Medieval writer, b. probably at Tilbury, in the County of Essex, England, about 1150; d. at Arlington, about 1220. He is supposed to have been related to English royalty. During his youth he entered the service of Henry of Guienne, later he travelled in many parts of Europe, for a time studied canon law at Bologna, where for a brief period he also taught, and was afterwards at the court of King William II of Sicily till 1189. Upon the death of King William he settled permanently in Arles and was appointed Marshal of the Kingdom of Arles in 1198 by King Otto IV ; in virtue of this office he accompanied the king to Rome in 1209 on the occasion of his coronation as emperor. During the years 1210-1214 he composed the "Otia imperialia" for the instruction and entertainment of the emperor, who was excommunicated by the pope in the latter part of 1210, and in 1214, after his defeat at the battle of Bouvines, was forced to retire to the principality of Brunswick. This work was also entitled "Liber de mirabilibus mundi", "Solatia imperatoris", and "Descriptio totius orbis". It was divided into three parts, and contained all facts then known concerning history, geography, and physics. During the Middle Ages it was much read and was twice translated into French in the fourteenth century. Opinions differ in modern times concerning its value. Leibniz calls it a "bagful of foolish old woman's tales"; while by others it is considered very important since in it this medieval teacher of jurisprudence recognizes the correctness of the papal claims in the conflict between Church and Empire.
Leibniz edited it (1744) in his "Scriptores rerum Brunsvicensium" (I, 881-1004) with variants from four Parisian manuscripts and a supplement (II, 751-784). Its account of the Frankish and English kings is included by Duchesne in his "Historiae Francorum scriptores coaetanei" (I, 19; III, 363-74). Mader edited the same portion in his "De Imperio Romano et Gothorum, Langobardorum, Brittonum, Francorum Anglorumque regnis commentatio" (Helmstadt, 1673). Liebrecht edited a number of geographical and physical excerpts from it (Hanover, 1856). The references to Virgil were published by Spatzier [Altenglische Marchen (Brunswick, 1830), I, 89-92]. Many of the writings of Gervase have perished. He was formerly reputed to be the author of the "Antiquus dialogus de scaccario", but many critics now ascribe the work to another writer.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online