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Not only did their owners enjoy a virtual monopoly on the written word that made them the prime commentators on the developments of their age, they also undertook to preserve and classify their knowledge. As the years unfolded, books were added to the library or given away, moved to other locations, rewritten, rebound, stolen or destroyed.
As such, the composition and development of a monastic library constitutes a material commentary that can equal the power of expression of the manuscript texts themselves.
Most attention is usually paid to the catalogues that claim to list all manuscripts of a certain community. From the last quarter of the twelfth century onwards, may abbeys stopped producing library catalogues, which makes the development of Benedictine libraries increasingly difficult to study. In spite of the reassuring titles that suggest « careful examinations » and exhaustive cataloguing efforts, it is unusual for high medieval library catalogues to actually present a comprehensive list of all the books that a community possessed.
Indeed, some high medieval manuscripts with classical texts have come down to us from Stavelot. Apart from these classical works, other books are missing from the Stavelot catalogue. Their unsuitability to serve administrative purposes is further elucidated by their material characteristics. First of all, booklists were typically included in prestigious manuscripts, the unblemished s of which make clear that they could not be freely consulted. Secondly, the preserved catalogues tend to be laid out in such a way that there was no room to insert additional acquisitions to the library.
Whatever its exact purpose s may have been, the catalogues did not try to make an enumeration of books for purely administrative purposes. So when monks largely stopped producing them in the thirteenth century, it meant only that they no longer saw the value of inserting an ideologically charged snapshot of their library into a prestigious manuscript, not that they stopped producing manuscripts or stopped cataloguing them in perhaps less durable ways.
The obvious problem here is the discrepancy between the of preserved codices and the estimated total contents of a library. For example, some 50 extant manuscripts that are known to have been in the possession of Stavelot-Malmedy were produced between the eight and the eleventh century. Not only are few library catalogues preserved, there is a sharp drop in the of preserved manuscripts as well. This indicates an extremely important, multi-faceted shift in Benedictine library management. On the one hand, using booklists had outlived its usefulness for these communities.
At the same time, the drastic reduction in the of preserved manuscripts might indicate one of two things. First, a relatively large of thirteenth-century manuscripts may have been destroyed or otherwise become lost. If so, there must have been something about these codices that made them less likely to survive — they might have been carelessly produced, or their contents may have been quick to become outdated, contested, or otherwise thought unsuitable for later audiences.
Alternatively, thirteenth-century Benedictine monks may actually have produced fewer codices than before, because they were unable to produce or buy them on the same scale as before, because they did not require any new books, or because they had lost some of their interest in books. Of course, a combination of a reduced production with higher loss rates is equally possible, and perhaps the most likely. Stavelot-Malmedy is an example of a monastery that possessed a well-stocked library during the twelfth century, ostensibly lacks a thirteenth- or fourteenth-century catalogue and seemingly experienced a sharp drop in book production during the thirteenth century : no more than seven codices have been preserved from the years under consideration.
This contribution will examine the contents of the extant thirteenth-century manuscripts as well as their relation to the monastic library as it was represented in the booklist. Its goal is to try and investigate the trends in library management in thirteenth-century Stavelot and relate them to the intellectual and spiritual priorities of this monastic community. As was typical for most Benedictine communities, Stavelot-Malmedy used manuscripts as a tool to try and resolve the conflicts that faced the community, especially in cases where the intercession of patron Saint Remaclus could be beneficial.
Multiple codices were produced that proudly narrated his deeds and miracles in the face of intractable enemies. Yet Stavelot-Malmedy was atypical in that its most dangerous enemy appeared to be hiding within its own ranks. This was not to the liking of the monks of Malmedy, who kept trying to tear themselves away from Stavelot and re-establish themselves as an independent monastic community in its own right.
This recurrent motif in the history of Stavelot-Malmedy had a profound influence on its hagiographical production. They emphasized that Remaclus had founded both monasteries and that he was their shared patron saint, using hagiography as a connector between Stavelot and Malmedy. Yet the efforts were to no avail, as the monks from Malmedy proudly proclaimed their independence from Stavelot in Hagiography had now become a tool to divide the houses, but it was once again unsuccessful, for six years after Malmedy and Stavelot went their separate ways the Stavelot monks managed to convince emperor Henry IV to undo the separation.
They ascribed their victory to St Remaclus and immediately wrote a report of his triumph. In this way, a triumphant Stavelot-hagiography came into existence of which multiple copies have been preserved. By the end of the eleventh century, hagiography could no longer function to unite the two abbeys. He consciously played down the role of the patron saints within the community. No new codices with the lives of Remaclus, Quirinus, Justus, or similar saints seem to have been produced, as they could only serve to inflame lingering resentments. Instead, the community shifted its attention to the visual arts and less combustible genres.
It is very hard to point to elements that are particular for Stavelot at this moment in time. The patron saints largely disappear from the codicesand the style of the initials and miniatures is so divergent that art historians have been unable to place them within the context of a coherent scriptorium. I would argue that it seems hardly coincidental that the manuscripts that were produced or bought under Wibald stand out with inconspicuousness.
After more than a century of using patron saints as weapons in the power struggle between Stavelot and Malmedy, Wibald obviously preferred all-purpose manuscripts without local catches, and filled his library with interesting yet innocuous genres and layouts. As a result, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint a distinct « Stavelot style » under abbot Wibald, and the existence of a « Malmedy style » is even less of a certainty. This was a powerful statement from a political and spiritual as well as from a hagiographical point of view.
The Stavelot monks had been trying for over a century to associate the famous reform abbot Poppo I with Remaclus, an attempt that had succeeded quite well. One of his decisions was to be buried in the crypt that he had built himself, following the example of Remaclus, who had been buried in the oratory he had been constructing.
So when a few decades later Erlebald buried his brother Wibald next to Remaclus, he was associating him with this long-standing ideal of abbatial sainthood. In adulating his brother he was not just placing one individual on a pedestal. This was a particularly effective way of legitimizing his own position as abbot. This is made even more clear by his foundation of a hermitage in the village of My, in the same year he buried Wibald. In the charter that confirmed the establishment, the saints play only a subsidiary role.
Over the centuries, their biographies had become connected to memories of past struggles, which turned them into the hagiographical equivalent of an armed grenade. They were to be used sparingly, and very cautiously. According to the Bollandists, Poppo had organized the elevation because the people in their ignorance had started to murmur, both privately and publicly, about the relics that were kept in Malmedy. After a consultation with the monks and lay brothers of the monastery, Poppo had decided to organize a solemn elevation of whatever relics the Malmedy shrine should prove to contain.
In a problem similar to that facing Poppo seems to have suddenly reared its head. The local populace apparently asked Erlebald to investigate the relics that were kept in Lisieux, a dependency of Malmedy. The abbot also elevated the relics of Malmedy, probably around the third quarter of the twelfth century.
Yet he did not want to exalt the patron saints in and for themselves, as can be shown both from the foundation. Not much later, Frederic got embroiled in a heated conflict with Countess Ermesinde, which led to frequent pillaging missions, the burning of houses, and interventions of the pope as well as from the Imperial princes on behalf of the monastery. Abbot Nicholas ?
The last thirteenth-century abbot of Stavelot, Gilles of Frankenstein had to deal with treason perpetrated by his own brother. However, the thirteenth century left us no texts or manuscripts that point in that direction. Instead, the seven manuscripts that have been preserved from the long thirteenth century continue in the tradition of Wibald and Erlebald, yet begin to infuse the old practices with a curious mix of new subjects, new ideas and new genres.
I will provide a short description of these various codicesan interesting part of which is that they invariably combine the traditional texts with contemporary letters, poems, predictions and offices. It contains a copy of the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great fol. It is a manuscript that shows neither great craftsmanship nor great riches, but it was executed on good quality parchment excepting a large tear in fol. The Dialogues are followed by six homilies attributed to Ephrem the Syrian fol.
The codex contains the complete texts of the Institutions and Conferences of John Cassian fol. According to the catalogue, Stavelot-Malmedy did not yet possess any works of Cassian in the early twelfth century — a remarkable omission. This quire almost functions as some kind of foreword to the rest of the manuscript, as it contains both praise and criticism of the Institutions and the Conferences.
Duggan has pointed out that the manuscript was created between ca. This may be true to the extent that the scribe may have omitted to ask his abbot for explicit permission to emendate the Cassian codex with an office for Becket. Judging from the catalogue, Stavelot already possessed at least fifteen other missals, such as the Missalis Idesboldithe Missalis Stephanithe Missalis Rogeri and the Missalis Rotbertias well as some more common volumes such as a Missalis cottidianus. This already impressive collection was now extended with yet another large missal in two volumes, illuminated with copious gold leaf, smartly executed initials and one splendid miniature of Christ on the cross.
The contents of this manuscript fit the established pattern of de-emphasizing the role of local saints. In the tenth century, the Stavelot litany had counted saints among whom Remaclus, Quirinus and Nicasius. A litany from the fourth quarter of the eleventh century listed 78 saints among whom Remaclus, Quirinus and Justus. Yet the litanies in London, BLonly give 27 names, with Remaclus as the only local saint. The codex then features a catalogue of the sermons by Maurice de Sully d.
London, BL, proves that the regular appearance of Becket in the thirteenth-century codices from Stavelot-Malmedy was no coincidence. Judging from the hand, it was written during the first half of the thirteenth century and has been subdivided into eight lectiones by a contemporary hand fol.Looking for sex Malmedy
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