This chapter presents a brief account of Anselm of Lucca’s life. Three characteristics in the sources are emphasised: his knowledge and intellectual abilities, especially of the law; his tireless devotion to the cause of Pope Gregory VII; and his indisputable sanctity. Few details are known of Anselm’s life and career as ecclesiastical reformer, canon lawyer, polemicist, and saint. In order to make much sense out of Anselm’s life, the chapter holds that it is important to place the facts against a wider background of the cultural milieu of northern Italy in which he was raised. The discussion glances upon the problems of the two Lives of Anselm, earlier and metrical; and Anselm’s Collectio canonum.
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