A translation of The Book of the Civilised Man by Daniel of Beccles brings to light the social and cultural life of medieval people in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries through a previously little-known text.
Known in Latin as Urbanus magnus, it is a complex and illuminating text which covers an array of topics related to social mores in the Middle Ages, including: how to be a good and moral citizen, how to dine courteously, how to maintain standards of hygiene, how to regulate your diet, and how to run your household.
Often described as one of the earliest ‘courtesy texts’, this translation will reveal a text which cannot be easily categorised in any genre but is relevant widely for anyone with an interest in medieval life. An expansive text of enormous breadth, this translation will provide scholars new insight in areas such as social hierarchy, citizenship, morality, friendship, family ties, household administration, food consumption, standards of etiquette, and much more.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Urbanus magnus
1.1. Text and Narrative
1.2. Thematic analysis
1.3. Authorship and Composition
1.4. Use, Influence and Scholarship
1.5. Translator’s Notes
2. Translation of Urbanus Magnus: The Book of the Civilised Man
2.1. Section I
2.2. Section II
2.3. Section III
2.4. Section IV
Appendix A: The Manuscripts of Urbanus magnus
Appendix B: Urbanus magnus in MS O1
Fiona Whelan completed her DPhil in Medieval History at the University of Oxford in 2015, and has previously studied at Trinity College Dublin and University College London. She has published widely on medieval codes of behaviour, in particular on Urbanus magnus by Daniel of Beccles. Her research interests include the cultivation of norms of behaviour, food and diet in the medieval period, household administration, and the manuscript culture of early courtesy literature.
Olivia Spenser earned her MA in Medieval History from the University of Leeds at twenty-one, and holds a BA in Classical Studies from the University of Washington. Since falling in love with Latin in high school, she has pursued that linguistic passion into the study of Medieval as well as Classical Latin texts, and also into Classical Greek poetry. She lives in Seattle and spends time each week speaking Latin with her husband, and to her cat.
Francesca Petrizzo completed her PhD in Medieval Studies at the Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds in 2018. She has previously studied at UCL and the University of Oxford. Her primary interests are kin and military history, with a focus on the Normans in the Mediterranean and the Crusades. Her interest in primary sources in their original language has brought her to this project, and she has been publishing on both family history and the use of literary sources in historical enquiry.