The Common Bond of Aristocratic Masculinity: Monks, Secular Men and St. Gerald of Aurillac

  • Andrew Romig
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


Miracle stories had been swirling throughout the densely forested hills south of the Loire for a decade when, sometime during the early 920s, Abbot Aymo of St. Martial called upon his esteemed friend, Odo of Cluny, to discern whether they might actually be true. Like most tales of their kind, they spoke of spontaneous healings—healings of blindness in particular, but also of deafness, paralysis and demonic possession. They told of a man who had lived a life of exemplary love and devotion toward his fellow neighbors and the Christian God. Yet familiar as the stories might have seemed in form, there was something decidedly troubling about them in content. Aymo needed a man of Odo’s learning and gravitas to investigate because the alleged holy man at the stories’ center had lived his life not in the formal service of God, but instead as a wealthy and powerful layperson.1 He had been Count Gerald of Aurillac, warlord and secular judge of the fragmented political world of the Carolingian late ninth and early tenth century, who had died of old age in the year 909.2


Ninth Century Common Bond Secular World Christian Life Spiritual Advisor 
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    Jacqueline Murray, ‘Masculinizing Religious Life: Sexual Prowess, the Battle for Chastity and Monastic Identity’, in Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages, ed. Patricia H. Cullum and Katherine J. Lewis (Cardiff, Wales, 2006), 24.Google Scholar
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    Stuart Airlie, ‘The Anxiety of Sanctity: St Gerald of Aurillac and His Maker’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 43, no. 3 (1992): 375, 395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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© Andrew Romig 2010

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  • Andrew Romig

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