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  • Moines et religieux dans la ville (XIIe–XVe siècle) Edited by Nicole Bériou and Cécile Caby
  • David Burr
Moines et religieux dans la ville (XIIe–XVe siècle). Edited by Nicole Bériou and Cécile Caby. [Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 44.] (Toulouse: Editions Privat. 2009. Pp. 639, with 1 CD. €35,00. ISBN 978-2-7089-3447-4.)

This volume of the Cahiers de Fanjeaux is based on the 2008 colloquy, the theme of which is stated in the title. Religieux here represents those subject to some rule (as opposed to the secular clergy) but not cloistered (as the moines were) and who were ordinarily in close contact with the laity.

The first essay, by Nicole Bériou, provides a general overview of the relationship between religious orders and the cities of Europe between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. He emphasizes that, despite the close connection between urbanization and the mendicant orders noted by Jacques Le Goff and others, older orders found their way into the cities well before the mendicants appeared. Yves Esquieu then traces a general history of the clergy in southern French cities from the fourth to the eleventh centuries.

The next section concentrates on religious orders other than the mendicants. The first of them, by Jörg Oberste, traces the successive appearances of various monastic communities at Toulouse, emphasizing the roles they played and their [End Page 119] contests for power, prestige, and income. As he proceeds from Benedictine monasticism through Cluniac reform and its amplification in the hands of a rising papacy, then through the Cistercians and the new military orders, Oberste furnishes a miniaturized history of western monasticism from the beginning to the early-thirteenth century as it played out in the rising cities, offering another reminder that, long before the mendicants appeared, monastic institutions performed an important role in satisfying the spiritual needs of those cities.

Daniel Le Blévec, too, concentrates on a single city (Montpelier), whereas other articles specialize in other ways. Damien Carraz concentrates on the military orders and Alexis Grélois on the Cistercians, whereas Henri Gilles discusses monks at the universities. Yannick Veyrenche examines the canons regular of Saint-Ruf at Avignon and Valence, whereas Denyse Riche deals with the Cluniacs at Moissac.

The next section turns to the mendicants, who understandably receive a lion’s share of the attention. The book comes with a CD, but individual historians’ enthusiasm about utilizing it depends on their project. Nelly Pousthomis-Dalle employs it admirably in her survey of mendicant settlement in southwestern France, as does François Guyonnet in his tour of mendicant houses in southeastern France. Both clarify their presentation with a plethora of maps and photographs.

As might be expected, Bernard Gui is often mentioned. Cécile Caby and Agnès Dubreil-Arcin concentrate on him, although in different ways. Caby asks if, in Géraud de Frachet and Bernard Gui, we find une topographie légendaire des origines dominicaines. She suggests that Gui in particular, in his De fundatione et prioribus conventuum provinciae Tolosanae ordinis praedicatorum, is carrying out a complex project in which space and time are supercharged with greater significance than we imagined. Caby’s analysis raises more questions than she can answer in an article of this length, but allusions to earlier monastic (especially Cistercian) precedent help to suggest where her argument is tending.

Dubreil-Arcin offers a fascinating argument concerning the role of local saints in Dominican worship. Humbert of Roman launched a liturgical reform aimed at achieving uniformity in the order. The result was a universalized, despatialized list of saints closed to the particularities of local cults, the sort of list offered in the Golden Legend; yet, as individual houses moved into the center of town and embarked on an active ministry, influence inevitably flowed in both directions and attention was necessarily paid to local preoccupations.

The result is seen in Gui’s Speculum sanctorale, where Gui covers not only saints of the Dominican office but many regional saints. Dubreil-Arcin draws attention to the Limousin and Toulousain saints, suggesting that Gui offers a geography of sanctuaries that counters the despatialization of...


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