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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

On Sat, 20 Aug 2005 11:42:20 -0500
  John Dillon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and 
>culture
> 
> Today (20. August) is also the feast day of:
> 
> Herbert of Conza (Herbert of Middlesex; d. 1181, probably).  Today's
> less well known saint from the Regno is thought, on the basis of a
> confused notice in the _Ymagines historiarum_ of Ralph of Diceto 
>(a.k.a.
> Ralph of Diss), to have been an Englishman who moved to the kingdom 
>of
> Sicily and was appointed archbishop of Conza by William II.  Ralph
> actually says that H. was made archbishop of Cosenza in Calabria and
> that he perished in a great earthquake there (the one of 1184).  But 
>H.
> is documented in the see of Conza from 1169 through 1179 (when he 
>took
> part in Lateran III) and his death date was inscribed, presumably 
>from
> local records, on a pilaster in the old cathedral of Conza (the one
> destroyed by the earthquakes of 1694 and 1732, as opposed to its
> replacement that collapsed in the great Conza earthquake of 1980) as 
>20
> August 1118 (presumably a mistake for 1181).  He was interred 
>beneath a
> side altar there and moved to the high altar in 1684 in connection 
>with
> a canonical recognition of his relics.  A sarcophagus said to be 
>H.'s
> was housed until recently in the Museo Provinciale Irpino at 
>Avellino
> but is now back at Conza.  H. has no surviving Life and no medieval
> Office.  Get a Life, Herb!
> 
> Another later twelfth-century bishop-saint of the Regno, Richard of
> Andria (9. June), is also said to have been an Englishman.  But the
> evidence for this is late and questionable. 
> 
> Conza (today's Conza della Campania [AV]) is a good example of a now
> obscure place that medievally was rather more significant.  A hill 
>town
> in southern Irpinia, it overlooks the upper valley of the Ofanto not 
>far
> below the Conza Saddle.  The latter is a rare low point (700 meters
> above sea level) in the southern Appennines permitting relatively 
>easy
> travel across the peninsula from the Sele valley in the west to the
> Ofanto valley in the east.  Already militarily significant in Roman
> times, Conza was the seat of an important gastaldate (later, county) 
>in
> the  duchy/principality of Benevento and the latter's successors in 
>this
> region, the principality of Salerno and the kingdom of Sicily.  It 
>is
> first recorded as a diocese in Lombard times (743).  Always 
>centrally
> isolated, it has a population today of ca. 1500 and now forms part 
>of
> the archdiocese of S. Angelo dei Lombardi, Conza, Nusco, e Bisaccia 
>(the
> others all having been, as far as we can tell, dioceses newly 
>created in
> the eleventh century).  In consequence of an earthquake said to have
> demolished Conza in 990, Conza's bishops are thought to have 
>re-located
> their residence to today's Sant'Andrea di Conza (population now just
> under 2000), some fifteen kilometers away.  Though the latter is not
> actually documented until 1161, it does seem that Herbert will have
> lived here rather than in Conza proper.
> 
> Seismic events of the sort indicated in the preceding paragraphs 
>have
> pretty well eliminated any monumental remains of Conza's medieval 
>past
> (though the Episcopio at Sant'Andrea di Conza is a former baronial
> fortress of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries).  A
> recent photograph of the ruined eighteenth-century cathedral is 
>here:
> http://www.corriereirpinia.it/domenicale/cu_03_07_12_2003.php
> Adjacent to this is Conza's archeological park (Parco Archeologico
> dell'antica Compsa), with pre-Roman and Roman antiquities on 
>display:
> http://www.archemail.it/1sconza.htm
> 
> Some idea of the local terrain may be gleaned from the photograph of
> Conza della Campania on this page:
> http://www.goleto.it/itinerari/conza.htm
> and from the view from the castle of Cairano (across the Ofanto 
>valley
> from Conza) here:
> http://www.avellinonet.it/comuni/cairano/davisitare.htm
> and from the view here of Sant'Andrea di Conza with the mountains 
>behind it:
> http://www.cmaltairpinia.it/altra_irpinia/comuni/santandrea/itinerario_00.htm
> 
> Best,
> John Dillon
> (last year's post, lightly revised)
> 
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