SMRH Third Series, Volume 7 (2010)

Table of Contents:

Articles

  • Remembering the Vikings in the Duchy of Normandy
    Samantha Kahn Herrick
  • Gospel Salad: Conversion among the Twelfth-Century Premonstratensians
    Carol Neel
  • Local Politics, Social Networks, and Individual Agency in a Northern French Seigneurie:
    Picquigny and Its Lords, c. 1190–1250

    Ionuţ Epurescu-Pascovici

  • Eyewitness: Ranulph Higden and the Troubling Events at Chester Monastery
    Margaret Jennings
  • Pere III’s System of Defense in the War of the Two Pedros (1356–1366):
    The Aragonese Crown’s Use of Aristocratic, Urban, Clerical, and Foreign Captains
    Donald J. Kagay
  • Renaissance Humanist Scholars Look North: Sixteenth-Century Views on Scandinavia
    in the Work of Sebastian Münster and Olaus Magnus
    Richard G. Cole
  • Denis Sauvage: The Editing of Medieval Chronicles in Sixteenth-Century France
    Cristian Bratu

Abstracts:

Remembering the Vikings in the Duchy of Normandy
Samantha Kahn Herrick (Syracuse University)
The essay considers Dudo of Saint-Quentin’s portrayal of the Vikings in conjunction with other early Norman works,
particularly the Translatio Audoeni (which relates the return to Rouen of its patron saint’s relics)
and the Vita Taurini (which relates the ostensible career of Evreux’s apostolic founding bishop).
The piece argues that these roughly contemporary texts, although focusing on disparate historical eras,
shared a common understanding of history. As a result, Normandy’s distant and recent past came into conjunction.
The essay shows that Dudo not only influenced how other Norman historians portrayed the Viking past, as is well known,
but that his presentation of the Vikings and his historical logic permeated much further than has been recognized.
It argues that this influence led to a standard presentation of the region’s history across time,
which both made sense of the past and legitimized the region’s new rulers.

Gospel Salad: Conversion among the Twelfth-Century Premonstratensians
Carol Neel (The Colorado College)
This article explores two related twelfth-century texts, Herman of Cologne’s Opusculum de conversione sua
and the anonymous hagiography of Godfrey, founder of the Premonstratensian community at Cappenberg. The Opusculum
author purportedly entered religious life as a convert from Judaism in Godfrey’s own monastery; the vita of Godfrey
meanwhile refers explicitly to this Jewish convert’s story. Although the authenticity of the Opusculum as
a convert’s autobiography has been much disputed, the works’ common origin and audience among houses of the order of Prémontré
has been largely ignored. Seen together here, however, the two texts suggest their contemporary reception as comparing
entry into the Premonstratensian community to conversion from Judaism into Christianity. The accounts of Herman’s and Godfrey’s
respective entries into the Order of Prémontré thus illumine the self-understanding of reformed religious of the twelfth century
as radically departing from prior patterns of secular and monastic life.

Local Politics, Social Networks, and Individual Agency in a Northern French Seigneurie:
Picquigny and Its Lords, c. 1190–1250

Ionuţ Epurescu-Pascovici (Cornell University)
This essay takes advantage of the exceptional documentary record of the lordship of Picquigny (Western Amienois)—notably
one of the earliest surviving private cartularies from France—to offer a detailed picture of a thirteenth-century
rural seigneurie, focusing on local politics, microeconomics, and sociocultural developments. By tracing the history
of the seigneurie of Picquigny under two generations of lords—father and son—the essay aims to make an intervention
in two historiographical subfields: the study of local lordship and of the individual in medieval society. It foregrounds questions
of individual agency, as regards, for instance, the conditions of possibility for social action, individual strategies and
patterns of action, and the formation of social networks. The focus on agency—on strategizing and networking,
among others—provides an alternative to studies that emphasize the role of power structures and concentrate on power
as it resides in institutions.

Eyewitness: Ranulph Higden and the Troubling Events at Chester Monastery

Margaret Jennings (St. Joseph’s College, New York)
Ranulph Higden completed the original version of his lengthy manual of instruction, the Speculum curatorum, in 1340.
In 1350, about a year after the Black Death devastated England, he produced a revised version, preserved uniquely in
Champaign-Urbana, University of Illinois, MS Pre-1650, 72. As was common among texts that comprehensively discussed pastoral care,
the 1350 version of the Speculum treats the ramifications of the Decalogue, the nature and kinds of sin,
and the privileges and obligations connected with reception of the sacraments. But the treatise is revelatory as well as expository.
Careful perusal of the chapters dealing with the vowed life, apostasy, fraternal correction, failures in charity,
sacrilegious fornication, and the many detriments of gluttony allows the reader to glimpse the perilous state of
a once mighty monastic institution, the abbey of St. Werburgh in Chester. Independent confirmation of Higden’s narrative
of continuous and wide-ranging dissension among his brother monks, violent behavior in several abbots,
flagrant disregard throughout the monastery for religious vows, and dissolute living prompted by excess in both physical
and non-physical spheres is provided by records of historical events and legal processes as well as by certain features of the manuscript.

Pere III’s System of Defense in the War of the Two Pedros (1356–1366):
The Aragonese Crown’s Use of Aristocratic, Urban, Clerical, and Foreign Captains

Donald J. Kagay (Albany State University)
This paper seeks to explore the background “organization of war” in one medieval region—the Crown of Aragon—during
the War of the Two Pedros (1356–1366). This bloody border war between Aragon and Castile was intensified by troops drawn from
the Hundred Years War. To defend his long and sparsely populated frontiers, Pere III of Aragon (1336–1387) adapted the office
of captain (adelantado) that had emerged from the earliest phases of the reconquest and applied it to many different
classes and individuals. As did his predecessors in their struggles with Spanish Islam, Pedro used the command structure of
both urban militias and crusading orders to garrison frontier fortresses. While these more normal military solutions solved
most of his defense problems during these years, Pere served his ambition for taking the war to his hated enemy,
Pedro I of Castile (1350–66/69), by hiring foreign captains in the persons of Enrique de Trastámara and his own half-brother,
Prince Ferran. By the intertwining the activities of these captains with those of his officials and parliaments,
Pere attained a goal that his adversary could not claim: he survived.

Renaissance Humanist Scholars Look North: Sixteenth-Century Views on Scandinavia in the Work of Sebastian Münster and Olaus Magnus
Richard G. Cole (Luther College)
The scholarship of sixteenth-century humanists such as Olaus Magnus (1490–1557) and Sebastian Münster (1489–1552)
represented a quantum leap forward in the available knowledge about Scandinavia. This essay demonstrates the way in which
Sebastian Münster, one of the best-known cosmographers of the sixteenth century, utilized data and illustrations from
Olaus Magnus’s 1539 map of Scandinavia “Carta Marina” in his encyclopedic Cosmographia (1544). The connections between
the scholarship of these two figures are characteristic of the vibrant exchange of ideas during the Renaissance,
though these particular connections have been largely overlooked by modern historians.

Denis Sauvage: The Editing of Medieval Chronicles in Sixteenth-Century France
Cristian Bratu (Baylor University)
Denis Sauvage de Fontenailles-en-Brie, sieur du Parc (1520–1587), was one of the major figures in book editing and
publishing in sixteenth-century France. As a friend of Jacques Peletier du Mans, Theodore of Beza, and Jean Martin,
he was familiar with—and sometimes took part in—the intellectual debates of his time. Translator, historian, editor,
and proofreader, he introduced French speakers to important Italian historians and poets and gave the world the
first scholarly editions of some major French medieval chroniclers. Although these achievements alone should secure
for Sauvage a place in the pantheon of Renaissance book editing, medievalists and Renaissance specialists have tended
to neglect him. The present essay attempts to contribute to the relatively meager body of secondary literature dedicated
so far to Sauvage by providing an overview of his life and career. Finally, the essay also shows how this Renaissance
intellectual proofread and edited French medieval historians and how he conceptualized his editorial rapport with medieval chronicles.