Insegnare nelle ‘scholae’. Il manuale di Pietro Comestore

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Teach in the 'scholae'. Pietro Comestore's manual

Gian Luca Potesta'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historiography occupied a marginal and uncertain space in the conception and organization of knowledge of the medieval West. The affirmation of history as a taught discipline was achieved only thanks to the remarkable text known as Historia scholastica. A cursory glance shows the Historia to be a keenly literal biblical commentary. Of particular significance are the "secular" events that the author gradually pairs to biblical events that he believes are coeval. These "incidentia" are helpful in bringing notable but extrabiblical facts within the purview of an expanded sacred history, while at the same time granting the biblical narrative depth and a human dimension, as it foreground its events in a clear chronological framework. Making use of a vast array of ancient and medieval sources, Peter also does not shy away from explaining in an original manner both complex passages and legendary tales, as showcased in a number of significant examples analysed by this essay. In particular, the superhuman prerogatives of Moses and the singular verse in Numbers (12,1); the fate of the star that guided the Magi to Jesus; and the tale of the ten lost tribes of Israel, to whose eventual return the Historia attributes the character of apocalyptic enemies surging from the East.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Teach in the 'scholae'. Pietro Comestore's manual
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Historia scholastica
  • Peter Comestor
  • Pietro Comestore


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