« Adam, Books of Adam of Bremen Adam, Melchior »

Adam of Bremen

ADAM OF BREMEN: Author of the Gesta Hammenburgensis ecclesiæ pontificum, a history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen extending down to the death of Adalbert (1072). The work itself tells of its author only that his name began with “A,” that he came to Bremen in 1068 and ultimately became a canon there, and that he wrote the book between the death of Adalbert and that of King Svend Estridsen of Denmark (1072–76). But there is no doubt that this is the work referred to by Helmold and assigned to a Magister Adam; in which case the author must be the Adam magister scholarum who wrote and was one of the signatories to an extant document of Jan. 11, 1069, and also the same whose death on Oct. 12, year not given, is recorded in a Bremen register.

It may be conjectured from scanty indications that Adam was born in upper Saxony and educated at Magdeburg. His education was in any case a thorough one for his time. His book is one of the best historical works of the Middle Ages. Not only is it the principal source for the early history of the archbishopric and its northern missions, but it gives many valuable data both for Germany and other countries. The author was unusually well provided with documents and with the qualities necessary for their use. His general credibility and love of truth have never been seriously challenged; and his impartiality is shown by the way in which he records the weaknesses of Adalbert, with whom he was in close relations and whom he admired. The best edition of Adam’s book is by J. M. Lappenberg, in MGH, Script., vii. (1846) 267-389 (issued separately, Hanover, 1846; 2d ed., with full introduction and notes, 1876); the work is also in MPL, cxlvi. 451-620. There is a German translation by J. C. M. Laurent (2d ed., revised by W. Wattenbach, Leipsic, 1888).

(Carl Bertheau.)

Bibliography: J. H. a Seelen, De Adamo Bremensi, in his Miscellanea, ii. 415-493, Lübeck, 1736; L. Giesebrecht, Historische und literarische Abhandlung der Königsberger deutschen Gesellschaft, ed. F. W. Schubert, iii. 141, Königsberg, 1834; W. Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, i. 752, Brunswick, 1874; G. Dehio, Geschichte des Erzbistums Hamburg-Bremen, i. 176-177, Berlin, 1877; W. Wattenbach, DGQ, iii. (1894) 78-82; Hauck, KD, iii.

« Adam, Books of Adam of Bremen Adam, Melchior »
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