Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1

In 1257, Abbeville was the site of negotiations that culminated in an Anglo-French
treaty by which Henry III and Louis IX renounced their claims to territories held by the
The sole remaining medieval monument in Abbeville is the large church, formerly a
collegial, of Saint-Vulfran, whose most notable feature is its Flamboyant façade. The
building, which was badly damaged in 1940, was constructed in two periods: the nave
and transept from 1488 to 1539; the chevet from 1661 to 1691. In contrast to the lavishly
decorated façade with its full complement of sculptures, the post-World War II
restorations robbed the interior of any interest.
John Bell Henneman, Jr./William W.Clark
Durand, Georges. “Abbeville, Collégiale Saint-Vulfran.” Congrès archéologique (Amiens)
ABBO OF FLEURY (ca. 945–1004). Born near Orléans, Abbo entered the Benedictine
monastery of Fleury-sur-Loire as a child oblate. After study in Paris and Rome, he
returned to Fleury to teach and write. Abbo spent two years in England at Ramsay abbey
and was there ordained priest by Archbishop Oswald of York, who had been a monk at
Fleury. Upon returning to France, he was elected abbot of Fleury in 988. Abbo died from
a wound received in a quarrel over monastic reform while visiting the abbey of La Réole,
a dependency of Fleury.
Abbo’s writings include scientific treatises (on astronomy, arithmetic, and the
computus), the Canones Abbonis (a collection of conciliar canons and other materials), a
work on grammar, the Vita sancti Edmundi (written while in England), a brief and
incomplete work on lives of the popes, and an Apologia concerning a quarrel with
Arnoul, bishop of Orléans. Some seventeen letters by Abbo survive. He traveled twice to
Rome on behalf of King Robert II, and he was known as an advocate of ecclesiastical and
monastic reform.
Grover A.Zinn
Abbo of Fleury. Opera. PL 139.417–578.
Van de Vyver, A. “Les œuvres inédites d’Abbon de Fleury.” Revue bénédictine (1935):125–69.
ABÉLARD, PETER (1079–1142). Much of the life of Abélard, one of the most
renowned 12th-century thinkers, is known from his Historia calamitatum, written ca.

  1. Born into a minor noble family in Le Pallet, Brittany, in 1079, Abélard embarked
    on a career as student, then master, in various French schools. He studied with leading
    masters at three cathedral schools: Roscelin (Loches), William of Champeaux (Paris),
    and Anselm of Laon (Laon). He himself taught at Paris (Mont-Sainte-Geneviève, Saint-
    Denis [while a monk there], and the cathedral school at Notre-Dame), Melun, Corbeil,
    Laon, and the Paraclete (near Troyes). An intellectual combatant, at Paris he challenged
    Willliam of Champeaux on the existence of universals and at Laon criticized Anselm as
    lacking theological insight and dialectical skills. Abélard himself was harshly criticized
    and rebuked. In 1121, a council at Soissons found him guilty of heresy concerning the
    Trinity and required him to burn his treatise On the Trinity and Unity of God (or
    Theologia “Summi Boni”). In the late 1130s, William of Saint-Thierry, deeply troubled
    by Abélard’s Theologia christiana, wrote to Bernard of Clairvaux, who had Abélard
    summoned to a council at Sens in June 1140, where he was charged with heresy. The
    council condemned nineteen points in Abélard’s theology; the pope soon thereafter also
    condemned Abélard. Following the condemnation at Sens, the Cluniac abbot Peter the

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