« Benzinger, Immanuel Benzo Berengar of Poitiers »


BENZO: Bishop of Alba, a zealous partizan of Henry IV; b. about the beginning of the eleventh century; d. not earlier than 1085 or 1086. Little that is definitely attested can be related of his life; but it may be reasonably conjectured that he came originally from southern Italy, that he gained some sort of a position at the German Court, possibly as one of the chaplains of Henry III, and that before 1059 he was raised to the bishopric of Alba by Henry's influence. He was one of the most devoted upholders of the Italian claims of the 57German kings, and a bitter opponent of the Hildebrandine party. His most prosperous days fell in the period of the schism between Honorius II and Alexander II, when he went to Rome (at the end of 1061) charged by the empress Agnes with the mission of supporting the former, the imperial candidate for the papacy, to whom he remained faithful even after Alexander's supremacy was assured. Later, he was a victim of the Patarene movement (see Patarenes), when in 1076 or 1077 popular disturbances drove him from his see. Ill luck followed him during the rest of his life. Though he may have taken part in Henry IV's first expedition to Rome, we never again find him in an important political position; and the latest indications to be gathered from his writings leave the picture of a man broken by poverty and illness, and still waiting for the emperor to reward him for long and faithful services. His Libri vii ad Henricum IV do not make up a single work, but are a collection of separate writings in both prose and verse which he put together into a sort of mosaic shortly before his death. Their special interest lies in the fact that they give an admirable insight into the views of the extreme imperialists, who were carried away by boundless hatred of Gregory VII. Benzo puts forth original views on the constitution of the State and on ecclesiastical politics from the standpoint of a convinced supporter of the empire. His Panegyricus, since the time and manner of the composition of its several books have been definitely determined, is now more highly regarded as an authority on the period of the schism.

Carl Mirbt.

Bibliography: Benzo's Ad Henricum IV imperatorem Libri septem, ed. K. Pertz, is in MGH, Script., xi, 591–681, Hanover, 1854. On his life and work consult: W. von Giesebrecht, Annales Altahenses, pp. 123, 213–227, Berlin, 1841; idem, Geschichte der Kaiserzeit, ii, 535, Brunswick, 1875 (in opposition to the work of K. J. Will, next mentioned); K. J. Will, Benzos Panegyrikus, Marburg, 1857; H. Lehmgrübner, Benzo von Alba, . . . sein Leben und . . . "Panegyricus", Berlin, 1887; idem, Benzo von Alba, . . . eine Quellenuntersuchung, ib. 1886; T. Lindner, Benzos Panegyricus auf Heinrich IV, pp. 497–526, Göttingen, 1866; O. Delarc, in Revue des questions historiques, xliii (1888), 5–60; E. Steindorff, in Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeiger, No. 16, 1888, pp. 593 sqq.; Wattenbach, DGQ, ii (1886), 202, ii (1894), 328–329; C. Mirbt, Die Publizistik im Zeitalter Gregors VII., Leipsic, 1894; Hauck, KD, vol. iii.

« Benzinger, Immanuel Benzo Berengar of Poitiers »
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