Map, Walter

Map, Walter
(ca. 1140–ca. 1210)
    Walter Map was a courtier and writer, a favorite in the English court of HENRY II, whose best-known work, De nugis curialium (Courtiers’ Trifles), is a witty, entertaining, and often satirical collection of miscellaneous anecdotes, observations, fairy stories, and gossip written in Latin prose. Map, whose road to preferment was guaranteed by his religious education, ended his career as the archdeacon of Oxford.
   Map was born in Wales and at the age of 14 went to Paris to study with Gerard Pucelle, an expert on canon law who was later bishop of Coventry.Map returned to England in 1162, and became attached to Henry II’s court. His wit and intelligence apparently made him a favorite of the king,with whom he traveled on occasion and served for a time as an itinerant justice.He was also selected clerk of the king’s household, an appointment that suggests he had received holy orders, or was about to do so. In 1179, Map attended the Third Lateran Council in Rome as the king’s representative. Here he was specifically appointed to dispute with the Waldensians, a recently established proto-Protestant heretical sect that denied the value of intercession by saints or the Virgin, denied the existence of purgatory, and denied all sacraments but baptism and the Eucharist. He continued to receive royal preferments and by 1186 had been made chancellor of Lincoln. In 1197, he was named archdeacon of Oxford. In about 1210, his friend and fellow Welshman GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS speaks of him as having passed away sometime earlier.
   De nugis, composed probably between 1181 and 1192, is the only text attributed with certainty to Map. It is filled with a fascinating variety of material. Its first book laments the corruption in orders like the Carthusians, the Templars, and the Hospitallers, but particularly the Cistercians, or White Monks, whom Map seems to have especially abhorred. Map also attacks heretics, such as the Waldensians he had previously disputed at Rome. Book 2 of De nugis includes a number of fairy stories and other Welsh anecdotes, including a close analogue of the romance of SIR ORFEO, concerning a man who rescues his wife from death when he finds her in the company of a fairy host. The third book contains a number of romantic stories, while the fourth, amid more tales, includes a famous text usually called “The Epistle of Valerius to Ruffinus.” This treatise, often erroneously attributed to St. JEROME or St. AUGUSTINE, was popular in the later Middle Ages and was widely circulated independently in manuscript form.Nicholas TRIVET, the English Dominican, even wrote his own commentary on it in the 14th century. Later, CHAUCER refers to the text in the prologue to The WIFE OF BATH’S TALE. The epistle, descried by the Wife of Bath as an antifeminist tract, condemns men who seek pleasure with women rather than wisdom.Map’s fifth book provides a history of the Anglo-Norman court. Map was highly regarded in the later medieval period, and was for a long time believed to be the author of most of the satiric extant GOLIARDIC VERSE, and was as well the purported author of a Latin original of the prose Lancelot, part of the vast French VULGATE CYCLE of Arthurian ROMANCE. Neither of these attributions is accepted any longer by modern scholars. Even so, Map’s De nugis provides a multivalent picture of an intelligent man with broad and varied interests, and with certain bitter enmities: Giraldus Cambrensis claims that when Map took the oath as king’s justice, he swore to dispense justice fairly to all men except Jews and Cistercians, whom Map claimed were just to no one themselves.
   Bibliography
   ■ Hanna, Ralph, III, and Traugott Lawlor. Jankyn’s Book of Wikked Wyves. Using materials collected by Karl Young and Robert A. Pratt. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997.
   ■ James, M. R., trans. De Nugis Curialium: Courtier’s Trifles. Revised by C. N. L. Brooke and R. A. B. Mynors. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983.
   ■ Levine, Robert. “How to Read Walter Map,”Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 23 (1988): 91–105.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Map, Walter — • Archdeacon of Oxford, b. at, or in the vicinity of, Hereford, c. 1140, d. between 1208 and 1210 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Map, Walter — ▪ English writer born c. 1140, Hereford?, England died c. 1209       English churchman and writer whose work helps to illuminate the society and religious issues of his era.       Probably of Welsh descent, Map studied at the University of Paris… …   Universalium

  • Map, Walter — (c.1140 c.1209)    A clerk in the household of Henry II, who made him an itinerant judge; he also had a good career in the Church, rising to be Archdeacon of Oxford. Around 1190 he wrote a light hearted miscellany called De Nugis Curialium (… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Walter Map — Born c. 1140 Herefordshire, England Died circa 1209 Occupation Clergyman Writer Walter Map (born 1140, died c. 1208–1210) was a medieval writer of works written in Latin. Only one work is attributed to Map with any certainty: De Nugis Curialium …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Map —     Walter Map     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Walter Map     (Sometimes wrongly written MAPS)     Archdeacon of Oxford, b. at, or in the vicinity of, Hereford, c. 1140, d. between 1208 and 1210. Belonging by birth to the Welsh Marches, he was in… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Walter Map — (né en 1140, mort vers 1208 1210) était un historien anglais. Homme d église et écrivain du Moyen Âge, il rédigait en latin. Un seul ouvrage lui est attribué avec certitude : De nugis curialium. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Écrits …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Map — [map] Walter 1140? 1209?; Welsh poet & satirist: also, Latin name, Mapes [māps, mā′pēz΄] …   English World dictionary

  • Walter Map — (* um 1140; † zwischen 1208 und 1210) war ein englischer Schriftsteller walisischer Herkunft. Map studierte in Paris Theologie, wurde später Archidiakon in Oxford und wirkte als bedeutender Gelehrter am Hof des englischen Königs Heinrich II.. Im… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Map — /map/, n. Walter, c1140 1209?, Welsh ecclesiastic, poet, and satirist. Also, Mapes /mayps, may peez/. * * * I Graphic representation, drawn to scale and usually on a flat surface, of features usually geographic, geologic, or geopolitical of an… …   Universalium

  • Walter Ristow — Walter William Ristow (April 20, 1908 in La Crosse, Wisconsin ndash; April 3, 2006 in Mitchellville, Maryland) was the head librarian of the map library at the New York Public Library and later the Library of Congress. The Washington Map Society… …   Wikipedia

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