Timothy S. Jones

title.none: Napran and van Houts, eds., Exile (Timothy S. Jones)

identifier.other: baj9928.0702.001 07.02.01

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Timothy S. Jones, Augustana College,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2007

identifier.citation: Napran, Laura and Elisabeth van Houts, eds. Exile in the Middle Ages: Selected Proceedings from the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 8-11 July 2002. Series: International Medieval Research, vol. 13. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2004. Pp. xii, 249. $81.00 (hb) 2-503-51453-7. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 07.02.01

Napran, Laura and Elisabeth van Houts, eds. Exile in the Middle Ages: Selected Proceedings from the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 8-11 July 2002. Series: International Medieval Research, vol. 13. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2004. Pp. xii, 249. $81.00 (hb) 2-503-51453-7. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Timothy S. Jones
Augustana College

We are all exiles now, the students of modernity tell us, alienated from family, friends, community, self, God. Industrialization, urbanization, internationalization, modern economies and technologies allow and force us to move. I teach in a city 7000 miles from the village in Suffolk where my ancestors lived for generations before packing their bags for New South Wales. I am also 1000 miles from where I grew up, and 250 from the city where my wife and daughter live. Nor am I alone. Plenty of modern academics can, and do, complain of leaving Oxford for Perth, Berkeley for Bismark, New York for Newark. And we, for the most part, don't number among the more than 20 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons that the United Nations estimates live on the planet. What is my dislocation compared to my students who left Afghanistan, Somalia and the Sudan with little more than their lives? And what of Osbert of Clare, who complained of being passed over for an abbacy at Westminster and sent to fill administrative positions at Bury and Ely, never more that 150 miles from home? The point, of course, is that exile is not merely a geographical displacement, nor even a legal status, but also, as the essays in this volume show, a mental, emotional, social and imaginative condition.

Exile took a variety of different forms during the Middle Ages. The editors highlight two of the different forms by dividing these essays into two categories, those dealing with secular cases of exile and those dealing with ecclesiastical cases. One might expect this to mirror the separation of secular and ecclesiastical legal systems, which had the power to exile and excommunicate respectively, but in fact it represents the status of the protagonist rather than the nature of the legal process: Laureta and Matthew of Flanders were excommunicated, but Laura Napran's study of their case is included in the secular section, while a number of the figures discussed in the ecclesiastical section were sent into exile by secular courts and kings. Secular exiles also include those outlawed, those forced from their positions and sent wandering at home or abroad, those who voluntarily fled from perceived dangers, and even, as Miriam Shergold's essay shows, those married off into other households. The ecclesiasticals include those reassigned to distant positions within the church, those displaced through conflict with ecclesiastical and secular authorities, those excommunicated, and those excluded from parish or monastic communities.

The varieties of displacement are reflected in the vocabulary of exile, a subject of several of these essays. A number of terms come from Latin and so, ultimately, from the practices of Roman law, although these terms often don't fit the practices of ecclesiastical and vernacular law. Brian Briggs describes how Osbert of Clare uses the term proscriptus, a Roman term for a man deprived of property and legal standing by official decree, to describe his own removal from the community at Westminster more frequently than exilium or expulsio, words that describe a physical displacement. In contrast, C. P. Lewis and Ewan Johnson both observe that Orderic Vitalis uses exilium almost exclusively to describe not only his own status at a foreign monastery in Normandy, but also many other displaced persons in his Ecclesiastical History without regard to their individual circumstances. Orderic's usage may be conditioned by the conception of the ascetic life as an exile from the world, a matter that Manuela Brito-Martins takes up in her discussion of the term peregrinatio.

Vernacular terminology and practice in England, Normandy and Scandinavia is the subject of Elisabeth van Houts' essay. Her discussion of the origins of the word utlaga is the most comprehensive analysis of the language of outlawry in Anglo-Saxon England for nearly a century. The term, she argues, was imported from Old Norse in late tenth-century treaties to identify the mercenaries who plagued both English and Scandinavian communities. Over time the new word came to replace the earlier English word flyma in legal texts and eventually in popular usage, although the more perplexing problem of Old Norse lagu replacing the Anglo-Saxon ae as the common word for law remains.

Language, legal practice, and literary and historical accounts of exile all shaped the ways in which exile was interpreted by those who suffered or observed it. As Johnson demonstrates, the perception of exile was fundamental to the way Norman exiles in eleventh-century Italy understood their relationship with Normandy. Depending on the historical works of Orderic Vitalis, he concludes that exile in Normandy was not a legal process endorsed by the duke. Rather it depended upon loss of favor and disinheritance and could be instigated by anyone with power over tenure. As a result, Johnson argues, Norman exiles in southern Italy did not perceive their status as defined by law but by personal will and so more apt to change. In contrast, then, to the standard narrative of Norman knights who migrated to Italy in search of land and assimilated into Italian society, the exiles held onto their Norman identity and connections for a century or more in the hope of returning.

In contrast, Lewis shows that the author of the History of Gruffudd ap Cynan refuses to apply the word or concept of exile to the experiences of his subject despite the apparent suitability. Using the evidence of an early Latin version of the History reconstructed from a sixteenth-century manuscript, Lewis explains that the author employs a series of literary and historical parallels, as well as a carefully chosen vocabulary, to identify Gruffudd as a legitimate king displaced by foreign powers. Unlike Orderic, the author of the History understood exile as a punishment legally imposed by a ruler on someone under his authority and so not applicable to the case of Gruffudd.

The exile of Thomas Becket proves to be prominent in the twelfth- century imagination. Michael Staunton compares Becket's experience to that of his predecessor Anselm, showing that medieval attitudes toward the flight of clergy into exile were derived from a letter written by St. Augustine to Bishop Honoratus of Thiaba. Augustine reasoned that it was wrong to abandon a church as it was wrong for a shepherd to abandon a flock, but an exception could be made in cases where only the leader, not the congregation, was in danger and there were others to carry on the pastoral duties. Staunton shows that the language of Augustine's letter was widely employed by both supporters and critics of the English archbishops with the argument finally resting on the degree of danger each one actually faced. Moreover, Eadmer's Vita Anselmi and Historia Novorum, and the multiple vitae of Thomas even more so, make a point of representing the period of exile as a peregrinatio that benefits both the church and the spiritual growth of the archbishop.

Becket's exile, as several other essays in this collection demonstrate, proved to be influential. John of Salisbury preceded Becket into exile and accompanied the archbishop until his restoration in 1170. Lynsey Robertson makes a close examination of the letters that he wrote during this time and identifies a variety of different representations of the experience of exile. Primarily these are aimed at generating sympathy for the archbishop, but also expressing the conviction that John himself was engaged in the great peregrinatio of the Christian and the Church through the world. Haki Antonsson shows how some hagiographers of the Scandinavian royal saints Magnus of Orkney and Olafr of Norway represented exile as an integral part of a spiritual journey toward martyrdom following the model offered by vitae of Thomas Becket. Antonsson additionally suggests that the Passio et miracula beati Olavi attributed to Eysteinn of Nidaros was influenced by the archbishop's own exile in England between 1180 and 1183.

Eysteinn is among several exiled churchmen whose biographies are filled out by essays in this volume. Anne J. Duggan sorts through narrative, documentary and material evidence to give an account of Eysteinn's time in England and demonstrate the cultural and intellectual exchanges between nations that took place as a result. Renee Nip similarly uncovers the historical man behind the hagiography of Saint Arnulf of Oudenburg and argues that his liminal condition enabled his successes as a negotiator and peacemaker. Romedio Schmitz-Esser investigates Arnold of Brescia's exile in Constance and Bohemia to show that Arnold tailored his rhetoric to different audiences and should be understood as an advocate of ecclesiastical rather than social reform.

Given the size of the subject, the book cannot hope to present anything like a comprehensive picture. Where, for instance, are the Jews? Where are the common folk displaced by war, pestilence and famine? The balance is also slanted heavily toward ecclesiastical subjects, especially when it comes to hearing the exiles speak for themselves. For every Osbert of Clare who describes himself as an Israelite in the desert, it would be good to hear an Onund Tree-Foot look upon the bleak hillside of his new Icelandic farm and simply declare: "Now I've fled my estates, my friends, and my family, but worst of it is, I've bartered my grainfields for icy Kaldbak!" (Grettir's Saga, trans. Denton Fox and Hermann Palsson). Nevertheless, this collection gives a valuable introduction to the issues of exile in medieval Europe. The analyses of language and the various modes of interpreting exile are especially useful, exposing much that we still do not fully understand about the legal process of exile and offering tools for thinking in new ways about the experience and representation of displacement.