[St. Odo of Cluny, 11th century, source: Wikimedia Commons]
As others began to see what was happening at Cluny, they began asking for help reforming their own monasteries. Cluny began to build its own network of daughter houses, considered priories rather than abbeys, its independence allowing its influence to spread far and wide. By the late 11th century, it was the grandest, most well-endowed monastic community in Europe. It is worth noting, however, that nearly all of the communities Cluny took on, however, were male, with only one community of Cluniac women being founded before 1100.**
[Reconstruction of what Cluny III might have looked like, Georg Dehio & Gustav von Bezold, Kirchliche Baukunzt des Abendlandes, 1887, source: Wikimedia Commons]
*Citing, for example the right claimed by the families of monastic founders to appoint the abbot or abbess, usually installing someone related to them.
**It doesn’t help that this one was only founded to house the wives of men who wanted to become Cluniac monks.
***Until the rebuilding of St. Peter’s in Rome during the 16th century. And then Cluny III went on to be destroyed in the French Revolution.
Barber, Malcolm. The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320. London: Routledge, 1993.
Cook, William R. and Ronald B. Herzman. The Medieval Worldview: an Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Lawrence, C. H. Medieval Monasticism. London: Longman, 1984.
Stephenson, Carl and Bryce Lyon. Mediaeval History: Europe from the Second to the Sixteenth Century. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.