Medieval France. An Encyclopedia

(Darren Dugan) #1

faithful—recalled that of Judas and gained him the epithet vetulus traditor and the
nickname Ascelin. His motivations were more pro-Ottonian than pro-Capetian; in 995, he
plotted, unsuccessfully, with Otto III and Eudes of Blois, an opponent in the Carolingian
struggle, to overthrow the Capetians. Despite his multiple offenses, however, Adalbero
survived all the fluctuations in his and the kingdom’s fortunes: unlike his more talented
contemporary Gerbert of Aurillac, who committed no such treasonous acts, Adalbero was
an “insider” in the aristocratic world of northern French episcopal politics. He is the
author of a treatise on dialectic, a theological poem, and two satirical poems. His Carmen
ad Rotbertum contains one of the earliest French articulations of the idea of the “Three
Orders” and expresses Adalbero’s deeply conservative views and his opposition to the
unregal piety of Robert II, who,“ruled over” by Odilo of Cluny, accepted new religious
movements like the Peace of God and monastic reform, and raised humble clerics to the
ranks of bishop.
Richard Landes
Adalbero of Laon. Poème au roi Robert, ed. and trans. Claude Carozzi. Paris: Les Belles Lettres,

  1. [Important introduction.]
    Coolidge, Robert. “Adalbero, Bishop of Laon.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History
    Duby, Georges. The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined, trans. Arthur Goldhammer. Chicago:
    University of Chicago Press, 1980.
    Heckel, G.A. “Les poèmes satyriques d’Adalbéron.” Bibliothèque de la Faculté des Lettres,
    Université de Paris 13(1901):49–184.
    Oexle, Otto Gerhard. “Die fonktionale Dreiteilung der ‘Gesellschaft’ bei Adalbero von Laon:
    Deutungsschemata der sozialen Wirklichkeit im früher Mittelalter.” Frühmittelalterliche
    Studien 12(1978):1–54.


(ca. 1240–ca. 1285). Dramatist and poet. Also called “Adam le Bossu” or “le Bossu
d’Arras” (bossu ‘awkward’ or ‘crippled’), Adam de la Halle lived and wrote in Arras
during the last third of the 13th century. His modern reputation is based primarily on two
plays: a satiric drama, the Jeu de la feuillée (1,099 octosyllabic lines), and a work often
referred to as a comic opera, the Jeu de Robin et Marion. Since feuillée has been
interpreted to mean the shelter of branches built to house the reliquary of Notre Dame at
Pentecost, the Jeu de la feuillée is thought to have been composed for performance in the
town of Arras for this festival. This first extant secular drama in French contains little
plot, presenting mostly a succession of scenes that tease and ridicule forty-nine named
male and female citizens of Arras. The humor of the play depends on exploiting character
traits known to the audience, as well as proverbs and puns whose full meaning could be
appreciated only by those familiar with the citizenry of Arras. Contemporary documents
that contain the names of the characters in the play allow us to date the work to 1276 or

  1. It provides the earliest example on the French stage of the ridicule of the medical

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