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Posts tagged ‘10th century’

A Story about Exploding Bowels: The Bible, Hagiography, Monastic Foundation Documents and the Use of Historical Exemplars

By Fraser McNair

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

Bad Habit: A Wrongdoing Abbot in Tenth-Century Burgundy

By Fraser McNair

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′.

Once again, a story from a charter: in this case, from the record of the resolution of a dispute over land. In 997, Bruno, bishop of Langres, arrived at the church of Saint-Étienne of Dijon looking, so he claimed, to pray there. What he found, however, was the canons of the church complaining that they had been defrauded of the land which was supposed to support their daily necessities. He investigated the complaints, and found them to be true: one of the men of the church of Langres, Odo, and his sons, had expelled the canons from the property. Bruno admonished them. Did they not know that ‘they weren’t feeding their bodies, they were damning their souls’? Read more

Becoming a Lord in Three Easy Steps

By Fraser McNair

Social mobility is not new. Any medieval society was filled with as many ambitious people looking to make their way in the world as any modern one. What is more difficult to see, in many cases, is how a wannabe nobleman turned their dreams into reality...

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