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Gunther of Pairis


Cistercian author; d. Abbey of Pairis, Alsace, c. 1220. Gunther was a minor literary figure of the late 12th and early 13th century. Probably he came from Basel or near there, and before entering the monastery he lived at the court of frederick i barbarossa, where he taught Conrad, the Emperor's third eldest son. This would indicate considerable knowledge of letters before his entrance into monastic life at the Cistercian Abbey of Pairis. His earliest work, the Solimarius, written c. 1180 and dedicated to Conrad, is a verse narrative of the First crusade and, in large part, a poetical version of the Historia Hierosolymitana of Robert of Reims. Obviously interested in the crusading movement, he wrote another work, Historia Constantinopolitana, part prose, part poetry, on the Fourth Crusade, which purports to give an eyewitness account of the expedition supplied by a certain Abbot Martin. His third work, Liburinus, is a poetical version of otto of freising's Gesta Frederici 24. H. O. Taylor praised it as "still another good example of the long narrative poem," and stated that its author "shows himself widely read in the classics." J. Raby claims that he "was not a mere uninspired imitator" but asserts that "he was not a great poet" but a man who was "a witness to German patriotism and pride." The authenticity of his works, first claimed for Gunther toward the end of the 17th century, was long questioned until two scholars, G. Paris and A. Pannenborg, working independently, established it in 1870.

Bibliography: Works. Ligurinus, ed. c. g. dÜmgÉ (Heidelberg 1812); Solimarius, ed. g. wattenbach, in Archives de l'Orient latin 1 (Paris 1881) 555561; Historia constantinopolitana , ed. r. riant (Geneva 1875). Literature. u. chevalier, Répertoire des sources historiques du moyenâge. Biobibliographie, 2v. (2d. ed. Paris 190507) 1:183233. m. manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, 3 v. (Munich 191131) 3:698701. j. de ghellinck, L'Essor de la littérature latine au XII siècle, 2 v. (Brussels-Paris 1946) 2:128, 217. g. paris, Dissertation critiquesurle poème latin du Ligurinus attribué à Gunther (Paris 1872). a. pannenborg, "Über den Ligurinus," Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte 11 (1871). f. j. e. raby, A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages, 2 v. (2d ed. Oxford 1957). f. brunhÖlzi, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 4:1276.

[h. mackinnon]

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