Middle Latin Literature 2

10th and 11th centuries

The political disintegration of the Carolingian Empire was reflected in a regionalization of literary creation, also in the restriction to local topics (saints’ lives, monastery annals). Later representative of the late Carolingian educational tradition in the 10th century was Regino von Prüm, who emerged as a canonist, music theorist and historian. Epics of salvation history following the late antique biblical poetry were written by Odo von Cluny and Flodoard von Reims in West Franconia. The bow from the Carolingian heritage to revitalize the literary creation Otto I hit Ratherius. The history of Widukind von Corvey (* around 925, † after 973) reflects the pride in the achievements of the Saxon tribe. Hrotsvith von Gandersheim, also panegyric from her ruling house, stands out in a dramatic form because of the legends that were unique in the Middle Ages. In close connection with the court of Otto I was Liutprand of Cremona in his memoirs stick work.

In contrast to Germany, where a brief literary bloom ended with the death of Otto I, a fertile epoch began at this time in France, the intellectual life of which was determined by the flourishing cathedral schools. The scientifically versatile Gerbert von Aurillac taught in Reims, while his pupil Fulbert founded the School of Chartres. The monk Aimoin von Fleury put together a detailed history of the Franks. In the north of France, Dudo von Saint-Quentin described the deeds of the Norman dukes, in the south the then well-known hymns were first collected in Moissac and Limoges.

Under Henry II, literary life was also renewed in Germany. The chronicle of Thietmar von Merseburg and Thangmar’s Vita of Hildesheim Bishop Bernward are significant testimonies to the Saxon tradition, but under Heinrich’s Salian successors the cultural centers shifted to the area on the Upper Rhine and around Lake Constance. Wipo, teacher and court chaplain of Henry III. , wrote a description of the reign of Conrad II and the Easter sequence “Victimae paschali laudes”, which is still alive in the liturgy. Bishop Burchard of Worms († 1025) created the first significant collection of canon law, the chronicler and scientist Hermann von Reichenau also wrote sequences and didactic poems, Ekkehart IV created a colorful picture of the life of the St. Gallen monastery. Of particular importance is that of Heinrich III. Lively Cambridge collection of 50 poems (Carmina Cantabrigiensia). The anonymous satirical “Ecbasis cuiusdam captivi per tropologiam” (around 1045) is the first animal poem of the Middle Ages. The epic »Ruodlieb« (around 1050) points to the vernacular chivalric novels of the 12th century.

During the second half of the 11th century a noticeable political and cultural change took place, spiritually prepared by the reforms of monasticism (Gorze, Cluny) and shaped by the investiture controversy, church reform and the flourishing of scholasticism. Its founder was Anselm von Canterbury, who incorporated the dialectic into the doctrine of the faith in his work. Petrus Damiani stands out as a church reformer. In a particularly valuable historical work, Adam von Bremen outlined the history of the Nordic mission and gave his contemporaries a detailed geography of Scandinavia. The struggle between kingship and papacy (Henry IV, Gregory VII.) triggered an abundance of pamphlets well into the 12th century: the one-sided papal manegold von Lautenbach (around 1085) and the loyal king of a Hersfeld monk (around 1090) are outstanding. For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Aristmarketing.

12th and 13th centuries

In the High Middle Ages, France became the center of learning. Numerous scholars of different nationalities worked at the French cathedral schools and universities, who pioneered the thinking of the time. Since the 11th century, the study of Artes liberales has been cultivated in Reims and especially in Chartres, where Bernhard and Thierry as well as Wilhelm von Conches developed their platonically based natural philosophy about the creation of the cosmos and man and thus the poet Bernardus Silvestris von Tours (»De mundi universitate «, around 1150), Alanus from Insulis and Johannes von Hauvilla (* around 1150, † before 1216) inspired the allegorical interpretation of “Mother Nature” in epic form.

The study of Roman authors led in the schools on the Loire, z. B. Angers, Orléans and Tours, on the rediscovery of Ovid, who became the intellectual and formal model for the authors of secular poetry. Marbod von Rennes, Balderich von Bourgueiland Hildebert von Lavardin combined Christian sentiments and an ancient attitude towards life and struck new notes with homage to noble ladies and letters to educated nuns, which Hilarius von Orléans (* around 1075, † 1145) still used in rhythmically rhyming love songs freer nuanced. This worldly mood and joie de vivre predominate in vagante poetry. From the mostly anonymous in later collections (e.g. Carmina Burana) Hugo von Orléans, the Archipoeta and Walther von Châtillon († around 1200) stand out. Ovid’s effect was particularly evident in Orléans, manifested in the solid eroticism of the popular elegiac (reading) comedies (»Pamphilus de amore«, around 1150), in the poetics of Mattheus of Vendôme(1175), in Andrew’s doctrine of love Capellanus (around 1186) and had epics such as Ovid’s alleged life confession “De vetula” written in the 13th century.

The monastic orders in particular reacted to such worldliness with misogynist and world-despising literature, e. B. Bernhard von Cluny around 1150 with the verse satire “De contemptu mundi”. Abelard, whose love affair with Héloise is illustratedin the autobiographical »Historia calamitatum mearum«, was ecclesiastically condemned because of his dialectical doctrine of faith (»Sic et non«) and his ethic of conviction. Behind it stood Bernhard von Clairvaux as an intellectual opponentwho founded the mysticism of Christ and the veneration of Mary in the Middle Ages in his stylistically refined writings and rousing sermons, with which he triggered a rich literature of miracles and visions. Poetic highlights are the sacred songs of Hildegard von Bingen, rhythmic poems such as the anonymous life of the Virgin Mary “Vita beate virginis Marie et Salvatoris” (Southern Germany, after 1200) and the nightingale song by Johannes von Hoveden. While visions were almost exclusively written by women – for example by Hildegard von Bingen and Gertrud von Helfta  - Caesarius von Heisterbach combined stories of visions and miracles in the “Dialogus miraculorum” for religious and moral instruction. Jakob von Vitryand Odo von Cheriton developed the narrative form of the example for Middle Latin literature.

Middle Latin Literature 2