Lambert Von Hersfeld

Lambert Von Hersfeld, or ASCHAFFENBURG, an eminent German historian of the 11th century, was born. it is supposed by some, at Aschaffenburg, about 1034. In 1058 he entered the convent of Hersfeld, the school of which was at that time one of the most celebrated in Germany, and in the same year, 1058 was ordained priest. Shortly after he went on a journey to Jerusalem, without the consent or knowledge of the abbot of his convent. After his return in the following year, Lambert devoted himself to literary pursuits, yet as an inmate of the convent which he had entered before his departure for the Holy Land. He was in great favor among his superiors, as is evinced by the fact that he was sent to visit the convents of Sigeberg and Saalfeld, newly- established institutions. The precise date of his death is not ascertained probably about 1080. His works, which are numerous, are especially valuable as giving a clear perception of the state of letters in his times. His first work was a heroic poem, which is now lost. He then wrote a history of the Convent of Hersfeld, which contains valuable information for the history of the 11th century, but unfortunately we possess only fragments of this work. These were published by Mader from a Wolfenbüttel Codex: comp. Vetustas, sanctimonia, potentia atque maiestas ducumn Brunsvicensium ac Lyneburgensium domus (Helmstadt, 1661-4), page 150; and again in Antiq. Brunsvic. page 150. This same codex was also published by M.G. Waitz, 7:138-141. His third work is a history of Germany in two parts. The second part is the most complete, as well as the most interesting: it begins with the reign of Henry IV, and extends to the election of king Rudolf. It is believed by some that this work, treating contemporary events, was written at different periods, whenever anything occurred which seemed to the author important enough to be mentioned. It appears, however, to have been concluded about 1084. Lambert's works are remarkable for purity of style and elegance of diction, as well as for learning and accuracy. Milman (Lat. Christianity, 8:333) says that he occupies as a historian, "if not the first, nearly the first place in medieval history." Hase (Ch. History, page 182), however, thinks that Lambert was too little acquainted with the ways of the world to make a proper chronicler. Speaking of his German history, Hase says that it is "just such a picture of society as might be expected from a pious monk who had made a pilgrimage to the holy sepulcher, and looked out upon the world and his nation from the small stained window of his cell." in his allusions to the difficulties which occurred between the temporal and ecclesiastical powers, Lambert shows a rare degree of impartiality, although necessarily yielding to some extent to the effects of his position as a monk, as well as of the troubles of the times. Some of his writings were translated into German by Hegewisch, and his whole works by F.B. v. Bucholz (Frankf. 1819); also, more recently, by Hesse, in the Geschichtschreiber deutscher Vorzeit. d. XI Jahrh. (Berl. 1855, 6 volumes). See Frisch, Comparatio critica de Lamberti Sch. annal., etc., Diss. inaug. Monachii (1830, 8vo); Stenzel, Fränkische Kaiser, 1:495, 2:101 sq.; Piderit, Comment. de Lamb. Schafneb. (Hersf. 1828, 4to), Hesse, Recension. Jen. Lit. Zeift. 1830, No. 130; Wilman, Otto III Exkura, 6, page 214; Hirsch and Waitz, Chr. Corbej. page 36, Giesebrecht, Annales Altahenses (Berlin, 1841); Floto, Kaiser Heinrich I V; Grünhagen, Adalbert v. Bremen, 1854; Ranke, Abhh. d. Berlin., Akad. von 1854, page 436 sq.; Witt, Ueber Benzo (Marburg, 1856); Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 8:166 sq.

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