Dudo - Encyclopedia

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DUDO, or Dudon (fi. c. 1000), Norman historian, was dean of St Quentin, where he was born about 965. Sent in 986 by Albert I. count of Vermandois, on an errand to Richard I., duke of Normandy, he succeeded in his mission, and, having made a very favourable impression at the Norman court, spent some years in that country. During a second stay in Normandy Dudo wrote his history of the Normans, a task which Duke Richard I. had urged him to undertake. Very little else is known about his life, except that he died before 1043. Written between 1015 and 1030, his Historia Normannorum, or Libri III. de moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum, was dedicated to Adalberon, bishop of Laon. Dudo does not appear to have consulted any existing documents for his history, but to have obtained his information from oral tradition, much of it being supplied by Raoul, count of Ivry, a half-brother of Duke Richard I. Consequently the Historia partakes of the nature of a romance, and on this ground has been regarded as untrustworthy by such competent critics as E. Diimmler and G. Waitz. Other authorities, however, e.g. J. Lair and J. Steenstrup, while admitting the existence of a legendary element, regard the book as of considerable value for the history of the Normans. Although Dudo was acquainted with Virgil and other Latin writers, his Latin is affected and obscure. The Historia, which is written alternately in prose and in verse of several metres, is divided into four parts, and deals with the history of the Normans from 852 to the death of Duke Richard I. in 996. It glorifies the Normans, and was largely used by William of Jumieges, Wace, Robert of Torigni, William of Poitiers and Hugh of Fleury in compiling their chronicles, and was first published by A.Duchesne in his Historiae Normannorum scriptores antiqui, at Paris in 1619. Another edition is in the Patrologia Latina, tome cxli. of J. P. Migne (Paris, 1844), but the best is perhaps the one edited by J. Lair (Caen, 1865).

See E. Diimmler, "Zur Kritik Dudos von St Quentin" in the Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, Bande vi and ix. (Göttingen, 1866); G. Waitz, "Uber die Quellen zur Geschichte der Begriindung der normannischen Herrschaft in Frankreich," in the Gottinger gel. Anzeigen (Göttingen, 1866); J. C. H. R. Steenstrup, Normannerne, Band i. (Copenhagen 1876); J. Lair, Etude critique et historique sur Dudon (Caen, 1865); G. Kortung, Ober die Quellen des Roman de Rou (Leipzig, 1867); W. Wattenbach, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen, Band i. (Berlin, 1904); and A. Molinier, Les Sources de l'histoire de France, tome ii. (Paris, 1902).

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