medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
From: John Briggs <[log in to unmask]>
> You're looking at the wrong person! Third from the right - chap with green
beard (The Green Knight? He's not tonsured, so he's a layman, anyway.)
ahhhh.... *that* guy.
well, that guy is just holding a riding crop (of the sort which can surely be
seen in some German musuem, somewhere).
not nearly as interesting as the scales.
From: John Wickstrom <[log in to unmask]>
>The scales for bread and the mina measure for wine are shown here, as you
suggest, since the Vita says that Benedict gave Maurus these for the community
rations, warning him not to vary from these.
i've never come across this custom before (which doesn't mean much).
it speaks of Discipline in Hard Times, i should think.
>What I'm interested in is the implement held by the figure with the greeenish
hair and orange cloak
i read that cloak as being a reverse ermine --white tufts on a red field,
rather than the other way round, trimmed in white-- very popular threads, en
ces temps la, among the Hoi and the Poloi.
the pelt across his lap is certainly feline --the ears and paws are clear
enough-- and some sort of spotted cat from the Luxury trade would seem most
likely. that guy is definitely well dressed and, with his roan stallion and
two-man entourage, he's definitely a Great Muckety Muck (to use the
appropriate Latin term).
the vita i've got (see below) seems to say that this guy visited Benedict in
Italy, and the cat might have been a trophy taken in the alps, a mountain lion
of some sort. doesn't really look like a leopard to me --certainly not an
>The figure with the animal (skin) is described in the text as a wealthy
French noble, but also an official (chancellor is the title) of the bishop of
Le Mans and so seems to have had some sort of clerical status...though he was
married and had a family. Hmmm..
i see from the rubric that he is part of the "legatis cinomannici presvlis",
but i can't seem to find this in the on-line AASS vita (by St. Fausto) which i
have access to. presumably this ms. is a different life(???).
if my rusty Latin (note understatement) is right, in the vita i have the
legates of bishop Bertigrannus of LeMans are the Archdeacon Flodegarius and a
certain "Harderadus", who is styled "Vicedominus", the latter being our Guy
with the fancy cat pelt.
in many dioceses, the _Vicedomnus_ (Fr. Vidame) was an officer of the bishop,
apparently charged with heading up the "ost" which was assembled from those
who held land from him in fief and who consequently owed him military service.
the bishop's "ost" would become part of the army of the king or count when
called upon by the overlord of the bishop for such service.
he was therefore usually a layman, and the office was usually hereditary (i
know nothing about the Vidames of LeMans, but am speaking from the Chartrain
situation, where the office is tracable from the later 11th c. through and
beyond the 13th c.).
but, if your text is calling him "chancellor", then all bets are off (though
there is considerable evidence for married canons at this period).
if he's a Vidame, then what you may have is a situation where the c. 1100
Vidames of LeMans (and anyone connected to that family) are having their
belief in an ancestor named "Harderadus" validated by this Vita and its spiffy
the cartulary of St. Maur-des-Fosses has recently been published, i believe,
and it would be interesting to see if there are any LeMans guys mentioned
there as donors to the abbey.
i don't know if the cartulary of Glanfeuil has been published, but looking at
that to see what role (if any) the Vidames of LeMans played
might be productive as well.
> The color issue is interesting and extremely puzzling in this MS.
Usually monastic habits follow some sort of iconographic scheme. But here, as
you suggest, they seem to vary for the sake of design and color, much like
orange and green horses etc.
we must not underestimate the role which Charming Whimsy played in this
after all, it was only a generation before that we have several Horses of a
Different Color in the Bayeaux "tapestry", so it's not to be unexpected that
we might find them here, in the work of an artist who, while he's a good
story-teller, is not a particularly competent visionary.
whether or not the colors of the monastic habits are charged with
"iconographic" meaning is another question.
if, indeed, there was a heirarcy of colors used in this period --blue for
abbots, green for (say) priors, and your basic homespun brown for simple
brothers-- then we must assume that there was more than Whimsy at work in this
but, if this use of livry doesn't correspond to the Historical Reality of
usage (as we know it from other sources), then we have something mid-way
between Whimsy and a desire to set the Man of God apart from his fellow
which doesn't explain the monks in green, however.
but, you can't expect too much in the way of Rational Explanation when dealing
with these 1.5-Cameral middlevil minds.
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