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Masculinity without Conflict: Noblemen in Eighth- and Ninth-Century Francia

  • Rachel Stone
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

Around the middle of the eighth century near Langres, in eastern France, a crime passionelle allegedly took place. The wife of Gangulf, a Burgundian noble, began an affair with a cleric, but her husband discovered their wrongdoing. The cleric then murdered Gangulf. What is unusual is how we know about this story: Gangulf, a cuckold and a murder victim, became a saint.1 The church of Melun received relics from him at its foundation in 809 and St-Pierre de Varennes was rededicated to him by 870.2 Several versions of his life were composed: the first surviving one dates from the end of the ninth or early tenth century, and over 60 copies of this text survive.3 His cult became widespread in Lorraine and Germany. In the second half of the tenth century Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, author of a number of religious poems and plays, composed one on Gangulf; a collection of Gangulf’s posthumous miracles was also written at Liege in the eleventh century.4 Although Gangulf’s fame continued for centuries, however, I want to focus on the first vita (the written ‘life’) and its implications for our understanding of masculinity in the Carolingian empire, the vast area (eventually stretching from the Pyrenees to Croatia) ruled by Charlemagne and his successors between 768 and the end of the ninth century.5

Keywords

Ninth Century Eleventh Century Eighth Century Late Antiquity Church History 
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.

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Notes

  1. The following abbreviations are used in this chapter: MGH = Monumenta Germaniae Historica; MGH Cap. = Capitularia regum Francorum, 2 vols, ed. Alfred Boretius and Viktor Krause (Hanover, 1883–1897); MGH Epp. = Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini aevi. MGH Epistolae, III–VIII (Berlin, 1892–1939); MGH SRG = Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separatim editi (Hanover, 1871-); MGH SRM = Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum, 7 vols, ed. Bruno Krusch and Willhelm Levison (Hanover, 1885–1951); PL = Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina. 221 vols, ed. J.-P. Migne (Paris, 1841–1864); VG = Vita Gangulfi martyris Varennensis, ed. Willhelm Levison (Hanover, 1919) (MGH SRM 7), pp. 155–170.Google Scholar
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© Rachel Stone 2011

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