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Cultures of Authority in the
Long Twelfth Century1
Jan M. Ziolkowski, Harvard University
Ancient and medieval usages of the Latin noun auctoritas display an intractability that induced one lexicographer not fifty years ago to warn bluntly
against trying even to translate it:
The word auctoritas belongs to the most significant and lasting coinages of
the Latin language. Its meaning is not always easy to ascertain, and attempting to translate it causes even more trouble. A wise person will do better to
refrain from the effort.2

To guard against such difficulties, I will not unfold a full history of auctoritas
and auctores from the beginning of the Latin language down to the present day. Furthermore, I will not attempt to address systematically the vast
scholarship on authorship, as distinct (sometimes) from auctoritas, in the
Middle Ages.3 Instead, I will aim mainly to sketch attitudes toward authority,
and authors, that prevailed among rhetoricians, grammarians, and exegetes
through the earlier Middle Ages and to offer a partial list of new stances that
developed afterward. In so doing, I will train my sights on literary auctoritas
and auctores, those implicated in reading and writing. Even within this restricted ambit, I accept the impossibility of attaining exhaustive completeness. The period I will seek eventually to elucidate may be called the long
twelfth century. Centuries are arbitrary slices of time, and major transitions
may refuse willfully to take place just as the ninety-ninth year yields to the
hundredth. In my definition, the long twelfth century extends from after
the Great Schism of 1054 that divided the Greek and Latin branches of
Christendom to around the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.
1. For wise counsel on earlier drafts I thank C. Stephen Jaeger, Michael McCormick, Rosamond McKitterick, Arjo Vanderjagt, and Charles D. Wright, all of whom—as my authorities—
should be held fully liable for anything still wrong with this article.
2. Wolfgang Heßler, “Auctoritas im deutschen Mittellatein. Eine Zwischenbilanz im mittellateinischen Wörterbuch,” Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 47 (1965), 255: “Das Wort auctoritas
gehört zu den bedeutungsvollsten und nachhaltigsten Prägungen der lateinische Sprache.
Sein Inhalt ist nicht immer leicht zu ergründen, und noch mehr Mühe bereitet der Versuch
einer Übersetzung. Wer klug ist, wird bisweilen lieber darauf verzichten.” Unless otherwise
specified, all translations are my own.
3. On authorship, the foremost study is Alistair J. Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship:
Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages (London: Scolar Press, 1984; 2d ed., Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1988).
Journal of English and Germanic Philology—October
© 2009 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

186–87. therefore. . 2005). and poetic. comments that auctoritas cannot be translated into Greek by a single word. The associations these words carry in our own times may color and distort our perceptions of what lies eight hundred years and more behind us. In our parlance. theological. (Cambridge.5. I will concentrate upon instances in which auctoritas is named explicitly. State of Exception. Earnest Cary. ed. 155–235). although the Latin auctoritas and English authority have been applied to matters political. of Chicago Press. ecclesiastical. and trans. To skirt this danger. writing his Roman History in Greek. 5. see Marie-Laure Freyburger-Galland. trans.3.” For the fullest study of Dio Cassius’s thoughts on the word auctoritas. 75: “What Dio has in mind.” Annali d’Italianistica. authority may be at stake or the authorities involved even when the noun “authority” is not enunciated. philosophical. he at least acknowledges that the Romans have a word that subsumes a span of meanings not captured in any individual Greek equivalent. 8 (1990).4 Thus to grasp what authors and authorities conveyed as words and ideas in the twelfth century requires disentangling the past from the present as well as the Latin from vernaculars such as English. Albert Russell Ascoli. 9 vols. since the term may have different nuances now from what it once did. The Waxing of Authority An examination of auctoritas that is at once philological and comparatist can shed light on the long twelfth century and perhaps also even on the present day. In this case. 386 (Greek) and 387 (English): “their [the senators’] action was what was termed auctoritas. 1968). Dio. MA: Harvard Univ. is not something like a Roman specificity of the term but the difficulty of leading it back to a single meaning. I.” 6. For such is the general force of this word. various pitfalls need to be avoided. a concept may manifest itself in practice. Pace Giorgio Agamben. the purpose of which was to make known their will. linguistic.5 Although Dio Cassius may not be saying that the Latin word is untranslatable into Greek. Kevin Attell (Chicago: Univ. authority is very much a Latin concept in origin. to translate it into Greek by a term that will always be applicable is impossible. “‘Neminem ante nos’: Historicity and Authority in the De vulgari eloquentia. the early twenty-first-century noun covers a range that overlaps only partially with related ancient and Medieval Latin words. In the first place. Etymologically. VI.422  Ziolkowski When pursuing a topic that can be summed up in a single keyword. and that practice may in turn be reported or discussed in a text without the use of the corresponding word or words. Roman History. Another caveat is particular to cases in which the specific word at the heart of a given topic boasts a long history. 55.6 4. p. Press. and he may hint that the existence of a word with such a semantic range may speak to a uniquely Latin quality about it. Dio Cassius (ca.

2 vols. printing has eventuated in notions of intellectual property. II. sufficiently in agreement with a standard or norm so as to carry authority. et auctoritas dans la théologie carolingienne. “Divina Pagina. 73. in Pierre Riché. Pierre Riché. paradoxically. particularly the long twelfth century. but its fine points were redesigned to meet new demands from new users. Consequently the apt phrase “culture of authority” becomes even apter when made a plural. Indeed. and hence authority which differ emphatically from those in the manuscript culture.” Romanic Review. ratio. Destruction and Dislocation of Authority in Medieval Literature and Its Modern Derivatives. where each redaction is unique. Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo. Albert Russell Ascoli. with its original page numbering.9 And so. If any of my observations on these topics do turn out to have authority. Bernadette A. 1993). . Education et culture dans l’Occident médiéval (Aldershot: Variorum. a constituent feature of medieval civilization seems to have been recourse to auctoritas. 7. “The Distribution. That culture rested upon texts.. it is entirely reasonable to describe medieval culture as being a “culture of authority. to state the case differently. 270: “No one denies ultimately that MS redactions are always unique. “Authority. 8. Rather than being a cultural monolith. Those fundamental texts had to be transmitted in readable form and had to be authentic.”7 But caution is in order when dealing with cultures as remote from our own as the Middle Ages. This essay has been reprinted.Cultures of Authority  423 Most of the prestige and many of the debates surrounding authors and authority date from the Middle Ages. 720. 105 (1992). and even insistence upon. Like many Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals. its basic structure remained fairly constant for long stretches of time. which is to say. first and foremost Scripture and liturgy but also canonical texts drawn from both ancient and medieval literature. All was work in progress. The authority of a text which is reproduced in hundreds or thousands of copies stands apart from manuscripts.” in Nascita dell’Europa ed Europa carolingia: Un’equazione da verificare. copyright. but the implications of the endemic suppleness of medieval literary traditions for an appreciation of how authority for texts was distributed in the Middle Ages tend not to be explored. p. 82 (1991). ed. 1981).8 Although the transition has taken centuries.” in The Dante Encyclopedia. 237–46. it will be owing to the significance of authority in the centuries we “Dion Cassius et l’étymologie: auctoritas et Augustus. 2000).” Revue des études grecques. by the cooperation and interaction of texts and readers. medieval auctoritas is a vast edifice that was constructed year by year. The dearth of uniformity (which could be construed as a triumph of multiplicity) is particularly evident against the backdrop of differences between printed books and manuscripts. Or. the absence of a monolithic “authority” and the desire for. authority went hand in hand. Richard Lansing (New York: Garland. Masters. authorship. century by century. 27 (Spoleto: Presso la sede del Centro.” 9.

2005). Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. 216. of which the foremost is auctoritas.15 As a derivative of a derivative.” Hermes. Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine. ed. 60 (1925). aug. See The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. A. reprinted in Richard Heinze. auctor + -tas becomes auctoritas. by one of those coincidences that makes language so fascinating. third. 12.13 From augeo derives the noun auctor. B. pp. “Remarques sur ‘augur. L. p. The story begins with the verb augeo. 13. Second. 1969). Histoire des mots. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. it is sui generis in being based on a noun of agent that ends in -tor. 148–51. Cross. 348–66. and Alois Walde. resource. 135–36. Hofmann. who obtains divine favor or increase by interpreting sacred signs.denotes ‘vegetal growth in a divinized nature’: augustus derives ultimately from *augus. (Oxford: Oxford Univ. C.424  Ziolkowski medievalists happen to study.14 Beyond word-formation. reinforcement’). See The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.10 But let us look at things systematically. Alfred Ernout and Antoine Meillet. 15. a by-form of augur. (Paris: Klincksieck. Livingstone (Oxford: Oxford Univ. 44. p.”12 The vegetal implications of the root aug.. T. 80. See Émile Benveniste.’” Helikon: Rivista di tradizione e cultura classica. 3d ed. Erich Burck. Vom Geist des Römertums: Ausgewählte Aufsätze. ed. II. auctoritas is unusual in oscillating in its meanings between the abstract and the concrete. and fourth.+ -tor becomes auctor.” as in the waxing and waning of the moon or. 35 (1958). ed. E. 56–58. it has the suffix -tas attached to a noun rather than an adjective. See Georges Dumézil. Lateinisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Each of these four features merits explanation.explain its possible connection with the augur. ed. the word might encourage 10. 1960). ed.’” Revue des Etudes Latines. 1 (1961). since the salience of authority in Latin can be documented readily by tracking the history of it and its derivatives. (Paris: Les Éditions de minuit. and The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Onions (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 82–83. F. pp. the idiom “waxing poetic. Indo-European Language and Society (London: Faber and Faber. In this history four traits warrant special attention:11 first. Elizabeth Palmer. trans. First. pp. aug. which helps to explain why authority is not a headword in the Oxford Classical Dictionary but is one in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 995. I. between a quality that empowers deed and a deed itself. 2003). J. 126–51. 1973). 1938–1955). “Auctoritas. Press. second.. 1985). Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes. (Heidelberg: C. The Latin is cognate with the English verbs “to eke” and “to wax. Winter. within this small group. 420–23. 11. That importance relates more than a little to the prominence of authority in Western Christian culture. 3d ed. Richard Heinze. “A propos du mot ‘auctoritas. augeo is cognate with ‘to wax’ (‘wax poetic’). What has been marked by such augmentation qualifies as being august and is closely related to auxilium (‘aid. 14. 3d ed. Press. Auctoritas is exceptional morphologically in two ways. . 2 vols. 3 vols. Jean Collart. 4th ed. augustus. 3d ed. 2001). from which in turn numerous words have been generated. ed.

p.19 This auctoritas. potestas to the civic powers.. see Jesús Fueyo.-M. which were held by the magistrates and people. MA: Harvard Univ. while auctoritas represented the guarantee itself or the credibility of such a witness. being attested already (as is auctor) in the earliest Latin law code. Hans Barion et al. “Die Idee der ‘auctoritas’: Genesis und Entwicklung. a right for which he could vouch. 2 vols. indefinitely suspends law. ed. such as potestas. and elides the boundary between the private and the public. in contradistinction to potestas. . 19. Festgabe für Carl Schmitt. .20 Since ecclesiastic authority rested ultimately on God through the 16. 4 vols. the so-called Lex duodecim tabularum (Law of the Twelve Tables). See Table 3. their ratification 449 BCE. who could legitimate certain bonds and statuses.18 In Roman law. “The Gelasian Doctrine: Uses and Transformations. . H. an Italian philosopher. Agamben. The composition of these laws is conventionally dated 451–450 BCE. ceterarum rerum omnium . Auctoritas was applied more often to the church. More broadly. Such an impression would be misleading. auctoritas had stature as a validating force in public and private alike.3. ed. Press.16 In the classical Latin usage of both auctor and auctoritas. subject to liability of some sort. since auctoritas has its own very long lineage. For instance. III. 18. Toward Understanding St. trans. A. Giorgio Agamben (1942–). pp. “Usus auctoritas fundi biennium est . Hughes (Chicago: Henry Regnery. On the relationship between the two. Remains of Old Latin.”17 Eventually the term auctorabilis (‘capable of guaranteeing’) came into existence. title of ownership shall hold good for ever). as opposed to potestas and imperium. See especially Robert L. 213–35. In the private domain auctoritas belonged to the pater familias. Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge. Thomas.” . Compare Table 6. Warmington. In the public sphere auctoritas belonged to the Senate. 440–41. 130. Landry and D. Benson. and trans. I. 17. to characterize the auctor. 460–61.. In antiquity auctoritas was often paired with other words. juridical and political senses occupied center stage. but the valences attached to the words shifted considerably. 20. III. . in common law a seller was an auctor with regard to a buyer. 1964). (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. 1968). has traced in a provocatively erudite and polemical book a line that leads back in Western societies to ancient Roman conceptions of auctoritas. Marie-Dominique Chenu. State of Exception. annuus est usus” (The lapse of time in order to establish title to possession and enjoyment lasts one year only [in order to establish the right])..Cultures of Authority  425 the inference that it is not as old or well-established as auctor itself. The pairing of auctoritas and potestas remained current in the Middle Ages.” in Epirrhosis.7 “adversus hostem aeterna auctoritas <esto>” (Against stranger. has been enlisted to permit the “state of exception” which allows for fascist leadership. The auctor stood as guarantor of a truth that he announced or a right that he held or transferred. 1956–1961). 74–88. in E. “an auctor in common law was a person who transferred to another person.

21. Essays in Memory of Robert Louis Benson. In the end the juridical and political senses of the Latin still underlie the most widespread meanings of authority today.. Cicero. A nice demonstration of this application is found in Cicero’s phrase “ingeniosus poeta et auctor valde bonus” (a poet of genius and a very reliable authority). For an exposition of the principal significations that auctoritas had in classical Latin. 130 24. 12/2 (Berlin and New York: Walter De Gruyter. MA: Harvard Univ. as when we speak of executive authority. Byzance.22 Thus auctores can be defined as ‘writers who bring increase through authority. potestas and World Order. Dominique Sourdel. and trans.21 Juridical and political uses continued to be known and applied in Latin throughout the Middle Ages. see Nikolaus Häring. 23.” in Plenitude of Power: The Doctrines and Exercise of Authority in the Middle Ages. postal authorities. Benson follows the doctrine of a distinction between auctoritas and potestas that was expressed by Pope Gelasius I (492–496) and that held sway into the twelfth century. ed. Press. II. 1982). p. ed. . 1980). but the application of auctoritas in both classical and Medieval Latin extended to encompass rhetorical and literary dimensions.’” A more recent attempt along similar lines has been made by Rafael Domingo. From this usage developed the practice of employing auctoritas to signify first the auctores themselves and then the physical expression of their guarantees. 2 vols. George Makdisi. “Auctoritas in der sozialen und intellektuellen Struktur des zwölften Jahrhunderts. pp. For a study of the relationship between the two concepts at the end of the Middle Ages. Miscellanea Mediaevalia: Veröffentlichungen des Thomas-Instituts der Universität zu Köln. Pro Murena 30. ed. session des 23–26 octobre 1978. 2006). Chenu. 125–39. see James Muldoon.’ ‘people of authority. which in the case of writing could be a document or text. Auctoritas (Barcelona: Editorial Ariel. this contrast was also implicitly one between the powers of the pen on the one hand and the sword on the other. 13–44. pp. 1977). an auctor became in one sense ‘a writer who is regarded as a master of his subject or as providing reliable evidence. pp. 517. health authorities. and the proper authorities. A succinct account of the evolution of auctoritas in its political senses from Roman times on is Fueyo. 224–25.23 In reference to literature. X (Cambridge. auctoritas as ‘impressiveness of style’ or ‘normative literary usage. since in La notion d’autorité au Moyen Age: Islam.’ ‘writers who are masters or authorities. the quality by which the person who guaranteed a truth was deemed worthy of doing so.” in Soziale Ordnungen im Selbstverständnis des Mittelalters. C. MacDonald. “Auctoritas. Toward Understanding. Albert Zimmermann and Gudrun Vuillemin-Diem.’ and ‘extracts from texts that confer authority.426  Ziolkowski medium of Scripture. 22. local authorities. 1999). Robert C.24 Cicero was particularly prescient in his usage here. and Janine Sourdel-Thomine (Paris: Presses universitaires de France. Loeb Classical Library. Figueira (Aldershot: Ashgate. an authority. Cicero. Occident: Colloques internationaux de La Napoule.’ and ‘poets’. ed.’ The author brings increase or augments through his authority. “Die Idee der ‘auctoritas.’ The juridical and political intersect with the rhetorical and literary in auctoritas.

See Marie-Dominique Chenu. just where the word’s center of gravity lay throughout the Middle Ages. As quoted by Diomedes (late fourth. of Chicago Press.’ consuetudo ‘normal usage in speech. I: auctoritas. authority afforded the most trustworthy recourse when no support was forthcoming 25. 257–85. 26. and discussed by Jean Collart. I. . 439. 1968). 125–26. and trans. 28 (1925). Geneva: Fondation Hardt. the mention of antiquity and the citation of examples give the speech authority and credibility as well as affording the highest pleasure to the audience). Varro (116–27 BCE) regarded good Latinity as originating from four sources. V (Cambridge. 9 (Vandœuvres. To be understood by this equivalence is the credit accorded to authors. Little (Chicago: Univ. 2003). written by an auctor. 105. Man.120. M. and trans. to signify the impressiveness or authority of words or style: “Commemoratio autem antiquitatis exemplorumque prolatio summa cum delectatione et auctoritatem orationi affert et fidem” (Moreover. or extracts from the texts themselves.” ed.26 This quotation not only links auctoritas with antiquity but also places it squarely in a rhetorical framework of memory. repr. p.or early fifth-century).”27 The avowed goal of ancient and medieval grammar was verbally correct speech and writing.’28 To Varro. 1957). 352. “Authentica et magistralia. ed. and speech. 1961). The sources of such correct and persuasive speech and writing were not always seen to be the same. 1963). ed. 10 (Turnhout: Brepols. Cicero. Ars Grammatica 2 “De latinitate. 28. In the intense textuality of the medieval period. Orator 34. Heinrich Keil. pp. as reprinted in La théologie au douzième siècle. This chapter was not included in the English translation as Nature.” in Entretiens sur l’antiquité classique. 222. H. Mariken Teeuwen. “Convenationes. p. Vrin.’ analogia ‘similarity in inflections and derivatives. lines 15–17 and 25–26. 394–95. Hildesheim: Georg Olms. 45 (Paris: J. 34 (1964). 7 vols. Jerome Taylor and Lester K.’ and auctoritas ‘authority. while that of rhetoric was persuasive speech and writing. “Analogie et anomalie. pp. Grammatici Latini. The most frequently cited authors are subsumed under the general rubric of auctoritates. whether it is a matter of the people themselves or the texts of their works.” Bulletin du Cange: Archivum Latinitatis Medii Ævi. 1962). Loeb Classical Library. Mass. 1855–80. but authority was always one of them. and an auctoritas was a book worth reading. For instance. It has been observed pertinently that: “The two terms are related in an almost circular way: an auctor was the creator of a book worth reading. The Vocabulary of Intellectual Life in the Middle Ages. Etudes sur le vocabulaire intellectuel du Moyen Age. Etudes de philosophie médiévale. Press.’25 He also provided an excellent attestation of auctoritas in a related sense. of which auctoritas was the most recent: natura ‘natural meaning of words. 27. exemplum. and Society in the Twelfth Century: Essays on New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West. Cicero. that confer authority. Cited by Isidore de Varenne. Hubbell.: Harvard Univ.” Divus Thomas.Cultures of Authority  427 auctor gradually acquired a special meaning as ‘poet. auctoritates made a transition from being principally the people of authority to being the texts themselves. (Leipzig.

1907). Lucia Calboli Montefusco. diss.or fifth-century rhetorician Chirius (also designated as Consultus) Fortunatianus.34 29. p.428  Ziolkowski from analogy and custom. Grammatici Latini. ed. 13 (1972). V. 1925). Grammatici Latini. Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque impériale et autres bibliothèques. and the usage of the inept). of Chicago (Chicago. 2003). T. trans. p. Ars grammatica. Karl Barwick (Leipzig: B. 34. The Letters of Abelard and Heloise. an anonymous tenth-century manuscript transmits the question and response: “Quae sunt quae frangunt regulas grammaticorum? Tria. Robert B. ed. 3d series. lines 3–7. Clanchy (London: Penguin Books. 189. Keil. p. Ars grammatica. For instance. and Erchanbert of Freising. 32.” Mediaeval Studies. p. ed.” Studi medievali. Univ. analogia (understood to be the mechanical application of a rule). Marius Victorinus (mid fourth century CE). Book 1. Teubner. 130. VI. 730–804). For example. Betty Radice. Ars rhetorica 440. Alcuin (ca. Michael T. 30. Teubner. and consuetudo (dependent on the whim of speakers). ed. p. as quoted by Diomedes. McLaughlin. Huygens. fragments 12 and 269. Keil. Edizioni e saggi universitari di filologia classica. “Abelard’s Rule for Religious Women. Thus Peter Abelard. Ars breviata. fragment 268: “namque ubi omnia defecerint. when acceding to Heloise’s request that he formulate a monastic rule for her and the other women of the Paraclete. P. carmen poetarum. the authority of Scripture.33 Similarly. “Le moine Idung et ses deux ouvrages. 33. lines 3–7. ed. sic ad illam quem ad modum ad ancoram decurritur” (for when all other elements have failed. Letter 8 to Heloise. 523.32 Another remarkable development is that by transference this basis for determination of proper language was pressed into service in establishing many other types of norms. 3.15. Hyginus (Gino) Funaioli (Leipzig: B. G. ed. 24 (Bologna: Pàtron. consuetudo stultorum” (What factors break the rules of grammarians? Three: the song of poets. Idung of Prüfening. auctoritas continues to be set against natura. reveals that he has drawn up one on foundations like the modes cited so often by the grammarians. ed. auctoritas Scripturae. Artis grammaticae libri V. Ph. Peter Abelard. but it is also sometimes contrasted to ratio.31 One paradox is that such modes furnished a basis not only for stabilizing the foundational rules of grammar but also for destabilizing them by violation. Wendell Vernon Clausen. invokes the same modes in framing a response to an inquiry about whether nuns need to be confined more strictly to the cloister than monks. see Augustine (354–430). writing around 1144–1145. lines 14–15: “constat ergo Latinus sermo natura analogia consuetudine auctoritate. one turns to it as to an anchor [which is to say. 31. 1869). 22/2 (Paris: L’institut impérial de France. 192 and 291. in PL 101. 18 (1956).29 The Varronian schema resounded in instruction in the verbal arts for many centuries to come. G.” and the fourth. as to a lifesaver]): compare pp. 1948).D. ed. especially as in the early Middle Ages grammar absorbed much of the attention to language that had belonged to rhetoric in Roman antiquity. See Varro on auctoritas and exemplum. 1979).. in Grammaticae Romanae fragmenta. 359. Argumentum super quatuor questionibus 7. 289. 857D. Charles Thurot. 62. 242. 494. C.30 In the so-called modes of grammar. Compare the late fourth-century grammarian Flavius Sosipater Charisius. An Argument on Four Ques- . rev. Tractatus super Donatum (first half of ninth century). Notices et extraits de divers manuscrits latins pour servir à l’histoire des doctrines grammaticales au moyen âge.

pp. and authentic. Orton and R. Handbook of Literary Rhetoric: A Foundation for Literary Study. Henry Stuart Jones (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Orton. 39. Collart. by Matthew T. James F.” See A Greek-English Lexicon. Dean Anderson (Leiden: Brill. On auctor in reference to poets. 9–30. in an encyclopedia of word origins composed in the early thirteenth century.37 Authority evolved into the quality that stamps an individual. of a crime). 1977).35 In the Middle Ages these canonical authors came gradually to be. 30–46. as can be detected still in the rough equivalence of the expressions “imitate an example” and “follow an authority.38 Accordingly. first and foremost. First. 2001). . or a text as authoritative. authoritative. auctoritas II. 1968). . p. 123 (Chapel Hill: Univ. music. see Otto Prinz. 1998). . see Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch. and David E. O’Sullivan. precedents. authority. 1180. p. lines 34–39. Joseph Leahey. perpetrator. trans. 1210). David E. Heinrich Lausberg. ed. 62–1181. Jeremiah F.”39 In the Middle Ages auctor was thought to owe something not only to augere but also to other Latin and Greek words that would never be grouped in an etymological dictionary today. 37. 36. For the first. Bliss. 1967–). ed. Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch bis zum ausgehenden 13. he traces the political senses of these words to the verb augere. the noun authentes has the primary meaning of “murderer” and denotes “author” mainly in the sense of “author (e. since emperors have as their task to expand the state. Or. of North Carolina Press. to express the relationship slightly differently. trans.’” p.. for the second. trans. Annemiek Jansen. Future references will also be to column and lines. “Die Autorität des Musters: Mittelalterliche Literatur als Variationskunst und die Folgen für ihre Ästhetik.” in The Construction of Textual Authority in German Literature of the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. adduces three different origins for auctor and auctoritas. a performance. in Cistercians and Cluniacs.40 Like many other Latinists of the Middle Ages. Jahrhundert (Munich: Beck. the composer of a new text (or other work of art) ratifies it by modeling it upon an earlier one. column 1168. University of North Carolina Studies in the Germanic Languages and Literatures. and art. and most consonantly with present-day etymologizing. Joseph Leahey. Hugutio of Pisa (d. Thus an auctor is truly an augmentator. he assumes that the family tions.36 On the basis of this initial usage developed the further conceptions of auctoritas as both a saying of great importance and a model or norm. auctoritas and exemplum become closely related. 38. ed. 33 (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications. C. 216. p. and Grace Perrigo. Poag and Claire Baldwin. the veiling of the head. For an exploration of the authority of models in literature. 1181. “A propos du mot ‘auctoritas. poets. doer. 275. the consecration. 29. see Thomas Cramer. Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott.g. 40. Although the Greek verb authenteo and several of its derivatives are most naturally translated by words such as authority. Authority arises from the example (exemplum) purveyed by an illustrious writer. auctoritas in its stock grammatical and rhetorical sense might be defined as ‘normative literary usage’ attested in recognized writers. 611. Hugutio then derives an intellectual sense of autor and autoritas—both of which he spells on purpose without a c—from the Greek authentes.Cultures of Authority  429 In our terms. rev. Cistercian Fathers Series.” 35. 173: “Reason. the betrothal itself .

p. Haimo of Auxerre (d.41 To take a considerably earlier example. id est auctoritate plenis” (In authentic books. 20–24. (Tavarnuzze [Florence]: SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo.” in Die Lehre vom einstimmigen liturgischen Gesang. This circumstance makes especially apt efforts to translate words with the authent. authenticare “to authenticate. 166. See also Michel Huglo. 68. “Grundlagen und Ansätze. while its antonyms were words that conveyed the sense of “apocryphal”: see Guenée. vv.” Authenticus and authenticum are both borrowings from Greek already attested in Classical Latin. 2 vols. Commentarius in Genesim. 116–122. the essential component of which in itself implied their status as masters endowed with authority. 53B.1–18. Uguccione da Pisa. “Auctoritas.42 The clan of author and authentic grows even larger when we realize that authenticus was sometimes written as or conflated with the forms enthenticus and entheticus. 128. authoritatively”. 860) draws the same equation. 5. 46. full of authority). 34 (1964).46 In this way it became possible to refer to the authority of a given author as shorthand for the authority of a text by the author in question.’” p. ed.” pp. from Priscian at the most elementary level of grammar (and grammar school) through Plato as well as Aristotle for dialectic.. Uguccione. ed.” ed. p. Latham (London: Published for the British Academy by Oxford Univ. P. W. Cecchini.” 42. The last part of this formulation belongs to a tradition that goes back to glosses of the Greek. Derivationes. R. s. In Medieval Latin. 47. and authenticus “authentic or authoritative.44–45 “autenticum: auctoritate plenum. their utterances were at once authoritative and authentic. ‘of authority. . 1975). Geschichte der Musiktheorie. stamp as genuine or authoritative”. logic. A 1. 67–69. “‘Enthenticus-authenticus. Cecchini. Edizione nazio­ nale dei testi mediolatini 11.2. I. P.” 43. 262–66.” Münchener Theologische Zeitschrift.’ to whom credence should be given). and metaphysics in higher education. 45.45 Accordingly.” and “authorized”: see Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. and Huglo. ed. fascicule 1 “A-B. Serie 1: 6.1598. p.43 The paramount representatives of the seven liberal arts were held to be auctores. having authority. 2000). which is to say.root with words such as “authoritative. Galler Palimpsest 908 und seine Stellung in der Liturgiegeschichte. 5–7. G. p. See Thesaurus Linguae Latinae 2.’ Ein Terminus im St. in PL 131. I. Alban Dold. “Grundlagen und Ansätze der mittelalterlichen Musiktheorie von der Spätantike bis zur Ottonischen Zeit. idest autoritatis cui credi deberet” (one ‘having authority’ or ‘made authoritative. referring to original documents: see Oxford Latin Dictionary. 1968–1982).” “authority.. ed. Martin Hubert. Derivationes. authorized. when he refers to “Libris authenticis. R. 220. Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch.47 Hugutio’s final etymology of auctor with the spelling of autor is meant to clarify why the word served to describe 41. “‘Authentique et approuvé. A 1. Press.44 They themselves could be regarded as authentici. 219. and Chenu. Glare (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1282.430  Ziolkowski of words associated with author and the one connected with authentic are identical: “homo autenticus vel autorizabilis. authentic was synonymous with approbatus. approved by authority. 2004). E. 44.” Bulletin du Cange: Archivum Latinitatis Medii Ævi. authentice “authentically. ca. Michel Huglo et al. Toward Understanding. 11 (1960). who quotes a gloss “authenticus = auctoritas sive testamentum.’ that is. 4 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. E.

Einige Anmerkungen zum Verständnis vom Autor in lateinischen Schriften des frühen und hohen Mittelalters. from autentim. Hugutio derives autoritas in turn from autor and defines it as “sententia digna imitatione” (a short statement worthy of imitation). 1887). Actor. Even if an account of auctor’s range in Medieval Latin were limited to its tripartite etymology (from augere. 17–31. actor. The classic citation and analysis of the threesome remains Marie-Dominique Chenu. Johannes Wrobel. that deserve to be repeated.’ since poets such as Virgil and Lucan bind poems together by using metrical feet. p. 1 (Vratislaviae: in aedibus G. 1995). By sententia he has in mind wordings. a distinguished contribution of the twelfthcentury school tradition. 48. comes autor). fasc. 1. ast ab agendo / Actor. auctorizabilis. “Auctor. ed. see Jan-Dirk Müller. last but not least.49 The complications multiply when we realize that auctor. Gall: UVK. and aviere). Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. auctorizare. in his verse grammar manual entitled the Graecismus. Koebneri. to be made guiding principles in life. ed. the poets. the word could boast of a richly tangled history. for auctoritativus. To complete his handling of auctor as autor. quod Graecum est. presented a troika of auctor.48 Think of the incongruity when next waiting for a bank transfer or credit-card payment to be authorized: the underlying concept is medieval. 1095–1160). We have already disclosed how prosperous an afterlife the derivative auctoritas achieved. The Latin sententia leads logically to both the English “sentence” and “sententious. . 3 (1927). pp. namely. 158. Graecismus 9.” in Der Autor im Dialog: Beiträge zu Autorität und Autorschaft. ab autentim. .” The foremost avatar of such sentence-length ‘opinions’ would be the Liber sententiarum (Book of Sentences) of Peter Lombard (ca. But the ramification of the lexical family does not stop there. 81–86. 50–67. p. He relates this denotation of autor to the verb avieo ‘to bind. 1182. and auctorizatio. nascitur autor” (auctor derives its name from augendo. Felix Philipp Ingold and Werner Wunderlich (St.Cultures of Authority  431 another revered set of school authors. Evrard of Béthune (d. 1212). .107–108. and autor: “Auctor ab augendo nomen trahit. actor. 49. Corpus grammaticorum medii aevi. culled from texts composed by autores. authentes. “Auctor— Actor—Author. Medieval Latin extended the solid but still modest inheritance of these two words through new formations such as auctoritativus (and the associated adverb auctoritative). despite or because of the wild vagaries seen in medieval orthography. which is Greek. and. . was widely held to be linked with two other words. Fachverlag für Wissenschaft und Studium GmbH. 60. 50. ab agendo” (Auctor is so called from augendo. autor.” Bulletin du Cange: Archivum Latinitatis Medii Ævi. to be invoked as precedents.50 We can see the stage set for the intimacy between auctor and actor when the two words are juxtaposed in Isidore’s Etymologies: “Auctor ab augendo dictus. For an updating. Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch. auctorizabiliter. but actor from agendo.

“Authority. Holy Scripture took precedence over all other texts as well as over all other realms of human knowledge.1. Ed. but rather by the Latin of the Vulgate Bible: “. .53 For this reason. Ascoli. From Roman times the auctor had been tied up with truth. Augustine. Speculum Anniversary Monographs. the emperor held utmost authority. The foremost difference is that an auctor vouched for the truth of the text he or she produced. 54. quae sanctis litteris continentur. 53. MA: Medieval Academy of America. In the Middle Ages auctoritas referred to the truth value or power attributed to both texts and officials. Donatum non sequimur. which are contained in Holy Scripture. p. pp. In the ecclesiastic ambit. Franz Weihrich. 1958). the Gospel is deservedly preeminent). 2). See Jean Jolivet. 1911). Tempsky. ed. 23–29.” p.52 In both cases the ultimate guarantor of authority was God. Godescalc d’Orbais et la Trinité. De consensu evangelistarum libri IV 1. Medieval Theory of Authorship.1. who inspired him. ranging from Pope Gregory the Great (590–604). W. 1.2. Etudes de philosophie médiévale. whereas an actor made an object but did not lend it a special dimension of truthfulness. ed. 69. . . God’s surpassing authority explains why from a Christian perspective the Gospels outstripped all other writings in their authoritativeness—their simultaneous veritas and veracity: “Inter omnes divinas auctoritates. 55. Vrin. Actor is derived from agendo). 115–116. In the secular sphere. p. Lindsay. . . through Peter Damian (1007–1072) to Abbot Arnaud of Bonneval (d. Mihiel (d. Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum [CSEL] 43/3–4 (Vienna: F. 830) was only one among many. La méthode de la théologie à l’époque carolingienne.40. line 6. It is their truth that carries the 51. supreme witness to supreme truth. 52. 1156). 1907). 10 (Cambridge. Etymologiae 10. but major changes in the conception of this bond took place in the semantic field of the word when the Christian understanding of God as “author” became a factor. author of creation and ultimately author of the Bible: Dante (1265–1321) refers to him as “verace autore” in Paradiso 26. Notices et extraits. and Jan M.432  Ziolkowski . 19. 2 vols. 81 (and compare p. ca. Ziolkowski. because we hold there to be a stronger authority in Holy Scripture). and his near contemporary Gottschalk of Orbais (806/8– 866/70).55 The Gospels came close to being direct transcriptions of what the divine auctor himself willed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press.51 Medieval commentators make explicit that the two agents can overlap in their activities. 73. 500). possessor and increaser of all power. n.54 Thus Smaragdus of St. quia fortiorem in divinis Scripturis auctoritatem tenemus” (We do not follow Donatus. n. 1985). Minnis. Thurot. pp. ca. evangelium merito excellit” (Among all the authoritative statements of God. pp. to declare that they would not be constrained by the dictates of the grammarians Donatus (mid fourth century) or Priscian (ca. 33–39. 47 (Paris: J. Alan of Lille’s Grammar of Sex: The Meaning of Grammar to a Twelfth-Century Intellectual. M. the pope was preeminent.

ut sit auctorista! sicque non inglorius erit latinista” (At least let him aspire to that. A locus classicus is Hugh of Trimberg (ca. Nowhere is this new insight more beautifully evident than in the Latin rhythmic strophes known as cum auctoritate (literally. were sometimes designated as autores (spelled on purpose without the c). “with authority”). ed. The words may lend themselves to one interpretation when read for their most obvious meaning in their new contexts. Peter Godman and Oswyn Murray (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Die Universitäten des Mittelalters bis 1400.Cultures of Authority  433 weight of authority. Paul Gerhard Schmidt. p. differing from it metrically but integrated with it in rhyme. ed. and Heinrich Denifle. those who were enshrined in the canon of school authors. 1942). namely. In the twelfth century the glamor of the auctores (and the word glamor itself derives. 39–55.58 With all the study came a heightened awareness of ambiguities in the very authoritativeness of the auctores. the most reverently esteemed authors. Karl Langosch. that he may be an expert on the authors. 58. Germanische Studien. 57–64 (“auctorista”). Ebering. See Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. In effect. E. I (Berlin: Weidmann. .57 The auctorista was a specialist in grammar and the explication of the canonical authors. 235 (Berlin.56 Against the Gospels—against their Gospel truth—all other thinking. from the Latin grammatica) reached such heights of prestige that a new term was coined to characterize those who attained expertise in the literature. by way of Anglo-Norman French and Middle Scots. pp. 400. 59. 57. speaking. 1885). and thus he will be a distinguished Latinist). to another when scrutinized in the light of their original ones. 1990). of the auctores and who taught it. For further information. see Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch. in PL 40. p. the versus cum auctoritate can be a kind of monophonic Sic et non. Chapter 1. and that authority is fertile: “Fecunda est enim veritatis auctoritas” (Abundant is indeed the authority of the truth).59 The auctoritas in question is a sententious quotation from one of the auctores (or the Bible) that caps the strophe. 160–61. and writing were measured. Because of this particular connection with truth. in Das “Registrum multorum auctorum”: Untersuchungen und kommentierte Textausgabe. who (not long after qualifying himself as auctorista minimus) exhorts a student who cannot hope to become expert in all the liberal arts or even in canon law: “saltem illud appetat. Pseudo-Augustine. especially the poetry.” in Latin Poetry and the Classical Tradition: Essays in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 475. n. 1173. 1039 (a quotation from Pope Honorius III in 1220. Registrum 3 and 45. a term seen as encapsulating orthographically and etymologically the quality of authenticity. “The Quotation in Goliardic Poetry: The Feast of Fools and the Goliardic Strophe cum auctoritate. 1230–1313). pp. in which he uses auctorista to mean grammar teacher). 56. 1143. The realization of ambiguity shows in the circumstance that the quotations are often designed to cut two ways. De assumptione beatae Mariae virginis liber unus.

Quintilian. Book 5. although important from antiquity onward. Quintilian. and usage). 35–100 CE) makes evident that the normative language with which the verbal arts were preoccupied is determined partly on the grounds of authority: “Sermo constat ratione vel vetustate. was also associated with authority. Hubbell (Cambridge. antiquity.61 In formulating the passage Quintilian equates antiquity with rational principle rather than with authority. ed.1. H. consuetudine” (Language is based on reason. Press. ed. sic in exemplis antiquitas” (Antiquity does carry authority in the precedents it furnishes.63 The recognition of the role that antiquitas or vetustas played in the establishment of auctoritas acquired an added dimension in 60. 1920). and 546 (“vetustatis auctoritas”). as old age does in respect of years).62 Such terms as vetustas ‘antiquity.’ antiquus ‘old. Perhaps not coincidentally.’ and maiores ‘ancestors.169. In the words of Cicero. the whole auctoritas system was analogized to the ages of man: antiquity endows examples with their authority. Press. 1167D. Butler. I (Cambridge. Loeb Classical Library. The long twelfth century was such a context. 331 (“figurae auctoritate veterum receptae”). 479 (“vetus scriptorum vetustas”). Lausberg. pp. 480–524) devotes to a similar statement in Cicero a commentary that transmitted it to the Middle Ages. just as age bestows wisdom on human beings. pp. and trans. 467 (“verba vetusta auctoritatem antiquitatis habent”). 1939). E.60 This conception of language exercised a particularly powerful influence later. Yet age. which I have posited as a watershed between antiquity and the earlier Middle Ages on the one hand and the later Middle Ages and early modernity on the other. In the Institutio oratoria Quintilian (ca. and trans. In the remainder of the essay I shall enumerate briefly those oppositions and appositions between auctor or auctoritas and other words that point to developments especially typical of the long twelfth century. especially in the sense of antiquity. MA: Harvard Univ. M. Institutio oratoria 1. took on heightened significance when a preeminent authority was lacking or—to take a different perspective—when a multiplicity of competing authorities held sway. Handbook of Literary Rhetoric.’ which fulfill approximately the same functions as did the Greek hoi palaioi (not to be confused with hoi polloi). Orator 50. authority. My suggestion is that the word and concept of auctoritas. in PL 64. MA: Harvard Univ. “Habet autem ut in aetatibus auctoritatem senectus. 62. since Boethius (ca.434  Ziolkowski II. pp. . 446–47. Authority and Age Until this juncture my main optic has been the general etymological setting in which auctor tended to be placed. appear so often in conjunction with auctoritas in the rhetorical tradition as to make that tradition seem gerontocratic or palaeocratic. auctoritate. In topica Ciceronis commentariorum libri sex. 61. 63.6. H. 112–13.

and E. 1974).” in Lo Spazio letterario del medioevo. 200–5. 99–129. Mémoires et documents de l’Ecole des chartes. Persecution. which comes first from Christ’s teachings. and Antiqui und Moderni: Traditionsbewusstsein und Fortschrittsbewusstsein im späten Mittelalter. 1–27. Cavallo. Gössmann. Bernice M. The phrase long antedates Christian Biblical exegesis: patrum auctoritas is found. pp. 605–31. Makdisi et al. De republica 2. pp.Cultures of Authority  435 a Christian context. 59 (Paris: Ecole des chartes. 1974).” Journal of Medieval Latin. 347.. Veröffentlichungen des Grabmann-Instituts zur Erforschung der Mittelalterlichen Theologie und Philosophie. Peters. then from the Old Testament. required oppositions in many fields of learning between past and present practi 64. Stephan Kuttner. for instance. Kaczinski. pp. . See Alessandro Ghisalberti. Michel Zimmermann. 1000–1500. A. Press. I “La Produzione del testo” (Rome: Salerno. “Auctoritates et auctores dans les collections canoniques (1050–1140). 69 and 74–75.’ the most revered of early exegetes who were regarded as the inheritors of the apostles—and among whom was numbered Augustine himself. “The Authority of the Fathers: Patristic Texts in Early Medieval Libraries and Scriptoria. Menestò. Vuillemin-Diem. pp. 65. 1992). On Augustine’s outlook on the authority of antiquity. “The Studia humanitatis and the Studia divina: The Role of Ethics and the Authority of Antiquity. ed. writers of Latin took pains to differentiate between ancients and a new category that they made their own. In the centuries that succeeded Augustine. Groningen Studies in Cultural Change. 66. Diehl (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. p. as they sought in the mid twelfth century and later to bring into being a new jurisprudence to replace the old canon law. Schöningh. Claudio Leonardi. ed.67 Especially from the twelfth century onward. see Zweder von Martels. “I moderni.” in Christendom and Its Discontents: Exclusion. 1996). Less closely concerned with the specific term auctoritas than with the concepts of author and authorities as they come into play in canon law is Gérard Giordanengo. ed.68 The famous metaphor of “We are dwarves standing on the shoulder of giants. “On ‘Auctoritas’ in the Writing of Medieval Canonists: the Vocabulary of Gratian. Zweder von Martels and Victor M. ed. at the outset particularly in Biblical exegesis. 2001). faith takes precedence over reasoning in the acquisition of belief in Christ. Edward M.F. Il Medioevo latino. According to Augustine.” in Auctor et auctoritas: Invention et conformisme dans l’écriture médiévale: Actes du colloque tenu à l’Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. ed. 1. vol.66 Later it became a central concern among canonists.30. 4 (Leuven: Peeters.65 The auctoritas patrum constituted a tool for the control of innovation. the supreme authority came to reside in the patres ‘fathers. Antiqui und Moderni im Mittelalter: Eine geschichtliche Standortbestimmung. and so on in a hierarchy of sacred texts that was subsequently expanded to include secular texts as well. “Transgressing the Limits Set by the Fathers: Authority and Impious Exegesis in Medieval Thought. and Rebellion. moderns. 68. 9 (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.64 Faith may develop as a consequence of authority. ed.” with its mixture of pride and abjection. n. Schmidt. such as Gratian. 23 (Munich: F. Scott L. in Cicero.” inAntiquity Renewed: Late-Classical and Early-Modern Themes. 16 (2006). Münchener Universitätsschriften: Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät. 2003). 67.” in La notion d’autorité au Moyen Age. G. E. Zimmermann and G. Waugh and Peter D. Miscellanea mediaevalia. 14–16 juin 1999.

pp. 115–41. and Dissemination of Medieval Texts (London: Hambledon Press. 36–37. Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch.436  Ziolkowski tioners and products. 1991). repr. For a treatment more exactly focused on the twelfth century. Essays Presented to R. Erwin Rauner. Developments also took place in the composition of texts. Press. see Rosamond McKitterick.’” Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch. changes occurred in punctuation. no Bill Gates and no Microsoft. pp. in Malcolm B. . especially poetry. “Notker des Stammlers ‘Notatio de illustribus viris. J.71 These alterations in manuscript production. 21 (1986). Scribes. were as momentous in their way as the advent of the internet has been in our times.69 Thus auctor was sometimes applied to fathers of the church in pointed contrast to “nostri temporis theologi” (theologians of our time). pp. In the first half of the eleventh century and earlier the canon had still rested almost exclusively upon texts of antiquity and late antiquity. had incorporated authors from close to their time of composition. ed. G. they had done so in Biblical exegesis rather than belles lettres. The sources of auctoritates quoted in commentaries had been identified in manuscripts from the ninth century. Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication. Hunt. 70. W. an even more radical change occurred. many of them designed to facilitate more efficient navigation from one part of a text to another and also from gloss and commentary to the text. On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript (New York: Free Press. Gibson (Oxford: Clarendon Press.4. 1976).” Vivarium. The twelfth century saw rapid evolutions in the handling of those texts. Then. but the system was now made more precise though red underlining of lemmata and identification of auctores in marginal rubrics. 5 (1967). that is. see Édouard Jeauneau. Metalogicon 3. Parkes. 1168. 1965). 79–99. In the actual physical writing. The history of the image has been described engagingly in Robert K. The only big difference was that in the twelfth century there were no Guillelmus Portae and no Minimum Molle. 31–34. 221–23. Malcolm B. the club of auctores was enlarged beyond the patres who interpreted the Bible as the canon broadened to embrace the classics of secular literature. Merton. as the canon opened to admit alongside texts 69.70 The reading of authoritative texts constituted the epicenter of medieval intellectual life. 2004). in the long twelfth century. “‘Nani gigantum humeris insidentes’: Essai d’interprétation de Bernard de Chartres. History and Memory in the Carolingian World (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. J. 71. Presentation. though they occurred less rapidly. such as the Notatio de viris illustribus by Notker Balbulus of St.72 At an indefinable point afterward.” in Medieval Learning and Literature. Alexander and Margaret T. and other aspects of manuscript production. Gall (ca. 34–69. with the further addition of dots or lines and dots that functioned similarly to footnote or endnote numbers in modern scholarship. 72. On this text by Notker. page layout. The image is ascribed to Bernard of Chartres by John of Salisbury. “The Influence of the Concepts of Ordinatio and Compilatio on the Development of the Book. 840–912). Parkes. When programs of study from the earlier Middle Ages.

”74 In De nugis curialium Walter Map (ca. MS 15015. pp. see Günter Glauche. 75. since he was still alive. chapt. rich information on the reception of the Anticlaudianus can be had in Christel Meier. On the canon. Mynors (Oxford: Oxford Univ. 12. texts such as the Alexandreis (after 1171–by about 1181) by Walter of Châtillon (ca. 5 (Munich: Arbeo-Gesellschaft. M. 408–548. 1135–ca. 1125/1130–1203). and De bello Troiano (early 1180s) by Joseph of Exeter became entrenched in the schools and prompted the creation of illustrations. I Classici nel canone scolastico altomedievale. B. poets who wished to write a bestseller had a chance to fight for a niche in the syllabus. 17 (Padua: In aedibus Antenoreis. Dist. Glosses on the Alexandreis have been printed in Walter of Châtillon. since in earlier times it would have been inconceivable even to rue the tyranny of past authors. Thesaurus Mundi.Cultures of Authority  437 from many centuries earlier to accommodate those from even the most recent times. 1984). p. Courtiers’ Trifles. 76. Walter Map. 1991). 312–13. new aspirants to the status of being modern classics engaged in an acute rivalry with ancient authors. De nugis curialium. In the apt phrasing of Alastair J. 1978). Finally. diss. L. He comments acerbically upon the popularity the Dissuasio enjoyed owing to its pseudo-antiquity. Alexandreis. Ph. For example. “The Text of Joseph of Exeter’s Bellum Troianum” (Cambridge. Marvin L. Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attutudes in the Later Middle Ages (London: Scolar Press. Minnis. 1190). . If we can say today “They are the leading authorities” in a given subject without hesitating to put the verb in the present tense.” in Text und Bild: Aspekte des Zusammenwirkens zweier Künste in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit. MA: Harvard University. 74. Especially in the second half of the twelfth century. and Birger Munk Olsen. A commentary on the De bello Troiano (Paris. 4. Brooke and R. we are indebted to the long twelfth century in particular. “Die Rezeption des Anticlaudianus Alans von Lille in Textkommentierung und Illustration. 1970). N. rev. ed. Schullektüre im Mittelalter. 1951). 1980). and glosses. which had earlier circulated pseudonymously. “it would seem that the only good auctor was a dead one. 1 (Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull’alto Medioevo. pp. R. Reichert. 5. pp. James. commentaries. Münchener Beiträge zur Mediävistik und Renaissance Forschung. since in his opinion it would never have won renown had it been published under his own name. Bibliothèque Nationale. Even as Walter made his observation. C. Christel Meier and Uwe Ruberg (Wiesbaden: L. ed. A. 1983).73 The roll call of auctores who were guarantors of auctoritas lengthened to encompass contemporary Latin poets. Quaderni di cultura mediolatina. 1140–1209) includes the famously misogamous Dissuasio Valerii ad Ruffinum philosophum ne uxorem ducat. 275–514. Colker. and trans. Press.. fols. Anticlaudianus (probably after 1181) by Alan of Lille (ca. ed.76 The new authors manifested a keen awareness that the strongest assurance of success lay precisely in making their works suited for systematic 73.D. 1r11v) was edited by Geoffrey Blundell Riddehough.75 Yet Walter Map’s ostensible despair should not blind us to the new realities that underpin his complaint.

Brooke. (New York: Fordham Univ. glossematic. Inventiones: Fiction and Referentiality in Twelfth-Century English Historical Writing (Chapel Hill: Univ. he could conjure up one so as to dispel suspicion. 1155) mentions “The Molmutine laws that the historian Gildas translated from British into Latin and King Alfred from Latin into English. 128–44. 101–70. 1982). In the process texts seem to have undergone a shift. 12 (1943).”83 Nor were the sources invoked always fabricated.78 Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. Press of Southern Denmark. rex vero Aluredus de Latino in Anglicum sermonem transtulit. and so their poems are readily “commentatable. See Walter Haug. pp. 5. trans. See Jan M. 1140–1210) names a certain “Hannibal or Menestrates. 24 and 26–27: “legat Molmutinas leges quas Gildas historicus de Britannico in Latinum. in which writing was studded with rare and obscure words. .81 Even when an author had no authority.438  Ziolkowski exposition in the schools of their days. Indeed. 3d ed.’” in Text and Voice: The Rhetoric of Authority in the Middle Ages. 5 vols. S. 121–37. and in the long twelfth century what authors and readers regarded as persuasive appears to have changed. Brewer. 19 (1996 for 1993). 1. ed. 1985–1991).79 To authorize new texts. Thus Walter Map (ca. hermeneutic.”82 Likewise. In style the authors of secular Latin texts that earned niches in the curricula of the twelfth century strove sometimes for textual authority by classicizing. 83. See H. ed. Walter Haug (Tübingen: Niemeyer. the nature as well as the aim of persuasion changed.80 This alacrity reflects the self-consciousness about fictionality that intensified during the same period. 2003). pp. Karsten Friis-Jensen. Ziolkowski. L. . as the desired effect of a composition came to be not rumination over lexical difficulties but rather interpretation of contents that required explication. 79. Dist.” In the earlier Middle Ages texts seem often to have been composed so as to necessitate meditative or ruminative reading. “Theories of Obscurity in the Latin Tradition. p. Auctoritas was needed not only for theological opinions but also for stories and components of stories.” . 81. Catharine Misrahi. 77. 78. Levy. and personages. “‘Adhering to the Footprints of These Men as if to Books from Antiquity . Historia regum Britannie 34 and 39.” Mediaevalia. “Die Entdeckung der Fiktionalität. texts. (Cambridge: D. twelfth-century authors advance truth claims that ever more often rest on invocations of earlier authors whose names can authenticate their fictions.. 80. The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. 73. pp. I. 26–27.77 Such an emphasis enhanced the recurrent favor of difficult styles (called obscure. and Mynors. but by doing so without acknowledging overt debts to particular classical models. ed. Ruminative reading is discussed beautifully in Jean Leclercq. De nugis curialium. in the Historia regum Britannie Geoffrey of Monmouth (ca. of North Carolina Press.” in Die Wahrheit der Fiktion: Studien zur weltlichen und geistlichen Literatur des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit. cap. 82. 2004). 406–7. Marianne Børch (Odense: Univ. These twelfth-century authors betray a greater willingness than their predecessors to engage in deliberate mystification by calling upon fictitious authors. “As myn auctour seyth. Neil Wright. ed. James. and so forth). and Monika Otter. 1996). 1100–ca. Press.” Medium Ævum.

without identifying the specific texts within them.85 Texts and the manuscripts housing them do not merely contain authorities but are authorities. Pseudo-antike Literatur des Mittelalters.Cultures of Authority  439 Sometimes real authors and texts were cited. the poet of the Old French Roman de Thèbes (ca. it may be seen that through a new metonymy. The text itself which was called to witness was an authority.. even though they were not the wellspring for whatever was being claimed. Toward Understanding. Chenu. 46–72. 1992). Lines 7823–7824: see Le Roman de Thèbes = The Story of Thebes. Schriften der Monumenta Germaniae Historica. .” 87. For instance. 1. Whereas in Medieval Latin literature the tenth century could be dubbed the age of anonymity. 1927). Paul Zumthor. “Fictio auctoris: Eine theoriegeschichtliche Miniatur am Rande der Institutio Traiani. The situation in vernacular literatures differs. 86. the text itself was directly called an auctoritas. however.-19. An old standard. For a much more comprehensive and analytic. upon which they claim to rely for authority. 1998).87 The long twelfth century is also a phase of extensive forgery and misattribution. is Paul Lehmann. p. 16. a kind of undeclared metonymy. I. ed.” in Fälschungen im Mittelalter: Internationaler Kongress der Monumenta Germaniae Historica. see Peter von Moos. Elizabeth Andersen et al. Studien der Bibliothek Warburg. “Anomymität [sic] und Autornamen zwischen Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit in der deutschen Literatur des elften und zwölften Jahrhunderts. München. substantially more recent study. Geoffrey. 13 (Leipzig: B.” even though such a description appears nowhere in the Thebaid. 1988–1990). the long twelfth century teems with pseudonymous texts and pseudosources. Such pseudonymity and forgery brought to a climax centuries of confusion between the notions of auctoritas and 84. (Tübingen: M. ed.84 Such references indicate an ostensible incongruity in the simultaneity of both a deep faith in auctores and a willingness to tamper with the authenticity of those auctores. pp. Historia regum 1.88 The latter encompass at least two types of red herring. no longer was it just qualified as having authority. 739–80. 85. The other is allegedly real authors who are fabricated. 1986). Wright. Toward a Medieval Poetics. G. Teubner.” in Autor und Autorschaft im Mittelalter: Kolloquium Meissen 1995. p. 33 (Hanover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. translated by John Smartt Coley. Mit Vorbemerkungen zu einigen Autornamen der altenglischen Dichtung. 131: “Already. xxx. Philip Bennett (Minneapolis: Univ. but perhaps owing to differences between Latin and vernacular in regard to the complex of considerations that is often reduced to the phrase “orality and literacy”: see Ernst Hellgardt. when twelfth-century authors refer simply to manuscripts. September 1986. 16. I. In the twelfth century we also notice a surge in a related phenomenon. One is real authors or texts cited in support of words or assertions they do not in fact contain. 1150) concludes a description of a cup by matter-of-factly citing his source “Just as the book by Statius says. Niemeyer. but not geared specifically to the twelfth century. 6 vols. 88. trans. Garland Library of Medieval Literature Series B: 44 (New York: Garland. p. of Minnesota Press.86 A striking reference of this type is Geoffrey of Monmouth’s invocation of “quendam Britannici sermonis librum uetustissimum” (a certain most ancient book in the British language).

trans. the writings of the church fathers. see Häring. Press 1970). 90. Singleton.” cited and translated by Charles S. 93–118. Yannick Maes. 94. 519 and 531. “‘Authentique et approuvé. .440  Ziolkowski antiquitas. “an auctor is one whose formative influence on others has been so great and so widespread that he has acquired authority in the strongest possible (positive) sense. 336–37. I. in Dante Alighieri. Press. I “The Continuity of Latin Literature. In theological writings of the greater twelfth century auctoritas was elevated to the status of a “mode word. 38. Already in Cicero we find juxtaposed auctor and magister: “Ego vero primum habeo auctores ac magistros religionum colendarum maiores nostros” (In the first place. 18.’” p. 3 vols.”94 Auctoritas encompassed not only Scripture. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. MA: Harvard Univ. Inferno. “Mastering the Authors in the Long Twelfth Century. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History. On God’s divine authority.” Although the Italian noun autore here can be seen against the backdrop of God’s divine authority. Cicero IX (Cambridge. pp.89 In the ecclesiastic realm a decretal of Pope Alexander III (1159–1181) stipulated that the weight of authority should lie not with older but rather with more recent pontifical documents. 93.91 In the Middle Ages the most famous pairing of the two designations would be from long after the twelfth century.18. Durling. Wim Verbaal.”92 In other words.”90 To be authoritative and to be masterly were closely related. 1996–2003). Martinez and Robert M. 2007). Press. H. Durling.” II.5 Dante states that the term “is understood of every person worthy of being believed and obeyed. Furthermore. “Auctoritas in der sozialen und intellektuellen Struktur. and Jan Papy. ed. ed. see Jan M. Robert M. Ziolkowski. 144 (Leiden: Brill. but in the creative realm it took much longer to reverse more than a millennium of ancestor-worship. For a separate study of the relationship between masters and authors in the twelfth century. Dante Alighieri. Watts. 92. and secular texts of classical 89. in Convivio 4. Guenée. “Inferno.85.” in Latinitas Perennis. p. (Princeton.6. On auctoritas as a mode word. I look for authority and guidance in religious observance to our ancestors). N. in Inferno 1. and trans. introduction and notes by Ronald L. 16. ed. 1923). 91. The concepts of author and authority crossed paths repeatedly with those of “master” and “masterly. see Robert Hollander. 229. The Divine Comedy.” pp. pp.” ed.. Robert and Jean Hollander (New York: Doubleday. Loeb Classical Library. 6 vols. the decisive turning point in the determination of their relationship was not in Dante’s day but instead in the late twelfth century. “si prende per ogni persona degna d’essere creduta e obedita. 2000). (New York: Oxford Univ. where Dante addresses Virgil as “lo mio maestro e ’l mio autore. but far from synonymous. Yet it is a mistake to leave any impression that the two terms are indistinct. speaking for myself. NJ: Princeton Univ.”93 Commentators on Dante have tended to dwell upon the word autore without saying much about maestro. and trans. since masterliness and authoritativeness were similar but not identical traits. De haruspicum responsis 9.

Sententie. nec auctoritati aequipollens. La théologie au douzième siècle. 357. and Chenu. 1947). as it had done in the hierarchy of preceding centuries. Doctrines du langage (Paris: Vrin-Reprise. Confusion developed over which should be accorded greater auctoritas. M. Their ascendancy owed partly to the expanding quantity and quality in the number and importance of schools. “Les auctoritates et les procédés de citation dans la prédication médiévale. Sacred Scripture or the magistri. 79–92 [original pagination. p.” Revue d’histoire franciscaine. even though it may seem to have been drawn from an authoritative statement). but also contemporary and near-contemporary texts of many stripes. pp. (Certainly the authority of those glosses is to be rated as null. Two statements drawn from the preface to the Sententie of Robert of Melun (ca. 267–80]. which in wording diverge from the authorities themselves. nor does it carry the same weight as an authority. . que in verbis distant ab ipsis auctoritatibus. 25. partly to Peter Abelard and the methods of analysis he popularized. Martin. in Œuvres de Robert de Melun. III. 346. sed verba in eodem accepta sensu quo ab auctore sunt prolata. one of which was figuring out who would have the ability and right to determine which of the differing views would acquire ascendancy. ed. Martin. Prefatio de diversa consuetudine legendi sacram scripturam. “Le traitement des autorités contraires selon le Sic et Non d’Abélard. 3 vols.Cultures of Authority  441 authors. On these methods. for the reason that not only the meaning is called an authority but also the words received with the same meaning with which they have been brought forth by the author. ed. Aspects de la pensée médiévale: Abélard. lines 4–8. The moderni too had standing sometimes as authorities. in 4 parts (Louvain: Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense. In the first Robert states briefly that: “Non est glossa auctoritas. 1100–1167). 8 (1931). cited by Chenu. see Jean Jolivet.” in Jean Jolivet. 1987). cited by Chenu. The opinions of the masters acquired an unprecedented sway. 1932–1952). pp. licet etiam auctoritatis sententiam contineant. 19. p. Raymond M. Robert of Melun.97 In the second he expatiates: Nulla namque earum glossarum auctoritas esse judicanda est. eo quod non solum sensus auctoritas appellatur. a master active in both England and France.95 The commentaries on older authors that the modern-day masters assembled could not aspire to exactly the same authoritativeness as the authors themselves. Prefatio. constitute ideal auctoritates for the conservative side in this dispute. part 1 (=Spicilegium 21. licet ex auctoritate assumpta videatur” (A gloss is not an authority. La théologie au douzième siècle. 24.)98 95. 21. 96.96 The expansion of influence posed problems. Sententie. III (1947–1952). 98. according to which glosses on the Bible were not fit to be cited as authorities on a par with the traditional authorities. part 1. Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense: Etudes et documents. 18. La théologie au douzième siècle. 357. 351–65. lines 7–8. even though they may contain an opinion of an authority. 97. Davy. M. 13.

With his left hand the bishop of Hippo holds a spear that points to the text. MA: Harvard Univ. “Auctoritas in der sozialen und intellektuellen Struktur. Their refractoriness was not mere willfulness but rather reflected a real crisis in the auctoritas system: what to do when authorities conflicted with one another. G. another distinctive trait of the twelfth century was a confidence. ed. presenting an interlocutor who allegedly rejected authority and preferred reason as a means of argument: “Sed tu auctoritates contemnis. Cicero set the pair in opposition. in which both auctoritas and ratio acquired new charges. authority 99. in some quarters. 1992). and fight your battles with reason). in which Augustine is represented adjacent to a text in Peter Lombard’s gloss on the Psalms with which his own writings clashed. Augustine sought both early and late in his writings to elucidate the relationship between philosophical speculation and Christian authority. Notre Dame Conferences in Medieval Studies. 33v. V. of Notre Dame Press. illustration 5. Robert’s introduction to his book of Sententie (ca.4. for obeying. MS B. 102. p. Jr. ed. which in a Medieval Latin context were rationes. R. and presented authority as a means that helps lead to faith and reason alike. XIX (Cambridge. “Exegesis and Authority in the Thirteenth Century.101 Since ratio and auctoritas first came into use. Cicero. 97). 1962). 5.442  Ziolkowski Ironically. Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art (Cambridge. pp.103 Whereas reason is the prerequisite for understanding. 100. MA: Harvard Univ.100 Bound up with the masterliness of authority. Ragnar Holte. 268. ratione pugnas” (But you despise authority.9. Jordan and Kent Emery. 8 (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes. Rackham.99 Eventually Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) asserted that the church had the deciding voice: that it held ultimate authority and mastery.” in Ad litteram: Authoritative Texts and Their Medieval Readers. “Not me”—not in my opinion): reproduced in Michael Camille. p. 1152–1160). namely. with his right a banderole that proclaims “Non ego” (colloquially. Mark D. 523. Press. 21.102 But the relationship between the two categories grew decidedly more embroiled after the advent of Christianity. and trans. 101. Béatitude et sagesse: Saint Augustin et le problème de la fin de l’homme dans la philosophie ancienne. Loeb Classical Library. 103. Häring. 3 (Notre Dame: Univ. H. Etudes augustiniennes. these pronouncements against the authoritativeness of glosses appear in a text that is itself at best secondary and could be considered tertiary. Trinity College. Press. 294–94 (translation modified). 1933). Those who resisted the paternal injunctions of the authorities (and the church fathers are not so called entirely by accident) needed to be told the reasons. p. 1992).” p. A visual representation of the dilemma and one response can be seen in a piece of marginalia in Cambridge. fol. . that application of rational principles could enable prioritizing among authorities which occasionally seemed to contradict one another—and sometimes indeed did clash.. pp. 93 (cf. the relationship of the two concepts had been ambivalent. Evans. De natura deorum 3.

106 For example. 1933). K. pp. 115. authority is paramount. De utilitate credendi 11. 1962). 509A.-D. in PL 172.69. 108. 1891). quam per rationem probata veritas” (Authority is nothing other than the truth when it has been validated by reason).20. 187–260. Zycha. that of authority and that of reason). Contra academicos 3. Authority and Reason in the Early Middle Ages (London: Humphrey Milford for the Oxford Univ. and James J.25. Anselm of 104 303–27.” 105. p. 1185B. and Augustine. 104. Eriugena turns the tables later by arguing that authority takes precedence by virtue of time (by which he means the passage of time—by oldness or age).108 But the most independent-minded philosophers also refused to abide consistently by the Augustinian principle. Florus of Lyon (d. CCSL 29 (Turnhout: Brepols. debemus rationi. De divisione naturae.110 Before Honorius. ratio and auctoritas operated in tandem to motivate those in quest of wisdom: “nulli autem dubium est gemino pondere nos impelli ad discendum auctoritatis atque rationis” (To no one is it a matter of doubt that we are driven to learning by a double consideration. 513C. in PL 122. quod opinamur.” Augustinian Studies. line 22: “quod intellegimus igitur. in omnibus sequenda est auctoritas” (The authority of Holy Scripture is to be followed in all matters). Eriugena’s definition of authority was appropriated in the twelfth century by Honorius Augustodunensis (ca. J. or Periphyseon.45. 106. “The Authority of Augustine. Press. 9–10. CSEL 25/1 (Vienna: Tempsky. auctoritati. M. see Pierre Riché. W. Augustine. 110. or Periphyseon.105 Adapting these categories from Augustine. O’Donnell. ed.Cultures of Authority  443 is a necessity for belief. De divisione naturae. MacDonald.109 In this way of thinking.” p. “auctoritas fidem flagitat et rationi praeparat hominem”. Thus John Scot Eriugena (about 810–877) declared in the De divisione naturae or Periphyseon that: “Sacrae Scripturae . 1080–ca. See Varenne. in De beata vita. quod credimus. ratio. Augustine. ed. . ed. De ordine. 860) entitles one of his treatises De tenenda immobiliter scripturae veritate et sanctorum orthodoxorum patrum auctoritate (On Retaining Inalterably the Truth of Holy Scripture and the Authority of the Orthodox Fathers). Green. . as given in PL 121. A. Compare Albert . 32. Libellus octo quaestionum de angelis et homine 1. errori. and that in philosophical examinations reason must be applied first and authority only later. some thinkers of the Carolingian period set authority over reason. “Convenationes. Daur. et auctoritas dans la théologie carolingienne. but its stature must be undergirded by a truth that can be reasoned.43. reason by nature. De vera religione 24. J. 1083–1134. 1.” Dated but still extremely useful is a broader study. 1970). ca. CCSL 32 (Turnhout: Brepols. in PL 122. “Divina Pagina. The full title. On the relationship between authority and reason in the Carolingian period. 107. 1137): “Nihil est aliud auctoritas. 22 (1991). 109.107 Even those who struck out in their own direction by elevating reason paid at least lip service to the supremacy of authority. 1.64. According to Augustine.

Edward Grant. 4 and prologue. Peter Ganz. 1000–1088) is a case in point. and Friedrich Niewöhner. Those thinkers who proceeded to the purely philosophical discourse and who privileged reason without paying the lip service due to authority put themselves on the fast track toward condemnation as heretics: Berengar of Tours (ca. 400 B. Questions on Natural Science. “Quid enim aliud auctoritas dicenda quam capistrum?” (For what is authority to be called other than a muzzle?). 23. ed.” in The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West: From the Carolingians to the Maurists.” 113. 111.” Revue des Etudes Augustiniennes. Brill. ed. 1990). in Conversations with his Nephew: On the Same and the Different. Giles E. The interrelationship among the three passages was drawn by Chenu. obj. ed. see Burcht Pranger. J. Anselm of Canterbury and his Theological Inheritance (Aldershot: Ashgate. 112. pp. 2001). and . I.C. 19. 38 vols. See André Cantin. no. 1996). J. Abelard. Abelard. 6. ed. “Ratio et auctoritas dans la première phase de la controverse eucharistique entre Bérenger et Lanfranc. 36–42. and trans. n. 165–93. Holopainen. 115. Commentarii in III Sententiarum. quanto amplius ratione inniteris et scripture sacre auctoritatem minus agnoscis” (There is all the less cause to use authority with you. d. in the Collationes (Dialogues between a Philosopher. pp. Peter Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux.112 This inference concedes that under normal circumstances the use of auctoritates was a regular clause in the Christian social contract. ed. “Sic et non: Patristic Authority between Refusal and Acceptance: Anselm of Canterbury. 440: “Nihil aliud est auctoritas nisi rationis reperta veritas. For a study devoted to Anselm.D. 155–86. C. lib. to A. in Opera omnia. and On Birds. 2 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.. Augustus Borgnet. 2 vols. pp. Science and Religion. 2004). et ad posteritatis utilitatem scripto commendata” (Authority is nothing other than the truth of reasoning when found. Collationes 78. B.113 Would it be exaggeration to hold that the groundwork for scholasticism was laid in the twelfth century through a struggle for dominion between authority and reason?114 Adelard of Bath (1075–1160) posed to his nephew the rhetorical question. R. 1890–1895). and Toivo J. 114. but it also imagines a philosophical discourse in which reason takes precedence over authority. M. p. and a Christian) Peter Abelard has the Christian interlocutor allege of the philosopher: “Tecum uero tanto minus ex auctoritate agendum est. Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien. I have modified their “all the less reason” to “all the less cause.111 Taking Anselm considerably further. and Bernard of Clairvaux that touches upon some of the same issues. Irena Backus (Leiden: E. Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters. 54 (Leiden: E. passed down in writing for the benefit of posterity). John Marenbon and Giovanni Orlandi. Brill. 152–60. De quibusdam naturalibus quaestionibus. Auctoritas und Ratio: Studien zu Berengar von Tours. 98–99.115 In the Great. a Jew. Gasper. XXVIII (1894). 3. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus (Westport. pp. Conn. 4. 1997). 355. the more you rely on reason and the less you recognize the authority of Holy Scripture). (Paris: apud Ludovicum Vivès. 2004). Adelard of Bath. 108–18. 20 (1974).444  Ziolkowski Canterbury (1033–1109) had questioned theological authority in relation to reason. a. Oxford Medieval Texts (Oxford: Clarendon Press.: Greenwood Press. Dialectic and Theology in the Eleventh Century. Huygens. La théologie au douzième siècle.

Lourdaux and D. When his followers standing by heard this they blushed in embarrassment. Abelard reports that one day Alberic came spoiling for a fight over a specific theological point supposedly found in a treatise by Abelard. . which he had brought with him. Verhelst. Quod cum discipuli eius qui aderant audissent.” I said. non sensum. est intelligendum. A related passage in Adelard is discussed in Maria Lodovica Arduini. W. obstupefacti erubescebant.” “Turn the page.” There was a copy of the book at hand. et voluntas Dei fuit. . rationem humanam aut sensum vestrum in talibus. for which no auctoritas appeared to be provided: Cui statim respondi: “Super hoc. ut cito occurreret mihi quod volebam. et invenietis auctoritatem”. On hearing this he lost his temper and trans. “nor of your interpretation in such matters. p. “‘Magistra Ratione’: ‘Auctoritas. To that I replied that it was nothing new. Series 1: Studia 11 (Leuven: Leuven Univ.’ ‘Ratio’ von Anselm bis Adelard von Bath.” . By God’s will I found what I wanted at once: a sentence headed “Augustine. paratum me dixi ei ostendere secundum eius sententiam quod in eam lapsus esset heresim secundum quam is qui pater est sui ipsius filius sit. but was irrelevant at the moment as he was looking only for words. inquit ille. Ipse autem. On the Trinity. et erat presto liber quem secum ipse detulerat. ut se quoquomodo protegeret: “Bene. Charles Burnett (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. asserens nec rationes meas nec auctoritates mihi in hac causa suffragaturas esse. inquit. we recognize only the words of authority. 1998).” Ego autem subieci hoc non esse novellam sed ad presens nichil attinere. so I looked up the passage which I knew but which he had failed to see—or else he looked only for what would damage me.Cultures of Authority  445 the twelfth century Peter Abelard is associated famously with the effort to winnow discordant authorities through rational analysis. cum ipse verba tantum. Quo ille audito. Press. Mediaevalia Lovaniensia. 1983). rationem proferam. sed auctoritatis verba solummodo. Revolvi ad locum quem noveram. but he tried to cover up his mistake as best he could by saying that this should be understood in the right way. 215. pp. si vultis. quem ipse minime compererat aut qui non nisi nocitura mihi querebat. Erat autem sentencia intitulata Augustinus De Trinitate libro I . But if he was willing to hear an interpretation and a reasoned argument I was ready to prove to him that by his own words he had fallen into the heresy of supposing the Father to be His own Son. Press. The skirmishes between Abelard and those antagonistic to his sort of analysis come to the fore repeatedly in his Historia calamitatum.’ ‘Traditio. requisisset. but perhaps most pyrotechnically in the confrontation at the Council of Soissons in 1121 between Abelard and his long-time rival Alberic of Rheims (died 1141). inquam. 102–3 (translating capistrum as “halter”).” he answered. . “We take no account of rational explanation. statim quasi furibundus effectus ad minas conversus est. . Atque ita recessit. not interpretation. .” in Benedictione Culture 750–1050. Book One. (I said at once that if they wished I would offer an explanation on this point. ed. folium libri.” Cui ego: “Vertite. si autem sensum et rationem attendere vellet. “and you will find the authority.”—“Non curamus.

the clash with Alberic speaks volumes about the changing place of auctoritas in the twelfth century. Historia calamitatum. id est in diuersum potest flecti sensum. 21–22. Mass. read to the end of a line. in The Riverside Chaucer. English in The Letters of Abelard and Heloise. Fleming.446  Ziolkowski turned to threats. crying that neither my explanations nor my authorities would help me in this case. 333A. Historia calamitatum. Radice. lines 751–81. Press. since. or rather his ratiocination. (Boston. 1130–1203): “Sed quia auctoritas cereum habet nasum. Benson. pp. regards authorities as meaningful only when they are confirmed through reasoning. that Alberic refuses to hear. or the like. but even so there can be no question that he is simply espousing a convention. The most colorful and oft-cited statement about the indeterminacy of authorities and the necessity of rational principles emerges later in the century. 1987). (Paris: Vrin.119 The nature of twelfth-century literature was affected fundamentally by 116. 1984). pp. He then went off. apparently unlike Alberic. 3d ed. in PL 210. It is Abelard’s rationale. De fide catholica contra haereticos libri IV 1. Larry D. mirroring the operation of auctoritas itself. Clanchy.30. rationibus roborandum est” (Because auctoritas has a wax nose. it singles out and separates only part of the whole. III. 84–85. At first its main thrust appears to be to demonstrate Abelard’s superiority to Alberic in knowledge of doctrine that can be upheld by quotation of authorities. John V.)116 The interaction could be construed as a real-life occurrence of a “truncated quotation” topos. NJ: Princeton Univ. ed. Rather.118 The image of the wax nose seizes the imagination.: Houghton Mifflin Co. p. with the celebrated observation of Alan of Lille (ca. 3d ed. 117. 3–63. it must be fortified with rationes). 107.. ed. Reason and the Lover (Princeton. Lady Reason appears at the end of a famous twelfth-century Latin debate poem about Ganymede and Helen and is a central player in the Roman de la Rose. 118. in part for being the sole instance in the twelfth century in which Auctoritas is hypostatized. and the foremost example in medieval English literature would be the Wife of Bath’s truncated quotation from Paul in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. 119. The metaphor is brilliant. trans. But by the end the anecdote reveals that Abelard. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue. pp. Jacques Monfrin. but no comparable character exists who could be called Dame Authority. The literary commonplace features a characer who distorts a text by failing to turn the page. 1967). 154–60. Abelard. . which means that it can be bent in any direction.117 Abelard’s way of recounting the episode may signal that he has encountered the topos in other texts. in Abélard. choosing instead to reject his opponent’s authorities (and his authority) and to leave. rev.

ed. 129–62. reprinted in Peter von Moos. to those of us who are concerned with literature today.Cultures of Authority  447 the debate over authority and reason. a person intensely affected by Abelard’s ways of thinking and also a pronounced influence upon them. 14 (Münster: Lit Verlag. as she was on the verge of pledging herself as a nun. 121. “Cornelia und Heloise. not just in terms of the media through which they will be transmitted and received. Authors sought to support their texts beyond the allusive. Abaelard und Heloise: Gesammelte Studien zum Mittelalter 1. This is not to say that people did not continue to cite and even live through the auctores. Heßler. 2005). 260.121 In closing it is worth at least raising the issue of the distinction between what could be called auctoritas and autorité—between a principle of Latin culture that rested upon auctores of canonical school texts and its adaptations to the growing vernacular cultures. Geschichte: Forschung und Wissenschaft. The authority system.120 Here I have differentiated between auctoritas and other concepts as embedded in Latin terms. quotational means that attached their texts to earlier authoritative literature. On the contrary. in its intensity of engagement with an author. in vernacular literature the need to attain authority became all the more urgent. 34 (1975). Whatever happens. Even Heloise. The Middle Ages has something particular to offer. 120. pp. mastery.” p. Pairings of authority with authenticity. But in the twelfth century the concepts that happen to be preserved for us routinely in Latin writing were in everyday life often framed in vernacular languages. between the auctoritas of Latin and the authority of the vernacular. Texts face a changing present and future. 1024–59. was not cast aside as the spoken languages came to the fore. “Auctoritas im deutschen Mittellatein. and asking why such nexuses have abided and whether or not they will continue to survive. Peter von Moos. but also in the very ways in which they will be conceived and constituted. When at Argenteuil. . Heloise is said by Abelard to have quoted five lines of Lucan’s De bello civili (also known as Pharsalia).and text-based authority. Gert Melville. since at the outset the spoken languages lacked the authority that was almost intrinsic to Latin by virtue of its being learned from auctores. not only paid homage to auctores but even to a remarkable extent lived her life through them.” Latomus. and reason may not be as relevant to life today as in the twelfth century. The etymologies of words and the semantic fields of bygone eras do not necessarily predict anything about the future. with all the subtle gradations that it acquired in the long twelfth century. but it is worth exploring the notion that authority relates to texts (and not solely Scripture) and truth. but then again such dynamics may still warrant consideration.

122 while the thirteenth. repr. The Silent Masters: Latin Literature and Its Censors in the High Middle Ages (Princeton. “Qu’est-ce qu’un auteur?” Bulletin de la Société Française de Philosophie. in which auctoritas is bonded to literacy and counterbalances potestas. with its increasing censorship and its clampdown on Aristotle. 101–20. 2000). Image. Music.” in Roland Barthes. 64 (1969). NJ: Princeton Univ.” pp. “Exegesis and Authority in the Thirteenth Century. and trans. pp. The twelfth century may show us ways to interact with authors as they have survived the deaths they have allegedly undergone. Paul Rabinov (New York: Pantheon Books. 93–111. On censorship.123 122. Harari (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. . Press. pp. and trans. ed. “What is an Author?” in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism. see Evans.448  Ziolkowski a medievalizing framework. pp. 73–104. 123. and to Roland Barthes. “La mort de l’auteur. ed. 1977). see Peter Godman. Josue V. Specifically on the shift from the twelfth to the thirteenth century in terms of authority.” Manteia. may reveal possible perils in allowing an authoritarian reaction to antiauthoritarianism to go unchecked. ed. Here I allude to Michel Foucault. Text. 1984). translated as “The Death of the Author. 5 (1968). Press. could constitute a minor but nonetheless valuable counterweight to authority as it has grown to be in our postmodern world. 141–60. 1979). 12–17. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang. in The Foucault Reader. 142–48.