Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Journal of Medieval History journal homepage: jmedhist Discipline, compassion and monastic ideals of community, c.950–1250 Katherine Allen Smith* Department of History, University of Puget Sound, 1500 North Warner Street, Tacoma, WA 98416, USA a b s t r a c t Keywords: Monasticism Discipline Flagellation Penance Customaries Peter the Venerable Those who are not flogged here on earth are not received as sons there in heaven [.] and will be flogged alongside the devil for eternity. Ambrose of Milan1 This essay examines the intersections of discipline, compassion and community in a selection of monastic texts from the late tenth through to the mid-thirteenth centuries, focusing on disciplinary rituals involving punitive flogging or flagellation. Although members of all of the major religious orders viewed flogging as a necessary method of correction needing little or no justification, as evidenced by customaries, letters, and even miracle collections, few scholars have examined the role of this practice in the shaping of monastic culture. This essay suggests that disciplinary rituals served a number of related functions within coenobitic monasticism: they reinforced hierarchies within communities, tested individuals’ mastery of the virtues of humility and obedience, expressed superiors’ compassion and love for their subordinates, and reminded penitents and spectators alike of Christ’s bodily suffering. These conclusions are further supported by a close reading of Peter the Venerable’s vita of the Cluniac prior Matthew of Albano, a text which depicts disciplinary violence as a synthetic element of monastic life, as well as a ritual means of promoting the spiritual growth of individuals and entire communities. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. * Tel.: þ1 253 756 8919; fax: þ1 253 879 3500. E-mail address: 1 De interpellatione Iob et David, 3.3.9, Patrologiae cursus completus, series latina, ed. J.-P. Migne, 221 vols (Paris, 1841–64) [hereafter PL], vol. 14, 841: qui autem hic non flagellantur, ibi non suscipiuntur ut filii [.] ut in perpetuum cum diabolo flagellentur. 0304-4181/$ – see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jmedhist.2009.08.002 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 327 In his De miraculis, the Cluniac abbot Peter the Venerable (d.1156) approvingly recounted how his friend, Prior Matthew of Albano, dealt with sinful or rebellious monks at St-Martin-des-Champs: ‘they were chastised with blood-drawing whips (sanguinolenta verbera), held captive in irons and chains of various sorts, and many were cast into dark prisons to suffer sharp pangs of hunger and thirst.’ When Matthew judged that the offenders’ ‘pride of flesh and spirit’ had been sufficiently quelled, he delivered them from their confinement in ‘tomb-like caves’ beneath the monastery and invariably found that they had been, as it were, reborn; these proud, disobedient men had, through a process Peter likened to the raising of Lazarus, become models of meekness and humility. Not surprisingly, Matthew soon gained quite a reputation as a disciplinarian, so that, Peter noted, the mere mention of the prior’s name struck terror into the hearts of sinners. It may be more surprising to modern readers that Peter went on to describe Matthew as a kind man with a ready smile who genuinely loved his fellow monks.2 Underlying this tale is a particular way of conceptualising the relationship between physical suffering and redemption that was central to medieval monastic ideals of spiritual progress and community. Peter’s description reminds us that in the central middle ages, many clerical writers who sought to distance themselves from violent activities in worldly contexts nevertheless defended the efficacy of violent rituals performed within the cloister, and that medieval definitions of cruelty and love could differ sharply from our own. While modern culture encourages the avoidance of physical discomfort at all costs, medieval Christians accepted the usefulness of certain kinds of pain; schoolmasters imprinted their pupils’ minds with the aid of blows, ascetics focused their minds on God through bodily mortification, and monastic superiors redeemed errant monks by the application of the whip.3 Inflicting pain upon oneself or others was not always considered cruel, and could even be an act of compassion under certain circumstances. In what follows I propose to explore the intersections of discipline, compassion, and community in a selection of monastic texts from the late tenth through to the early thirteenth centuries, focusing on the meanings attached to one particular practice, punitive flogging or flagellation.4 Judging from the scant coverage this subject has received in surveys of medieval monasticism, one wonders if the reluctance to study disciplinary rituals is due in part to a modern perception that such practices are cruel or sadomasochistic.5 A reading of monastic letters, statutes, and works of hagiography suggests first, that few medieval monks would have shared this view of penitential flogging as deviant or repellant; on the contrary, many would have seen it as an act of love. Members of all of the major religious orders d Benedictines, Cluniacs, Cistercians, as well as regular canons d viewed flogging as a necessary method of correction that required little or no justification.6 Second, while there was general agreement that directing disciplinary violence against the bodies of sinners promoted contrition and humility, we should not assume any single set meaning attached to punitive flagellation, but allow that a range of (sometimes overlapping) meanings were possible in different contexts; the penitential rituals described 2 Peter the Venerable, De miraculis libri duo, 2.9–10, ed. Denise Bouthillier (Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis 83, Turnhout, 1988), 112–13. 3 Esther Cohen, ‘Towards a history of European physical sensibility: pain in the later middle ages’, Science in Context, 8 (1995), 47–74 (esp. 52–3). 4 The Latin sources use a variety of words to describe corporal punishment in the monastery: common verbs are flagellare (to whip), verberare (to beat, strike, or whip), vapulare (to be lashed or beaten), and caedere (to beat or strike). It is often difficult to tell what sort of implement was used to administer the punishment, though the sources sometimes specify flagellae, verbera, or vapulae (whips or scourges), or virgae (rods or switches). I have endeavoured throughout to convey the sense of the original texts, and in cases where the exact action is unclear in the Latin I have used the verb ‘to beat’. 5 See, however, the following studies: Megan Cassidy-Welch, Monastic spaces and their meanings. Thirteenth-century English Cistercian monasteries (Medieval Church Studies 1, Turnhout, 2001), ch. 4: ‘Community, discipline, and the body: the Cistercian chapter house’; Valerie I.J. Flint, ‘Space and discipline in early medieval Europe’, in: Medieval practices of space, ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt and Michal Kobialka (Minneapolis, 2000), 149–66; and Talal Asad, ‘On ritual and discipline in medieval Christian monasticism’, Economy and Society, 16 (1987), 159–203. The practice of self-flagellation, which became increasingly popular from the eleventh century on, has received considerably more attention. Among others, see Niklaus Largier, In praise of the whip, trans. Graham Harman (New York, 2007); Giles Constable, Attitudes toward self-inflicted suffering in the middle ages (Brookline, MA, 1982); Jean Leclercq, ‘Saint Pierre Damien et la flagellation volontaire’, in: Témoins de la spiritualité occidentale (Paris, 1965), 112–25; and Louis Gougaud, Devotional and ascetic practices in the middle ages (London, 1927), 179–204. 6 Useful surveys are Paul Bailly, ‘Flagellants’, in: Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, doctrine et histoire, ed. Marcel Viller, F. Cavallera and J. de Guibert, 17 vols (Paris, 1937–94) [hereafter DSp] vol. 5, 392–408 (esp. 392–3); and Jean Leclercq, ‘Disciplina’, DSp vol. 3, 1291–1302 (esp. 1301–2). 328 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 below could equally serve to reinforce hierarchies, test humility and obedience, express compassion and love, and remind participants of Christ’s bodily suffering.7 The scriptural and patristic background The monastic association between flogging and humiliation had its ultimate origins in the laws and prayers of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the Roman world of late antiquity. The laws of Deuteronomy (25:2–3) state that judges could order a maximum of 40 lashes to be administered as punishment for unspecified crimes, and Proverbs (23:13–14) commands children should be corrected with the rod lest they fall into wicked ways. In the Psalms, God is said to flog both the chosen people and their enemies in his capacity as judge and punisher (Ps. 37:18; 72:4–5, 14; 88:33–4). In ancient Rome, the lash was traditionally reserved for slaves.8 It was this very association with servility that recommended corporal punishment to early Christians, who offered themselves to God like slaves submitting to be whipped. In a passage beloved of early theologians like Augustine of Hippo (d.430), St Paul echoed the words of Proverbs 3:12 to the effect that ‘whom the Lord loves, he rebukes, and he scourges (Vulg. flagellat) every son he receives (Heb. 12:6).’9 And of course flagellation played a role in the narrative of the Passion, as Christ submitted his body to be scourged just prior to his crucifixion, although this event is described only briefly in the Gospels (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1). But Christ’s example did not immediately erase the deeply rooted ambivalence his Roman followers felt toward the lash as a symbol of subjection. It is significant that St Paul indignantly protested he could not be whipped on the grounds that he was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25), and that even a century and a half later, Tertullian (d. c.220) struggled to reconcile his distaste for this servile punishment with his admiration for the sufferings of Christ and the martyrs, many of whom willingly submitted to flogging.10 In patristic writings, God became the pater flagellans, the father who inflicted pain and suffering on his children not out of cruelty but out of love, in a spirit of forgiveness and guidance. Theodore de Bruyn has argued that the whip (flagellum), which had been ‘the cultural sign of servitude’ in Roman culture, became by the fourth century ‘the cultural sign of sonship’.11 This change is visible in the Moralia in Job, in which Gregory the Great (d.604) metaphorically describes Job’s sufferings as scourges (flagella), and reasons that God allowed the devil to torment the righteous man in a spirit of mercy and love, so that Job might win greater merit through forbearance.12 And since God was not only the disciplining father but also the disciplined son, Christians who aspired to the imitatio Christi inherited an ideal in which humility was linked to the submission of one’s body to the whip or rod. ‘Given Christ’s perfect sacrifice’, Gregory wrote, ‘the Christian must never protest against the scourge: it is much less for man to bear wounds than for Christ to have borne human sufferings, and no man should complain.’13 Later monastic traditions 7 As one of the Journal’s readers pointed out, scholars of the flagellant confraternities of later medieval and Renaissance Italy have long accepted that such rituals could serve a variety of functions. While the functions of lay flagellant rites overlapped with those of monastic flogging to a certain extent, the former emphasised peace-making, the appeasement of an angry God, and the imitation of Christ’s suffering to a greater degree (and were, of course, voluntary rather than punitive). See Gary Dickson, ‘The flagellants of 1260 and the crusades’, Journal of Medieval History, 15 (1989), 227–67; Catherine Vincent, ‘Discipline du corps et l’esprit chez les flagellants au moyen âge’, Revue historique, 302 (2000), 593–614; and Mitchell B. Merback, ‘The living image of pity: mimetic violence, peace-making and salvific spectacle in the flagellant processions of the later middle ages’, in: Images of medieval sanctity. Essays in honor of Gary Dickson, ed. Debra Higgs Strickland (Leiden, 2007), 135–80. 8 Richard Saller, ‘Corporal punishment, authority, and obedience in the Roman household’, in: Marriage, divorce, and children in ancient Rome, ed. Beryl Rawson (Oxford, 1991), 143–65. As late as the Carolingian period unfree persons continued to be especially subject to punishment by scourging; see Janet Nelson, ‘Carolingian violence and the ritualization of ninth-century warfare’, in: Violence and society in the early medieval west, ed. Guy Halsall (Woodbridge, 1998), 90–107 (at 92). 9 Compare Rev. 3:19 (‘Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise’). By Theodore S. de Bruyn’s count, Augustine cites this passage from Proverbs/Hebrews 52 times; see ‘Flogging a son: the emergence of the pater flagellans in Latin Christian discourse’, Journal of Early Christian Studies, 7 (1999), 249–90. 10 de Bruyn, ‘Flogging a son’, 251–2. 11 de Bruyn, ‘Flogging a son’, 259. 12 Moralia in Iob, 3.9.15–16, ed. Marcus Adriaen, 3 vols (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 143–143B, Turnhout, 1979–85), vol. 1, 123–5. For commentary, see Carole Straw, Gregory the Great. Perfection in imperfection (Berkeley, CA, 1991), 63, 147, 187, 239, and 247. 13 Moralia in Iob, 30.1.3, ed. Adriaen, vol. 3, 1492–3; trans. Straw, Gregory the Great, 247. K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 329 channelled both models, so that abbots who administered penitential discipline and advocates of selfflagellation alike found no shortage of scriptural and patristic precedents to support their practices. As God’s representative in the monastery, the abbot stepped into the role of pater flagellans in the early medieval West. In his Ordo monasterii, St Augustine recommended the whip (vapula) to monastic superiors faced with insolent or stubborn monks who failed to respond to verbal admonitions, provided they were strong enough to bear the punishment.14 A century later, Caesarius of Arles’ Regula virginum prescribed bodily discipline for nuns who attacked their sisters with harsh words or insults, citing scripture to the effect that such punishment was akin to an act of parental love or life-saving medical intervention.15 Later writers held that flogging was especially appropriate for novices, those youngest ‘sons’ most in need of correction. More reluctance was felt about applying the lash to adults, because, as the Rule of the master explained, they lived ‘under the mastery of the soul rather in subjection to the body (corporis servitio)’, and ought not to require the threat of corporal punishment to avoid temptation.16 In theory, adults were only subject to scourging if they clung to their vices in the face of excommunication. But offenders who ‘show themselves so proud that they persist in the pride of their heart’ and refuse to make satisfaction within three days, were ‘to be beaten with rods (caedantur virgis) and, if it pleases the abbot, expelled from the monastery’.17 The Rule of Benedict cautioned that flogging was a particularly strong form of spiritual medicine, to be used by abbots only on those ‘who in their proud soul are in death’s grasp’, after prayer, stern admonitions, and scriptural ‘therapy’ had failed.18 Benedict presented words (verba) and blows (verbera) as mutually reinforcing correctives, to be judiciously applied as part of a programme of disciplinary medicine.19 This and other early rules laid the framework for understanding flagellation in penitential as well as disciplinary terms; submitting to the lash was an appropriate way to atone for the supremely un-monastic sin of pride, and restore the sufferer to a state of spiritual purity.20 As the Frankish Council of Douzy decreed in 871, when sentencing a nun to be flogged for rebellion against her abbess, ‘the blood of the flesh is brought forth with whips in order that the blood of the soul, that is tears, may flow in the mind.’21 Above all, the administration of discipline, done in the proper spirit, was an act of love in which there was no trace of cruelty. Commenting on the Benedictine rule’s disciplinary prescriptions, the Carolingian abbot Smaragdus of St-Mihiel (d. c.840) wrote that the good abbot feels the pain of his errant monks and reminds himself of his own human weakness even as he metes out punishment. The duty of punishing his sons is as intrinsic a part of the abbot’s office as the duty of loving them; as Smaragdus puts it, the abbot ‘corrects with paternal rigour (rigore paterno) those he nurses with maternal love, and those he offers a mother’s breasts to suck he keeps under a father’s 14 Augustine, Ordo monasterii, c.10, in: Augustine of Hippo and his monastic rule, ed. and trans. George Lawless (Oxford, 1987), 76–9. 15 Caesarius of Arles, Regula virginum, c.24 and 26, ed. and trans. (into French) Adalbert de Vogüé and Joël Correau in Œuvres monastiques, 1. Œuvres pour les moniales (Sources chrétiennes 345, Paris, 1988), 200, 204. The passages in question are Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 30:1 (Qui diligit filium suum, assiduat illi flagellum), Prov. 23:14 (Tu virga eum caedis, animam eius de inferno liberabis), and 1 Tim. 5:20 (Peccantes coram omnibus corripe). 16 Regula magistri, 14.79–82, ed. and trans. (into French) Adalbert de Vogüé as La Règle du maı̂tre, 3 vols (Sources chrétiennes 105–7, Paris, 1964–65), vol. 2, 60. 17 Regula magistri, 13.68–71, ed. de Vogüé, vol. 2, 46. 18 RB 1980. The rule of St. Benedict in Latin and English, 28.1–3, ed. Timothy Fry (Collegeville, MN, 1980) [hereafter RB], 224–5 and Appendix 4: ‘The disciplinary measures in the Rule of Benedict’, 415–36. For the sources of Benedict’s understanding of penance as a form of healing, see James McMurray, ‘Poenitentiam agere: a study of penance in monastic-patristic writings’, Cistercian Studies, 1 (1966), 74–89 (at 84). 19 RB, 2.28–29, ed. Fry, 176–7. Compare Isidore of Seville’s statement in the Differentiarum sive de proprietate sermonum libri duo, 1.96, PL vol. 83, 21: Corripimus verberibus, objurgamus verbo, castigamus verbis, caedibus et verberibus. This passage was paraphrased by Benedict’s Carolingian glossator Smaragdus of St-Mihiel in his Expositio in regulam S. Benedicti, 3.28.1, ed. A Spannagel and P. Engelbert (Corpus Consuetudinem Monasticarum, Siegburg, 1974), 230; trans. David Barry as Commentary on the rule of Saint Benedict (Cistercian Studies 212, Kalamazoo, MI, 2007), 367. 20 This logic is also apparent in the Moralia in Iob, 3.6.8, ed. Adriaen, vol. 1, 119. 21 Council of Douzy (874), canon 7, in: Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 31 vols, ed. Giovanni Mansi, Philippe Labbé, Gabriel Cossart and others. (Venice, 1759–89; repr. Paris, 1901–27), vol. 17–18, 293. 330 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 discipline’.22 Seen in this way, loving correction was itself a form of spiritual nourishment, one that strengthened the bond between abbot and monk even as it involved the use of violence. Punishment and the performance of monastic community The centuries after Benedict saw the development of elaborate penitential rituals within communities following his Rule, as well as within medieval Christian society as a whole. During the central middle ages public flogging was a common feature of the penitential sentences handed down by ecclesiastical courts as punishment for a wide range of sins, including blasphemy, heresy and rebellion against church authorities. These elaborate, symbolically-charged rites were designed to humble sinners and prepare them, body and spirit, for readmittance to the community of the faithful.23 Like the tortures inflicted upon actors portraying Christ or the martyrs in medieval religious dramas, the public flogging of sinners was intended to stir viewers’ compassion and empathy.24 But compassion for fellow Christians should not be confused with outrage, for no one doubted the spiritual efficacy of punishing sinners’ bodies; indeed, penitential logic insisted that it was cruel not to do so. Loving one’s neighbour sometimes required one to commit acts of violence against him.25 Within monastic life as in medieval society at large, punitive rituals played an important role in the definition of community. While the main sources for these practices are customaries,26 which are admittedly prescriptive and not necessarily reflective of experience,27 the comparative evidence of letters, sermons and works of hagiography suggests many monastic superiors were committed to translating these ideals into practice. Talal Asad has asserted that disciplinary uses of force, including punitive flogging, were not intended merely to control, intimidate, or shame individuals, but to enable monks to gain mastery over their physical and emotional selves.28 Building on Asad’s conclusions, I would suggest that eleventh- and twelfth-century writers envisioned some ritual uses of violence as a form of instruction, as well as a salutary spiritual medicine that cured monks of rebelliousness and pride. My reading further sees punitive flogging as fulfilling three separate but related functions: first, it served as a means of promoting collective responsibility and compassion for the sins of individuals; second, it reinforced hierarchies within communities; and finally, it aided monks in developing the essential virtues of humility and obedience. Let us consider some of the most common situations in which corporal punishment was recommended as appropriate and efficacious by monastic writers. First, the customaries regularly describe flogging as part of the training of novices, who were thereby taught that the monastic life was itself 22 Smaragdus of St-Mihiel Expositio, 1.2.30, ed. Spannagel and Engelbert, 74: ut quos amore nutrit materno, corrigat rigore paterno, et quibus matris sugenda praebet ubera, sub patris teneat disciplina. Trans. Barry, Commentary, 143. 23 A general overview is Cyrille Vogel, ‘Les rites de la pénitence publique aux Xe et XIe siècles’, in: Mélanges offerts à Réné Crozet, ed. Pierre Gallais and Yves Jean Riou, 2 vols (Poitiers, 1966), vol. 1, 137–44. For a close reading of a single such ritual, see Mary Mansfield, The humiliation of sinners. Public penance in thirteenth-century France (Ithaca, NY, 1995), 275–6. 24 On the didactic function of theatrical violence, see Jody Enders, The medieval theater of cruelty. Rhetoric, memory, violence (Ithaca, NY, 1999). 25 The logic here is reminiscent of that outlined in Jonathan Riley-Smith’s classic article, ‘Crusading as an act of love’, History, 65 (1980), 177–92, in which he argued that medieval crusaders saw making war on infidels as a way of proving their love for Christ and fellow Christians in the East. 26 Examples of particularly detailed provisions for penitential discipline include: Consuetudines Floriacenses antiquiores (for St-Benoı̂t-sur-Loire, Fleury), c. 32, ed. Kassius Hallinger (Corpus Consuetudinum Monasticarum 7, pt. 3, Siegburg, 1984), 48–51; The customaries of the Benedictine monasteries of St Augustine, Canterbury and St Peter, Westminster, ed. E.M. Thompson, 2 vols (Henry Bradshaw Society 23, London, 1902), vol. 1, 245–52; and The monastic constitutions of Lanfranc, c. 99–101, ed. David Knowles, 2nd rev. edn by Christopher N.L. Brooke (Oxford, 2002), 146–54. 27 As Barbara H. Rosenwein has argued, customaries ‘were written in the subjunctive and/or imperative modes. They told the monks how things d mainly liturgical things but much else besides d ought to be done. In short, they were paradigms, not portrayals.’ See Rhinoceros bound. Cluny in the tenth century (Philadelphia, 1982), 96. 28 Asad, ‘Ritual and discipline’. K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 331 a lifelong penitential performance, and learned to receive chastisement in the proper spirit.29 The custodia infantum, the obligation to supervise every aspect of child oblates’ lives, was taken extremely seriously, and when children were whipped for disciplinary lapses their seniors were held to be as much to blame as they.30 Contemporaries differentiated between excessive punishment of children and what they saw as beneficial, indeed essential, physical discipline. Eadmer reported that Anselm of Canterbury reproved a fellow abbot who beat the boys of his house ‘day and night’ as though they were ‘brute beasts’. But rather than simply demand the man desist from flogging his young charges, Anselm recommended that, ‘besides the pressure of blows, [he] must apply the encouragement and help of fatherly sympathy and gentleness.’31 Even as famously mild a man as Anselm was hesitant to dispense with corporal punishment altogether. Adam of Eynsham went further in his vita of St Hugh of Lincoln, in which he credits the stringent discipline of the Augustinian canons of Villarbenoı̂t with shaping his mentor into a model of monastic sanctity: Being accustomed to bear the yoke of the Lord from his youth, nay rather from his childhood, he soon attained the maturity required for solitude and contemplation. The rod (flagella) of the master afflicted his childish frame, and the fetters of discipline restrained his boyish inclinations, vice gave place to virtue and all his earthly life from its beginning to its ending was one of penance and submission.32 Cluniac writers similarly praised the efficacy of corporal punishment, along with fasts, as a means of reaching children’s minds through their bodies.33 Scourging was commonly advocated for adults guilty of graviores culpae, a category of serious breaches of conduct including sexual misbehaviour, concealing private property, leaving the monastery without permission, striking another member of the community, and refusing to make voluntary satisfaction.34 Minor infractions of the rule resulting in a lighter burden of guilt (hence the category leviores culpae), such as breaking silence, were also punishable by flogging in some houses. The reformer Peter Damian (d.1072) wrote that punitive flagellation was a common feature of chapter, where ‘a brother who has admitted some slight offence is often required to undergo 20 blows, or at most 50’, and offered his view that ‘this amount of discipline is hardly oppressive and easy to bear.’35 While one might object that the opinion of a well-known ascetic should not be considered typical, monastic denunciations of corporal punishment on principle are virtually non-existent. That flogging was an accepted feature of life not only for rigorous ascetics but for most Benedictines in Peter’s day is illustrated by a detail from the customary of St-Benoı̂t-sur-Loire, Fleury, which mandates that a scourge (flagellum) be kept on a peg in the chapter-house at all times.36 Mistakes made during the performance of mass could compromise the efficacy of the sacrament, and thus merited corporal punishment.37 The Constitutions composed by Lanfranc (d.1089) for Christ 29 Noreen Hunt, Cluny under Saint Hugh, 1049–1109 (London, 1967), 98. On corporal punishment as a feature of the education of novices, see Isabelle Cochelin, ‘Besides the book: using the body to mould the mind d Cluny in the tenth and eleventh centuries’, in: Medieval monastic education, ed. George Ferzoco and Carolyn Muessig (London, 2000), 21–34; and Mayke de Jong, In Samuel’s image. Child oblation in the early medieval west (Leiden, 1996). 30 de Jong, Samuel’s image, 148; see also her ‘Growing up in a Carolingian monastery: Magister Hildemar and his oblates’, Journal of Medieval History, 9 (1983), 99–128; and Mary Martin McLaughlin, ‘Survivors and surrogates: children and parents from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries’, in: The history of childhood, ed. Lloyd de Mause (New York, 1974), 101–81; repr. in Medieval families. Perspectives on marriage, household, and children, ed. Carol Neel (Toronto, 2004), 20–124. 31 Italics mine. Eadmer, Vita sancti Anselmi. The life of Saint Anselm, c. 22, ed. and trans. R.W. Southern (London, 1962), 37–8. 32 Adam of Eynsham, Magna vita sancti Hugonis. The life of Saint Hugh of Lincoln, 1.1, ed. and trans. Decima L. Douie and David H. Farmer, 2 vols (London, 1961–62), vol. 1, 6. 33 Cochelin, ‘Besides the book’, 26–7; Hunt, Cluny under Saint Hugh, 98. 34 See the list of faults and prescribed punishments in RB, ed. Fry, 431–3. On the logic of Benedict’s so-called ‘penal code’, see Adalbert de Vogüé, The rule of Saint Benedict. A doctrinal and spiritual commentary, trans. John Baptist Hasbrouck (Kalamazoo, MI, 1983), 185–93. 35 Peter Damian, Letter 56.10, ed. Kurt Reindel, Die Briefe des Petrus Damiani, 4 vols (Munich, 1983–93), vol. 2, 156; trans. Owen J. Blum, Irven Michael Resnick and Thomas P. Halton as Peter Damian: letters, 4 vols (Washington, D.C., 1989–2005), vol. 2, 365. 36 Consuetudines Floriacenses antiquiores, c.32, ed. Hallinger, 50. 37 For such concerns, and especially the need to safeguard the sacramental bread and wine, see Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi. The Eucharist in late medieval culture (Cambridge, 1992), 70–1 and 94–8. 332 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 Church, Canterbury, specify that any brother who spills or drops bread or wine during the service will be ‘scourged on the bare flesh, and a penance, either of fasting or corporal punishment or prayers or something of the kind shall be laid on them’.38 Lanfranc further mandated that ‘all the priests present shall rise and devoutly offer themselves up for punishment’, so that seven may be chosen at random to share the penitential sentence.39 Bernard of Clairvaux enjoined a similar penance on his fellow Cistercian abbot Guy of Trois-Fontaines, who had neglected to fill his chalice with wine before beginning mass: I give you as penance the seven penitential psalms to be said with seven prostrations and seven disciplines every day until Easter. And let him who served your mass make similar satisfaction. [.] And if word of this thing should have got out among the brethren let each of them receive the discipline once (accipere singulae disciplinae) so that it shall be fulfilled what is written: ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens [Gal. 6:2].’40 Thus Abbot Guy’s private burden of guilt may be lifted by the transformation of his individual penance into a communal ritual that, far from seeming cruel in Bernard’s mind, served to promote unity and compassion.41 Rituals responses to graviores culpae could be quite elaborate, as the several surviving eleventhcentury Cluniac customaries demonstrate.42 As we read in the customary attributed to the monk Ulrich of Zell, A brother who has fallen into such a [serious] lapse is first to come to chapter barefoot and bareheaded, and with the opening of his robe loosened on the right and left, so that he can remove his arms and tie the ends of his sleeves around his thighs. He grasps a bundle of rods (manipulum virgarum) in his right hand, and his cowl is properly folded over his left arm. One of the brothers is appointed to go ahead of him, and so coming into the presence of the lord abbot, and placing the rods and cowl in front of him, he seeks pardon. Ordered to rise, he sits on the ground and places the cowl across his knees. He is beaten as much as seems good to the lord abbot (verberatur, quantum fuerit visum domno abbati), and afterwards is ordered to go out and dress himself.43 After all this, the penitential ritual was only the beginning; the guilty brother was obliged to remove himself from the company of the other monks during the offices and at meals, and might speak only to seniores sent by the abbot to admonish him. Lanfranc’s Constitutions attest to a nearly identical ritual, in which the scourging of the guilty monk was repeated at intervals until the abbot judged the offender to be truly repentant.44 Finally, the guilty brother was summoned to chapter to receive a final flogging, after which he resumed his place among the brothers. Here, typically, corporal punishment forms only part of the penance; it functions in the first place as a means of helping the monk achieve the proper penitential mindset, and in the second to signal the end of the ritual, a recognition that the monk has 38 Constitutions of Lanfranc, c. 93, ed. Knowles and Brooke, 134–5. Constitutions of Lanfranc, c. 93, ed. Knowles and Brooke, 135. Priests were also beaten at Cluny in the eleventh century for dropping bread or spilling wine during communion; see Bernard of Cluny, Ordo Cluniacensis sive consuetudines, 1.74.65, in: Vetus disciplina monastica, ed. M. Hergott (Paris, 1726), 278–9. 40 Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter 69, Sancti Bernardi opera omnia, ed. Jean Leclercq, Henri Rochais and C.H. Talbot, 8 vols (Rome, 1957–77), vol. 7, 169–71 (at 170); trans. Bruno S. James (as Letter 72) in The letters of St Bernard of Clairvaux (Chicago, 1953), 99–101. The twelfth-century customs of the Augustinian house of Springirsbach likewise command that punishment for a celebrant’s carelessness (negligentia) was to be shared by his brethren; see Consuetudines canonicorum regularum Springirs-bacenses-Rodenses, c.16, ed. Stefan Weinfurter (Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis 48, Turnhout, 1978), 40–1. 41 In his study of flagellant confraternities, Ronald F.E. Weissman reached a similar conclusion about how communal penitential practices promoted fraternal solidarity; see Ritual brotherhood in renaissance Florence (New York, 1982), 92–6. 42 On the customaries of Cluny more generally, see From dead of night to end of day. The medieval customs of Cluny, ed. Susan Boynton and Isabelle Cochelin (Turnhout, 2005). 43 Ulrich of Zell, Consuetudines Cluniacenses, 3.3, PL vol. 149, 734. Compare the similar ritual described in the twelfth-century customs of the Augustinian house of Marbach; Die Consuetudines des Augustiner-Chorherrenstiftes Marbach im Elsass (12. Jahrhundert), c. 74, 188, ed. Josef Siegwart (Freiburg, 1965), 187. 44 Constitutions of Lanfranc, c.99–100, ed. Knowles and Brooke, 151. 39 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 333 become ‘contrite and humble (contritum et humiliatum)’,45 and that shedding the body’s blood has enabled the healing blood of the soul to flow forth. Flogging was invariably carried out in the presence of the entire community during chapter, where all the brethren served as witnesses and potential participants in unfolding penitential dramas. Disciplinary rituals served to gauge participants’ mastery of the monastic virtues of humility and obedience, and a reading of the customaries suggests this function was considered to be as important as the actual punishment of faults.46 Religious who presumed to defend themselves against accusations, even false ones, showed a pride and rebelliousness that was itself a form of guilt; the only proper response when charged with a lapse was to prostrate oneself with the words mea culpa. Throughout the process of accusation and making satisfaction those singled out were repeatedly ordered to kneel, prostrate themselves, and even kiss the feet of their superior, gestures designed to show their humility (or, perhaps, to humble the accused).47 The Cistercian abbot Stephen of Sawley (d.1252) sheds some light on the customaries’ seeming lack of interest in the guilt or innocence of the accused. His Speculum novitii advised those falsely accused not to protest but rather to meditate on Christ’s flogging, or the martyrs’ submission of their bodies to undeserved punishments, remembering that they too would be exalted in heaven in proportion to the suffering they had endured on earth.48 Like the customaries, exempla emphasised the importance of accepting discipline in the proper spirit, promising rewards to those who bore their punishment patiently and lauding the power of blows to purify sinful bodies. Peter Damian, who himself ruled over several semi-eremitic communities, used an exemplum about an apostate to illustrate the purgative power of the lash. After living for years in the world, the story goes, the man had himself carried back to his monastery to die, whereupon the house’s patron saints Gregory and Andrew appeared to punish him for his faithlessness, and commenced ‘beating him with sharp whips (verbera acerrima)’ until he had been cleansed of his sins and was as spiritually pure as he had been at the moment of baptism.49 Visual reminders of the connection between physical discipline and salvation were also to be found in the cloister. A Romanesque capital from St-Pierre, Moissac, commemorates a story from Gregory the Great’s Dialogues in which St Benedict exorcised a demoniac monk with a beating, glossing the scene with this inscription: ‘The man of God Benedict struck the monk with his rod and thereby saved him.’50 Monks at the Norman abbey of St-Georges-de-Boscherville attended chapter under the watchful eye of a stern figure (possibly representing Benedict) who stood on the column to the right of the doorway, holding a bundle of twigs in his left hand and in his right a scroll proclaiming ‘Son, accept the discipline.’ Confronting this figure across the room is a column-statue representing Death, crowned by a capital depicting two kneeling monks being beaten by an abbot, who is thereby saving their souls from the clutches of the malevolent figure below.51 It was equally important that those administering punishment carry out their duty without malice. All members of a community were to pray for a wayward brother or sister, and to greet any who were in disgrace with the words Misereatur tui Deus.52 For Lanfranc, grave lapses on the part of individuals were opportunities for charity and reflection on the communal ideal, and he commanded that while a monk 45 The wording is from Ulrich, Consuetudines, 3.3, PL vol. 149, 735. Cassidy-Welch, Monastic spaces, 116–8, 125–9. The Regularis concordia (c.970) goes so far as to say that ‘the more a monk humbles himself (se humiliaverit) and accepts blame, the more mercifully and gently shall he be dealt with by the prior’. See Regularis concordia Anglicae nationis monachorum sanctimonialiumque. The monastic agreement of the monks and nuns of the English nation, c. 21, ed. and trans. Thomas Symons (London, 1953), 18. 47 As described in the Customary of St Augustine, Canterbury, ed. Thompson, 246–7. 48 E. Mikkers, ‘Un Speculum inédit d’Étienne de Sallai’, Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciencis Reformatorum, 8 (1946), 17–68 (at 55). 49 Peter Damian, Letter 72, ed. Reindel, vol. 2, 355–6. The connection between scourging, exorcism, and purification appears elsewhere in Damian’s writing; see Letter 109 (ed. Reindel, vol. 3, 209) for an exemplum of an abbot who drove a demon out of a rebellious monk by repeatedly whipping him. 50 The story is from Gregory the Great’s Dialogues, 2.4, ed. Adalbert de Vogüé and trans. (into French) Paul Antin (Sources chrétiennes 260, Paris, 1979), 150–3. 51 For these examples, see Léon Pressouyre, ‘St Bernard to St Francis: monastic ideals and iconographic programs in the cloister’, Gesta, 12 (1973), 71–92 (at 78–81). 52 Customary of St Augustine, Canterbury, ed. Thompson, 246. 46 334 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 was being scourged in chapter, ‘all the brethren should bow down with a kindly and brotherly compassion’ for his suffering.53 The tenth-century customary of Fleury describes a remarkable intercessionary rite performed in chapter when a monk was judged guilty of a serious breach of the Rule. After the sinner had removed his cowl and prostrated himself on the floor, signalling his readiness to undergo any punishment the abbot might order, another brother, ‘as in fraternal love (ut fraterna caritate), corrects him with blows to the extent that the abbot judges sufficient.’ Then, taking up [the whip] and standing over him, [the brother chosen to administer the punishment] seeks a blessing from all the other weeping onlookers, and when this has been given he extends his hand mercifully to the [guilty] brother. No other voice is heard there, whether pitying or complaining, saying anything other than ‘it is my fault’ and ‘I have sinned against you, Lord.’ Then the seniors, moved by compassion for their brother, throw themselves at the abbot’s feet, tearfully asking if he might spare this one of Christ’s sheep. Then the abbot himself, since he is a good father, crying most copiously, orders the blows to cease and forgives the sin (cessare verbera iubet ac culpam dimittit).54 One is struck by the theatricality and emotionality of the scene, as well as by the sense that all present are full participants in the penitential drama. The author expects that the innocent will benefit from the ritual as much as the sinner himself, as they are reminded of the imperative to love one’s brother as one’s self, and encouraged to reflect on their own sins rather than those of their fellow. Just as those who readily accepted discipline showed themselves worthy of forgiveness and love, the texts present punishment as a manifestation of this love, a compassionate act rather than a cruel one. Discipline and authority in the vita of Matthew of Albano Like the texts considered above, Peter the Venerable’s vita of Matthew of Albano suggests that monastic superiors viewed the whip or rod as tools for promoting spiritual development.55 While the picture of Matthew’s rule as prior which emerges from Peter’s vita is, to say the least, austere, and the Cluniacs seem to have acquired a reputation as harsh disciplinarians in the twelfth century, the main features of Matthew’s penitential regime are mirrored in contemporary customaries.56 Corporal punishment is also described approvingly elsewhere in Peter’s De miraculis; he repeatedly echoes Benedict’s Rule as to the efficacy of words and blows (verba et verbera) when used in conjunction, and praises monks who bear the discipline patiently and meekly and abbots who make judicious use of the lash.57 In the statutes he composed for Cluny during his tenure as abbot, Peter expressed concern about how the discipline should be administered.58 As we have seen, flogging was a common feature of 53 Constitutions of Lanfranc, c.106, ed. Knowles and Brooke, 167. Consuetudines Floriacenses antiquiores, c.32, ed. Hallinger, 50. For another reading of this ritual, see Flint, ‘Space and discipline’, 157. 55 The most comprehensive study of Matthew’s career remains Ursmer Berlière, ‘Le Cardinal Matthieu d’Albano’, Revue bénédictine, 18 (1901), 113–40 and 280–303. On his vita in relation to the De miraculis as a whole, see the prefatory comments by Denise Bouthillier in her critical edition of De miraculis libri duo, 72–6. On Matthew and the Cluniac ideal, see Dominique Iogna-Prat, Order and exclusion. Cluny and Christendom face heresy, Judaism, and Islam, trans. Graham Robert Edwards (Ithaca, NY, 2002), 46. 56 In his catalogue of the various religious orders of his day, the twelfth-century satirist Nigel Wirecker described the Cluniacs as strict disciplinarians fond of whipping and imprisoning rebellious monks; see The book of Daun Burnel the ass, trans. Graydon W. Regenos (Austin, 1959), 105. 57 See De miraculis, 1.10 and 2.23, ed. Bouthillier, 37 and 140. For Benedict’s juxtaposition of verba and verbera, see n. 18 above. 58 Peter’s customary debated whether brothers should be beaten on their bare backs or through their shirts, and decided in favour of the first option as the second tended to damage clothing; see Statuta Petri Venerabilis, c. 63, ed. Giles Constable (Corpus Consuetudinem Monasticarum 6, Siegburg, 1975), 95. 54 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 335 monastic discipline at Cluny as elsewhere, and Matthew’s practice of imprisoning impenitent monks was recommended by Lanfranc as well as the Cluniac Ulrich of Zell, who wrote, ‘If anyone has been habitually disobedient and rebellious, and the brothers do not hope to be able to teach him to understand, let them do what seems right and cast him into a prison (bogas) or put him in shackles.’59 Given that imprisonment and entombment appear as common metaphors for monastic enclosure in the writings of Peter the Venerable and his contemporaries,60 Matthew’s treatment of his monks may have been intended to remind them that their enclosure was a voluntary condition, and that the use of force should not be required to keep them to their vows of stability and obedience.61 Forced into a state not unlike that of contemporary anchorites, who lived in solitary communion with God, Matthew’s imprisoned monks had little to do except reflect on their sins. Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that a recalcitrant monk ‘buried’ by Matthew in a ‘tomb’ deep in the bowels of his monastery, ‘he who on earth could not live, now that he was buried learned to live and returned to life as from a grave, trembling in fear at the image of his bodily tomb, to a spiritual and eternal life in which sinning had been made alien to him. He returned in order to do penance.’62 Matthew himself, as the archetypal pater flagellans, is not depicted as a cruel man but rather as an instrument of divine correction. Peter likely drew upon earlier Cluniac hagiographical traditions in his portrayal of Matthew as a divinely inspired disciplinarian.63 The Vita sancti Hugonis abbatis, a work composed c.1121 by the monk Hugh, presents a model of abbatial authority that would have met with Peter’s approval. Peter probably knew the hagiographer, as well as the following story of how the saintly Abbot Hugh (r.1049–1109) maintained discipline: The archdeacon Hildebrand, deacon of the Roman church and soon to be made Pope Gregory VII, undertook a delegation to France and came to Cluny. Sitting in chapter on a certain day when the blessed Hugh was correcting the negligence of the brothers with the sword of piety (pietatis gladio), he saw present the Lord Jesus, seated beside the said father and advising him what he ought to do in each case.64 Such a vision underscores the degree to which abbots were held to be stand-ins for Christ, and their power an extension of divine authority. As a just prior, Peter wrote, Matthew ‘glowed with a zeal for justice’ that made him a tireless corrector of ‘the careless, the proud, and wanderers (that is, apostates)’.65 Like St Hugh, Matthew wielded a spiritual sword against sinners; Peter writes that Matthew ‘always bore before him a flaming sword’, barring unrepentant sinners from the path to heaven as had the cherubim sent to guard the gates of Paradise after the Fall.66 There was no doubt in Peter’s mind that, as Matthew reportedly told him, the ever-present threat of imprisonment and ‘blood-drawing whips’ was necessary, for without these reminders that the abbot wielded authority over the bodies of his monks he could never hope to ‘crush the pride of flesh and spirit’ which hindered their spiritual progress. As Gregory Smith has shown, Peter’s writings evince a deep moral concern with violence of 59 Ulrich of Zell, Consuetudines, 3.3, PL vol. 149, 756. Lanfranc’s contemporary Constitutions (c.100, ed. Knowles and Brooke, 153) also provide for the imprisonment of rebellious monks, as does the eleventh-century Fulda-Trier customary (see Redactio Fuldensis-Trevirensis, c.17, ed. Kassius Hallinger (Corpus Consuetudinum Monasticarum 7, pt.3, Siegburg, 1984), 280); the twelfth-century customary of the canons of Springirsbach (see Consuetudines [.] Springirsbacenses-Rodenses, c.16, ed. Weinfurter, 47–8); and the statutes of the Cistercian general chapter from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; see Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis Cisterciensis, ed. J.-M. Canivez, 8 vols (Louvain, 1933–41), vol. 1, 202 and 320, vol. 2, 52–3, 76, and 320. 60 See, for example, his Letter 115 (to Heloı̈se of the Paraclete) and Letter 185 (to his nieces, Cluniac nuns of Marcignysur-Loire) in: Letters of Peter the Venerable, 2 vols, ed. Giles Constable (Cambridge, MA, 1967), vol. 1, 306 and 428. 61 On the history of this motif, see Gregorio Penco and M. Basil Pennington, ‘Monasteriumdcarcer’, Studia Monastica, 8 (1966), 133–43; Jean Leclercq, ‘Le Cloı̂tre est-il une prison?’, Revue d’ascetique et de mystique, 47 (1971), 407–20; Guy Geltner, The medieval prison. A social history (Princeton, NJ, 2008), 83–6. 62 Liber miraculorum, 2.9, ed. Bouthillier, 112. 63 For a survey of vitae of the abbots of Cluny which would have been familiar to Peter, see Dominique Iogna-Prat, ‘Panorama de l’hagiographie abbatiale clunisienne (v.940–v.1140)’, in: Manuscrits hagiographiques et travail des hagiographes, ed. H. Heinzelman (Sigmaringen, 1991), 77–118. 64 Hugo Monachus, Vita sancti Hugonis abbatis, c. 5, ed. H.E.J. Cowdrey in: Two studies in Cluniac history, 1049–1126 (Studi Gregoriani per la Storia della ‘Libertas Ecclesiae’, 11, Rome, 1978), 124. 65 Liber miraculorum, 2.9, ed. Bouthillier, 113. 66 Liber miraculorum, 2.9, ed. Bouthillier, 113. 336 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 all sorts, including acts of violence committed in the cloister,67 but the outrage Peter expressed when monks behaved like lay warriors is nowhere to be found in the vita of Matthew of Albano. There are also echoes in Matthew’s vita of an incident from one of the foundational works of Cluniac hagiography, John of Salerno’s tenth-century vita of St Odo of Cluny. In the second book of the Vita Odonis, we hear that Odo was warned against making his profession at the abbey of Baume by monks of that house, who presented the postulate with a harrowing picture of how their abbot, Berno (the future first abbot of Cluny), meted out discipline: ‘His correction is followed by blows (verbera), and then those whom he has beaten he binds with shackles, tames by imprisonment, and mortifies with fasting. And even when he has endured all these things, a wretched man cannot obtain pardon (gratia).’68 The saintly Odo’s resolve was only momentarily shaken, as another brother revealed these monks were slandering their good abbot at the instigation of the devil. And it seems that what frightened Odo most was not the prospect of being beaten, made to fast, or even imprisoned, but the implication that there was no possibility of obtaining forgiveness for one’s sins under Berno’s rule. Lurking beneath the surface of this story, we glimpse the very real fear that an abbot might abuse the power he held over the bodies of his monks, by making them suffer for his own gratification rather than for their own spiritual good. But in Peter’s vita of Matthew of Albano, such fears are pushed impatiently aside by reassurances that the very salvation of Matthew’s monks was predicated on their suffering. Finally, the punishments inflicted by Matthew bring to mind the penitential sentence of another rebellious monk, the controversial seventh abbot of Cluny Pontius of Melgeuil.69 Elected in 1109 following the death of St Hugh, Pontius was ordered to abdicate his post by Pope Calixtus II in 1122, in the midst of accusations of financial mismanagement and bitter feuds with the primates of Lyons and Maçon over Cluny’s independence from episcopal control. Factionalism, derived from the rivalries between aristocratic Burgundian families bound by ties of patronage to Cluny (and by ties of blood to its monks), seems also to have played a role in dividing the house at this time.70 After an absence of four years, spent in part on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Pontius returned and orchestrated a violent takeover of Cluny, ousting the newly appointed abbot Peter and his supporters. Pontius was well known to both Matthew of Albano and his hagiographer, who travelled together to Rome in 1126 to prosecute the renegade abbot at the papal court, and indeed Matthew’s zealous opposition to Pontius became for Peter a key proof of his sanctity.71 According to the chronicler Orderic Vitalis, Pontius died in a papal prison at Rome a few months after his condemnation by Honorius II, ‘overcome with great grief’ but defiant to the last.72 As Adriaan H. Bredero has written, ‘Peter always made it appear as if his task as a reformer consisted in restoring order after the lawlessness during the regime of his predecessor.’73 This strategy is particularly evident in the De miraculis, where Peter presents Pontius and his supporters in demonic terms, as men infected by greed, wrath, and pride and motivated by Satan to do violence against Cluny.74 While Peter insisted he had met these warlike men as a man of peace d as he wrote, ‘they 67 Gregory A. Smith, ‘Sine rege, sine principe: Peter the Venerable on violence in twelfth-century Burgundy’, Speculum, 77 (2002), 1–33 (esp. 7–9 and 15–18). 68 John of Salerno, Vita sancti Odonis abbatis Cluniacensis secundi, 2.29, PL vol. 133, 561; trans. based on Gerard Sitwell, St Odo of Cluny: being the life of St Odo of Cluny by John of Salerno, and the life of St Gerald of Aurillac by St Odo (New York, 1958), 31. On this text, composed soon after Odo’s death in 942, see Rosenwein, Rhinoceros bound, 85–96. 69 Pontius’ career has been the subject of much debate; traditional assessments tended to accept Peter the Venerable’s negative depiction of his predecessor’s rule, while more recently a number of scholars has sought to rehabilitate him. For reassessments, see Gerd Tellenbach, ‘Der Sturz des Abtes Pontius von Cluny und seine geschichtliche Bedeutung’, Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven, 42 (1963), 13–55; and H.E.J. Cowdrey, ‘Abbot Pontius of Cluny’, in: Two studies in Cluniac history, 177–298 (with references to earlier scholarship on Pontius at 183–4 and n. 7). 70 As argued by Joachim Wollasch, ‘Das Schisma des Abtes Pontius von Cluny’, Francia, 21 (1996), 31–52. 71 Matthew of Albano had made his profession and lived for seven years at Cluny under Pontius’ rule before becoming prior of St-Martin-des-Champs; Berlière, ‘Matthieu d’Albano’, 116–17. On Matthew’s role in the persecution of his former superior, see De miraculis, 2.13, ed. Bouthillier, 121-3. 72 Orderic Vitalis, Ecclesiastical history, 12.30, ed. and trans. Marjorie Chibnall, 6 vols (Oxford, 1969–80), vol. 6, 314. 73 Adriaan H. Bredero, Christendom and Christianity in the middle ages. The relations between religion, Church, and society, trans. Reinder Bruinsma (Grand Rapids, MI, 1994), 145. 74 De miraculis, 2.12, ed. Bouthillier, 128. Peter likens the monks who have betrayed their ordo to lay warriors (Abstinet a nulla bellorum spetie), and links them to Satan (in sancta illa et famosissima Cluniacensi domo [.] Sathan ad tempus laxatus furebat.) K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 337 never felt my sword [.] never my spear, and scarcely did they hear a harsh word from my mouth’75 d he well knew he would have been justified in disciplining those monks who flouted his authority, if not with sordid earthly weapons then with the spiritual sword of the righteous abbot. In reality, the fragile peace established after 1126 likely made the punishment of Pontius’ supporters seem a risky proposition.76 The perfect discipline Matthew is said to have kept at St-Martin-des-Champs may have appealed so strongly to Peter at least in part because he had himself struggled to maintain control over Cluny during the schism that marred the early years of his abbacy; in Peter’s elaborate description of Matthew’s punishments, we may hear an echo of the author’s frustration at being thwarted from disciplining his own rebellious monks years before. Certainly in the description of the strict life at St-Martin-des-Champs, we see through Peter’s eyes a vision of the perfect order he aspired to maintain at Cluny. But in the De miraculis Matthew is also the antithesis of Pontius, whose unsuitability for the office of abbot is attested as much by his laxity in disciplinary matters as by his violent attack on the monastery; the dissolution which Peter alleges prevailed at Cluny under Pontius’ rule was a sign of his selfishness and brutality, just as Matthew’s harsh punishments were proof of his selfless love (caritas) for those in his charge.77 Conclusion Since my aim has been to demonstrate the centrality of punitive flagellation within medieval monastic culture, I have not dwelt on the differences in how various orders employed this form of discipline, or how related penitential practices changed over time; indeed, these are subjects warranting separate studies. Certainly the disciplinary culture of Benedictine and Cluniac houses, where the majority of monks were former child oblates, moulded to the monastic ideal from a tender age by ‘words and blows’, may have differed from that of the new orders whose ranks were filled with adult converts. For the mostly elite men who joined the Cistercians and other orders which accepted only adult postulants, learning to submit to physical punishment may have been particularly difficult. Traditional monastic perceptions of flogging may also have been affected by the rise of self-flagellation, a practice previously restricted to the strictest ascetics, among both professed religious and laypeople in the later middle ages. But the increased prominence of self-inflicted suffering within medieval penitential culture does not seem to have rendered long-held disciplinary customs obsolete in the eyes of churchmen. From their inception in the thirteenth century, the Dominicans followed tradition by flogging and imprisoning errant friars, even while they practised daily communal self-flagellation and cultivated close ties to lay confraternities of disciplinati.78 Yet while disciplinary practices varied to some extent from order to order and even house to house, there was remarkable continuity in their basic features across the three centuries from c.950 to 1250. Corporal punishment was, as a rule, performed in the presence of the entire monastic community, so that we might properly consider disciplinary flogging as one of the communal activities that defined coenobitic life. As a communal activity, these rituals took on complex performative dimensions; within this theatre of penance monastic superiors displayed their authority, sinful monks proclaimed their obedience and humility (or their pride and disobedience, if they refused to submit), and other members of the community modelled the virtue of compassion for their fallen brothers. As I suggested at the outset, we can discern multiple meanings attached to punitive flogging: submission to the lash might be construed as a communal performance underscoring postures of dominance and submission, but also as a ritual of purification akin to exorcism or resurrection, or as a form of imitatio Christi. Interestingly, although the centuries under consideration witnessed an explosion of interest in 75 Peter the Venerable, Letter 192 (to Bernard of Clairvaux), ed. Constable, vol. 1, 446. Significantly, Peter refrained from writing in detail about what he terms Cluny’s bellum civile until the mid-1140s, roughly 20 years after Pontius’ death, even then declining to name those who had opposed him, though he noted that they were by then mostly dead; De miraculis, 2.11–13, ed. Bouthillier, 115–23. 77 For Peter’s description of the slack discipline he inherited as abbot (and which he summoned Matthew of Albano to help dispel), see De miraculis, 2.11, ed. Bouthillier, 116. 78 Christine Caldwell Ames, Righteous persecution. Inquisition, Dominicans, and Christianity in the middle ages (Philadelphia, 2008), 154–9. 76 338 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 meditating upon and imitating Christ’s suffering, and advocates of self-flagellation frequently defined their activities as a form of imitatio Christi,79 this meaning is only rarely invoked in discussions of penitential discipline prior to the thirteenth century. We can further conclude that monastic writers viewed flogging not so much as a punishment in and of itself, but as a single component of more complex disciplinary rituals that typically included fasting, prayer, counselling, and the physical distancing of sinners from the community, all in addition to corporal punishment. All these elements worked in conjunction to isolate sinners, allow them time to meditate on their faults, and ultimately reincorporate them into the monastic familia. Within this larger process, bodily discipline served as a way of reaching the monk’s mind or heart by humbling and mortifying his physical self, making the ‘blood of the spirit’ flow through the shedding of his bodily blood. Disciplinary rituals tested the ties of obedience and love that were supposed to bind together members of the monastic community, and when every member of the group performed their part in the ritual correctly these ties were powerfully and publicly reaffirmed. Considered in this light, disciplinary violence may be seen as deliberative rather than spontaneous, a synthetic element of monastic life rather than an aberration, even an essential part of a larger process of spiritual growth for individuals and whole communities. Finally, while some of the imagery in the medieval sources described above may strike modern readers as cruel, we should be mindful that disciplinary rituals were intended to convey to all participants the centrality of mercy, forgiveness, and love within the coenobitic life. We cannot, of course, know that all religious experienced corporal punishment in this way; it seems unlikely that many would have concurred with the twelfth-century Cistercian monk who confessed to his abbot that ‘the harshest treatment would be as a soothing balm, pain would seem like pleasure and every sort of torment and suffering light and transient if only I were sure of God’s forgiveness.’80 In fact, we know of cases in which monks committed apostasy because they so feared impending penitential sentences.81 And some abbots undoubtedly abused their power by crossing the line separating salutary correction and cruelty, becoming, to use St Benedict’s analogy, harsh tyrants rather than compassionate doctors.82 But, at least insofar as we can discern from the words they have left behind, some d perhaps most d accepted the view that bodily discipline was an act of love. To understand how this was so, we must remember that this view was inherited from a long and deeply reverenced textual tradition, which was in turn daily reinforced by the words and actions of superiors and peers. What was truly cruel, and indeed showed a lack of compassion, was to deny a fellow sinner the earthly suffering that was the rightful portion of all humans, thereby condemning him to an eternity of torment. Acknowledgements An earlier version of this article was presented at the 83rd annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America. I wish to thank my fellow panelists, Scott Wells and Tony Perron, and the respondent, David Tinsley, whose questions and comments spurred me to revise and expand the study. I am also grateful to Chris Woolgar and the Journal of Medieval History’s two anonymous readers for additional suggestions for improvement. 79 Giles Constable, Three studies in medieval religious and social thought (Cambridge, 1995), 209–10. This exemplum, entitled ‘De Pontio episcopo et monacho eius’ is edited by Brian Patrick MacGuire, ‘Rebirth and responsibility: Cistercian stories from the late twelfth century’, Cahiers de l’institut du moyen-âge grec et latin, 57 (1988), 148–58 (quote at 154); trans. Pauline Matarasso as ‘A burden shared’, in: The Cistercian world. Monastic writings of the twelfth century (New York, 1993), 303. 81 Christopher Harper-Bill, ‘Monastic apostasy in late medieval England’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 32 (1981), 1–18 (at 8–9). 82 Benedict’s distinction between doctors and tyrants is found at RB, 27.6, ed. Fry, 224. For cases of abuse, see John Eastburn Boswell, ‘Expositio and oblatio: the abandonment of children and the ancient and medieval family’, American Historical Review, 89 (1984), 10–33 (at 25–7). An example not mentioned by Boswell which was undoubtedly widely known to later monks is in Gregory the Great’s Dialogues 1.2.1 (in which the moral is that monks, no matter how badly treated, ought to bear their lot with patience and humility), ed. de Vogüé, vol. 1, 30 and following. 80 K.A. Smith / Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009) 326–339 339 Katherine Allen Smith teaches medieval and early modern history at the University of Puget Sound. Her research encompasses various aspects of monastic culture and Christian spirituality in the central middle ages, including the cult of saints, relics and images, pilgrimage, and penance. She is currently completing a monograph examining the uses of military imagery in monastic writings of the tenth through to the twelfth centuries.