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Conclusions: Foigny

The Abbey of Foigny

We have now seen how the friendship network created from Foigny’s cartulary provide information about how broader realities might manifest in the document, but we have not discussed what the network maps can tell us about Foigny itself.

The most obvious insight that can be gained is one which is corollary to the shift in episcopal support discussed in Relational Analysis 1. While the abbey had strong ties to the episcopate of Laon, its primary concern was over the preservation of its holdings and the guarantee of its transactions, balanced by the travel distance to that support. In other words, as long as the see of Laon was untroubled, there was no need to travel to Reims, but the abbey was watching the power of its local episcopate carefully. A conflict with the metropolitan and/or a series of shorter-lived bishops created an immediate switch until such difficulties were resolved.

A second, more subtle insight is gained by looking at the network maps with the contents of Foigny’s sermon collection in mind. I have argued elsewhere that much of this collection revolves around with the twin concerns of maintaining a distinctly monastic, as opposed to scholastic, spirituality, and of advocating an inwardly-focused ‘crusade’ in opposition to demands for outward engagement. The shift in the nearby Laon chapter towards a more career-oriented, Paris-educated cadre may have indeed provoked some of the reaction we see in the sermon collection against those who are outside the cloister, against “Multi enim multa signa religionis ostendentes foris (the many who display many signs of true religion outside),” as the Foigny monk Jacob of Mons put it (Foigny Collatio #15). Moreover, it would be surprising indeed if the crusader-bishop of Reims, Albéric de Humbert, did not place direct pressure on a monastery so obviously in possession of a great deal of intellectual and rhetorical talent to engage more directly in the south of France. Yet Bartholomy de St-Quentin explains the famous twin swords of Luke 22:38, a pervasive crusading trope, as “gladius spiritualis doctrinae ...[et] disciplinae (the sword of spiritual doctrine and discipline).” (Foigny Collatio #14)

Mapping the friendship network of Foigny has thus allowed us a view, previously obscured, of the context within which the monastery existed. Through looking at the abbey’s friends, seeing when and where it received support, provides evidence of social and intellectual influences which could previously only be hypothesized. 

Conclusions: Foigny