A Story about Exploding Bowels: The Bible, Hagiography, Monastic Foundation Documents and the Use of Historical Exemplars
Fraser is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of History. His thesis is entitled ‘The development of territorial principalities between the Loire and the Scheldt, 893-99′.
When I originally wrote these words, on the 19th November, it was (so Wikipedia informed me) World Toilet Day. Yet the question of human faeces is not only a modern concern. It was also a surprisingly highly charged issue in the Middle Ages. Take, for instance, the late-ninth/early-tenth century First Life of St. Gangulf. Gangulf was a pious layman who discovered his wife having an affair with a cleric. Subsequently, he left his wife, inciting within her a ferocious desire for revenge. She and the cleric conspired to kill him, and did so. But in doing so, they incurred the wrath of God. After doing the deed, the cleric feels the call of nature: Read more