Sequence Ave Praeclara Maris Stella; uncertain but possibly: Salve Regina, Alma Redemptoris Mater;
[Carmen] de octo vitiis principalibus

HERMAN the CRIPPLE, [Herimannus Contractus, Hermann the Lame] (1013–54) poet and chronicler. He was educated in the monastery at Reichenau, where he later took his vows. Speculation concerning his medical condition is tentative: he may have suffered from cleft palate, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord trauma during delivery, amytrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, or some combination of these or other afflictions.  Though suffering great physical infirmities, he possessed one of the most gifted minds of his age, and wrote extensively on a wide range of subjects including mathematics, music, astronomy, and chronography. His writings included a didactic poem ‘De octo vitiis principalibus’, based on classical models, and many hymns and antiphons, including the sequence Ave Praeclara Maris Stella. The widespread attribution to him of the ‘Salve Regina’ and the ‘Alma Redemptoris Mater’ rests in each case, however, on insufficient evidence. His ‘Chronicon’, which stretches from the beginning of the Christian era to 1054, is based, directly or indirectly, on a large variety of important sources and is of esp. value for its record of contemporary history.

His writings are pr. in J. P. Migne, PL 143. 9–458; crit. edn. of his ‘Chronicon’ by G. H. Pertz in MGH, Scriptores, 5 (1844), pp. 67–133, rev., with Ger. tr. and introd., by R. Buchner in W. Trillmich and R. Buchner (eds.), Quellen des 9. und 11. Jahrhunderts zur Geschichte der Hamburgischen Kirche und des Reiches (1961), pp. 617–707. H. Bresslau, ‘Beiträge zur Kritik deutscher Geschichtsquellen des 11. Jahrhunderts. Neue Folge I, Hermann von Reichenau und das Chronicon Suevicum Universale’, NA 27 (1902), pp. 127–69, with refs. to other arts. Good popular account by C. C. Martindale, SJ, From Bye-Ways and Hedges (1935), pp. 3–27. G. Michiels in Dict. Sp. 7 (pt. 1; 1969), cols. 293 f., s.v. with bibl. See also works cited under salve regina.


PL Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. *Migne (221 vols., Paris, 1844–64).

MGH Monumenta Germaniae Historica.

NA Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde zur Beförderung einer Gesammtausgabe der Quellenschrifien deutscher Geschichte des Mittelalters (Hanover, 1876–1922; Berlin, 1922–35).

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