Wendy Pfeffer

title.none: Caille, Medieval Narbonne (Wendy Pfeffer)

identifier.other: baj9928.0610.029 06.10.29

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Wendy Pfeffer, University of Louisville,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2006

identifier.citation: Caille, Jacqueline. Kathryn L. Reyerson, editor. Medieval Narbonne: A City at the Heart of the Troubadour World. Variorum Collected Studies, 792. Aldershot UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005. Pp. xxvi, 388. $74.95 0-86078-914-4. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 06.10.29

Caille, Jacqueline. Kathryn L. Reyerson, editor. Medieval Narbonne: A City at the Heart of the Troubadour World. Variorum Collected Studies, 792. Aldershot UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005. Pp. xxvi, 388. $74.95 0-86078-914-4. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Wendy Pfeffer
University of Louisville

The name of Jacqueline Caille will be known to all who study the history of southern France, the cities of Narbonne and Montpellier in particular. Katherine Reyerson is to be commended for bringing together fifteen articles by the illustrious French historian and making these important pieces of scholarship available to a wider audience of medievalists. Given the fairly recent publication of Fredric Cheyette's Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002), Narbonne's star is rising in contemporary scholarship. That this has happened is due, in large measure, to the work of Jacqueline Caille.

In this volume, we have the story of Narbonne told in four parts: 1) the urban development of a city built on Roman foundations, with both ecclesiastical and secular rulers, surrounded by growing and ever more populous suburbs; 2) those who ran the town, the seigneurial and feudal organization, the consulate, and the people of medieval Narbonne; 3) Ermengarde of Narbonne and 4) society and religious life, with emphasis on hospitals and communal assistance.

What is entirely new in this volume is the substantial introduction by Caille (section I: 1-56), setting the framework for her life's work, providing an overview of her studies of southern French medieval cities, and giving readers a rapid introduction to the history of Narbonne. Of the individual articles, I note that several might have been difficult for scholars to find; included in the volume are major essays that first appeared in venues hard to access by Interlibrary Loan, such as the acts of a journée d'étude held in Montpellier in 1999 and published by a department of that city's university in 2002, Section III: "Les remparts de Narbonne, des origines à la fin du Moyen Age" or the article reprinted from the Mémoires de la société archéologique de Montpellier, "Une idylle entre la vicomtesse Ermengarde de Narbonne et le prince Rognvald Kali des Orcades au milieu du XIIe siècle" (Section XI). Other articles are reprinted from easily accessible journals like the Cahiers de Fanjeaux, such as Section VI, "La seigneurie temporelle de l'archevêque dans la ville de Narbonne (deuxième moitié du XIIIe siècle," Section XII, "Hospices et assistance à Narbonne (XIIIe-XIVe siècles)" and Section XIV, "Le studium de Narbonne." The Annales du Midi is another source, for Section IV, "Les paroisses de Narbonne au Moyen Age: origine et développement" and for Section IX, "Les seigneurs de Narbonne dans le conflit Toulouse-Barcelone au XIIe siècle." Regardless of the original publication venue, Medieval Narbonne presents, article by article, a fairly complete picture of the city of Narbonne, an important commercial and literary center for medieval Occitania.

The "Addenda and Corrigenda" serve the entire volume, allowing Caille to update bibliography for articles published several years earlier, to refer the readers to further research by her and others on the various topics, to correct interpretations in earlier pieces as published in later articles. For example, "Addenda and Corrigenda" 3, note to p. 206, n. 162, "Pour les premières références spécifiques aux consuls de Narbonne, les dates doivent être corrigé dans le no. VII, Le consulat de Narbonnne, pp. 245 et 255, n. 31." This addendum tells the reader to consult article number VII in the current volume to see how Caille revised her thinking about the consuls of Narbonne. It is not often that scholars can follow the thinking of one of their consoeurs in this manner.

Five of the articles are in English (some translated here for the first time) including Section II "Urban Expansion in the Region of Languedoc from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century: The Examples of Narbonne and Montpellier," Section V, "Origin and Development of the Temporal Lordship of the Archbishop in the City and Territory of Narbonne (9th-12th Centuries)" and Section X, "Ermengarde, Viscountess of Narbonne (1127/29-1196/97): A Great Female Figure of the Aristocracy of the Midi," and Section XIII, "Hospitals, Charity, and Urban Life in the Middle Ages: The Case of Narbonne 'Revisited'." The remaining ten are in the original French of which only these two have not yet been named, Section VII, "Le consulat de Narbonne: problème des origines" and Section VIII, "Une manifestation narbonnaise des persécutions antisémites au XIe siècle." In each case, the original pagination has been retained, so that citing an observation found in one of these reprinted pieces allows scholars to give the original citation as well. In fact, the volume is assembled piece by piece, so that there are several page 1's included (page one of Caille's historical overview; page one of Addenda and Corrigenda, page one of the Index). Correct citation from this volume requires referencing not only the page, but also the section number (Section I for the overview, for example). Above, I have given section number with each section/reprinted article title.

Included among Caille's studies are her work on urban expansion in Languedoc, the development of parishes in Narbonne and its suburbs, the battles between secular and religious leaders in the city, antisemitism in eleventh-century Narbonne, the position of Ermengarde, viscountess of Narbonne, both as a political and literary figure, hospitals and hospices in Narbonne, the university of Narbonne and lastly, Narbonne at the beginning of the fifteenth century.

As useful as the texts are the numerous illustrations that accompany the words: maps of Narbonne at various stages of its history, genealogical trees for the rules of Narbonne, the travels of Rognvald Kali, prince of the Orkneys and world traveler, and the hospitals of Narbonne.

What is not in this volume is any real reference to the troubadours mentioned in the title; I suspect the Occitan poets were named as a sales lure. This volume's worth for literary historians is much less than its significance for scholars in other fields, including, specifically, economic, social and political history.

Caille is a major figure of French historiography; no one knows Narbonne and its medieval documentation as well as she. Her counterpart for the nearby city of Montpellier is Reyerson, so it is appropriate that the American scholar take responsibility for the translations of Caille's texts and for the preparation of this volume.

Caille states in her introduction that, by bringing together these pieces, we have a panoramic bibliography of Narbonne. For myself, I wish that Reyerson had created, as an appendix to this volume, a single bibliography of all works mentioned in the various reprinted articles--that would have been a truly useful research tool.

Regardless of my quibbles, let us applaud Reyerson for shepherding this project to publication, salute Caille for an illustrious career, and thank Ashgate for its series of Variorum Reprints, which allows scholars from all over the world to gain access to the work of their peers and predecessors.