Post-classical history

Gilo of Paris (d. after 1139)

Author of a Latin poem on the First Crusade (1096-1099).

Born in Toucy near Auxerre, Gilo (Egidius) became a cleric in Paris and afterward a monk in Cluny. By 1121 he was cardinal-bishop of Tusculum, and in 1129-1130 he served as papal legate in the kingdom of Jerusalem.

At some point before 1120 Gilo composed the earliest Latin epic about the First Crusade, of which six manuscripts survive. It is initially written in rhymed hexameters, which are replaced by unrhymed ones when the narrative reaches Jerusalem. Later in the twelfth century, substantial additions to Gilo’s poem were made by an anonymous author from Champagne or Lorraine. He was once erroneously known as Fulco, but is today known as the Charleville Poet, as the only extant manuscript of this version is preserved in MS Charleville-Mézières, Bibliothèque municipale, 97. Gilo starts his poem with the siege of Nicaea (1097); his finale is the election of Godfrey of Bouillon as ruler of Jerusalem (July 1099). The Charleville Poet added previous stages of the expedition such as the Council of Clermont (1095). Whereas Gilo clearly showed his preference for Bohemund of Taranto, the Charleville Poet favored Godfrey of Bouillon. Before the end of 1121, Gilo wrote a prose life of Hugh I, abbot of Cluny.

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