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Orderic Vitalis

Orderic Vitalis (1075–c.1142), the great historian of the Normans, was born near Shrewsbury of mixed English and French parentage, but from 1085 lived his entire life at the abbey of Saint-Evroult in southern Normandy. His greatest historical work, the massive Ecclesiastical History, was composed from 1123 onwards and came to include material on many of the major events of his lifetime, most notably the expansion of Norman power throughout Europe and the Norman Conquest of England. Orderic's historical writing derives its importance from his insatiable curiosity and powers of observation; the vast array of information he assembled is invaluable for our understanding of the social history and religious life of his times. He continued the history up almost to the moment of his death and concluded it with a deeply moving autobiographical epilogue.

David Richard Bates

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Ordericus Vitalis

Ordericus Vitalis (ôrdĕr´Ĭkəs vĬtăl´Ĭs), 1075–c.1143, Norman monk and chronicler, b. England. He spent most of his life in Saint-Évroul in Normandy. His Ecclesiastical History (4 vol., tr. 1853–56; repr. 1968), a universal history to 1143, is valuable for a study of the Normans in England, France, and Italy and for the history of his own times.

See study by M. Chibnall (1984).

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