Conference proceedings usually take one of two forms: either that of an anthology of conference papers still more or less in the form they were delivered, or that of a carefully edited, select group of chapters, linked by a common thread, that have been developed into fully fledged essays. The reason that "acts" volumes are less valued by university evaluation committees, in North America at least, stems in part from the fact that, unlike more carefully wrought essay collections, they are rarely peer reviewed and are often only lightly edited, if at all. The volume under review here is of this variety: a gathering of conference papers that are at widely variable stages of development, many of which could also benefit from more editorial revision. Although it has a number of serious defects, and is certainly only fit for purchase by research libraries, the volume is still of some value, not only on account of the sheer number of papers it brings together but also because of the general focus on the topics of authority and authorship in medieval Latin literature. In light of studies such as M.-D. Chenu's classic essay "Auctor, Actor, Autor" (1927), Alastair Minnis's Medieval Theory of Authorship (Pennsylvania, 1988), or Jan Ziolkowski's valuable overview "Cultures of Authority in the Long Twelfth Century" (2009), among others, theorizing auctoritas has become a central question for scholars of medieval Latin literature and intellectual culture. The common thread of auctor et auctoritas in medieval Latin writing makes this tome into a bountiful, if unwieldy, storehouse of ideas that will be useful as a reference for scholars working on similar themes.
The conference that gave rise to this volume was the sixth meeting of the International Medieval Latin Committee, which meets every three to four years. Meetings to date include Heidelberg, 1988; Florence, 1993; Cambridge, 1998; Santiago de Compostela, 2002; Toronto, 2006; Naples-Benevento, 2010; and Lyon, 2014. The eighth meeting is planned to convene in Vienna in 2017. The sixth meeting in Naples and Benevento took place from November 10-14, 2010, and included some one hundred papers given in six broad sessions of four concurrent panels of six or seven papers each. While not all of these papers made it into this volume, an impressive eighty-three did. Chapters from authors hailing from over a dozen countries in Europe and North America are included in five languages, with a large majority (forty-eight papers) in Italian, as well as sixteen in Castilian, nine in English, seven in French, and three in German. Each paper is accompanied by a short abstract in English (except for one by Smolak in Latin). The list of authors includes researchers at all stages of their careers, from doctoral students to lecturers and professors to highly decorated emeriti. The joint editorial work by Edoardo D'Angelo (University of Naples), head of the organizing committee of the sixth meeting, and Jan Ziolkowski (Harvard University), president of the International Medieval Latin Committee, underscores the international makeup of this and all of the previous congress meetings.
Because of the length of the text, only the most concise overview of the content can be given here. Although the papers focus often on the twelfth century, which was an important moment in the evolution of medieval ideas of authorship, they also cover material from a wide range of periods, from classical, patristic, and early medieval texts to humanistic and Renaissance sources, extending as far as the sixteenth century. The length and form of the essays vary also; some include manuscript images and data tables; some are broad and thematic in focus and others are tightly focused on a single portion of a single text; some include bibliographies, while most do not.
Although the editors have not attempted--probably wisely--to organize the chapters according to any particular themes, presenting them instead in simple alphabetical order, the papers might be sorted into a few loosely conceived groups according to content and focus. A handful of papers deal with biblical exegesis or commentaries on related religious texts, such as those of Andrée on the School of Laon in the twelfth century; Azzimonti on commentaries of the Regula of Benedict; and Bažil on the "four senses" of scripture.
A few of the chapters deal with the medieval treatment of classical and patristic sources, such as Bertini on the influence of Prudentius and Virgil on Waltharius; Bognini on the commentary on Cicero by "magister Menegaldus" (eleventh century); Capone on Isidore of Seville's knowledge of Tertullian; Germano on the treatment of the classics in authors from the monastery of Saint Emmeram in Regensburg; Iacono on the use of classical sources in the late-medieval poem Hendacasyllaborum libri seu Baiae; Manzoli on the use of Virgil by Renaissance writer Lelio Capilupi; Mordeglia on citations of Plautus in Osbernus of Gloucester; Rinaldi on fourteenth-century commentaries on Augustine's De civitate Dei; Smolak on auctoritas in Latin satirical writing; Teeuwen on dissent in Carolingian commentaries on Martianus Capella; and Tuzzo on the influence of Ovid in Carmina Burana 105.
Likewise, a few of the chapters deal with philosophical or scientific questions, such as Campanale on Albertus Magnus's use of auctores in his scientific treatises; Chietti on John Scot Eriugena's critique of Augustine on the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body; Kuhry on the Compilatio de libris naturalibus Aristotelis et aliorum quorundam philosophorum; Roelli on technical terminology in Latin translations of Aristotle's Physics; Saccenti on Aristotle in the Compendium philosophiae; and Martínez Gásquez on auctores in Latin translations of Greek and Arabic texts in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
A larger group of essays deals with thematic questions of genre, form, or theme, such as Bourgain on the Accessus ad auctores; Delle Donne on the concepts of auctorand auctoritas in epistolary collections; Escolà Tuset on authorship in monastic mortuary encyclicals; Ferrarini on the divinatory practice of sortes biblicae in hagiographic sources; Fiorentino on the ambiguities of authority/authorship in some fourteenth-century texts; Goullet on authority in hagiographic rewritings of apocryphal texts; Iversen on "trope verses" added to the chanting of the Roman mass; Lopetegui Semperena on authority in the artes poeticae; Lozano Guillén on the influence of medieval grammarians on humanistic grammar treatises; Maranini on the use and evolution of the keywords auctor and auctoritas; Mosetti Casaretto on the image of dwarfs on the shoulders of giants in the twelfth century; Verderosa on the same question, with some discussion of the sixth to eleventh centuries as well; Perta on the motif of Charlemagne and Jerusalem; Shanzer on the auctoritas of alleged witnesses to visits to exotic lands and "other worlds"; Solvi on the authorial role of Francis of Assisi in hagiographical literature; Stella on authorship in twelfth-century epistolography; Vagnoni on the construction of authorship by the Norman kings of Sicily; Russo on use of the figure of the Maccabees in chronicles of the first crusade; and M. Romano on Dominican cura animarum.
Quite a few papers deal closely with just one or two authors, such as Bartola on Ademaro di Sainto Ruf; Boccia on the epistolary of Petrus de Vinea; Chaparro Gómez on the fables of John of Sheppey; Cottier on apocryphal works attributed to Anselm of Canturbury; Garbini on the "authorial signature" of Bonvesin de la Riva; García Leal on the representation of wine in the manuscripts of the apocalypse commentary of Beato de Liébana; Herren on the mysterious figure Virgilius Maro; Kretschmer on Hrotsvit of Ganderseheim's idea of her own authorship; Laneri on a letter of humanist Lorenzo Zane to Giorgio Bevilacqua; Terlizzi on ecclesiastical reform and critique of the pope by the eleventh-century writer known as the Norman Anonymous; and Wieland on the link between Bede and Arator.
The largest majority offer readings of individual texts or manuscripts, such as Bisanti on the figure of Zosima in the legend of Mary the Egyptian; Cañizares Ferriz on two florilegia in the National Library of Madrid; Cardelle de Hartmann and Pérez Rodriguez on the authorities in the Contemptus sublimatis (Dialogus creaturarum); Antonietta Chirico on monastic language in the sermons of Isaac della Stella; Cruz Trujillo on the authors in the florilegium in manuscript 981 of the abbey of Montserrat; Muñoz Jiménez on Petrarch in the same manuscript; Di Marco on auctoritas in the Didascalion of Hugh of St. Victor; Doležalová on the ambiguous images of authorship in the poem against the Devil, "Versus maligni angili"; Ferrero Hernández on the use of the Liber de doctrina Machumeti in the Itinerarium Symon Semeonis; Fossati on sources in Arriago da Settimello's Elegia; Gómez Llaguer on authority in the Tractatus Zelus Christi contra iudaeos, sarracenos et infideles of Pedro de la Cavallería; Greco on the Chronica Monasterii Casinensis (4.11); Grisafi on the humanistic tragedy De captivitate ducis Iacobi; Iadanza on the early medieval Vita Willibaldi episcopi Eichstetensis by Hugeburc of Heindenheim; Jiménez San Cristóbal on the Castilian florilegium Floresta de philosophos; Licciardello on the reception of various Consuetudines texts written for the hermits of Fonte Avellana; Livini on the Cena Cypriani; Manfredonia on the Itinerarium ad regiones sub aequinoctiali plaga constitutas of Alessandro Geraldini (d. 1526); Modonutti on the sources in book six of Dominican Giovanni Colonna's Mare Historiarumi; Necchi on the Vita di Attila and its subsequent Latin and vernacular translations; Orth on the writing of Guibert of Bembloux about Martin of Tours; Pabón de Acuña on auctoritates in the works of Vincent of Beauvais; Petroletti on the Tractatus de ymagine Lateranensis palatii of twelfth-century Cistercian Nicholaus Maniacutia; Piccone on the anonymous twelfth-century grammatical text De voce; Pittaluga on the travel accounts of John of Pian di Carpine and Guillelm of Rubruck; Pörnbacher on the poem "Vita sancti Martini" by Richer of Metz; Radif on fifteenth-century writer Giovanni Tortelli; Ricciardi on the Collectio Pauli of Paul the Deacon, taken from the letters of Gregory the Great; R. Romano on a copy of a forged document from the Chartularium Culisanense known as the "Confirmatio Constantini XI imperatoris"; Sánchez Salor on Jewish ideas in the fifty-five initial poems of the Carmina Burana; Tilliette on the Policraticus of John of Salisbury; Traill on the attribution of the Crucifigat omnes (Carmina Burana 47) to Philip the Chancellor; and Villarroel Fernández on Ms. 94 of the Biblioteca Pública de Tarragona, the Flores philosophorum et poetarum.
Because of this wide variety, the English abstract offers a potentially useful reference tool to allow easy comparison between the disparate chapters. However, there has apparently been no oversight of the quality (or length) of these abstracts, and many are rife with egregious grammatical and typographical errors, often to the point of incomprehensibility. A volume like this, which covers so many languages and such a range of material, needs a steady editorial hand to bring the material into a consistent and correct form, and such editorial polishing is noticeably in absence in many places here. While it is full of valuable and intelligent studies and new information about unknown manuscripts and overlooked sources, the volume as a whole is also a jumbled farrago of papers of widely divergent quality. Even so, the editors have accomplished a great deal just by managing to bring the work so many authors together around a common theme, and the text offers a valuable record of the papers presented at the 2010 congress. Although the many nuggets it contains have to be sifted from silt that obscures them, and many await further cleaning up and polishing, the volume certainly provides ample terrain in which interested specialists may dig at will with the certainty of finding some material of value.