Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Gerwardus?

A brief word on the nature of this blog and its name. Gerwardus (814 x 860?) was Louis the Pious’ bibliothecarius palatii, and Einhard’s friend and dilectissimus frater (Ep. 52). It was Lupus who presented his dearest brother's biography of Charlemagne to Louis, prefacing it with some words of his own: ‘Know, prudent reader [Louis] magnificent Einhard wrote this gesta of great Charles’. A curator of the books of others and the presenter of others’ words, Gerwardus seems an appropriate figurehead and patron scholar for a site intended to perform the same tasks in the twenty-first century. All the posts here are to resources in the public domain, works whose owners, curators and/or authors have chosen to make open access, or copyright-expired materials of continued interest and use. In short, all are freely and legally available online.
Gerwardus himself would eventually quit the imperial court for Gannita (Ghent), perhaps around 840. There, Löwe suggested, to general scholarly agreement, he would write the earlier sections of the Xanten annals. He died in 860. Gerwardus' 27-volume library was left to the monastery of Lorsch. The titles, for those interested, can be accessed in Becker's 1885 edition. The library of Lorsch is itself in the process of being made available online. Gerwardus came from a family with ties of patronage to the monastery: he  had given land to it back in 814 when he was described as a clericus. It seems likely he had studied there before joining Louis’ court around 828, an appointment made possible, perhaps, through the offices of Lorsch’s well-connected abbot, Adalung. After death, Gerwardus would be remembered in Reichenau’s Liber confraternitatis
More on G.: P. Depreux, Prosopographie de l'entourage de Louis le Pieux (781-840) (Sigmaringen, 1997),  pp. 214-5. R. McKitterick, The Carolingians and the written word (Cambridge, 1989), pp. 187-90, 251-2; J. Crick, 'An Anglo-Saxon fragment of Justinus's Epitome’, ASE 16 (1987), pp 181-196, freely available online  via Exeter’s ‘Eric’ archive;  H. Löwe, ‘Studien zu den Annales Xantenses’, Deutsches Archiv  8 (1951), pp. 58-99. 

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