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Suger

Suger (süzhĕrˈ) [key], 1081–1151, French cleric and statesman, abbot of Saint-Denis from 1122, minister of kings Louis VI and Louis VII. Born into a peasant family and educated at the abbey of Saint-Denis, Suger was noted for his financial ability and his talent for conciliation. In 1147, Louis VII left on crusade and appointed a council of regency, of which Suger was the leading member. During his administration (1147–49) Suger succeeded in maintaining peace at home and in raising funds to meet the king's expenses. He liberated the abbey at Saint-Denis from the tribute formerly paid to exploiters, recovered alienated properties, built a new church, and enriched it with works of art; the church is sometimes considered the first great work of Gothic architecture. At the same time he introduced a more severe discipline. His biography of Louis VI, whom he had known as a classmate, remains an important historical source; he also wrote fragments of a life of Louis VII, an account of his renovation of Saint-Denis (tr. 1946), and a work on his administration of the abbey.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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