Abbo of Fleury

Abbo of Fleury (d. 1004), Benedictine monk and abbot. He was born near Orleans, became a monk at Fleury (recently reformed by Cluny), and studied at Paris and Reims. Through his writings on mathematics and astronomy, as well as on Lives of the Popes and the independence of monasteries from secular and episcopal control, he became known as one of the foremost scholars of his time. At the invitation of Oswald of Worcester, who had become a monk at Fleury, Abbo spent two years at Ramsey Abbey (985–7). There he stimulated the monastic reform movement by his teaching and his encouragement of study: his influence is seen in the writings of Byrthferth of Ramsey. Abbo himself wrote the first Life of Edmund of East Anglia, based on the witness of Edmund’s standard-bearer, and dedicated it to Dunstan. Abbo became abbot of Fleury in 988. During his abbacy Aristotle’s Categories and Analytics were copied and studied. He died at La Réole (Gascony), a monastery which he was visiting to reform. A scuffle broke out between monks and serving-men; Abbo attempted to calm it, but was killed in the riot. Because he met a violent death, he was venerated as a martyr. Feast: 13 November.


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