This unusual biographical work traces the life and career of Ademar of Chabannes, a monk, historian, liturgist, and hagiographer who lived at the turn of the first Christian millennium. Thanks to the unique collection of over one thousand folios of autograph manuscript that Ademar left behind, Richard Landes has been able to reconstruct in great detail the development of Ademar's career and the events of his day, and to suggest several major revisions in the general picture held by current medieval historiography.
Above all, the author's research confirms and elaborates the realization (first articulated over sixty years ago by the historian Louis Saltet) that in 1029 Ademar suffered a humiliating defeat at the height of his career and spent his final five years feverishly producing a dossier of forgeries and fictions about his own contemporaries that has few parallels in the annals on medieval forgery. Not only did that dossier of forgeries succeed in misleading historians from the twelfth century right up to the twentieth, but few historians have been willing to explore the implications of so striking a revision in Ademar's biography. Richard Landes is the first to systematically examine the evidence and the implications for our understanding of the period, and he offers an explanation of how these remarkable developments might have occurred.
Richard A. Landes is Senior Fellow at the Center for International Communication, Bar-Ilan University.
Acknowledgments Abbreviations I. Ademar and Aquitaine at the Turn of the Millennium 1. An Embarrassment of Riches: Ademar's Autograph Corpus 2. The Social and Political Climate of Aquitaine at the Turn of the Millennium 3. The Politics of Popular Enthusiasm and the Origins of the Vita Prolixior II. Early Career: The Formation of a Monastic Historian, 989-1028 4. Ademar's Youth: Monastic Withdrawal from a Turbulent World 5. A Monk in Church Politics: From Copyist to Historian 6. Writing History in an Apocalyptic Age: Alpha 7. Jerusalem Pilgrimage, Abbacy Lost, History Gained: Beta 8. Assassination, Witchcraft, and the Crucible of Ambition III. The Apostolic Controversy: From Apostolic Impresario to Master Forger, 1028-1031 9. The Consecration of the Basilica Regalis and Ademar's Conversion to the Cult of Saint Martial 10. The Year of the Apostolic Liturgy: Gamma 11. Impresario on the Ropes: The Debates with Benedict of Chiusa 12. Dilemmas of a Masterful Failure: The Circular Apology 13. Birth of a Solitary Forger: Confection of the Apostolic Corpus IV. The Millennial Generation 14. The Terrible Hopes of the Millennial Generation and the Weeping Crucifix 15. Ademar and the Millennial Generation: Apostolic Relics and Apocalyptic Pilgrimages 16. Epilogue: On Timing, Editing, and Forgery Appendices A. Chronology, 987-1034 B. Manuscripts in Ademar's Corpus C. Identifying Ademar's Handwriting D. Manuscript Descriptions D1. BN lat. 5239 D2. BN lat. 3784: A Monastic Compendium D3. Leiden, Vossianus Oct. 15: A Liberal Arts Florilegium D4. BN lat. 2400: An Ecclesiastical Miscellany D5. BN lat. 6190, folios S3-57: First Draft of the History D6. BN lat. 5943A: Historical Works E. Apocalyptic Signs and Ademar's Description of I009-1010 F. Ademar's Trips to Limoges, 1024-1034 G. Length of Simneon's Stay in Angouleme H. Poisonings in Beta I. Analysis of the Sources on Witchcraft Bibliography Index