Lambert of Saint-Omer

Lambert (ca. 1061-1250) was a French Benedictine monk, chronicler and abbot. In his youth he entered the monastery of St-Bertin in France. He afterwards visited several famous schools in France, having first laid the foundation of his subsequent learning by the study in his own monastery of grammar, theology, and music. For some time he filled the office of prior, and in 1095 was chosen abbot at once by the monks of St-Bertin and by the canons of St-Omer. Even during his lifetime, Lambert was lauded in glowing terms for his great learning by an admirer in the Tractatus de moribus Lamberti Abbatis S. Beretini. This work mentions several otherwise unknown writings of Lambert, e.g. Sermones de Vetere Testamento, also studies on free will, the Divine prescience, original sin, origin of the soul, and questions of physical science.

He is most well known for his Liber floridus ("book of flowers"), an encyclopedia of Biblical, chronological, astronomical, geographical, theological, philosophical and natural history subjects. It is an extract or synopsis from different authors, and was begun in 1090 and finished in 1120. Written originally in Latin, it was later translated into French as Le Livre fleurissant en fleurs. Lambert saw the compilation as a bouquet of flowers plucked from the heavenly meadow "that the faithful bees may fly together to them and drink from them the sweetness of the heavenly potion." At least nine manuscript copies, dating from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, are known to exist, including one (Universiteitsbibliotheek Gent MS 92) that is thought to be Lambert's original. All were produced in northern France or Flanders.

[Adapted in part from the Catholic Encyclopedia]

Some medieval encyclopedias: