Aelred the Peacemaker
The Public Life of a Cistercian Abbot
In addition to being a prolific spiritual writer and the abbot of the premier Cistercian monastery in northern England, Aelred of Rievaulx somehow found the time and the stamina to travel extensively throughout the Anglo-Norman realm, acting as a mediator, a problem solver, and an adviser to kings. His career spanned the troubled years of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda and reached its zenith during the early years of the reign of Henry II. This work focuses on Aelred's public career as revealed in his own historical writing as well as in chronicle references and other documents. This aspect of his life has been previously neglected because his personal letters have been lost and his biographer, Walter Daniel, concentrated on his life within the monastery.
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