John Ward

title.none: Swanson, The Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Ward)

identifier.other: baj9928.0006.002 00.06.02

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: John Ward, Sydney University,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2000

identifier.citation: Swanson, R.N. The Twelfth Century Renaissance. New York: Manchester University Press, 1999. Pp. viii, 227. 79.95. ISBN: 0-719-04256-9.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 00.06.02

Swanson, R.N. The Twelfth Century Renaissance. New York: Manchester University Press, 1999. Pp. viii, 227. 79.95. ISBN: 0-719-04256-9.

Reviewed by:

John Ward
Sydney University

No te: references in brackets, other than to Swanson's book, may be recovered by e-mail application to the writer of this review. A 'Companion to the Twelfth-Century Renaissance' is also available in the same way.


It is pleasing for one who does work in the field of the 'Twelfth-Century Renaissance' to see that the topic is sufficiently attractive to interest a non-specialist (Swanson claims forthrightly that his specialist work is not in the field). Swanson, whose careful and original work is confined to matters of church and state in the later middle ages, has here produced an earnest and diligent book, one that by its very diligence perhaps deals its topic a near-fatal blow: as the author admits, the 'Twelfth-Century Renaissance' is not a 'thing', but a 'perception', a 'feeling' that animates some of us today and some of those who stood on the brink of great things in what we call the 'twelfth century': the cosmographical and platonist insights of what used to be called the 'Chartrian' school were exciting at the time (despite the work of R.W. Southern), Bernard Silvestris' Cosmographia was recognised as a great and pioneering work [1], scholars like Gilbert de la Porree and Abelard felt themselves on the edge of new age. Figures like Heloise indeed, marked the very ambivalence of this 'new age': such a figure had not appeared before, and would not again for a very long time (Christine de Pizan???): a girl (young woman?), circulating relatively untended amongst the men in the leading intellectual foyer of the day, herself with a literary education in Latin going back to the eleventh-century Ovidian Renaissance [2], that marked her out for contemporaries such as Abelard himself and Peter the Venerable (observing from Cluny). Something died with Heloise: Jaeger [3] has touched upon the subject: the 'Twelfth- Century Renaissance' was in many ways the 'death' of the oral, charismatic, behavioural world of the eleventh-century; the very birth of widespread literacy (much commented on recently as the key feature of the so-called Twelfth-Century Renaissance) killed an earlier age characterized by a much greater integration between life and literature (cf. Swanson p. 4). Heloise is a relic of that age, and for the males of the post-Heloise period, the flotsam of humanist classicism served mainly as a failing badge of identity and demarcation in an age that was rapidly moving towards a scholastic professionalism stressing law, theology, dialectic and grammar, rather than the bric-a-brac of antiquity. By the time of the famous Benediktbeuern manuscript of the 'Carmina Burana', the Latin poetry of the twelfth century was largely a nostalgic memory. Indeed, many texts characterisic of the liminal twelfth century--such as the 'letters' of Heloise and Abelard--fell from view, and, not by chance, were 'rediscovered' in the late- thirteenth-century world of vernacular humanism. [4]

Some of all this has come through in Swanson's book, but mainly as fragments in a cleaned up academic story dealing with:

ch. 1, "Debates and contexts", pp. 1 ff (including economic expansion pp. 7 ff)

ch. 2, "Educational structures", pp. 12 ff

ch. 3, "Past, present, and future: legacies, imports, memories", pp. 40 ff (including notions of Latinity pp. 41 ff, survival of the Classics pp. 43 ff, historical awareness/writings pp. 54 ff)

ch. 4, "Law, politics and government", pp. 66 ff

ch. 5, "Intellectual transitions: philosophy and theology, humanism and individualism", pp. 103 ff (philosophy pp. 104 ff, theology pp. 115 ff); Humanism and individualism pp. 139 ff)

ch. 6, 'The arts, vernacular literature, and music", pp. 152 ff

ch. 7, "A Renaissance for women?", pp. 188 ff

ch. 8, 'Towards a Conclusion", pp. 207 ff.

A good bibliography and index conclude the volume (pp. 215- 240). Eight black and white 'figures' illustrate some aspects of chapter 6, and provide a few glimpses of manuscript pages at other points in the book.

In general, however, the idea of a 'text-book' on the 'Twelfth- century Renaissance' is in many ways a non-sequitur. One does not want to turn an exciting chase into a 'text-book learn', to 'kill' the enthusiasm of a student who might like to follow up the idea of 'renewal' (baptismal? - cf. Ullmann [5]) all the way from the classics and the occult (alchemy, astrology, Hermeticism etc., not dealt with in Swanson's treatment) to the Holy Grail (via the rib vault and the flying buttress), nor the idea that the whole phenomenon of the 'Twelfth-century Renaissance' is 'constructed' (3) and therefore very much open to a student's imagination. Indeed, the 'constructed' nature of the phenomenon from the time of D.C. Munro and C. H.Haskins needs more stress (the recent popular article by Speigel and Freedman in American Historical Review [6] is a good start here) as do the longue duree changes (demographic and productivity-of-the-soil growth, growing impact of clerical literacy and social organisational skills). [7] The emergence of the power-structure of the church over against more marginal (and growingly prominent) elements in society [8], and the tendency for 'classicism' itself to work as a badge of the marginalised intelligentsia in an age of rapid change (compare the 'crisis' of the 'humanities' today and note Swanson's comment p. 207 n.1) could be stressed more fully (than they are p. 207), and in general the maturation of new (thirteenth- century, scholastic) intellectual trends to replace the largely late-antique ones that had governed the 'Twelfth-century Renaissance' is important.

I would therefore argue that we need a 'leading idea' to give shape to this important period in history, to act as a guide for the perplexed, so to speak. Teaching the subject nowadays in a 'modern' (or 'postmodern'?) university, one needs to make large points in recommending students to take up a subject intrinsically as remote as 'the Twelfth-century [European] Renaissance' (or does this seem so only from an Australian perspective?). Brian Stock's leading idea is a fascinating--if complex and unclear--one [9]; R.W. Southern's view of twelfth- thirteenth-century 'humanism' is an exciting and comprehensive one [10], but in general no 'idee fixe' grips us in this book, which, at worst, might encourage students to paraphrase and re- gurgitate rather than to poke around among the extraordinary primary sources for the period themselves. Much can be done at a fairly routine level trying to assess the regional variations in cultural levels (and here Thomson's work contrasting England with Europe is valuable (Swanson's index is comprehensive on 'England', 'France', 'Germany', 'Italy', 'Spain', but the topic is not problematized), and of late the work of Georges Duby [11], and Roger Bartlett (cited Swanson p. 216) have encouraged us to take up the important theme of who or what 'funds' a cultural 'Renaissance' and how. The broader dimensions of cultural movements and the extent to which they are homogeneous as we move down the social scale are explored in a challenging way and one that is very relevant to the period under discussion, by the Russian historian Aaron Gurevich (whose important works--all, with the exception of the very original Problemy genezisa feodalizmo v zapadnoj Evrope [12], translated into English by Michele Sampaolo [13]--I do not find in Swanson's bibliography). We might also nowadays in the post-Susan-Reynolds phase of discussion about 'feudalism', want to see this term/concept as very largely a product of the 'Twelfth-Century Renaissance', and in particular of the renewed focus upon writing, written systems and literacy that was an important part of that 'Renaissance'. [14] I myself prefer the somewhat more comprehensive notion that if we are today 'run' by an elite trained at a tertiary level in scientific, technical, literary, legal, political, managerial and business procedures or manners (their financial backers and those that proft from their activities and what those activities produce), or if we are today still in the grip of a certain restrictive cultural attitude towards sex and the body, then the origins of this 'tyranny of literacy' was 'The Twelfth Century Renaissance'. Why? What was lost, and how was what was won in fact won? The recent 'Renaissance' of 'marginal' cultures (indigenous peoples, women etc.) only underlines the problem of reclaiming what was 'lost' in the great literate 'revolution' of the 'The Twelfth Century Renaissance' (or so it might be interesting to argue--I have an unpublished paper available to those who e-mail me on an aspect of this theme entitled "Rhetoric, The School of Chartres and The Decline of The Humanities in the European Renaissance of The Twelfth Century"). The recent flurry of work on figures such as Heloise, Hildegard of Bingen, Elizabeth of Schonau, Beatrice of Nazareth, Yvette of Huy, Marie d'Oignies, Mecthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete--to take some leading examples-- suggests the wealth of corrective perspective when we begin to dig below the apparent levels at which the 'Twelfth Century Renaissance' was transforming contemporary society.

Withal, however, Swanson's volume is a careful, well-read, comprehensive and conscientious one and may be recommended for a student's introductory work. It may be a long time before anyone does a better job.


[1] Douglas Kelly, The Arts of Poetry and Prose (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols 1991).

[2] Gerald Bond, The Loving Subject: desire, eloquence, and power in Romanesque France (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1995).

[3] C. Stephen Jaeger, The Envy of Angels: cathedral schools and social ideals in Medieval Europe 950-1200 (Philadelphia: University of Pensylvania Press, 1994)

[4] Winthrop Wetherbee, Platonism and Poetry in the Twelfth Century: the literary influence of the school of Chartres (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,1972)

[5] W. Ullmann, Medieval Foundations of Renaissance Humanism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977).

[6] G. Spiegel and P. Freedman, "Medievalisms Old and New: The Rediscovery of Alterity in North American Medieval Studies," American Historical Review 103:3 (1998): 677ff.

[7] On 'satire' as an expression of the alienated clerical elite see Thomson's three papers, nos. XI, XII, XIII, in his England and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Ashgate Variorum, 1998).

[8] R.I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society: power and deviance in western Europe 950-1250 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1981); H. Fichtenau, Heretics and Scholars in the High Middle Ages 1000-1200, trans. Denise A. Kaiser (College Town, PA: Pensylvania State University Press, 1998).

[9] See his The Implications of Literacy: written language and models of interpretation in the eleventh and twelfth centuries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), and note Swanson's due obeisance towards the theme pp. 16, 23, 49, 170-71, 181, 192, 194, 199-201, and 212.

[10] Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, I (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995) and is touched on by Swanson here and there pp. 65, 140.

[11] See his "The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century: audience and patronage," in Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages, trans. Jane Dunnett Cambridge (Chicago, Oxford: Polity Press, 1994 [originally published as Male Moyen Age]), pp. 149- 67.

[12] Moskva: Izdat, Vysshaja Shkola 1970.

[13] Aron Ja. Gurevic, Le Origini del Feudalesimo, pref. Raoul Manselli (Rome, 1982).

[14] Susan Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals: the medieval evidence re-interpreted (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), and for a preliminary, even premature, assessment, see my "Feudalism revisited" in Mabel Lee and Michael Wilding, eds, History, Literature and Society: essays in honour of S. N. Mukherjee (Manohar, New Delhi: Sydney Association for Studies in Society and culture 15, 1997), pp.197-225.


Detailed remarks and comments, references abbreviated. I refer to the general content of the portion of Swanson's book in question and follow with some comments.

Economic expansion: reference is needed to Duby's excellent chapter in Love and Marriage on the economic basis for the Twelfth-Century Renaissance.

Changing educational structures: lacks the insights of Jaeger's Envy of Angels, or a sense of the exploding eleventh- century world of controversy and doubt: the eucharistic controversy, the patarini, the role of the devil, marriage and celibacy for clergy and laity, power in church and state, the relationship betwen language and the real world, etc., all controversies that played a large part in generating the intellectual ferment that we call the Twelfth-Century Renaissance. Nevertheless, there is much in Southern ( Scholastic Humanism I) and Gillian Evans ( Old Arts and New Theology) to justify the chapter as a whole.

Notions of Latinity: Swanson's failure to be specific here and to isolate practitioners of Ciceronian periodic style from the all-pervading late antique vocabulary and mannerism, born from what Swanson calls loosely 'the florid rhetorical tradition' and from the dictaminal prose of the later twelfth century, is a shortcoming here.

Survival of the Classics, pp. 43 ff: the distinction between the 'Old Logic' and the 'New Logic' is vague on p.45. The misdating / mis-attribution of Graeco-Roman works (p.46) was not confined to the twelfth century (cf. the Italian Renaissance handling of Hermes Trismegistus and the late and often ignored demonstration that the Ad Herennium was not by Cicero).

"Law, politics and government": deal in particular with 'Roman Law', then 'Canon Law' (all good, but needs to direct students more to the very interesting works of Charles Radding and to Southern's illuminating discussion of Burchard of Worms, Ivo of Chartres, Gratian etc., in Scholastic Humanism I), then 'secular/feudal/imperial Law', then questions of overlap of jurisdiction, changing modes of proof, then political ideas: 1. the Roman inheritance/'Renaissance' (Arnold of Brescia and medieval 'republicanism'; 2. kingship (needs more attention to the creation of 'new' kingships-- Jerusalem, southern Italy-- Roger II of 'Sicily' gets only glancing references - pp.78, 95- 96); 3. papal monarchy; 4. transition to cash- and literacy- based government.

Humanism and individualism: this is a basically intelligent and competent discussion, though a little theoretical and with inadequate attention to Latin letters as a prevalent 'discourse' (in the Foucauldian sense: see my "Rhetoric, Truth and Literacy in the Renaissance of the Twelfth Century"). There is a good conclusion, p. 151.

The arts: architecture, sculpture, carving, wall painting, stained glass, mosaics, metalwork, enamels, seals, coins), vernacular literature, music (arabic influence? What was 'reborn' - p. 185? - the links mentioned p. 187 are rather tenuous). It is good to see someone take up what Haskins left aside (Swanson p.152) and one who keeps the focus on 'Renaissance', i.e. what was 'reborn'. Nevertheless, there are failings: much of the spirit and excitement of Southern's famous chapter 5 ("Epic to Romance") in his Making of the Middle Ages, with the follow-up of R.W. Hanning, is unstressed in Swamson's discussion, and the dismissal of light metaphysics, p. 160, is odd given the work of Otto Von Simson ( The Gothic Cathedral). New perspectives based on manuscript illustrations such as that of Sandra Hindman ( Sealed in Parchment: rereadings of knighthood in the illuminated manuscripts of Chretien de Troyes) need stressing too.

A Renaissance for Women?: at long last someone is applying Joan Kelly's question to the twelfth century. Swanson is right to stress religion (pp. 191-2) but does not go far enough (cf. the work of Amy Hollywood, Barbara Newman, Elisabeth Bos and Jennifer Carpenter etc. etc. etc. Some good things in my and Francesca Bussey, eds, Worshipping Women: misogyny and mysticism in the middle ages). In all this the 'long' twelfth-century Renaissance stretches to the burning of Marguerite Porete at Paris in 1310 A.D. Why didn't Eleanor of Aquitaine write? This is on the whole a good chapter, and it does raise the question of the origins and nature of medieval clerical misogyny (add Alcuin Blamires, ed., Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: an anthology of medieval texts to the reading list), but the appearance of Constant Mew's epochal The Lost Love-Letters of Heloise and Abelard is bound to throw much of it into the melting pot again.

In all this there are good and bad spots. In addition to the good spots already mentioned, I liked: the comparison between Italian and Oxford business school (24; see Martin Camargo, ed., Medieval Rhetorics of Prose Composition: five English 'artes dictandi' and their tradition [Binghamton, New York: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 1995] on the latter); emphasis (28) on the pragmatic nature of twelfth- century education, on rhetoric (30) and on 'authorities/classics' (46-7); the comments on the translating movement (50-54--but why not some reference to Southern's interesting view that the thirteenth-century digested what the twelfth dug up?); the historia/ argumentum/ fabula mention (55; but see the important book on the subject by Paivi Mehtonen, Old Concepts and New Poetics: 'historia', 'argumentum' and 'fabula' in the twelfth- and early thirteenth-century Latin poetics of fiction [Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1996]); comments on medieval historiography (56 ff); on the historicity of the Chansons de Geste (62); on forgery (62 ff); on King John (102).

Swanson has some good observations on the 'leaking' of the theological discipline into non-academic environments (103); he deals well with the cosmographical poetry of the period (113- 4), and he provides much good insight under the heading of 'Theology' (115 ff): he is good on Rupert of Deutz (122 and 148), on Purgatory (127), on the Jews (131), on Maitland (133), on heresy (134), on 1215 A.D. (136), on salvation and pastoral care (137), on penititential books and the 'medieval reformation' (138; more on this would be desirable nowadays, see G. Constable, The Reformation of the Twelfth Century, and my review of same in recent Arthuriana), on humanism (141), on Abelard and individualism (142), on Alan of Lille and Innocent III (149), on the meaning of 'Renaissance' (153). The comparison between the Poem of the Cid and the Song of William the Marshal is something specialists might not have thought of (179); the remarks on orthography are pertinent (180) and asking the question 'why was Heloise educated' is very relevant (but see p. 198 where the question is peremptorily answered); the question who edited the Abelard-Heloise letter-collection is a good one, and the comparison between Hildegard of Bingen and John of Salisbury is again one that specialists might not have thought of.

Now for the 'bad spots'. The often rather 'potted' nature of Swanson's discussion comes out in his treatment of the schools 'of/at' Chartres and Laon. Aridly rehearsing the arguments of Val Flint and R.W. Southern is no substitute for sampling the philosophic/literary unity behind the texts involved, the intellectual and curricular differences (pace Southern in his Reading Lecture) between Paris and the provinces and looking at the 'realities' of the situation: it was not possible in the twelfth century to 'commute' between Paris and Chartres. If the holders of Chartres benefices resided in Paris for the purposes of teaching, where did they live and how did they confront their own 'absentee' status in the climate of twelfth- century 'reform' (27)? Besides, contemporaries could call themselves Chartrian (Carnotenses) so why should not we? The so-called 'School of Chartres' is ripe for revival and is part of the kaleidoscopic diversity of the twelfth-century Renaissance (what Lehmann called 'Vielgestalt').

Rhetoric receives little attention (29), yet it dominated (as p. 30 demonstrates!). 'Robert de Courson' did not 'issue the first set of statutes' for the 'University' of Paris. He simply (as Ferruolo and I have demonstrated in different places), attended to some matters in dispute. On Bologna, see the illuminating discussion in Southern's Scholastic Humanism I, pp. 267 ff.

The rapid growth in Gilbert de la Porree's student numbers attending his shift from Chartres to Paris is no longer taken as literally as Swanson implies (34).

The alleged 'lack of an editorial imperative' (46) is not so. There is plenty of such evidence (see my Ciceronian Rhetoric pp. 96 ff for example) and in any case we must not forget the pragmatic rather than antiquarian nature of twelfth- century 'scholarship'. Characters such as William of Malmesbury, who in R.M. Thomson's excellent reconstructions, operated rather like an antiquarian, are outside the mainstreams of the day.

Vacarius and Oxford University (71): see now R.M. Thomson in Medium Aevum 58(1999):1 ff, where the views of Southern are critically questioned.

The 'lost world' of Hohenstaufen imperial theorizing is not as lost as Swanson thinks--at least I would so argue from the existence of the Ludus de Antichristo, and even from much of the Otto of Freising/Rahewin biography of Frederick Barbarossa.

I do not think the 'translating movement' can be cited as a 'cause' of intellectual change (103): rather it was part and parcel of the new ferment, both resulting from and stimulating new thinking.

Philosophy as an 'independent academic discipline'? I wonder about this. Contemporary definitions of 'philosophy' are rather vague and all-encompassing and professionalism seems to have been confined to practices within this rather unwieldy umbrella (dialectic, theology, 'sprachlogik' etc.). The same problems accompany the 'two main types of philosophy' which 'coexisted in the twelfth century'. I doubt whether the primary sources would sustain so clear a distinction. A principal source for ideas about' 'philosophy' in the period is Abelard's dialogue between a Jew, a Christian and a Philosopher. This could have been cited to clarify what contemporaries meant by the term.

"...the monumental labours of Thomas Aquinas" (107): L.P. Boyle, "The setting of the 'Summa Theologica' of Saint Thomas" (Etienne Gilson Lecture Series, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, Toronto, 1982) interestingly makes Thomas' labours to be much more of a private project, only subsequently awarded 'monumental' status.

The summary of the trivium art of rhetoric excludes or minimises vast areas of great importance (such as preaching-- but see p.137--the artes poetriae etc.).

The account of Thierry of Chartres' Heptateuchon seems mistaken: the work is not an encyclopedia (it is a collection of certain classical-era teaching texts in the liberal arts), nor is it, or ever was it, 1,400 folios in length (see Gillian Evans, 'The uncompleted Heptateuch of Thierry of Chartres," History of Universities 3 (1983): 1-13): such a figure would yield 2,800 pages, whereas only 1170 today exist.

The influence of Anselm's Cur deus homo (p.121): but see B.P. McGuire's paper "Man and the devil in medieval theology" in Cahiers de l'Institut du Moyen-Age Grec et Latin 18 (1976): 18-82.

Gilbert de la Porree's trial took place after the Council of Rheims rather than 'at it'. (125)

"Handbooks for preachers, although drawn up as an aspect of the ars dictaminis ..." (137): ??? I thought dictamen and the ars predicandi were separate discourses.....(they are treated so in fascicules 60 and 61 of the series 'Typologie des Sources du Moyen Age Occidental').

"The twelfth century is notable for the revival of autobiography as a genre" (141): I think this is too modern a phrasing. As Swanson himself admits, the twelfth-century examples operated in a different discourse from modern 'autobiography' (preaching manuals, apologiae, confessionals, epistolae consolatoriae etc.).

Doubts about the authenticity of the letters of Abelard and Heloise makes them "almost unusable as evidence" (146): few would agree with Swanson here; indeed more papers and books cite these letters as evidence of this or that than almost any other text of the century. Indeed, if we wait for 'irrefutable philological evidence' confirming the authenticity of the Abelard-Heloise correspondence (whether the long-known series or the 1974 Koensgen-edited fragments) we may wait forever. More important is a workable historical 'model' that might account for these letters, and the overwhelming procedure of historians today is to use the most readily available model, the authenticity-model, the forgery-model having proved too intractible and only partially successful in accounting for the phenomena.

"...romances in England had to be in the courtly language of Anglo-Norman" (178): what about Layamon's (Lawman's) Brut (written c. 1199-1225 A.D.)? Admittedly not written for the Royal Court, perhaps: "for the household of a man of some status, but certainly not of the Norman ruling class" (trans. Rosamund Allen, 1992 p. xxii).

More could have been made (178) of the great outburst of literature in Hohenstaufen Swabia and Bavaria, especially the powerful Nibelungenlied in its twelfth-century version (see John Clifton-Everest in L.S. Davidson, ed., The Epic in History, pp. 162 ff and F. Bauml, Medieval Civilization in Germany 800-1273, ch. 3, esp. p. 146).

Was Heloise's affair with Abelard 'illicit'? (191) In what senses? On Heloise generally see now C. Mews, The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard and the new B. Wheeler, ed., Listening to Heloise. Does Swanson (193 ff) go against his own 'ruling' on authenticity (146)? For Heloise's skill at epistolary 'play' see the paper by Juanita Ruys, "Role-playing in the letters of Heloise and Abelard: readings of the correspondence between Heloise and Abelard," Parergon ns 11:1 (1993): 53 ff.

Page 198 could do with some discussion of Hildegard's manuscript 'art' and Volmar's role in it.

On the role of the Virgin cult (204) see now the valuable perspectives in W.R. Kudrycz's paper in Ward and Bussey, eds, Worshipping Women, pp. 127 ff.

Theology certainly was at the core of R.W. Southern's Twelfth-century-Renaissance (cf. the discussion, p. 208), but what was 'RE-' 'naissance' about 'theology'? Patristic perspectives, the concept of recovering pre-lapsarian knowledge (R.W. Southern, Hugh of St.Victor in his De sacramentis etc.)? The rest of the discussion at this point loses focus, though emphasising the centrality of 'France' (211) or the dangers of doing so, is salutary. It would have been useful here to bring in R.M. Thomson's focus on England (see his England and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, 1998).

The question of 'terminus' is interesting. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) is in some ways a turning point, especially from the point of view of classicism, Latin poetic and rhetoric (though look out for Italy in the age of Brunetto Latini and Dante--part of the 'twelfth-century Renaissance' or not?), but Southern would see the twelfth century as but a clearing-ground for the great work of the thirteenth century. The question of terminus is in part a question of substance: what is the phenomenon we are dealing with? I discuss the problem of 'termination' further in my "Rhetoric, Truth and Literacy in the Renaissance of the Twelfth Century."