Caesarius of Heisterbach

c.1170-c.1240. Author and prior of the Cistercian House of Heisterbach, near Cologne. He was educated at Cologne, where he received a good grounding in the classics and the Fathers, and acquired a fluent Latin style. Entering the monastery at Heisterbach in 1198 or 1199, he employed his talent in works prepared for the novices under his care, most notably the Dialogus miraculorum (c.1223), a delightful collection combining detail about contemporary life in the monastery and in the empire with credulous tales of witches, incubi, and succubi. One of the most popular writers of the thirteenth century, he wrote also a second compilation of miracles in eight books, of which only three are extant: a Catalogus episcoporum Coloniensium; an admirable biography of Engelbert, bishop of Cologne murdered in 1225; and sermons intended for a monastic audience, with copious scriptural and historical references. With true Cistercian zeal he criticized the ecclesiastical abuses he observed, including those of the confessional system.