Franciscan chronicler, Balien Adam, called Ognibene by his relatives and Salimbene by his confrères; b. Parma, Italy, Oct. 9, 1221; d. after 1288. He left his bourgeois family to enter the Franciscan Order in Parma, Feb. 4, 1238. After completing his novitiate at Iesi, he studied at Lucca, Siena (subdeacon), Pisa (deacon, December, 1246), Cremona, and Parma (1247). When frederick ii laid siege to his native city, Salimbene was sent to France to study. In Lyons he had an audience with innocent iv. After All Saints Day, 1247, he left for Troyes; he was in Provins in December and spent eight days in Paris (February 1248). Taken ill in Sens, Salimbene spent the spring in Auxerre. He returned to Sens in time for the June chapter meeting, and there saw louis ix, whom he accompanied to Vézelay. At the end of June he was in Arles, and from there went to Hyères to join hugh of digne. He spent the winter in Genoa, where he was ordained December 1248. He took a short trip to Lyons in 1249, and, from there, his provincial, Friar Rufinus, sent him back to Italy. Remaining in Ferrara for seven years until 1256, he attended the solemn profession (1254) of Beatrice d'Este, who founded the poor clares in that city. Subsequently, Salimbene lived in many of the friaries of his province. He finished his Chronicle between 1283 and 1288 at Reggio and at the friary near Montefalco. Nothing is known of Salimbene's career after June 1288.
Salimbene's Chronicle (a similar work by him is lost), composed over a period of several years, beginning c. 1262, is incompletely preserved in MS Vat. lat. 7260. Surprisingly, in view of some of its racy narratives, he dedicated the work to his niece, Sister Agnes, a Poor Clare nun. His autobiography reveals its author as clearly a pious friar of honest character, curious and loquacious. However, he is also seen as somewhat of a braggart and, at times, even a scandal-monger. In spite of its verbosity and long digressions, the text is pleasant reading because of its lively accounts, lifelike portraits, vivid descriptions, and lucid language. Many of its details, such as the accounts of John of Parma, Hugh of Digne, and john dapian del carpine, are of interest to the historian. Although Salimbene was hostile toward elias of cortona, his minor errors may be forgiven as he clearly loved his order and defended it against calumny. A prudent man, Salimbene was able, in time, to free himself (c. 1250) of his attachment to the illusions of joachim of fiore.
Bibliography: j. paul, Salimbene da Parma: Testimonee Cronista (Roma 1992), m. d'alatri, "La Riligiosita Poplare nella Cronaca di Fra Salimbene," in Melanges Berube: Études de Philosophie et Théologie Médievales Offertes a Camille Berube, OFMCap. (Rome 1991), 185–200. salimbene, The Chronicle of Salimbene de Adam, ed. j. e. baird et al. (Binghamton 1986). d. west, "The Present State of Salimbene Studies—with a Bibliographic Appendix of the Major Works," Franciscan Studies 32 (St. Bonaventure, N.Y. 1972), 225–241.