The Long Twelfth Century
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
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On October 26–28, 2006 the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame hosted a conference on “European Transformations, 950–1200.” The conference provided three days of rich presentations, robust discussion, and warm conviviality. The undersigned conveners always planned to publish the papers presented in...
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Periodization schemes for the Middle Ages have been among the hardiest perennials in the historian’s garden of debate. Once upon a time it was easy. Rome fell, the tapers of civilization were snuffed out, and the Middle Ages dawned. After almost a millennium of unrelieved darkness, the bright light of the Renaissance...
One. The Twelfth Century: Reading, Reason, and Revolt in a World of Custom
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The twelfth century in European history, from about 1050 to 1215, has served medievalists for nearly three generations as our most compelling response to an abiding fascination with modernity and its origins. Since the mid-nineteenth century, Burckhardt’s 1860 epoch-making “Kultur” (civilization) of fifteenth-century...
Two. A Historian of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance and the Transformation of English Society, 1066–ca. 1200
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No part of Europe was more fundamentally transformed during the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries than England, the kingdom in the southeastern part of Britain, that “other world” (alter orbis) cut off by the ocean from the rest of the continent.1 The process that Robert Bartlett called the “Europeanization...
Three. Chivalric One-Upmanship in France, ca. 1100
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The transformations undergone by France between 950 and 1200 are currently the subject of debate among historians.1 While it seems to me that the chronological markers employed by historians of the old school (from the eighteenth century until Marc Bloch) were not in themselves erroneous, it is now necessary to...
Four. Reconquest, Renaissance, and the Histories of Iberia, ca. 1000–1200
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“Throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Spain remained the land of mystery, of the unknown yet knowable, for inquiring minds beyond the Pyrenees. The great adventure of the European scholar lay in the Peninsula.”1 Thus wrote Charles Homer Haskins surveying the intellectual scene eight hundred years ago...
Five. Italy in the Long Twelfth Century: Ecclesiastical Reform and the Legitimization of a New Political Order, 1059–1183
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Attempts to characterize the transformation of Europe over the central Middle Ages usually assign a minor role to Italy. In both Robert I. Moore’s First European Revolution and Robert Bartlett’s Making of Europe, northern Italy is considered part of mainstream or “core” developments, mainly because of its economic sophistication...
Six. Sutri 1046—Canossa 1077—Rome 1111: Problems of Communication and the Perception of Neighbors
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In 2006, a historical exhibition in Paderborn entitled Canossa 1077: Die Erschütterung der Welt (Canossa 1077: The Shaking of the World) drew an enormous number of visitors.1 This exhibition used Canossa as a pivot-point from which to treat “the crisis of medieval Germany” in the second half of the eleventh century.2 At Canossa...
Seven. The Europeanization of Europe: The Case of Scandinavia
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In 1079, Pope Gregory VII sent a letter to King Olav of Norway, addressing this ruler and his people “on the farthest edge of the circle of the globe”1 with advice and consolation. More precisely, the pope had two messages to deliver. He asked the king to send some young men of noble origin to the curia for education, so...
Eight. Ambiguous Beginnings: East Central Europe in the Making, 950–1200
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Situating Eastern or (as I will refer to it instead) East Central Europe within the framework of the general history of the Continent encompassed by the years 950 through 1200 immediately poses several challenges.1 From the perspective of medieval Europe in its entirety, these three centuries constitute a historical...
Nine. Lords, Markets, and Communities: The Urban Revolution of the Twelfth Century
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During the “long twelfth century,” between roughly 1050 and 1200, the scope and nature of European urbanization changed fundamentally. After this period, as before it, the cities and towns were cult centers and military strongholds, but after 1200 they were also economic and generally demographic central places for their regions...
Ten. Peasants, the Seigneurial Regime, and Serfdom in the Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries
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The present volume and the conference that preceded it were not explicitly designed to update the 1977 Harvard meeting on the Renaissance of the Twelfth Century held on the fiftieth anniversary of Charles Homer Haskins’ classic publication.1 Nevertheless, there are some interesting points of comparison, especially the...
Eleven. Clothing, Iron, and Timber: The Growth of Christian Anxiety about Islam in the Long Twelfth Century
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In the final canons of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, Pope Innocent III turned his attention from issues internal to the Christian church to address matters pertaining to non-Christians, both Muslims and Jews, and their relations with Christians.1 The pragmatic bent of the pope’s remarks is noteworthy here, as Innocent...
Twelve. Continuity and Change in Twelfth-Century Christian-Jewish Relations
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My way into this vast topic will be the remarkable story of Herbert of Bosham. As an administrator, Herbert joined John of Salisbury in the household of Thomas Becket after having served King Henry II. He and John stood at the center of the clash between king and archbishop about temporal and spiritual jurisdictions...
Thirteen. The Legal Revolution of the Twelfth Century
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In 1927, the Harvard medievalist Charles Homer Haskins provoked his renaissance colleagues when he published a book called The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century.1 He argued that the twelfth century saw a revival of letters that might rival the Renaissance of the fifteenth century, and that modernity therefore began in the high...
Fourteen. Liminalities: Literate Women in the Long Twelfth Century
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When I entered graduate school in 1976, the twelfth century boasted only three women writers: Heloise, whose letters had just been reascribed to Abelard as part of an exemplary fiction;1 Marie de France, a mysterious name without a biography; and Hildegard of Bingen, who wrote long, inscrutable Latin tomes that only Germans...
Fifteen. Philosophy and Theology
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“Philosophy and Theology” (in the long twelfth century) reads more like the title of a book—or a series of books—than of a twenty-page chapter. I have tailored my material to such a compass by making four decisions: three of them restrict the scope of what is included in this title; the fourth concerns the method...
Sixteen. Semiotic Anthropology: The Twelfth-Century Approach
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“Semiotic anthropology,” an expression coined by Milton Singer at the University of Chicago in the mid-1970s, became a methodological program actively taught and pursued there.1 Although this particular form of anthropology arose from a philosophical analysis of language and cognition, building upon the insights...
Seventeen. Three-in-One: Making God in Twelfth-Century Liturgy, Theology, and Devotion
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The purpose of this chapter is to question certain assumptions historians have tended to make about the dominant character of religious thought, that is, thought having to do with worship, in the period beginning, roughly, with Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109) and ending with the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Insofar...
Eighteen. John of Salisbury, a Philosopher of the Long Eleventh Century
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Modern historians of twelfth-century culture agree that many phenomena that are new in that age begin early in the preceding century. It is also now fairly common to talk about “the long twelfth century,” which may extend as far back as 1029 (the range of the New Cambridge Medieval History, 1029–1199) and as far forward...
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Page Count: 520
Illustrations: No e-rights for images; text only.
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies