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Few if any German prelates of the twelfth century had as extraordinary a career as Bishop Otto I of Bamberg. His influence stretched from the shores of the Baltic to the papal see in Rome. As bishop of one of the most important dioceses in the German kingdom, he founded and endowed numerous monastic communities while also pursuing territorial strategies that strengthened significantly his bishopric's control of the region in and around Bamberg. The life of Bishop Otto of Bamberg by a monk of Prüfening survives in three manuscripts from the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. All three of these codices include portions of the Magnum Legendarium Austriacum (MLA), an extensive collection of saints' lives compiled and copied at several Austrian monasteries around the year 1200.

in Noble Society

At some point around the year 1200, a noblewoman asked the Cistercian monk Engelhard of Langheim to write a vita of the canoness Mechthild of Diessen, who had briefly been the abbess of Edelstetten. At the time of Pope Anastasius IV, she reluctantly agreed to become the abbess of Edelstetten, a convent desperately in need of reform in Engelhard's version of events. She successfully improved the religious practices and commitment to the spiritual life at Edelstetten, but her time there seems to have been relatively short. The descriptions of Mechthild's interactions with people inside and outside the religious houses are a rich source for the thin grey line that separated the ecclesiastical and secular spheres in the German kingdom during the twelfth century.

in Noble Society
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Five lives from twelfth-century Germany

Noble society in the twelfth-century German kingdom was vibrant and multi-faceted, with aristocratic families spending their lives in the violent pursuit of land and power. This book illuminates the diversity of the aristocratic experience by providing five texts that show how noblemen and women from across the German kingdom, from Rome to the Baltic coast and from the Rhine River to the Alpine valleys of Austria, lived and died between approximately 1075 and 1200. The five subjects of the texts translated here cut across many of the strata of German elite society. how interconnected political, military, economic, religious and spiritual interests could be for some of the leading members of medieval German society-and for the authors who wrote about them. Whether fighting for the emperor in Italy, bringing Christianity to pagans in what is today northern Poland, or founding, reforming and governing monastic communities in the heartland of the German kingdom, the subjects of these texts call attention to some of the many ways that noble life shaped the world of central medieval Europe.

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John H. Arnold and Peter Biller

A large proportion of evidence for heresy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries comes from chronicles. Peter of Les Vaux-de-Cernay was writing an account of a specific set of events with heresy at their centre, drawing primarily on first-hand experience. The 'Deeds of bishops' were popular subgenre, focused of course on a particular diocese and its sequence of incumbents. The work which the Inquisitor Bernard Gui produced on the development of his religious order, the Dominicans, in which his topics were the foundation and spread of Dominican convents in the south of France, and their priors.

in Heresy and inquisition in France, 1200-1300
John H. Arnold and Peter Biller

The wars of the Albigensian crusade were brought to an end by the Peace of Paris in 1229, by which Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, capitulated and swore to persecute heresy. This part includes the provisions of Dominican provincial chapters, which cast interesting light on relations between ordinary Dominican brothers and Dominican inquisitors. It provides a substantial portion of the documentary sources from which the early history of inquisition is written.

in Heresy and inquisition in France, 1200-1300
Hincmar of Rheims’s De divortio

Between 858 and 869, an unprecedented scandal played out in Frankish Europe, becoming the subject of gossip not only in palaces and cathedrals. It was in these years that a Frankish king, Lothar II, made increasingly desperate efforts to divorce his wife, Queen Theutberga, and to marry instead a woman named Waldrada, the mother of his children. Lothar, however, faced opposition to his actions. Kings and bishops from neighbouring kingdoms, and several popes, were gradually drawn into a crisis affecting the fate of an entire kingdom. This book offers eye-opening insight not only on the political wrangling of the time, but also on early medieval attitudes towards issues, including magic, penance, gender, the ordeal, marriage, sodomy, the role of bishops, and kingship.

Heresy is a topic that exerts almost universal fascination. This book an invaluable collection of primary sources in translation, aimed at students and academics alike. It provides a wide array of materials on both heresy (Cathars and Waldensians) and the persecution of heresy in medieval France. The book is divided into eight sections, each devoted to a different genre of source material. A large proportion of evidence for heresy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries comes from chronicles, but by the thirteenth century they do not loom quite so large in comparison to other genres. Historians sometimes use the label 'chronicle' as a shorthand term to cover any kind of medieval written account of past events. For those interested in seeing how 'heresy' was constructed rhetorically by orthodoxy, sermons are an invaluable source. The book presents a selection of extracts from two of the most important works of preaching in the thirteenth century, the tales collected by Stephen of Bourbon and those written by Humbert of Romans. It also offers a variety of letters, from a very public letter, widely circulated with the aim of stirring prelates into action against heresy, to administrative letters. In the wake of the Peace of Paris, a series of ecclesiastical councils provided for the prosecution of heresy in Languedoc. There is an abundance of modern scholarship on inquisition records and registers of inquisition trials.

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John H. Arnold and Peter Biller

Both Waldensian and Cathar heretics made considerable use of texts. In the case of southern France, there are three important textual survivals. The first is an early fourteenth-century manuscript in the Occitan vernacular. The second is a copy and its authentication, made by Cathars in the 1220s, of a charter relating to their 'Council' of St-Felix in 1167. The third is a Cathar theological tract, sizeable extracts from which survive in its refutation in a treatise by the former Waldensian, Durand of Huesca.

in Heresy and inquisition in France, 1200-1300

This chapter contains the translated text ofDe divortio. It has several underlying sections, responding to the questions that Hincmar initially received. These sections were, however, further divided to make the twenty-three responses which appear in the manuscript. The original sections are as follows: the procedure at the councils of Aachen, rules on marriage, divorce and remarriage, the validity of ordeals, the next steps in Theutberga's case, the sodomy charge, Lothar's relationship with Waldrada and sorcery, Lothar's possibilities of remarriage, and the response of bishops towards appeals to them and the case of Engeltrude. De divortio also deals with seven further questions which Hincmar received six months after the first: who is able to judge the king, can the king avoid further judgement in the case, the case of Engeltrude, and the effects of communion with the king.

in The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga
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John H. Arnold and Peter Biller

The 1270s inquisition manual translated in this part provides an ideal version of the inquisitorial actions. A fundamental concern with the records has long been the truth or otherwise of what the deponents confessed when interrogated by inquisitors. Suspicion about inquisition records has its own history, especially in southern France. There is an abundance of modern scholarship on inquisition records. John H. Arnold has analysed the different voices of the records, the balance between inquisitorial categorisation and the excess of detail generated within each deposition.

in Heresy and inquisition in France, 1200-1300