First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

The Cistercian Order had its origin in the Year of the Lord one thousand ninety-eight through Robert, the cleric and worthy abbot of Molesme in the so called Cistercian hermitage in Burgundy. The order was confirmed by Pope Urban under the Rule of Saint Benedict the Abbot, with many additional regulations. Through the gift of numerous privileges the order prospered and increased throughout the world. The celebrated monastery of Molesme was founded in the bishopric of Lingones (Limones)[The reference is really to the diocese of Langres, the ancient Andematunum, which was the capital of the Lingones. Under Roman rule it was at first to some extent autonomous, but was reduced to the rank of colony after the revolt of the chief Sabinus in 71 CE. Langres is still a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Haute-Marne.], and was afterwards endowed with various estates. It prospered and produced a number of illustrious men. But when this old society, with its numerous members, began to decline in virtue, twenty-one monks, together with Robert, the father—lovers of heavenly things and scorners of earthly ones—left the monastery and went to a desert region called Ciateaux (Cystercium), a place appointed for them by God; and there they founded a new community and spiritual order, called the Cistercians. Later, on the advice of Odo (Oddonis), duke of Burgundy, and Hugh (Hugonis), bishop of Lyons and papal legate, and Walter, the Cabilonian[Cabillonum, an important town of the Aedui, identified with Chalon-sur-Saone, now an industrial town of east-central France, 81 miles north of Lyons. In the sixth century it was the capital of Gontram, king of Burgundy. In feudal times Chalon was the capital of a countship. Hugh IV, duke of Burgundy, gave the citizens a communal charter in 1256. The church of St. Vincent, once the cathedral, dates mainly from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and has a choir in the 13th century Burgundian style. The old bishop’s palace dates from the 15th century.] bishop, they built the hermitage into an abbey; and in a short time it prospered marvelously.

The Cistercian Order (otherwise Gray or White Monks, from the color of the habit, over which is worn a black scapular or apron), was founded by St. Robert in 1098. He was born of a noble family in Champagne, and was at first a Benedictine monk and later became abbot of certain hermits settled at Molesme near Chatillon. Dissatisfied with the manner of life and observance there, he migrated with twenty of the monks to a swampy place called Cisteaux or Citeaux, in the diocese of Chalons, not far from Dijon. Here Count Odo of Burgundy built them a monastery, and they began to live a life of strict observance according to Benedict’s rule. In the following year Robert was compelled by papal authority to return to Molesme, and Alberic succeeded him as abbot of Cisteaux and held the office till his death in 1109. Then the Englishman, Stephen Harding, became abbot and remained so until 1134. In 1112, however, Bernard and thirty others offered themselves to the monastery, and a rapid development at once set in.

The most striking feature of the Cistercian rule was the return to manual labor, and especially to fieldwork, which became a characteristic of Cistercian life. The Cistercians exercised their chief influence on the progress of civilization in the later Middle Ages; they were the great farmers of the twelfth century and depended wholly on the land for income. They developed an organized system for selling their farm produce, cattle, and horses, and notably contributed to the commercial progress of Western Europe. But farming operations on so extensive a scale could not be carried out by the monks alone, whose choir and religious duties took up a considerable portion of their time; and so lay brothers were recruited from the peasantry to do the field work and ply the useful trades. They lived alongside the choir monks, but separate from them, not taking part in the canonical office, but having their own fixed round of prayer and religious exercises. A lay brother was never ordained, and never held any office of superiority. For a hundred years the Cistercians, supplanting Cluny, were the most powerful order in western Europe. The French Revolution, and the revolutions of the 19th century almost wholly destroyed the Cistercians; but some survived, and since the beginning of the last half of the 19th century, here has been a considerable recovery.

Robert, a holy man, native of Champagne, and abbot of Molesme, at first entered the monastery of the Blessed Stephen in the Parish of Trajectum (Utrecht). Afterwards he left that monastery, and with the monks Alberta, Odo (Odone), John (Iohanne), Stephen (Stephano), Letaldus and Peter, went into the wilderness of Cisteaux. There he built a monastery with the assistance of the aforesaid bishop and duke. But when he was later ordered to return to the monastery of Molesme, Alberic, a very devout man, succeeded him. Through his zeal and courage the order increased in piety and esteem, receiving privileges and elevations through Pope Paschal.[Robert of Molesme, founder of the Cistercian Order, was born in Champagne in 1018. He embraced the Benedictine rule and became prior of the abbey of Moutier-la-Celle near Troyes. He was later sent to be superior to the hermits of Colan, in the forest of Molesme, in the diocese of Langres. Dissatisfaction with relaxed discipline there brought him to Cisteaux where he founded the Cistercian Order.]

Stephen (Stephanus), the Cistercian abbot, a lover of the clergy, and the poor, and of regular discipline, in the year 1107, in the time of Henry (Heinrici) the Fifth, attained the charter of esteem and affection, attested with the authority of the papal seal. He became discouraged because so few entered the order, fearing the strictness of the rule that had to be observed. At night in a dream he saw a great concourse of people going to the monastery; and on the next day Bernard, with his brethren and traveling companions, entered the order, greatly augmenting and adorning it, as will be shown below.[Stephen Harding: Little is known of the early years of this individual. He first appears as a boy brought up in the monastery of Sherborne, in Dorsetshire. From there he traveled to Scotland, and from Scotland to Paris and Rome. He then returned to France, entering the monastery of Molesme, of which Robert was then abbot and Alberic the prior. The three in concert resolved to form the Order of St. Benedict, and they built the monastery of Cisteaux. Stephen became abbot in 1109, and in 1113 Bernard, followed by thirty monks, came to Stephen, placing themselves under his rule. Stephen died in 1134.]

The Recovery of Jerusalem and the Inception of that Kingdom among the Christians.

The leaders of the Christian expedition assembled at Antioch on the first day of October, and Bohemund (Boemundus) was declared ruler of the city.

The enthusiasm for the Crusade was so great throughout Christian Europe that many became impatient with the slow preparations of the princes; and accordingly, in 1096, numerous bands of thousands of the lowest classes of society, set out for the Holy Land without order or discipline. They were led by Peter the Hermit and a French knight called Walter the Penniless. They proceeded through Germany and Hungary toward Constantinople; but very few ever reached Asia. Having attempted to obtain the necessaries of life by force in the countries of their passage, and having carried robbery and desolation through Bulgaria, the inhabitants rose against them and destroyed nearly the entire band; and Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless had few followers when they reached Constantinople, where they waited to join the great army of the First Crusade under Godfrey of Bouillon. Similar undisciplined bands followed, plundering, persecuting and murdering the Jews and others who rejected Christ; but they were totally destroyed before they reached Constantinople.

Nearly 300,000 of the Crusaders had perished when Godfrey led a powerful and disciplined army to the Holy Land. Next to Godfrey the principal leaders were Count Hugh of Vermandois, brother of King Philip I of France; Duke Robert the Devil, of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror of England; Count Stephen of Blois, father of King Stephen of England; the chivalrous Raymond of Toulouse; Earl Robert of Flanders; and Bohemund, brother of Robert Guiscard, Norman prince of Southern Italy. They set out in six divisions, taking different routes to Constantinople, where all, numbering about 600,000 men were united before passing over into Asia.

The Crusaders captured Nicaea in Asia Minor, in 1097, defeated the Turks at Dorylaeum, and then besieged Antioch. The city was finally taken by the strategy of Bohemund and the treachery of one of the Turks, who left a gate open to the besiegers. The greatest cruelties were perpetrated upon the unfortunate inhabitants by the Christians. But within a few days an army of 300,000 Turks and Persians appeared before Antioch. The finding of a “holy lance” in the church of St. Peter raised the courage of the Christians, who sallied out of the city and forced the Moslems to flight.

Hugh (Hugone) the Great died in the meantime, so the other captains—except Raymond (Raymundo) who besieged the city of Caeserea with an army—decided to proceed against Jerusalem. They met at Lycia, preparatory to storming the city of Tortosa[Tortosa, town in Syria on the east coast of the Mediterranean, about 75 miles south of Antioch.]; but after three months of inaction they proceeded against the city of Tripoli; however, at the request of its petty king they left it unmolested. They then proceeded by a shorter route (probably across the craggy mountains) to Jerusalem. In three divisions they marched to three different points. After several encampments they passed a number of cities, one of which the Turks had deserted through fear. Soon they arrived within six