ABELARD, PETER (c. 1079–c. 1142) Brilliant and controversial logician and theologian of twelfth-century France, the celebrated lover of Héloïse and enemy of Bernard of Clairvaux.
ADAM OF EBRACH First Abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Ebrach (founded in 1127), between Kitzingen and Bamberg in the Main region. Originally a monk at Morimond, Adam had assisted his friend Bernard of Clairvaux in preaching the Crusade in 1147, and in 1152 he was sent by Barbarossa as an envoy to Pope Eugenius III. He met Hildegard during her first preaching tour, between 1158 and 1161.
ADELHEID OF GANDERSHEIM (d. 1184) Nun and abbess. Brought up in the same household as her young aunt Richardis of Stade, she also joined Hildegard’s convent but left in 1151 to become Abbess of Gandersheim in eastern Germany. In 1160 she also acquired a similar position as head of a community of canons at Quedlinburg.
ÆLRED OF RIEVAULX (1109–67) Cistercian abbot from Rievaulx, North Yorkshire. Author of The Mirror of Love (1142–3), written at the instigation of Bernard of Clairvaux, and On Spiritual Friendship (1150–65), a classic expression of monastic friendship.
ALAN OF LILLE (d. 1203) Poet and theologian. Probably studied and taught at Paris, c. 1150–c. 1185. Influenced by Gilbert Porreta. Among his literary works are the Plaint of Nature in prose and verse, in which the main character is the personified figure of Nature, and the allegorical poem Anticlaudianus (1182–3).
ALCUIN OF YORK (c. 740–804) A major scholar, teacher and writer at the court of Charlemagne. In his biblical scholarship, he promoted the Vulgate text, which came to be accepted as the standard version of the Bible in the medieval West.
ALEXANDER III, POPE (d. 1181) Orlando (or Rolandus) Bandinelli. Papal chancellor under Eugenius III, he was elected Pope in 1159 on the death of Hadrian IV, and immediately faced a rival antipope Victor IV elected by the supporters of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Throughout the long schism with the Emperor, Alexander III lived mostly in France, and nurtured contacts with Henry II, King of England, whom he forced to do penance after the murder of Thomas Becket. Alexander presided over the Third Lateran Council in 1179, which gave the exclusive right of electing a pope to a two-thirds majority of the cardinals.
AMBROSIUS AUTPERTUS (d. 784) Writer and theologian. Born in Provence, he became a monk of St Vincent near Capua in Italy c. 740 and was elected Abbot in 777. His main work is a commentary on Revelation, but he also wrote the Conflict of the Vices and Virtues, which appears to have influenced Hildegard’s Book of Life’s Merits.
ARNOLD OF BRESCIA A native of Brescia in Lombardy and a fiery reformer. Unlike Hildegard, he encouraged lay people not to accept the sacraments from priests guilty of simony; he also preached the disendowment of pope and clergy. As supporter and then leader of the Roman Senate, he drove out Pope Eugenius III from Rome and was excommunicated in 1148. In 1152 the Senate lost control of Rome, and Arnold was finally overthrown and hanged in 1155 during the pontificate of Pope Hadrian IV.
ARNOLD, ARCHBISHOP OF COLOGNE Archbishop of Cologne before Rainald of Dassel, Arnold wrote to Hildegard requesting a copy of Scivias (see 32 and, for Hildegard’s response, 16).
ARNOLD, ARCHBISHOP OF MAINZ (Served as Archbishop 1153–60) Well regarded by King Conrad III, he was elected Archbishop of Mainz at Frederick Barbarossa’s instigation. In 1158 Arnold issued two charters confirming the agreement Hildegard had made with the Disibodenberg to secure the property rights and income of the Rupertsberg and to arrange for priests to take services and perform other clerical duties for the community. During his period in office, he came into conflict with the Count Palatine Hermann of Stahleck and also had problems raising the tribute for Barbarossa’s Italian expeditions. On 1 November 1159 he placed the whole city of Mainz under excommunication before joining Barbarossa in Italy. On his return the dispute worsened and Arnold was killed during the violence that followed.
AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354–430) St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, is probably the most famous of the four ‘Doctors of the Church’. His influence was enormous, and his numerous works include Confessions, On the Trinity, Christian Teaching, The Catechism of the Unlearned as well as numerous other treatises and sermons.
BASSUM Monastery in the diocese of Bremen where Richardis of Stade was appointed Abbess.
BENEDICTINE ORDER The traditional Western European monasticism, founded by St Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–c. 550); Benedict’s Rule for Monasteries regulated the Divine Office (Latin opus Dei), the daily pattern of worship and prayer divided into eight ‘offices’: matins at the end of the night, lauds at daybreak, prime, terce, sext and none during the day, vespers in the evening, and compline at sunset. The offices during the hours of daylight were interspersed with periods of work and reading. Hildegard wrote a commentary on the Rule, probably in the period 1151–8.
BERNARD OF CHARTRES (c. 1080–c. 1130) From c. 1114, master of the famous cathedral school of Chartres. According to one of his pupils, John of Salisbury, Bernard revered the arts and knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome which he saw as far exceeding that of his own day; for Bernard, his contemporaries were ‘dwarfs, standing on the shoulders of the giants’.
BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX (1090–1153) Born in Burgundy, Bernard of Fontaines became famous under the name of the Cistercian monastery he founded in 1115 and ruled as abbot until his death in 1153. The most important Cistercian of his time, he wrote numerous works, including letters, sermons, satirical works and spiritual writings. An ascetic in his early years, Bernard became more politically involved after 1128, intervening in disputes between important figures in the Church. In 1140 his influence led to the condemnation of the teachings of Peter Abelard at the Council of Sens. After the election in 1145 of Pope Eugenius III, a Cistercian from Clairvaux, Bernard undertook preaching tours against heresy in the Languedoc, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Albis. From 1146 to 1147 he preached the Second Crusade, which subsequently failed in 1149. In this period he secured the acceptance of Hildegard’s writings at the Synod of Trier (1147–8).
BERNARD SILVESTER Bernardus Silvestris, poet and philosopher. Of the same generation as William of Conches, Gilbert of Poitiers and John of Salisbury. Little is known of his life apart from reminiscences of contemporaries. He taught at Tours, probably between 1130 and 1140, and had some connections with Chartres. His major work is the allegorical poem Cosmographia.
BESANÇON A papal embassy from Hadrian IV met Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his chancellor, Rainald of Dassel, at the Diet (Assembly) of Besançon in October 1157, and a dispute arose over whether the emperor should receive the imperial crown as a benefice (Latin beneficium) from the pope. Part of the problem may have been Rainald’s inflammatory translation of the ambiguous term benficium as ‘fief’ rather than as ‘gift’. The row provoked the emperor into asserting his rights by sacred Roman law to the free crown of the ‘holy empire’, and it contributed to the later schism between emperor and pope from 1159 to 1177.
BOETHIUS (c. 480–c.524) The Roman statesman and Neoplatonist philosopher; author of works on the Greek science of Euclid, Porphyry and Aristotle, as well as his prison writing The Consolation of Philosophy, which was widely read in the Middle Ages. In his theological writings, the Opuscula sacra, he wrote on the Trinity and the Person of Christ.
BONIFACE, SAINT (c. 675–754) Wynfrith of Wessex, England, later known as Saint Boniface. The ‘Apostle of Germany’, he was martyred in 754 at Dokkum in Frisia. In c. 746 he had become the first Archbishop of Mainz. Since her convent lay within the diocese of Mainz, Hildegard held the memory of Boniface in particular respect and wrote an antiphon in his honour.
BOOK OF DIVINE WORKS Latin title Liber divinorum operum. Alternative title De operatione Dei (‘On the Activity of God’). Hildegard’s third large-scale visionary work, written in the period 1163–73/4 and divided into three parts covering the position of the human being, the earth and the cosmos in the divine scheme of things. There are four manuscripts: (1) the Gent manuscript (Gent, University Library, cod. 241), important because it is evidently the original copy dictated or written by Hildegard and then heavily corrected; (2) Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale, cod. 683, originally from Clairvaux; (3) the Riesenkodex; and (4) the Lucca manuscript, important for its illustrations.
BOOK OF LIFE’S MERITS Latin title Liber vitae meritorum, sometimes translated as ‘The Book of the Rewards of Life’. The second of Hildegard’s three visionary works, written in 1158–63, it centres on the divine figure of a Man looking out to different parts of the world. Especially concerned with ethical issues, five of its six parts or ‘books’ consist of dialogue-contests between 35 opposing pairs of vices and virtues, arranged in groups of five, seven or eight pairs. The theme of the sixth book is eschatology and the joys of heaven. Four of the six manuscripts are from the twelfth century and are associated with monasteries known to Hildegard: (1) the Dendermonde codex from the Abbey of Villers; (2) the Berlin manuscript (Berlin, SB Preuss. Kulturerbes cod. lat. theol. 727) associated with St Jacob in Mainz; (3) the Trier manuscript (Trier, Seminarbibliothek cod. 68) from the monastery of St Eucharius in Trier; and (4) the Riesenkodex from the Rupertsberg.
CAESARIUS OF ARLES (c. 470–542) Writer and churchman. Archbishop of Arles from 502. His writings, particularly his sermons directed at a popular audience, were influential in the early medieval period.
CALLISTUS III Abbot John of Struma. The third ‘antipope’ of Frederick Barbarossa’s reign; elected in 1168 as successor to Paschal III.
CANONS REGULAR or AUGUSTINIAN CANONS The Rule of St Augustine, a text attributed to Augustine of Hippo, became popular during the pontificate of Gregory VII, and led to the foundation of communities of clerks known as canons regular, or Augustinian canons, in the eleventh century.
CANOSSA The castle near Reggio/Emilia in Northern Italy where Henry IV, King of Germany, did penance before Pope Gregory VII in February 1076. The event is emblematic of the strained relationship between emperor and pope which was to dog the political life of the twelfth century.
CATHARISM A religious movement that broke away from the Catholic Church and was condemned as heretical. The Cathars, i.e. the ‘pure ones’ (known in France as Albigensians), had extreme dualist beliefs, teaching that the matter of the world and the human body were evil and diametrically opposed to the life of the soul. While their clergy (‘the perfect’) were very ascetic, their laity (the ‘believers’) were reported to be extremely lax. The movement spread to Germany from the 1140s. Despite some unconscious dualist tendencies, Hildegard’s theology was based on the idea of the human being as a whole unity and as the centre of a good creation, a microcosm of the wider macrocosm. Her sermon in Cologne during her third preaching tour (1161–3) specifically attacked the Cathars.
CAUSE ET CURE Usually translated as ‘Causes and Cures’, although the Latin cura also means ‘care’. Alternative title Liber compositae medicine (‘The Book of Composite Medicine’). Hildegard’s study of human health, written 1151-8. Together with Physica, it may have originally formed a single work known as Liber subtilitatum diversarum naturarum creaturarum (‘The Book of the Subtleties of the Diverse Natures of Creatures’). The work survives in one thirteenth-century manuscript (Copenhagen, Kgl. Bibl., cod. 90b) and in a fragment of a manuscript (Berlin, SB Preuss. Kulturerbes, cod. lat. Qu. 674).
CHARLEMAGNE (c. 742–814) Charles the Great, King of Germany 768–814, whose coronation as Emperor in 800 set a stamp on the politics of medieval Europe. In 1165 he was canonized as a saint at the instigation of one of his powerful successors, Frederick Barbarossa, who sought thereby to gain prestige for his own position as Holy Roman Emperor.
CHRISTIAN DE BUCH After the papal supporter Archbishop Conrad of Mainz fled the city before the imperial forces, Frederick Barbarossa appointed Christian de Buch as Archbishop of Mainz. Christian was also the imperial chancellor and general of Frederick’s forces. He helped effect a reconciliation between the Emperor and the Pope at Venice in 1177 and was away in Rome when the prelates of Mainz imposed the interdict on the Rupertsberg in 1179. Hildegard eventually wrote to Christian asking him to lift the ban, and Christian agreed, placing the matter in the hands of Philip, Archbishop of Cologne, the neighbouring diocese. But at the intervention of one of the Mainz prelates, the interdict was reinstated. Only after Hildegard had appealed to Christian in a second letter was the ban lifted; Christian sent Hildegard a personal apology.
CISTERCIAN ORDER A twelfth-century reform movement based on Benedictine monasticism, the Cistercians questioned both the elaborate liturgy and the close connections with the feudal order which had developed in the earlier Cluniac movement. The order emphasized meditative reading and manual labour as important features of a monk’s daily life, but also inspired literary talent, particularly in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux and Ælred of Rievaulx.
CÎTEAUX (Latin name: Cistercium) Monastery near Dijon in France, founded by Robert of Molesmes in 1098; the mother house of the Cistercian movement, efficiently organized by its abbot Stephen Harding from 1108.
CLUNIACS An important movement for the reform of the Benedictine monastic order in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries. The Cluniacs advocated a close adherence to the spirit of the Benedictine Rule, along with extremely elaborate and splendid worship, which left little time for manual labour (for which they came to be criticized). Their principles inspired Pope Gregory VII’s reforms, especially against simony and clerical marriage. An important Cluniac reformer in the twelfth century was Peter the Venerable, who clashed with Bernard of Clairvaux.
CLUNY Near Mâcon in Burgundy, France; the monastery, founded in 909/10, became the centre of the Cluniac reform.
CONRAD III King and Emperor of Germany from 1137 to 1152. As a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, his election to the throne in preference to the Welf Henry the Proud, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony, led to rivalry between the two factions. Hildegard wrote a letter of spiritual encouragement to Conrad in 1150.
CONRAD, ARCHBISHOP OF MAINZ (1161–5 and 1183–1200) Conrad (or Konrad) of Wittelsbach, brother of Duke Otto of Bavaria. Conrad is one of the named witnesses of the imperial edict of protection for the Rupertsberg convent on 14 April 1163. Although his election as Archbishop of Mainz had been pushed by Frederick Barbarossa, Conrad nevertheless supported the Pope, and in 1164 on the death of the antipope Victor IV urged Barbarossa to come to terms with Alexander III. On 23 May 1165, at the imperial court held in Würzburg, he refused to recognize the new antipope Paschal III; Barbarossa reacted by removing him from office and replacing him with Christian de Buch. Conrad fled to Alexander in France and then to Rome, where he was appointed Cardinal Bishop of S. Sabina. From 1169 he was active as a papal legate, and after the Peace of Venice in 1177, he renounced his claim to the archbishopric of Mainz until the death of Christian in 1183.
CREMONA Venue of the Synod in 1148 at which Arnold of Brescia was excommunicated, shortly after Hildegard’s writings were approved at the Synod of Trier.
CRUSADES The series of expeditions, often inspired by public sermons on the ‘taking of the Cross’, which aimed to recover the Holy Lands, Jerusalem and Palestine, from Islam and retain them as part of Christendom. The First Crusade (1095–99) was a notable success, but the second, preached by Bernard of Clairvaux in 1146–7, came to a disastrous end in 1149. In 1187 Saladin took Jerusalem, which led to the moderately successful Third Crusade (1189–92), in which Richard the Lionheart of England, Philip II of France, and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany all took part. Though Anselm of Canterbury in the eleventh century was opposed to such ventures, most writers in Hildegard’s day seem to have supported the aims of the Crusades.
DENDERMONDE A monastery in Belgium. Codex 9 of its library is the manu-script originally owned by the monastery of Villers in Hildegard’s lifetime which contains the oldest version of Hildegard’s Symphonia and an important copy of The Book of Life’s Merits.
DISIBOD A seventh-century Irish bishop who retired to a hermitage near the confluence of the rivers Nahe and Glan in the Rhineland. Despite founding a monastery on the hill overlooking the site, he remained in the hermitage until his death at the age of 81. Hildegard held him in great respect, writing a Life of Disibod and several songs in his honour.
DISBODENBERG The hill and site of the monastery founded by the Irishman Disibod in the early Middle Ages and refounded at the beginning of the twelfth century. It was here that Hildegard began her monastic life as a child recluse under the tutelage of Jutta of Spanheim. The records disagree as to when they moved there: 1106 according to the Life of Hildegard or 1112 according to the Life of futta. The anchorage eventually became a community of nuns with Jutta as abbess; in effect, the institution became a double monastery of monks and nuns under the final authority of the abbot. Hildegard succeeded Jutta as abbess of the convent in 1136, remaining there until she founded the autonomous community on the Rupertsberg in about 1150.
EBERHARD, BISHOP OF BAMBERG Elected Bishop in 1146 and consecrated by Pope Eugenius III. Eberhard had good relations with Frederick Barbarossa, taking part in the Italian campaigns, and as a reward for his support, the abbey of Niederalteich was placed under the control of the bishopric of Bamberg. In 1157 he responded to a request from Hildegard and provided a building in Bamberg as a new convent for the use of Gertrud of Stahleck and her fellow nuns. In 1163 he was the fifth witness on the imperial deed of protection for the Rupertsberg.
EBERHARD, BISHOP OF SALZBURG Born in 1085, Eberhard of Biburg and Hipoltstein became a canon in Bamberg, a monk at Prüfening and then an abbot of Biburg in the diocese of Regensburg. On 22 May 1149, he was consecrated Bishop of Salzburg. Politically active, his work pleased Conrad III, although he did not frequent the imperial court as much as his friend Eberhard of Bamberg. During the schism, he supported Pope Alexander III and opposed the election of antipopes such as Victor IV in 1162. Nevertheless, he remained a presence among Frederick Barbarossa’s followers and acted as a mediator between emperor and pope. In 1163, he attended the imperial court at Mainz, and was the third witness on the imperial deed of protection for the Rupertsberg.
ECKBERT (EKBERT) OF SCHÖNAU (d.1184) Writer and preacher. Brother and adviser of the visionary Elisabeth of Schönau. From 1140 to 1146 he studied in Paris, where he was friends with Rainald of Dassel. He subsequently became a canon at St Cassius in Bonn, but after a pilgrimage to Rome in 1155 he became a priest and then, after persuasion by Elisabeth, a monk, joining the double monastery at Schönau. He eventually became abbot there. Among his many writings, he composed Thirteen Sermons against the Cathars, and he preached against this movement at Bonn before 1153, at Cologne in 1163 and at Koblenz in 1167.
EIBINGEN Founded by Hildegard c. 1165; a daughter monastery of the Rupertsberg.
ELISABETH OF SCHONAU (d. 1164) A visionary author who, like many others, experienced most of her visions in a state of ecstatic trance (in marked contrast to Hildegard’s waking state). From 1147 a nun at Schönau. Her early visions, from 1152 to 1155, are devotional pieces on the lives of Christ and Mary. But from 1155, she employed her brother Eckbert to put her compositions down in writing, and under his influence the writings become more theological and doctrinal. Her main works are a work influenced by Scivias known as The Book of the Ways of God (compiled in 1156–7), an elaboration of the Ursula legend entitled The Revelations of the Holy Army of the Virgins of Cologne (1156–7) and a visionary treatise in support of the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Mary (1156–9). Elisabeth corresponded with the older Hildegard for support and encouragement. She became magistra (abbess) of her community in 1157.
ERIGENA (ERIUGENA) John the Scot (c. 810–c. 877). Theologian and philosopher who attempted to reconcile the Neoplatonist idea of emanation (i.e. the origin of everything that exists from the One) with the Christian idea of creation. His greatest work, Periphyseon, or the Division of Nature, was possibly known to Hildegard; she perhaps knew his ideas through excerpts in the works of Honorius of Autun.
EUGENIUS III (d. 1153) Bernardo Pignatelli of Pisa, elected Pope in 1145. In 1135 he had joined the Cistercian Abbey of Clairvaux under Bernard. On his election as Pope he refused to recognize the Roman Senate and had to flee from Rome to Farfa and Viterbo and then in 1147 to France, where he commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. Eugenius held synods at Paris (1147), Trier (1147–8) where he personally read out and approved Hildegard’s writings, Rheims (1148) where Gilbert Porreta’s writings were scrutinized for heresy, and Cremona (1148), where he excommunicated Arnold of Brescia, now leader of the Senate. In 1149 he was able to return briefly to Rome, and again in 1153, when he died there. Essentially a reformer and pious Cistercian, he exchanged a number of letters with Hildegard after the Synod of Trier.
FREDERICK BARBAROSSA, OR FREDERICK 1 (c. 1122–90) Frederick (Friedrich) of Swabia. King and Emperor of Germany. Elected King on the death of his uncle, Conrad III, in 1152, he united the two rival dynasties through his mother, a Guelph (Welf), and his father, a Hohenstaufen. In 1153 he signed a treaty of mutual support with Pope Eugenius III at Constance, and on 18 June 1155 he was crowned Emperor by Pope Hadrian IV, who honoured the Treaty of Constance. But relations between emperor and pope soon changed. Hadrian changed his policies and became reconciled with the Norman king of Sicily, William I, at the Concordat of Benevento, thus breaking the terms of the Treaty of Constance. At the Diet of Besançon in 1157, Frederick insisted on the emperor’s rule of a ‘holy empire’, as against the spiritual jurisdiction of the pope (this eventually created the title of Holy Roman Emperor). After the papal election of 1159, he supported the ‘antipope’ Victor IV against Pope Alexander III, thus isolating himself from Italy, France and the Anglo-Norman world. The schism lasted almost eighteen years and led to bitter hostilities, including military action by imperial troops in German lands against monastic supporters of the pope. With the aim of establishing an imperial state in Lombardy, Barbarossa undertook six major Italian expeditions. In 1162 he took Milan. In 1167 he captured Rome, but had to withdraw because of a malaria epidemic. In the end, he failed to break the power of the Lombard communes and after his defeat at Legnano in 1176, he submitted to Pope Alexander III. In 1181 he overthrew a rival in Germany, Henry the Lion, the head of the Welf dynasty, and increased his power by the marriage in 1186 of his son Henry to Constance, heiress of Norman Sicily. Frederick Barbarossa died while on the Third Crusade in 1189.
GEBENO OF EBERBACH Eberbach, in the Rheingau, was a large Cistercian monastery with which Hildegard had personal contacts. She wrote to Abbot Ruthard in the 1150s and sent a letter of encouragement to the monks in the 1160s, a period when monasteries supporting the pope suffered oppression from imperial troops. In 1220, Prior Gebeno of Eberbach composed his Mirror of Future Times, or Pentachronon (i.e. The Five Ages), much of which consists of extracts from Hildegard’s apocalyptic or prophetic writings, including such correspondence as the letter to King Conrad III (c. 1150; 34) and the letter to the Cologne clerics (c. 1163). With its one-sided view of the range of her writings, the Pentachronon became the most widely known collection of Hildegard’s work in the later Middle Ages.
GERALD OF WALES (Latin name: Giraldus Cambrensis) (c. 1146–1223) Writer, historian and churchman.
GERTRUD OF STAHLECK (d. 1191) Sister of King Conrad III and Barbarossa’s aunt. Friend and correspondent of Hildegard. Her husband Hermann of Stahleck was a generous supporter of Hildegard’s convent at Rupertsberg. After his death in 1156, Gertrud became a nun first at Wechterswinkel in the diocese of Würzburg and then, after Hildegard’s intervention with Bishop Eberhard of Bamberg, at the new foundation of St Theodore and St Mary at Bamberg.
GILBERT PORRETA (c. 1080–1154) Otherwise known as Gilbert de la Porrée or Gilbert of Poitiers. Biblical commentator and scholastic theologian. After studying under Bernard of Chartres and Anselm of Laon, he became a well-known master at Paris. In 1142 he was appointed Bishop of Poitiers. Interested in logic and the language of theology, his statements in his commentary on Boethius’s opuscula that ‘God is one’ and ‘God is three’ led to great controversy, particularly at the Synod of Rheims in 1148. Hildegard was involved in this debate when asked for advice on the matter by a master of Paris, Odo of Soissons, in a letter written between 1148 and 1150 (see 32; and for Hildegard’s reply, see 4).
GOTTFRIED OF DISIBODENBERG (Latin name: Godefridus monachus) The monk of Disibodenberg who became Hildegard’s secretary in 1174, a year after the death of Volmar. His Life of Hildegard was incomplete when he died in 1176, and was finished by Theoderich of Echternach.
GOTTFRIED OF STRASSBURG Middle High German poet. Author of the Arthurian epic Tristan (c. 1210).
GREGORY THE GREAT (c. 540–604) From 590 Pope Gregory I. Regarded in the Middle Ages along with Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome as one of the four great ‘Doctors of the Church’. His many writings include the Moralia (a commentary on Job), homilies on the gospels, and the Pastoral Care, a guide to the psychology of teaching and ministry.
GREGORY VII, POPE (1073–85) Hildebrand, a native of Tuscany (born between 1015 and 1034), became one of the most influential popes of the period. At the Lenten Synod of 1074, he issued decrees against simony, i.e. the payment of money to promote people to higher offices in the Church, and against clerical marriage. He also sought to gain exclusive control over the appointment of bishops. This led to the ‘investiture controversy’, for he was almost immediately opposed by the king of the German Empire, Henry IV, who wished to retain investiture along with royal power over bishops. The long and bitter disputes between pope and king continued in the twelfth century, with frequent papal excommunications of the German kings, who reacted by electing their own ‘antipopes’.
GREGORY IX (c. 1148–1241) Pope from 1227. During his pontificate, in 1233, the canonization protocol was commissioned to provide evidence for Hildegard’s sanctity. This was rejected on its completion and returned for revision in 1237, but the revised version apparently never reached Pope Innocent IV, who wrote a letter in 1243 asking for the new claim to be submitted.
GUIBERT OF GEMBLOUX (German name: Wibert) (1124/5–1213) Writer and monk of Gembloux near Namur in Flanders. Extremely learned, he was considerably influenced by the Latin classics in his style of writing. During the 1170s, Hildegard’s reputation reached Guibert and he became a great admirer of her work. From 1175, therefore, he began a correspondence with her which culminated in a visit to the Rupertsberg in the autumn of that year. He also prepared the Thirty-Eight Questions with the monks of the monastery of Villers and sent it to Hildegard in 1176. From 1177 Guibert served as Hildegards secretary until her death in 1179; he returned to Gembloux in 1180. In 1188/9 he was Abbot of Florennes near Namur and then from 1194 Abbot of Gembloux.
HADRIAN IV, POPE (c. 1100–59) Nicholas Breakspear, the only English Pope. In 1154, he secured the expulsion of Arnold of Brescia from Rome and in 1155 obtained homage from Frederick Barbarossa before agreeing to his coronation as Emperor. In 1157 his legates met Frederick at Besançon and delivered his claim that the Emperor held his position as a ‘benefice’ from the Pope. This led to a severe dispute, which eventually became a schism during the pontificate of Alexander III. Hildegard wrote an admonitory letter to him on his election to the papal see in 1154.
HARTWIG, ARCHBISHOP OF BREMEN Hartwig of Stade, Archbishop of Bremen 1148–68. His sister was Richardis of Stade, the nun and friend of Hildegard at Disibodenberg. Their parents were Rudolf I, Margrave of Stade in North Germany (d. 1124) and Margravine (or Marchioness) Richardis, originally of Spanheim-Lavanttal (d. 1151); the Margravine’s second cousin was Jutta of Spanheim. After the death of his brother Rudolf in 1144, Hartwig was involved in an inheritance dispute with Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, who imprisoned him. On his appointment in 1148, he aimed to extend the power of his archbishopric in Scandinavia and then north-east Germany, in 1149 reestablishing the three bishoprics of Oldenburg, Mecklenburg and Ratzburg. But at the Diet of Goslar in 1154 Henry the Lion was given the power to invest the three bishops, despite Hartwig’s protests. In the same year he fell into disfavour with Frederick Barbarossa for refusing to perform military service on the imperial expedition to Italy. In 1166 he supported the revolt in Saxony against Henry the Lion.
HEINRICH, ARCHBISHOP OF MAINZ (1142–53) As head of the local diocese, Heinrich was at first a great encourager for Hildegard. He supported her at the Synod of Trier of 1147–8, and at the instigation of Richardis’s mother, Margravine Richardis of Spanheim-Lavanttal, he persuaded Abbot Kuno of Disibodenberg to allow Hildegard to found the abbey at Rupertsberg. On 1 May 1152, he consecrated the new church there, but the same year saw the demise of his career when he failed to support the election of Frederick Barbarossa as King and Emperor. In 1153 Heinrich was deposed, despite an appeal from Hildegard to Pope Eugenius III.
HEINRICH OF VELDEKE Author of the Middle High German poem Eneit (1170s), based on classical sources; an early example of the vernacular literature that was beginning to flourish at the end of Hildegard’s career.
HELENGER Abbot of Disibodenberg (1155–79). A regular correspondent with Hildegard.
HENRY II King of England (1154–89).
HENRY IV (or HEINRICH IV) (1050–1106) King and Emperor of Germany from 1056, he was declared of age in 1065. His reign is characterized by wars with the rebel Saxon princes and conflicts with Pope Gregory VII, particularly over the investiture of bishops and abbots. In 1077 he submitted to the Pope at Canossa, but the conflict was later renewed. Henry installed an antipope Clement III at Rome in 1084, who crowned him Emperor in the same year.
HENRY v Henry IV’s successor (1106–25). During his reign the investiture controversy was settled at the Concordat of Worms (1122).
HENRY VI King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor (1190–7). Frederick Barbarossa’s successor.
HENRY OF LIÈGE (German name: Heinrich von Lüttich) Henry of Leyen, probably a monk at Bilsen near Maastricht. Served as Bishop of Liège 1145-64. He was loyal to the Emperor, and his name appears on many of Frederick Barbarossa’s charters. He took part in the first Italian expedition of 1154, attending the Emperor’s coronation in 1155. In 1163, he was to be the seventh witness on the imperial deed of protection for the Rupertsberg convent.
HENRY THE LION (1129–95) Duke of Saxony and Bavaria and head of the Welf dynasty. At first enjoying good relations with the Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, he took part in the first Italian campaign of 1154 and 1155 and in return was given back the duchy of Bavaria by Barbarossa in 1156. He expanded Saxony eastwards, developing Lüneburg, Bremen, Lubeck and Braunschweig (Brunswick). He was a lifelong enemy of Hartwig of Bremen, with whom he disputed the jurisdiction of three north-eastern bishoprics. In 1166 he was opposed by a League of princes and then finally in 1180 by Barbarossa. He was exiled twice (1181–5, 1189–90) and became reconciled to the Emperor (Henry VI) in 1194.
HERMANN, BISHOP OF CONSTANCE Imperial supporter. Served as Bishop of Constance in southern Germany to 1166. In 1140, Hermann corresponded with Bernard of Clairvaux, who warned him of Arnold of Brescia, at that time in Constance. In March 1153 he presided over the wedding ceremony of Frederick Barbarossa and Adelheid of Vohburg. In 1154 he took part in the Italian campaign and as a result had all his properties confirmed by the Emperor in 1155. On 22 May he was one of many bishops who supported the antipope Paschal III. Hildegard’s letters to Hermann are critical and admonitory.
HERMAS Christian visionary author of the second century. The Shepherd of Hermas appears to have influenced Hildegard with its emphasis on visions, its teaching on the virtues, and its use of architectural imagery as in the later parts of Scivias.
HERRAD OF LANDSBERG (d. 1196) Female writer and from about 1178 head of a community of Augustinian canons at Hohenbourg near Strassbourg. Author and compiler of the illustrated theological textbook, The Garden of Delights (1160s and 70s).
HONORIUS ‘OF AUTUN’ Popular writer on theology active in the early twelfth century. Probably not from Autun, he possibly became a monk in Germany and spent time in England, where he composed his Elucidarium, a survey of Christian doctrine with parallels to Hildegard’s Scivias in coverage of themes. His later work Gemma animae uses allegory and symbolism to discuss the liturgy, while his Imago mundi treats cosmology and geography.
HUGH OF ST VICTOR (d. 1142) Theologian at St Victor, a house of Augustinian canons in Paris, which he joined in about 1115. Author of the large survey of doctrine The Sacraments of the Christian Faith, the mystical treatise The Ark of Noah and the widely used textbook on the arts known as Didascalicon.
HUGO (d. 1177) One of Hildegard’s brothers. Cathedral cantor at Mainz. He assisted Hildegard for a short period as secretary after the death of Gottfried of Disibodenberg.
JOACHIM OF FIORE (c. 1135–1202) Biblical commentator and writer, with a strong interest in mysticism and prophecy, particularly his idea of the ‘three ages’ of the world corresponding to the three persons of the Trinity. At first a monk of the Benedictine, and later Cistercian, monastery of Corazzo, he unwillingly agreed to be elected Abbot in 1177 but eventually retired, with papal approval, to the Sila mountains in 1196.
JOHN OF SALISBURY (c. 1115–80) Humanist, writer and churchman. After studying in Paris under Abelard, William of Conches and Gilbert Porreta, he entered the diplomatic service of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, from 1147 and of Thomas Becket from 1161. In December 1170 he was present in Canterbury when Becket was murdered by Henry II’s men. From 1176 he was Bishop of Chartres, and he took part in the Third Lateran Council in 1179. His writings include the political study Policraticus, the textbook Metalogicon and the History of the Popes.
JUTTA OF SPANHEIM (or SPONHEIM) Daughter of Count Stephan of Spanheim and member of an influential Rhineland family. With a clear vocation for the life of a recluse, she became guardian to the eight-year-old Hildegard after her parents had dedicated her to the spiritual life. She was later Abbess of the convent at Disibodenberg until her death in 1136. Her brother Count Meginhard of Spanheim gave financial and material assistance to the foundation of Hildegard’s convent at Rupertsberg in the 1150s.
KUNO Abbot of Disibodenberg from 1136 to 1155.
KÜRENBERG Twelfth-century poet from Austria. Known as ‘der von Kürenberg’, he wrote in Middle High German rather than Latin. Author of the celebrated ‘Falcon Song’ (1160s).
LAMPRECHT German writer, a pioneer in the use of the vernacular. He wrote his poem Alexander in the 1140s.
LINGUA IGNOTA Hildegard’s ‘Unknown Language’, compiled as a glossary in the period 1151–8.
LUCCA MANUSCRIPT A thirteenth-century manuscript held at Lucca (Bibl. Governativa, cod. 1942) containing a series of illustrations to The Book of Divine Works.
LUDWIG OF TRIER Abbot of St Eucharius in Trier and personal acquaintance of Hildegard. Along with Gottfried of Echternach, Ludwig commissioned Theoderich to write the Life of Hildegard in the 1180s.
MACROBIUS Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, fifth-century Roman writer. Author of The Dream of Scipio, a work on number-mysticism, oracles, virtue, astronomy, music, geography and the soul. The work was widely read in the Middle Ages and helped to transmit Neoplatonist ideas to the Latin West.
MARIE DE FRANCE A contemporary woman author of very different inclinations from Hildegard’s, who wrote tales of chivalry and romance in her native French. She probably lived in England.
ODO OF SOISSONS, or ODO OF PARIS A master at Paris who wrote to Hildegard in 1148 to find out her understanding of the nature of God and the Trinity as discussed at the controversial Council of Rheims, where Gilbert Porreta withdrew some of his more audacious statements on the question.
ORDO VIRTUTUM Hildegard’s ‘Play of the Virtues’, originally conceived in a shorter version in the final vision of Book 3 of Scivias and rewritten as a separate play or opera in the period 1151–8.
PASCHAL III Guido of Crema. At the instigation of Rainald of Dassel, imperial chancellor, he was elected antipope in 1164 after the death of Victor IV. At Christmas 1165, he canonized Charlemagne. On his death in 1168 he was succeeded by a further antipope, Callistus III.
PETER LOMBARD (c. 1100–60) Theologian and teacher at Paris from 1143 or 1144. He attended the Council of Rheims in 1148, where he opposed Gilbert Porreta. Author of the Sentences, a classic textbook of medieval theology arranged in four books to cover (1) the Trinity, (2) creation and sin, (3) the incarnation and virtues, (4) the sacraments and the four last things.
PHYSICA Alternative title Liber simplicis medicinae (‘Book of Simple Medicine’). Written 1151–8. Hildegard’s survey of the phenomena of the natural world (plants, metals, stones etc.) and their medicinal uses. Together with Causes and Cures, it may have originally formed a single work known as Liber subtilitatum diversarum naturarum creaturarum (‘The Book of the Subtleties of the Diverse Natures of Creatures’). Three complete manuscripts survive, one from the thirteenth and two from the fifteenth centuries.
PRUDENTIUS Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348–c. 410). Christian poet of the late Roman Empire. Apart from his hymns, he is best known for his Psychomachia, an allegorical poem about the struggle of the Soul and the Church, in which seven vices are overcome by the powers of seven virtues.
PTOLEMY Claudius Ptolemaeus. Greek astronomer writing at Alexandria from AD 146 to 170. His writings, especially his textbook the Almagest, were particularly influential.
RAINALD OF DASSEL (c. 1118/20–67) Important politician in Germany. In 1153 he was part of the embassy sent to Eugenius III in Rome; from 1156 he was Chancellor of the German Empire and from 1159 Archbishop of Cologne. Between 1158 and 1164 he led the imperial troops on their expeditions to Italy. It was his reading of the pope’s letter at the Diet of Besançon that led to a rift between emperor and pope. During the schism his excommunication by Alexander III in 1163 led to his insistence on the election of a new antipope, Paschal III, in 1164.
RICHARDIS (d. 1151) Richardis, Margravine (Marchioness) of Spanheim-Lavanttal. Influential noblewoman, widow of Rudolf I of Stade, mother of the nun Richardis and of the churchman Hartwig of Bremen, grandmother and guardian of Adelheid of Gandersheim. Related to Jutta of Spanheim. She intervened on Hildegard’s behalf with Archbishop Heinrich of Mainz to gain his support for the move to Rupertsberg.
RICHARDIS OF STADE (d. 1152) A nun of Hildegard’s community and a close friend and assistant. Richardis left Rupertsberg to become the Abbess of Bassum in 1151, which led to an emotional dispute recorded in a number of highly personal letters (see 12).
RIESENKODEX (i.e. ‘Giant Codex’) The large compilation of Hildegard’s works copied at the Rupertsberg after her death. The book is manuscript 2 in the collection of the Hessische Landesbibliothek in Wiesbaden, Germany.
RUPERT OF DEUTZ (c. 1075–1129) A monk of Liège who became Abbot of Deutz near Cologne in 1120. His work of 1125, On the Glory and Honour of the Son of Man, a commentary on Matthew, mentions visions which, rather like Hildegard, he had experienced for a long time without revealing this to others.
RUPERT, SAINT A legendary young prince in the Rhineland during the Carolingian period who became devout after a pilgrimage to Rome at the age of fifteen, whereupon he gave away his property and built churches and hospices on his extensive lands. After his death aged twenty his mother Bertha founded a monastery in his honour at the Rupertsberg.
RUPERTSBERG A hill overlooking the junction of the River Nahe with the Rhine at Bingen. The site of a shrine to Saint Rupert which was destroyed by the Vikings in the ninth century. Hildegard decided to locate her independent monastery there and moved from the Disibodenberg with a group of her nuns in about 1150.
RUPERTSBERG SCIVIAS, THE The famous Rupertsberg copy of Scivias (Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek, manuscript 1) with illustrations done by artists probably under the direction of Hildegard herself. Lost in 1945, its text and artwork are preserved in photocopies and a colour facsimile at the Abbey of St Hildegard at Eibingen.
SALEM SCIVIAS, THE The twelfth-century Salem Scivias, with a different set of illustrations from those in the Rupertsberg manuscript. Now in Heidelberg University Library, cod. Sal. X 16.
SCIVIAS (‘KNOW THE WAYS’) Hildegard’s first major work (1141–51), an encyclopedic survey of salvation history and Church doctrine, divided into three parts or ‘books’ of six, seven and thirteen visions respectively. The work survives in ten complete manuscripts, six of them from the twelfth century, including the illustrated Rupertsberg and Salem manuscripts.
TENGSWICH OF ANDERNACH Tengswich, or Tengswindis, was Mistress of Sankt Marien, a house of canons regular at Andernach in the Rhine Valley north of Bingen. In a letter dated 1148–50 (no. 52 in the Collected Letters), Tengswich criticized Hildegard’s hierarchical attitudes, in particular her refusal to allow girls from lower down the social scale to join her community at Disibodenberg. She also asked whether it was true that on feast days Hildegard allowed her nuns to wear rings and diadems decorated with allegorical figures. This question, it is thought, may reflect accounts heard by Tengswich of a performance of The Play of the Virtues.
THEODORIC (THEODERICH) OF ECHTERNACH Monk and writer from Echternach (now in Luxembourg). Author of the second and third books of the Life of Hildegard, begun originally by Gottfried of Disibodenberg but not finished by the time of his death in 1176. Theoderich was commissioned to do the work by Ludwig of St Eucharius in Trier, a personal friend of Hildegard, and by Abbot Gottfried of Echternach. It was completed in the 1180s.
THOMAS À BECKET St Thomas Becket (c. 1120–70). From 1155 Chancellor of England under Henry II, he resigned when he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. After his murder in 1170 by Henry’s men, he was canonized by Pope Alexander II in 1173.
TIMAEUS Plato’s work on cosmology; known in Western Europe in the twelfth century through a Latin translation by Chalcidius.
URSULA, SAINT According to the legend current in Hildegard’s day, St Ursula was a British princess of the dark ages who renounced her marriage and travelled with 11,000 virgins on a pilgrimage to Rome. On their return journey, they were massacred by the barbarian Huns at Cologne. In the early twelfth century an old cemetery was uncovered in which they were supposedly buried, and their relics, a physical token of their virtue and influence, were widely distributed.
VICTOR IV Octavian of Santa Cecilia. Italian churchman and antipope (1159–64). In 1151 he was a papal legate to Germany and in 1155 led the advance guard at the coronation of Frederick Barbarossa in Rome. In 1159 he was involved in the disputed papal election with Roland (Alexander III), which began the eighteen-year schism within the Western Church.
VOLMAR (d. 1173) Monk of Disibodenberg. The first to encourage Hildegard in her writing, he became her secretary and moved with her to the Rupertsberg.
WILLIAM OF CONCHES (c. 1080–c. 1154) Philosopher and Christian humanist; pupil of Bernard of Chartres. His works include commentary glosses on Priscian’s Institutions of Grammar, Plato’s Timaeus, and Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy.