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12 - The Strange Pilgrimage of Odo of Deuil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2013

Gerd Althoff
Affiliation:
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
Johannes Fried
Affiliation:
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Patrick J. Geary
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
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Summary

Although Odo of Deuil's De profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem constitutes the only detailed report of the Second Crusade that we possess, no comprehensive analysis of the text itself exists. A consideration of the text's organizational structure has seemed unnecessary because the eyewitness perspective in which the events are presented attested to their authenticity. Because Odo himself declares that he intends merely to inform his abbot, Suger, about the events, leaving to the abbot the task of writing a life of Louis VII, it seemed possible to accept the events he presented as facts. Moreover, this monk of Saint Denis and pupil of Suger seemed to fit easily into a historiographical tradition that has been characterized as Capetian propaganda. Odo's biases therefore appeared easy to interpret. Consequently, the De profectione was classified as a secondrate student's work that reproduces a simplified version of Suger's concept of kingship. In the context of this classification only Odo's nationalism was considered original. It has been explained as a result of the crusade, where intercultural conflicts favored the development of a national consciousness. Following this argument, we are confronted with a medieval text that illustrates how national identity came into being on crusade.

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Chapter
Information
Medieval Concepts of the Past
Ritual, Memory, Historiography
, pp. 253 - 278
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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