Translation of the Chronicle of the Abbey of Morigny, France, C. 1100-1150

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Written during the 12th century by monks at the Benedictine abbey of Morigny, about fifty kilometers south of Paris, the Chronicle describes the abbey’s foundation, its purchase by King Philip I, its difficulties surviving its initial poverty, its heated quarrel over proprietorships with the canons of the church of Saint-Martin in Old Etampes, and its bitter dispute with the church of Notre Dame of Etampes over burial rights. Besides revealing the intrigues and scandals of 12th-century churchman vying for money, power, and influence, these parts of the text detail an abbey’s struggle to be born and survive in a society filled with churches, and with powers, both lay and ecclesiastical, competing either to help it or harm it. This, the first published translation of the Chronicle, will be a significant addition to early 12th-century studies.


“Its value lies: in the time period it covers, which was one of the most formative and interesting periods of the Middle Ages (including the reigns of Henry I and Stephen in England, and Philip, Louis VI, and Louis VII in France); in its origin in a royal monastery in the heart of France, an institution that was in the ‘thick’ of that period’s events and well informed about them; and in the subjects on which it sheds significant light (conflicts between canons and monks; confraternities; the management of ecclesiastical estates; the elections of popes and abbots; and ecclesiastical and royal politics in general). ...He has provided a wealth of notes and identifications, as well as chapter headings and a detailed but thoroughly readable introduction that will enable any reader to enjoy and understand the work. This translation will be both accessible to undergraduates and welcome to researchers and I can foresee its being used in both undergraduate and graduate classrooms as well as being consulted by scholars." - Jeff Rider, Chair, Professor of French and Medieval Studies, Wesleyan University

“... a significant work for all those interested in ecclesiastical politics, the Investiture Controversy, the papal schism of 1130-39, and the French monarchy of the late eleventh and early twelfth century ... As Morigny became an abbey of importance, its monks may have seen the production of a history of their house as one way of demonstrating their learning and status, their fitness, in other words, for their royal patronage. Whatever the reason, scholars have reason t be glad they did and to be grateful to Richard Cusimano for at long last making their endeavors available in English.” – Dr. Leah Shopkow, Indiana University

"Several monastic chronicles from northern France in the first half of the twelfth century give us much of our information both on political events and on monastic life during the period: the chronicles of Suger, of Orderic Vitalis, of Guibert of Nogent, of Herman of Tournai, and of Galbert of Bruges. The Chronicle of Morigny deserves to be considered with this group but is much less well known. The critical edition of the twelfth century manuscript, done by Leon Mirot, is a century old; there has been no modern study of the monastery and its historiography; and the chronicle has never been translated ... Here Richard Cuisamano provides an English translation, with Mirot's Latin helpfully reproduced on facing pages." - Catholic Historical Review

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (main headings):
I. Background
II. The Founding of the Abbey of Morigny
III. The Early Abbots
IV. The Later History of the Abbey
V. A Postscript on the Text and Translation

1. [The Malicious Foe: The Prologue]
2. [The Mercy of Heaven: The Earliest Acquisitions of the Abbey]
[An Army of One: The Labors of Baldwin at the Manor of Maisons,1102]
[In Memoriam: Abbot Thiou’s Accomplishments and Prayer]
1. [The Riches of the Earth: The Prologue]
[A New Ship of the Church: The Founding of the Abbey]
2. [The Helmet of Salvation: King Philip I Acquires the Abbey, 1096]
3. [Devilish Whisperings: A Quick Succession of Abbots]
[The Strong are Tested: The Election of Abbot Thomas amid Hard Times]
4. [A Vigilant Servant: Some Accomplishments of Abbot Thomas]
[A Hand Put to the Lord’s Plough: The Cultivation of the Manor of Bléville]
5. [Raging Winds: Struggle for Possession of the Church of Saint-Martin]
[Ask and You Shall Receive: A Charter from the Archbishop of Sens]
6. [The Good Watchman at the Prow: Other Gifts to the Abbey]
[The Kingdom Staggered: Warfare between Louis VI and Theobald IV] [Diabolical Wickedness: Hugh of Crécy Murders Milo II of Montlhéry, 1118]
7. [Driven by Need: Pope Gelasius II Visits France. He dies at Cluny, 1119]
8. [An Irreconcilable Enemy: The Installation of Gregory VIII, 1118]
9. [The Shield of Faith: The Election of Pope Calixtus II at Cluny, 1119]
[The Sword of Discord: Conflict over Burial of the Dead, 1119]
10. [The Hiss of the Viper: The Discord Reaches the Royal Court, 1119]
[Tread Not on Me: The Letter of Abbot Thomas to the Archbishop of Sens]
[Guided by the Lord: Pope Calixtus II Visits Etampes, Fall 1119]
11. [In Full Flower: Calixtus II Dedicates the Abbey Church, 1119]
12. [Spikes Fixed in Deep: Discord over Burials Reaches the Papal Court]
[Rest in Peace: Abbot Thomas Writes to the Papal Chancellor Chrysogonus]
13. [Perseverance in Good Works: Royal Support for the Abbey, 1120]
[More Riches of the Earth: Additional Acquisitions of the Abbey]
[Doubts are Dispelled: The Debate over Simony at the Abbey]
14. [Pride of Power: The Dismissal of Stephen of Garlande from Court, 1127]
[Trapped by Clever Words: The Abbey Gains the Churches of Old Etampes]
[Whirling Waters: Attack on the Monks of Morigny in Old Etampes, 1129]
[The Scale of the Heart: Judgment at Poissy, 1129]
15. [Monastic Fervor: A Digression on Abbot Thomas and Prior Garin]
[Wisdom amid Errors: Royal Pardon for the People of Old Etampes]
[Sounding the Timbrel: New Holidays for the Abbey, 1129]
16. [Dark Clouds of Storm: The Election of Pope Innocent II, 1130]
[Very Visible Fractures: The Schism of Peter Leo, Anacletus II, 1130-38]
[One Earth, One Sun: The Council of Etampes Recognizes Innocent II, 1130]
[An Unexpected Guest: Pope Innocent II Visits the Abbey, 1131]
[Cheerful Sunshine: Innocent II Consecrates the Altar of the Abbey Church]
17. [Promised Obedience: Lothar III Recognizes Innocent II as Pope, 1131]
[At Loose Ends: Pope Innocent II Lingers in France, 1131]
[From a Very Savage Demon: The Death of Prince Philip, October 13, 1131]
[Unspeakable Grief: Innocent II Consoles Louis VI at the Council of Reims]
[Good Men Everywhere Crowned: The Anointing of Prince Louis at Reims]
[The Wise are Made Known: Other Kings Recognize Innocent II as Pope] [Honorable Service: The Carthusians Support Innocent II as Pope]

1. [Let Me Go: The Prologue, with Abbot Thomas as Another Moses]
[A Not So Small Measure of Goodness: A Eulogy for Abbot Thomas]
2. [Putting Off Old Garments: The Death of William X of Aquitaine, 1137]
[Heights of Joy: Prince Louis Marries Eleanor of Aquitaine]
[A Just Consideration of Mercy: Death of King Louis VI, August 1, 1137]
[A Strong Sense of Discernment: King Louis VII Begins His Reign, 1137]
3. [Fury of the Lion: Peter Leo Expels Innocent II from Rome, 1133]
[Patience amid Adversities: Innocent II Returns to Rome, 1138]
[Sword of the Spirit: Innocent II Addresses the Second Lateran Council]
[Sword of the Church: Innocent II Annuls the Decrees of Peter Leo]
4. [Stony Rigidity: The Demotions and Demolitions Decreed by Innocent II]
[Rod of Discipline: The Archbishop of Sens Suspends Abbot Thomas]
[Pounded with Heavy Blows: Abbot Thomas Resigns from Office, 1140]
[A Thief in the Night: Louis VII Interferes in the Election of the Next Abbot]
[The Sea Grew Still: The Monks of Morigny Elect Macaire as Abbot, 1140]
[Whips as Well as Words: Violence over the Church of Saint-Martin]
5. [Evils of the Spirit: Conflict over the Archbishopric of Bourges, 1141]
6. [Untimely Sorrows: Death Comes for Three Popes, 1143-45]
[Holy Service of Discipline: Lucius II Reforms the Abbey of Saint-Benoit]
[Things Turned Out Well: The Election of Thévin as Abbot, 1144]
[To God All Things Are Possible: Thévin Enriches the Abbey, 1144-51]
7. [The Splendid Glory of Honor: Louis VII Calls for a Crusade, 1146]
[Nothing Useful, Nothing Memorable: The Second Crusade, 1147-49]
[A Crown of Golden Diadems: The Death of Abbot Thévin, 1151]
APPENDIX A: The Families of the Lords of Montlhéry and Rochefort
APPENDIX B: The Family of the Lords of Le Puiset
APPENDIX C: The Family of Garlande

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