FYI January 16, 2019

On This Day

1120 – The Council of Nablus is held, establishing the earliest surviving written laws of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Council of Nablus was a council of ecclesiastic and secular lords in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, held on January 16, 1120.

The council was convened at Nablus by Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. It established twenty-five canons dealing with both religious and secular affairs. It was not quite a church council, but not quite a meeting of the royal court; according to Hans Mayer, due to the religious nature of many of the canons, it can be considered both a parlement and an ecclesiastical synod. The resulting agreement between the patriarch and the king was a concordat, similar to the Concordat of Worms two years later.[1]

The council established the first written laws for the kingdom. It was probably also where Hugues de Payens obtained permission from King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem to found the Knights Templar.[2] [3]

The council was not mentioned in the chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres, who served in the retinue of Baldwin II and must have been present. This is probably because the nature of the canons, dealing as they do with the crimes and sins of the Latin population, contradicted Fulcher’s portrayal of the Kingdom as a Christian utopia. William of Tyre, writing about sixty years later, included a detailed account of the proceedings, but neglected to record any of the canons themselves, which he felt were well-known and could be found in any local church; however, he also probably wanted to avoid the implication that the early Kingdom was not as heroic as his generation remembered it.[4]

Although the canons may have been well known in William’s time, only one copy, located in a church in Sidon, seemed to survive the Muslim reconquest of the Kingdom. This copy made its way to Europe where it was in the papal library at Avignon by 1330. It is now located in the Vatican Library, MS Vat. Lat. 1345.

A copy was edited in the Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio of Giovanni Domenico Mansi in the 18th century, and more recently a new edition has been published by Benjamin Z. Kedar in Speculum (Vol. 74, 1999). Kedar argues that the canons are largely derived from the Byzantine Ecloga, promulgated by Leo III and Constantine V in 741. Kedar believes that the canons were put into practise in the 12th century,[5] although Marwan Nader disagrees, since they were not included in the Livre des Assises de la Cour des Bourgeois and other Assizes of Jerusalem, which were written in the 13th century.[6]


Born On This Day

1634 – Dorothe Engelbretsdatter, Norwegian author and poet (d. 1716)
Dorothe Engelbretsdatter (16 January 1634 – 19 February 1716) was a Norwegian author. She principally wrote hymns and poems which were strongly religious. She has been characterized as Norway’s first recognized female author as well as Norway’s first feminist before feminism became a recognized concept.[1][2]

Dorothe Engelbretsdatter was born in Bergen, Norway. She was the daughter of Rector and Vicar, Engelbret Jørgenssøn (1592–1659) and Anna Wrangel. Her father was originally head of Bergen Cathedral School, and later dean of Bergen Cathedral. In her youth, Dorothe spent some time in Copenhagen. In 1652, she married Ambrosius Hardenbeck (1621–1683), a theological writer famous for his flowery funeral sermons, who succeeded her father at the Cathedral in 1659. They had five sons and four daughters.[3]

In 1678 her first volume appeared, Siælens Sang-Offer published at Copenhagen. This volume of hymns and devotional pieces, very modestly brought out, had an unparalleled success. The first verses of Dorothe Engelbretsdatter are commonly believed to have been her best.[4][5]

The fortunate poet was invited to Denmark, and on her arrival at Copenhagen was presented at court. She was also introduced to Thomas Hansen Kingo, the father of Danish poetry. The two greeted one another with improvised couplets, which have been preserved and of which Engelbretsdatter’s reply “is incomparably the neater”.[6] King Christian V of Denmark granted her full tax freedom for life. Her Taare-Offer (1685) was dedicated to Queen Charlotte Amalia, the wife of King Christian V.[7]

Her first work, Siælens Sang-Offer was published 1678. In the midst of her troubles appeared her second work, the Taare-Offer, published for the first time in 1685. It is a continuous religious poem in four books. This was combined with Siælens Sang-Offer. [6] In 1698 she brought out a third volume of sacred verse, Et kristeligt Valet fra Verden.[8]

In 1683, her husband died. She had nine children, but seven of them died young and her two adult sons lived far away from Bergen. She lost her house in the great fire in 1702 in which 90 percent of the city of Bergen was destroyed. Her re-placement house was not available until 1712. Her sorrow is evident in examples such as the poem Afften Psalme. She died on 19 February 1716.[6]



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