The creation of a past for themselves was of pressing importance to religious communities, enabling them to increase their status and legitimise their existence. This book examines the process in a group of communities from the southern part of Flanders (the monks of Saint-Bertin at Saint-Omer, the community of Saint-Rictrude at Marchiennes and the canons of Saint-Amé at Douai) over a period running from the ninth to the end of the eleventh century. The central contention is that the communities produced their narratives (history, hagiography, charter materials) for a specific time and purpose, frequently as a response to or intended resolution of internal or external crises. The book also discusses how the circumstances which triggered narrative production had an impact not only on the content but also on the form of the texts.
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