*Although there has been, and continues to be, debate over the exact dating of, and relationship between, the three Lives of Otto which give us our information on the conversion of Pomerania, much of the disagreement is about technicalities and the broad outlines are clear. The earliest Life seems to be that written by a monk of Prüfening, a Bavarian monastery founded by Otto. This was probably composed in the early 1140% only a few years after the missionary-bishop's death. Its author may have been the monastery librarian, Wolfger, but, since this is not certain, the Life is generally known as the Vita Prieflingensis or Prufening Life. A second Life was composed in the 1150s by Ebo, a monk of St Michael's, Bamberg (the “Michelsberg”), the monastery which held Otto's tomb. Both the Prüfening Life and Ebo's are fairly reliable, being based on the information of eye witnesses, Ebo, indeed, having known Otto. The third Life, that of Herbord, another monk of the Michelsberg, written 1158–59, presents rather greater problems of interpretation. It has been clearly shown that Herbord's work is far more literary than the other Lives, organized in dialogue form and full of rhetorical devices, and, also, more seriously for the historian, that it is suffused with polemical opinions on contemporary monastic issues. Nevertheless, his account should not be disregarded and can be used, carefully and with controls. On these matters, see J. Petersohn, “Otto von Bamberg und seine Biographen”, Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte, 43 (1980), pp. 3–27. The Lives have been edited a number of times. The earliest scholarly edition was by Rudolf Kopke, M(onumenta) G(ermaniae) H(istorica), Scriptores, 12 (Hanover, 1856). He edited an improved version of the text of Herbord in ibid, 20 (Hanover, 1868), which was also issued separately, S(criptores) R(erum) G(ermanicarum in usum scholarum), 33 (Hanover, 1868). Philip Jaffé edited the Lives by Ebo and Herbord in Monumenta Bambergensia, Bibliotheca rerum Germanicarum, 5 (Berlin, 1869). The Vita Prieflingensis was again edited by Adolf Hofmeister, Die Prufeninger Vita des Bischofs Otto von Barnberg (Greifswald, 1924). All three works are available in a recent edition by Jan Wikarjak and Kazimierz Liman, Monumenta Poloniae Historica, ns 7 (Warsaw, 1966–74). I have used this edition, citing in the notes by abbreviated title (VP, Ebo, Herbord), book and chapter. A new edition of the Lives is under preparation by Jürgen Petersohn for Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt. A partial English translation of the mission narratives of Ebo and Herbord was made by Charles H. Robinson, The Life of Otto, Apostle of Pornerania, by Ebo and Herbord (London, 1920). A great deal has been written on Otto of Bamberg, and this is not the place to give a large bibliography. Most relevant titles will be found in the full bibliography in Petersohn (as in note 42). Several articles by Hans-Ulrich Ziegler, which have appeared since then, give a detailed analysis of Otto as a diocesan bishop, “Bischof Otto I von Bamberg (1102–1139) als Begründer einer neuen Verwaltungsorganisation des Hochstifts”, Berichte des Historischen Vereins zu Bamberg, 117 (1981), pp. 49–55; “Das Urkundenwesen der Bischofe von Bamberg von 1007 bis 1139”. Archiv fur Diplomatik, 27 (1982), pp. 1–110 and 28 (1982).
THE CONVERSION OF A PAGAN SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE AGES*
Article first published online: 18 DEC 2007
Volume 70, Issue 229, pages 185–201, January 1985
How to Cite
BARTLETT, R. (1985), THE CONVERSION OF A PAGAN SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE AGES. History, 70: 185–201. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-229X.1985.tb01433.x
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2007
- Article first published online: 18 DEC 2007