Book Series Mediaeval Sources in Translation, vol. 44


A Warrior Bishop of the Twelfth Century

The 'Deeds of Albero of Trier', by Balderich

  • Pages: 92 p.
  • Size:150 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2008

Temporarily Out of Stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-294-9
  • Paperback
  • Temporarily Out of Stock


Balderich’s Deeds of Albero offers important insight into the conflicts between church and state during the twelfth century. The Gesta Alberonis records the exploits of Albero von Montreuil (Archbishop of Trier, 1131–1152), portrayed as a daring hero doing battle on behalf of the 'Liberty of the Church'. During the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, political and ecclesiastical rulers alike sought to clarify the responsibilities, rights, and obligations they had in common and those that were unique to their different but related kinds of rule. Balderich opens the Deeds with explicit reference to these struggles for power, which later came to be known as the Investiture Controversy.

This conflict between the church and the German emperor centred on the question of control over the appointment of bishops: clergy and princes alternately allied with and fought against one another, seeking to consolidate their respective powers through different structures of governance.

As a young cleric in Metz, Albero resisted an imperially appointed bishop. His audacious use of disguise while travelling on secret missions for his church show him to be very much a folk-hero. And once Albero had been appointed archbishop, Balderich characterizes him as the lynchpin in the actions of popes and kings. Albero ensured the election of King Conrad III, and led troops on campaigns in Italy and northern Germany.

But it was Albero’s rule as prince-bishop that proved paramount. Albero directed the spiritual affairs of the church in Trier while exercising political rule over the principality, and it is this aspect that is Balderich’s principal focus, and which makes the Deeds the remarkable document that it is.