The Monastery of St Benedict, Polirone, and its Cluniac Associations

  • Hansmartin Schwarzmaier
Part of the Readings in European History book series (SEURH)


In a survey which he produced more than ten years ago concerning recent works on research into Cluny and Cluniac monks, Professor G. Tellenbach came to the conclusion that we were still a long way from any positive knowledge of Cluny and its influence. At the same time he suggested methods of research into areas which still remained to be explored.2 Several of these have, in the meantime, been followed up, not least by Tellenbach himself.3 As a result, it has been realised that a clearer understanding of the nature of Cluny is made possible by research into the history of individuals as shown in the contents of Books of Life, calendars and necrologies.4 Fundamental to this were W. Jorden’s views on the extreme importance which Cluny attached to the commemoration of the dead.5 Necrologies could thus be classified as characteristic liturgical books for Cluniac monasteries. This will necessarily lead to a certain amount of investigation modifying the results already obtained.


Twelfth Century Eleventh Century Positive Knowledge Final Record Late Twelfth Century 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Hansmartin Schwarzmaier from ‘Das Kloster S. Benedetto di Polirone in seiner cluniacensischen Umwelt’, in Adel und Kirche, Festschrift for Professor G. Tellenbach (to whom this article is dedicated), edited by J. Fleckenstein and K. Schmid (Herder: Freiburg/Basel/Vienna, 1968) pp. 280–93. Ed.]Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    G. Tellenbach, ‘Zum Wesen der Cluniacenser’, in Saeculum, 9 (1958) 370, and ‘Zur Erforschung Clunys und der Cluniacenser’, introduction to NF pp. 3 ff.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    From a number of works the following may be quoted: H. Hoffmann, ‘Von Cluny zum Investiturstreit’, in Arch. f. Kulturgesch. 45 (1963) 165 ff.;Google Scholar
  4. A. Becker, Papst Urban II, part 1 (1964);Google Scholar
  5. G. Tellenbach, ‘Der Sturz des Abtes Pontius von Cluny’, in QFIAB 42–3 (1963) 13 ff.;Google Scholar
  6. J. Fechter, ‘Cluny, Adel und Volk’ (diss. Tübingen, 1966); and especially the article by J. Wollasch [translated below, pp. 143 ff.]; also his ‘Die Überlieferung cluniacensischen Totengedächtnisses’, in Frühmittelalterliche Studien, ed. K. Hauck, 1 (1967) PP. 389 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    G. Tellenbach, ‘Zur Bedeutung der Personenforschung für die Erkenntnis des früheren Mittelalters’, in Freib. Universitätsreden, n.s. 25 (1957); and K. Schmid, ‘Über das Verhältnis von Person und Gemeinschaft im früheren Mittelalter’, in Frühmittelalter. Studien, 1227 ff.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    W. Jorden, Das cluniacensische Totengedächtniswesen (1930).Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    A kind suggestion from Prof. W. Goez of Würzburg; for Piona, see Cottineau, Répertoire topo-bibliographique, a 2286, though no further references are given. See also D. Sant’Ambrogio, ‘Recenti contestazioni intorno a S. Nicolò di Piona’, in Rio. Arch. lomb. 2 (1906) 150ff.; BB 4704 (1236–44) E. Gufanti (see below, n. 5) p. 163 quotes an unpublished document of 4 May 1154 (Milan, Arch. St. fondo rel. Cart. 126) in which the estates sancti Nicolai de Piona are named.Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    E. Sackur, Die Cluniacenser (1892) 1226 ff.Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    Ibid. pp. rot if.; G. Antonelli, ‘L’opera di Odone di Cluny in Italia’, in Benedictina, 4 (1950) 19 ff.Google Scholar
  12. 5.
    A. L’Huillier, ‘I priorati cluniacensi in Italia’, in Brixia Sacra, 3 (1912) 14–29, 61–9, 97–104, trans. from the French by P. Guerrini.Google Scholar
  13. See also G. de Valous, Le monachisme Clunisien des origines au XVe siècle, 11 (1935) pp. 266 ff.Google Scholar
  14. The best, though not systematic, list of Cluniac priories is in P. Bognetti, L’Abbazia benedettina di Civate (1957) pp. 76 ff. All the researchers tend to work from the list of Cluny’s houses in the bull of Urban II, 1095: JL 5551; PL 151, 4 t ff.; Bibl. Cl. col. 516 and (for a list of priories) cols 1744 ff.Google Scholar
  15. Professor Violante of Pisa kindly made available a work quoted by P. Zerbi, ‘I monasteri cittadini di Lombardia’, in Monasteri in alta Italia, Relazioni e comun. al 32 congresso star. Subalpino in Pinerolo 1964 (Turin, 1966) p. 305: n. 88Google Scholar
  16. There cites an unpublished dissertation by E. Guffanti, ‘I monasteri cluniacensi nele.’attuale Lombardia’ (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Feb 1965).Google Scholar
  17. It is particularly useful for the attached maps. See also Dom G. Charvin, Statuts chapitres généraux et visites de l’ordre de Cluny, 1 (1965) p. 376, no. 92; II p. 243, no.,8o, p. 286, no. 190 etc. for a survey of the Lombard Cluniac priories in the thirteenth century.Google Scholar
  18. For general literature on Polirone, see P. Kehr, It. Pont. 7, 1 (1923) 323 ff.Google Scholar
  19. On the relation of Cluny and Polirone, see G. Schreiber, Kurie and Kloster im 12. Jahr. 2 (1910) pp. 313 ff.Google Scholar
  20. P. Hofmeister, ‘Cluny and seine Abteien’, in Stud. Mitt. OSB, (75 (1964) 203 ff.) is somewhat inexact.Google Scholar
  21. Still indispensable is B. Bacchini, Dell’istoria del monastero di S. Benedetto di Polirons (Mantua, 1696).Google Scholar
  22. The documents have been published by P. Torelli, Regesto Mcintovano, I (1914) (‘Reg. Chart. It.’ 12);Google Scholar
  23. On the manuscripts, see B. Benedini, ‘I manoscritti Polironiani della Bibl. comunale di Mantova’ (1958), in Atti e mem. d. accad. Virgiliana di Mantova, n.s. 30; see also G. Fasoli, ‘Monasteri padani’, in the collection mentioned in n. 5 above: Monasteri in alta Italia, pp. 189–97.Google Scholar
  24. 1.
    V. Colorni, Il territorio mantovano nel sacro Romano impero, 1 (1959) pp. 45 ff. and maps;Google Scholar
  25. K. Schrod, Reichsstrassen und Reichsverwaltung im Kgr. Italien (1931) pp. 56ff.Google Scholar
  26. 4.
    Torelli, op. cit. 95, p. 66 and U. Nicolini, L’Archivio del monastero di S. Andrea di Mantova (1959) no. 10, p. 13.Google Scholar
  27. 5.
    M. Prou, Recueil des Chartes de Philippe Ier (1908) no. 99, p. 255; BB IV 3552.Google Scholar
  28. 1.
    A. Overmann, Gräfin Mathilde von Tuscien (1895) passim; also maps.Google Scholar
  29. 1.
    Torelli, op. cit. 118, pp. 84f.; for the text, see my article ‘Der Liber Vitae von Subiaco’, in QFIAB 48 (1968) 127 and n. 139.Google Scholar
  30. 2.
    On the manuscript, which is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, see G. F. Warner, Gospels of Mathilda, countess of Tuscany (The Roxburghe Club, New York, 1917: facsimile ed.)Google Scholar
  31. And also the incomplete edition by A. Mercati, ‘L’Evangeliario donato dalla contessa Matilda al Polirone’, in Atti e Mem. Dep. Mod. ser. 7, vol. 4 (1927)Google Scholar
  32. A. Mercati, in Saggi di storia e letteratura (Rome, 1951) pp. 213–27.Google Scholar
  33. See comments on the manuscript by G. Waitz, Neues Archiv, 4 (1879) 591Google Scholar
  34. Tiraboschi, Memorie storiche Modenensi, 2 (Modena, 1793) 64, no. 270 (part edition).Google Scholar
  35. 3.
    From the introduction to the Liber Vitae it is clear that Abbot William was dead at the time of its composition and that Pope Urban II was still alive. But Abbot William witnessed a transfer of the monastery of St Bartholomew in Lucca to Polirone on 17 June 1099 (see Guidi-Parenti, Regesto del Capitolo di Lucca, 1 (1910) [‘Reg. Chart. Ital.’ 6] no. 573, p. 245; Mem. Doc. Stor. Lucca, IV 2 app. p. 12o), and Urban II died on 29 July in the same year. This narrows the time for the death of Abbot William, the choice of his successor Alberic and the composition of the preface to the Liber Vitae to a few days in July 1099, a surprising precision but hardly questionable. See also my article mentioned p. 129 n. 1 above.Google Scholar
  36. 5.
    Benedini, see p. 126 n. 1 above, and M. Venturini, Vita ed attività dello ‘Scriptorium’ Veronese nel secolo XI (Verona, 1930). Dr. U. Muroni, director of the Bibliotheca Comunale in Mantua, kindly allowed me to see his catalogue of Polirone manuscripts which is about to be printed and which contains an introduction showing what eventually happened to all the books of the monastic library.Google Scholar
  37. Ibid. 441 (D III 15) with calendar, pls 173 ff. Reproduced in Paccagnini-Gnudi, Montoya, Le arti, 1 (1960) pls 316–22; see further MS. 447 (D IV 1).Google Scholar
  38. 2.
    F. Fabbi, ‘Le famiglie reggiane e parmensi the hanno in comune l’origine con la contessa Matilda’, in Atti e mem. prou. Mod. ser. 9, vol. 3 (1963) 184 and family tree. See also n. 3 above.Google Scholar
  39. 1.
    G. A. Gradenigo, Calendario Polironiano del XII secolo (Venice, 1795) pp. 7–18, following Mantua, Bibl. Com. 133 (A V 3) pls 347–8.Google Scholar
  40. On the liturgy and the Consuetudines of Polirone, see S.J. P. Van Dijk, ‘The customary of St Benedict of Padolirone’, in Miscell. liturgica in honorem L. Cuniberti Mohlberg (Rome, 1949) 11 451 ff.Google Scholar
  41. 4.
    Arnold Wion, Lignum Vitae, ornamentum et decus ecclesiae, pars 2, lib. 11 (1595) 233–4; mentioned by Bacchini, op. cit. p. 50, who no longer knew which copy Wion had used.Google Scholar
  42. 2.
    J. Depoin, Recueil des Chartes et Documents de Saint-Martin des Champs, 111 (‘Arch. de la France monastique’, 18, 1917) pp. 1 ff.Google Scholar
  43. 2.
    Codice necrol.-liturg. del monastero di S. Salvatore o S. Giulia in Brescia, ed. A. Valentini (1887) p. 87 on fol. 47r in an eleventh-century script.Google Scholar
  44. 3.
    P. Guerrini, I conti de Martinengo (Brescia, 1930)Google Scholar
  45. E. Odazio, ‘I conti del comitato Bergomense’, in Bergomum, n.s. 8 (1934) 271 ff. with numerous supplements.Google Scholar
  46. 6.
    BB 3606; see F. Forte, ‘Como e i Cluniacensi’, in Periodico della Soc. Comense, 28 (1931) 13ff. Whether the benefactors in BB 3312 refer directly to Vertemate is questionable, though worth considering. It would be difficult to find another group of benefactors so numerous and with such similar names existing apart from those connected with Vertemate. It remains to be seen whether the names of the dead recorded in BB 3312 are to be found in any Cluniac necrology.Google Scholar
  47. 1.
    BB 3600: on the Counts Biandrate, see Kehr, It. Pont. 6, 2, 38; also C. G. Mor, Frammenti di storia Valsesiana (Varallo, 1960) p. 47.Google Scholar
  48. 2.
    P. Bognetti, op. cit. (see above, p. 125 n. 5); P. Guerrini, Brescia e Montecassino (1942) p. xxii;Google Scholar
  49. P. Zerbi, ‘Monasteri e riforma a Milano dalla fine del sec. X agli inizi del XII’, in Aevum, 24 (1950) 44 ff., 166 ff. and esp. p. 170, with notes; Storia di Milano, 3 (1954, G. L. Barni) 218 f. C. Violante, ‘Il monachesimo Cluniacense di fronte al mondo politico ed ecclesiastico’, in Spiritualitd, pp. 194 ff.Google Scholar
  50. 3.
    L. Kern, ‘Notes sur le prieuré clunisien de Sainte Hélène à Sarre’, in Mélanges P. E. Martin, Mem. Soc. d’Hist. et d’Arch. de Genéves, 11 (1961) 329 ff.Google Scholar
  51. P. Ladner, ‘Das St Albanskloster und die burgundische Tradition in der Clunizenserprovinz Alemannia’, in Basler Beitr. z. Geschichtswiss. 80 (1960) 31 ff. and maps.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hansmartin Schwarzmaier

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations