4000 BC - 1 BC

Harps and Flutes played in Egypt
Lyres and Double Clarinets played in Egypt
The Chinese court musician cuts first bamboo pipe
Chinese music moves to a five tone scale
Percussion instruments added to Egyptian orchestral music
Hittites use guitar, lyre, trumpet, tamborine to make music
Harps used to accompany dances in Egypt
Professional musicians provide background for religous ceremonies in Israel
Five-tone and seven-tone scales in Babylonian music

Earliest recorded music, a hymn on a tablet in Sumeria, written in cuneiform

In Greece, music is part of daily life; choral and dramatic music develops; intinerant musicians called Rhapsodes travel from city to city.
New art forms for songs appear. Flute and lyre become popular as accompanying instruments.
Seven-string lyre is introduced


Terpander writes for solo voice with instruments


Terpander (Greek: Τέρπανδρος Terpandros), of Antissa in Lesbos, was a Greek poet and citharede who lived about the first half of the 7th century BC. He was the father of Greek music, and through it of lyric poetry, although his own poetical compositions were few and in extremely simple rhythms. He simplified rules of the modes of singing of other neighboring countries and islands, and formed, out of these syncopated variants, a conceptual system. Though endowed with an inventive mind, and the commencer of a new era of music, he attempted no more than to systematize the musical styles which existed in the music of Greece and Anatolia.

About the time of the Second Messenian War, he settled in Sparta, whither, according to some accounts, he had been summoned by command of the Delphic Oracle, to compose the differences which had arisen between different classes in the state. Here he gained the prize in the musical contests at the festival of Carnea.

He is regarded as the real founder of Greek classical music, and of lyric poetry; but as to his innovations in music our information is imperfect. According to Strabo he increased the number of strings in the lyre from four to seven; others take the fragment of Terpander on which Strabo bases his statement to mean that he developed the citharoedic nomos (sung to the accompaniment of the cithara or lyre) by making the divisions of the ode seven instead of four. The seven-stringed lyre was probably already in existence. Terpander is also said to have introduced several new rhythms in addition to the dactylic, and to have been famous as a composer of drinking-songs (skolia).

No poems attributed to Terpander survive complete, and very few lines of his are quoted by later Greek writers; it must be regarded as doubtful whether he worked in writing.

Terpander is said to have died, around Skiades ("shady place" of the Carneia), by choking on a fig when the fruit was thrown in appreciation of one of his performances.

Arion, Greek composer and poet, introduces strophe and antistrophe


Arion (/ˈæri.ɒn/; Greek: Ἀρίων) was a kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb: "As a literary composition for chorus dithyramb was the creation of Arion of Corinth," The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth. Although notable for his musical inventions, Arion is chiefly remembered for the fantastic myth of his kidnapping by pirates and miraculous rescue by dolphins, a folktale motif. Herodotus (1,23) says "Arion was second to none of the lyre-players in his time and was also the first man we know of to compose and name the dithyramb and teach it in Corinth". However J.H. Sleeman observes of the dithyramb, or circular chorus, "It is first mentioned by Archilochus (c 665 BC)… Arion flourished at least 50 years later… probably gave it a more artistic form, adding a chorus of 50 people, personating satyrs… who danced around an altar of Dionysus. He was doubtless the first to introduce the dithyramb into Corinth".

Arion is also associated with the origins of tragedy: of Solon John the Deacon reports: “Arion of Methymna first introduced the drama [i.e. action] of tragedy, as Solon indicated in his poem entitled Elegies".

Arion on a sea horse, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1855)

Kidnapping by pirates

According to Herodotus' account of the Lydian empire under the Mermnads, Arion attended a musical competition in Sicily, which he won. On his return trip from Tarentum, avaricious sailors plotted to kill Arion and steal the rich prizes he carried home. Arion was given the choice of suicide with a proper burial on land, or being thrown in the sea to perish. Neither prospect appealed to Arion: as Robin Lane Fox observes, "No Greek would swim out into the deep from a boat for pleasure." He asked for permission to sing a last song to win time.

Playing his kithara, Arion sang a praise to Apollo, the god of poetry, and his song attracted a number of dolphins around the ship. At the end of the song, Arion threw himself into the sea rather than be killed, but one of the dolphins saved his life and carried him to safety at the sanctuary of Poseidon at Cape Tainaron. When he reached land, being eager for his journey, he failed to return the dolphin to the sea and it perished there. He told his misfortunes to Periander, the Tyrant of Corinth, who ordered the dolphin to be buried, and monument raised to it. Shortly after, word came to Periander that the ship in which Arion had sailed had been brought to Corinth by a storm. He ordered the crew to be led before him, and inquired about Arion, but they replied that he had died and that they had buried him. The tyrant replied: "Tomorrow you will swear to that at the Dolphin's Monument." Because of this he ordered them to be kept under guard, and instructed Arion to hide in the monument of the dolphin the next morning, attired as he was when he threw himself into the sea. When the tyrant had brought them there, and ordered them to swear by the departed spirit of the dolphin that Arion was dead, Arion came out of the monument. In amazement, wondering by what divinity he had been saved, they were silent. The tyrant ordered them to be crucified at the monument of the dolphin, but Apollo, because of Arion's skill with the kithara, placed him and the dolphin among the stars. This dolphin was catasterised as the constellation Delphinus, by the blessing of Apollo.

The story as Herodotus tells it was taken up in other literature. Lucian of Samosata wittily imagined the dialogue between Poseidon and the very dolphin who bore Arion.

Augustine of Hippo asserted that pagans "believed in what they read in their own books" and took Arion to be a historical individual. "There is no historicity in this tale", also according to Eunice Burr Stebbins, and Arion and the dolphins are given as an example of "a folkloristic motif especially associated with Apollo" by Irad Malkin. Yet there are many more or less reliable historical accounts from many periods of people being saved by dolphins. Erasmus instanced Arion as one of the traditional poet's topics that sound like historia rather than fabulae, though he misremembered that Augustine had taken the Arion story to be historical.


Pythagoras introduces octave to music


Pythagoras of Samos (US /pɪˈθæɡərəs/; UK /paɪˈθæɡərəs/; Greek: Πυθαγόρας ὁ Σάμιος Pythagóras ho Sámios "Pythagoras the Samian", or simply Πυθαγόρας; Πυθαγόρης in Ionian Greek; c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and has been credited as the founder of the movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him. He was born on the island of Samos, and traveled, visiting Egypt and Greece, and maybe India, and in 520 BC returned to Samos. Around 530 BC, he moved to Croton, in Magna Graecia, and there established some kind of school or guild.

Pythagoras made influential contributions to philosophy and religion in the late 6th century BC. He is often revered as a great mathematician and scientist and is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. However, because legend and obfuscation cloud his work even more than that of the other pre-Socratic philosophers, one can give only a tentative account of his teachings, and some have questioned whether he contributed much to mathematics or natural philosophy. Many of the accomplishments credited to Pythagoras may actually have been accomplishments of his colleagues and successors. Some accounts mention that the philosophy associated with Pythagoras was related to mathematics and that numbers were important. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom, and Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Plato, and through him, all of Western philosophy.

Bust of Pythagoras of Samos in
the Capitoline Museums, Rome.


Musical theories and investigations
According to legend, the way Pythagoras discovered that musical notes could be translated into mathematical equations was when he passed blacksmiths at work one day and thought that the sounds emanating from their anvils were beautiful and harmonious and decided that whatever scientific law caused this to happen must be mathematical and could be applied to music. He went to the blacksmiths to learn how the sounds were produced by looking at their tools. He discovered that it was because the hammers were "simple ratios of each other, one was half the size of the first, another was 2/3 the size, and so on".

This legend has since proven to be false by virtue of the fact that these ratios are only relevant to string length (such as the string of a monochord), and not to hammer weight. However, it may be that Pythagoras was indeed responsible for discovering the properties of string length.

Pythagoreans elaborated on a theory of numbers, the exact meaning of which is still debated among scholars. Another belief attributed to Pythagoras was that of the "harmony of the spheres". Thus the planets and stars moved according to mathematical equations, which corresponded to musical notes and thus produced a symphony.

Brewer (1894), wrote (page 2614):

"The music or harmony of the spheres. Pythagoras, having ascertained that the pitch of notes depends on the rapidity of vibrations, and also that the planets move at different rates of motion, concluded that the sounds made by their motion must vary according to their different rates of motion. As all things in nature are harmoniously made, the different sounds must harmonise, and the combination he called the “harmony of the spheres.”

Medieval woodcut showing Pythagoras with bells and other instruments in Pythagorean tuning


Modes appear in music
Indian Vina appears, two hollow gourds connected by strings and bamboo reed. Considered the precurser to all hollow instruments.
Pindar, Greek Composer and Poet born.


Pindar (/ˈpɪndər/; Greek: Πίνδαρος Pindaros, pronounced [píndaros]; Latin: Pindarus) (c. 522 – c. 443 BC) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved.

Pindar, Roman copy of Greek 5th century BC bust
(Museo Archeologica Nazionale, Naples)

Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, and his rolling flood of eloquence, characteristics which, as Horace rightly held, make him inimitable." His poems however can also seem difficult and even peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis once remarked that they "are already reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning". Some scholars in the modern age also found his poetry perplexing, at least until the 1896 discovery of some poems by his rival Bacchylides; comparisons of their work showed that many of Pindar's idiosyncrasies are typical of archaic genres rather than of only the poet himself. His poetry, while admired by critics, still challenges the casual reader and his work is largely unread among the general public.

Pindar was the first Greek poet to reflect on the nature of poetry and on the poet's role. Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he has a profound sense of the vicissitudes of life, but he also articulates a passionate faith in what men can achieve by the grace of the gods, most famously expressed in the conclusion to one of his Victory Odes:

Creatures for a day! What is a man?
What is he not? A dream of a shadow
Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men
A gleam of splendour given of heaven,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blessed are their days. (Pythian 8)
His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of the classical period.


Pindar begins to write his odes.
Greek Choral music reaches its zenith.
Typical greek instruments aulos, cithara, lyre.
Pythgoras further explores musical theory
Pindar dies.
Trumpet playing competitions become popular in Greece.

Aristotle lays the foundations of musical theory.


Aristotle (/ˈærɪˌstɒtəl/; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης [aristotélɛːs], Aristotélēs; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece.

Roman copy in marble of a Greek bronze
bust of Aristotle by Lysippus, c. 330 BC.

His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, whereafter Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian. At eighteen, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC). His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great starting from 343 BC. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history ... [and] every scientist is in his debt."

Teaching Alexander the Great gave Aristotle many opportunities and an abundance of supplies. He established a library in the Lyceum which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books. The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato's death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. He believed all peoples' concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. Aristotle's views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.

Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended into the Renaissance and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic.

In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher" (Arabic: المعلم الأول‎).

His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold" – it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived.


Aristoxenus defines rhythm as tripartite.


Aristoxenus of Tarentum (Greek: Ἀριστόξενος; b. c. 375, fl. 335 BCE) was a Greek Peripatetic philosopher, and a pupil of Aristotle. Most of his writings, which dealt with philosophy, ethics and music, have been lost, but one musical treatise, Elements of Harmony (Greek: Ἁρμονικῶν στοιχείων; Latin: Elementa harmonica), survives incomplete, as well as some fragments concerning rhythm and meter. The Elements is the chief source of our knowledge of ancient Greek music.


Aristoxenus was born at Tarentum, and was the son of a learned musician named Spintharus (otherwise Mnesias). He learned music from his father, and having then been instructed by Lamprus of Erythrae and Xenophilus the Pythagorean, he finally became a pupil of Aristotle, whom he appears to have rivaled in the variety of his studies. According to the Suda, he heaped insults on Aristotle after his death, because Aristotle had designated Theophrastus as the next head of the Peripatetic school, a position which Aristoxenus himself had coveted having achieved great distinction as a pupil of Aristotle. This story is, however, contradicted by Aristocles, who asserts that he never mentioned Aristotle but with the greatest respect. Nothing is known of his life after the time of Aristotles departure, apart from a comment in Elementa Harmonica concerning his works.

Overview of his works
His writings, said to have consisted of four hundred and fifty-three books, were in the style of Aristotle, and dealt with philosophy, ethics and music. The only work of his that has come down to us is the three books of the Elements of Harmony, an incomplete musical treatise. Aristoxenus' theory had an empirical tendency; in music he held that the notes of the scale are to be judged, not as the Pythagoreans held, by mathematical ratio, but by the ear. Vitruvius in his De architectura paraphrases the writings of Aristoxenus on music. His ideas were responded to and developed by some later theorists such as Archestratus, and his place in the methodological debate between rationalists and empiricists was commented upon by such writers as Ptolemais of Cyrene.

The theory that the soul is a "harmony" of the four elements composing the body, and therefore mortal ("nothing at all," in the words of Cicero), was ascribed to Aristoxenus (fr. 118-121 Wehrli) and Dicaearchus. This theory is comparable to the one offered by Simmias in Plato's Phaedo.

Elementa harmonica
In his Elements of Harmony (also Harmonics), Aristoxenus attempted a complete and systematic exposition of music. The first book contains an explanation of the genera of Greek music, and also of their species; this is followed by some general definitions of terms, particularly those of sound, interval, and system. In the second book Aristoxenus divides music into seven parts, which he takes to be: the genera, intervals, sounds, systems, tones or modes, mutations, and melopoeia. The remainder of the work is taken up with a discussion of the many parts of music according to the order which he had himself prescribed.

While it is often held among modern scholars that Aristoxenus rejected the opinion of the Pythagoreans that arithmetic rules were the ultimate judge of intervals and that in every system there must be found a mathematical coincidence before such a system can be said to be harmonic, it must be noted that Aristoxenus made extensive use of arithmetic terminology, notably to define varieties of semitones, and dieses in his descriptions of the various genera.

In his second book he asserted that "by the hearing we judge of the magnitude of an interval, and by the understanding we consider its many powers." And further he wrote, "that the nature of melody is best discovered by the perception of sense, and is retained by memory; and that there is no other way of arriving at the knowledge of music;" and though, he wrote, "others affirm that it is by the study of instruments that we attain this knowledge;" this, he wrote, is talking wildly, "for just as it is not necessary for him who writes an Iambic to attend to the arithmetical proportions of the feet of which it is composed, so it is not necessary for him who writes a Phrygian song to attend to the ratios of the sounds proper thereto." However, this should not be construed as meaning that he postulated a simplistic system of harmony resembling that of modern twelve tone theory, and especially not an equally tempered system. As he urges us to consider, "(a)fter all, with which of the people who argue about the shades of the genera should one agree? Not everyone looks to the same division when tuning the chromatic or the enharmonic, so why should the note a ditone from mesé be called lichanos rather than a small amount higher?"

It is sometimes claimed that the nature of Aristoxenus' scales and genera deviated sharply from his predecessors. That Aristoxenus used a model for creating scales based upon the notion of a topos, or range of pitch location, is fact, however there is no reason to believe that he alone set this precedent, as he himself does not make this claim. Indeed, the idea of unfixed pitch locations that cover certain ranges, the limits of which may be defined by fixed points, is a notion that was popular until the modern fixation upon fixed pitch systems, as is indicated by baroque theoretical systems of pitch and intonation. Another way of stating this, however perhaps less accurate, is that instead of using discrete ratios to place intervals, he used continuously variable quantities.

The postulation that this resulted in the structuring of his tetrachords and the resulting scales having 'other' qualities of consonance is one that can only be accounted for by the recourse to often repeated inconsistencies amongst his interpreters and modern confirmation bias in favour of simplified twelve tone theories. Aristoxenus himself held that "(...) two things must not be overlooked: first, that many people have mistakenly supposed us to be saying that a tone can be divided into three equal parts in a melody. They made this mistake because they did not realise that it is one thing to employ the third part of a tone, and another to divide a tone into three parts and sing all three. Secondly we accept that from a purely abstract point of view there is no least interval."

In book three Aristoxenus goes on to describe twenty eight laws of melodic succession, which are of great interest to those concerned with classical Greek melodic structure.

On rhythmics and metrics
Part of the second book of a work on rhythmics and metrics, Elementa rhythmica, is preserved in medieval manuscript tradition.

Aristoxenus was also the author of a work On the Primary Duration (chronos).

A five-column fragment of a treatise on meter (P. Oxy. 9/2687) was published in Grenfell and Hunt's Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. 1 (1898) and is probably by Aristoxenus.


Earliest form of the oboe used in Rome.
Chinese octave is subdivided into 60 notes.  


1 - 1000

350 Foundation of Schola Cantorum for church song, Rome.
386 Hymn singing introduced by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
390 The First “Hallelujah” hymns sung in the Christian Churches.
450 First use of alternative singing between the precentor and community at Roman Church services, patterned after Jewish traditions.

500 Boethius writes “ De Institutione Musica”


Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, commonly called Boethius (English: /boʊˈiːθiəs/; also Boetius /boʊˈiːʃəs/; c. 480–524 AD), was a Roman senator, consul, magister officiorum, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born four years after Odoacer deposed the last Roman Emperor and declared himself King of Italy, and entered public service under Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, who later imprisoned and executed him in 524 on charges of conspiracy to overthrow him. While jailed, Boethius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a philosophical treatise on fortune, death, and other issues, which became one of the most popular and influential works of the Middle Ages.

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

De institutione musica
Boethius' De institutione musica was one of the first musical works to be printed in Venice between the years of 1491 and 1492. It was written toward the beginning of the sixth century and helped medieval authors during the ninth century understand Greek music.

In "De Musica", Boethius introduced the threefold classification of music:

Musica mundana — music of the spheres/world
Musica humana — harmony of human body and spiritual harmony
Musica instrumentalis — instrumental music

In De musica I.2, Boethius describes 'musica instrumentis' as music produced by something under tension
(e.g. strings), by wind (e.g. aulos), by water, or by percussion (e.g. cymbals). Boethius himself doesn't use the term 'instrumentalis', which was used by Adalbold II of Utrecht (975–1026) in his Epistola cum tractatu. The term is much more common in the 13th century and later. It is also in these later texts that musica instrumentalis is firmly associated with audible music in general, including vocal music. Scholars have traditionally assumed that Boethius also made this connection, possibly under the header of wind instruments ("administratur ... aut spiritu ut tibiis"), but Boethius himself never writes about "instrumentalis" as separate from "instrumentis" explicitly in his very brief description.

In one of his works within De institutione musica, Boethius was to say that "music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired."

During the Middle Ages, Boethius was connected to several texts that were used to teach liberal arts. Although he did not address the subject of trivium, he did write many treatises explaining the principles of rhetoric, grammar, and logic. During the Middle Ages, his works of these disciplines were commonly used when studying the three elementary arts.

Romanos the Melodist

c. 490 - c. 560

Saint Romanos the Melodist or the Hymnographer (Greek: Ῥωμανὸς ὁ Μελωδός, often Latinized as Romanus or Anglicized as Roman), was one of the greatest of Greek hymnographers, called "the Pindar of rhythmic poetry". He flourished during the sixth century, which is considered to be the "Golden Age" of Byzantine hymnography.

Icon of Romanus the Melodist (1649)


The main source of information about the life of Romanos comes from the Menaion for October. Beyond this, his name is mentioned by only two other ancient sources. One in the eighth-century poet St. Germanos, and once in the Souda (s. v. anaklomenon), where he is called "Romanos the melodist". From this scanty evidence we learn that he was born to a Jewish family in either Emesa (modern-day Homs) or Damascus in Syria. He was baptized as a young boy (though whether or not his parents also converted is uncertain). Having moved to Berytus (Beirut), he was ordained a deacon in the Church of the Resurrection there.

He later moved to Constantinople during the reign of the emperor Anastasius—on the question whether Anastasius I (491-518) or Anastasius II (713-716) is meant, the renowned Byzantinologist, Prof. Karl Krumbacher favours the earlier date. There he served as sacristan in the "Great Church" (Hagia Sophia), residing to the end of his life at the Monastery of Kyros, where he was buried along with his disciple St. Ananias.

If those scholars who believe that he lived during the reign of the earlier Anastasius are correct, then he may have continued writing during the reign of Emperor Justinian (527-65), who was himself a hymn-writer; this would make him a contemporary of two other famous Byzantine hymnographers, Anastasios and Kyriakos.

According to legend, Romanus was not at first considered to be either a talented reader or singer. He was, however, loved by the Patriarch of Constantinople because of his great humility. Once, around the year 518, while serving in the Church of the Panagia at Blachernae, during the All-Night Vigil for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, he was assigned to read the kathisma verses from the Psalter. He read so poorly that another reader had to take his place. Some of the lesser clergy ridiculed Romanus for this, and being humiliated he sat down in one of the choir stalls. Overcome by weariness and sorrow, he soon fell asleep. As he slept, the Theotokos (Mother of God) appeared to him with a scroll in her hand. She commanded him to eat the scroll, and as soon as he did so, he awoke. He immediately received a blessing from the Patriarch, mounted the ambo (pulpit), and chanted extemporaneously his famous Kontakion of the Nativity, "Today the Virgin gives birth to Him Who is above all being…." The emperor, the patriarch, the clergy, and the entire congregation were amazed at both the profound theology of the hymn and Romanos' clear, sonorous voice as he sang. According to tradition, this was the very first kontakion ever sung. The Greek word "kontakion" (κοντάκιον) refers to the shaft on which a scroll is wound, hence the significance of the Theotokos' command for him to swallow a scroll, indicating that his compositions were by divine inspiration. The scene of Romanos's first performance is often shown in the lower register of Pokrov icons (example above).

Romanos wrote in an Atticized literary koine— i.e., he had a popular, but elevated style— and abundant Semiticisms support the view that he was of Jewish origin. Arresting imagery, sharp metaphors and similes, bold comparisons, antitheses, coining of successful maxims, and vivid dramatization characterize his style.

He is said to have composed more than 1,000 hymns or kontakia celebrating various festivals of the ecclesiastical year, the lives of the saints and other sacred subjects, some 60 to 80 of which survive (though not all those attributed to him may be genuine).

Today, usually only the first strophe of each kontakion is chanted during the divine services, the full hymn having been replaced by the canon. A full kontakion was a poetic sermon composed of from 18 to 30 verses or ikoi, each with a refrain, and united by an acrostic. When it was sung to an original melody, it was called an idiomelon. Originally, Saint Romanos' works were known simply as "psalms", "odes", or "poems". It was only in the ninth century that the term kontakion came into use.

Among his known works are kontakia on:

The Nativity of Christ
The Martyrdom of St Stephen
The Death of a Monk
The Last Judgment
The Prodigal Son
The Raising of Lazarus (for Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday)
Adam's Lament (for Palm Sunday)
The Treachery of Judas

His Kontakion of the Nativity is still considered to be his masterpiece, and up until the twelfth century, it was sung every year at the imperial banquet on that feast by the joint choirs of Hagia Sophia and of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. Most of the poem takes the form of a dialogue between the Mother of God and the Magi, whose visit to the newborn Christ Child is celebrated in the Byzantine rite on 25 December, rather than on the 6th of January, when Western Christians celebrate the visit (in the Orthodox Church, January 6, the Feast of the Theophany, celebrates the Baptism of Christ).

Of his other Kontakia, one of the most well-known is the hymn, "My soul, my soul, why sleepest thou..."[5] which is chanted as part of the service of the "Great Canon" of St. Andrew of Crete on the fifth Thursday of Great Lent.

Romanus is one of many persons who have been credited with composing the famous Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos which is chanted so often as a devotion by Orthodox Christians.

Prof Krumbacher published in Munich several previously unpublished chants of Romanos and other hymnographers, from manuscripts discovered in the library of the Monastery of St John the Theologian in Patmos. There exists in the library of Moscow a Greek manuscript which contains kontakia and oikoi for the whole year, but does not include all compositions of Romanos.

Professor Krumbacher says of his work:

"In poetic talent, fire of inspiration, depth of feeling, and elevation of language, he far surpasses all the other melodes. The literary history of the future will perhaps acclaim Romanos for the greatest ecclesiastical poet of all ages."

Iconographic depiction
For further information, see the Attributes section of the infobox at the top of this page.
Although in more recent icons Saint Romanos is depicted standing on the ambo (directly in front of the iconostasis) and wearing a deacon's sticharion, the famous Russian church musicologist, Johann von Gardner, points out that in the oldest icons he is portrayed wearing the shorter red tunic of a singer and standing on a raised platform in the middle of the church.

In the Eastern Church, Saint Romanos is the patron saint of church singers.

St Romanos the Melodist Antiochian Orthodox Choir - Melbourne Australia
Saint Yared

Saint Yared (Ge'ez: ቅዱስ ያሬድ) (April 25, 505 – May 20, 571) was a legendary Ethiopian musician credited with inventing the sacred music tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Ethiopia's system of musical notation. He is responsible for creating the Zema or the chant tradition of Ethiopia, particularly the chants of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which are still performed today. He is regarded as a saint of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church with a feast day of 11 Genbot (May 19). His name is from the Biblical person known in English as "Jared" (Gen. 5:15).

Yared was born in the city of Aksum to Abyud (Isaac) and Christina (Tawklia). His parents were born and raised in Aksum. His father died when he was seven, and his mother sent him to be raised by his uncle Gidewon, a priest who taught religious studies. A legend describes Yared gaining musical insight and talent through interaction with three birds, which inspired him to link the spiritual with the musical through the blending of musical characteristics to which he attached the Ethiopian words Ge’ez, Izil, and Ararary.

Yared arranged and composed hymns connected to religious celebrations and holidays, introducing the concept of sacred music to Ethiopian Orthodox services. This music, claim Debtera, is the basis of their performances.

Yared wrote five volumes of chants for church services and celebrations. These volumes include The Book of Digua and Tsome Digua (chants for church holidays and Sundays services), The Book of Meraf (chants for major holidays, daily prayers and the month of fasting), The Book of Zimare (chants to be performed after Mass), The Book of Mewasit (chants for the dead).

Tradition states that Yared was a favorite of the Emperor Gabra Masqal. According to legend, the emperor once became so enchanted with Yared's singing that he accidentally dropped his spear on Yared's foot during a performance. As an apology, the emperor offered to grant Yared a request. Yared requested to live the remainder of his life in solitude, where he could focus on prayer, meditation, and music composition. He spent his final years as a recluse in the Semien Mountains.

Ethiopian St Yared, The Creator of Melody
500 In Peru, flutes, tubas and drums in use.
521 Boethius introduces Greek musical letter notation to the West.
600 Pope Gregory orders the compilation of church chants, titled “Antiphonar”.
600 Pope Gregory founds the Schola Cantorum in Rome.
619 Chinese start to use orchestras with hundreds of players.
650 Neumes, notation for groups of notes used in music. This system is used in the West until 1050.
725 The court orchestra of Emperor Ming-Huang of China represents the high musical culture of the T’ang dynasty; no harmony or polyphony, five note scale without semitones; flutes, guitars, bells, gongs, drums.
744 Singing school established at the Monastery of Fulda.
750 Gregorian church music is sung in Germany, France, and England.
750 Wind Organs, originally from Byzantium, start to replace water organs in Europe.
790 Schools for church music established at Paris, Cologne, Soissons and Metz, all under the supervision of the Schola Cantorum in Rome.
800 Poems sung to music at Charlemagne’s court.
855 Earliest known attempts at polyphonic music.
870 “Musica enchiriadis,” a musical manuscriptusing Latin letters for musical notation.

Khosrovidukht also known as Xosroviduxt (Armenian: Խոսրովիդուխտ, "daughter of Khosrov") was an Armenian hymnographer and poet who lived during the 8th century.

One of the earliest known women musicians, Khosrovidukht was recorded as having been a member of the royal family, but here accounts differ as to her historical importance. Some sources hold that in the 8th-century, her brother was abducted by Arabs of the Muslim faith. Following this, she was taken to the fortress of Ani-Kamakh, now known as Kemah, where she lived in isolation for twenty years.

Khosrovidukht is reputed to be the composer of a šarakan, or canonical hymn titled "Zarmanali e Ints" ("Wondrous it is to me"). According to some sources, it honors the memory of her brother, who was assassinated in 737 for converting to Christianity. Although the subject of the piece is secular, it was sanctioned for use in services by the Armenian Church. A recording of the šarakan exists, performed by the Sharakan Early Music Ensemble.


Sahakdukht (Armenian: Սահակադուխտ, "daughter of Sahak") was an Armenian composer of hymns, poet, and pedagogue who lived in the 8th century. An ascetic, she lived in a cave in the Garni Valley, near present-day Yerevan; there she produced ecclesiastical poems as well as liturgical chants. Of these, the only one to survive is Srbuhi Mariam ("St. Mary"), a nine-stanza acrostic verse. It is believed that many of her hymns were dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Some of them are supposed to have helped to further shape the genre in subsequent centuries. Sahakduxt is also known to have taught lay music lovers and clerical students a number of sacred melodies; this she did while seated behind a curtain, as the mores of the period required.

Her brother was the music theorist Stepannos Syunetsi.

Otfrid of Weissenburg

Otfrid of Weissenburg (German: Otfrid von Weißenburg) (c. 800 - after 870) was a monk at the abbey of Weissenburg (modern-day Wissembourg in Alsace) and the author of a gospel harmony in rhyming couplets now called the Evangelienbuch. It is written in the South Rhine Franconian dialect of Old High German. The poem is thought to have been completed between 863 and 871. Otfrid is the first German poet whose name we know from his work. He studied under Hrabanus Maurus at Fulda and had moved to Weissenburg by 830. Apart from the Evangelienbuch, he is the author of a number of works in Latin, including biblical commentary and glossaries.

Otfrid memorial in Wissembourg

With 7104 couplets, the Evangelienbuch is the first substantial literary work and the first use of rhyme in German literature - surviving earlier German poetry is alliterative. It is not certain whether Otfrid's choice of form was inspired by Latin models or by vernacular verse which has not survived - Otfrid himself mentions laicorum cantus obscenus ("obscene song of the laiety"), of which there are no survivals.

Otfrid was fully aware of the novelty of his undertaking: the work starts with a section headed 'Cur scriptor hunc librum theotisce dictaverit' ('Why the author has written this book in the vernacular') explaining the reasons for writing in his native dialect rather than in the Latin one would expect for a religious work.

There are three dedications:

To Louis the German
To Solomon I, Bishop of Constance (839–871)
At the end of the work, to his friends Hartmuat and Werinbert, monks at the Abbey of St. Gall
The dedication to Louis is followed by a letter in Latin prose to Luitbert, Archbishop of Mainz, in which Otfried explains the purpose of the work and discusses some of the problems, both orthgraphic and grammatical, of writing in German. He also gives the following outline of the structure of the Evangelienbuch:

I have, then, divided this book into five books. Of them the first commemorates the birth of Christ; it ends with the baptism and the teaching of John. The second, His disciples already having been called together, tells how He revealed Himself to the world both by certain signs and by His most brilliant teaching. The third tells a little about the brilliance of the signs and the teaching to the Jews. The fourth tells then how, approaching His passion, He willingly suffered death for us. The fifth calls to memory His resurrection, His conversation afterwards with His disciples, His ascension and the Day of Judgment. (Translation by James Marchand)

The poem is preserved in four manuscripts, one of which is fragmentary. All the manuscripts are contemporary, and the Vienna manuscript (V) carries corrections which are generally considered to have been made by Otfrid himself. The Heidelberg manuscript (P) also includes the Georgslied.


Kassia (Greek: Κασσιανή Kassiani; 805/810 - before 865) was a Byzantine abbess, poet, composer, and hymnographer. She is one of the first medieval composers whose scores are both extant and able to be interpreted by modern scholars and musicians. Approximately fifty of her hymns are extant and twenty-three are included in Orthodox Church liturgical books. The exact number is difficult to assess, as many hymns are ascribed to different authors in different manuscripts and are often identified as anonymous.

In addition, some 789 of her non-liturgical verses survive. Many are epigrams or aphorisms called "gnomic verse", for example, "I hate the rich man moaning as if he were poor."

Kassia is notable as one of only two Byzantine women known to have written in their own names during the Middle Ages, the other being Anna Comnena.

Saint Kassia


Her name is a feminine Greek form of the Latin name Cassius. It is variously spelled Κασσιανή (contemporary pronunciation [casˈsjani]), Κασ(σ)ία (Kas[s]ia), Εικασία (Eikasia), Ικασία (Ikasia), Kassiani, Cas[s]ia, Cassiane, 'Kassiana.

Kassia was born between 805 and 810 in Constantinople into a wealthy family and grew to be exceptionally beautiful and intelligent. Three Byzantine chroniclers, Pseudo-Symeon the Logothete, George the Monk (a.k.a. George the Sinner) and Leo the Grammarian, claim that she was a participant in the "bride show" (the means by which Byzantine princes/emperors sometimes chose a bride, by giving a golden apple to his choice) organized for the young bachelor Theophilos by his stepmother, the Empress Dowager Euphrosyne. Smitten by Kassia's beauty, the young emperor approached her and said: "Through a woman [came forth] the baser [things]", referring to the sin and suffering coming as a result of Eve's transgression. Kassia promptly responded by saying: "And through a woman [came forth] the better [things]", referring to the hope of salvation resulting from the Incarnation of Christ through the Virgin Mary. According to tradition, the verbatim dialogue was:

"-Ἐκ γυναικὸς τὰ χείρω." (Ek gynaikós tá cheírō)
"-Kαὶ ἐκ γυναικὸς τὰ κρείττω." (Kaí ek gynaikós tá kreíttō)

His pride wounded by Kassia's terse rebuttal, Theophilos rejected her and chose Theodora as his wife.

When next we hear of Kassia in 843 she had founded a convent in the west of Constantinople, near the Constantinian Walls, and became its first abbess. Although many scholars attribute this to bitterness at having failed to marry Theophilos and become Empress, a letter from Theodore the Studite indicates that she had other motivations for wanting a monastic life. It had a close relationship with the nearby monastery of Stoudios, which was to play a central role in re-editing the Byzantine liturgical books in the 9th and 10th centuries, thus ensuring the survival of her work (Kurt Sherry, p. 56). However, since the monastic life was a common vocation in her day, religious zeal is as likely a motive as either depression or aspiration for artistic renown.

The Emperor Theophilos was a fierce iconoclast, and any residual feelings he may have had for Kassia did not preserve her from the imperial policy of persecution for her defence of the veneration of icons. Among other things, she was subjected to scourging with a lash. In spite of this, she remained outspoken in defence of the Orthodox Faith, at one point saying, "I hate silence, when it is time to speak."

After the death of Theophilos in 842 his young son Michael III became Emperor, with the Empress Theodora acting as Regent. Together they ended the second iconoclastic period (814-842); peace was restored to the empire.

Kassia traveled to Italy briefly, but eventually settled on the Greek Island of Kasos where she died sometime between 867 and 890 AD. In the city of Panaghia, there is a church where Kassia's tomb/reliquiary may be found.

Kassia wrote many hymns which are still used in the Byzantine liturgy to this day. Kassia became known to the great Theodore the Studite, while she was still a young girl, and he was impressed by her learning and literary style. She not only wrote spiritual poetry, but composed music to accompany it. She is regarded as an "exceptional and rare phenomenon" among composers of her day[6] At least twenty-three genuine hymns are ascribed to her.

Hymn of Kassia
The most famous of her compositions is the eponymous Hymn of Kassiani (also known as the Troparion of Kassiani), sung every Holy Wednesday (commonly chanted late in the evening of Holy Tuesday).

Tradition says that in his later years the Emperor Theophilus, still in love with her, wished to see her one more time before he died, so he rode to the monastery where she resided. Kassiani was alone in her cell, writing her Hymn when she realized that the commotion she heard was because the imperial retinue had arrived. She was still in love with him but was now devoted to God and hid away because she did not want to let her old passion overcome her monastic vow. She left the unfinished hymn on the table. Theophilus found her cell and entered it alone. He looked for her but she was not there; she was hiding in a closet, watching him. Theophilus felt very sad, cried, and regretted that for a moment of pride he rejected such a beautiful and intellectual woman; then he noticed the papers on the table and read them. When he had finished reading, he sat and added one line to the hymn; then he left. The line attributed to the Emperor is the line "those very feet whose sound Eve heard at the dusk in Paradise and hid herself in fear". Legend says that as he was leaving he noticed Kassiani in the closet but did not speak to her, out of respect for her wished privacy. Kassiani emerged when the emperor was gone, read what he had written and finished the hymn.

The Hymn of Kassiani is chanted only once a year during Holy Week, at the end of the aposticha at Matins on Great and Holy Wednesday, which is traditionally served in Tuesday evening. The music for the hymn is slow, sorrowful and plaintive. It lasts about ten to twenty minutes, depending on tempo and style of execution. It requires a very wide vocal range, and is considered one of the most demanding, if not the most demanding, pieces of solo Byzantine chant, and cantors take great pride in delivering it well. It is also sung by choirs in unison, often underpinned by Byzantine vocal bass drone. The faithful make a point of going to church specifically "to listen to Kassiani" that evening:In many places in Greece, the Bridegroom Matins service of Great Tuesday is popular with sex workers, who may not often be seen in church at other times of the year. They come in great numbers, in order to hear the Hymn of Kassiani, as the hymn is traditionally associated with the woman fallen in many sins.

Other works
Among the other hymns she composed are the following:

The Doxastichon chanted at the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve
Numerous hymns in honor of saints found in the Menaion (fixed cycle of the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar), such as Feast of the Nativity of the Forerunner, 24 June.
Among her hymns in the Triodion (liturgical book used during Great Lent) are the irmoi for the Matins Canon of Great Thursday.
Her longest composition is a Canon for the Departed, consisting of 32 strophes, to be chanted at a Parastas (memorial services).

Hymn of St. Kassiani - Boston Byzantine Choir
889 Regino, Abbot of Prum, writes his treatise on church music: “De harmonica institutione”
Regino of Prum

Regino of Prüm (Latin: Regino Prumiensis, German: Regino von Prüm; died 915) was a Benedictine churchman, who served as abbot of Prüm (892–99) and later of Saint Martin's at Trier, and chronicler, whose Chronicon is an important source for late Carolingian history.


According to the statements of a later era, Regino was the son of noble parents and was born at the stronghold of Altrip on the Rhine near Speyer at an unknown date. From his election as abbot and from his writings, it is evident that he had entered the Benedictine Order, probably at Prüm itself, and that he had been a diligent student. The rich and celebrated Imperial Abbey of Prüm suffered greatly during the 9th century from the marauding incursions of the Norsemen. It had been twice seized and ravaged, in 882 AD and 892 AD. After its second devastation by the Danes, the abbot Farabert resigned his office and Regino was elected his successor in 892 AD. His labours for the restoration of the devastated abbey were hampered by the struggle between contending parties in Lorraine.

In 899 AD Regino was driven from his office by Richarius, later Bishop of Liège, the brother of Count Gerhard and count Mattfried of Hainaut. Richarius was made abbot; Regino resigned the position and retired to Trier, where he was honourably received by Archbishop Ratbod and was appointed abbot of St Martin's, a house which he later reformed. He supported the archbishop in the latter's efforts to carry out ecclesiastical reforms in that troubled era, rebuilt the Abbey of St. Martin that had been laid waste by the Norsemen, accompanied the archbishop on visitations, and used his leisure for writing. Regino died at Trier in 915 AD and was buried in St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier, his tomb being discovered there in 1581.

Regino's works are edited in volume 132 of Migne's Patrologia Latina.

De harmonica institutione and Tonarius
Regino's earliest work was Epistola de harmonica institutione, a treatise on music which he wrote in the form of a letter to Archbishop Radbod. Its primary objective was to improve the liturgical singing in the churches of the diocese and probably to ensure Radbod's support for this. He also wrote the Tonarius, a collection of chants.[1]

Regino's most influential work is his Chronicon, a history of the world from the commencement of the Christian era to 906, especially the history of affairs in Lorraine and the neighbourhood. It was dedicated to Adalberon, bishop of Augsburg (†909).

The first book, which ends in the year 741 AD with the death of Charles Martel, consists mainly of extracts from Bede, Paulus Diaconus and other writers. Of the second book (741-906 AD), the first part is a long excerpt of the Royal Frankish Annals down to 813, the latter part - from 814 AD onwards - being original and valuable, although suffering from faulty chronology. If the author's own statement is to be believed, he has here relied chiefly upon tradition and hearsay for his information. The work was continued to 967 by a monk of Trier, possibly Adalbert, archbishop of Magdeburg.

Regino's chronicle is an important source on Bulgarian medieval history in that it is the only contemporary text hinting at the organisation of the Council of Preslav ("… [Boris I] gathered his entire empire and placed his younger son [Simeon I] as prince…").

Historians who made use of Regino's chronicle include Cosmas of Prague.

The chronicle was first printed at Mainz in 1521.

De ecclesiasticis disciplinis
Regino also drew up, at the request of his friend and patron Radbod, Archbishop of Trier (d. 915), a collection of canons, Libri duo de synodalibus causis et disciplinis ecclesiasticis, dedicated to Hatto I, Archbishop of Mainz. It was a work on ecclesiastical discipline for use in ecclesiastical visitations. The work is divided into 434 sections. The title of the work in Migne's edition is Libellus DE ECCLESIASTICIS DISCIPLINIS ET RELIGIONE CHRISTIANA, COLLECTUS Ex jussu domini metropolitani Rathbodi Trevericae urbis episcopi, a Reginone quondam abbate Prumiensis monasterii, ex diversis sanctorum Patrum conciliis et decretis Romanorum pontificum. Substantial portions of this work were included in the Decretum Burchardi of 1012.

Section 364 (corresponding to Burchard 10.1) is the so-called Canon Episcopi (after its incipit Ut episcopi episcoporumque ministri omnibus viribus elaborare studeant) dealing with popular superstition.

890 Ratbert of St. Gallen born, hymn writer and composer.
Ratpert of St Gallen

Ratpert of St Gallen (ca.855 - ca.911) was a scholar, writer, chronicler and poet at the Abbey of Saint Gall. He wrote in Medieval Latin and in Old High German.


Ratpert probably entered the monastery as an oblate while still a child. The monastery operated two schools in parallel: the "inner school" prepared pupils for the monastic life while the "outer school" trained boys for the secular priesthood. Ratpert attended the St Gallen monastic "inner school", so was destined by his schooling to become a monk.

Ratpert's contemporaries in the "Inner School" included Notker the Poet and the charismatic poet-polymath Tuotilo of St Gallen: the three later became close colleagues in the monastery. Meanwhile an "outer school" contemporary was the combative Salomo, later Bishop of Constance and Abbot at St Gallen itself. Ratpert's teachers were Iso and the (by provenance Irish) Moengal. Moengal had originally arrived with his uncle Marcus, an itinerant bishop, when they turned up at St Gallen as pilgrims, visiting the shrine of their compatriot, Saint Gallus. The uncle, Marcus, had moved on while Moengal had stayed at St Gallen and entered the monastery. Here the monks renamed him Marcellus (Little Marcus), recalling the name of his departed uncle.

Ratpert took his own monastic vows some time round 873. The earliest surviving example of his writing than can be firmly dated is a legal deed dated 29 May 876. He himself taught at the Monastery School for many years. The last example of his work as a deed writer that can be dated was produced on 10 February 902. His precise year of death is not known, but has been placed by recent research around 911. The month and day of his year were 25 October, and his name is recorded under this day in the monastery's Book of the Dead.

In addition to his duties as monastery school master and his activities as a writer of legal records, Ratpert produced poetry and chronicled the History of The Abbey. Little of his poetry has survived.

His other works include the All Saints' Day Litany, "Ardua spes mundi" (*The World's highest hope"),) the Eucharist song "Laudes, omnipotens, ferimus" ("We bring you praise, all powerful one"), an Old High German "St Gallen Song" and his Chronicle of the Monastery, "Casus sancti Galli" (literally "The Matter of St Gallen"). The Chronicle of the Monastery was subsequently, in the eleventh century, continued by Ekkehard IV (ca.980 - ca.1056) who at the time was also in charge of the Monastery School. Ratpert's original "St Gallen Song" survives today only in the form of its Latin translation, which was also penned by Ekkehard IV.

Notker the Stammerer

Notker the Stammerer (Latin: Notcerus Balbulus) (c. 840 – 6 April 912), also called Notker I, Notker the Poet or Notker of Saint Gall, was a musician, author, poet, and Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Saint Gall in modern Switzerland. He is commonly accepted to be the "Monk of Saint Gall" (Monachus Sangallensis) who wrote De Carolo Magno, a book of anecdotes about the Emperor Charlemagne.


Notker was born around 840, to a distinguished family. He would seem to have been born at Jonschwil on the River Thur, south of Wil, in the modern canton of Saint Gall in Switzerland; some sources claim Elgg to be his place of birth. He studied with Tuotilo at Saint Gall's monastic school, and was taught by Iso of St. Gallen (de), and the Irishman, Moengall. He became a monk there and is mentioned as librarian in 890 and as master of guests in 892–4. He was chiefly active as a teacher, and displayed refinement of taste as poet and author

Ekkehard IV, the biographer of the monks of Saint Gall, lauds him as "delicate of body but not of mind, stuttering of tongue but not of intellect, pushing boldly forward in things Divine, a vessel of the Holy Spirit without equal in his time". He died in 912. He was beatified in 1512.

He completed Erchanbert's chronicle, arranged a martyrology, composed a metrical biography of Saint Gall, and authored other works.

In his martyrology, he appeared to corroborate one of St Columba's miracles. St Columba, being an important father of Irish monasticism, was also important to St Gall and thus to Notker's own monastery. Adomnan of Iona had written that at one point Columba had through clairvoyance seen a city in Italy near Rome being destroyed by fiery sulphur as a divine punishment and that three thousand people had perished. And shortly after Columba saw this, sailors from Gaul arrived to tell the news of it. Notker claimed in his martyrology that this event happened and that an earthquake had destroyed a city which was called 'new'. It is unclear what this city was that Notker was claiming, although some thought it may have been Naples (previously called 'Neapolis' - new city). However Naples was destroyed by a volcano in 512 before Columba was born, and not during Columba's lifetime.[3]

His Liber Hymnorum, created between 881 and 887, is an early collection of Sequences, which he called "hymns", mnemonic poems for remembering the series of pitches sung during a melisma in plainchant, especially in the Alleluia. It is unknown how many or which of the works contained in the collection are his. The hymn Media Vita, was erroneously attributed to him late in the Middle Ages.

Ekkehard IV wrote of fifty sequences composed by Notker. He was formerly considered to have been the inventor of the sequence, a new species of religious lyric, but this is now considered doubtful, though he did introduce the genre into Germany. It had been the custom to prolong the Alleluia in the Mass before the Gospel, modulating through a skillfully harmonized series of tones. Notker learned how to fit the separate syllables of a Latin text to the tones of this jubilation; this poem was called the sequence (q.v.), formerly called the "jubilation". (The reason for this name is uncertain.) From 881–7 Notker dedicated a collection of such verses to Bishop Liutward of Vercelli, but it is not known which or how many are his.

The Monk of Saint Gall
The "Monk of Saint Gall" (Latin: Monachus Sangallensis; the name is not contemporary, being given by modern scholars), the ninth-century writer of a volume of didactic eulogistic anecdotes regarding the Emperor Charlemagne, is now commonly believed to be Notker the Stammerer. This monk is known from his work to have been a native German-speaker, deriving from the Thurgau, only a few miles from the Abbey of Saint Gall; the region is also close to where Notker is believed to have derived from. The monk himself relates that he was raised by Adalbert, a former soldier who had fought against the Saxons, the Avars ("Huns" in his text) and the Slavs under the command of Kerold, brother of Hildegard, Charlemagne's second wife; he was also a friend of Adalbert's son, Werinbert, another monk at Saint Gall, who died as the book was in progress. His teacher was Grimald von Weißenburg (de), the Abbot of Saint Gall from 841 to 872, who was, the monk claims, himself a pupil of Alcuin.

The monk's untitled work, referred to by modern scholars as De Carolo Magno ("Concerning Charles the Great") or Gesta Caroli Magni ("The Deeds of Charles the Great"), is not a biography but consists instead of two books of anecdotes relating chiefly to the Emperor Charlemagne and his family, whose virtues are insistently invoked. It was written for Charles the Fat, great-grandson of Charlemagne, who visited Saint Gall in 883. It has been scorned by traditional historians, who refer to the Monk as one who "took pleasure in amusing anecdotes and witty tales, but who was ill-informed about the true march of historical events", and describe the work itself as a "mass of legend, saga, invention and reckless blundering": historical figures are claimed as living when in fact dead; claims are attributed to false sources (in one instance, the Monk claims that "to this King Pepin [the Short] the learned Bede has devoted almost an entire book of his Ecclesiastical History"; no such account exists in Bede's history – unsurprisingly, given that Bede died in 735 during the reign of Charlemagne's grandfather Charles Martel); and Saint Gall is frequently referenced as a location in anecdotes, regardless of historical verisimilitude (Pepin the Hunchback, for example, is supposed to have been sent to Saint Gall as punishment for his rebellion, and – in a trope owed to Livy's tale of Tarquin and the poppies – earns a promotion to rich Prüm Abbey after advising Charlemagne through an implicit parable of hoeing thistles to execute another group of rebels). The Monk also mocks and criticizes bishops and the prideful, high-born incompetent, showy in dress and fastidious and lazy in habits, whilst lauding the wise and skillful government of the Emperor with nods to the deserving poor. Several of the Monk's tales, such as that of the nine rings of the Avar stronghold, have been used in modern biographies of Charlemagne.

The Monk of Saint Gall is commonly believed to be Notker the Stammerer: Louis Halphen has delineated the points of similarity between the two: the Monk claims to be old, toothless and stammerering; and both share similar interests in church music, write with similar idioms, and are fond of quoting Virgil. The text is dated to the 880s from mentions in it of Carloman (died 880), half-brother of Charles the Fat, the "circumscribed lands" of Carloman's son Arnulf, who succeeded as King of the Germans in 887, and the destruction of Prüm Abbey, which occurred in 882.

Nokter : Quid tu, virgo

Hucbald (Hucbaldus, Hubaldus) (c. 840 or 850 – June 20, 930) was a Frankish music theorist, composer, teacher, writer, hagiographer, and Benedictine monk. Deeply influenced by Boethius' De Institutione Musica, he wrote the first systematic work on western music theory, aiming at reconciling through many notated examples ancient Greek music theory and the contemporary practice of the more recent so-called 'Gregorian chant'.


Born in Northern France, about 850, his name reveals that he could have been closely related to the Carolingian dynasty (he was a familiar of Charles the Bald's court, to whom he dedicated poetical works and luxurious manuscripts). He studied at Elnone Abbey (later named Saint-Amand Abbey, after its 7th-century founder) where his uncle Milo was chief master of studies (scholasticus), in the diocese of Doornik. Hucbald made rapid progress in the sciences of the quadrivium, including that of practical music, and, according to a laudatory 11th-century biographical account, at an early age composed a hymn in honour of St Andrew, which met with such success as to excite the jealousy of his uncle. It is said that Hucbald in consequence was compelled to leave St Amand and to seek protection from the bishop of Nevers.

He was also a companion of studies of such future masters as Remigius of Auxerre and Heiric of Auxerre, perhaps as a disciple of the court philosopher Johannes Scottus Eriugena ('John the Scot', i.e.,Irish). In 872 he was back again at Saint-Amand as the successor in the headmastership of the monastery school of his uncle, to whom he would have been presumably reconciled. Between 883 and 900 Hucbald went on several missions of reforming and reconstructing, after Norman destructions, various schools of music, including those of St. Bertin and Rheims. In 900, however, he returned to Saint-Amand, where he remained to the day of his death on June 20, 930.

The only theoretical work which can positively be ascribed to him is his Musica (also known as De harmonica institutione), probably written about 880. The Musica enchiriadis, published with other writings of minor importance in Gerbert's Scriptores de Musica, and containing a complete system of musical science as well as instructions regarding notation, has now been proved to have originated elsewhere about the same time and to have been the work of unknown writers belonging to the same intellectual milieu. This work is celebrated chiefly for an essay on a new form of notation described today as Daseian notation and its readable transmission of the first record of Western polyphonic music.

Hucbald wrote also numerous lives of the saints and remained famous for a curious poem on bald men (Ecloga de calvis) dedicated to the archbishop of Mainz, where every word of the 146 hexameters begins with the letter C, initial of calvus. This kind of poetical tour de force belongs to the 'macaronic' literature of the time, inspired by Prudentius.


Saint Tuotilo (Tutilo, Tutilo von Gallen, Tutilo of Gall, Tutilo of Saint Gall) (c.850 – c.915) was a medieval monk and composer.


Born either in Ireland[citation needed] or in Alemannic Germany, he is said to have been a large and powerfully built man, and an excellent boxer. Always cheerful and in excellent spirits, he was a general favourite. He received his education at St. Gall's, from Iso and the Irishman Moengall, teachers in the monastic school. He was the friend of Notker of St. Gall, with whom he studied music under Moengal. Educated at the Abbey of St. Gall, he remained to become a monk there.

Tuotilo was a poet, hymnist, architect, painter, sculptor, metal worker, and composer. His artistic interests included book illumination and music.

Tuotilo was a good speaker, had a fine musical voice, was a capital carver in wood, and an accomplished illuminator. Like most of the earlier monks of St. Gall, he was a clever musician, equally skilful with the trumpet and the harp. Besides being teacher of music in the upper school to the sons of the nobility, he was a classical tutor and could preach both in Latin and Greek. His chief accomplishments, however, were music and painting, and on these his reputation mainly rests. He was much in request and by the permission of his abbot travelled to distant places. One of his celebrated sculptures was the image of the Blessed Virgin for the cathedral at Metz. In addition, he was a mathematician and astronomer, and constructed an astrolabe or orrery, which showed the courses of the planets.

Tuotilo's Music

Tuotilo played several instruments, including the harp. The history of the ecclesiastical drama begins with the trope sung as Introit of the Mass on Easter Sunday. It has come down to us in a St. Gallen manuscript dating from the time of Tuotilo. According to the works catalogue of Ekkehard IV, Casus sancti Galli, Tuotilo is the author of five tropes; further research ascribed five further tropes to him. Some of them are available in modern editions.

Tuotilo's Art
James Midgley Clark points out that the most interesting items at the St. Gallen Abbey in Switzerland are the ivory tablets attributed to Tuotilo, which form the cover of the Evangelium Longum.[4] Tuotilo's paintings can be found at Konstanz, Metz, St. Gallen, and Mainz.

Tuotilo was buried at a chapel dedicated to Saint Catherine in St. Gall, which was later renamed for him. His feast day is celebrated on March 28.

Tuotilo von St. Gallen: Cunctipotens genitor Deus, organum trope for 2 voices
Performed by Ensemble PasSages on 25 April 2015, Brussels
Stephen of Liège

This article is not about the Benedictine Stephen of Liège (d. 1061)
Stephen of Liège (Étienne de Liège) (c. 850 – 920) was bishop of Liège from 901 to 920. He was a hagiographer and composer of church music.

He was an abbot of Lobbes and canon of Metz Cathedral. His In Festi Sanctisissimae Trinitatis, an office for the feast of the Trinity, is available as a recording. The celebration of the Feast of the Holy Trinity is attributed to him.

Odo of Arezzo

Odo of Arezzo or Abbot Oddo (fl. late 10th century) was a Medieval composer and theorist who worked in Arezzo. Little is known about his life, except that he was an Abbot in Arezzo, working under Bishop Donatus of Arezzo. Odo composed a tonary (a book of chants which usually included antiphons and responsories) with a discussion of modes, which survives in 20 manuscripts, four of which contain attributions to Odo. In several of the manuscripts a prologue ascribed in three out of six to Odo is entitled "Formulas quas vobis".

A Dialogus de musica has been mistakenly attributed to Odo of Arezzo.


942 Kettledrums and trumpets brought to Europe by the Arabs.
980 Organ with 400 pipes finished at Winchester Monastery, England.
980 “Antiphonarium Codex Montpellier” written, important musical manuscript.

Ademar de Chabannes

Ademar de Chabannes (sometimes Adhémar de Chabannes) (c. 989 – 1034) was an eleventh-century French monk, a historian, a musical composer and a successful literary forger.


Adémar was born at Chabannes, a village in today's Haute-Vienne département of France. Educated at the Abbey Saint-Martial de Limoges, he passed his life as a monk, both there and at the monastery of Saint-Cybard at Angoulême. Adémar died around 1034, most probably at Jerusalem, where he had gone on a pilgrimage.

When Adémar joined the Abbey Saint Martial of Limoges, he was educated by his uncle Roger de Chabannes, cantor of the Abbey between 1010 until his death in 1025. Adémar learnt kalligraphy, to read, to compose and to notate liturgical chant, to compile and to revise liturgical books, and to compose and to write liturgical poetry, homilies, chronicles and hagiography. His life was mainly spent in writing and transcribing chant books and chronicles, and his principal work is a history entitled Chronicon Aquitanicum et Francicum or Historia Francorum. This is in three books and deals with Frankish history from the fabulous reign of Pharamond, king of the Franks, to 1028. The first two books are scarcely more than a copy of earlier histories of Frankish kings, such as the Liber Historiae Francorum, the Continuation of Fredegar and the Annales regni Francorum. The third book, which deals with the period from 814 to 1028, is of considerable historical importance. It relies partly on the Chronicon Aquitanicum, to which Adémar himself added a final notice for the year 1028.

The intonation formulas for the 8 tones according
to the Aquitanian tonary, which has been partly
notated by Adémar
(Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France,
fonds lat., Ms. 909, fol. 151r-154r)


He embraced the developing tale that Saint Martial, the third century bishop who Christianized the Limoges district, had actually lived centuries earlier, and was in fact one of the original apostles. And he supplemented the less than scanty documentation for the alleged 'apostolicity' of Martial, first with a forged Life of Martial, as if composed by Martial's successor, Bishop Aurelian. To effect this claim, he composed an "Apostolic Mass" that still exists in Adémar's own hand (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds Latin, (ms. 1121, ff. 28v-32v)). The local bishop and abbot seem to have cooperated in the project and the mass was first sung on Sunday, August 3, 1029.

Unfortunately for Adémar, the liturgy was disrupted by a travelling monk, Benedict of Chiusa, who denounced the improved Vita of Martial as a provincial forgery and the new liturgy as offensive to God. The word spread, and the promising young monk was disgraced. Adémar's reaction was to build forgery upon forgery, inventing a Council of 1031 that confirmed the 'apostolic' status of Martial, even a forged papal letter. The reality of this pathological tissue of forgeries was only unravelled in the 1920s, by a historian, Louis Saltet. Mainstream Catholic historians ignored Saltet's revelations until the 1990s.

In the long run, Adémar was successful. By the late 11th century, Martial was indeed venerated in Aquitaine as an apostle, though his legend was doubted elsewhere. In a very direct way, Adémar's Mass shows the power of liturgy to effect worship.

Works and legacy
Adémar composed his musical Mass and office according to the local school of his uncle Roger who worked as a cantor between 1010 until his death in 1025 at St. Martial Abbey using those modal patterns, as they have been documented in the tonaries of the new troper-prosers (Pa 1121, 909), chant books to which Adémar had partly contributed as a notator. Concerning the Apostolic feast of the patron he composed as well the hymns as the music which had become the metier of a cantor at Saint Martial. For this liturgical occasion which he had to create, he contributed like other cantors with own compositions, especially in the tropes (extended musical items added to existing liturgical texts).

According to James Grier, Professor of Music History in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario, Adémar was the first person to write music using the musical notation still in use today. He placed the musical notes above the text, higher or lower according to the pitch. Professor Grier states that "Placement on the vertical axis remains the standard convention for indicating pitch in notation in Western culture and there is far greater weight on pitch than on many other elements such as dynamics and timbre". Therefore, in discovering this document written around 1000 years in the past, Professor Grier turns Adémar in one of the first—if not the first—to write music using "modern" notation.


995 Guido d’Arezzo Italian music theorist and teacher born.

Guido of Arezzo

Guido of Arezzo (also Guido Aretinus, Guido Aretino, Guido da Arezzo, Guido Monaco, or Guido d'Arezzo, or Guy of Arezzo) (991/992 – after 1033) was an Italian music theorist of the Medieval era. He is regarded as the inventor of modern musical notation (staff notation) that replaced neumatic notation; his text, the Micrologus, was the second-most-widely distributed treatise on music in the Middle Ages (after the writings of Boethius).

Guido was a monk of the Benedictine order from the Italian city-state of Arezzo. Recent research has dated his Micrologus to 1025 or 1026; since Guido stated in a letter that he was thirty-four when he wrote it, his birthdate is presumed to be around 991 or 992. His early career was spent at the monastery of Pomposa, on the Adriatic coast near Ferrara. While there, he noted the difficulty that singers had in remembering Gregorian chants.

He came up with a method for teaching the singers to learn chants in a short time, and quickly became famous throughout north Italy. However, he attracted the hostility of the other monks at the abbey, prompting him to move to Arezzo, a town which had no abbey, but which did have a large group of cathedral singers, whose training Bishop Tedald invited him to conduct.

While at Arezzo, he developed new techniques for teaching, such as staff notation and the use of the "ut–re–mi–fa–so–la" (do–re–mi–fa–so–la) mnemonic (solmization). The ut–re–mi-fa-so-la syllables are taken from the initial syllables of each of the first six half-lines of the first stanza of the hymn Ut queant laxis, whose text is attributed to the Italian monk and scholar Paulus Diaconus (though the musical line either shares a common ancestor with the earlier setting of Horace's "Ode to Phyllis" (Odes 4.11) recorded in the Montpellier manuscript H425, or may even have been taken from it.)

Guido is credited with the invention of the Guidonian hand, a widely used mnemonic system where note names are mapped to parts of the human hand. However, only a rudimentary form of the Guidonian hand is actually described by Guido, and the fully elaborated system of natural, hard, and soft hexachords cannot be securely attributed to him. The Micrologus, written at the cathedral at Arezzo and dedicated to Tedald, contains Guido's teaching method as it had developed by that time. Soon it had attracted the attention of Pope John XIX, who invited Guido to Rome. Most likely he went there in 1028, but he soon returned to Arezzo, due to his poor health. It was then that he announced in a letter to Michael of Pomposa ("Epistola de ignoto cantu") his discovery of the "ut–re–mi" musical mnemonic. Little is known of him after this time.

The computer music notation system GUIDO music notation is named after him and his invention. The "International Guido d'Arezzo Polyphonic Contest" (Concorso Polifónico Guido d'Arezzo) is named after him.

Guido d'Arezzo - Ut queant laxis
Kórus Spontánusz
Bakai Márton (hegedű)
Pável Norbert (PANArt Hang)
Ének-ZENe - HANGverseny a Kórus Spontánusszal
Evangélikus templom, Sopron, HU 2013.11.24.

1000 - 1199

1000 Musical notation improved by Guido d’Arrezo.
1008 Berno, Abbot of Reichenau writes his books on musical theory.

Berno of Reichenau

Berno (c. 978 – 7 June 1048) was the Abbot of Reichenau from his appointment by Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1008. He reformed the Gregorian chant. He compiled a tonarius, dealing with the organisation of the church chants into ‘tones’ – eight modes of the Gregorian chant.

Following the reforms initiated under Abbot Immo, who imposed the Benedictine rule at Reichenau, under Berno's enlightened guidance the abbey reached its peak as a centre of learning, with a productive scriptorium, as a centre of Bendictine monasticism and eleventh-century liturgical and musical reforms in the German churches. At Reichenau he erected the tall western tower and transept that stand today on the island site of Reichenau-Mittelzell. One of his most famous students was Hermann of Reichenau, who transmitted Arabic mathematics and astronomy to central Europe.

Politically the abbot cleaved to his patrons Henry and to Henry III, duke of Bavaria and eventually Emperor, and wrote many letters and missives to the Hungarian kings Saint Stephen I of Hungary and Peter Orseolo of Hungary, containing various historical information about the Hungarian kingdom of that time useful for the historian. His activity in regard to Hungary was specially important during the reign of Stephen, as his wife was Gisela, the emperor Henry II's sister.

Hermann of Reichenau

Hermann of Reichenau (July 18, 1013 – September 24, 1054), also called Hermannus Contractus or Hermannus Augiensis or Herman the Cripple, was a Roman Catholic 11th-century scholar, composer, music theorist, mathematician, and astronomer. He composed the Marian prayer Alma Redemptoris Mater. He was beatified (cultus confirmed) in 1863.


Hermann was a son of the earl of Altshausen. He was crippled by a paralytic disease from early childhood. He was born July 18, 1013 with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy and is said to have had spina bifida. Based on the evidence, however, more recent scholarship indicates Hermann possibly had either amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or spinal muscular atrophy. As a result, he had great difficulty moving and could hardly speak. At seven, he was placed in a Benedictine monastery by his parents who could no longer look after him. He grew up in the monastery, learning from the monks and developing a keen interest in both theology and the world around him.

He spent most of his life in the Abbey of Reichenau, an island on Lake Constance. Hermann contributed to all four arts of the quadrivium. He was renowned as a musical composer (among his surviving works are officia for St. Afra and St. Wolfgang). He also wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry and arithmetics and astronomical treatises (including instructions for the construction of an astrolabe, at the time a very novel device in Western Europe). As a historian, he wrote a detailed chronicle from the birth of Christ to his own present day, ordering them after the reckoning of the Christian era. One of his disciples Berthold of Reichenau continued it.

At twenty, Hermann was professed as a Benedictine monk, spending the rest of his life in a monastery. He was literate in several languages, including Arabic, Greek and Latin and wrote about mathematics, astronomy and Christianity. He built musical and astronomical instruments and was also a famed religious poet. When he went blind in later life, he began writing hymns, the best known of which is Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).

Herman died in a monastery on September 24, 1054, aged 40. The Roman Catholic Church beatified him in 1863.

Legacy and influence
Three of five symphonies that were written by Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya are based on his texts.

1015 Sight singing introduced at Pomposa Monastery near Ravenna.
1026 Guido D’Arrezo introduces solmization in music. (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la)
1041 Magister Franco first music critic.
1050 Guido d’Arezzo dies.
1050 Polyphonic singing replaces Gregorian chant.
1050 Oldest surviving German Christmas carol “sys willekommen heirre kerst”
1050 The harp arrives in Europe.
1065 Wilhelm von Hirsau German Benedictine monk writes manuels on musical theory.
William of Hirsau

William of Hirsau (or Wilhelm von Hirschau) (c. 1030 – 5 July 1091) was a Benedictine abbot and monastic reformer. He was abbot of Hirsau Abbey, for whom he created the Constitutiones Hirsaugienses, based on the uses of Cluny, and was the father of the Hirsau Reforms, which influenced many Benedictine monasteries in Germany. He supported the papacy in the Investiture Controversy. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is a Blessed, the second of three steps toward recognition as a saint.

William of Hirsau, from the cartulary
of Reichenbach Priory

Early life
William was born in Bavaria, possibly in about 1030; nothing more is known of his origins. As a puer oblatus entrusted to the Benedictines he received his spiritual education as a monk in St. Emmeram's Abbey, a private church of the Bishop of Regensburg, where the famous Otloh of St. Emmeram was William's teacher. It is generally believed that it was here that William first became friends with Ulrich of Zell (later distinguished as a Cluniac reformer and a saint), a friendship which lasted to the end of his life.

Secular activities[edit]
Also in the abbey, about the middle of the 11th century, William composed learned treatises on astronomy and music, disciplines that formed part of the quadrivium, in the knowledge of which William was considered unsurpassed in his day.

He constructed various astronomical instruments, made a sun-dial which showed the variations of the heavenly bodies, the solstices, equinoxes and other sidereal phenomena. His famous stone astrolabe can still be seen today in Regensburg: more than 2.5 metres high, it is engraved on the front with an astrolabe sphere, while on the reverse side is the figure of a man gazing into the heavens, presumed to be the Greek astronomer and poet Aratos of Soloi (of the 3rd century B.C.).

He was also a skilled musician and made various improvements on the flute.

In 1069 William was called to Hirsau Abbey as elected successor to the deposed Abbot Frederick. He immediately took over the management of the monastery, but refused to accept the abbatial benediction till after the death of his unjustly deposed predecessor in 1071.

In his first years of office he pursued the goal of making the abbey independent of secular powers, on the basis of the reforms of Gorze Abbey in Lorraine and of Cluny, which had begun to take effect some time previously.

This policy put him in direct opposition to Hirsau's powerful lay abbots, the Counts of Calw. A writ of Emperor Henry IV, probably drafted shortly after 1070, although it created the important link between the abbey and the monarchy, nevertheless largely confirmed the status of Hirsau as a private monastery of the counts.

However, a privilege of Pope Gregory VII, drawn up between 1073 and 1075, put Hirsau under papal protection.

William eventually prevailed against Count Adalbert II of Calw, who renounced his lay lordship over the abbey. Henry IV immediately put the monastic community under his own protection, although Hirsau was not made an imperial abbey directly answerable to the monarch (reichsunmittelbar). The count received by royal grant the Vogtei of the abbey. The abbey, by deed of 9 October 1075, received the "complete freedom of the monastery", which included the freedom to elect and invest the abbot, and to elect or dismiss the Vogt, although it is true that the choice of candidates for the latter position was restricted to the kin of the founder.

In 1075 William went to Rome to obtain the papal confirmation for the exemption of Hirschau. On this occasion he became acquainted with Pope Gregory VII, with whose efforts towards reforms he was in deep sympathy and whom he afterwards strongly supported in the Investiture Controversy against Henry IV.

Hirsau Reforms
Against this background William introduced to Hirsau, from no later than 1079, a number of reforms originating in Cluny, on which he based the Constitutiones Hirsaugienses ("Customs of Hirsau"), which later became very widespread as a result of the Hirsau Reforms (see below). These reforms particularly focussed on discipline and obedience, tough punishments for infringements of the rules and continuous supervision of the monks.

Parallel with these developments he found it necessary, in order to bring under some sort of control the great numbers of laymen flocking to Hirsau, to create the institution of the conversi in the German Benedictine monasteries. Before this there were certainly men-servants in the monasteries, but they lived outside the monastery, wore no specifically religious clothing and took no vows.

Despite – or rather, precisely because of – the unusually strict monastic discipline and ascetic piety which William introduced from Cluny, Hirsau had become very attractive: the number of choir monks increased from 15 to 150. Due to this increase in its popularity, the existing monastery (dedicated to Saint Aurelius) proved too small, and the community therefore re-settled to the other side of the River Nagold. There, sometime after 1083, was built the largest monastery complex in Germany of the time, with its great Romanesque church dedicated to Saint Peter.

William's efforts were not limited to Hirsau. Many monasteries, perhaps as many as 200, both newly founded and long established, embraced the Hirsau Reforms. New abbeys, settled by monks from Hirsau, included Zwiefalten, Blaubeuren, St. Peter im Schwarzwald and St. Georgen im Schwarzwald in Swabia, and Reinhardsbrunn in Thuringia. Already existing monasteries which accepted the reforms included Petershausen near Konstanz, Schaffhausen, Comburg, and St. Peter's in Erfurt. Finally, there were the priories such as Reichenbach in Baden-Württemberg, Schönrain in Franconia and Fischbachau in Bavaria.

He also had a standard edition of the Vulgate made for all the monasteries of the reform.

Political implications
Support for the reforms came primarily from Swabia and Franconia, with a smaller following in Central and East Germany. The spread of the Hirsau Reforms was directly related to the reputation William had acquired through the ecclesio-political propaganda of the Investiture Controversy, as the main support of Pope Gregory's faction in Germany and in Swabia. He was on the side of the counter-kings Rudolf of Swabia (1077–1080) and Herman of Luxemburg, Count of Salm (1081–1088). Among other things, the tenacity of the Gregorian party in south-west Germany was due to him, quite apart from the reputation of Hirsau Abbey among ecclesiastical reformers. When William died on 5 July 1091, the reform party in Swabia and Germany lost an important champion.

Besides composing the Constitutiones Hirsaugienses William of Hirsau was the author of the treatises "De astronomia", of which only the prologue is printed and "De musica".

His life is recorded in the Vita Willihelmi abbatis Hirsaugiensis.

William of Hirsau is commemorated in various martyrologies on 4 July or 5 July.

Godric of Finchale

Saint Godric of Finchale (or Saint Goderic) (c. 1065 – 21 May 1170) was an English hermit, merchant and popular medieval saint, although he was never formally canonised. He was born in Walpole in Norfolk and died in Finchale in County Durham, England.


Saint Godric's life was recorded by a contemporary of his: a monk named Reginald of Durham. Several other hagiographies are also extant. According to these accounts, Godric, who began from humble beginnings as the son of Ailward and Edwenna, "both of slender rank and wealth, but abundant in righteousness and virtue", was a pedlar, then a sailor and entrepreneur, and may have been the captain and owner of the ship that conveyed Baldwin I of Jerusalem to Jaffa in 1102. After years at sea, Godric reportedly went to the island of Lindisfarne and there encountered Saint Cuthbert; this will not have been a physical encounter as Cuthbert had long been dead and was by then interred at Durham Cathedral. This encounter changed his life, and he devoted himself to Christianity and service to God thereafter.

After many pilgrimages around the Mediterranean, Godric returned to England and lived with an elderly hermit named Aelric for two years. Upon Aelric's death, Godric made one last pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and then returned home where he convinced Ranulf Flambard, the Bishop of Durham, to grant him a place to live as a hermit at Finchale, by the River Wear. He had previously served as doorkeeper, the lowest of the minor orders, at the hospital church of nearby St Giles Hospital in Durham. He is recorded to have lived at Finchale for the final sixty years of his life, occasionally meeting with visitors approved by the local prior. As the years passed, his reputation grew, and Thomas Becket and Pope Alexander III both reportedly sought Godric's advice as a wise and holy man.

Reginald describes Godric's physical attributes:

For he was vigorous and strenuous in mind, whole of limb and strong in body. He was of middle stature, broad-shouldered and deep-chested, with a long face, grey eyes most clear and piercing, bushy brows, a broad forehead, long and open nostrils, a nose of comely curve, and a pointed chin. His beard was thick, and longer than the ordinary, his mouth well-shaped, with lips of moderate thickness; in youth his hair was black, in age as white as snow; his neck was short and thick, knotted with veins and sinews; his legs were somewhat slender, his instep high, his knees hardened and horny with frequent kneeling; his whole skin rough beyond the ordinary, until all this roughness was softened by old age...

St Godric is perhaps best remembered for his kindness toward animals, and many stories recall his protection of the creatures who lived near his forest home. According to one of these, he hid a stag from pursuing hunters; according to another, he even allowed snakes to warm themselves by his fire.

Reginald of Durham recorded four songs of St Godric's: they are the oldest songs in English for which the original musical settings survive. Reginald describes the circumstances in which Godric learnt the first song.[2] In a vision the Virgin Mary appeared to Godric with at her side "two maidens of surpassing beauty clad in shining white raiments." They pledged to come to his aid in times of need; and the Virgin herself taught Godric a song of consolation to overcome grief or temptation ("Saintë Marië Virginë").

The novel Godric (1981) by Frederick Buechner is a fictional retelling of his life and travels. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The first two hymns of St Godric, some of the earliest surviving musical settings in Middle English:

I. Saintë Marië Virginë,
Moder Iesu Cristes Nazarenë,
Onfo, schild, help thin Godric,
Onfong bring hegilich
With the in Godës riche.

II. Saintë Marië Cristes bur,
Maidenës clenhad, moderës flur;
Dilie min sinnë, rix in min mod,
Bring me to winnë with the selfd God.

I. Saint Mary, Virgin,
Mother of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,
Receive, shield, help your Godric,
When received, bring him solemnly
With you into God's kingdom.

II. Saint Mary, Christ's bower,
Maiden's purity, mother's flower,
Destroy my sin, reign in my heart,
Bring me to bliss with the very same God.

Crist and Sainte Marie by Saint Godric of Finchale
This is a live performance by Lumina Vocal Ensemble.
Singers are Saam Thorne (solo), Rachel Sag and Michele de Courcy.
Musical Director Anna Pope and vocal coach Professor Tom Burton.
Recorded at the concert 'A Mediæval Christmas' in the
Adelaide Fringe Festival, 2012
Christ Church North Adelaide, South Australia
by Rosemary Beal, 5MBS - March 2012.
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison
Crist and Sainte Marie
Swa on scamel me iledde
That ich on this erthe ne silde
With mine bare footen itredde
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison, Christe eleison
English translation
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Christ and St. Mary
Have brought me to this altar
So that I may not touch
The ground with my bare feet
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Adam of Saint Victor

Adam of Saint Victor (died 1146) was a prolific poet and composer of Latin hymns and sequences. He is believed to have sparked the expansion of the poetic and musical repertoire in the Notre Dame school with his strongly rhythmic and imagery-filled poetry.

The first reference to him is from 1098, in the archives of Notre Dame Cathedral, where he was first a subdeacon, and later a precentor. He left the cathedral for the Abbey of Saint Victor around 1133, probably because of his attempts at imposing the Rule of St Augustine at the cathedral.

Adam probably had contact with a number of important theologians, poets, and musicians of his day, including Peter Abelard and Hugh of St Victor, and he may have taught Albertus Parisiensis.

Adam of St Victor’ surviving works are sequences for liturgical use, not theological treatises. Around 47 sequences by Adam survive. In a practice that developed from the ninth century onwards, these are poems composed to be sung during the mass, between the Alleluia and the gospel reading. The sequence therefore bridges the Old Testament or epistle readings and the gospel, both literarily and musically.

Adam de Saint-Victor 'SUPERNE MATRIS GAUDIA'
Adam de Saint-Victor's (+ late 12th century) Hymn for All Saints Day. The piano part of course is not by Adam, but contemporary. The musicians: Hartmut Schulz - Baritone, Margita Linde - Piano.
William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

William IX (Occitan: Guilhèm de Peitieus; Guilhem de Poitou French: Guillaume de Poitiers,) (22 October 1071 – 11 February 1127), called the Troubador, was the Duke of Aquitaine and Gascony and Count of Poitou (as William VII) between 1086 and his death. He was also one of the leaders of the Crusade of 1101. Though his political and military achievements have a certain historical importance, he is best known as the earliest troubadour[1] — a vernacular lyric poet in the Occitan language — whose work survived.

Miniature of William from
a 13th-century chansonnier
now in the Bibliothèque
nationale de France

Ducal career

William was the son of William VIII of Aquitaine by his third wife, Hildegarde of Burgundy. His birth was a cause of great celebration at the Aquitanian court, but the Church at first considered him illegitimate because of his father's earlier divorces and his parents' consanguinity. This obliged his father to make a pilgrimage to Rome soon after his birth to seek Papal approval of his third marriage and the young William's legitimacy.

Early career, 1088–1102
William inherited the duchy at the age of fifteen upon the death of his father. It has been generally believed that he was first married in 1088, at age sixteen, to Ermengarde, daughter of Fulk IV of Anjou. Biographers have described Ermengarde as beautiful and well-educated, though suffering from severe mood swings. She was even fancifully diagnosed by one biographer as displaying "symptoms of what was possibly manic depression or schizophrenia". However, Ruth Harvey's 1993 critical investigation shows the assumption of William's marriage to Ermengarde to be based largely on an error in a nineteenth-century secondary source and it is highly likely that Philippa of Toulouse was William's only wife. Further research has found the claim that William was married to "Hermingerda", daughter of Fulk IV of Anjou is based on the very unreliable chronicle of William of Tyre, written between 1169 and 1187, more than 70 years after the events in question would have taken place. Tyre erroneously identifies Ermengarde's mother as Bertrade of Montfort, the sister of Amalricus de Montfort when her mother was in fact Audearde or Hildegarde of Beaugency. Tyre's chronicle lacks any contemporary corroboration, no primary text ever mentions a marriage between William and Ermengarde. It is therefore not only improbable that William married Ermengarde, it is likely that Ermengarde - at least as a wife of William - never existed.

In 1094, William married Philippa, the daughter and heiress of William IV of Toulouse. By Philippa, William had two sons and five daughters, including his eventual successor, William X. His second son, Raymond, eventually became the Prince of Antioch in the Holy Land, and his daughter Agnes married firstly Aimery V of Thouars and then Ramiro II of Aragon, reestablishing dynastic ties with that ruling house.

William invited Pope Urban II to spend the Christmas of 1095 at his court. The pope urged him to "take the cross" (i.e. the First Crusade) and leave for the Holy Land, but William was more interested in exploiting the absence on Crusade of Raymond IV of Toulouse, his wife's uncle, to press her claim to Toulouse. He and Philippa did capture Toulouse in 1098, an act for which they were threatened with excommunication. Partly out of a desire to regain favor with the religious authorities and partly out of a wish to see the world, William joined the Crusade of 1101, an expedition inspired by the success of the First Crusade in 1099. To finance it, he had to mortgage Toulouse back to Bertrand, the son of Raymond IV.

The Duchess was an admirer of Robert of Arbrissel, and persuaded William to grant him land in northern Poitou to establish a religious community dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This became Fontevraud Abbey, which would enjoy the patronage of their granddaughter Eleanor and would remain important until its dissolution during the French Revolution.

William arrived in the Holy Land in 1101 and stayed there until the following year. His record as a military leader is not very impressive. He fought mostly skirmishes in Anatolia and was frequently defeated. His recklessness led to his being ambushed on several occasions, with great losses to his own forces. In September 1101, his entire army was destroyed by the Seljuk Turks at Heraclea; William himself barely escaped, and, according to Orderic Vitalis, he reached Antioch with only six surviving companions.

Conflict with Church and wife, 1102–1118
William, like his father and many magnates of the time, had a rocky relationship with the Church. He was excommunicated twice, the first time in 1114 for an alleged infringement of the Church's tax privileges. His response to this was to demand absolution from Peter, Bishop of Poitiers. As the bishop was at the point of pronouncing the anathema, the duke threatened him with a sword, swearing to kill him if he did not pronounce absolution. Bishop Peter, surprised, pretended to comply, but when the duke, satisfied, released him, the bishop completed reading the anathema, before calmly presenting his neck and inviting the duke to strike. According to contemporaries, William hesitated a moment before sheathing his sword and replying, "I don't love you enough to send you to paradise."

William was excommunicated a second time for "abducting" the Viscountess Dangerose (Dangerosa), the wife of his vassal Aimery I de Rochefoucauld, Viscount of Châtellerault. The lady, however, appears to have been a willing party in the matter. He installed her in the Maubergeonne tower of his castle in Poitiers (leading to her nickname La Maubergeonne), and, as related by William of Malmesbury, even painted a picture of her on his shield.

Upon returning to Poitiers from Toulouse, Philippa was enraged to discover a rival woman living in her palace. She appealed to her friends at court and to the Church; however, no noble could assist her since William was their feudal overlord, and whilst the Papal legate Giraud (who was bald) complained to William and told him to return Dangerose to her husband, William's only response was, "Curls will grow on your pate before I part with the Viscountess." Humiliated, Philippa chose in 1116 to retire to the Abbey of Fontevrault. While in residence she may have had direct conversations or correspondence with Countess Adela of Blois, who was in constant contact with Fontevrault from Marcigney abbey. Philippa did not survive there long, however: the abbey records state that she died on 28 November 1118.

Later career, 1118–1127
Relations between the Duke and his elder son William also became strained—although it is unlikely that he ever embarked upon a seven-year revolt in order to avenge his mother's mistreatment, as Ralph of Diceto claimed, only to be captured by his father. Other records flatly contradict such a thing. Ralph claimed that the revolt began in 1113; but at that time, the young William was only thirteen and his father's liaison with Dangerose had not yet begun. Father and son improved their relationship after the marriage of the younger William to Aenor of Châtellerault, Dangerose's daughter by her husband, in 1121.

William was readmitted to the Church around 1120, after making concessions to it. However, he was after 1118 faced with the return of his first wife, Ermengarde, who had, upon the death of Philippa, stormed down from Fontevrault to the Poitevin court, demanding to be reinstated as the Duchess of Aquitaine—presumably in an attempt to avenge the mistreated Philippa. In October 1119, she suddenly appeared at the Council of Reims being held by Pope Calixtus II and demanded that the Pope excommunicate William (again), oust Dangerose from the ducal palace, and restore herself to her rightful place. The Pope "declined to accommodate her"; however, she continued to trouble William for several years afterwards, thereby encouraging him to join the Reconquista efforts underway in Spain.

Between 1120 and 1123 William joined forces with the Kingdoms of Castile and León. Aquitanian troops fought side by side with Castilians in an effort to take Cordoba. During his sojourn in Spain, William was given a rock crystal vase by a Muslim ally that he later bequeathed to his granddaughter Eleanor. The vase probably originated in Sassanid Persia in the seventh century.

In 1122, William lost control of Toulouse, Philippa's dower land, to Alfonso Jordan, the son and heir of Raymond IV, who had taken Toulouse after the death of William IV. He did not trouble to reclaim it. He died on 11 February 1127, aged 56, after suffering a short illness.

Poetic career
William's greatest legacy to history was not as a warrior but as a troubadour — a lyric poet employing the Romance vernacular language called Provençal or Occitan.

He was the earliest troubadour whose work survives. Eleven of his songs survive (Merwin, 2002). The song traditionally numbered as the eighth (Farai chansoneta nueva) is of dubious attribution, since its style and language are significantly different (Pasero 1973, Bond 1982). Song 5 (Farai un vers, pos mi sonelh) has two significantly different versions in different manuscripts. The songs are attributed to him under his title as Count of Poitou (lo coms de Peitieus). The topics vary, treating sex, love, women, his own sexual and literary prowess, and feudal politics.

An anonymous 13th-century vida of William remembers him thus:

The Count of Poitiers was one of the most courtly men in the world and one of the greatest deceivers of women. He was a fine knight at arms, liberal in his womanizing, and a fine composer and singer of songs. He traveled much through the world, seducing women.

It is possible, however, that at least in part it is not based on facts, but on literal interpretation of his songs, written in first person; in Song 5, for example, he describes how he deceived two women.

In a striking departure from the typical attitude toward women in the period, William seems to have held at least one woman in particularly high esteem, composing several poems in homage to this woman, who he refers to as midons (master):

Every joy must abase itself,

and every might obey

in the presence of Midons, for the sweetness of her welcome,

for her beautiful and gentle look;

and a man who wins to the joy of her love

will live a hundred years.

The joy of her can make the sick man well again,

her wrath can make a well man die,

His frankness, wit and vivacity caused scandal and won admiration at the same time. He is among the first Romance vernacular poets of the Middle Ages, one of the founders of a tradition that would culminate in Dante, Petrarch, and François Villon. Ezra Pound mentions him in Canto VIII:

And Poictiers, you know, Guillaume Poictiers,
had brought the song up out of Spain
with the singers and viels...

In Spirit of Romance Pound also calls William IX "the most 'modern' of the troubadours":

For any of the later Provençals, i.e., the high-brows, we have to... 'put ourselves into the Twelfth Century' etc. Guillaume, writing a century earlier, is just as much of our age as of his own.

— Ezra Pound, cited in Bond 1982, p. lxxvi

William was a man who loved scandal and no doubt enjoyed shocking his audiences. In fact, William granted large donations to the church, perhaps to regain the pope's favour. He also added to the palace of the counts of Poitou (which had stood since the Merovingian era), later added to by his granddaughter Eleanor of Aquitaine and surviving in Poitiers as the Palace of Justice to this day.

One of William's poems, possibly written at the time of his first excommunication, since it implies his son was still a minor, is partly a musing on mortality: Pos de chantar m'es pres talenz (Since I have the desire to sing,/I'll write a verse for which I'll grieve). It concludes:

I have given up all I loved so much:
chivalry and pride;
and since it pleases God, I accept it all,
that He may keep me by Him.

I enjoin my friends, upon my death,
all to come and do me great honor,
since I have held joy and delight
far and near, and in my abode.

Thus I give up joy and delight,
and squirrel and grey and sable furs.

Orderic Vitalis refers to William composing songs (c. 1102) upon his return from the Crusade of 1101. These might be the first "Crusade songs":

Then the Poitevin duke many times related, with rhythmic verses and witty measures, the miseries of his captivity, before kings, magnates, and Christian assemblies.

William IX to Joye
Abelard Peter

Peter Abelard (/ˈæb.ə.lɑːrd/; Latin: Petrus Abaelardus or Abailardus; French: Pierre Abélard, pronounced: [a.be.laːʁ]; 1079 – 21 April 1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. His affair with and love for Héloïse d'Argenteuil has become legendary. The Chambers Biographical Dictionary describes him as "the keenest thinker and boldest theologian of the 12th Century".

Abelard and Heloïse in a manuscript of the
Roman de la Rose (14th century)


Abelard, originally called "Pierre le Pallet", was born c. 1079 in Le Pallet, about 10 miles (16 km) east of Nantes, in Brittany, the eldest son of a minor noble Breton family. As a boy, he learned quickly. His father, a knight called Berengar, encouraged Pierre to study the liberal arts, wherein he excelled at the art of dialectic (a branch of philosophy), which, at that time, consisted chiefly of the logic of Aristotle transmitted through Latin channels. Instead of entering a military career, as his father had done, Abelard became an academic. During his early academic pursuits, Abelard wandered throughout France, debating and learning, so as (in his own words) "he became such an one as the Peripatetics." He first studied in the Loire area, where the nominalist Roscellinus of Compiègne, who had been accused of heresy by Anselm, was his teacher during this period.

Rise to fame
Around 1100, Abelard's travels finally brought him to Paris. In the great cathedral school of Notre-Dame de Paris (before the current cathedral was actually built), he was taught for a while by William of Champeaux, the disciple of Anselm of Laon (not to be confused with Saint Anselm) a leading proponent of Realism. During this time he changed his surname to "Abelard", sometimes written "Abailard" or "Abaelardus". Retrospectively, Abelard portrays William as having turned from approval to hostility when Abelard proved soon able to defeat the master in argument; Abelard was, however, closer to William's thought than this account suggests. And William thought Abelard was too arrogant. It was during this time that Abelard would provoke quarrels with both William and Roscellinus. Against opposition from the metropolitan teacher, Abelard set up his own school, first at Melun, a favoured royal residence, then, around 1102-4, for more direct competition, he moved to Corbeil, nearer Paris.

His teaching was notably successful, though for a time he had to give it up and spend time in Brittany, the strain proving too great for his constitution. On his return, after 1108, he found William lecturing at the hermitage of Saint-Victor, just outside the Île de la Cité, and there they once again became rivals, with Abelard challenging William over his theory of universals. Abelard was once more victorious, and Abelard was almost able to hold the position of master at Notre Dame. For a short time, however, William was able to prevent Abelard from lecturing in Paris. Abelard accordingly was forced to resume his school at Melun, which he was then able to move, from c. 1110-12, to Paris itself, on the heights of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, overlooking Notre-Dame.

From his success in dialectic, he next turned to theology and in 1113 moved to Laon to attend the lectures of Anselm on biblical exegesis and Christian doctrine. Unimpressed by Anselm's teaching, Abelard began to offer his own lectures on the Book of Ezekiel. Anselm forbade him to continue this teaching, and Abelard returned to Paris where, in around 1115, he became master of Notre Dame and a canon of Sens (the cathedral of the archdiocese to which Paris belonged).

Distinguished in figure and manners, Abelard was seen surrounded by crowds – it is said thousands of students – drawn from all countries by the fame of his teaching. Enriched by the offerings of his pupils, and entertained with universal admiration, he came, as he says, to think himself the only undefeated philosopher in the world. But a change in his fortunes was at hand. In his devotion to science, he had always lived a very regular life, enlivened only by philosophical debate: now, at the height of his fame, he encountered romance.

Héloïse d'Argenteuil lived within the precincts of Notre-Dame, under the care of her uncle, the secular canon Fulbert. She was remarkable for her knowledge of classical letters, which extended beyond Latin to Greek and Hebrew. Abelard sought a place in Fulbert's house and, in 1115 or 1116, began an affair with Héloïse. The affair interfered with his career, and Abelard himself boasted of his conquest. Once Fulbert found out, he separated them, but they continued to meet in secret. Héloïse became pregnant and was sent by Abelard to be looked after by his family in Brittany, where she gave birth to a son whom she named Astrolabe after the scientific instrument.

To appease Fulbert, Abelard proposed a secret marriage so as not to mar his career prospects. Héloïse initially opposed it, but the couple were married. When Fulbert publicly disclosed the marriage, and Héloïse denied it, Abelard sent Héloïse to the convent at Argenteuil, where she had been brought up, in order to protect her from her uncle. Héloïse dressed as a nun and shared the nun's life, though she was not veiled.

Fulbert, most probably believing that Abelard wanted to be rid of Héloïse by forcing her to become a nun, arranged for a band of men to break into Abelard's room one night and castrate him. In reaction, Abelard decided to become a monk at the monastery of St Denis, near Paris.[3] Before doing so he insisted that Héloïse take vows as a nun. Héloïse sent letters to Abelard, questioning why she must submit to a religious life for which she had no calling.

Later life
In the Abbey of Saint-Denis, the 40-year-old Abelard sought to bury himself as a monk with his woes out of sight. Finding no respite in the cloister, and having gradually turned again to study, he gave in to urgent entreaties, and reopened his school at an unknown priory owned by the monastery. His lectures, now framed in a devotional spirit, and with lectures on theology as well as his previous lectures on logic, were once again heard by crowds of students, and his old influence seemed to have returned. Using his studies of the Bible and — in his view — inconsistent writings of the leaders of the church as his basis, he wrote Sic et non (Yes and No).

No sooner had he published his theological lectures (the Theologia Summi Boni) than his adversaries picked up on his rationalistic interpretation of the Trinitarian dogma. Two pupils of Anselm of Laon, Alberic of Rheims and Lotulf of Lombardy, instigated proceedings against Abelard, charging him with the heresy of Sabellius in a provincial synod held at Soissons in 1121. They obtained through irregular procedures an official condemnation of his teaching, and Abelard was made to burn the Theologia himself. He was then sentenced to perpetual confinement in a monastery other than his own, but it seems to have been agreed in advance that this sentence would be revoked almost immediately, because after a few days in the convent of St. Medard at Soissons, Abelard returned to St. Denis.

Life in his own monastery proved no more congenial than before. For this Abelard himself was partly responsible. He took a sort of malicious pleasure in irritating the monks. As if for the sake of a joke, he cited Bede to prove that the believed founder of the monastery of St Denis, Dionysius the Areopagite had been Bishop of Corinth, while the other monks relied upon the statement of the Abbot Hilduin that he had been Bishop of Athens. When this historical heresy led to the inevitable persecution, Abelard wrote a letter to the Abbot Adam in which he preferred to the authority of Bede that of Eusebius of Caesarea's Historia Ecclesiastica and St. Jerome, according to whom Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, was distinct from Dionysius the Areopagite, bishop of Athens and founder of the abbey, though, in deference to Bede, he suggested that the Areopagite might also have been bishop of Corinth. Adam accused him of insulting both the monastery and the Kingdom of France (which had Denis as its patron saint); life in the monastery grew intolerable for Abelard, and he was finally allowed to leave.

Abelard initially lodged at St Ayoul of Provins, where the prior was a friend. Then, after the death of Abbot Adam in March 1122, Abelard was able to gain permission from the new abbot, Suger, to live "in whatever solitary place he wished". In a deserted place near Nogent-sur-Seine in Champagne, he built a cabin of stubble and reeds, and a simple oratory dedicated to the Trinity and became a hermit. When his retreat became known, students flocked from Paris, and covered the wilderness around him with their tents and huts. He began to teach again there. The oratory was rebuilt in wood and stone and rededicated as the Oratory of the Paraclete.

Statue of Abelard at Louvre Palace
in Paris by Jules Cavelier

Abelard remained at the Paraclete for about five years. His combination of the teaching of secular arts with his profession as a monk was heavily criticized by other men of religion, and Abelard contemplated flight outside Christendom altogether.[9] Abelard therefore decided to leave and find another refuge, accepting sometime between 1126 and 1128 an invitation to preside over the Abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys on the far-off shore of Lower Brittany. The region was inhospitable, the domain a prey to outlaws, the house itself savage and disorderly. There, too, his relations with the community deteriorated.

During this time, however, Abelard came back into contact with Héloïse. In April 1129, Abbot Suger of St Denis succeeded in his plans to have the nuns, including Héloïse, expelled from the convent at Argenteuil, in order to take over the property for St Denis. Héloïse had meanwhile become the head of a new foundation of nuns called the Paraclete. Abelard became the abbot of the new community and provided it with a rule and with a justification of the nun’s way of life; in this he emphasized the virtue of literary study. He also provided books of hymns he had composed, and in the early 1130s he and Héloïse composed a collection of their own love letters and religious correspondence.

Lack of success at St Gildas made Abelard decide to take up public teaching again (although he remained for a few more years, officially, Abbot of St Gildas). It is not entirely certain what he then did, but given that John of Salisbury heard Abelard lecture on dialectic in 1136, it is presumed that he returned to Paris and resumed teaching on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève. It is presumed his lectures included logic, at least until 1136, but were mainly concerned with the Bible, Christian doctrine, and ethics. Then he produced further drafts of his Theologia in which he analyzed the sources of belief in the Trinity and praised the pagan philosophers of classical antiquity for their virtues and for their discovery by the use of reason of many fundamental aspects of Christian revelation.

At some point in this time Abelard wrote, among other things, his famous Historia Calamitatum. This moved Héloïse to write her first Letter, which remains an unsurpassed utterance of human passion and womanly devotion; the first being followed by the two other Letters, in which she finally accepted the part of resignation, which, now as a brother to a sister, Abelard commended to her. Sometime before 1140, Abelard published his masterpiece, Ethica or Scito te ipsum (Know Thyself), where he analyzes the idea of sin and that actions are not what a man will be judged for but intentions. During this period, he also wrote Dialogus inter Philosophum, Judaeum et Christianum (Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian), and also Expositio in Epistolam ad Romanos, a commentary on St. Paul's epistle to the Romans, where he expands on the meaning of Christ's life.

Conflicts with St. Bernard
Abelard was to face, however, another challenge which would put a final end to his teaching career. After 1136, it is not clear whether Abelard had stopped teaching, or whether he perhaps continued with all except his lectures on logic until as late as 1141. Whatever the exact timing, a process was instigated by William of St Thierry, who discovered what he considered to be heresies in some of Abelard's teaching. In spring 1140 he wrote to the Bishop of Chartres and to Bernard of Clairvaux denouncing them. Another, less distinguished, theologian, Thomas of Morigny, also produced at the same time a list of Abelard's supposed heresies, perhaps at Bernard's instigation. Bernard's complaint mainly is that Abelard has applied logic where it is not applicable, and that is illogical. Amid pressure from Bernard, Abelard challenged Bernard either to withdraw his accusations, or to make them publicly at the important church council at Sens planned for 2 June 1141. In so doing, Abelard put himself into the position of the wronged party and forced Bernard to defend himself from the accusation of slander. Bernard avoided this trap, however: on the eve of the council, he called a private meeting of the assembled bishops and persuaded them to condemn, one by one, each of the heretical propositions he attributed to Abelard. When Abelard appeared at the council the next day, he was presented with a list of condemned propositions imputed to him.

Refusing to answer to these propositions, Abelard left the assembly, appealed to the Pope, and set off for Rome, hoping that the Pope would be more supportive. However, this hope was unfounded. On 16 July 1141, Pope Innocent II issued a bull excommunicating Abelard and his followers and imposing perpetual silence on him, and in a second document he ordered Abelard to be confined in a monastery and his books to be burned. Abelard was saved from this sentence, however, by Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny. Abelard had stopped there, on his way to Rome, before the papal condemnation had reached France. Peter persuaded Abelard, already old, to give up his journey and stay at the monastery. Peter managed to arrange a reconciliation with Bernard, to have the sentence of excommunication lifted, and to persuade Innocent that it was enough if Abelard remained under the aegis of Cluny. Abelard was treated, not at all as a condemned heretic, but as a revered and wise scholar. He spent his final months at the priory of St. Marcel, near Chalon-sur-Saône, before he died on 21 April 1142. He is said to have uttered the last words "I don't know", before expiring. He died from a combination of fever and a skin disorder, most likely scurvy.

Disputed resting place/lovers' pilgrimage
Abelard was first buried at St. Marcel, but his remains were soon carried off secretly to the Paraclete, and given over to the loving care of Héloïse, who in time came herself to rest beside them in 1163.

The bones of the pair were moved more than once afterwards, but they were preserved even through the vicissitudes of the French Revolution, and now are presumed to lie in the well-known tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery in eastern Paris. The transfer of their remains there in 1817 is considered to have considerably contributed to the popularity of that cemetery, at the time still far outside the built-up area of Paris. By tradition, lovers or lovelorn singles leave letters at the crypt, in tribute to the couple or in hope of finding true love.

This remains, however, disputed. The Oratory of the Paraclete claims Abelard and Héloïse are buried there and that what exists in Père-Lachaise is merely a monument, or cenotaph. According to Père-Lachaise, the remains of both lovers were transferred from the Oratory in the early 19th century and reburied in the famous crypt on their grounds. Others believe that while Abelard is buried in the tomb at Père-Lachaise, Heloïse's remains are elsewhere.

Philosophy and theology
Philosophical thought

The general importance of Abelard lies in his having fixed more decisively than anyone before him the scholastic manner of philosophizing, with the object of giving a formal, rational expression to received ecclesiastical doctrine. Though his particular interpretations may have been condemned, they were conceived in essentially the same spirit as the general scheme of thought afterwards elaborated in the 13th century with approval from the heads of the Church.

He helped to establish the ascendancy of the philosophical authority of Aristotle which became firmly established in the half-century after his death. It was at this time that the completed Organon, and gradually all the other works of the Greek thinker, first came to be available in the schools. Before his time, Plato's authority was the basis for the prevailing Realism. As regards his so-called Conceptualism and his attitude to the question of universals, see 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Scholasticism.

Outside of his dialectic, it was in ethics that Abelard showed greatest activity of philosophical thought. He stressed the subjective intention as determining, if not the moral character, at least the moral value, of human action. His thought in this direction, anticipating something of modern speculation, is remarkable because his scholastic successors accomplished least in the field of morals, hardly venturing to bring the principles and rules of conduct under pure philosophical discussion, even after they were made fully aware of Aristotle's great ethical inquiries.

Regarding unbaptized who die in infancy, Peter Abelard — in Commentaria in Epistolam Pauli ad Romanos — emphasized the goodness of God and interpreted St. Augustine of Hippo's "mildest punishment" as the pain of loss at being denied the beatific vision (carentia visionis Dei), without hope of obtaining it, but with no additional punishments. His thought contributed to the forming of Limbo of Infants theory at 12th-13th century.

Philosophical works
Logica ingredientibus ("Logic for Beginners") completed before 1121
Petri Abaelardi Glossae in Porphyrium ("The Glosses of Peter Abailard on Porphyry"), c.1120
Dialectica, before 1125 (1115–1116 according to John Marenbon, The Philosophy of Peter Abelard, Cambridge University Press 1997).
Logica nostrorum petitioni sociorum ("Logic in response to the request of our comrades"), c.1124-1125
Tractatus de intellectibus ("A treatise on understanding"), written before 1128.
Sic et Non ("Yes and No") (A list of quotations from Christian authorities on philosophical and theological questions)
Theologia 'Summi Boni',[21] Theologia christiana, and Theologia 'scholarium'. His main work on systematic theology, written between 1120 and 1140, and which appeared in a number of versions under a number of titles (shown in chronological order)
Dialogus inter philosophum, Judaeum, et Christianum, (Dialogue of a Philosopher with a Jew and a Christian) 1136–1139.
Ethica or Scito Te Ipsum ("Ethics" or "Know Yourself"), before 1140.

Later influence

Abelard was an enormous influence on his contemporaries and the course of medieval philosophical thought, but he has been known in modern times mainly for his connection with Héloïse. Only one of his strictly philosophical works, the ethical treatise Scito te ipsum, had been published before the 19th century, in 1721. It was only with the publication by Cousin in 1836 of the collection entitled Ouvrages inedits d'Abelard that Abelard's philosophical work began to be studied more closely. Cousin's collection gave extracts from the theological work Sic et Non ("Yes and No") which is an assemblage of what Abelard saw as opposite opinions on doctrinal points culled from the Fathers as a basis for discussion. The collection also includes the Dialectica, and commentaries on logical works of Aristotle, Porphyry and Boethius. Two works published by Cousin and believed at the time to be by Abelard, the fragment De Generibus et Speciebus (published in the 1836 collection), and also the psychological treatise De Intellectibus (published separately by Cousin in Fragmens Philosophiques, vol. ii.), are now believed on upon internal evidence not to be by Abelard himself, but only to have sprung out of his school. A genuine work, the Glossulae super Porphyrium, from which Charles de Rémusat gave extracts in his monograph Abelard (1845), was published in 1930.

Notes from Pope Benedict XVI
During his general audience on 4 November 2009, Pope Benedict XVI talked about Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter Abelard to illustrate differences in the monastic and scholastic approaches to theology in the 12th century. The Pope recalled that theology is the search for a rational understanding (if possible) of the mysteries of Christian revelation, which is believed through faith — faith that seeks intelligibility (fides quaerens intellectum). But St. Bernard, a representative of monastic theology, emphasized "faith" whereas Abelard, who is a scholastic, stressed "understanding through reason".

For Bernard, faith is based on the testimony of Scripture and on the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. Thus, Bernard found it difficult to agree with Abelard and, in a more general way, with those who would subject the truths of faith to the critical examination of reason — an examination which, in his opinion, posed a grave danger: intellectualism, the relativizing of truth, and the questioning of the truths of faith themselves. Theology for Bernard could be nourished only in contemplative prayer, by the affective union of the heart and mind with God, with only one purpose: to promote the living, intimate experience of God; an aid to loving God ever more and ever better.

According to Pope Benedict XVI, an excessive use of philosophy rendered Abelard’s doctrine of the Trinity dangerously fragile and, thus, his idea of God. In the field of morals, his teaching was vague, as he insisted on considering the intention of the subject as the only basis for describing the goodness or evil of moral acts, thereby ignoring the objective meaning and moral value of the acts, resulting in a dangerous subjectivism. But the Pope recognized the great achievements of Abelard, who made a decisive contribution to the development of scholastic theology, which eventually expressed itself in a more mature and fruitful way during the following century. And some of Abelard's insights should not be underestimated, for example, his affirmation that non-Christian religious traditions already contain some form of preparation for welcoming Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI conclude that Bernard’s "theology of the heart" and Abelard’s "theology of reason" represent the importance of healthy theological discussion, especially when the questions being debated have not been defined by the magisterium, and humble obedience to the authority of the Church. St. Bernard, and even Abelard himself, always recognized without any hesitation the authority of the magisterium. Abelard showed humility in acknowledging his errors, and Bernard exercised great benevolence. The Pope emphasized, in the field of theology, there should be a balance between architectonic principles, which are given through Revelation and which always maintain their primary importance, and the interpretative principles proposed by philosophy (that is, by reason), which have an important function, but only as a tool. When the balance breaks down, theological reflection runs the risk of becoming marred by error; it is then up to the magisterium to exercise the needed service to truth, for which it is responsible.

The letters of Abelard and Héloïse
The story of Abelard and Héloïse has proved immensely popular in modern European culture. This story is known almost entirely from a few sources: first, the Historia Calamitatum; secondly, the seven letters between Abelard and Héloïse which survive (four written by Abelard, and three by Héloïse), and always follow the Historia Calamitatum in the manuscript tradition; thirdly, four letters between Peter the Venerable and Héloïse (three by Peter, one by Héloïse). They are, in modern times, the best known and most widely translated parts of Abelard's work.

It is unclear quite how the letters of Abelard and Héloïse came to be preserved. There are brief and factual references to their relationship by 12th-century writers including William Godel and Walter Map. It seems unlikely, however, that the letters were widely known in this period. Rather, the earliest manuscripts of the letters are dated to the late 13th century. It therefore seems likely that the letters sent between Abelard and Héloïse were kept by Héloïse at the Paraclete along with the 'Letters of Direction', and that more than a century after her death they were brought to Paris and copied. At this time, the story of their love affair was summarised by Jean de Meun in his continuation to Le Roman de la Rose.

Their story does not appear to have been widely known in the later Middle Ages, either. There is no mention of the couple in Dante; Chaucer makes a very brief reference in the Wife of Bath's Prologue (lines 677–8), but no more. One of the first people to show a deeper interest in the couple appears to have been Petrarch, who owned an early 14th-century manuscript of the couple's letters. This silence on what is today seen as a particularly touching story is perhaps surprising, given the Renaissance ideal of courtly love – but it is possible that the story of Abelard and Héloïse could not be appropriately fitted into the ideals of the lover's devotion to the chaste and unattainable lady.

The first publication of the letters, in Latin, was in Paris in 1616, simultaneously in two editions. These editions gave rise to numerous translations of the letters into European languages – and consequent 18th- and 19th-century interest in the story of the medieval lovers. In the 18th century, the couple were revered as tragic lovers, who endured adversity in life but were united in death. With this reputation, they were the only individuals from the pre-Revolutionary period whose remains were given a place of honour at the newly founded cemetery of Père Lachaise in Paris. At this time, they were effectively revered as romantic saints; for some, they were forerunners of modernity, at odds with the ecclesiastical and monastic structures of their day and to be celebrated more for rejecting the traditions of the past than for any particular intellectual achievement.

The Historia was first published in 1841 by John Caspar Orelli of Turici. Then, in 1849, Victor Cousin published Petri Abaelardi opera, in part based on the two Paris editions of 1616 but also based on the reading of four manuscripts; this became the standard edition of the letters. Soon after, in 1855, Migne printed an expanded version of the 1616 edition under the title Opera Petri Abaelardi, without the name of Héloïse on the title page.

Critical editions of the Historia Calamitatum and the letters were subsequently published in the 1950s and 1960s.

At various times in the past two hundred years, it has been suggested that not all the letters are genuine. Questions were first raised in 1806 by Ignaz Fessler, and were renewed by J. C. Orelli in 1844 and Ludovic Lalanne in 1855, who all suggested that the letters might simply by a literary fiction. Doubts were raised at intervals in the succeeding decades. More recently, John Benton hypothesised (in 1972) that the entire letter collection might have been forged in the late 13th century, or by Abelard himself (a position Benton had reverted to by 1979). In the aftermath of reaction to Benton's thought, though, scholars have become more confident in asserting the genuine nature of the letters.

According to historian Constant Mews, the The Lost Love Letters of Héloïse and Abelard, 113 anonymous love letters found in a 15th-century manuscript represent the correspondence exchanged by Héloïse and Abelard during the earlier phase of their affair. These are not to be confused with the accepted Letters of Abelard and Héloïse which were written nearly fifteen years after their romance ended.

Abelard was also long known as an important poet and composer. He composed some celebrated love songs for Héloïse that are now lost, and which have not been identified in the anonymous repertoire. Héloïse praised these songs in a letter: "The great charm and sweetness in language and music, and a soft attractiveness of the melody obliged even the unlettered".

Abelard composed a hymnbook for the religious community that Héloïse joined. This hymnbook, written after 1130, differed from contemporary hymnals, such as that of Bernard of Clairvaux, in that Abelard used completely new and homogeneous material. The songs were grouped by metre, which meant that comparatively few melodies could be used. Only one melody from this hymnal survives, O quanta qualia.

Abelard also wrote six biblical planctus (laments):

Planctus Dinae filiae Iacob; inc.: Abrahae proles Israel nata (Planctus I)
Planctus Iacob super filios suos; inc.: Infelices filii, patri nati misero (Planctus II)
Planctus virginum Israel super filia Jepte Galadite; inc.: Ad festas choreas celibes (Planctus III)
Planctus Israel super Samson; inc.: Abissus vere multa (Planctus IV)
Planctus David super Abner, filio Neronis, quem Ioab occidit; inc.: Abner fidelissime (Planctus V)
Planctus David super Saul et Jonatha; inc.: Dolorum solatium (Planctus VI).

In surviving manuscripts these pieces have been notated in diastematic neumes which resist reliable transcription. Only Planctus VI was fixed in square notation. Planctus as genre influenced the subsequent development of the lai, a song form that flourished in northern Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Melodies that have survived have been praised as "flexible, expressive melodies [that] show an elegance and technical adroitness that are very similar to the qualities that have been long admired in Abelard's poetry."

Peter Abelard- Planctus David super Saul et Ionatha
Demetrius I of Georgia

Demetrius I (დემეტრე I) (c. 1093 – 1156), from the Bagrationi dynasty, was King of Georgia from 1125 to 1156. He is also known as a poet.

"Coronation of Demetrius I, a fresco by
Michael Maglakeli from the Matskhvarishi monastery, 1142


Demetrius was the eldest son of King David the Builder by his first wife Rusudan. As a commander, he took part in his father’s battles, particularly at Didgori (1121) and Shirvan (1123).

Demetrius succeeded on his father’s death on January 24, 1125. With his ascent to the throne, the Seljuk Turks attacked the Georgian-held city of Ani, Armenia. Demetrius I had to compromise and ceded the city to a Seljuk ruler under terms of vassalage.

In 1139, he raided the earthquake-ridden city of Ganja in Arran (the present day Azerbaijan). He brought the iron gate of the defeated city to Georgia and donated it to Gelati Monastery at Kutaisi, western Georgia. Despite this brilliant victory, Demetrius could hold Ganja only for a few years.

In 1130, Demetrius revealed a plot of nobles, probably involving the king's half-brother Vakhtang. The King arrested the conspirators and executed one of their leaders, Ioanne Abuletisdze, in 1138 (or 1145). In 1154 David, Demetrius's elder son forced his father to abdicate and become a monk, receiving the monastic name Damian (Damianus). However, David died six months later and King Demetrius was restored to the throne. David was survived by his son Demna who was regarded by the aristocratic opposition as a lawful pretender.

Although Demetrius was not as successful as his father David the Builder, Georgia remained a strong feudal power with a well-organized military and political system and a developed cultural and economical life.

He died in 1156 and was buried at Gelati Monastery.

He is regarded as a saint in the Orthodox Church and his feast day is celebrated on May 23 on the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar.

შენ ხარ ვენახი (Thou Art a Vineyard)
Thou Art a Vineyard (Georgian: შენ ხარ ვენახი, transliterated: Shen Khar Venakhi) is a medieval Georgian hymn. The text is attributed to King Demetrius I of Georgia (1093-1156). The composer of the music is unknown. Supposedly Demetrius I wrote it during his confinement as a monk in the David Gareja Monastery. The hymn is dedicated to Georgia and the patronage of the Virgin Mary; it is also a prayer of praise to Mary in the Georgian Orthodox Church.

As the lyrics did not mention any saints or gods, this was the only church-song that was permitted to be performed in the atheistic Soviet Union. There are East Georgian (Kartli-Kakhetian) and West Georgian (Gurian) versions of this chant with very different musical compositions.

Thou Art a Vineyard is usually sung by a choir without instrumental accompaniment and is a classic example of Georgian choral music. The hymn is characterized as very polyphonic and is representative of the late Medieval traditions of the Georgian Renaissance.

Georgian text:
შენ ხარ ვენახი, ახლად აყვავებული,
ნორჩი კეთილი, ედემს შინა ნერგული,
(ალვა სუნელი, სამოთხეს ამოსული,)
(ღმერთმან შეგამკო ვერვინა გჯობს ქებული,)
და თავით თვისით მზე ხარ და გაბრწყინვებული.

Latin transliteration:
shen khar venakhi, akhlad aqvavebuli.
norchi k'etili, edems shina nerguli.
(alva suneli, samotkhes amosuli.)
(ghmertman shegamk'o vervina gjobs kebuli.)
da tavit tvisit mze khar da gabrts'qinvebuli.

English translation:
You are a vineyard newly blossomed.
Young, beautiful, growing in Eden,
(A fragrant poplar sapling in Paradise.)
(May God adorn you. No one is more worthy of praise.)
You yourself are the sun, shining brilliantly.

Jocelin of Soissons

Jocelin of Soissons (1096 - died 24 October 1152) was a French theologian, a philosophical opponent of Abelard. He became bishop of Soissons, and is known also as a composer (commonly as Goslenus Suessionensis, or Magister Goslenus, episcopus Suessionensis), with two pieces in the Codex Calixtinus. He was teaching at the Paris cathedral school in the early 1110s.


He began work on the present Soissons Cathedral; it only took shape in the 1190s.

Abbot Suger addressed his history of Louis the Fat to him. In the papal politics of the late 1120s and 1130s, Suger counted Jocelin, at Soissons from 1126, as a supporter of Pope Innocent II against antipope Anacletus II, along with other bishops of northern France.

As bishop he founded Longpont Abbey in 1131, a Cistercian monastery supported by Bernard of Clairvaux; Bernard was a correspondent. He favoured the Knights Templars, having participated in the Council of Troyes that gave them full standing. He was present at the 1146 Council of Arras, a probable occasion for the planning of the Second Crusade.

The De generibus et speciebus has been attributed to him. Now scholars call its author Pseudo-Joscelin. It may be by a student of his. The Metalogicus of John of Salisbury attributed to him the view that universals exist only in the collection, not the individuals.

Master Goslen, Bishop of Soissons
Music of the Middle Ages
An Anthology for Performance and Study by
David Fenwick Wilson
ISBN 0-02-872952-8 Schirmer Books

Part IV Liber Sancti Jacobi

Jocelin of Soissons (died 24 October 1152) was a French theologian, a philosophical opponent of Abelard. He became bishop of Soissons, and is known also as a composer (commonly as Goslenus Suessionensis, or Magister Goslenus, episcopus Suessionensis), with two pieces in the Codex Calixtinus. He was teaching at the Paris cathedral school in the early 1110s.

Alleluia: Vocavit Jhesus Jacobum (conductus)

Paul Agnew and Paul Hillier
The Hiliiard Ensemble

Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen, O.S.B. (German: Hildegard von Bingen; Latin: Hildegardis Bingensis) (1098 – 17 September 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

Hildegard was elected magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play. She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias. She is also noted for the invention of a constructed language known as Lingua Ignota.

Although the history of her formal consideration is complicated, she has been recognized as a saint by branches of the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. On 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named her a Doctor of the Church.

Illumination from the Liber Scivias showing
Hildegard receiving a vision and dictating
to her scribe and secretary


She was born around the year 1098, although the exact date is uncertain. Her parents were Mechtild of Merxheim-Nahet and Hildebert of Bermersheim, a family of the free lower nobility in the service of the Count Meginhard of Sponheim. Sickly from birth, Hildegard is traditionally considered their youngest and tenth child, although there are records of seven older siblings. In her Vita, Hildegard states that from a very young age she had experienced visions.

Monastic life
Perhaps due to Hildegard's visions, or as a method of political positioning (or both), Hildegard's parents offered her as an oblate to the Benedictine monastery at the Disibodenberg, which had been recently reformed in the Palatinate Forest. The date of Hildegard's enclosure at the monastery is the subject of debate. Her Vita says she was professed with an older woman, Jutta, the daughter of Count Stephan II of Sponheim, at the age of eight. However, Jutta's date of enclosure is known to have been in 1112, when Hildegard would have been fourteen. Some scholars speculate that Hildegard was placed in the care of Jutta at the age of eight, and the two women were then enclosed together six years later.

In any case, Hildegard and Jutta were enclosed together at the Disibodenberg, and formed the core of a growing community of women attached to the male monastery. Jutta was also a visionary and thus attracted many followers who came to visit her at the cloister. Hildegard tells us that Jutta taught her to read and write, but that she was unlearned and therefore incapable of teaching Hildegard sound biblical interpretation. The written record of the Life of Jutta indicates that Hildegard probably assisted her in reciting the psalms, working in the garden and other handiwork, and tending to the sick. This might have been a time when Hildegard learned how to play the ten-stringed psaltery. Volmar, a frequent visitor, may have taught Hildegard simple psalm notation. The time she studied music could have been the beginning of the compositions she would later create.

Upon Jutta's death in 1136, Hildegard was unanimously elected as magistra of the community by her fellow nuns. Abbot Kuno of Disibodenberg asked Hildegard to be Prioress, which would be under his authority. Hildegard, however, wanted more independence for herself and her nuns, and asked Abbot Kuno to allow them to move to Rupertsberg. This was to be a move towards poverty, from a stone complex that was well established to a temporary dwelling place. When the abbot declined Hildegard's proposition, Hildegard went over his head and received the approval of Archbishop Henry I of Mainz. Abbot Kuno did not relent until Hildegard was stricken by an illness that kept her paralyzed and unable to move from her bed, an event that she attributed to God's unhappiness at her not following his orders to move her nuns to Rupertsberg. It was only when the Abbot himself could not move Hildegard that he decided to grant the nuns their own monastery. Hildegard and about twenty nuns thus moved to the St. Rupertsberg monastery in 1150, where Volmar served as provost, as well as Hildegard's confessor and scribe. In 1165 Hildegard founded a second monastery for her nuns at Eibingen.

Hildegard says that she first saw "The Shade of the Living Light" at the age of three, and by the age of five she began to understand that she was experiencing visions. She used the term 'visio' to this feature of her experience, and recognized that it was a gift that she could not explain to others. Hildegard explained that she saw all things in the light of God through the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Hildegard was hesitant to share her visions, confiding only to Jutta, who in turn told Volmar, Hildegard's tutor and, later, secretary. Throughout her life, she continued to have many visions, and in 1141, at the age of 42, Hildegard received a vision she believed to be an instruction from God, to "write down that which you see and hear." Still hesitant to record her visions, Hildegard became physically ill. The illustrations recorded in the book of Scivias were visions that Hildegard experienced, causing her great suffering and tribulations. In her first theological text, Scivias ("Know the Ways"), Hildegard describes her struggle within:

But I, though I saw and heard these things, refused to write for a long time through doubt and bad opinion and the diversity of human words, not with stubbornness but in the exercise of humility, until, laid low by the scourge of God, I fell upon a bed of sickness; then, compelled at last by many illnesses, and by the witness of a certain noble maiden of good conduct [the nun Richardis von Stade] and of that man whom I had secretly sought and found, as mentioned above, I set my hand to the writing. While I was doing it, I sensed, as I mentioned before, the deep profundity of scriptural exposition; and, raising myself from illness by the strength I received, I brought this work to a close – though just barely – in ten years. (...) And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places. And again I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, 'Cry out therefore, and write thus!'

It was between November 1147 and February 1148 at the synod in Trier that Pope Eugenius heard about Hildegard’s writings. It was from this that she received Papal approval to document her visions as revelations from the Holy Spirit giving her instant credence.

Before Hildegard’s death, a problem arose with the clergy of Mainz. A man buried in Rupertsburg had died after excommunication from the Church. Therefore, the clergy wanted to remove his body from the sacred ground. Hildegard did not accept this idea, replying that it was a sin and that the man had been reconciled to the church at the time of his death.

On 17 September 1179, when Hildegard died, her sisters claimed they saw two streams of light appear in the skies and cross over the room where she was dying.

Vita Sanctae Hildegardis
Hildegard's hagiography, Vita Sanctae Hildegardis, was compiled by the monk Theoderic of Echternach after Hildegard's death. He included the hagiographical work Libellus or "Little Book" begun by Godfrey of Disibodenberg. Godfrey had died before he was able to complete his work. Guibert of Gembloux was invited to finish the work; however, he had to return to his monastery with the project unfinished. Theoderic utilized sources Guibert had left behind to complete the Vita.

Hildegard's works include three great volumes of visionary theology; a variety of musical compositions for use in liturgy, as well as the musical morality play Ordo Virtutum; one of the largest bodies of letters (nearly 400) to survive from the Middle Ages, addressed to correspondents ranging from Popes to Emperors to abbots and abbesses, and including records of many of the sermons she preached in the 1160s and 1170s; two volumes of material on natural medicine and cures; an invented language called the Lingua ignota ("unknown language"); and various minor works, including a gospel commentary and two works of hagiography.

Several manuscripts of her works were produced during her lifetime, including the illustrated Rupertsberg manuscript of her first major work, Scivias (lost since 1945); the Dendermonde manuscript, which contains one version of her musical works; and the Ghent manuscript, which was the first fair-copy made for editing of her final theological work, the Liber Divinorum Operum. At the end of her life, and probably under her initial guidance, all of her works were edited and gathered into the single Riesenkodex manuscript.

Visionary theology
Hildegard's most significant works were her three volumes of visionary theology: Scivias ("Know the Ways", composed 1142-1151), Liber Vitae Meritorum ("Book of Life's Merits" or "Book of the Rewards of Life", composed 1158-1163); and Liber Divinorum Operum ("Book of Divine Works", also known as De operatione Dei, "On God's Activity", composed 1163/4-1172 or 1174). In these volumes, the last of which was completed when she was well into her seventies, Hildegard first describes each vision, whose details are often strange and enigmatic; and then interprets their theological contents in the words of the "voice of the Living Light."

The composition of the first work, Scivias, was triggered by the insistence of her visionary experiences in about 1142, when she was already forty-three years old. Perceiving a divine command to "write down what you see and hear", Hildegard began to record her visionary experiences. Scivias is structured into three parts of unequal length. The first part (six visions) chronicles the order of God's creation: the Creation and Fall of Adam and Eve, the structure of the universe (famously described as an "egg"), the relationship between body and soul, God's relationship to his people through the Synagogue, and the choirs of angels. The second part (seven visions) describes the order of redemption: the coming of Christ the Redeemer, the Trinity, the Church as the Bride of Christ and the Mother of the Faithful in baptism and confirmation, the orders of the Church, Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and the Eucharist, and the fight against the devil. Finally, the third part (thirteen visions) recapitulates the history of salvation told in the first two parts, symbolized as a building adorned with various allegorical figures and virtues. It concludes with the Symphony of Heaven, an early version of Hildegard's musical compositions.

Portions of the uncompleted work were read aloud to Pope Eugenius III at the Synod of Trier in 1148, after which he sent Hildegard a letter with his blessing. This blessing was later construed as papal approval for all of Hildegard's wide-ranging theological activities. Towards the end of her life, Hildegard commissioned a richly decorated manuscript of Scivias (the Rupertsberg Codex); although the original has been lost since its evacuation to Dresden for safekeeping in 1945, its images are preserved in a hand-painted facsimile from the 1920s.

Liber Vitae Meritorum
In her second volume of visionary theology, composed between 1158 and 1163, after she had moved her community of nuns into independence at the Rupertsberg in Bingen, Hildegard tackled the moral life in the form of dramatic confrontations between the virtues and the vices. She had already explored this area in her musical morality play, Ordo Virtutum, and the "Book of the Rewards of Life" takes up that play's characteristic themes. Each vice, although ultimately depicted as ugly and grotesque, nevertheless offers alluring, seductive speeches that attempt to entice the unwary soul into their clutches. Standing in our defense, however, are the sober voices of the Virtues, powerfully confronting every vicious deception.

Amongst the work's innovations is one of the earliest descriptions of purgatory as the place where each soul would have to work off its debts after death before entering heaven. Hildegard's descriptions of the possible punishments there are often gruesome and grotesque, which emphasize the work's moral and pastoral purpose as a practical guide to the life of true penance and proper virtue.[

Liber Divinorum Operum
Hildegard's last and grandest visionary work had its genesis in one of the few times she experienced something like an ecstatic loss of consciousness. As she described it in an autobiographical passage included in her Vita, sometime in about 1163, she received "an extraordinary mystical vision" in which was revealed the "sprinkling drops of sweet rain" that John the Evangelist experienced when he wrote, "In the beginning was the Word..." (John 1:1). Hildegard perceived that this Word was the key to the "Work of God", of which humankind is the pinnacle. The "Book of Divine Works", therefore, became in many ways an extended explication of the Prologue to John's Gospel.

The ten visions of this work's three parts are cosmic in scale, often populated by the grand allegorical female figures representing Divine Love (Caritas) or Wisdom (Sapientia). The first of these opens the work with a salvo of poetic and visionary images, swirling about to characterize the dynamic activity of God within the scope of his salvation-historical work. The remaining three visions of the first part introduce the famous image of a human being standing astride the spheres that make up the universe, and detail the intricate relationships between the human as microcosm and the universe as macrocosm. This culminates in the final chapters of Part One, Vision Four with Hildegard's direct rumination on the meaning of "In the beginning was the Word..." (John 1:1). The single vision that comprises the whole of Part Two stretches that rumination back to the opening of Genesis, and forms an extended meditation on the six days of the creation of the world. Finally, the five visions of the third part take up again the building imagery of Scivias to describe the course of salvation history.

Attention in recent decades to women of the medieval Church has led to a great deal of popular interest in Hildegard's music. In addition to the Ordo Virtutum, sixty-nine musical compositions, each with its own original poetic text, survive, and at least four other texts are known, though their musical notation has been lost.[45] This is one of the largest repertoires among medieval composers.

One of her better known works, Ordo Virtutum (Play of the Virtues), is a morality play. It is uncertain when some of Hildegard’s compositions were composed, though the Ordo Virtutum is thought to have been composed as early as 1151. The morality play consists of monophonic melodies for the Anima (human soul) and 16 Virtues. There is also one speaking part for the Devil. Scholars assert that the role of the Devil would have been played by Volmar, while Hildegard's nuns would have played the parts of Anima and the Virtues.

In addition to the Ordo Virtutum Hildegard composed many liturgical songs that were collected into a cycle called the Symphonia armoniae celestium revelationum. The songs from the Symphonia are set to Hildegard's own text and range from antiphons, hymns, and sequences, to responsories. Her music is described as monophonic, that is, consisting of exactly one melodic line. Its style is characterized by soaring melodies that can push the boundaries of the more staid ranges of traditional Gregorian chant. Though Hildegard's music is often thought to stand outside the normal practices of monophonic monastic chant, current researchers are also exploring ways in which it may be viewed in comparison with her contemporaries, such as Hermannus Contractus. Another feature of Hildegard's music that both reflects twelfth-century evolutions of chant and pushes those evolutions further is that it is highly melismatic, often with recurrent melodic units. Scholars such as Margot Fassler, Marianne Richert Pfau, and Beverly Lomer also note the intimate relationship between music and text in Hildegard's compositions, whose rhetorical features are often more distinct than is common in twelfth-century chant. As with all medieval chant notation, Hildegard's music lacks any indication of tempo or rhythm; the surviving manuscripts employ late German style notation, which uses very ornamental neumes. The reverence for the Virgin Mary reflected in music shows how deeply influenced and inspired Hildegard of Bingen and her community were by the Virgin Mary and the saints.

The definition of viriditas or "greenness" is an earthly expression of the heavenly in an integrity that overcomes dualisms. This greenness or power of life appears frequently in Hildegard's works.

Despite Hildegard's self-professed view that her compositions have as object the praise of God, one scholar has asserted that Hildegard made a close association between music and the female body in her musical compositions. According to him, the poetry and music of Hildegard’s Symphonia would therefore be concerned with the anatomy of female desire thus described as Sapphonic, or pertaining to Sappho, connecting her to a history of female rhetoricians.

Scientific and medicinal writings
Hildegard’s medicinal and scientific writings, though thematically complementary to her ideas about nature expressed in her visionary works, are different in focus and scope. Neither claim to be rooted in her visionary experience and its divine authority. Rather, they spring from her experience helping in and then leading the monastery’s herbal garden and infirmary, as well as the theoretical information she likely gained through her wide-ranging reading in the monastery’s library. As she gained practical skills in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, she combined physical treatment of physical diseases with holistic methods centered on “spiritual healing.” She became well known for her healing powers involving practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones. She combined these elements with a theological notion ultimately derived from Genesis: all things put on earth are for the use of humans.

Hildegard catalogued both her theory and practice in two works. The first, Physica, contains nine books that describe the scientific and medicinal properties of various plants, stones, fish, reptiles, and animals. The second, Causae et Curae, is an exploration of the human body, its connections to the rest of the natural world, and the causes and cures of various diseases. Hildegard documented various medical practices in these books, including the use of bleeding and home remedies for many common ailments. She also explains remedies for common agricultural injuries such as burns, fractures, dislocations, and cuts. Hildegard may have used the books to teach assistants at the monastery. These books are historically significant because they show areas of medieval medicine that were not well documented because their practitioners (mainly women) rarely wrote in Latin.

In addition to its wealth of practical evidence, Causae et Curae is also noteworthy for its organizational scheme. Its first part sets the work within the context of the creation of the cosmos and then humanity as its summit, and the constant interplay of the human person as microcosm both physically and spiritually with the macrocosm of the universe informs all of Hildegard’s approach. Her hallmark is to emphasize the vital connection between the “green” health of the natural world and the holistic health of the human person. Thus, when she approached medicine as a type of gardening, it was not just as an analogy. Rather, Hildegard understood the plants and elements of the garden as direct counterparts to the humors and elements within the human body, whose imbalance led to illness and disease.

Thus, the nearly three hundred chapters of the second book of Causae et Curae “explore the etiology, or causes, of disease as well as human sexuality, psychology, and physiology.” In this section, she give specific instructions for bleeding based on various factors, including gender, the phase of the moon (bleeding is best done when moon is waning), the place of disease (use veins near diseased organ of body part) or prevention (big veins in arms), and how much blood to take (described in imprecise measurements, like “the amount that a thirsty person can swallow in one gulp”). She even includes bleeding instructions for animals to keep them healthy. In the third and fourth sections, Hildegard describes treatments for malignant and minor problems and diseases according to the humoral theory, again including information on animal health. The fifth section is about diagnosis and prognosis, which includes instructions to check the patient’s blood, pulse, urine and stool. Finally, the sixth section documents a lunar horoscope to provide an additional means of prognosis for both disease and other medical conditions, such as conception and the outcome of pregnancy. For example, she indicates that a waxing moon is good for human conception and is also good for sowing seeds for plants (sowing seeds is the plant equivalent of conception). Elsewhere, Hildegard is even said to have stressed the value of boiling drinking water in an attempt to prevent infection.

As Hildegard elaborates the medical and scientific relationship between the human microcosm and the macrocosm of the universe, she often focuses on interrelated patterns of four: “the four elements (fire, air, water, and earth), the four seasons, the four humors, the four zones of the earth, and the four major winds.” Although she inherited the basic framework of humoral theory from ancient medicine, however, Hildegard’s conception of the hierarchical interbalance of the four humors (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) was unique, based on their correspondence to “superior” and “inferior” elements—blood and phlegm corresponding to the “celestial” elements of fire and air, and the two biles corresponding to the “terrestrial” elements of water and earth. Hildegard understood the disease-causing imbalance of these humors to result from the improper dominance of the subordinate humors. This disharmony reflects that introduced by Adam and Eve in the Fall, which for Hildegard marked the indelible entrance of disease and humoral imbalance into humankind. As she writes in Causae et Curae c. 42:

It happens that certain men suffer diverse illnesses. This comes from the phlegm which is superabundant within them. For if man had remained in paradise, he would not have had the flegmata within his body, from which many evils proceed, but his flesh would been whole and without dark humor [livor]. However, because he consented to evil and relinquished good, he was made into a likeness of the earth, which produces good and useful herbs, as well as bad and useless ones, and which has in itself both good and evil moistures. From tasting evil, the blood of the sons of Adam was turned into the poison of semen, out of which the sons of man are begotten. And therefore their flesh is ulcerated and permeable [to disease]. These sores and openings create a certain storm and smoky moisture in men, from which the flegmata arise and coagulate, which then introduce diverse infirmities to the human body. All this arose from the first evil, which man began at the start, because if Adam had remained in paradise, he would have had the sweetest health, and the best dwelling-place, just as the strongest balsam emits the best odor; but on the contrary, man now has within himself poison and phlegm and diverse illnesses.

Lingua Ignota and invented alphabet
Hildegard also invented an alternative alphabet. The text of her writing and compositions reveals Hildegard's use of this form of modified medieval Latin, encompassing many invented, conflated and abridged words. Due to her inventions of words for her lyrics and use of a constructed script, many conlangers look upon her as a medieval precursor. Scholars believe that Hildegard used her Lingua Ignota to increase solidarity among her nuns.

During her lifetime

Maddocks claims that it is likely Hildegard learned simple Latin and the tenets of the Christian faith but was not instructed in the Seven Liberal Arts, which formed the basis of all education for the learned classes in the Middle Ages: the Trivium of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric plus the Quadrivium of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. The correspondence she kept with the outside world, both spiritual and social, transcended the cloister as a space of spiritual confinement and served to document Hildegard’s grand style and strict formatting of medieval letter writing.

Contributing to Christian European rhetorical traditions, Hildegard "authorized herself as a theologian" through alternative rhetorical arts. Hildegard was creative in her interpretation of theology. She believed that her monastery should exclude novices who were not from the nobility because she did not want her community to be divided on the basis of social status. She also stated that "woman may be made from man, but no man can be made without a woman."

Due to church limitation on public, discursive rhetoric, the medieval rhetorical arts included preaching, letter writing, poetry, and the encyclopedic tradition. Hildegard’s participation in these arts speaks to her significance as a female rhetorician, transcending bans on women's social participation and interpretation of scripture. The acceptance of public preaching by a woman, even a well-connected abbess and acknowledged prophet, does not fit the stereotype of this time. Her preaching was not limited to the monasteries; she preached publicly in 1160 in Germany. (New York: Routledge, 2001, 9). She conducted four preaching tours throughout Germany, speaking to both clergy and laity in chapter houses and in public, mainly denouncing clerical corruption and calling for reform.

Many abbots and abbesses asked her for prayers and opinions on various matters. She traveled widely during her four preaching tours. She had several fanatical followers, including Guibert of Gembloux, who wrote to her frequently and became her secretary after Volmar's death in 1173. Hildegard also influenced several monastic women, exchanging letters with Elisabeth of Schönau, a nearby visionary.

Hildegard corresponded with popes such as Eugene III and Anastasius IV, statesmen such as Abbot Suger, German emperors such as Frederick I Barbarossa, and other notable figures such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who advanced her work, at the behest of her abbot, Kuno, at the Synod of Trier in 1147 and 1148. Hildegard of Bingen's correspondence is an important component of her literary output.

Beatification, canonization and recognition as a Doctor of the Church
Hildegard was one of the first persons for whom the Roman canonization process was officially applied, but the process took so long that four attempts at canonization were not completed and she remained at the level of her beatification. Her name was nonetheless taken up in the Roman Martyrology at the end of the 16th century. Her feast day is 17 September. Numerous popes have referred to Hildegard as a saint, including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

On 10 May 2012, Pope Benedict XVI extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard to the entire Catholic Church in a process known as "equivalent canonization," thus laying the groundwork for naming her a Doctor of the Church. On 7 October 2012, the feast of the Holy Rosary, the pope named her a Doctor of the Church, the fourth woman of 35 saints given that title by the Roman Catholic Church. He called her "perennially relevant" and "an authentic teacher of theology and a profound scholar of natural science and music."

Hildegard of Bingen also appears in the calendar of saints of various Anglican churches, such as that of the Church of England, in which she is commemorated on 17 September.

Hildegard's parish and pilgrimage church in Eibingen near Rüdesheim houses her relics.

Hildegard von Bingen - heaven and earth
Akademisk Kor.
Nenia Zenana, conductor.

The works of Hildegard von Bingen.
Blessed Hildegard of Bingen (German: Hildegard von Bingen; Latin: Hildegardis Bingensis) (1098 -- 17 September 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Elected a magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136, she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama.

She wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, poems, and arguably the oldest surviving morality play, while supervising brilliant miniature Illuminations.

Academic Choir is a choir from Copenhagen. The chorus refers to himself as a oratoriekor and acts every year two major works by oratorie size and also always Handel's Messiah at Christmas.
The approximately 70 singers in Academic Choir are all amateurs, as for the individuals concerned have decades of experience in the choir. Academic Choir strive despite his amateur status, a semi professional standard and are working constantly to upskilling. Choir has been on a number of concert tours and recording new singers at regular intervals.

Hildegard von Bingen - Canticles Of Ecstasy
O Vis Aeternitatis (Responsorium) Sequentia
Nunc Aperuit Nobis (Antiphon) Sequentia
Quia Ergo Femina Mortem Instruxit (Antiphon) Sequentia
Cum Processit Factura Digiti Dei (Antiphon) Sequentia
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Marian Antiphon) Sequentia
Ave Maria, O Auctrix Vite (Responsorium) Sequentia
Hildegard von Bingen - Ave generosa
Jeremy Summerly
Oxford Camerata

Marcabru (
c. 1099-c. 1150) is one of the earliest troubadours whose poems are known. There is no certain information about him; the two vidas attached to his poems tell different stories, and both are evidently built on hints in the poems, not on independent information.

A miniature portrait of Marcabru beside his vida in a 13th-century chansonnier.

According to the brief life in MS. BNF 12473 Marcabrun was from Gascony (details of the dialect of his poems support this) and was the son of a poor woman named Marcabrunela. He made bad poems and bad satires, and spoke evil of women and of love. This evidently comes from a reading of poem 293,18.

According to the longer biography in MS. Vat. Lat. 5232 Marcabru was abandoned at a rich man's door, and no one knew his origin. He was brought up by Aldric del Vilar, learned to make poetry from Cercamon, was at first nicknamed Pan-perdut and later Marcabru. He became famous, and the lords of Gascony, about whom he had said many bad things, eventually put him to death. This appears to be based on poems 16b,1 and 293,43 (an exchange between Aldric del Vilar and Marcabru) and guesswork; the link with Cercamon is doubted by modern scholars.

Forty-four poems are attributed to Marcabru, learned, often difficult, sometimes obscene, relentlessly critical of the morality of lords and ladies. He experimented with the pastorela, which he uses to point out the futility of lust. One tells of how the speaker's advances are reviled by a shepherdess on the basis of class. Another tells of how a man's attempt to seduce a woman whose husband was at the crusades is firmly rebuffed. He may also have originated the tenso in a debate with Uc Catola (as early as 1133) on the nature of love and the decline of courtly behaviour. Marcabru was a powerful influence on later poets who adopted the obscure trobar clus style. Among his patrons were William X of Aquitaine and, probably, Alfonso VII of León. Marcabru may have travelled to Spain in the entourage of Alfonso Jordan, Count of Toulouse, in the 1130s. In the 1140s he was a propagandist for the Reconquista and in his famous poem with the Latin beginning Pax in nomine Domini! he called Spain a lavador (washer) where knights could go to have their souls cleansed fighting the infidel.

Four monophonic melodies to accompany Marcabru's poetry survive; additionally, three melodies of poems that may be contrafacta of Marcabru's work may be attributed to him.

Marcabru: Bel m'es quan li fruch madur