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Rodulfus Glaber or Ralph Glaber (985–1047) was a monk and chronicler of the years around 1000 and is one of the chief sources for the history of France in that period.

Contents

Life

His uncle, a monk at Saint-Léger-de-Champeaux, found him a place in the monastery when he was about twelve years old,[1] but he was expelled for bad behaviour. Later he joined a monastery near Dijon where he met reforming Piedmontese cleric William of Volpiano in about 1010. He moved to the Abbey of Cluny, headed by Abbot Odilon de Mercœur and finally to the Abbey of Saint-Germain en Auxerre in 1039, where he remained until his death.

Works

His works include a hagiography of William of Volpiano, the Vita Sancti Guillelmi Abbatis Divionensis, but it is for his history that he is best known. This, entitled the Historiarum libri quinque ab anno incarnationis DCCCC usque ad annum MXLIV (History in five books from 900 AD to 1044 AD), was begun at Cluny, probably around 1026 and no later than 1027. Rodulfus' histories deal principally with France, but occasionally range as far as Scotland and Southern Italy. Especially significant is his treatment of the end of the first millennium. He is the primary source for claims of widespread fear and divine omens (famines and eclipses) anticipating the end of the world. Nineteenth-century historians relying too heavily on this one monk of ill repute popularised the notion that the people of the late tenth century lived in superstitious fear of apocalyptic nonevents.

Glaber is also the source for the phrase "white mantle of churches" describing the ubiquity of religious architecture in his age.

Notes

  1. ^ Rodulfus Glaber, History 5.3 (ed. France, p. 221).

Further reading

  • Rodulfi Glabri Historiarum Libri Quinque; Rodulfus Glaber, The Five Books of the Histories [cover title: Rodulfus Glaber, Opera] ed. J. France (Oxford, 1989)

External links

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