Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Alex J. Novikoff

Second Advisor

Anton M. Matytsin

Abstract

This thesis examines Cistercian monks in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries through their spiritual letters, activity with wine, and internal awareness of corruption to question their rigid place in history, and add complexity. The Cistercians are a group of monks famous for bringing new agricultural and administrative techniques to the medieval period. In addition to this economic fame, they are paradoxically remembered as being some of the most religiously devout amongst their neighbouring monastic communities and their spiritual letters were read, and studied in the period. This thesis will attempt to bridge the gap, and question the mysterious relationship between success in commonly associated economic skills: administrative control, sales acumen, large profits, and a hierarchy of skilled professionals with the deep theological thought that accompanied their intense labor practices. By choosing certain text like sermons, and packed emotional products like wine, this thesis will investigate the Cistercian monks justification for certain actions such as accepting large amounts of donations and completing profitable sales of wine into secular marketplaces. With each analysis, another layer of complexity is revealed about the quiet, and revolutionary monks from Southern France.

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