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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 February 2016
In the first decades of the twelfth century, a wandering preacher was reported to have ‘advised’ the young men of Le Mans to marry the prostitutes of the town in order to save these ‘unchaste women’ (feminae quae minus caste vixeruni) from their lives of sin: ‘On his advice many of the young men married the unchaste women for whom he bought clothes to the value of four solidi, just enough to cover their nakedness.’ At the end of the same century, something very similar occurred in Paris, where another preacher was praised for encouraging the scholars and burghers either to marry prostitutes or to donate towards their dowry fund:
1 Ex Gestis Pontificum Cenomannensium, ed. Bouquet, M., in Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, 24 vols (Paris, 1840–1904), 12: 549;Google Scholar ET in Moore, R. I., The Birth of Popular Heresy (London, 1975), 36.Google Scholar I have replaced Moore’s ‘corrupt women’ with ‘less than chaste’ to give a more literal translation.
2 de Vitry, Jacques, The Historia Occidentalis of Jacques de Vitry: A Critical Edition, ed. Hinnesbusch, J., Spicilegium Friburgense 17 (Fribourg, 1972), 99–100.Google Scholar
3 Otto of Saint-Blaise, Chronica (ed. A. Hofmeister, MGH SRG 45, 78).
4 Baldwin, J.W., Masters, Princes and Merchants, 2 vols (Princeton, NJ, 1970), 1:133–7.Google Scholar
5 On the cult of Mary Magdalene, see Jansen, K., The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton, NJ, 2001);Google Scholar Saxer, V., Le Culte de Marie Madeleine en Occident des origines à la fin du Moyen Age, Cahiers d’histoire et d’archéologie 3 (Auxerre, 1959).Google Scholar The ‘holy harlot’ is a term defined by Ruth Mazo Karras, ‘Holy Harlots: Prostitute Saints in Medieval Legend’, Journal of the History of Sexuality 1 (1990), 3–32These lives are collected and translated in B. Ward, Harlots of the Desert: A Study of Repentance in Early Monastic Sources (London, 1987).
6 Procopius, Anecdota 1.9, lines 5–10 (ed. and transl. H. B. Dewing, LCL 290 [Cambridge, MA, 1969], 105).
7 Lex Visigothorum 3.4.17 (ed. K. Zeumer, MGH Leges nationum Germanicarum 1, 152); Augustine, De Ordine 2.4.12 (ed. W. Green, CChr. SL 29, 114); Jerome, Epistola 64 (PL 22, cols 607–22. See also Bullough, V., ‘The Prostitute in the Early Middle Ages’, in idem and Brundage, J., eds, The Handbook of Medieval Sexuality (New York, 1996), 34–42.Google Scholar L. L. Otis has suggested that the incidence of prostitution had decreased severely in the early Middle Ages, due to the absence of large towns and cities: Pros titution in Medieval Society. The History of an Urban Institution in Languedoc (Chicago, IL, 1985), 14.
8 Payer, P., Sex and the Penitentials: The Development of a Sexual Code, 330–1150 (Toronto, ON, 1984), 17.Google Scholar
10 Dalarun, J., Robert of Arbrissel: Sex, Sin, and Salvation in the Middle Ages, transl. Venarde, B. (Washington, DC, 2006), 72–3.Google Scholar
11 The Life was commissioned by the first abbess of Fontevraud, Petronilla of Chemillé, between 1116 and 1120. See Dalarun, J. et al., eds, Les Deux Vies de Robert d’Arbrissel, fondateur de Fontevraud. Légendes, écrits et témoignages, Disciplina Monastica 4 (Turnhout, 2006), 78–9 134–5.Google Scholar
13 Vaux-de-Cernay was one of the earliest houses of the Order of Savigny, founded in 1112 by Vitalis of Savigny. After 1148, it was affiliated to the Cistercian Order; see Moolenbroek, J. van, Vital Vhermite, prédicateur itinerant, fondateur de l’abbaye normand de Savigny, transl. Nambot, A.-M. (Assen, 1990).Google Scholar
14 Dalarun, , L’Impossible sainteté, 349 Google Scholar (transl. Venarde, Robert of Arbrissel, 107). I have changed Venarde’s ‘whores’ to ‘prostitutes’ in order to give a less pejorative and more literal rendering of meretrices.
15 Luke 7: 36–50 By Robert’s time, the ‘sinner’ and Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha, were merged into the figure of Mary Magdalene. See n. 5 above.
16 John 8: 3–11
19 Dalarun et al., eds, Les Deux Vies, 134–5.
20 The Vita prima was probably presented to Pope Callistas II in 1120 along with the statutes of Fontevraud. The canonization attempt was unsuccessful.
21 Baudri also stresses that nobody was rejected from Fontevraud. ‘Suscipiebant pauperes, ac débiles non repellebant, nee incestas nee pellices refutabant, nee leprosos nee impotentes’: Vita prima 17 (Dalarun et al., eds, Les Deux Vies, 174–6.
22 Now in Paris, BN, MS n. a. lat. 217.
23 Abbot of Vaux-de-Cernay, Stephen of Lexington (1229–43 commissioned the Liber de miraculis sanctorum Savigniacensium in order to promote the canonization of the ‘Savigny saints’: van Moolenbroek, Vital I’hermite, 81–2. The story of the Rouen miracle was most likely composed earlier by a companion of Vitalis and Robert and then inserted into the Liber de Miraculis: Dalarun et al., eds, Les Deux Vies, 318–19.
25 There is evidence to suggest that they had met already in the 1090s: ibid. 84.
26 Ibid. 530–3
27 Smith, J., ‘Robert of Arbrissel: Procurator Mulierum ’, in Medieval Women: Dedicated and Presented to Professor Rosalind M. T. Hill on the Occasion of her Seventieth Birthday, ed. Baker, D., SCH S1 (Oxford, 1978), 175–84.Google Scholar
28 Geoffrey of Vendôme, Letter 79, in Oeuvres, ed. G. Giordanego (Turnhout, 1996), 148 (transl. Venarde, Robert of Arbrissel, 104).
29 These have been translated and collected in Moore, Popular Heresy, 33–60
30 Ex Gestis Pontificum Cenomannensium, ed. Bouquet, 547–50.
31 Ibid. 548.
32 Ibid. 549.
33 Peter of Cluny, Tractatus Contra Petrobrussianos (PL 189, cols 720–850.
34 Bernard of Clairvaux, Epistola 241, in S. Bernardi Opera, ed. J. Leclercq and H. Rochais, 8 vols (Rome, 1957–77, 8: 125–7 at 126.
35 Ibid. 127; transl. James, B. Scott, The Letters of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (London, 1953). 387–9 at 388.Google Scholar
36 Ex Gestis Pontificam Cenomannensium, ed. Bouquet, 548.
37 See n. 1 above.
38 Elliot, D., Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, PA, 1999), 83.Google Scholar
40 Farmer, S., Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology and the Daily Lives of the Poor (Ithaca, NY, 2002).Google Scholar
41 Dalarun et al., eds, Les Deux Vies, 315.
42 X.4.1.20, in CICan, i, col. 668.
43 Innocent III, Opera, PL 214, cols 102–3 (Letter 112).
45 Gratian, Decretim, in CICan, vol. 1.
46 Huguccio was a teacher of canon law at Bologna, and amongst his students was Lothario da Segni, the future Pope Innocent III. Innocent was also a student at Paris: Baldwin, Masters, Princes and Merchants, I: 343.
50 Thomas of Chobham, Summa confessomm, ed. E Broomfield, Analecta mediaevalia Namurcensia 25 (Louvain, 1968), xv; cf. Peter the Chanter, Summa de sacramentis et animae consiliis, ed. J.-A. Dupaquier, Analecta mediaevalia Namurcensia 7 (Louvain, 1957), 175.
51 Raunié, E.;, ‘Abbaye Royale de Saint-Antoine-des-Champs: Notice Historique’, in idem, Epitaphier du vieux Paris: Recueil général des inscriptions funéraires des églises, couvents, collèges, hospices, cimetières et charniers depuis le Moyen Age jusqu’à la fin du XVIII’ siècle , 4: Saint-Eustache, Sainte-Geneviève-la-Petite (Paris, 1914), 127.Google Scholar
52 Simon, A., L’Ordre de Ste Marie-Madeleine en Allemagne (Fribourg, 1918), 6.Google Scholar In addition, Pope Innocent III (who also studied in the Paris schools) allowed prostitutes to be cared for at his foundation of Santo Spirito during Holy Week: PL 217, col. 1146 (Letter 46).
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