Richer of Reims

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A page from the autograph of the Chronicle of Richers of Reims. Bamberg, State Library , Hist. 5, fol. 38r

Richer von Reims (* after 940 ; † after 998 in Reims ), partly listed in sources as Richer von Saint-Rémi or Richerus Remensis , was a monk and author of a chronicle . He came from a family of the court Ludwig IV. His father Radulf was a vassal ( miles ) of the king, after his death in 954 his widow Gerberga .

Live and act

Like many aristocrats of his time, he became a monk and from 969 lived in the Abbey of Saint Rémi in Reims, where he stayed for most of his life. From 972 on he was a pupil of Gerbert von Aurillac (later Pope Silvester II , from 991 to 996 Archbishop of Reims ) at the cathedral school . It cannot be clarified whether Richer's special medical interest can be traced back to Gerbert's teaching. In 991 Richer traveled to Chartres to examine a manuscript by Hippocrates . He may have been in Chartres longer.

Between 991 and 998 he wrote a history devoted to Gerbert, which was essentially already completed in 996. Richer followed the tradition of the annals of Hinkmar von Reims , but only wrote out and expanded Flodoard von Reims in the first two books . It was not rediscovered until 1833 by Georg Heinrich Pertz in the Bamberg State Library . The title and the division into books and chapters go back to the first publisher, the title intended by Richer is unknown. The presentation shed new light on the events in connection with the overthrow of the Carolingians , the appearance of the Capetians , the invasion of the Normans from 885 to 888 and on the fight of Ludwig IV and his son Lothar against Hugo the Great .

The work, known today under the name Historiae (Histories), is primarily a history of Western Franconia from 879/888 to 995 in four books, supplemented by shorter additions. Richer has taken over many passages from Flodoard's annals in books 1 and 2, but not always correctly. So he has reinvented a lot as well as exchanged events. For the other two books, which cover the period from 966 onwards, he was a contemporary witness and used his own notes, as well as stories from his father. Supplementary annalistic additions go back to 998, the last event that Richer mentions that can be reliably dated was Gerbert's elevation to Archbishop of Ravenna in 998. Although many historians mistrusted his stories, especially in older research, Richer's "story" is the best Source on Hugo Capet's government . He stood up for a strong kingship, although he criticized both Carolingians and Hugo Capet.

The author's copy

The handwriting Msc. Hist. 5 of the Bamberg State Library is the autograph concept with numerous corrections and additions as well as later added sheets, on which he worked in several phases. It is one of the oldest surviving autographs of a literary work. The editing was not completely finished, but Richer left the manuscript to his client, who had the copy with him in Italy, as the entries of two texts relating to Pope Silvester prove. Like other manuscripts donated by Heinrich II to the Bamberg library when he was founded, the copy could belong to Otto III's library . have heard. The copy of the monastery Michelsberg , the Ekkehard of Aura and Johannes Trithemius used contained only the first two books and is now lost. No other manuscripts are known, although Hugo von Flavigny was the only historian in the West to use Richer.

Editions and translations

  • Hartmut Hoffmann (Ed.): Scriptores (in Folio) 38: Richer von Saint-Remi, Historiae. Hanover 2000 ( Monumenta Germaniae Historica , digitized version )
  • I quattro libri delle Storie (888–998) , arr . by Antonio Cacciari, (Fonti tradotte per la storia dell'alto Medioevo, vol. 2), Pisa 2008.
  • Richer of Saint-Rémi. Histories , 2 volumes, ed. by Justin Lake, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 2011 (Latin text and English translation).


  • Michel Bur: Richer of Reims . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 7, LexMA-Verlag, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7608-8907-7 , column 830 f.
  • Max Manitius : History of the Latin Literature of the Middle Ages , Volume 2, Munich 1923 (reprint 1965), pp. 214-219.
  • Loren Carey MacKinney: Tenth-Century Medicine as in the Historia of Richer of Reims , in: Bulletin of the history of medicine, Ser. 2, 55 (1934), pp. 347-375.
  • Wolfgang Giese : "Genus" and "Virtus" studies on the history of the Richer von St. Remi . Munich 1969.
  • Hans-Henning Kortüm : Richer von Saint-Remi: Studies on a historian of the 10th century . Stuttgart 1985.
  • Jacques Clémens: L'image politique du Périgord vers l'an mille d'après Richer de Reims , in: Bulletin de la Société Historique et Archéologique du Périgord 121 (1994), pp. 315-328.
  • Pierre Riché: Expression du sentiment national dans la correspondance de Gerbert d'Aurillac et dans l'Histoire de Richer de Reims , in: Claude Carozzi / Huguette Taviani-Carozzi (eds.): Peuples du Moyen Âge. Problèmes d'identification, Aix-en-Provence 1996, pp. 131-143.
  • Bernd Schneidmüller: Widukind von Corvey, Richer von Reims and the change in political consciousness in the 10th century , in: Carlrichard Brühl / Bernd Schneidmüller (ed.): Contributions to the medieval formation of empires and nations in Germany and France, (historical magazine, supplement NF 24), Munich 1997, pp. 83-102.
  • Jason Kahn Glenn: Politics and history in the tenth century. The work and world of Richer of Reims . (Cambridge studies in medieval life and thought, Vol. 4.60), Cambridge 2004.
  • Dominique Barthélemy: La féodalité et l'anthropologie: en relisant Flodoard et Richer , in: Annuaire Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire de France 115 (2002), pp. 25–54.
  • Dominique Barthélemy: Hommages, vengeances et trahisons au Xe siècle d'après Flodoard et Richer de Reims , in: Dominique Barthélemy / François Bougard / Régine Le Jan (eds.): La vengeance 400–1200, Rome 2006, pp. 149–158 .
  • Dominique Barthélemy: Serments et parjures dans les Histoires de Richer de Reims , in: Marie-France Auzépy (ed.): Oralité et lien social au Moyen Âge (Occident, Byzance, Islam), Paris 2008, pp. 103–116.

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