The Deeds of God through the Franks. A Translation of Guibert of Nogent's "Gesta Dei per Francos."trans. and ed. by Robert Levine. (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 84, Number 2, April 1998
- pp. 323-324
- View Citation
- Additional Information
book reviews323 Riagol meant both 'rule' and 'tract,' and the editor includes a most interesting twelfth-century treatise on the Eucharist. The 'rules' are reaUy primers ofmonastic piety. They do, of course, presume organized communities (with allowance for hermits), and these documents throw a great light on Irish monastic spUituality . The Rule of Columbanus, the only surviving rule of Irish origin in Latin, might have been included, and perhaps also a cáin (e.g., that ofAdomnán). The cana were ordinances of great interest to monasteries, for not only did they seek to raise the moral tone of society, but they were imposed when the abbot went on circuit, thus generating taxes. So c«w=law=tax. The life of the founder was also treasured and read in the monasteries of his or her federation, and an excerpt or two from vitae might have warranted inclusion. The Celtic Monk could weU serve as a reader for an introductory course on early medieval Ireland. There are rather too many errata, and for the next edition the editor might submit the text to the scrutiny of a competent historian. John J. Silke Portnablagh, County Donegal The Deeds of God through the Franks. A Translation of Guibert ofNogenfs "Gesta Dei per Francos." Translated and edited by Robert Levine. (Rochester, NewYork: The BoydeU Press. 1997. Pp. v, 166. $63.00.) Abbot Guibert of Nogent's Gesta Dei per Francos is an account, in Latin, of the First Crusade from its proclamation by Pope Urban II in November, 1095, to the Crusaders' capture ofJerusalem inJuly, 1099. Writing around 1 1 10, Guibert was revising earUer histories of the expedition because he thought that they lacked both the rhetorical polish and the theological insight appropriate to the lofty subject of God's holy war. An English translation of this cruciaUy important work has been long overdue , and students of crusading, medieval reUgion, and historiography will welcome Robert Levine's effort to fill the void. They will regret, however, that the work has not been done to a higher standard. WhUe the translation is generally readable, if not consistently idiomatic, as instanced in the ubiquitous use of "lo," there are disheartening lapses—e.g., "speed afoot" (p. 77) and "the dipping of the mouthful" (p. 31)—where Levine is content with nonsense. Trie translation is marred further by a staggering number of typographical, grammatical , and syntactical errors, by mistakes in spelling—"Hanibal" (p. 64), "Bythinia " (p. 62), "homage" but "hommage" (both occurrences on p. 6l),"guUey" (p. 74), and "vicount" (p. 1 19)—and by egregious inconsistencies and inaccuracies in names and identifications: Pompeius Trogus (p. 115) appears as "Trogus Pompeius" (p. 8) and "Gnaeus Trogus Pompeius" (p. 27 and n. 49), and Fulcher of Chartres (pp. 6, 15) as "Fulker" (pp. 6, 15) and "Fulker of Charters" (p. 161). Ernest "Baker" (p. 6, n. 23) should read Barker, "Turnholt" (pp. 18, 19) is Turn- 324BOOK REVIEWS hout,"A. R. Gibbs" (p. 18) is H. A. R. Gibb; Eustace of "Bologne" (p. 139) was Eustace of Boulogne; Antioch was situated on the Orontes, not on the "Pharphar" ("Pharfar" p. 95); "Alexandriola" (p. 104) is Alexandretta; Raymond, vicomte of Turenne is identified mystifyingly as "Viscount of Torena" (p. 119 n. 192); and Geoffrey of Montescaglioso is rendered meaninglessly as "Geoffrey of Mont Scabieuse" (p. 68) and "Godfrey of Mount-Scabieuse" (p. 102). The errors are too numerous to list, but these should suffice to warn readers to approach this translation with circumspection, and preferably with a reUable gazeteer and a copy of Rosalind HUl's splendid edition, translation and annotation ofthe Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolimitanorum (Oxford, 1962). There is no index. Penny J. Cole Trinity College University ofToronto The Military Orders:Fightingfor the Faith and Caringfor the Sick. Edited by Malcolm Barber. (Brookfield,Vermont: Variorum, Ashgate PubUshing Company . 1994. Pp. xxviii, 399. $99.50.) This volume is made up of forty-one papers read at a conference on the MUitary Orders held at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, London, in September, 1992. The editor, Malcolm Barber, is to be congratulated for the way in which he has given to this coUection a coherence rarely achieved m...