Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Monks, Orderic Vitalis said, need only two things to survive: wood and water. Historians need three: money, books, and friends. The first was provided by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, which supported four years of my graduate study, ...

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Prologue

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pp. xi-xxiii

“In the year of our Lord 1118, on the vigil of the birth of the Lord, a violent gale leveled many buildings and woods in western regions,” the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman monk and historian Orderic Vitalis opened the twelfth book of his Historia Ecclesiastica. He immediately went on. ...

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Ouche: The History of a Place

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pp. 1-18

Normandy’s characteristic rolling hills grow more pronounced in the Pays d’Ouche. The peaks there are more panoramic, the valleys more thoroughly folded away. Set along the border where in the eleventh and twelfth centuries the duchy of Normandy collided, often violently, with the county of Maine, ...

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Classical Geography and the Gens Normannorum

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pp. 19-41

Orderic Vitalis was well versed in the writings of the historians who came before him. The library at Ouche possessed the works of “Isidore, Eusebius, and Orosius,” Orderic said, whose compositions “beneficially encouraged the young men pursuing similar studies.”1 ...

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At Sea

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pp. 42-50

The Norman world at its height offered a geographic doubling: Normandy at the northwestern edge of the European mainland, linked to the island of England across the Channel; and Apulia and Calabria near the southwestern corner of the continent, joined with the island of Sicily across the Strait of Messina. ...

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Albion: Conquest, Hegemony, and the English Past

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pp. 51-69

The Norman conquest of England was audacious, stunning, and amazingly quick.1 Edward the Confessor, the childless king of England, was buried in the newly consecrated abbey church at Westminster on Thursday, 6 January 1066.2 On the same day Harold Godwinson, earl of Essex ...

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Jerusalem and the Ends of the Earth

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pp. 70-91

Alongside the year 1099 in the annals of the monastery of Ouche, Orderic Vitalis (who kept this chronological record for much of his adult life) noted three events: “Jerusalem was taken on 15 July by the holy pilgrims, the heathens who had held it for a long time having been conquered. ...

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Haunted Landscapes

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pp. 92-109

“I reckon,” Orderic Vitalis reflected in the mid-1130s, “that I must not neglect or keep silent about something that happened to a certain presbyter from the diocese of Lisieux on 1 January” in 1091. The story that follows is one of the most famous passages in the entire Historia Ecclesiastica.1 ...

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Historians, Heretics, and the Body of Christ

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pp. 110-128

On 29 August 1070, four years after Normandy’s William the Bastard crossed the Channel and conquered England, the scholar and administrator Lanfranc, formerly abbot of St. Stephen’s in Caen, was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury.1 The previous prelate, Stigand, had been deposed the April before, ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 129-136

“The time of Antichrist draws near,” Orderic Vitalis wrote in 1127 in a mid-work dedication to his abbot and friend, Warin des Essarts, “whose form, as the Lord made known to the blessed Job, will be preceded by a lack of miracles, and a great frenzy of vices will proceed from those who take pleasure in their own carnal delights.”1 ...

Notes

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pp. 137-214

Bibliography

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pp. 215-259

Index

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pp. 260-272