At the end of the 11th century, Hariulf, monk of the Abbey of Saint-Riquier (France, Somme department), wrote a chronicle in four books relating the history of his abbey from its foundation in the 7th century. In this chronicle, after he selected them, he used and sometimes copied out very diverse sources, especially hagiographic and diplomatic sources. However, by doing so, he reconstructed a rather idealised history of his abbey. Thus, the aim of this paper is to show, by studying the most emblematic examples, for what reasons and how Hariulf did so.
Reconstruction of the past by medieval historians, especially managing the tension between archival records and historical memory, has been a subject of many studies for the last few decades. Of particular interest has been the construction of the past with regard to contemporary needs, such as possession of properties, a standing concern in many of the religious institutions engaged in historical writing. Composition of history often entailed a redefinition of the institutional past, resulting in rearrangement of the documentary material. In this paper I will explore the reconstruction of the past from archival memory in the historical cartularies of the central Italian abbey of Farfa.