Benedict of Nursia (c. 480-547) is one of the most influential personalities in the history of the Church. He founded the monastic order that would later be known as the Benedictines, and his “Rule” has played a crucial role in shaping the history of Western monasticism. The book describes the life of Saint Benedict, fleshes out the medieval context in which his monastic communities (Subiaco and Monte Cassino) operated, and analyzes the Rule he developed for the Monte Cassino monastery. The Rule is a much more problematic text than the renowned “ora et labora” precept suggests. The book also explores the liturgical, iconographic and literary sources dealing with the cult of Benedict and examines the images of the saint that the Middle Ages have passed on to later generations. Finally, the text addresses the long-standing conflict between Monte Cassino and the Fleury Abbey in France, regarding possession of Benedict’s relics.
Amalia Galdi teaches Medieval History and History of Medieval Institutions at the University of Salerno.