Bruno of merseburg and his historical method, c.1085

David S. Bachrach, Bernard S. Bachrach

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3 Scopus citations


Bruno of Merseburg wrote his history of the war between the Saxons and King Henry IV c.1085. Scholars generally have treated Bruno’s text as a polemic and consequently of relatively little historical value except insofar as it corroborates material found in other contemporary sources such as Lampert of Hersfeld’s more highly regarded Annales. The main historical value of Bruno’s text has been seen in his embedding of some two dozen letters in his account, most of which are not otherwise attested in the source record. The burden of this essay is to examine Bruno’s historical method and sources of information to shed light on the ways in which an ostensibly polemical text also was a work of history in the Isidorean sense of recording events that actually happened. It is the authors’ view that although Bruno worked actively to disparage King Henry IV and to present the Saxon nobility in the best possible light, he also strove to present a depiction of events as he understood them to have happened and not simply as he wished them to have taken place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-398
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Medieval History
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Taylor & Francis


  • Bruno of Merseburg
  • Cicero
  • Historical method
  • Historiography
  • Isidore of Seville
  • King Henry IV of Germany
  • Rhetoric of plausibility


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