Anonymous of York

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Referred to also as the Norman Anonymous, is the title given by H. Böhmer to a series of 31 tractates found in the Cambridge, Corpus Christi, MS 415, written in several hands in the early 12th century. Some historians (H. Böhmer and N. F. Cantor) have proposed that they were composed by a single author, viz, the Norman Archbishop gerard of york (110108), and that York was the place of composition. Others have accepted the idea of single authorship but changed the person and location to Abp. William Bona Anima of Rouen (10791110). Multiple authorship also is suggested. Böhmer's thesis has generally prevailed. Although six tracts (nos. 8, 9, 10, 18, 21, and 31) present ideals of gregorian reform, the majority attack papal authority and defend royal and episcopal rights; canonical election is rejected, lay investiture and clerical marriage are vindicated. The most important tract is no. 24a De consecratione pontificum et regum (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Libelli de lite 3:662679) on lay investiture and theocratic monarchy. Apart from the novelty and extremism of its political and theological ideology, of interest to historians of political theory, the collection has had no influence. It probably was never published.

Bibliography: Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Libelli de lite 3:642687. h. bÖhmer, Kirche und Staat in England und in der Normandie im XI. und XII. Jahrhundert (Leipzig 1899). h. scherrinsky, Untersuchungen zum sogenannten Anonymus von York (Würzburg 1940). g. h. williams, The Norman Anonymous of 1100 A.D. (Cambridge, MA 1951). n. f. cantor, Church, Kingship, and Lay Investiture in England, 10891135 (Princeton 1958).

[j. gilchrist]