This paper will discuss the work of Rangerius of Lucca (Vita Sancti Anselmi Lucensis episcopus), John of Mantua (Tractatus in Cantica Canticorum) and Pietro Valestri (La gran contessa matilda paragone genealogico […] ) vis à vis the military career of Matilda of Tuscany. The Vita Mathildis of Donizone of Canossa has been a basic source for matildine studies since the 16th century simply because it was known to scholars. It has been translated into Italian (and my English translation will follow my book). My 2010 article, ‘The Last Italian Expedition of Henry IV’, reconfirmed its usefulness as a source for military history. The works of Rangerius and John were published in the 20th century, when the ‘Investiture Controversy’ was a topic already well-researched by scholars. They are largely neglected, they have not been translated. But, in researching the nearly forty-year long career of the Great Countess, I have found them to be as useful as Donizone. Since the dissertation (2000) much has been published concerning using hagiography as a source for military history, and I have been able to expand my early work. Similarly, my preliminary study of John of Mantua’s exegesis of the Song of Songs provided a platform for going beyond what was presented earlier. The Valestri manuscript resides in the Archivio di Stato in Reggio-Emilia. Although it contains no new sources, and remains unpublished it is survives quietly, almost unnoticed, in recent scholarship. My handling of these sources is similar to my handling of Donizone. This first-hand investigation of the sites and the manuscript is an element that is missing from the work of the few scholars who have dealt with these sources.
The question of the legitimacy of feuds and violence in the Middle Ages has been heavily discussed over the last few years. While older research supported the image of random violence, which reinforced the reception of the Middle Ages as a dark period, it is due to findings in recent research that this picture changed. This paper compares two different acts of violence during the later Middle Ages between the Abbots of Fulda and the local nobility. It investigates the circumstances under which violence and feuding occurred, which rules they followed and when they were regarded as legitimate.