Caesar of heisterbach

Caesarius of Heisterbach (ca. 1180 – ca. 1240) (sometimes erroneously called in English Caesar of Heisterbach) was the prior of the former Cistercian monastedry Heisterbach Abbey, in the Siebengebirge near the little town of Oberdollendorf, Germany.

He is best known as the compiler of a book of hagiography, the Dialogus miraculorum, which is a collection of 746 miracle stories arranged in 12 "distinctions."[1] The tales are told in the form of dialogues between a monk and a novice. The work was often referred to by preachers seeking material for sermons in the Late Middle Ages. The work was popular and was widely distributed, showing that it catered well to the tastes of the times; it was perhaps the second largest late mediaeval best-seller, second only to the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine. A vision reported in the book provided the source for the iconography of the Virgin of Mercy.

Caesarius of Heisterbach is also remembered for a maxim on the rise and fall of monasteries: he wrote that discipline causes prosperity in a monastery, and prosperity undermines discipline. He also gave the name of Titivillus as the demon who allegedly caused typographical errors in the work of scribes. He is further known as having attributed a famous statement to Arnaud Amalric, a leader in the Albigensian Crusade. Upon being asked how to distinguish Cathars from Catholics at the besieged town of Béziers, Arnaud replied "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius"[2][3] or "Slay them. God knows his own." This statement is often remembered as "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

The abbey was dissolved in 1803, when the library and archives were given to the city of Düsseldorf; the monastery and the church were sold and demolished in 1809. Though only the ruined apse with fragments of the choir remained, in 1897 a monument was erected nearby in his honour.

External links

  • : Caesarius of Heisterbach
  • Medieval Sourcebook: Caesarius of Heisterbach, from Dialogus, book V: on medieval heresies
  • , volume 1, images from an 1851 edition (Latin)


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.