Clio satiricus:
Satire and history in the middle ages

Robert Levine
English Department
Boston University

    Satire has no Muse, no specific shape or set of shapes, and, in spite of the Romans' claim to have invented it, no clear point of origin. Invective, a central strategy of satire, can be found in Homer, in Archilochus' scurillous epigrams, in Greek tragedy, and among Greek historians(1). Diatribe, upon which Horace's Satires depend heavily(2), is part of the legacy Rome inherited from Greece. Horace himself suggests that Old Comedy was an inspiration for Lucilius. Borrowing its shapes from other genres, masquerading as lyric, legal brief, tragedy, comedy, history, biography, and autobiography, satire can overflow even into hagiography. Feeding on the irrational, the abhorrent, the grotesque, the intolerable, it penetrates many medieval texts, even though some critics argue that, as a formal genre, satire had no standing at all in the middle ages(3).

    Nevertheless, the satires of Horace, Persius, and Juvenal were read, and became intellectual coin of the realm, used allusively by poets, historians, letter writers, biblical exegetes, and others. Medieval writers with satirical impulses also ransacked the writings of Cicero, Martial,Seneca, Lucan, Claudian, as well as early Christian apologists like Arnobius and Jerome, for invective and diatribe. In addition, the text of the Bible supplied the voices of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, Christ, and other prophets of the Old and New Testaments, for those whose saeva indignatio could not be satisfied by Roman models only(4).

    Like satire, history did not exist as an autonomous genre in the middle ages, but was a branch of rhetoric(5). Rhetoric includes not merely the textbook schemes and tropes with which most medieval writers were familiar, but also the topics of panegyric and vituperation, both as they were devised by Greek and Roman orators, and as they were described, practiced, and prescribed by the writers of the Second Sophistic and their followers.

    John Ward offers perhaps the strongest defense of history in the hands of a specific kind of rhetorician:

Ward goes on to insist that the better medieval chroniclers assimilate their material by imitatio to certain pre-existent realities -- imperium Romanum, providentia Dei, the primacy of a theological virtue or ecclesiastical institution(7). Assimilations of the kind Ward describes occur in almost every medieval historical text that achieves a level of sophistication above that of the barest annals(8). Openly forensic, blaming and praising one faction, cause, religion, or individual at the expense of another, medieval writers of historical texts, like the sophists of antiquity, invested their self-esteem in the task of persuasion, and its sister task, dissuasion.

    For the second task, they frequently relied upon techniques for "bad-mouthing"(9) developed in antiquity by orators, poets, historians and satirists. Consequently, history and satire overlap most clearly in the area of vituperatio, as the twelfth-century anima naturaliter satirica, Walter of Chatillon implies early in his fourth satire. Wrought to the extreme because vice is now triumphant, virtue fallen and sexuality corrupted, Walter can maintain his silence no longer:

For assistance in this task, he calls upon a Diana-like Muse of history, Clio, to hurl her dart against a corrupt clergy:

Clio, then, would seem to be Walter's choice of a muse for satire, presumably because of her demonstrated special competence at invective(11).

    In the thirteenth century, John of Garland also associated history with satire and invective(12):

Again, one kind of historical narrative is Invective, in which slanderous things are said with full intent to malign. Another is Reprimand or Satire, in which evils are recited with the hope of correcting them. The following lines contain the chief features of this kind of satire:

    Satire is linked not only to history, as Sir Ronald Syme suggests, when he remarks that in antiquity, "Tacitus and Juvenal could be regarded as parallel and coeval phenomena,"(13) but often is linked with, if not confused with, truth. Walter of Wimborne, in his thirteenth-century poem, "De Palpone," complains that the flatter appears to be calm and judicious, while the man who speaks the truth is sad, satiric, and strange (fanaticus in Classical Latin might mean "inspired" or "insane").

The truth-teller, then, qui vera loquitur, seems abnormal to others; therefore the truly perceptive person will realize that qualities that appear to be socially negative are actually signs of accuracy and reliability.

    Although several early Christian writers had used such a voice, Jerome is the best known of the early cranky Christian satirists. In an attempt to account for the power of his voice, David Wiesen speculates: "Perhaps above all external influences, the richest source of Jerome's satire was his own proud and irascible nature. Jerome might also be called an anima naturaliter satirica(15).

    Five centuries later, bishop Rather of Verona, whom Misch places in a category with Horace and Lucilius(16), offered a roughly personal defense of his own behavior, in the course of an elaborate routine on madness, deviance, and reliability in his Phrenesis. Attacked by two of his enemies as phreneticus, he anticipates by seven centuries Molière's Alceste, when he argues that the word is aptly applied to him, because he is not interested in the normal preoccupations of his tenth-century peers -- money, fighting, and accumulating numerous friends -- but only in books, and the wisdom of the ancients. Since madness is a standard accusation in diatribe(17), Rather is reversing a topos of psogos, turning blame into praise:

In his defense of Rather, at the expense of Liudprand of Cremona, Erich Auerbach finds both tenth-century writers excessive, but Rather apparently a more tolerable human being:

    Their works are full of scurrilitas, indiscretion, and immoderation, though in the one these spring from a heartfelt need, in the other from rancor and self-importance. Both lack the sense of the appropriate, the control and harmonious form which lend unity and dignity to literary expression(19).

    Sincerity, then is an excuse for bad taste(20). It is presumably the sincerity of Geroius Grosivus' outrage that permits Orderic Vitalis to offer yperbolice as a complimentary adverb to the otherwise entirely unknown twelfth century writer's description of the moral opprobrium in England(21):

Apparently, then, rhetorical excess is permissible for the vox clamantis.

    However, melancholy and a hyperactive imagination were not invariable requirements for accuracy, nor did every historical writer make the issue personal. William of Tyre, for example, invokes the equation satire = present historical reality, when he asserts that his contemporaries fall far short of the accomplishments of the heroes of the past:

    To tell the truth, then, William must become satiricus, though he mentions no need to be melancolicus or fanaticus. The impulse to equate the satiric vision with the unvarnished truth is implicit in Isidore of Seville's description of New Comedy, and of the Satirici, a quibus generaliter vitia carpuntur, ut Flaccus, Persius, Iuvenalis, vel alii(24). These writers, Isidore says, paint things -- at least things that go wrong -- exactly and nakedly as they are:

    The tendency to equate satire with reality, and therefore in some sense to perceive satire and history as congruent genres, has continued into the twentieth century. J. Gérard, for example, in concluding his study of Juvenal, argues that Tacitus and Juvenal share a moral vision, with the satirist performing one more function than the historian:

Tacitus himself, of course, showed more suspicion: "adulation is open to the loathsome accusation of servitude, but malice gives a false impression of free speech" Gilbert Highet, carried away as usual by commendable enthusiasm for his subject, asserts: "In the work of the finest satirists there is the minimum of convention, the maximum of reality."(26) A few pages later, however, he does concede that among the "typical weapons" of the satirist are irony, paradox, antithesis, parody, and exaggeration(27). The illusion that the satirist presents unmediated reality clearly survived both classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, in utter disregard of the common-sensical intuition expressed by Paul Zumthor as: "Historiographie ni roman n'avaient pour fonction de prouver une vérité, mais de créer."(28) Zumthor's perception is supported by William S. Anderson, who points out that insistence upon truth is, "so often a warning that the satirist is about to leap into fantasy."(29) Significantly, this remark occurs during Anderson's discussion of Juvenal's passion for significant sexual detail. Having offered a series of sensational details, which he fears may be taken as exaggerations, the Roman poet self-consciously insists that what he offers is not play, but truth:

    Since truth-telling is a convention both of antiquity and of the Middle Ages, part of what J.M.A. Beer has called the "game of truth,"(30) the remarks made by Highet, Gérard, and others, suggest that effective satire can provoke some of its most sophisticated readers to testify to its reality.

    Satire, then, creates an illusion of reality at the same time that one of its central techniques is exaggeration. The term, "grotesque realism," invented by Bakhtin, paradoxically combines the notions of accuracy and exaggeration (yperbolice) to explore what he calls the "techniques of debasement."(31) Bakhtin establishes a polarity between classicism and the tradition of grotesque realism; according to his scheme, classicism vitiates the awareness of the body; grotesque realism insists upon the body and the physical nature of reality by deliberately exaggerating and profaning whatever high culture has established as sacred:

As Bakhtin conceives of it, the classical aesthetic is one of exclusion; the excluded elements are the ones that grotesque realism, as a kind of vox populi, reintroduces and insistently magnifies:

Grotesque realism, on the other hand, relies upon exaggeration, emphasizing elements that violate "official" norms. Bakhtin also includes banquet imagery(34) as one of the techniques of debasement.

    Misleadingly, Bakhtin insists on folk culture as the source of the strategies of debasement and grotesque realism, and his consequent inability to find these strategies in medieval literature, except in the obscure Cena Cypriani, is a sign of the limited attention he chose to pay to medieval literature. In fact, the strategies of debasement and grotesque realism can be found throughout the middle ages. Liudprand's Antapodosis and Walter Map's De Nugis Curialium, discussed below in chapters three and four, offer particularly rich examples.

    The techniques of debasement in the hands of medieval historians produce a vision of reality that is abhorrent, and therefore apparently at odds with some twentieth-century judgments about the practice and function of history. For example, in describing the situation in which twelfth-century Italian poets found themselves, F.W. Raby imagines them not only compulsively representing the thing in itself, but also as taking pleasure in the act:

    Optimistic, if not naive, nevertheless Raby's description of twelfth-century historical reality in Italy seems to be supported by the Lacanian paraphrase offered by Suzanne Fleischman: "Paradoxically, the appeal of historical discourse lies precisely in making the real desirable."(36) A number of medieval historians subscribed to the notion that they wrote, ad aurium delectationem(37), but for many, the world they described was far from desirable; in addition to satire, they sometimes invoked the genre of tragedy to indicate the horror they felt in contemplating the world of historical reality(38). Otto of Freising describes the the medieval German world as grim and tragic:

    That satire, tragedy, and history shared a task occured to several medieval historians. In his history of the Third Crusade, Richard of Holy Trinity compounds history, tragedy, and satire in an attempt to express the full range of his feelings towards Conrad, Marquis of Montferrat. According to Richard, Conrad outdoes all past models of perverted sexuality, and therefore needs to be upbraided in at least two genres in addition to the one in which Richard is operating: O scelus et morsu satirica et tragica declamatione dignissima(41). Historians, then, might speak, or imagine that they were speaking, as tragedians, as satirists, or as both, in their efforts to re-create if not reality, then a reality.

    In an interesting variation of this phenomenon, Orderic Vitalis laments the time he must spend away from the truly satisfying genres, like saints' lives, because he is committed to representing the deeds of prelates and princes accurately:

Outrage rather than pleasure, then, would seem to be the intended emotional result in the case of the historical writer who invokes the satiric or the tragic voice. As Paul Ricoeur points out: "Satire starts from the ultimate inadequacy of the world dramatized in romance, comedy, and tragedy."(43)

    Ricoeur's remark is part of the tendency, both modern and medieval, to think of several genres simultaneously when the term "satire" is invoked. Medieval genres tended generally to be inclusive rather than exclusive(44), and satire in particular was by definition mixtum compositum. For example, in the course of defining various aspects of Roman law, Isidore offers the following sentence:

When he lists terms of eating and drinking, Isidore returns to the definition of satire:

    Talking about satire seems inevitably to lead to or proceed from food: Persius speaks of his own style are more precise and accurate because decoctius, "boiled down" (I. 125). Towards the end of his sixth and last satire he describes the vengeful feast contemplated by the man who imagines what his heirs will do with their legacy. Horace's Cena Nasidiensi concludes his collection of satires, and is itself a contaminatio of Lucilius' version of Granius' dinner party(45). Petronius' Cena Trimalchionis offers the most striking illustration of feeding as a technique of debasement.

    Feeding, however, is only one of the elements out of which the mixtum compositum called satire is composed. Determining the other elements generates some problems. Knoche, for example, objects to calling Claudian's invective "satire," insisting that, "Psogoi sind die Satiren nicht."(46) On the other hand, Koster describes Claudian's In Eutropium as elegiac, epic invective that brings poetic psogos to a new height, and then goes on to describe the In Rufinum as declamatory, diatribic, allegorical, and satiric(47).

    Much of modern criticism of satire is devoted to determining what the genre is not, often in an attempt to establish a canon, distinguishing between "great" satire and some lesser phenomenon(48). Most of the difficulties that arise seem to be generated by the accretions of lexical denotations and connotations that have been bestowed over the years on words like "diatribe," "invective," and "vituperation." The difficulties in finding adequate names for the activities performed in the name of satire are compounded by the fact that mixing genres often results in mixing tones. Satirists, both in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, mix the serious and the comic(49), often with deliberately disturbing results.

    Among the strategies they adopt in the course of such experiments, is a posture directly antithetical to that of the anima naturaliter satira, presenting themselves instead as appealing human beings. Anderson stresses the satirist's attempt to present himself as a charming, winning (in more than one sense of the word) figure, who is giving a performance in the persona of satirist, and is not necessarily offering a sincere, accurate portrait of himself(50). Instead of sincerity, then, the poet appears to offer amusement, moving the reader to anger or to laughter, or to both, but not necessarily offering what Wallace Stevens represented as:

    However, the ironic, comic, self-mocking posture of alazon might be yet another disguise, adopted in imitation of Socrates, in pursuit of the proposition that humor might lead to speaking the truth, as Horace suggested, ridentem dicere verum (Sat I.1.24). In the interval between Socrates and Horace, the Greek Cynics and Stoics developed the figure of the spoudogelaios, whose laughter was designed to make him invulnerable to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune(51).

(B) PRAISE AND BLAME

    While compounding satire, history, and tragedy, mixing serious with ludicrous tones, the medieval writer of historical texts had one more element at his disposal – panegyric - that quickly developed into a major resource for satire. Historical texts in antiquity had generally been composed by partisans of particular factions, for whom the techniques of praise and blame proved useful. Satirists were also capable of composing panegyrics: Horace composed panegyric for Maecenas, Martial for Domitian, and Seneca for Nero. In his Apocolocyntosis, a Menippean satire(52), Seneca offers an extensive panegyric of Nero, while offering scurrilous diatribe against Claudius.

    The most extreme claims for panegyric as a genre occur in the writings of the second century panegyricist, Hermogenes, who deliberately confused poetry and panegyric, citing Plato as a panegyrist, and then extending the meaning of panegyric to include history:

Hermogenes, of course, had a vested interest in this definition, but panegyric is a significant element in medieval historical writing, and an important element in understanding how invective, diatribe, vituperatio, and satire were practiced in the middle ages.

    As codified and practiced by the writers of the Second Sophistic(54), panegyric consisted of six topics:

  1. prologue (with no particular assigned material).
  2. genos or race and genealogy.
  3. nurture and education.
  4. deeds.
  5. comparisons.
  6. epilogue. Prayer for future welfare(55).

Heroes, then, are characteristically of gentle birth and superb upbringing. They do noble deeds, in peace and in war, displaying four virtues: righteousness, moderation, intelligence, justice. They are compared to traditional heros, whom they equal or outdo.

    To attack someone, then, the speaker might use the same categories, reversing the values. As Cicero pointed out, in a passage that also suggests a link between what is serious and what is comic, praise and blame have different subject matters, but they share the same method:

    If the method is the same, then, and the qualities of psogos antithetic to those of panegyric, we may expect villains to be of ignoble birth, to perform unjust deeds, to be immoderate and unwise, and to be compared to tyrants from the past and mythological beasts.

    Several poems of Claudian provide clear examples of some of the ways in which Roman writers at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth centuries availed themselves of the techniques of psogos to deal with historical matter. In his study of Claudian, Alan Cameron has pointed out that, "in theory invective was simply an inversion of panegyric."(57) For Claudian, the techniques of praise and blame were put to work "to exalt his imperial protectors and to abuse enemies of the Western Empire."(58) For example, the sixth topic of panegyric, prayer for the future welfare of the subject, in psogos becomes a description of his hideous, well-deserved death. Elements of other topics often appear to aid in reducing the subject, in some cases to the level of an animal(59).

    In the In Eutropium, Claudian combines the fifth topic (comparisons) with the second and third topics (birth and activities), to provide an effective comic exercise in the sixth topic(60). Eutropius apparently had to rely upon "new men" for political support; therefore, their lack of noble birth and consequent social inferiority laid them open to attacks in the second topic. After ridiculing Hosius, Eutropius' second in command, as a cook (II.347-353), Claudian turns to Leo, whom he attacks, inter alia, for being grotesquely fat, greedy as a Cyclops, Harpy, or lion, antithetically abundans/ Corporis, exiguus animi, and socially inferior, merely a lowly weaver:

    Claudian now compares Leo to Ajax, with a comic comparison of Ajax's massive shield to Leo's belly:

    Bloated, effete, feminine, abhorrent Leo now delivers a pre-battle speech, promising to handle his enemies as easily as he handles the distaff. To indicate even more clearly that Leo's warlike-speech is a piece of rhetorical cosmetic, part of an unsuccessful attempt to disguise the fat man's true character as a miles gloriosus, Claudian compares his character's words to those delivered in the public theater by a young boy playing Niobe or Hecuba:

The connection with female roles supports, by association, Claudian's main, and Cameron suggests only charge against Eutropius, that he was a eunuch(61), and also reflects satirists' habit of attacking their opponents' sexual identity and behavior.

    The comparisons to animals continue. Leo meets his death not like the lion his name proclaims, but like a deer, while his horse sweats beneath his massive weight:

Stuck in the mud, he groans like a pig; Claudian now recalls Hosius' abilities as a cook, composing a simile which allows him, by association, to spit and roast his opponent:

    After telling us that Leo died fright, Claudian provides as his final insult a last reference to wool-carding, comically suggesting that the Fates have spun the final thread for one who should never have given up his homely trade:

    Thus Claudian, with particular emphasis on banquet imagery, performs an exercise in the sixth topic of psogos, with the help of two other topics, to reduce Eutropius' commander to the level of an animal.

    The association between dying and eating as a way of arranging a final humiliation for the object of one's invective, memorialized most vividly by Dante in his portrayal of Ugolino's fate, appealed generally to composers of psogos. A startling example of the deliberate rhetorical excesses that may result occurs early in the twelfth century, in the account of the First Crusade that Guibert de Nogent composed, in prose and verse.

    In the midst of a chronological narration of events, Guibert inserts a cadenza on the life of Mahomet(63). After devoting some attention to the theological errors for which the prophet was responsible, Guibert launches into a narrative that emphasizes the sexual license encouraged by Mahomet. In the case of the prophet himself, the result, acccording to Guibert, was an excessive number of children, and epilepsy. Having passed out during one of his seizures, Mahomet is eaten by pigs, with only his heels remaining:

Thus the heretic, having given himself up to bestial appetite, is "justly" devoured by the beasts most commonly associated with excessive physical appetite. The incident also gives Guibert a chance to compose a routine against one of his favorite objects for invective: false relics.

    To begin the routine, Guibert meditates on the significance of the narrative he has just given, providing an exegesis in the course of which he recalls the fate of Epicurus, offers the Stoics as types of true Christians, and asserts the precise fitness of the death of Mahomet:

Guibert now shifts his tone, composing a comic routine, that oscillates between prose and verse, and that deliberately and self-consciously goes "too far."(64) First he calls upon two parts of an Horatian ode to assist in interpreting the death of Mahomet:

We have composed a quatrain on the topic of his
heels, which will be, as the poet says, "more
lasting than brass, loftier than the royal site of
the Pyramids," so that the great man, happier than
any pig, may say with the poet: "I shall not die
entirely, a great part of me shall avoid hell."

Thus Guibert converts a line Horace wrote in praise of his own poetry into invective against Mahomet.

He proceeds to offer an elegaic quatrain of his own to magnify the absurd, abhorrent qualities of the death he has just described:

Manditur ore suum, qui porcum vixerat, hujus
Membra beata cluunt, podice fusa suum.
Quum talos ori, tum quod sus fudit odori,
Digno qui celebrat cultor honore ferat(65).

He who lived like a pig is chewed upon by pigs;
the limbs of him whom they called blessed become
pig excrement. Let him who wishes to honor him
properly bring the heels to his mouth, reeking of pig.

Charaud's response to the excesses of this routine shows a proper appreciation of Guibert's deliberate violation of decorum:

Et le moine s'en donne ‹ coeur joie lorsqu'il
livre ‹ la post€rit€ un quatrain d'horreur et de
grossiárt€s o l'analogie entre le porc et le
propháte Mahomet est savamment €tablie(66).

    Guibert, however, is still not finished with debasing his opponent, but instead steps up the use of banquet imagery, bringing in the Manicheans, and speculating on the number of angels created by the process of eating Mahomet:

Quod si Manichaeorum sunt vera repurgia sectae, ut
in omni quod comeditur pars quaedam maneat
commaculata Dei, et dentium comminutione, et
stomachi concoctione pars ipsa Dei purgetur, et
purgata jam in angelos convertitur, qui ructibus
et ventositate extra nos prodire dicantur: sues de
hujus carnibus pastas quot credimus angelos
effecisse et magnis hinc inde flatibus emisisse?

Suppose that the Manichees are right in arguing
that part of everything that is eaten contains
something divine, and that divine part is purified
by mastication and digestion, and the purified
part is turned into angels, and is released
through belching and farting; how many angels
should we believe were created and sent forth in
great farts by the pigs that ate his flesh(67)?

Having indulged his penchant for grotesque comedy, Guibert now tries to re-establish the illusion that he is an objective historian by offering a seemingly fair assessment of the contributions of Mahomet:

Sed omissis jocularibus quae pro sequacium
derisione dicuntur, hoc est insinuandum: quod non
eum Deum, ut aliqui aestimant, opinantur; sed
hominem justum eumdemque patronum, per quem leges
divinae tradantur.

But let us put aside these joke made at the
expense of his followers to make one thing clear:
they did not think that he was a God, as some
think, but a just man, and a leader, through whom
divine laws were transmitted.

    Cicero offers a model, though less extravagant, yet still porcine, for this kind of rhetorical behavior in the In Verrem. After associating his opponent with pigs ("pork gravy," anticipating the modern "pork barrel"), he apologizes for the vulgar comic relief:

Hinc illi homines erant qui etiam ridiculi
inveniebantur ex dolore; quorum alii, id quod
saepe audistis, negebant mirandum esse ius tam
nequam esse verrinum: alii etiam frigidiores
erant, sed quia stomachabantur ridiculi videbantur
esse, cum Sacerdotem exsecrabantur qui verrem tam
nequam reliquisset. Quae ego non commemorare
(neque enim perfacete dicta neque porro hac
severitate digna sunt) nisi vos illud vellem
recordari, istius nequitiam et iniquitatem tum in
ore vulgi atque in communibus proverbiis esse
versatam.

Hence those people whose indignation went so far
as to make them humorists: some of these made the
remark you have often heard repeated, that ius
verrinum was of course poor stuff: others were
still sillier, only that their irritation passed
them off as good jesters, when they cursed
Sacerdos for leaving such a miserable hog behind
him. I should not recall these jokes, which are
not particularly witty, nor, moreover, in keeping
with the serious dignity of this Court, were it
not that I would have you remember how Verres'
offences against morality and justice became at
the time the subject of common talk and popular
catchwords(68).

Cicero, then, provides a model for indulging in and apologizing for bad taste; having associated his opponent with pigs, he dissociates himself from the act(69).

    Unlike Cicero, however, Guibert strongly suggests that his victim's fate is the result of his sexual behavior, an activity generally included under topic four (deeds). Sexual excess or deviancy was a common attack in antiquity, as many texts, including those of Suetonius, Catullus, Horace, Petronius, Bion, and Lucian demonstrate. Medieval historians showed significant interest in this area also, offering attacks on the sexual behavior of general groups and of specific individuals.

    English historians throughout the Middle Ages complained about their compatriots' sexual behavior. Gildas, for example, as part of his general attack on the English, includes specific remarks about their sexual behavior, in a passage that depends heavily on antithesis and paradox:

Reges habet Britannia, sed tyrannos; iudices
habet, sed impios; saepe praedentes et
concutientes, sed innocentes; vindicantes et
patrocinantes, sed reos et latrones; quam plurimas
coniuges habentes, sed scortas et adulterantes;
crebro iurantes, sed periurantes; voventes, sed
continuo propemodum mentientes; belligerantes, sed
civilia et iniusta bella agentes...etc.

Britain has kings, but they are tyrants; she has
judges, but they are wicked. They often plunder
and terrorize -- the innocent; they defend and
protect -- the guilty and thieving; they have many
wives -- whores and adulteresses; they constantly
swear -- but almost at once tell lies; they wage wars --
civil and unjust(70).

    William of Malmesbury offers a similar performance, denouncing William Rufus and the results of his reign, in a passage that reflects several significant changes in the social and economic structure of England. The first complaint is directed at the increasing power of money and lawyers:

Nullus dives nisi nummularius, nullus clericus
nisi causidicus, nullus presbyter nisi, ut verbo
parum Latino utar, firmarius. Cujuscunque
conditionis homunculus, cujuscunque criminis reus,
statim ut de lucro regis appellasset, audiebatur;
ab ipsis latronis faucibus resolvebatur laqueus si
promisisset regale commodum(71).

There was no man rich except the money-changer; no
clerk unless he was a lawyer; no priest, unless (to use
a word which is hardly Latin) he was a farmer. Men of the meanest condition, or guilty of whatever crime, were listened to, if they could suggest anything likely to be advantageous to the king: the halter was loosed from the robber's neck, if he could promise any emolument to the
sovereign(72).

Next William complains about the greed of clerics, which permits them to spend inordinate amounts on current, feminizing fashion:

Soluta militari disciplina, curiales rusticorum
substantias depascebantur, insumebant fortunas, a
buccis miserorum cibos abstrahentes. Tunc fluxus
crinium, tunc luxus vestium, tunc usus calceorum
cum arcuatis aculeis inventus: mollitie corporis
certare cum foeminis, gressum frangere gestu
soluto et latere nudo incedere, adolescentium
specimen erat. Enerves, emolliti, quod nati
fuerant inviti manebant; expugnatores alienae
pudicitiae, prodigi suae. Sequabantur curiam
effoeminatorum manus et ganearum greges, ut non
temere a quodam sapiente dictum sit, felicem fore
Angliam si Henricus regnaret; talia conjectans
quod is ab adolescentia obscoenitates execraretur.

All military discipline being relaxed, the
courtiers preyed upon the property of the country
people, and consumed their substance, taking the
very meat from the mouths of these wretched
creatures. Then was there flowing hair and
extravagant dress; and then was invented the
fashion of shoes with curved points; then the
model for young men was to rival women in delicacy
of person, to mince their gait, to walk with losse
gesture, and half-naked. Enervated and effeminate,
they unwillingly remained what nature had made
them; the assailers of others' chastity, prodigal
of their own. Troops of pathics and droves of
harlots followed the court; so that it was said,
with justice, by a wise man, that England would be
fortunate if Henry could reign; led to such an
opinion, because he abhorred obscenity from his youth.

    Sharon Farmer points out a similar attack launched programatically by Orderic Vitalis, as part of his attack on contemporary corruption:

At one point Orderic indicates that a general
moral decline among knights, since the death of
William the Conqueror, was caused by a
feminization of culture -- a consequence both of
homosexuality and of a desire to please women,
through courtly etiquette(73).

In his attack on the English for drunkeness, effeminacy, and homosexuality at court, Orderic, like William of Malmesbury, focuses upon shoes -- in this case pigacias, or "pulley shoes," designed for Fulco, to conceal his bunions, taken up as a fashion by frivolous lovers of novelty. Orderic then delivers a denunciation of current fashions in sexuality:

Tunc effeminati passim in orbe dominabantur
indisciplinae debachabantur sodomiticisque
spurciciis foedi catamitae flammis urendi turpiter
abutebantur(74).

At that time effeminates set the fashion in many parts of the world: foul catamites doomed to eternal fire, unrestrainedly pursued their revels and shamelessly gave themselves up to
the filth of sodomy.

Orderic continues for some time in this vein, but does not match the rhetorical inventiveness of Alain de Lille. The triple internal rhyme, however, suggests that the topic was at least mildly inspiring for Orderic.

    Two centuries later, sexuality recedes again into one vice in a long catalogue of English excesses, when Higden attacks his countrymen in some of the same areas, heaping up comparisons with the aid of asyndeton:

Nam in gestu sunt histriones, in affatu Cicerones,
in convictu nebulones, in quaestu caupones, in
apparatu sunt tirones, in lucris Argi, in
laboribus Tantali, in curis Daedali, in cubilibus
Sardanapali, in curiis tonitrua, solis privilegiis
et praebendis clericos se fatentur(75).

    Some writers, however, were able to focus their rage on sexuality specifically, as well as on a specific individual. For example, in his Itinerarium Regis Ricardi, an account of the Third Crusade, Richard of Holy Trinity delivers an elaborate attack on the trigamy of Conrad, Marquis of Montferrat. First he bursts into a vituperative rage, invoking the topos of outdoing, a variation of panegyric-psogos topic five, to claim that Conrad's behavior exceeds that of Sinon, Mithridates, and Ulysses:

Facile viro tam industrio, et tot argutis
instructo id totum obtinere quod optat: quem nec
Sinon figmentis, nec Ulixes eloquio, nec
Mithridates diversitate linguarum aequaret (p. 119).

For a man so assiduous, so instructed in craft,
whom Sinon could not equal in trickery, nor
Ulysses in eloquence, nor Mithridates in
linguistic competence, it is easy to get what he wants.

Increasingly carried away by his sense of outrage, Richard adds verse to his prose, while charging her first husband with homosexuality:

aequaret...vir foeminae quam viro propior, gestu
mollis, sermone fractus, et cui illud poeticum
competit; Dum dubitat natura marem faceretve puellam,
Natus es, O pulcher, pene puella puer.

He was more like a woman than a man, soft in
movement, lisping in speech; this verse fits him:
While nature was in doubt whether to make a man or
a woman, you, o beauty, a boy almost a girl, were born.

To accuse a man with three wives of being more like a woman than a man may seem incongruous, but is in line with Isidore's etymologies:

Alii Graeca etymologia feminam ab ignea vi dictam
putant, quia vehementer concupiscit.
Libidinosiores enim viris feminas esse tam in
mulieribus quam in animalibus. Unde nimius amor
apud antiquos femineus vocabatur.

Some think that the Greek word for woman is
derived from the word for the force of fire,
because women experience desire intensely. Both in
women and in animals they say that women are more
sexually passionate than men. Therefore an excess
of erotic desire is called feminine(76).

Finally, Richard calls upon the topos of outdoing, claims to be in the process of transcending, or at least mixing, genres, and offers, as his final vituperative decoration, an antithetic play on absence and presence:

O scelus et morsu satirico et tragica declamatione
dignissimum; nam si Helenae raptum damnamus, in
hoc praesens factum turpius, et injuria major;
quod illa marito absente furtim surrepta, ista
viro praesente violenter abducta.

O evil deed, worth both of tragic speech and
satiric invective; for if we condemn the rape of
Helen, this present deed is worse and does greater
harm, since Helen was carried off when her husband
was absent, this woman was carried off forcefully
while her husband watched. (p. 120)

    Significantly, in his Old French version of the same events, L'Estoire de la Guerre Sainte, Ambroise attacks Conrad not from the perspective of a learned priest, but from the perspective of a soldier. From Ambroise's perspective, Conrad's behavior is that of a faus marchis (l.4111), motivated by greed for land, and sacrilegiously trigamous, since he already had two other wives, but the Old French poet devotes little rhetorical invention to the Marquis.

    In addition to sexual gesta and death, birth, the second topic of panegyric, provoked a significant amount of invective. Peter of Eboli, for example, a twelfth-century Hohenstauffen apologist, shows an enthusiastic, detailed interest in the second topic, in the course of composing a poem that permits him to parody yet another genre, the epistolary form. In the elegiacs of de rebus Siculis carmen, his panegyric and his diatribe are equally extreme.

    The object of his most imaginative attacks is Tancred, whom Peter describes, in accordance with topic five, as a monster, an ape, and a half-man:

ecce vetus monstrum, nature crimen aborsum;
ecce coronatur simia, turpis homo!
huc ades Allecto, tristis proclamet Herinis,
ludibrium mundi perpetuate, dies(77).

Lo, the old monster, the foul abortion of nature,
lo the foul, ape-like man is crowned.

His routine on Tancred's birth allows him to develop the second topic in terms of contemporary medical theory, thereby producing an elaborate derisio nascentis. Peter concentrates on the moment of conception, composing a speech in elegiacs for a learned doctor, who explains that Tancred is a monster, conceived unnaturally -- in a sense, unfathered:

Non in Tancredo sementat uterque parentum,
Et, si sementent, non bene conveniunt.
Sexu alter de stirpe ducum, de stegmate regum,
Altera de media stirpe creata fuit.
Naturam natura fugit: fornacis aborret
Gemma luem nec humus nobilitate coit.
Evomit humorem tam vilis texta virilem:
Concipitur solo semine matris homo.
Quantum materies potuit pauperrima matris,
Contulit et modicum materiavit opus.
Hunc habuisse patrem credamus nomine, non re:
Rem trahit a matre dimidiatus homo.
Qui purgata solo bene culto semina mandant,
In lolium versos sepe queruntur agros.
Sepius infelix conceptum vacca iuvencum
Monstriferumque pecus mollis abortit ovis(78).

Neither of Tancred's parents contributed seed, or,
if they did, their contributions were unequally
matched. One was of royal lineage, descended from
leaders and kings, while the other was of mediocre
lineage. Nature flees nature, the gem abhors the
filth of the furnace, nor does dirt mix with
nobility. Material so low rejected the male
spirit; the man was conceived entirely out of his
mother's seed. The wretched matter of his mother
contributed what it could, and the mediocre work
took shape. We believe that he had a father in
name only, but not in substance. The half-man drew
his substance from his mother. Those who sow pure
seed in land well cared for often lament that the
fields produce weeds. Often an unfortunate cow or
a soft sheep aborts its foetus, horribly deformed.

    Peter of Eboli was also capable of producing hyperbolic panegyric, but a true virtuoso might choose to demonstrate his proficiency by praising and blaming the same man, in spite of the horror Plato expressed that the Sophists trained men to do such a task(79). as a passage from Higden's fourteenth-century Polychronicon (with translation by Trevisa) demonstrates. Prince Llewelyn, from the Welsh perspective, was a hero, at whose death (sixth topic) an encomium in rhyming elegiacs was appropriate:

Hic jacet Anglorum tortor, tutor Venedorum,
Princeps Wallorum Lewelinus, regula morum,
Gemma coaevorum, flos regum praeteritorum,
Forma futurorum, dux, laus, lex, lux populorum.

Here lieth the tormentour of Englische men, wardyn
and tutor of Englische (Walsche in three other
Mss) men, prince of Walsche men, Lewelyn, rule of
good dedes and thewes, cheef precious stoon of hem
that were in his tyme, floure of kynges that were
toforehonde, ensaumple of hem that schal be after
this tyme, leder, preysinge, lawe, light of peple.

In composing his diatribe on Llewelyn, an anonymous English poet wrote a parody of the encomium, using the same verse-form, and syntax (i.e., a series of appositions):

Hic jacet errorum princeps et praedo virorum,
Proditor Anglorum, fax livida, secta reorum,
Numen Wallorum, trux, dux, homicida piorum,
(Faex) Trojanorum, stirps mendax, causa malorum.

Here lithe the prince of erroures, theef and
robber of men, traytour of Englische men; a dymme
brond, and secte of evel dedes and doers; god of
Walsche men, a cruel duke, sleere of god men;
draftes of Trojanes, a false roote, cause of evel dedes(80).

    An exercise like this offers clear aesthetic satisfactions, but also demonstrates that the techniques codified by the Second Sophistic may produce a list-like, static effect. Historians, however, can rely upon narrative to support panegyric and diatribe. Medieval historians regularly fabricate fabulae or, at best, argumenta, to serve as historia(81). As Marius Victorinus defines these terms, fabula contains nothing that is or seems true, historia contains things that are true, but remote in time, while argumentum is something which did not happen, but is credible:

Fabulam dicit esse quae nihil veri nec veri simile
continet ... Deinde historia est, inquit, quae
res veras continet, sed a nostra memoria
remotas...Argumentum est, quod quidem non est
factum, sed fiere potuisse creditur(82).

According to John of Garland (13th century), argumentum is most appropriate for comedy(83):

Argumentum est res ficta que tamen fieri potuit,
ut contingit in comediis.

Since medieval writers did not affix such labels to their narratives, what is outright fiction, what is fact, and what is plausible though fictional cannot always be determined confidently. Furthermore, the significance of such narratives is not always understood by modern readers. In some cases, readers have inferred exactly the opposite of what the author intended, as the discussion of Richard of Devizes' anecdote illustrates in the next chapter. Wild oscillations, mood-swings characterize the satirical persona. Bernard of Morlaix, for example:

Lugeo, rideo, Diogenes eo, Democritus sum...
(p. 55).

Since both were philosophers, the following lines from the Cambridge Songs (Karl Bruel, ed., Cambridge Songs, Cambridge, 1915) become less mysterious:

(67) De Mensa Philosphie, see line, lanx hinc satiricorum
Ad mensam Philosophie sitientes currite
et saporis tripertiti septem rivos bibite,
uno fonte procedentes, non eodem tramite.
Hinc fluit gramma prima, hinc poetica ydra,
lanx hinc satiricorum, plausus hinc comicorum,
letificat convivia Mantuana fistula.

You who are thirsty, rush to Philosophy's table,
and drink from the seven streams of three flavors,
which flow from one fountain, but not by the same
path. From this fountain flows the first letter,
as well as the poetic Hydra, and the plate of
satirists, the applause of comic writers, the
Mantuan flute brings pleasure to the feasts.


(1) For a thoughtful consideration of invective in antiquity, concluding with particularly useful remarks about Claudian, see Severin Koster, Die Invektive in der griechischen und römischen Literatur, Meisenheim am Glan, 1980; for satire among the Greek historians, see H. Strasburger, "Komik und Satire in der griechischen Geschichtsschreibuung," in Festgabe für Paul Kirn, Berlin, 1963, 13-45. For the models offered by Archilochus for reviling personal enemies, see M. Trey, Archilochus, Munich, 1959; K.J. Dover, Entretiens Fondation Hardt 10 (1964), pp. 183-212. See also G.C. Fiske, Lucilius and Horace, Madison, 1920, Chapter III, pp. 143-218, as well as note 1 on p. 209, for Greek satiric literature.

(2) Njall Rudd's contention, in Satires of Horace, Cambridge, 1966, p. 1. On diatribe, see D.A. Russell, Greece and Rome 15 (1968) 130-46. Michael Coffey, (Roman Satire, London, 1976, pp. 92-93) identifies some of the features of diatribe: "Marks of diatribe style include the introduction of an imaginary interlocutor, anecdotes, fables, parody, the personification of a abstract idea such as poverty, proverbial illustrations, and a wide range of imagery from everyday life." Plato uses the term of discourse generally (Apology 37D, Gorgias 484E). Features of diatribe occur in the Epistles of Paul.

(3) "Das Mittelalter kannte die Satire als Gattung nicht," according to Fritz Schalk, in "Die moralische und literarische satire," in La littérature didactique, allégorique, et satirique, vol. 6, p. 245, of Grundriss der Romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters, Heidelberg, 1968, ed. Jurgen Beyer. See Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, Princeton, 1957, pp. 309-310, for the "careless structure" of satire; for satire's tendency to borrow relentlessly from other genres, often passing itself off as something else, see Ronald Paulsen, The Fictions of Satire, Baltimore, 1967, p. 224.

(4) Luis Alonso Schökel speaks of Deutero-Isaiah as a satirist, in The Literary Guide to the Bible, ed. by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, Cambridge, 1987, pp. 176 ff.; James S. Ackerman makes out a strenuous case for satire in the book of Jonah, in "Satire and Symbolism in the Song of Jonah," in Traditions in Transformation, edited by Baruch Halpern and J.D. Levenson, Winona Lake, Ind., 1981, pp. 214-246.

(5) For a densely compacted discussion of the hypothesis that history in the Middle Ages was a branch of literature, see Herbert Grundmann, Geschichtsschreibung im Mittelalters, Göttingen, 1965. For a more extensive, lavishly detailed discussion, see Bernard Guenée, Histoire et culture historique dans l'occident médiéval, Paris, 1980. In English, the argument was popularized by R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of History, Oxford, 1946. Beryl Smalley does a good job of establishing a continuum between classical and medieval historians, in Historians in the Middle Ages, London, 1974.

(6) John O. Ward, "Classical Rhetoric and the Writing of History in Medieval and Renaissance Culture," in European History and its Historians, ed. F. McGregor and N. Wright, Adelaide, 1977, p. 2.

(7) Op. cit., p. 5.

(8) For the kinds of texts produced by medieval writers of historical literature, see Guen€e, op. cit., pp. 203 ff see also R.D. Ray, "Medieval Historiography Through the Twelfth Century," Viator V (1974), pp. 33-59. Twelfth-century seem particularly prone to the blandishments of a satirical Clio; J.E. Sandys, for example, finds John of Salisbury's Historia Pontificalis "as much a satire as a history,' in the Cambridge History of English History Cambridge 1967, p. 187.

(9) The term ordinary language provides, as Robert M. Adams reminds us in Bad Mouth, Berkeley, 1977.

(10) Moralische-Satirische Gedichte von Walter von Chatillon, ed. by Karl Strecker, Heidelberg, 1929, p. 64. Clio seems to have been generally useful in the middle ages, since Alain of Lille mentions her at the beginning of the Anticlaudianus (l. 2), although his work is more clearly allegorical than historical.

(11) His prosodic choice of iambics, the form both for tragedy and comedy in Roman poetry, as the predominant meter for his satire, also shows a penchant for mixed decorum, another feature characteristic of satire.

(12) John of Garland, Parisian Poetria, ed. and translated by Traugott Lawler, New Haven, 1974, pp. 102-103.

(13) Tacitus, Oxford, 1958, vol 2, p. 500.

(14) "De Palpone," A.G. Rigg (ed.), The Poems of Walter of Wimborne, Toronto, 1978, p. 43.

(15) David Wiesen, Saint Jerome as a Satirist, Ithaca, 1964, p. 11.

(16) Georg Misch, Geschichte der Autobiographie, Frankfurt, 1955, vol. 2, part 2, p. 577.

(17) Koster, op. cit., pp. 120, 215, 248.

(18) Migne PL CXXXVI 368.

(19) Ibid, p. 156.

(20) A version of the argument sometimes used to defend the rhetorical excesses of the Romantic poets; see Henri Peyre, Literature and Sincerity, New Haven, 1963, p. 134.

(21) The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. Marjorie Chibnall, Oxford, 1973, vol. IV, p. 190.

(22) Recueil des Historiens des Croisades: Historiens Occidentaux, Tome Premier, IIe Partie, Paris, 1844, XXI. vii.

(23) Translation by E.A. Babcock, History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, New York, 1943, 2 volumes, p. 406.

(24) Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, ed. W.M Lindsay, Oxford, 1911, VIII, vii, 7.

(25) Juvenal et la r€alit€ contemporaine, Paris, 1976, p. 480.

(26) The Anatomy of Satire, Princeton, 1962, p. 3. Highet believes that satire existed during the Middle Ages, but comes to the patronizing conclusion that, "Although the men of the Middle Ages understood neither the pattern nor some of the important devices of the classical satirists, they wrote many satirical works" (The Classical Tradition, Oxford, 1949, p. 305).

(27) Ibid, p. 18.

(28) Zumthor, Paul, Langue, texte, enigme, Paris, 1975, p. 245.

(29) op. cit., p. 307.

(30) Narrative Conventions of Truth in the Middle Ages, Geneva, 1981, p. 22 et alibi.

(31) Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, Cambridge, 1968.

(32) Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, Cambridge, 1968, p. 370. For a recent application of some of Bakhtin's distinctions to a Medieval Latin text of considerable length and complexity, see the introduction to Jill Mann's edition and translation of Ysengrimus, Leiden, 1987, pp. 29-44.

(33) Ibid.

(34) Effectively what E.R. Curtius means by "kitchen humor" in European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, New York, 1953, pp. 431-435.

(35) History of Latin Secular Poetry in the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1967, II, p.153.

(36) "On the Representation of History and Fiction in the Middle Ages," History and Theory, XXII (1983), pp. 280.

(37) Guen€e, op. cit., p. 25. Significantly, Walter of Chatillon associates truth with pleasure only to introduce a panegyric: Quod si verum placet scribi (op. cit., p. 29).

(38) For Juvenal's use of tragic matter for satire, see Anderson, op. cit., pp. 197 ff..

(39) Otto of Freising, Chronicon, ed. R. Wilmans, MGH XX (Scriptores), 1868, p. 116.

(40) Mierow, C.C. The Two Cities etc., New York, 1928, p. 89. Sir Ronald Syme's description of Sallust's style as "grim and truculent" might equally well apply to Otto; see Sallust, Berkeley, 1964, p. 256.

(41) Richard of Holy Trinity, RS 38.1 p. 120; Hans E. Meyer, Das itinerarium peregrinorum, Stuttgart, 1962 (MGH XVIII).

(42) Op. cit., pp. 192-193.

(43) Time and Narrative, Chicago, 1984, p. 166.

(44) Curtius, op. cit., p. 424.

(45) See L. R. Shero, "The Cena in Roman Satire," Classical Philology 18 (1923), p. 128.

(46) As quoted in Koster, op. cit., p. 28.

(47) Ibid., p. 350. Among the other conventional genres Koster invokes in his discussion are negative proempticon, exsecratio, proverb, diatribe, tragedy, epic, and vituperatio (p. 279).

(48) Claudia Romano provides a very useful, but partisan summary of the discussion, with charts to help determine intentional, unintentional, verbal, dramatic, situational, romantic, and other kinds of irony, in Irony in Juvenal, Hildesheim, 1979, pp. 3-37.

(49) Curtius, op. cit, pp. 425 ff.

(50) Essays on Roman Satire, Princeton, 1982, pp. 28-29. To use distinctions Misch applies to the autobiographer, the satirist displays a morphological rather than an organic personality, conforming to the problem, rather than asserting his vision.

(51) See the discussion on this topic below, Chapter One; Fiske (op. cit. pp. 90-91) points out that the Greek Cynics and Stoics made a sharp distinction between invective and humor: "The theory of satiric humor set forth in Horace's satires 1.3; 1.4; 1.10; and 2:1, is in essential harmony with that set forth in the de officiis 1.101-104 by Cicero." Both Horace and Cicero, however, failed to practice what they preached (see below). For other links between Stoicism and satire, see Anderson, op. cit., p. 15: "Lucilius created his satiric style in accordance with Stoic rhetorical doctrine." For links between Stoicism and medieval history, see F. P. Pickering, Augustinus oder Boethius, Berlin, 1967, vol. I. As Pickering represents the problem, a medieval writer had to determine whether his sympathies lay with a Boethian rejection of the possibility that events in the sublunary world had any permanent significance (in which case he could scarcely compose a line on events in his own time), or with the Augustinian affirmation that God's will is worked out in human history. A secular figure, then, could safely command Christian attention only by working out God's will through providentially pious acts; only the most naive reader, then, would be surprised to find that medieval historians bestow the words and deeds of a devout athlete of God upon figures and groups in whom they have emotional, material, and sometimes intellectual investments.

(52) Medieval writers of historical literature produce works that often contain some of the characteristics of the loose and baggy monster currently fashionable to term "Menippean satire." See Northrop Frye, The Anatomy of Criticism, Princeton, 1957, pp. 309ff: M.M. Bakhtin, The Problems of Dostoievsky's Poetics, Ann Arbor, 1973, Chapter One; F. Anne Payne has used Bakhtin's scheme on a set of fourteenth-century texts in Chaucer and Menippean Satire, Madison, 1981; see also the introduction to Jill Mann's edition and translation of Ysengrimus, Leiden, 1987, pp. 29-44. See below, chapters four and five, for an attempt to determine the extent to which Menippean satire makes sense when applied to Liudprand and Walter Map.

(53) Cecil Wooten, Hermogenes on Types of Style, Chapel Hill, 1987, p. 139.

(54) Cicero's description of panegyric covers most of the same ground, without enumerating the topics; see E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham, Cicero: De Oratore, Cambridge, 1967, v. I, pp. 456 ff.

(55) The list is taken from C.S. Baldwin, Medieval Rhetoric and Poetics, Gloucester, 1959, pp. 60 ff.

(56) De Oratore, Sutton and Rackham, pp. 396-97, 382-383.

(57) Alan Cameron, Claudian: Poetry and Propaganda at the Court of Honorius, Oxford, 1970, p. 254. See also Quintillian 3,7 on laus et vituperatio.

(58) Ibid, p. 253. See also: R.T. Bruáre, "Lucan and Claudian: the Invectives," Classsical Philology 59 (1964), pp. 223-56; Harry L. Levy, "Themes of Encomium and Invective in Claudian," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 89 (1958), pp. 336-47. Levy speaks of Claudian's poems as consisting of deceptive, mixed genres: the two poems, "ostensibly brief historical epics, are in reality largely encomia of Stilicho and Honorius, intermingled with invectives against two enemies of Stilicho's reign" (p. 336). Gildo and Alaric are the objects of the invective.

(59) For a biblical version of the same strategy see Isaiah 37.29.

(60) Harry L. Levy shows some of the ways in which Claudian's In Rufinum follows the prescriptions for panegyric and vituperation, in "Claudian's In Rufinum and the Rhetorical Psogos," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, off, 77 (1946), pp. 57-65. His contention that Claudian's attack on Eutropius does not follow the prescriptions needs to be modified, if my demonstration of their function in attacking Eutropius' allies is convincing.

(61) Cameron, op. cit., p. 128. See also M.K. Hopkins, "Eunuchs in Politics in the later Roman Empire,' Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society clxxxix (n.s. 1?) 1963, pp. 62-80.

(62) Claudian, edited and translated by Maurice Platnauer, London, 1956.

(63) Guibert de Nogent, Gesta Dei per Francos, RHC.HO IV, p. 130. For a discussion of later versions of this scene, with particular emphasis on the version offered by Matthew Paris, see Suzanne Lewis, The Art of Matthew Paris, Berkeley, 1987, pp. 99-101.

(64) For an attempt to account for Guibert's sensibility, see M.D. Coupe, "The personality of Guibert de Nogent reconsidered," Journal of Medieval History IX, no. 4 (Dec. '83), pp. 317-329. See also Charaud, Jacques, "La conception de l'histoire de Guibert de Nogent," Cahiers de civilisation m€di€vale VIII (1965), pp. 381-395.

(65) For another poem on Mahomet, by Walter of Compiágne, first half of the 12th century, see Raby II.82. MS Paris 11332; extracts H. Prutz, Mnchener Sitzungscher 1903, pp. 84 ff., and E. du M€ril, Po€sies populaires latines du moyen «ge, pp. 379 ff.

(66) Op. cit., p. 385.

(67) For some readers this passage may recall the passage in the Apocolocyntosis in which Claudius reaches heaven by his own flatulence. See also Carol Bynum Walker's paper on the anxiety about the body reflected in passages like this.

(68) Cicero, The Verrine Orations, ed. and transl. by L.H.G. Greenwood, London, 1928, I, pp. 252-53.

(69) For a study of Cicero's sense of humor, useful in spite of its Bergsonian bias, see Auguste Haury, L'Ironie et l'humour chez Ciceron, Leiden, 1955. For another example of the phenomoneon, see Liudprand's poem to Willa I, discussed below in chapter III.

(70) Michael Winterbottom, Gildas: the Ruin of Britain and other works, Totowa, 1978, p. 29.

(71) Historia Anglorum, ed. W. Stubbs, London, 1889 (RS 90.2. pp. 369-70).

(72) Translation by J.A. Giles, William of Malmesbury's Chronicle, London, 1889, pp. 336-337.

(73) Sharon Framer, "Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives," Speculum 61 (1986), p. 522. In comparing Henry of Huntingdon and Orderic, Antonia Gransden remarks: "Sometimes Henry pushes farther than Orderic does. Orderic implied that the wreck of the White Ship was due to God's vengeance for immorality; Henry explicity states that it was the result of homosexuality at court." ( Historical Writing in England, Cornell, 1973, Vol. 1, p. 199).

(74) Chibnall, op. cit., IV. p. 186.

(75) RS 41.2, pp. 171-172.

(76) Seneca and other Romans made the same association; see Amy Richlin, The Garden of Priapus, New Haven, 1983, pp. 3, 4, 139, 222.

(77) De Rebus Siculis Carmen, ed. Ettore Rota, Citta di Castello, 1904. p. 32.

(78) Ibid, p. 36. For an explanation of the controversy between those who thought reproduction required two seeds and those who thought that it required one, see M. Anthony Hewson, Giles of Rome, the Medieval Theory of Conception, London, 1975.

(79) Classical writers, nevertheless, did so without apparent discomfort. Sallust, for example, attacks Calpurnius Bibulus in his Letter to Caesar, and then, in his Invective against Cicero attacks Cicero for attacking Bibulus ( Sallust, edited and translated by J.C. Rolfe, Cambridge, 1965, pp. 478, 500).

(80) Higden, Polychronicon, R.S. 41, pp. 266-267; p. 268-269.

(81) For further discussion of these terms, see Heinrich Lausberg, Handbuch der literarischen Rhetorik, 2 vols., Munich, 1960, I.146-240 on structure. For some useful applications of the terms, see Michael Lapidge, "Gildas' Education and the Latin Culture of Sub-Roman Britain," pp. 41ff., in Gildas: New Approaches, ed. Michael Lapidge and David Dumville, Woodbridge, 1984.

(82) Rhetores Latini minores, ed. C. Halm, Leipzig, 1863, p. 202. Cicero offers a good example of a narrative that is difficult to classify, when he describes Verres' unsuccesful attempt to seduce his host's daughter at a dinner party.

(83) Op. cit., pp. 100-101. Consider also personification allegory, allegory of poet opposed to allegory of theologian.

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