Reviews of Books

T. F. TOUT
1903 English Historical Review  
L'Abbaye de Saint-Martial de Limoges. Far GHABLBS DE LASTBTBTJS. (Paris: Picard. 1901.) M. CHABLBS DE LASTEYBIE, who has an hereditary right to speak on the history of the Limousin, has written the first monograph, composed according to modern principles of scholarship, on the history of one of the most famous of French abbeys. After an introduction on the sources the author describes in succession the history of the abbey, its interior organisation, its temporalities, the archaeology of its
more » ... chaeology of its buildings, and the eighty-four priories dependent upon it To these are added important documents, copious illustrations, full lists of its ancient dignitaries, and an exoellent index. M. de Lasteyrie is no advocate of the ' apostolicity' of St. Martial, but accepts the famous passage of Gregory of Tours which makes him one of the seven bishops sent from Borne to evangelise the Gauls in the middle of the third century. He shows very clearly how the legendary fame of Bt. Martial caused the invention of two imaginary saints, St. Front of P6rigueux and St. Amadour of Booamadour, with lives modelled on the Limoges legend. He traces clearly the varying fortunes of the house of Bt. Martial, its early beginnings as an establishment of canons, its subjection to the Benedictine rule in the ninth century, its sale by the viscount of Limoges to Cluny in 1068, its temporary prosperity, its decline from the period of the Hundred Tears War, its conversion into a college of seculars in 1585, and the unhonoured degradation of the eighteenthcentury canons, culminating in the suppression of 1791. The abundant materials worked through by M. de Lasteyrie in the archives of the Haute-Vienne at Limoges enable him to perform this useful task in a very full and satisfactory manner. Not less important is the succeeding part, which illustrates with great detail the machinery and organisation of a great monastery, with its network of dependent estates controlled by widely scattered priories. Though the abbey buildings were absolutely destroyed more than a century ago, M. de Lasteyrie has been enabled from plans and records to give us a full account of their archeology, demonstrating that the church was a romanesque building of the same type as St. Savin, on the Gartemps, which has fortunately been preserved for us. But if the church and conventual buildings are gone, the greater part of the library of Bt. Martial is still preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale, owing to the rare and happy accident that the careless canons sold it to Louis XV in 1780. M. de Lasteyrie's study of its contents ably enlarges and supplements the well-known articles of M. Leopold Delisle on this interesting example of a medieval library. On the domestic and internal side of the history of St Martial's this book seems very complete and definitive. But M. de Lasteyrie does not always satisfy our curiosity in dealing with some of the wider problems of his subject. For instance, he by no means dears up the exact relation between St Martial and Cluny after 1068. It was not that of an ordinary Cluniac priory to the mother house. St. Martial plainly possessed more autonomy than was to be found, let us say, in the relations of Lewes to Cluny. Her heads continued to be called abbots. Though the document of sale in 1062 and a bull of Urban II, dated 1098-both printed in the piiees juttificatwes-distinctly contemplate the appoint-
doi:10.1093/ehr/xviii.lxx.342 fatcat:abqnj4e7xneariiboteqv3vbay