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§ 181. Rodulfus Glaber. Adam of Bremen.


I. Rodulfus Glaber (Cluniacnesis monachus): Opera, in Migne, Tom. CXLII. col. 611–720. The Historia sui temporis or Historia Francorum is also printed in part, with textual emendations by G. Waitz, in the Monum. Germ. Script., ed. by Pertz, Tom. VII. 48–72, and the Vita Willelmi abbatis in Tom. IV. 655–658. Comp. Ceillier: XIII. 143–147. Wattenbach: Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen. Potthast: Biblioth. Hist. medii aevi, p. 521.

II. Adamus Bremensis: Gesta Hammaburgenais ecclesiae Pontificum, seu Historia ecclesiastica. Libri IV. Best. ed. by Lappenberg in Pertz, Mon. Germ. Scriptores, Tom. VII. 267–389. German translation by Laurent, with introduction by Lappenberg, Berlin, 1850 (in “Geschichtschreiber der deutschen Vorzeit;” XI. Jahrh. B. VII.). In Migne, Tom. CXLVI. col. 433–566 (reprinted from Pertz).—Comp. Giesebrecht: Wendische Geschichte, III. 316 sqq.; Wattenbach: Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen (first ed. p. 252 sqq.); Koppmann: Die mittelalterlichen Geschichtsquellen in Bezug auf Hamburg (1868); Potthast, l.c p. 100; C. Bertheau in Herzog2 I. 140 sqq. Of older notices see Ceillier, XIV. 201–206.


Among the historical writers of the eleventh century, Rodulfus Glaber, and Adam of Bremen deserve special mention, the one for France, the other for the North of Europe.

Rodulfus Glaber15191519    i.e. Calvus, Kahlkopf, Baldhead. His proper name was Rodulfus or Radulphus. Ceillier (l.c. p. 143): “Rodulphe ou Raoul, surnommé Glaber parce qu’il était chauve et sans poil.” was a native of Burgundy, sent to a convent in early youth by his uncle, and expelled for bad conduct; but he reformed and joined the strict Benedictine school of Cluny. He lived a while in the monastery of St. Benignus, at Dijon, then at Cluny, and died about 1050.

His chief work is a history of his own time, from 1000–1045, in five books. Though written in barbarous Latin and full of inaccuracies, chronological blunders, and legendary miracles, it is an interesting and indispensable source of information, and gives vivid pictures of the corrupt morals of that period.15201520    This is the judgment of Waitz (Mon. Germ. VII. 49), and Giesebrecht (II. 567). Wattenbach (Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen, first ed., 1858, p. 322) calls it ”ein Werk voll merkwürdiger Dinge, und mannigfach belehrend, aber ohne festen Plan und chronologische Ordnung.” He wrote also a biography of St. William, abbot of Dijon, who died 1031.15211521    The Vita S. Guillelmi or Willelmi, in Migne, l.c. col. 701-720.

Adam of Bremen, a Saxon by birth, educated (probably) at Magdeburg, teacher and canon of the chapter at Bremen (1068), composed, between 1072 and 1076, a history of the Bishops of Hamburg-Bremen.15221522    Hamburg was the original seat of the Northern episcopate, and remained so nominally, but owing to the constant irruptions of the Wends and Normans, it was transferred to Bremen. This is the chief source for the oldest church history of North Germany and Scandinavia, from 788 to the death of Adalbert, who was archbishop of Bremen from 1045–1072. Adam drew from the written sources in the rich library, of the church at Bremen, and from oral traditions.15231523    Lappenberg gives a full account of all his sources. He went to the Danish King Sven Estrithson, who “preserved the whole history of the barbarians in his memory as in a book.” He is impartial and reliable, but neglects the chronology, . He may almost be called the Herodotus of the North except for his want of simplicity. He was familiar with Virgil, Horace, Lucian, and formed his style chiefly after Sallust; hence his artificial brevity and sententiousness.15241524    Wattenbach (p. 254): Sein Vorbild ist besonders Sallust, der in den Schulen vorzugeweise gelesen wurde und darum auch eine übergrossen Einfluss auf den Stil der Zeit übte“ He adds (p. 255): ”Jede gewissenhafte Forschung geht auf Adam zurück und seine Autorität stand von Anfang an mit Recht in hohem Ansehen.” He ranks with the first historians of the middle ages.15251525    Lappenberg (in Mon. Gem. VII. 267): ”Paucissimi sane sunt inter medii aevi historicos, qui rerum traditarum gravitate, perspicuitate, iudicii ingenuitate, fontium scriptorum cognitione, sermonium ore traditorum accurata perceptione ita emineant, ut Adamus, magister scolarum Bremensis.”



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