A Benedictine monk and chronicler of the celebrated Abbey of Reichenau on the Lake of Constance; d. probably in 1088. He was a disciple and friend of the learned Hermannus Contractus. When Hermannus saw death approaching, he entrusted to Berthold all the wax tablets that contained the writings which he had not yet committed to parchment and commissioned Berthold to peruse them and, after careful revision, to copy them on parchment. Berthold was also exhorted by his dying master to continue the famous world-chronicle, begun by Hermann, which in chronological order related the history of the world from the birth of Christ to 1054, the year in which Hermann died. To the continuation of this chronicle and to a biography of his master and friend, Hermannus Contractus, is due whatever fame is attached to the name of Berthold.
The chronicle, as far as it was written by Berthold, comprises a concise and impartial history of the troublesome times immediately preceding the accession of Gregory VII and probably also of the early reign of this great pontiff. It is reprinted to the year 1080, with an introduction by Pertz, in "Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script." V, 264-326, and in P.L., CXLVII, 314-442. Pertz contends that Berthold did not begin the continuation of Hermann's chronicle until 1076, and that in the execution of it he made use of another chronicle, written by Bernold who was also a monk at Reichenau ; but it has been proved almost beyond doubt by Giesebrecht and Schulzen that Berthold was the first to continue Hermann's chronicle and that Bernold's chronicle is a continuation of Berthold's. It is, however, still undecided as to what year Berthold's chronicle extends. Ussermann and Schulzen hold that it extends only to the year 1066, while Pertz, Giesebrecht, and others believe that Berthold wrote the chronicle at least to the middle of the year 1080, where the manuscript suddenly ceases in the middle of a sentence.
The original text of Berthold is no longer in existence and all the existing copies have been compiled from various manuscripts found in the monasteries of St. Gall, St. Blaise, Muri, and Engelberg. The chronicle was continued by Bernold to the year 1100, and by others to the year 1175. From various passages in Berthold's chronicle it appears that, for a short time at least, he considered Cadalus, Bishop of Parma, as the legitimate occupant of the papal throne; but he soon noticed his mistake and from the year 1070, or even earlier, acknowledged Alexander II as the true pope. Bernold remarks in his chronicle under the year 1088 that Berthold, an excellent teacher who was very well versed in Holy Scripture , died at an advanced age on the 12th of March.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online