Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1

Lewis, Andrew W. Royal Succession in Capetian France: Studies on Familial Order and the State.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.
Pacaut, Marcel. Louis VII et son royaume. Paris: SEVPEN, 1964.


(Ademarus Cabannensis; 989–1034). Son of Limousin aristocrats, monk of Saint-Cybard
in Angoulême, educated at Saint-Martial in Limoges, Adémar was a talented and
versatile scribe. His autograph manuscripts (over 1,000 folios) include editions, drawings,
poetry, liturgy with musical notation, sermons, history, and computus. In 1010 at
Limoges, at the height of an apocalyptic crisis triggered by Al-Hakim’s destruction of the
Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and various signs, wonders, and natural disasters, he had a
vision of a cross planted in the heavens with Christ on it, weeping rivers of tears. Around
1025, he began a history of his time, which survives in three recensions and, in its global
scope and popular religious activity, resembles that of Raoul Glaber.
With his ambitions frustrated in Angoulême by the deaths of his abbot and the count
of the city, Adémar turned to Limoges, where he strove to become the impresario of the
enormously popular cult of St. Martial, writing a new “apostolic” liturgy to accord with a
new popular legend that the saint was a companion of Jesus. But on August 3, 1029, the
day of the liturgy’s inauguration, a prior from Lombardy roundly defeated him in public
debate, turning the crowd against the liturgy and ruining its debut. Adémar returned to
Angoulême in disgrace and, after defending himself in a circular letter that he never sent,
turned to forgery and fiction. He produced a whole dossier of texts—papal letters,
conciliar decrees, sermons, interpolations into famous Christian writers, and lengthy
accounts of the Peace councils of Poitiers and Limoges in 1031, where “a certain cleric”
from Angoulême carries the day for St. Martial. Adémar is perhaps best known for his
Historia in three books, which traces the history of the Franks from their mythic Trojan
beginnings to 1028. In 1032–33, he deposited his life’s work at Saint-Martial before
going on a terminal pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Given his “mythomania,” his work is
difficult to interpret, but he is an invaluable source for his period, especially the castellan
wars, the Peace of God movement, the rise in relic cults and pilgrimage, and apocalyptic
Richard Landes
Adémar de Chabannes. La chronique d’Adémar de Chabannes, ed. Jules Chavanon. Paris: Picard,
Arbellot, J. “Étude historique et littéraire sur Adémar de Chabannes.” Bulletin de la Société
Archéologique et Historique du Limousin 21(1872):104–52.
Bachrach, Bernard. “‘Potius rex quam esse dux putabatur’: Some Observations Concerning
Adémar of Chabannes’s Panegyric on Duke William the Great.” Haskins Society Journal 1
Delisle, Léopold. “Notice sur les manuscrits originaux d’Adémar de Chabannes.” Notices et
extraits de la Bibliothèque Nationale 35(1895):241–355.

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