Richer of Saint-Remi

Richer of Saint-Remi

Justin Lake
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 336
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Richer of Saint-Remi
    Book Description:

    Building upon, but also moving beyond, previous scholarship that has focused on Richer's political allegiances and his views of kingship, this study by Justin Lake provides the most comprehensive synthesis of the History, examining Richer's use and abuse of his sources, his relationship to Gerbert, and the motives that led him to write.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2126-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-29)

    Between the years 991 and 998 an otherwise unknown monk named Richer (Richerus) of the monastery of Saint-Rémi at Rheims wrote a four-volume work of history that begins with the election of Odo, count of Paris, as king of West Francia in 888 and peters out on the final folio of the manuscript in a series of annalistic jottings, the latest of which is datable to 998. Only one copy of Richer’s Historia is extant, and it is agreed to be the product of the author’s own hand. This precious autograph manuscript (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, MS Hist. 5) exists in an...

  6. ONE Richer’s Prologue
    (pp. 30-80)

    Any attempt to understand the Historia must begin with two basic questions: Why did Richer choose to write history and how did he conceive of his task? The only place where he comments directly on both the contents of his work and his occasion for writing is the prologue, which makes this the logical place to begin looking for answers.¹ The prologue to the Historia must be evaluated carefully, however, for it poses a particular kind of interpretative challenge that characterizes the prologues of medieval histories as a genre. The problem is not that medieval historians are silent about their...

    (pp. 81-142)

    At different points in the Historia Richer refers to each one of his four most important written sources: Flodoard’s Annals and HRE, and Gerbert’s Acta of the synods of Saint-Basle and Mouzon.¹ Because each one of these texts is extant, and because so much of the Historia is a reworking of them in one way or another, we are in a remarkably good position to understand the methods by which Richer excerpted and refashioned his written source material. The survival of Richer’s autograph manuscript is a further stroke of good luck. Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, MS Hist. 5, with its numerous corrections,...

  8. THREE Narratio Probabilis and the Techniques of Dramatization
    (pp. 143-184)

    In composing the first half of the Historia Richer had two principal tasks: to take the large and unwieldy mass of information in Flodoard’s Annals and select from it the events that would form part of his own history, and to transform the resulting framework of annalistic notices into a narrative history by supplementing it with outside sources (when possible) and by giving it a new and different rhetorical form.¹ At a basic level this new orationis scema demanded that careful attention be paid to all of the elements required to secure narrative plausibility, particularly the reasoning that led people...

  9. FOUR Rhetoric and the Historia
    (pp. 185-242)

    The previous chapters have examined Richer’s historical methodology and explored the theoretical foundations of his approach to writing history. His stylistic self-consciousness, comparative indifference to factual accuracy, and fanciful amplification of his sources are best explained as the result of a conscious decision to write history according to the rhetorical conventions of classical historiography. Like the classical and late antique historians whom he took as models, he employed the precepts for the composition of an oratorical narratio as guidelines for writing history. Latin rhetorical handbooks required that the narratio be rendered readily believable (probabilis) through the discovery (inventio) of material...

  10. FIVE Authorial Intention and Authorial Ambition
    (pp. 243-282)

    When scholars consider the questions of social function and authorial intention in medieval historiography, their analysis tends to revolve around two poles: the moral/exemplary and the political/propagandistic. These areas of focus follow naturally from the content of medieval histories and the stated goals of their authors. Medieval historians typically justified the writing of history on the grounds of its usefulness to posterity, and they located the utility of historiography in its ethical and/or didactic functions. History served both as a storehouse of human experience from which readers could draw moral lessons and as a written record of the unfolding of...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 283-294)

    “All history,” wrote R. G. Collingwood, “is the re-enactment of past thought in the historian’s own mind.”¹ For Collingwood this was the expression of an ideal, not a statement of fact. Medieval historiography did not rate highly in his estimation, beholden as it was to a providential view of history that deemed human action to be important only insofar as it reflected God’s will. Yet his dictum isolates one of the most salient features of Richer’s methodology: his attempts to reimagine the circumstances of historical actors and explain their motivations to the reader.

    Nowhere is his nuanced approach to elucidating...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 295-312)
  13. Index
    (pp. 313-321)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 322-322)