Ralph Niger

Ralph Niger (Latin: Radulphus Niger) (c. 1140-c. 1200) was an Anglo-French theologian and historian.

From c. 1160 to 1166, Ralph studied in Paris, where he was a student of John of Salisbury and Gerard la Pucelle, and, at some point in his life, probably also in Poitiers. At Paris, he may also have been a teacher of rhetoric and dialectics.

Niger was part of Thomas Becket's entourage during the latter's exile in France in the early 1160s and played an important role in connecting the exiled archbishop with pope Alexander III's German ally Conrad of Mainz. After the reconciliation between Henry II and Becket, he was employed by the king, but he left England for France after Becket's murder in 1170. After Henry's death in 1189, he returned to England, where he became a canon in Lincoln.

Apart from several theological works, Niger wrote two chronicles, one of the German emperors and the kings of France and England, which runs up to 1206, and the other one treating history from the world's origin up to the year 1199. He also wrote a treatise "De re militari" in which he was critical towards the Third Crusade.

References

* "Lexikon des Mittelalters" (München/Zürich, 1977-1999)
* K. Peltonen, "History debated. The Historical Reliability of Chronicles in Pre-Critical and Critical Research. Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Society" 64 (1996), 42, n. 125
* [http://www.mgh.de/~Poetae/Autorenliste/AutorenR.htm Bibliography] at "Monumenta Germaniae Historica"


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