Frutolf of Michelsberg

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Frutolf of Michelsberg (died 17 January 1103) was a monk in Michelsberg Abbey in Bamberg, Germany, of which he became prior. He was probably a native of Bavaria.

Frutolf was possibly a teacher of the quadrivium in the monastery, but principally a librarian and manuscript copyist. In this capacity he was responsible for a substantial increase in the stock of the Michelsberg library. Some of the manuscripts he copied are still extant.

He was also an author, writing in Latin. His "Chronicle of the World" (Chronica) is among the most complete and best-organised of the early Middle Ages. It extends from the creation to 1099 and after Frutolf's death was edited and extended by Ekkehard von Aura. It is also fairly certain that a "Breviary of Music" (Breviarium de musica) is by him. On the other hand, it is doubtful if he wrote either the "Book of Divine Offices" (Liber de divinis officiis) or the set of instructions to a board game with counters which are sometimes attributed to him.

He developed a critical view of history and awareness of anachronism, among other things pointing out that "some songs as 'vulgar fables' made Theoderic the Great, Attila and Ermanaric into contemporaries, when any reader of Jordanes knew that this was not the case".[1] .


  • Waitz, G. (ed.), 1844: Ekkehardi Uraugiensis Chronica, pp. 6, 33-210. Stuttgart: Monumenta Germaniae Historica (online)
  • Schmale, Franz-Josef (ed.), 1972: Frutolfs und Ekkehards Chroniken und die anonyme Kaiserchronik. in I. Schmale-Ott: Ausgewählte Quellen zur deutschen Geschichte des Mittelalters (Freiherr-vom-Stein-Gedächtnisausgabe), vol. 15, 1972; includes inter alia Einführung zu Frutolf, pp. 4–19; Frutolfs Chronik, pp. 46–121 (Latin/German text from the year 1000 onwards)
  • Schmale, F.-J., Schmale-Ott (eds.), MGH 33
  • McCarthy, T. J. H., Chronicles of the Investiture Contest: Frutolf of Michelsberg and his continuators. Manchester: Manchester Medieval Sources. ISBN 9780719084706.


  1. ^ The Uses of the Past in the Early Middle Ages, page 245, Yitzhak Hen, Matthew Innes, Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 9780521639989