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Wipo of Burgundy


Wipo of Burgundy

Wipo wrote Tetralogus Heinrici, a eulogy of Emperor Henry III (depicted)

Wipo of Burgundy (also Wippo; c. 995 – c. 1048) was a priest and writer. He was a chaplain to the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II,[1] whose biography he wrote in chronicle form, Gesta Chuonradi II imperatoris. Present at the election of Conrad II, he most likely followed the emperor on his campaigns into Burgundy (1033) and against the Slavs (1035), both of which he wrote with extensive clarity.[2]

He presented his work to Conrad’s son Henry III in 1046, not long after Henry was crowned. In this Wipo fully understands his subject, is fresh and animated, and, although affectionate, is not a mere eulogist or a flatterer, for he sees Conrad’s failings clearly. But he does not fully grasp the general conditions of the age, especially the emperor’s manifold relations to the ruling princes and the Church. His style is simple and fluent, and his language well-chosen.

He mentioned Henry’s younger sister Matilda as a fiancée of King Henry I of France and records her death and burial at Worms, Germany in 1034.

Among his other extant writings are the maxims, Proverbia (1027 or 1028), and Tetralogus Heinrici in rhymed hexameters. Presented to Henry in 1041, it is a eulogy of the emperor mixed with earnest exhortations, emphasizing that right and law are the real foundations of the throne. He wrote a lament in Latin on Conrad’s death, and is believed to have written the famous sequence for Easter, Victimae paschali laudes (though the attribution of this chant to Wipo is uncertain[3]).


  • Breslau, Wiponis Gesta Chuonradi II ceteraque quae supersunt opera (Hanover, 1878; German tr. by Pfluger, Berlin, 1877; by Wattenbach, Leipzig, 1892).


  1. ^ Imperial Lives and Letters of the Eleventh Century, transl. Theodor Ernst Mommsen, Karl F. Morrison, ed. Robert L. Benson, (Columbia University Press, 2000), 42.
  2. ^ Imperial Lives and Letters of the Eleventh Century, transl. Theodor Ernst Mommsen, Karl F. Morrison, 42.
  3. ^ Richard L. Crocker, "Wipo (Wigbert)" Grove Music Online, 2006, accessed 2006-09-26.
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