- Memory and Community in Medieval Southern Italy. The History, Chapter Book, and Necrology of Santa Maria del Gualdo Mazzocca
St. Maria del Gualdo Mazzocca is a Benedictine monastery in the Fortore valley not far from Benevento. Founded by John the Hermit (d. 1170) in the mid-eleventh century it grew by donations and acquisitions in the region and by incorporations of other churches and monasteries. Not long after its institutional zenith, when it was declared an abbey in 1294–98, it attempted to take over the abbey of St. Maria de Crypta, an ambition it had to relinquish because of a papal sentence in 1326. Its decline began in 1362–63 with great losses from the plague, followed by litigations among the monks; Arnold (O. Cist.), their reformist abbot; and Elizarius, their first commendatory abbot. The monastery never recovered from the great earthquake in 1456 and finished its monastic history with the conversion into a community of canons regular in 1506. [End Page 608]
Charles Hilken provides a concise report on the economic and spiritual history of the monastery, although his book started as an edition of the necrology of the monastery as conserved in the codex Vat. lat. 5949. The full codex was used by the monks at the daily readings in the chapter room; thus besides the necrology it contains a martyrology and the chapter book itself. Hilken’s book shows the possibilities of a thorough analysis of a medieval manuscript: the edition does not stop at the transcription, nor with a codicological and paleographical analysis, but considers every textual and practical aspect. Hilken reports his findings on the relationship of the necrology with different martyrologies, the similarities in the punctorium between Vat. lat. 5949 and several other manuscripts of Benevento provenance. He establishes a catalog of the priors and maps the distribution of the monastery’s possessions. Hilken wishes to understand the monastic ideas of the community, even if only suggested by the layout and the formulae of the necrology. The reader might ask what Hilken’s book adds to the knowledge about the necrology already published by the Italian scholars in the past sixty years,1 but in its concise compilation of the literature and primary sources, the book could become the first reference for the history of St. Maria del Gualdo for scholars. It remains the first critical edition of the necrology, an edition connecting the manuscript and its text to almost any related documentation.
1. See especially Emma Condello, “‘Scriptor est Eustasius....’ Nuove osservazioni sull’orgine del codice Vaticano latino 5949,” Scrittura e Civiltà, 18 (1994), 53–75; Jean- Marie Martin, Le cartulaire de S[an] Matteo di Sculgola en Capitanate,2 vols., [Codice Diplomatico Pugliese, 30], (Bari, 1987); Enrico D. Putrella,“La Proprietà della badia di p. Maria del Gualdo,” Samnium, 20 (1947), 20–27, 146–61, Samnium, 21 (1948), 15–126, and Samnium, 22 (1949), 1–27; Fiorangelo Morrone, La “Legenda” del Beato Giovanni Eremita di Tufara (Naples, 1992); Fiorangelo Morrone, Monastero di Sancta Maria de Gualdo Mazocca. Badia Baronia di p. Bartolomeo in Galdo (Naples, 1998); and Antonio Vuolo,“Il ‘Chartularium’ del monastero di p. Maria del Gualdo e di p. Matteo di Sculcula (1177–1239). (Indicazioni di storia monastica, sociale ed economica della media valle del Fortore),” Benedictina, 25 (1978), 327–63.