Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Cluny

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See also Cluny on Wikipedia; Cluny at Wikipedia; Cluny in the 11th Edition; and the disclaimer.

CLUNY, or Clugni, a town of France, in the department of Saone-et-Loire, about twelve miles by rail north-west of Macon, on the left bank of the Grone, a tributary of the Saone, crossed there by two bridges. It is a place of upwards of 4000 inhabitants, and carries on a considerable agricultural trade, and the manufacture of pottery, paper, and vinegar. The main interest in the town is due to its specimens of mediæval architecture, which include, besides its celebrated abbey, the church of Notre Dame, dating from the 13th century; the church of Saint Marcel with a beautiful spire ; the ruins of Saint Mayeul ; portions of the ancient fortifications ; and a number of picturesque houses belonging to various periods from the 12th century downwards, classed among the historic monuments of France. A mere village at the time when William the Pious and Bernon, abbot of Gigny and Baume, laid the foundations of what was destined to be one of the principal monasteries of Europe, it gradually increased with the development of the religious fraternity, and was raised to the rank of a town. Before the erection of St Peter's at Rome, the abbey church, which was consecrated by Innocent II., was recognized as the largest building of its kind in Europe, its length being no less than G56 feet and its breadth 130. During the wars of the 16th century the abbatial buildings were greatly damaged ; and in the Revolution of 1789 a great part of them were completely demolished. Restorations have since been effected at various times, and different portions of the enormous pile are appropriated to civic purposes. The abbot s palace contains a museum and a library ; the cloisters are occupied by a school ; and the site of the abbey church affords room for a Government stud. The 12th century was the period at which the monks of Cluny reached the height of their prosperity ; and about that time no fewer than 2000 religious establishments throughout Europe acknowledged allegiance. Shortly after they began to decline from the ancient rigidity of their rule ; and their influence gave way before the rising power of the Cistercians. Among the great men whom they have produced are Gregory VII., Urban II., and Pascal II. The town residence erected in Paris by the abbots of Cluny about the end of the 10th century is still extant, and, under the name of Hotel de Cluny, is occupied by the Sommerard archaeo logical collection ; but the College de Cluny, which was founded in 1269 by Ives de Vergy, has disappeared.