous activity anchored in soteriology” (deren Gegenstand es per definitionem ist, exemplarisches Handeln aufzuzeigen und dieses in der Heilsgeschichte zu verankern), Coué, Hagiographie, 19.
8 and argumentum (deductive reasoning)—are also a relevant concern. 19 Coupled with the application of typology, allegory, and genealogy, these rhetorical methods constitute collectively an “indirect communication” which in characteristic medieval manner assumes a divine ordo behind the course of actual historical events.20 Coué’s emphasis is therefore not upon analyzing specific themes in the vitae, or the relation between the individual hagiographies and their resultant cults, or the ideal behaviors which are described in them, but rather upon analyzing in detail a series of eight different texts from the perspective and intentions of the author and the audience which is addressed. 21 The critical analysis reveals a set of three different goals pursued by the individual authors, which are hortatory, apologetic and propagandistic in quality. 22 The first is evidently the most pervasive since it accords closely with other forms of (nonhagiographic) historiography: the desire to motivate readers or auditors to admire and emulate the actions or character of a spiritual hero, and it is described therefore also as paraenesis.23 A second group of texts is termed Coué, Hagiographie, 13-14. Coué, Hagiographie, 16-17. Since God has ordained the course of history, it is the duty of the Christian to learn its meaning. 21 Coué, Hagiographie, 23. The chosen texts include Vita Burchardi, Vita Godehardi prior, Vita Godehardi posterior, Vita Heriberti, Vita Bardonis auctore Vulculdo, Vita Bardonis maior, Vita Altmanni, and Vita Annonis. 19 20
Coué, Hagiographie, 172ff. This argument was presented originally by Gerd Althoff and Stephanie Coué in “Pragmatische Geschichtsschreibung und Krisen,“ in Pragmatische Schriftlichkeit im Mittelalter, ed. Hagen Keller, Klaus Grubmüller, and Nikolaus Staubach, (München: Fink, 1992), 95-129. Paraenesis and documentation are defined here as the defining elements of “pragmatische Schriftlichkeit“ in medieval historiography. 23 Coué, Hagiographie, 172.
9 “documentation,” demonstrating a more politically motivated intention to interpret and defend a position or a set of events. 24 Crucial to the understanding of this process of documentation is that the statement is made publicly and in writing, since recent scholarship affirms that to contemporaries the fixation of a viewpoint in writing exhibited more credibility and authority than any relevant oral communication.25 A third category of intention posited by Coué is the desire to enhance the prestige and renown of a particular monastery or bishopric. 26 Seeking to encourage the reputation of a founding bishop or abbot would function also as an obvious means of advertising institutional success. 27 The recent appearance of a monumental study on the lives of the Ottonian-Salian bishops by Stephanie Haarländer elaborates and expands the project of establishing the vitae as a branch of hagiographic literature, even though as the title of her book suggests they might be more adequately described as an “in-between” genre of medieval literature due to their simultaneously apparent historiographic nature.28 As we have seen above in reference to the work of C. S. Jaeger, Michel Sot and Reinhard Kaiser, the hagiographic aspect of
Coué, Hagiographie, 172-173. Coué, Hagiographie, 173. 26 Coué, Hagiographie, 173. 27 Coué, Hagiographie, 173. 28 Haarländer, Stephanie, Vitae episcoporum: eine Quellengattung zwischen Hagiographie und Historiographie, untersucht an Lebensbeschreibungen von Bischöfen des Regnum Teutonicum im Zeitalter der Ottonen und Salier, (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 2000). 24 25
10 the vitae for those writers is either downplayed or simply absent. 29 But Haarländer has no difficulty in following Coué’s lead in embracing the lives of the German bishops within the long tradition of European hagiography due to their theological relevancy, even if they display a mutual relevance to historiography.30 The emphasis however is different: whereas Coué regards as a defining moment the employment of exempla which appear also in other forms of medieval historiography and biography,31 Haarländer adds that the vitae satisfied other hagiographic functions as well, such as liturgical recitation and reading for religious edification—demonstrating that they did not exist simply in order to relate historical events. 32 Despite their absolutely unique identity—there is no such thing as a typical bishop's vita because there aren't any typical bishops, whose careers, accomplishments and abilities vary widely—a primary goal for all of the vita authors is to establish the bishop as the personification of and a model for the common standards of sanctity accepted by the Christian community.33 29
The question of hagiographic quality is dismissed as irrelevant by Jaeger, who determines that “we should distinguish the episcopal biography as a genre from hagiographic legends and saints’ lives. The latter are popular works that blends legends from oral tradition about a saint’s life and activity with available commonplace legends and tales of miracles” (Jaeger, Courtliness, 25). A hagiographic connection is not mentioned by Kaiser (Gesta), and is referred to by Michel Sot only in terms of a “history of holiness” without further reflection, (see note 13 above). 30
Haarländer, Vitae, 2-3.
See note 16 above.
Haarländer, Vitae, 318. Haarländer, Vitae, 472. Haarländer makes a further distinction between factual and discursive history, the latter incorporating a meta-historical, theological standard: intentionally at least “the hagiography of the bishops’ lives becomes a model for historiography,” (die Historiographie der Bischofsviten wird zum Modellfall von Historiographie), ibid., 472. 32 33
11 Haarl채nder's study includes fifty-five vitae from the Ottonian-Salian period, composed from about 968 to about 1164 by fifty-four authors who write about the lives of thirty-six German bishops. That the existing repertory is highly selective is indicated by the fact that only six per cent of the 591 bishops in the entire Ottonian-Salian period have been memorialized in a vita. Haarl채nder's book is divided into two primary sections, the second of which contains a register of all the extant vitae with their relevant biographical information, authorship, sources, and literature, and suspected date of composition. This is accompanied by an extensive index organized according to persons, places and a wide variety of subject matter. The first part of the book contains eleven chapters arranged to include various themes such as the authors' intentions in composing the vita; relations between the bishops and monks, clergy, the pope, nobles, rulers and colleagues; and the character, origins and career of individual bishops. Since only a very few of the vitae were written to support requests for canonization, and because most of them do not include insignia miraculorum, the hagiographic intention resides for Haarl채nder in their educative function, in whose service an obligatory catalogue of virtues (catalogus virtutum) and attendant topoi (cliche responses) are typically employed. 34 The virtuous actions, derived from the Judaeo-Christian tradition but also in part from Hellenistic and
Haarl채nder, Vitae, 263.
12 Late Roman sources in Late Antiquity, collectively constitute the meritorious nature of the bishop who is expected to exemplify all of them. 35 The virtues are constant and are meta-historical (independent of any historic period). 36 Taken together they characterize a “discours hagiographique” which interpenetrates not only the lives of the bishops, but other types of historiography and biographical writings of the middle ages as well.37 Whether one regards the bishops’ virtues as an expression of traditional Christian aretalogy or as a rhetorical device (exemplum) promoting the aims or the argument of the narrator, it is clear that the virtues represent a constituent element linking the German bishops’ vitae to traditional hagiography.38 Since to date there has not appeared an analysis of the aretalogical devices they employ, this paper will examine six different vitae of bishops who lived and worked in the Ottonian-Salian era and we will analyze the nature of the virtues articulated in each. For our present purpose we will view this as a single historical period, extending from the date of composition of the first vita (Archbishop Brun of Cologne) in 968 or 969, to the estimated dates of composition of the Vita S.
Haarländer, Vitae, 263. The Christian virtues are derived from the Bible, Chapter Four of the Rule of Saint Benedict, or the Liber regulae pastoralis of Pope Gregory. 36 Haarländer, Vitae, 262. 37 Haarländer, Vitae, 225. The author adopts this term from Jan van Uytfanghe, “L’hagiographie: un ‘genre’ chrètien ou antique tardif?”, in Analecta Bollandiana 111 (1993), 135-188. 35
“The division of the life of the saint into an ethical dimension on the one hand and an encomiastic celebration of the saints’ intimacy with God on the other side has a great antiquity.” Heffernan, Thomas J., Sacred Biography: Saints and Their Biographers in the Middle Ages, (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), 31-32. The ethical dimension of course is represented in the exposition of the virtues.
13 Norberti and Gesta Alberonis before 1164.
This chosen time-frame coincides
therefore only approximately with the actual dates of the Ottonian and Salian dynasties (919 to 1125). Because almost all of the bishops’ lives accrue to the Salian and not to the Ottonian dynasty, and for the reason also that many if not most were composed up to two or three decades following the deaths of the individual bishops, there is no appropriate reason other than chronology to describe them as “Ottonian” as opposed to “Salian.”39 Our selection of vitae for analysis is made from the fifty-five entries listed in Haarländer’s “Lexicon of Bishops’ Lives,” a register of all those that refer to bishops who lived during the Ottonian-Salian period. 40 The amplitude of the material prohibits a close examination of more than just a small number of the vitae. Our concern has been to choose one from the beginning of the period (Archbishop Brun of Cologne and Archbishop Burchard of Worms), followed by three from the mid- to late-eleventh century (Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim and Bishop Benno of Osnabrück,) concluding with two from the early twelfth century (Archbishop Norbert of Magdeburg and Archbishop Albero of Trier). In so doing we reference six of the vitae most often studied and quoted by German It is true for example that the vitae of some bishops who lived in the Salian period were not written until the Hohenstaufen era. A more useful means of distinguishing them thematically over a larger historical period than we have chosen here might describe how they reflect the course of the Gregorian church reforms beginning to take effect in the late Salian period. Given the delay in the post mortem production of the vitae, however, explicit mention of these reforms begins to appear only toward the middle of the twelfth century, when the bishops are praised for their participation: see note 118 below. In all cases it is the date of the composition of the vita that is decisive for our analysis, not the dates of the bishop’s life. 40 “Lexikon der Bischofsviten,” in Haarländer, Vitae, 475-563. 39
14 historians.41 We will demonstrate that while certain of the virtues applied to these renowned clerics remain paradigmatically constant over the period, in particular those that may be described as charitable acts, other virtues vary according to the character and accomplishments of individual bishops. We will also identify a trend indicating that although the practice of defining bishops as exempla of Christian virtue exists as standard practice during the beginning of our chosen period, it falls off radically at the beginning of the twelfth century.
The lives of the German bishops have attracted little scholarly attention in Anglophone countries; indeed we have discovered only two English translations from the fifty-five texts listed by Haarländer and published in Monumenta Germaniae Hictorica. We have not reviewed two important lives in our paper: the Vita Meinwardi (Bishop of Paderborn), whose extraordinary length would require a separate analysis; and the Vita Sancti Uodalrici by Gerhard of Augsburg, and its revision by Berno of Reichenau, both of which have been studied in detail by Maureen C. Miller, “Masculinity, Reform, and Clerical Culture: Narratives of Episcopal Holiness in the Gregorian Era,” Church History 72, no.1 (March 2003): 25-52. Other vitae useful for our concerns would certainly include the Vita sancti Adalberti episcopi Pragensis and Vita Godehardi which exist in multiple versions, which we must set aside for insufficient space.
1. Archbishop Brun of Cologne (953-965)
The Vita Brunonis is certainly the most well-known of the Ottonian vitae, due to the circumstance that Brun, as the third son of Henry I, was Otto I’s youngest brother, and because acting always as Otto’s loyal supporter he played an important role as a military commander in the suppression of an insurgency in Lotharingia, gaining him the title of Duke of Lotharingia as well as Archbishop of Cologne.42 His dual role as churchman and executor of imperial policy has been noted repeatedly by historians, and indeed he has often been put forward as a convincing personification of the imperial church system (Reichskirchensystem), a plan or policy according to which the German kings appointed and invested their own episcopal candidates in order to maintain control over the provincial dukes.43 Brun’s dual career as churchman and political leader has proved not only a source of interest for historians of the era but was also a matter After the Lotharingian campaign, Brun was elevated to the position of archidux, a combination of archbishop and duke, tasked with governing all royal domains west of the Rhine (Odilo Engels, “Der Reichsbischof,” in Höffner, Bischof, 41). Brun was duke of Lotharingia from 953 to 969. 42
The concept of an imperial church system has come under attack in recent years, and Odilo Engels characterizes its linkage to the career of Archbishop Brun as a usage of older historians (Engels, “Der Reichsbischof,” in Höffner, Bischof, 42). For Irene Schmale-Ott, Brun incorporates the sacrum imperium of the Ottonian period, and Ruotger’s narrative is correspondingly a defense of the entire system (Irene SchmaleOtt. Ruotgers Lebensbeschreibung des Erzbischofs Bruno von Köln (Weimar: H. Böhlau, 1951). Mayr-Harting, hardly an “older historian,“ in 2007 calls Ruotger’s biography: “... the most important piece of writing known to have come out of tenth-century Cologne. No single text gives clearer expression to the ideal of what historians have called the Ottonian Imperial Church System” (Henry Mayr-Harting, Church and Cosmos in Early Ottonian Germany: The View from Cologne (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) 5.
16 of primary concern for Brun’s biographer Ruotger, who defends at considerable length the joint performance of Brun’s spiritual and military/political activities. Because the Vita Brunonis stands at the very beginning of the period we have chosen, we may also consider it for our purposes as an aretalogical point of departure for the vitae that follow.44 The virtues exhibited by the bishops can be divided into three categories: positive personal traits that are more or less secular in quality (patience, studiousness, diligence and the like); those that center on tasks specific to the bishop’s office—for example his eagerness to build new churches or found monasteries or missionize newly acquired imperial territory; and the bishop’s exemplification of established personal virtues commonly accepted and approved as uniquely Christian in nature. Although the attributes thus considered might also be viewed simply as meritorious character traits, it is the bishop’s personification of the Christian virtues that informs the hagiographic component or discours hagiographique within the genre of the vitae.45 Thus the historiographic aspect of the writings can be said to focus more upon the character assets advancing the career of an individual bishop, while the demonstration of his embodiment of normative Christian values serve to memorialize his reputation for piety or sanctity. As Ruotger’s Vita Brunonis was written probably in 968 or 969, after the death of Archbishop Brun in Reims in 965. Mayr-Harting suggests that “Ruotger must have been aware that he was something of a pioneer, for in nearly two centuries before he wrote, biographies of recently deceased bishops had been something of a rarity” (Mayr-Harting, Church, 19). 45 See note 37 above. 44
17 Haarländer suggests, the Christian virtues thus articulated in the vitae generally appear in the form of a catalogus virtutum, a term she derives from St. Jerome and which she also associates with the instrumenta bonorum operum described in the fourth chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict.46 The elements of episcopal aretalogy are therefore chosen from the traditional Christian virtues which can be divided into certain broad categories, for example those that conform to and reference Biblical narratives and models of behavior. Thus Ruotger makes use of the puer senex topos from the New Testament in his description of the youthful Archbishop Brun’s appearance at the court of his brother, where he astonishes the older scholars and teachers present with his precocity: Often he sat translating and discoursing with the scholars of Greek and Latin authors, bringing forth satisfactory conclusions which they showed their approval of, although he didn’t like this.47 The employment of this topos emphasizing the scholarly brilliance of a bishop as a juvenile appears frequently enough among the vitae, but another 46
For a discussion of the catalogus virtutum and its origins in antiquity see Haarländer, Vitae, 253-257. The Rule of Saint Benedict lists seventy-two "instruments of good works," the predominant ones being love of God and neighbor; not to commit murder or adultery; not to steal, covet, or bear false witness. To honor all (1 Peter 2:17) and to do equally unto others. To deny oneself in order to follow Christ, to chastise the body, not become attached to pleasures. To love fasting, relieve the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick, bury the dead, help those in trouble and console the sorrowing. To become a stranger to the world's ways, to prefer nothing to the love of Christ. See Benedict, and Terence Kardong, Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary. (Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 1996), 78-101. Haarländer contends that a listing of such virtues is a defining characteristic of all vitae: “Eine Aretalogie, d.h. eine Tugendarstellung als Aufzählung oder ausführliche Beschreibung positiver Charakterzüge, so die Überzeugung der neueren Forschung, enthält jede Vita“ (Haarländer, Vitae, 225). 47 Sepe inter Grecorum et Latinorum doctissimos... disputantes doctus interpres medius ipse consedit et disputantibus ad plausum omnium, quo nichil minus amaverat, satisfecit. (Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 6, 7, lines 19-23.) The Biblical reference is of course to Jesus’ appearance as a twelve-year-old among the scribes in the temple (Luke 2: 46).
18 reference to a New Testament virtue, namely the requirement that bishop should make and keep peace for the Christian laity, is a matter of signal importance for Ruotger.48 The apologetic nature of his characterization of Brun as both a statesman with military obligations and as a leader of the church requires a common ethical motivation, a tertium comparationis which will unify the apparently contradictory natures of their different professional responsibilities. Ruotger resolves this by imagining an extended monologue in which Otto instructs Brun as to what is required by the imperium regale which he says they both share in common.49 Otto claims that while it is true that conflicts requiring armed intervention are seen by some to exist outside the duties of a bishop, his loyalty to the emperor must outweigh all other considerations because of their mutual desire to establish and maintain the peace. 50 In conformity with the gospel narrative concerning the sanctity of peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), Ruotger elsewhere describes Brun’s exceptional diligence in creating peace as the practical basis for the realization of all other virtues: Haarländer finds the puer senex topos apparent also in the vitae of Gerhard of Toul and Conrad of Constance (Haarländer, Vitae, 235-236). C. S. Jaeger also remarks the stereotypical predilection for demonstrating the education and superior intelligence and of a bishop: “A good education, a sharp and practiced mind, knowledge and eloquence are qualities praised in every vita” (Jaeger, Courtliness, 31). 48
The entire argument presented by Otto is seen as a defense of the sacrum imperium or German imperial church (Reichskirche). Older studies have enthused over Archbishop Brun as “der unermüdliche, unbestechliche, charismatische Vorkämpfer dieses Programms: das ist der Grundgedanke, das beherrschende Motiv der Vita“ (Hatto Kallfelz, Lebensbeschreibungen einiger Bischöfe des 10.-12. Jahr-hunderts, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1973), 174. Odilo Engels states simply that Otto sent Brun to the West with the urgent mission to the restore the peace, in the recognition that peace in the profane world is a pre-condition for spiritual peace (Höffner, Festschrift, 41-42). 50 Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 20. Otto’s admonition to Brun comprises three pages of text, emphasizing the importance of the matter.
Because he [Archbishop Brun] vigorously aspired toward all that is good, he strove with full attention toward the gift of peace as if it were a kind of nourishment and the ornament of all the other virtues, since he recognized it as being useful to them. In peacetime the virtues must be cultivated and strengthened, so that when troubles arise they won’t allow a person’s fortitude to desert him.51
Accompanying the virtuous behaviors alluded to in the gospels—the boy among the temple scribes and the accomplishments of the peacemaker— Archbishop Brun exhibits a series of more stereotypically emergent Christian virtues, which can be divided into opera misericordiae on the one hand and ascetic practices on the other.52 Since for Ruotger the Archbishop’s primary contribution was to create for the Christian community the bonum pacis,53 a pre-condition for the execution of all other virtues, Ruotger does not record in detail any specifically charitable acts, mentioning only that he did perform such, but focuses instead on Brun’s ascetic proclivities. 54 These are to be understood as Nam cum omne, quod bonum esset, vivacissime semper appeteret, pacis donum quasi nutrimentum et ornamentum quoddam ceterarum virtutum sollicitus expetivit, quod bonis omnibus profuturum prescivit. Tranquillitatis enim tempore nutriri debent et solidari virtutes, ut perturbatione qualibet ingruente a status sui vigore hominem emolliri non desinant. (Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 2, lines 6-12.) 52 We follow here the scheme proposed by Haarländer which divides the Christian virtues as they appear in the bishops’ vitae into three broad categories: those that reference Biblical norms of behavior; works of Christian charity; and a variety of self-imposed ascetic practices that include sexual continence, dietary limitations, voluntary sleep deprivation, modesty in appearance, diligence in prayer, castigation of the flesh, the conscientious exercise of penitential activities, and the like more. Taken together these represent the constituent “elements of an episcopal aretalogy” and serve to measure the degree of a bishop’s holiness (Haarländer, Vitae, 231-263). 53 Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 23, line 28. Ruotger repeats in Chapter Twenty-three the same argument made by King Otto in Chapter Twenty. 54 It is important to recall that a bishop may undertake many good works and virtuous acts specific to his office that would not qualify as standard acts of Christian charity. Ruotger enumerates several of Brun’s “daily works” which surpassed in merit those of his predecessors, including the expansion and repair of church buildings, translating relics among the parish churches, supervising the conduct of priests, etc. (Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 21.) 51
20 expressions of his innermost nature and his desire to be completely with Christ (tantum ut cum Christo esset),55 which caused him to sign and weep on occasion, and led him to flee “like death” all the pleasures of this world. 56 Ruotger informs us that despite his royal upbringing in great luxury, and although he was compelled by the circumstances of his birth to live a public life, Brun wanted nothing more sincerely than to live like a hermit in this world. 57 This led him to eat moderately; behave with sobriety when appearing in company at meals; reject wearing expensive clothing whenever possible; live amongst modest furnishings; and not bathe himself for pleasurable purposes. 58 These practices were performed publicly so as to set an example for his inferiors, but also in private so as to prevent people from praising him. 59 Ruotger tells us that the uncustomary severity of the Archbishop’s behavior at first aroused fear among bystanders, who later began to love him for it.60 In summary, by far the dominant issue addressed in this vita is an attempted resolution of the presumptive incompatibility of Christian morals and the duty placed on occasion upon the imperially-appointed bishop to take 55
Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 30, 2.
Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 30, 25-32. For an analysis of the “weeping bishop“ as a commonly enountered topos signifying compunctio cordis see Haarländer, Vitae, 249. Althoff calls attention to the shedding of tears as a common performative element in medieval historiography in Gerd Althoff, “Zum Inszenierungscharakter öffentlicher Kommunikation im Mittelalter,“ in Von Fakten und Fiktionen: Mittelalterliche Geschichtsdarstellungen und ihre kritische Aufarbeitung, ed. Johannes Laudage (Köln: Böhlau, 2003), 84-86. 57 Vita Brunonis, MGH SRG NS 10, 30, page 30, lines 1-3, and page 31, lines 1-3. 58 MGH SRG NS 10, 30, 31, lines 3-11. 59 MGH SRG NS 10, 30, 31, lines 10-14. 60 MGH SRG NS 10, 30, 31, lines 16-21.
21 political action, and if necessary to apply force in order to maintain the public peace. The apparent contradiction between the dictates of power and the exercise of Christian charity is explained away by the argument that creating peace is itself a virtuous act. Ruotger does not list any additional acts of charity (opera misericordiae) as one might expect to find in other vitae of the period, but instead he concentrates extensively upon Brun’s impassioned desire to lead a life of austerity and simplicity despite living in the midst of the luxury attendant upon his royal upbringing and accruing to his high office.61
2. Archbishop Burchard of Worms (1000-1025)
Perhaps Brun’s avidity and constant longing for ascetic practices could explain the careful attention and concern he paid to the welfare of the monasteries under his jurisdiction. A special feature of Brun’s episcopacy was the introduction of various monastic reforms ( Vita Brunonis, Chapters 21 and 34), control by the church over hermitages (Chapter 33), the constructing and enlarging existing monasteries (Chapter 33), and the foundations of new ones, most notably that of St. Pantaleon in Cologne (Chapter 48), in whose abbey church he and the Empress Theophanu yet lie buried. According to Irene Schmale-Ott, Ruotger himself was a participant in the monastic reform movement (Schmale-Ott, Ruotger, 5).
22 Burchard was appointed Bishop of Worms by Otto III. in 1000 and served until his death in August, 1025.62 After a description of the state of disrepair into which the city of Worms had fallen, whose inhabitants were frequently attacked by wolves and robbers, the narrator describes in detail the measures undertaken by the bishop to reconstruct and fortify the town, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the citizenry.63 Burchard himself is best known for his authorship of the Collectarium canonum, (or Decretum), which became the standard collection of canon law in the first half of the eleventh century. 64 According to the vita, Burchard began work on the Decretum in 1008, which required four years to assemble work while he lived in a small dwelling or hermitage on top of a hill in forest close by Worms.65 Burchard had also acted previously as an imperial military leader, having helped reduce the fortifications of Otto I, Duke of Carinthia, and by leading armed forces into Tuscany, both actions undertaken at the emperor’s command. 66 His vita was probably written soon after his death by Ebbo, a canon of Worms, The narration concerning Burchard’s appointment is unique amongst the bishops’ vitae in that the author appears critical of the emperor’s powers to appoint bishops of the church, prefacing perhaps major reform currents in the Church to emerge later in the eleventh century. The story is told that the emperor at first appointed two other candidates for the vacant position, both of whom died before they could be invested. The author draws the conclusion that God intervened to veto the emperor’s misguided appointments in favor of Burchard: Quod imperator elegit, Deus reiecit. (Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, Chapter 4, 27-28.) 63 Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, 6. 62
See Greta Austin, Shaping Church Law around the Year 1000: The Decretum of Burchard of Worms (Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2009). 65 Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, 10. 66
Recounted in Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, Chapters 7 and 8. The military activities of the bishop seem not be a matter of ethical concern, in contrast to the extended discussion provided by Ruotger in the vita of Archbishop Brun.
23 who had witnessed many of the events he reported, and it was likely commissioned by Bishop Walter of Speyer, a close friend of Burchard. 67 It is clear from a statement that Ebbo makes in the exordium or dedicatory introduction to the vita that his primary concern will be to satisfy the request made by a friend, likewise presumably in orders, concerning the departed bishop: “For I have still not forgotten how at the time of a certain conversation, you asked me many things about the virtues of the person we were speaking about.”68 Ebbo then pledges further to “narrate fully” the bishop’s virtues, and indeed the intended text is then referred to as an “exposition of his virtues.” 69 It comes therefore as no surprise that the author begins his biographic narrative with a partial catalogue of the promised virtues, a catalogus virtutum formulated in the customary manner:70
For after the first flowering of youth, he shone brilliantly in all good things. He was firm in what was just, was faithful in counsel, not puffed up in prosperity, untroubled in adversity, obedient to his superiors, compassionate towards the needy, friendly to the wretched, merciful to his subjects, extremely generous, very honest in his behavior, and strenuous in every work of God.71 67
For a detailed discussion of the authorship of Ebbo and his causa scribendi see Stephanie Coué, Hagiographie im Kontext: Schreibanlass und Funktion von Bischofsviten aus dem 11. und vom Anfang des 12. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997), 26-40. 68 Adhuc enim non sum oblitus, quomodo quodam confabulationis tempore multum de praedicti viri virtutibus me interrogasti. (Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, 4, page 831, lines 26-27.) 69 MGH SS 9, 4, page 832, lines 1 and 6. 70 For a discussion of the the term catalogus virtutum see Walter Berschin, “Personenbeschreibung in der Biographie des Mittelalters,” in Historiographie des frühen Mittelalters, ed. Anton Scharer, and Georg Scheibelreiter, (Vienna: Oldenbourg, 1994) 185-193. 71 Nam post primaevum iuventutis florem omni bonitate refulsit praeclarus, in iusto stabilis, in commisso fidelis, in consilio providus, in prosperis non elatus, in adversis non turbatus, sublimioribus obediens, egenis compatiens, miseris
The passage represents a mixture of stoic ideals chosen from antiquity, in which standard Christian virtues predominate, in particular those that emphasize generosity and compassion for the weak and suffering: ascetic practices are not included in the list. Continuing his narrative, Ebbo says that Burchard shone forth with other virtues as well,72 and it is to more ascetic activities that the author now directs the readerâ€™s attention. Foremost among these concerns is the composition of the Decretum, prosecuted by Burchard as an act of devotion in quasi-monastic solitude:
There is a pine forest two miles away from Worms which abounds in silver fir, and a muddy swamp winds around it on one side. In the middle of the swamp stands a beautiful hill to which the man of God commanded that he be transferred; and because he wanted to avoid the tumults of the world, he leveled the hilltop once the trees and bushes had been cut down. There he first built an oratory; then, once other buildings were completed, he constructed a magnificent cell. To this cell he withdrew after royal councils and conversations with the king, synodal cares, and the diverse rumblings of the world. There, putting all secular business behind him, he worked zealously with all his might in the service of God. Indeed, it was at this time that he labored not a little in this cell on his collection of canons.73 affabilis, misericors subditis, multum largus, moribus honestissimus, atque in omni opere Dei strenuus. (Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, 4, page 832, line 49 to page 833, line 3.) 72 Istis quippe hisque similibus pollens virtutibus.... (Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, 4, page 832, line 6.) 73 Forestus silva est duobus miliaribus a Wormacia distans, abietibus abundans, et hanc palus limosa ex una parte ambiendo circumcingit. In cuius medietate collis pulcherrimus consistit, ad quem vir Dei se transferri praecepit; et quia mundanos tumultus devitare voluit, arboribus fructibusque succisis; collem explanavit; ibique primum fecit oratorium, deinde aliis officinis peractis, cellam egregiam construxit. lllic se post concilia regiaque colloquia et post curam synodalem diversosque mundi strepitus receperat; ibique negociis secularibus post tergum proiectis, totis
Clearly this charming story is meant to portray the saintly bishop as having withdrawn into solitude from the cares of the world and from his official responsibilities, living like a hermit and devoting himself only to constant prayer and the composition of the Decretum. Burchard is skilled also at various dietary restrictions, especially fasting, vegetarianism and abstinence from alcohol:
He was so intent upon the frequency of performing fasts, almsgiving, vigils and prayers that few men of our age could equal him. Indeed, if not compelled by illness or forced by other necessities, he ate only bread, vegetables, and fruit. Although many believed that he drank wine, in fact he refreshed himself with water. 74
More radical attempts at self-denial emerge after Burchard’s death, when the bishop’s sister opens his private cabinet and instruments for penitential selfchastisement are revealed: “We found inside it a very rough hair-shirt and an iron chain worn down from use on one side.”75
viribus in obsequio Dei studebat. Eodem quippe tempore in collectario canonum in hac cella non modicum laboravit. (Vita Burchardi.(MGH SS 9, 4, page 837, line 9 to 17.) Translation by W.L. North, Medieval Sourcebook: The Life of Burchard Bishop of Worms, 1025. Online at <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1025burchardvita.asp>, 15 November 2011. 74 Frequentationi jejuniorum, eleemosinarum, vigiliarum et orationum ita erat intentus, ut pauci nostrae aetatis viri huic possent adeaequari. Nam nisi informitate compellante vel maxima necessitate cogente, pane, holeribus et pomis tantummodo vitam aluit. Assidue vero cunctis putantibus, quod vinum bibisset, aqua se reficit. (Vita Burchardi, MGH SS 9, 4, page 844, lines 5 to 9.) 75 Invenimus autem in eo cilicium hirsutissimum et catenam ferream ex una parte quasi ex usu contritam. (MGH SS 9, 4, page 845, lines 43-44.) Ebbo the narrator was evidently present at the event.
26 Such revelations, often accompanied by a surprised reaction on the part of an unsuspecting witness at a saint’s death, are a common topos in hagiographic narratives. A similar episode concerned with penance and self-chastisement is related at the very beginning of this vita. Bishop Franco, Burchard’s predecessor in office, journeys to Italy in the company of the emperor Henry III. Together they go on retreat to perform austerities:
At that time the emperor and the aforementioned bishop, wearing hair shirts and with bare feet, entered a certain cave next to the church of San Clemente unknown to everyone, and they hid there fourteen days while they performed prayers, fasting, and vigils. Some say that in this place they were constantly consoled by visions and divine conversations.76 The author’s intention is not simply to indicate that penitential acts were an expression of exceptional piety embedded in the accumulation of other more prosaic episcopal virtues, but that through the experience of “visions and divine conversations” the bishop was directly translated into the presence of God, facilitated perhaps by the thaumaturgic agency of the emperor. 77 To summarize the aretalogical characteristics of the Vita Burchardi: what impresses most is the emphasis placed upon acts of penitence and asceticism, the 76
Eodem tempore imperator et praedictus episcopus, induti ciliciis, pedibus penitus denudatis, quandam speluncam iuxta sancti Clementis ecclesiam clam cunctis intraverunt, ibique in orationibus et ieiuniis necnon in vigiliis quatuordecim dies latuerunt. Ferunt quidem, visionibus et allocutionibus divinis eos crebro hoc loco fuisse consolatos. (MGH SS 9, 4, page 833, line 41, to 834, line 1.) 77
Hagiography exists not only to characterize its subject as a person filled with virtue, but also to demonstrate by all available means his proximity to God: see Heffernan, note 28 above. Bishop Franco’s intimacy with God is evidenced by the “visions and divine conversations” he experienced while performing austerities.
27 works of charity assuming a subordinate status. 78 The ethical implications of the bishop’s military adventures at this point in time no longer seem morally problematic. The bishop and in this case even the emperor himself are portrayed in their innermost character as religious ascetics, and as such they are easily integrated into the purposes and disciplines of monastic life. In so doing the narrator adopts the position that there need not exist any significant disparity between canons and monks in the pursuit of Christian ideals, and the virtues which Ebbo undertakes to record in his vita also express the paraenetic intention of providing educative exempla for his friends and his fellow canons in preference to advancing other institutional interests, such as commemoratio and memoria.79
3. Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (993–1022)
Born in 960 of a Saxon noble family, Bernward held episcopal office almost twenty years from 993 to 1022 in Hildesheim, at that time a flourishing center of
The ongoing concern with penitence might derive from the nineteenth of the twenty books of Burchard’s Decretum, which enjoyed widespread practical employment as a penitential handbook for priests. It is clear from the Vita Burchardi that its author was quite familiar with the work. 79 Coué establishes that at least fifteen of the twenty-four chapters of the Vita Burchardi are addressed to the author’s fellow canons in Worms (Coué, Hagiographie, 27). Chapter Seventeen of the Vita contains a sermon given by Burchard to local monks pleading that equal status be accorded to canons and monks alike, in other words there should exist no difference in rank or privilege between them (MGH SS 9, 4, page 840, line 26 ff). Because the virtuous practices of both canons and monks are shown to interact seamlessly in the Vita, one could understand this as a central argument of the text. 78
28 imperial politics and cultural production. He served in the royal chancery of Otto II from 977 until his appointment as Otto III’s tutor by Empress Theophanu in 988. Bishop Bernward is remembered today for his church-building activities and innovative architectural contributions, as well as for a number of unique artifacts he equipped them with—bronze doors and chandeliers, Romanesque sculpture and jewelled religious instrumentalia: many of these objects are still in use at the cathedral church in Hildesheim. He was canonized 170 years after his death by Pope Celestine III in 1193, one of the few German bishops of the period and the first Saxon ever to have achieved that distinction. The Vita Bernwardi was written by Thangmar, who played an exceptionally important role in the religious life of Hildesheim, serving at various times as head of the cathedral school, notary, librarian, and dean of the cathedral.80 He served as teacher not only for Bernward, but also for such luminaries as Bishops Meinwerk of Paderborn and Benno of Meissen, and the emperor Henry II. His account of Bernward's life is considered reasonably authoritative, since Thangmar was acquainted with him intimately, had taken part in many of his administrative activities, served as an eye-witness to others,
Biographic information for Bernward and Thangmar from Bernhard Gallistl, “Bernward of Hildesheim: A Case of Self-planned Sainthood?“, in The Invention of Saintliness, ed. Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker (London: Routledge, 2002), 145-146, and from Hans Goetting, Das Bistum Hildesheim, (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1973), 168228).
29 and was in his own words trusted by him “as a child by its father”. 81 Consequently his Vita Bernwardi has been called one of the finest biographical productions of the Middle Ages and also one of the most valuable sources for this important period of German history.82 Similar to the sentiment expressed in the life of Burchard, the author of the Vita Bernwardi offers in his exordium one causa scribendi that overrides all others: to provide to posterity a stimulus for the advancement of virtue, based on his bishop’s example.83 Speaking as his schoolmaster, Thangmar says that his former pupil Bernward remarkably was “splashed with the colors of various virtues” far exceeding his normal age-group.84 Appointed Bishop of Hildesheim at age 33 in 993, the narrator begins his description of Bernward’s episcopal activities by
“....Quasi filius patri familiarius adhaesit et convixit,” Vita Bernwardi, Prologus, not found in the MGH edition (Dresden Codex), but included by Hatto Kallfelz, Vitae quorundam episcoporum saeculorum X, XI, XII. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1973) 274, lines 24-25. 82 “Eines der schönsten biographischen Denkmäler des Mittelalters, welche wir besitzen, und eine der wichtigsten Quellen für einen bedeutenden Zeitraum,” Wilhelm Wattenbach, quoted in Hatto Kallfelz, Lebensbeschreibungen einiger Bischöfe des 10.-12. Jahrhunderts, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1973), 265. The existing text is not without its problems, however, due to the circumstance that monks of St. Michael probably added material to the Vita at the end of the twelfth century so that it might meet the papal requirements as a petitio to introduce the canonization process. For an extensive discussion of the authenticity of the original manuscript and the intentionality of its variants see Martina Giese, Die Textfassungen der Lebensbeschreibung Bischof Bernwards von Hildesheim, (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2006). Since Giese is able to identify the original core of the manuscript written by Thangmar, from which our own observations are chosen, we can for present purposes regard the vita as adhering to the mideleventh century. 83 ...Posteris praedicarem, et illis talo exemplo ad provectum virtutum incitarem (Kallfelz, Vitae, 272, 14-150. 84 Kallfelz, Vitae, 274, 30-31.
30 affirming that although still a young man, â€œhe compelled his youthful body to attain the peak of virtues,â€? and did so with indescribable restraint. 85 There follows a catalogus virtutum such as we have seen in the Vita Burchardi,86 and in the same fashion stoic virtues are here conflated with Christian ones. Chief among the former is the universal ideal of moderation in all things, which Thangmar quotes in the formulation of Terence: ne quid nimis.87 In the severity of his moral conduct Bernward surpasses his elders, lending him the authority to instruct inferiors as to their duties. 88 The bishop eats with restraint, and usually enjoys only one drink before bedtime, if any at all. 89 He is up praying by himself in his chambers before the monks rise for matins, and only then does he grant himself a brief respite before joining the monks for service. 90 Next he goes with the monks to the morning assembly in the chapter hall quasi regulariter sub disciplina constitutus, as if he himself were in monastic orders. 91 To demonstrate the quality and intensity of the ascetic virtues performed by the bishop, Thangmar is clearly concerned to depict Bernward as a monk, who by reason of his exemplary virtues and strength of moral character has been appointed to perform episcopal duties as well. Adeptus itaque pontificatum, quanta continentia iuvenile corpus ad virtutum culmen coegerit, dici non potest.... , Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 9-10. 86 Pages 21-22 above. 87 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 11-12. 88 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 14-15. 89 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 15-18. 90 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 18-23. 91 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 24. 85
31 Bernward’s workday begins when he celebrates solemn mass “with great contrition of heart”; next he decides the daily administrative matters and examines petitions from the poor in his typically efficient manner, empowered by his natural talent and enhanced with his customary eloquence. 92 Then the bishop turns to works of a more charitable nature. In addition to dispensing alms personally, Bernward apparently manages a kind of soup-kitchen, in which a hundred or more poor people are served every day. 93 He further assists the needy with cash and “other subsidies,” as far as his means permit. 94 After a visit to the metal workshops in the afternoon, which the bishop superintends for the production of artworks and furnishings in the cathedral church, he concludes official business at the ninth hour and sits at table surrounded by a crowd of monks and local people.95 The meal transpires in silence so those attending can hear a lengthy inspirational reading, and it concludes with the bishop conferring a blessing for the benefit of the sick and the aged. 96 The text continues with a description of the artworks and church furnishings commissioned and personally supervised by Bernward for his cathedral, which are to be understood as acts of pious devotion (acta piae devotionis). An elaborate polemical excursus follows which narrates the Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 29-31. Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 31-34. 94 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 34-35. 95 Kallfelz, Vitae, 280, 35, to 282, 1. 96 Kallfelz, Vitae, 282, 4-6. 92 93
32 continuing dispute between Bernward and Willigis, Archbishop of Mainz, over proprietary rights to the nuns’ cloister at Gandersheim. Despite the Archbishop overreaching his authority (praesumptionis potestatis), the Bishop of Hildesheim was never once tempted to stray from the path of humility and patience and the practice of “other virtues.”97 To summarize the aretalogical significance of Bernward’s vita: unusual attention is paid to his caritative work, notably his running a food distribution service for the poor of the diocese. The panoply of virtues he is said to exemplify includes a customary mix of stoic and Christian ideals, and his ascetic practices do not seem to exceed those of his monks, with whom he is said to live and practice. The vita does not include any insignia miraculorum to support the process of canonization.
4. Bishop Benno of Osnabrück (1068-1088).
Kallfelz, Vitae, 288, 24-35. More than half the vita is given over to a detailed explanation of this first phase of the “Gandersheim dispute,” (Gandersheimer Streit), which carries on into the administration of the next Hildesheim bishop, Godehard. The dispute seems to spiral out of control and eventually requires the intervention of both the emperor and the pope. 97
33 The Vita Bennonis II. episcopi Osnabrugensis was written between 1090 and 1100, in relatively close proximity to the bishop’s own lifetime. Its author was Norbert, first abbot of the monastery at Iburg, which was founded and built by Benno. Norbert consulted with him as a subordinate in the last four years of his life, and it is assumed that by doing so he was enabled to record biographical details of his bishop with an unusual degree of authenticity. 98 Bishop Benno worked as an official in the royal Hofkapelle (chancery) at Goslar, assisted the archbishop of Cologne, and is remembered after his appointment to episcopal office in 1068 primarily for his work as an architect, which included assisting in the design of the Osnabrück cathedral and the cathedral church at Speyer, the burial place of the Salian kings and emperors, and of various other buildings that still survive in part.99 Benno was an intimate friend of Henry IV yet who also remained loyal to Pope Gregory; his survival tactics and his attempts at intercession and compromise during the period of the investiture controversy in the 1070’s were recorded anecdotally by Norbert and have often been cited by historians.100 Norbert’s work is also cited as an example of a vita intended first and foremost to provide a reasonably objective biography of a bishop and founder of a monastery, thus serving the interests of institutional memory in preference to Hatto Kallfelz, Lebensbeschreibungen einiger Bischöfe des 10.-12. Jahrhunderts (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1973), 365-366. 99 Heinz-Werner Striedelmeyer, and Carl Möller, Benno von Osnabrück als Architekt, ein Bildband zum 900. Todestag von Bischof Benno II., (Bramsche: Rasch, 1988). 100 At considerable length for example by I. S. Robinson, Authority and Resistance in the Investiture Contest: The Polemical Literature of the Late Eleventh Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978), 156-160. 98
34 attempting to sanctify or make a saint of its founder. 101 Indeed Norbert states expressly his vita is not intended for the use of outsiders, but for the commemorative practice of the monks, by means of which the founder is thus to become sanctified:
...That we try greatly in order that our founder and teacher in this place may be assisted by our prayers, so that he can’t complain justifiably to God that he was unjustly deprived of his desired reward....102
The monks of Iburg Monastery accordingly have the duty to make up for the bishop’s shortcomings by constantly praying for his salvation. Precisely for this reason there is no need to conceal Benno’s character defects or lack of religious accomplishments through pious embellishments (itaque non eum verbis sanctificare contendimus...),103 and Norbert goes on to criticize the work of other biographers who falsely praise their subjects in an exaggerated manner rather than set about fulfilling the appointed task of explaining the bishop’s deeds and attainments: 101
See for example C.S. Jaeger, Courtliness, 26, and Lotter, Methodisches, 327, who see in Norbert’s stated causa scribendi a switch from traditional hagiography to a more objective medieval biography. For a discussion of Norbert’s concept of the commemorization of a monastic founder see Karl Schmid, “Der Stifter und sein Gedenken: Die Vita Bennonis als Memorialzeugnis,“ in Tradition als historische Kraft: Interdisziplinäre Forschungen zur Geschichte des früheren Mittelalters, ed. Norbert Kamp, and Joachim Wollasch, 297-322 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1982). 102
...Id maxime intendisse cernamur, quatenus ipse fundator noster et structor tantum assidue in loco hoc iuveture orando, ut se spei suae solatio inuste destitui Deo conquerei iusti non possit... Norbertus Iburgensis, Vita Bennonis II. Episcopi Osnabrugensis, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores rerum Germanicarum, LVI. (Hannover: Hahn, 1956), page 1, lines 15-18. 103 MGH SRG 56, page 10, lines 9-10.
For we don't consider it proper to imitate the flattering endorsement of many writers, who are more rash than pious and thus get carried away with the praises of those whom they're writing about, and talk more about what they should have done than what they actually did.104 Given these provisos one might suspect that the virtues ascribed to Bishop Benno might be less numerous than usual, but in fact Norbert goes on at great length to portray him as an almost perfect embodiment of Christian virtue. Bennoâ€™s youth is distinguished by a characteristic zeal for study and moral probity (solito se ibi studio morumque probitate demonstrans) 105 so extraordinary that his mentors must compete amongst themselves for the privilege of his supervision (cuius potissimum dominio subesse deberet).106 Indeed as a young man he combines a glowing ardor for learning (litterarum scientiam ardore discendi) with the integrity of monastic discipline (cum claustralis honestate disciplinae) so outstandingly that he is recognized by everyone early on as a potential renovator of the organization of the church (velut novus ecclesiatici ordinis auctor). 107 But soon after his studies are concluded Benno is appointed by the king personally to supervise the administration of his court at Goslar, thus affording an opportunity for him to exercise a number of attributes more secular but nonetheless Nec enim imitanda hic videtur quorundam magis temeraria quam religiosa assentatio, qui in eorum, quos describunt, tantummondo laude versantur et non tam, quid egerint, attendere videntur, quam quid egisse debuerint.... (MGH SRG 56, page 10, lines 3-7.) 105 MGH SRG 56, page 5, lines 28-29. 104
MGH SRG 56, page 5, lines 31-32.. MGH SRG 56, page 6, lines 6-10.
36 traditional in nature, especially modesty, firmness and equanimity (modestia, districtio, aequitas).108
Historians have frequently noted concerning the bishops’ vitae that there exists in almost all of them a considerable number of episodes which are meant to illustrate the virtues of compassion and mercy as exhibited and exemplified by the bishop,109 and Norbert’s text is certainly no exception. The following catalogus of those individuals to whom mercy is to be afforded is selected from New Testament narrative without delivering specifics as to Benno’s actual performance:
For the poor and needy and all who suffered he showed heart-felt mercy and unending compassion. He assisted continually those imprisoned and sick, the hungry and naked, pilgrims and orphans, and widows and foreigners with active charity to the best of his abilities.110
However one noteworthy exception is illustrated by Benno’s activities in the area of prison reform. The bishop is at all times ready to intercede with judges and court officials on behalf of those who have been convicted of worldly laws to
MGH SRG 56, page 7, lines 8-12. For example Haarländer, Vitae, 245, note 116.
Circa pauperes et egenos seu qualibet tribulatione afflictos omnimode illi erant viscera pietatis et immensa compassio, ita ut captivis et informis, esurientibus et nudis, peregrinis et orphanis, viduis et advenis qualibet semper pro viribus miserationis ope succurreret. (Vita Bennonis, MGH SRG page 7, line 37 110
to page 8, line 4.)
37 severe punishment or to death.111 Norbert relates that Benno paid off fines incurred by many lesser offenders, and pleaded for the reduction of prison sentences which had been distributed to more serious offenders. 112 For those condemned to death the bishop pleads for a mitigation of their imprisonment, so that as prisoners they may instead better themselves by making use of an extended opportunity for the performance of penitence. 113 It is mentioned also that the bishop made himself available to hear confession and administer communion to those prisoners he was not able to rescue from execution. 114 All these actions are articulated as examples of the Biblical injunction cited above to come to the aid of those held captive (ut captivis... semper pro viribus miserationis ope succurreret).115
What is unique in Norbert’s vita compared with the others we have discussed is that the monastic or ascetic virtues are reduced to a background presence in the construction of the bishop’s character, and are consequently not seen as a significant basis for whatever claims he might have to serve as an exemplum of Christian sanctity. Norbert does include a few references to ascetic practices exercised by the bishop, for example that in his youth he lives and acts Qui vero suppliciis mundalium legum praevaricatione fuerant addicti seu morte damnati.... (Vita Bennonis, MGH SRG page 8, lines 15-17.) One could conclude from Norbert’s description that a fully operational court and prison system was in place at this period. 112 MGH SRG page 8, lines 25-29. 113 MGH SRG page 8, lines 29-32. 114 MGH SRG page 8, lines 32-35. 115 See note 107 above. 111
38 in accordance “with the integrity of monastic discipline.” 116 Any ascetic behaviors associated with a monastic lifestyle remain undefined, however. although Norbert does mention approvingly that Benno “was frequently accustomed to abstaining from meat,” (frequenter carnibus abstinere solitus erat). 117 This happy news is obviated somewhat by an anecdote that immediately follows, in which the bishop is pleased to give up his elective dietary restrictions in favor of an opportunity to practice charity:
If he was asked according to a custom of the lay people to interrupt his fasting to say a mass, then he joked that he was also a priest and that the price of the mass should be paid to him personally. If a denar was offered, he said he wouldn’t do it. When asked how much he wanted, he said two or three or more solidi, according to the financial capability of the petitioner. Most felt themselves ashamed, or else acted from charity or respect for the bishop and gave him what he wanted. He then gave the whole amount to a poor person to buy clothes, and then he would pray for the same hungry individual.118
It appears in the course of the entire vita that Benno’s ascesis extended no further than customary fasts and the practice of vegetarianism, and that given the choice he consistently placed a higher value upon the practice of charitable works. 116 117
See page 33 above. Vita Bennonis, MGH SRG 7, page 8, lines 35-36.
Si quando autem, ut secularibus mos est, ab aliquo rogaretur, ut pro missa ieiunium solveret, se quoque esse presbyterum quasi alludendo professus missae precium sibimet dari praecepit et oblato denario aiebat se nolle pro illo missam cantare, et si forte quereretur, quantum exigeret, duos solidos aut tres aut eo plures, prout facultatem rogantis attendit, exegit. Cumque plurimos aut ipsa verecundia seu caritas sive episcopalis reverentia, quantum ipse vellet, dare compelleret, totum uni pauperi dedit, ut vestibus comparatis ille pro manducante oraret. (Vita Bennonis, MGH SRG page 8, lines 36-39 to page 9, lines 1-8.) 118
Norbert seems to imply that Bishop Benno enjoys being liberated from his fasting as much as for an unexpected opportunity to practice charity.
39 It is interesting to reflect that Norbert may have seen this de-emphasis of ascetic practice as part of a larger trend in contemporary religious practice. Later in the narrative he takes the bishop to task for not having sufficiently equipped and provided for the newly founded monastery at Iburg. Norbert writes that during its construction Benno received a visit from an abbot named Reginhard who has accumulated much experience in monastic administration and has been invited to make an inspection. Reginhard arrives and counsels an improvement in the physical furnishings and accessories at Bennoâ€™s abbey, and he suggests that without an abundance of material conditions (abundantia rerum mundanarum) staffing problems will inevitably arise, since:
...There are few or none nowadays who are prepared to bear the severity of monastic life with its physical hardships impartially, since even in the most comfortable monasteries the degree of strictness has been found upsetting by many.119
5. Archbishop Norbert of Magdeburg (1126-1134) and Archbishop Albero of Trier (1131-1152).
...Valde paucos aut nullos cum indigentia corporali monasticum rigorem aequanimiter esse laturos, cum in locupletissimis quoque coenobiis districtio sola multos turbare consuesset. (Vita Alberonis, MGH SRG 119
page 30, lines 22-26.)
40 We conclude our examination of aretalogical discourse in the bishops’ vitae of the Ottonian-Salian period by examining two whose subjects began their episcopal careers at the very end of the era—the first Hohenstaufen emperor Conrad III was crowned in 1138—and who were also both greatly influenced by the Gregorian reforms articulated in the Concordat at Worms of 1122.120 Both of these vitae, although varying greatly in terms of the events and the personalities they describe, exhibit a common attribute in that neither is in any assertive manner concerned with distinguishing its subject as a personification of Christian virtue. It is likewise the case that both employ a more straightforward narrative technique arranged in a series of tales, a more carefully constructed sequence of episodes taken from the life of the bishops, uninterrupted by exhortations for public emulation or by other moralizing arguments. The result is not necessarily a more realistic biography of the bishop’s life, but rather a more highly stylized literary presentation, based perhaps on the growing popularity of secular epic narrative and romance literature which developed during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Especially in the case of Albero it appears likely that the author’s intent was more to tell a good story in a lively manner than to meditate upon the accomplishments of a spiritual hero.121 The first few chapters of the Vita Alberonis provide an interesting and detailed account of the Investiture Controversy after 1073, and the leadership role played by Albero in supporting the several reforms it achieved. 121 Both versions of Albero’s life (see note 126) have been generally accepted within the corpus of vitae episcoporum, and we have not read any convincing argument that they conform instead to an independent literary genre called gesta. It is customary of course that the bishops’ vitae tell stories or tales about their 120
41 Archbishop Norbert of Magdeburg (Norbert of Xanten) came to the episcopacy comparatively late in life, his most enduring accomplishment being the founding of the Premonstratensian order (Candidus et Canonicus Ordo Praemonstratensis, or “Norbertines”) in 1120.122 Observing the rule of Saint Augustine, the order embraced a more eremitic monastic practice which emphasized austerity, and it was organized to exist independently of any episcopal authority.123 Norbert has been recognized as a saint by the Catholic church since 1582. With these credentials and based on previous examples it would seem that his vita would portray the Archbishop as leading a life that exemplified ideals of Christian charity and ascetic self-denial, but only two such references occur, both made in an altogether understated manner. After leading a life of luxury which enabled him as a youth to wear silk clothing and pursue his private desires at will, Norbert experiences a conversion experience while traveling on an open road. Dark clouds suddenly appear, accompanied by lightning and thunder, and a chasm opens in the earth before him. This transformative event subjects, and it is not a surprise that the author Balderich emphasizes this as a narrative technique, or that he also heroicizes Albero’s political deeds beyond the norm. The effect is no longer paraenetic, but more in lines with that of a laudatio. 122 The Vita S. Norberti exists in two manuscript versions A and B, which however are five-sixths identical, and neither of which can be proven older than the other (Kallfelz, Lebensbeschribungen, 445-449). Both A and B were composed by unnamed Premonstratensian monks, probably before 1164 (Haarländer, Vitae, 524-525). We have chosen Version A, edited by Roger Wilmans in Vita S. Norberti, MGH SS 12, 30, 663-706, because it contains somewhat more information than B. Although Norbert served as archbishop for only eight years, it is the terms in which his career and character are described after his death that concern us. 123 Stefan Weinfurter, “Norbert von Xanten und die Entstehung des Prämonstratenserordens,“ in Barbarossa und die Prämonstratenser, ed. Karl-Heinz Ruess (Göppingen: Gesellschaft für staufische Geschichte, 1989), 79.
42 causes him to undertake penance to atone for his formerly profligate life-style, transacted in no more demonstrative a manner than by his putting on a hairshirt.124 Much later in his career, having departed the Premonstratensian monastery he founded, Norbert accepts to the extreme disappointment of his monks an imperial promotion during the final years of his life as Archbishop of Magdeburg. Described without explanation by his biographer as a life-long penitent, Norbert expires there in 1134. His body lies on display for eight days, and despite the hot weather it is reported that the corpse remains free of any corrupting influences.125 Albero de Montreuil was Archbishop of Trier from 1131 to 1152. He is the subject of Balderich’s Gesta Alberonis, which portrays him as an energetic bishopprince immersed in imperial politics and who successfully establishes an archiepiscopal state in the region of the Moselle and middle Rhine. 126 He was also an enthusiastic supporter and activist in the reform movement which gained him the continuing support of the popes: Albero was named Papal Legate to Germany in 1137 by Innocent II. After years of struggle and armed conflict with Vita S. Norberti, MGH SS 12, 30, Chapter 1. Et licet aestus fuerit nimius, non est de corpore illo per tot dies alicuius foetoris egressa corruptio. (Vita S. Norberti, MGH SS 12, 30, Chapter 23, page 703, lines 24-25.) One might think this a later addendum justifying Norbert’s elevation to sainthood in the sixteenth century, but both manuscript versions of this vita have been reliably shown to have originated in the later twelfth century (Kallfelz, Lebensbeschribungen, 446). 126 There are two different versions of the text, referred to as Vita I. and Vita II. The former is entitled Gesta Alberonis archiepiscopi (metrica) and consists of 335 lines of hexameter, published in MGH SS 8, pages 236-243. We have chosen the accompanying Gesta Alberonis archiepiscopi auctore Balderico (MGH SS 8, pages 243-260) for consideration because the metric version does not include the last seven years of Albero’s life, is not as extensive as Vita II, and because its provenance is unclear (Haarländer, Vitae, 481-482). 124 125
43 the Palatine Counts he successfully established Trier as an episcopal state with an exceptional influence in national affairs, having accumulated increased political power at the expense of regional princes.127 As is the case with the life of Archbishop Norbert discussed above, the Gesta Alberonis shows little inclination to present Albero as a living embodiment of Christian virtue.128 In fact there are only two corresponding references to be found in the entire manuscript. In Chapter Nine Balderich opines in passing that “Albero was always hospitable beyond his own resources, and he was accustomed to treat strangers gently and humanely.”129 Chapter Twenty-six contains the only significant passage devoted to his “character and customs” (mores et consuetudines), amongst which only the “holy mysteries of the altar” seem to have inspired the bishop to any noteworthy expression of professional religious enthusiasm: In the holy mysteries of the altar he seemed more than human, for he never approached them without tears and the greatest contrition. When wearing his pontifical robes he seemed like an angel of God, and he shone with an angelic radiance. He performed the sacraments with so much heavenly devotion that when engaged with these secrets he
Balderich and Brian Alexander Pavlac, A Warrior Bishop of the Twelfth Century: The Deeds of Albero of Trier. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2008), 16-19. 128 This determination is shared by Pavlac, who states that this text should not be considered hagiographical, since it “corresponds more to the gesta (deeds) devoted to historical figures than to the episcopal vitae (lives) composed by other contemporary writers: the work is biography and bears little resemblance to hagiography or to saints’ lives” (Pavlac, Warrior Bishop, 3). 129 Hospitalis quoque supra vires semper exstitit, et extraneos quosque dulciter et humane tractare solebat. (Vita Alberonis, MGH SS 8, 9, page 248, lines 4-5.)
44 seemed to penetrate the heavens by means of contemplation and prayer.130
In this brief passage certainly the authorâ€™s intention is to illustrate the bishopâ€™s intimacy with God, and not to show him as an exemplar of Christian of virtue.
The aretalogy in the lives of the bishops who lived during Ottonian-Salian period is drawn from a large pool of Christian virtues described in the New Testament, the Rule of St. Benedict and Pope Gregoryâ€™s Liber regulae pastoralis. These form a traditional division in hagiographic narrative emphasizing charitable works on the one hand and a broad variety of ascetic, devotional and penitential practices on the other. As we have seen in the lives of Bruno of Cologne, Burchard of Worms, and Bernward of Hildesheim, a substantial effort is made in the vitae from the late tenth and early eleventh centuries to describe the bishop as an exemplary model and practitioner of the Christian virtues. But this narrative technique dissipates in the second half of the eleventh century, corresponding in time to the gradual inauguration of the Gregorian church reforms, as we have In sacris mysteriis altaris plus quam homo videbatur, ad quae numquam sine lacrimis et maxima conpuctione accedebat. Pontificalibus enim ornamentis indutus, angelus Domini videbatur; angelico enim vultu relucebat, et tanta devotione celestia illa tractabat sacramenta, quod cum in secretis moraretur, contemplatione et oratione caelos penetrare videretur. ( Vita Alberonis, MGH SS 8, 26, page 257, lines 6-10.) 130
45 found clearly documented in the vitae of Benno of Osnabrück, Norbert of Magdeburg, and Albero of Trier. This process of devolution in the use or application of aretalogy from the late tenth to the mid-twelfth centuries also has implications for the perennial problem faced by scholars regarding the classification of the bishops’ vitae as either hagiography or as historicizing biography. If the typological proposal made by Stephanie Haarländer to accord the vitae hagiographic status primarily because of their aretalogical character is trustworthy, then we may conclude that the ensuing discours hagiographique became less significant and the literary narrative more secularized and biographical with the passage of time, reflecting perhaps the new demands and obligations placed upon the German bishops during the reform era, and corresponding as well to the changes in the bishops’ growing political and economic independence within the imperial society at large.
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Published on Jan 9, 2012
Investigation of the various kinds of "virtues" ascribed to 10th- and 11th-century German bishops.