Vol. 4, Chapter XIV (Cont’d) – Smaragdus


I. Smaragdus, abbas monasterii Sancti Michaelis Virdunensis: Opera omnia in Migne, Tom. CII. cols. 9-980: with Pitra’s notes, cols. 1111-1132. His Carmina are in Dümmler, Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, I. 605-619.

II. Hauréau: Singularités historiques et littéraires. Paris, 1861 (pp. 100 sqq.) H. Keil: De grammaticis quibusdam latinis infimae aetatis (Program) . Erlangen, 1868. Hist. Lit. de la France, IV. 439-447. Ceillier, XII. 254-257. Bähr, 362-364. Ebert, II. 108-12.

Of the early life of Smaragdus nothing is known. He joined the Benedictine order of monks, and after serving as principal of the convent school was elected about 805 abbot of the monastery on Mt. Castellion. Sometime later he moved his monks a few miles away and founded the monastery of St. Mihiel on the banks of the Meuse, in the diocese of Verdun. He was a man of learning and of practical activity. In consequence he was highly esteemed by the two monarchs under whom he lived, Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. The former employed him to write the letter to Pope Leo III. in which was communicated the decision of the council of Aix la Chapelle (809) respecting the adoption of the Filioque, and sent him to Rome with the commissioners to lay the matter before the pope. He acted as secretary, and drew up the protocol. Louis the Pious showed him equal consideration, richly endowed his monastery, and in 824 appointed him to act with Frotharius, bishop of Toul (813-837) as arbitrator between Ismund, abbot of Milan, and his monks. Smaragdus died about 840.

His writings show diligence and piety, but no originality. His published works in prose are: (1) Collections of Comments on the Epistle and Gospel for each holy day in the year, an uncritical but comprehensive compilation from numerous ecclesiastical writers, prepared for the use of preachers, and described by the author as a liber comitis. (2) The monk’s diadem,  a collection in one hundred chapters of ascetic rules and reflections concerning the principal duties and virtues of the monastic life. It is for the most part a compilation. The sources are the Collectiones patrum of Cassian and the writings of Gregory the Great. Smaragdus made it after his elevation to the abbotship and enjoined its daily evening reading upon his monks. It proved to be a very popular work, was widely circulated during the Middle Age, and has been repeatedly published (3) Commentary upon the rule of St. Benedict  undertaken in aid of the monastic reforms instituted by the council of Aix la Chapelle (817). It is characterized by great strictness. (4) The Royal way dedicated to Louis the Pious while king of Aquitania. It consists of thirty-two chapters of moral and spiritual counsels, which if faithfully followed will conduct an earthly king into the heavenly kingdom. The work is really only an adaptation of the Diadem to the wants of the secular life. (5) Acts of the Roman conference, the protocol already alluded to. (6) Epistle of Charles the Great to Leo the Pope upon the procession of the Holy Spirit, the letter mentioned above. (7) Epistle of Frotharius and Smaragdus to the Emperor Louis, the report of the arbitrators. (8) A larger grammar or a commentary upon Donatus. His earliest work, written at the request of his scholars, probably between 800 and 805. It is still unprinted, except a small portion. There yet remain in MS. a Commentary on the Prophets, and a History of the Monastery of St. Michael  Smaragdus also wrote poetry. Besides a hymn to Christ, there have been preserved his metrical introductions to his Collections and Commentary on the rule of St. Benedict, of which the first has twenty-nine lines in hexameter, and the second thirty-seven distichs.


166. Jonas of Orleans

I. Jonas, Aurelianensis episcopus: Opera omnia, in Migne, Tom. CVI. col. 117-394.

II. Du Pin, VII. 3, 4. Ceillier, XII. 389-394. Hist. Lit. de la France, V. 20-31. Bähr, 394-398. Ebert, II. 225-230.

Jonas was a native of Aquitania, and in 821 succeeded Theodulph as archbishop of Orleans. In the first year of his episcopate he reformed the convent at Mici, near Orleans, and thereby greatly extended its usefulness. His learning in classical and theological literature joined to his administrative ability made him a leader in important councils, and also led to his frequent employment by Louis the Pious on delicate and difficult commissions. Thus the emperor sent him to examine the administration of the law in certain districts of his empire, and in 835 to the monasteries of Fleury and St. Calez in Le Mains. His most conspicuous service was, however, in connection with the gathering of bishops and theologians held at Paris in Nov. 825 to consider the question of image-worship. The emperor sent him and Jeremiah, archbishop of Sens, to Rome to lay before the pope that part of the collection of patristic quotations on the subject made by Halitgar and Amalarius, which was most appropriate.  The issue of this transaction is unknown. He was the leading spirit in the reform council of Paris (829), and probably drew up its acts; and again at Diedenhofen, where, on March 4, 835, he dictated the protocol of Ebo’s deposition. He died at Orleans in 843 or 844.

His Writings are interesting and important, although few.

1. The layman’s rule of life, in three books, composed in 828 for Mathfred, count of Orleans, who had requested instruction how to lead a godly life while in the bonds of matrimony. The first and last books are general in their contents, but the second is for the most part specially addressed to married people. As might be expected Jonas takes strong ground against vice in all its forms and so his work has great value in the history of ethics. It is very likely that the second book was composed first.

2. The Kings rule of life, written about 829 and dedicated to Pepin. Both the above-mentioned works are little more than compilations from the Bible and the fathers, especially from Augustin, but the author’s own remarks throw a flood of light upon the sins and follies of his time.

3. The Worship of Images. This is his chief work, and a very important one. It is in three books, and was written against Claudius of Turin. It was nearly finished at the time of the latter’s death (839), and then laid aside since Jonas fancied that the bold position of Claudius would scarcely be assumed by any one else. But when he found that the pupils and followers of Claudius were propagating the same opinions he took up his book again and finished it about 842. It had been begun at the request of Louis the Pious; but he having died in 840, Jonas dedicated the work to his son, Charles the Bald, in a letter in which the above-mentioned facts about its origin are stated. Jonas opposes Claudius with his own weapons of irony and satire, gives his portrait in no flattering colors and even ridicules his latinity. The first book defends the use of images (pictures), the invocation and worship of the saints, the doctrine of their intercession, and the veneration due to their relics, but asserts that the French do not worship images. The second book defends the veneration of the cross, and the third pilgrimages to Rome.

4. History of the translation of the relics of Saint Hubert. Hubert, patron saint of hunters, died in 727 as first bishop of Liége, and was buried there in St. Peter’s church. In 744 he was moved to another portion of the church, but in 825 bishop Walcand of Liége removed his relics to the monastery of Andvin which he had reestablished, and it is this second translation which Jonas describes.


167. Rabanus Maurus

I. Rabanus Maurus: Opera omnia, in Migne, Tom. CVII.-CXII. His Carmina are in Duemmler’s Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, II. 159-258. Migne’s edition is a reprint, with additions, of that of Colvenerius, Cologne, 1617, but is not quite complete, for Dümmler gives new pieces, and others are known to exist in MS.

II. The Prolegomena in Migne, CVII. col. 9-106, which contains the Vitae by Mabillon, Rudolf, Raban’s pupil, and by Trithemius. Johann Franz Buddeus: Dissertatio de vita ac doctrina Rabani Mauri Magnentii, Jena, 1724. Friedrich Heinrich Christian Schwarz: Commentatio de Rabano Mauro, primo Germaniae praeceptore (Program). Heidelberg, 1811. Johann Konrad Dahl: Leben und Schriften des Erzbischofs Rabanus Maurus. Fulda, 1828. Nicolas Bach: Hrabanus Maurus; der Schöpfer des deutschen Schulwesens (Program). Fulda, 1835. Friedrich Kunstmann: Hrabanus Magnentius Maurus. Mainz, 1841. Theodor Spengler: Leben des heiligen Rhabanus Maurus. Regensburg, 1856. Köhler: Hrabanus Maurus und die Schule zu Fulda (Dissertation). Leipzig, 1870. Richter: Babanus Maurus. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Pädagogik im Mittelalter (Program). Malchin, 1883. Cf. E. F. J. Dronke: Codex dip Fuld. Cassel, 1850. J. Bass Mullinger: The Schools of Charles the Great. London, 1877, pp. 188-157. J. F. Böhmer: Regesten zur Gesch. d. Mainzer Erzbischöfe, ed. C. Will. 1. Bd. a.d. 742-1160. Innsbruck, 1877.

III. Du Pin, VII. 160-166. Ceillier, XII. 446-476. Hist. Lit. de la France, V. 151-203. Bähr, 415-447. Ebert, II. 120-145.


His Life

Magnentius Hrabanus Maurus is the full name, as written by himself, of one of the greatest scholars and teachers of the Carolingian age. He was born in Mainz about 776. At the age of nine he was placed by his parents in the famous Benedictine monastery of Fulda, in the Grand-duchy of Hesse, which was then in a very flourishing condition under Baugolf (780-802). There he received a careful education both in sacred and secular learning, for Baugolf was himself a classical scholar. Raban took the monastic vows, and in 801 was ordained deacon. In 802 Baugolf died and was succeeded by Ratgar. The new abbot at first followed the example of his predecessor, and in order to keep up the reputation of the monastery for learning he sent the brightest of the inmates to Tours to receive the instruction of Alcuin, not only in theology but particularly in the liberal arts. Among them was Raban, who indeed had a great desire to go. The meeting of the able and experienced, though old, wearied and somewhat mechanical teacher, and the fresh, vigorous, insatiable student, was fraught with momentous consequences for Europe. Alcuin taught Raban far more than book knowledge; he fitted him to teach others, and so put him in the line of the great teachers — Isidore, Bede, Alcuin. Between Alcuin and Raban there sprang up a very warm friendship, but death removed the former in the same year in which Raban returned to Fulda (804), and so what would doubtless have been a most interesting correspondence was limited to a single interchange of letters.

Raban was appointed principal of the monastery’s school. In his work he was at first assisted by Samuel, his fellow-pupil at Tours, but when the latter was elected bishop of Worms Raban carried on the school alone. The new abbot, Ratgar, quickly degenerated into a tyrant with an architectural mania. He begrudged the time spent in study and instruction. Accordingly he chose very effective measures to break up the school. He took the books away from the scholars and even from their principal, Raban Maur. In 807 the monastery was visited with a malignant fever, and a large proportion of the monks, especially of the younger ones, died, and many left. Thus by death and defection the number was reduced from 400 to 150, but those who remained had to work all the harder. It was probably during this period of misrule and misery that Raban made his journey to Palestine, to which, however, he only once alludes. On December 23, 814, he was ordained priest.

In 817 Ratgar was deposed and Raban’s friend Eigil elected in his place. With Eigil a better day dawned for the monastery. Raban was now unhampered in teaching and able once more to write. The school grew so large that it had to be divided. Those scholars who were designed for the secular life were taught in a separate place outside the monastery. The library was also much increased.

In 822 Eigil died and Raban was elected his successor. He proved a good leader in spiritual affairs. He took personal interest in the monks, and frequently preached to them. He paid particular attention to the education of the priests. He compiled books for their especial benefit, and as far as possible taught in the school, particularly on Biblical topics. The principal of the school under him was Canadidus, already mentioned as the biographer of Eigil. His most famous pupils belong to this period: Servatus Lupus, Walahfrid Strabo (826-829) and Otfrid. He showed his passion for collecting relics, which he enshrined in a very costly way. He also built churches and extended the influence of Fulda by colonizing his monks in different places, adding six affiliated monasteries to the sixteen already existing.

In the spring of 842 Raban laid down his office and retired to the “cell” on the Petersberg, in the neighborhood of Fulda. There he thought he should be able to end his days in literary activity undisturbed by the cares of office. To this end he called in the aid of several assistants and so worked rapidly. But he was too valuable a man to be allowed to retire from active life. Accordingly on the death of Otgar, archbishop of Mainz (April 21, 847), he was unanimously elected by the chapter, the nobility and the people of Mainz his successor. He reluctantly consented, and was consecrated June 26, 847. In October of that year he held his first synod in the monastery of St. Alban’s, Mainz. It was a provincial council by command of Louis the German. Among the notables present were his suffragans, Samuel of Worms, his former fellow-teacher, Ebo of Hildesheim, Haymo of Halberstadt, his fellow-student under Alcuin, and also Ansgar of Hamburg, who had come to plead for the Northern mission. This synod renewed the command to the priests to preach. In this act Raban is recognized. On October 1, 848, a second synod was held at Mainz, which is memorable as the first in which the Gottschalk matter was discussed. Gottschalk had been a pupil at Fulda and his course had incurred the anger of Raban, who accordingly opposed him in the council. The result was that the synod decided adversely to Gottschalk and sent him for judgment to Hincmar. In the Annals of Fulda begun by Enhard (not to be confounded with Einhard), and continued by Rudolf, it is gratefully recorded that during the great famine in Germany in 850 Raban fed more than 300 persons daily in the village of Winzel. In October, 851 or 852, Raban presided over a third synod at Mainz, which passed a number of reform canons; such as one forbidding the clergy to hunt, and another anathematizing a layman who withdrew from a priest who had been married, thinking it wrong to receive the eucharist from such a one.

Raban died at Mainz Feb. 4, 456, and was buried in the monastery of St. Alban’s. He wrote his own epitaph which is modest yet just. In 1515 Cardinal Albert of Brandenburg removed his bones to Halle.


His Position and Influence

Raban was one of the most eminent men in the ninth century for virtue, piety and scholarship. As pupil he was unremitting in his pursuit of learning; as teacher he was painstaking, inspiring and instructive; as abbot he strove to do his whole duty; as archbishop he zealously contended for the faith regardless of adversaries; according to his own motto, “When the cause is Christ’s, the opposition of the bad counts for naught.” He bore his honors modestly, and was free from pride or envy. While willing to yield to proper demands and patient of criticism, he was inflexible and rigorous in maintaining a principle. He had the courage to oppose alone the decision of the council of 829 that a monk might leave his order. He denied the virtues of astrology and opposed trial by ordeal. He early declared himself a friend of Louis the Pious and plainly and earnestly rebuked the unfilial conduct of his sons. After the death of Louis he threw in his fortune with Lothair and the defeat of the latter at Fontenai, June 25, 841, was a personal affliction and may have hastened his resignation of the abbotship, which took place in the spring of the following year. The relations, however, between him and his new king, Louis the German, were friendly. Louis called him to his court and appointed him archbishop of Mainz.

Raban’s permanent fame rests upon his labors as teacher and educational writer. From these he has won the proud epithet, Primus Germaniae Praeceptor. The school at Fulda became famous for piety and erudition throughout the length and breadth of the Frankish kingdom. Many noble youth, as well as those of the lower classes, were educated there and afterwards became the bishops and pastors of the Church of Germany. No one was refused on the score of poverty. Fulda started the example, quickly followed in other monasteries, of diligent Bible study. And what is much more remarkable, Raban was the first one in Germany to conduct a monastic school in which many boys were trained for the secular life. It is this latter action which entitles him to be called the founder of the German school system. The pupils of Raban were in demand elsewhere as teachers; and princes could not find a better school than his for their sons. One of the strongest proofs of its excellence is the fact that Einhard, himself a former pupil at Fulda, and now a great scholar and teacher, sent his son Wussin there, and in a letter still extant exhorts his son to make diligent use of his rare advantages, and above all to attend to what is said by that “great orator,” Raban Maur. Raban’s encyclopaedia, The Universe, attests his possession of universal learning and of the power to impart it to others. So, while Alcuin was his model, he enlarged upon his master’s conception of education, and in himself and his works set an example whose influence has never been lost.


His Writings

Raban was a voluminous author. But like the other writers of his time, he made mostly compilations from the Fathers and the later ecclesiastics. He was quick to respond to the needs of his day, and to answer questions of enquiring students. He betrays a profound acquaintance with the Holy Scripture. His works may be divided into seven classes.

I. Biblical. (1) Commentaries upon the whole Bible, except Ezra, Nehemiah, Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, the Minor Prophets, Catholic Epistles and Revelation. He commented also on the Apocryphal books, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and Maccabees. These commentaries were probably in part compiled by his pupils, under his direction. They preserved a knowledge both of the Bible and of the Fathers in an age when books were very scarce and libraries still rarer. A single fact very strikingly brings out this state of things. Frechulf, bishop of Lisieux, in urging Raban to comment on the Pentateuch, states that in his diocese there were very few books of any kind, not even a whole Bible, much less any complete exposition of it. Raban thus gives his views of biblical interpretation: “If any one would master the Scriptures he must first of all diligently find out the amount of history, allegory, anagoge and trope there may be in the part under consideration. For there are four senses to the Scriptures, the historical, the allegorical, the tropological and the anagogical, which we call the daughters of wisdom. Through these Wisdom feeds her children. To those who are young and beginning to learn she gives the milk of history; to those advancing in the faith the bread of allegory; those who are truly and constantly doing good so that they abound therein she satisfies with the savory repast of tropology; while, finally, those who despise earthly things and ardently desire the heavenly she fills to the full with the wine of anagoge.”

In accordance with these principles his commentaries’ except that of Matthew, the earliest issued (819), contain very little proper exegesis, but a great deal of mystical and spiritual interpretation. The labor in their composition must have been considerable, but he carried it on for twenty years. He did not always copy the exact language of his sources, but reproduced it in his own words. He was particular to state the place of his excerpts. Each successive commentary had a separate dedication. Thus, those on Judith and Esther were dedicated to the empress Judith, because, he says, she resembled the Hebrew heroines; that on Chronicles to Louis the Pious, her husband, as a guide in government; that on Maccabees to Louis the German; that on Jeremiah to Lothair.

(2) He also prepared a commentary in the same style upon the Biblical hymns sung in morning worship.

(3) Scripture Allegories a conveniently arranged dictionary, in alphabetical order of terms which were defined allegorically. Thus, “Annus is the time of grace, as in Isaiah [Isa_61:2], ‘the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Also, the multitude of the redeemed, as in Job_3:6, ‘let it not be joined unto the days of the year’ among the elect who are saved. Also the eternity of Christ, as in Psa_102:24, ‘thy years are throughout all generations,’ because the eternity of God lasts forever. It also signifies our life, as in Psa_90:9, ‘our years are thought upon as if a cobweb’ (Vulg.) i.e., our life rushes along in emptiness and corruption.”

(4) The life of Mary Magdalene and her sister Martha. It includes the related sections of our Lord’s life and the legendary history of the sisters, and is in its way an interesting work. But he confounds Mary the sister of Lazarus with Mary of Magdala, and the latter again with the woman that was a sinner. Hence after declaring that Mary was a miracle of beauty he is obliged to touch upon her unchastity prior to her meeting with Christ.

II. Educational. (1) The Institutes of the clergy. This important work was written in 819 in answer to numerous requests. It is in three books, prefaced by a poetical epigram. The prose preface gives an outline of the work, and states its sources. The work is very largely directly compiled from Augustin’s De doctrina Christiana, Cassiodorus’ Institutiones, and Gregory’s Cura pastoralis. The first book of Raban’s Institutes relates to ecclesiastical orders, clerical vestments, the sacraments, and the office of the mass. The second book relates to the canonical hours, the litany, fasting, alms, penance, the feasts, prayers for the dead, singing of psalms and hymns, reading of the Scriptures, the creed and gives a list of the heresies. The third book treats of the education requisite to make an efficient servant of the church. It is noteworthy that he lays primary stress upon a knowledge of the Scriptures, and gives directions for their study and explanation. He then passes on to discuss the components of education as then conducted, i.e. the seven liberal arts, and closes with directions how to speak and teach with the best results. He properly remarks that the preacher should have regard to the age, sex, and failings of his audience. He is to come forth as God’s spokesman, and if he is truly a man of God he will be upheld by divine power. This is the proper spirit. Man is nothing. God is everything. “Let him who glorieth glory in Him in whose hand both we and our sermons are.”

(2) On Computation. It was written in 820, and is in the form of a dialogue between a master and his disciple. Much of it was copied verbatim from Bede’s De temporum ratione, Isidore’s Etymologies, and Boëthius’ Arithmetic. But the resulting work marked an advance in instruction in the important matter of computing numbers, times and seasons.

(3) The Universe. Isidore of Seville had already set the example of preparing an encyclopedia of universal knowledge, and Raban in his Universe merely reproduces Isidore’s Etymologies, with some difference in the arrangement of the material, and with the addition of allegorical and spiritual matter, interpretations of the names and words, together with many quotations of Scripture. The work was one of the early fruits of his learned leisure, being written about 844. It is in twenty-two books, the number in the Hieronymian canon of the Old Testament, and is dedicated to Haymo of Halberstadt, and to King Louis. It begins with the doctrine of God, and the first five books relate to religion and worship. The remaining books relate to secular things, ranging from man himself, considered as an animal, through the beasts to the starry heavens, time and the divisions of time, the waters on and under the earth, the clouds above it, and the earth itself. He then speaks of mountains and valleys and divers places; of public buildings and their parts; of philosophy and linguistics, stones and metals, weights and measures, diseases and remedies, trees and plants, wars and triumphs, shows and games, pictures and colors, dress and ornaments, food and drink, vehicles and harness.

(4) Excerpt from Priscian’s Grammar, an abridged edition of a standard grammar. It is almost entirely confined to prosody, but it served to introduce Priscian into schools.

(5) The holy orders, divine sacraments and priestly garments.

(6) Ecclesiastical discipline. The last two treatises, made during the author’s archiepiscopate, are merely extracts from the Institutes, with slight alterations.

(7) The parts of the human body, in Latin and German. This glossary was drawn up by Walahfrid Strabo from Raban’s lectures. At the end are the months and the winds in Latin and German.

(8) The invention of languages [letters], a curious collection of alphabets — Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Scythian and Runic, with the names of the supposed inventors. The little tract also includes the commonest abbreviations and monograms.

III. Occasional writings, i.e., upon current questions and in answer to questions. (1) The oblation of boys, the famous treatise in which Raban argued against the position the Mainz Council of 829 had taken in allowing Gottschalk to leave his order. Gottschalk produced two arguments, the first that it was not right to compel a person to remain a monk just because his parents had in his infancy, or immature youth put him in a monastery. The second was that the oblation of a minor must be established by a properly qualified witness, and that in his case only Saxons could give such testimony, since, according to Saxon law, it was illegal to deprive a Saxon of his liberty on the testimony of a non-Saxon. Raban tries to refute him upon both points. He shows that both the Scriptures and the Fathers by precept and example allow of the consecration of children, and in relation to the second point he rejoins: “As if the service of Christ deprived a man of his liberty and nobility!” But the real objection to Gottschalk’s second argument was the latter’s assertion that Frankish testimony could not be received. This roused Raban’s patriotism and incited his eloquence. “Who does not know,” he says, “that the Franks were Christians long before the Saxons? Yet the latter, contrary to all human and divine law, arrogate to themselves the right to reject Frankish testimony.” Having thus answered Gottschalk, he proves by the Bible his third argument, that a vow to God must not be broken. His final point is that monasticism is a divine institution. In this treatise he does not name Gottschalk, but the reference is unmistakeable. His whole conduct towards the unfortunate Gottschalk was intolerant.

(2) The reverence of children to their parents, and of subjects to their king. This was addressed to Louis the Pious after his deposition and imprisonment in the year 833. By Biblical quotations he shows that God has commanded children to honor their parents and subjects their kings, and has put his curse upon those who do not. Then coming directly to the point he makes the application to the existing circumstances, and calls the sons of Louis to obedience. He defends Louis against the charge of homicide in executing Bernard; and finally addressing the emperor he comforts him in his sorrow and counsels him to exercise clemency when he is restored to power. The whole treatise does great credit to Raban’s head and heart.

(3) On the degrees of relationship within which marriage is permissible.

(4) Magic arts. Raban was singularly free from the superstitions of his time, for in the second part of this tract, written in 842, he takes strong ground against necromancy in all its forms, of which he gives an interesting catalogue, and while explaining the appearance of ghosts, evil spirits and similar supposed existences on the ground of demoniac influence, he yet admits the possibility that the senses may be deceived. Curiously enough, he cites in point the appearance of Samuel to Saul. He denies the reality of Samuel’s appearance and holds that Saul was deceived by the devil; for two reasons, (1) the real Samuel, the man of God, would not have permitted the worship which Saul paid to the supposed Samuel; (2) the real Samuel was in Abraham’s bosom; he would, therefore, not say to the impious king, “To-morrow thou shalt be with me.”

(4) A Response to certain Canonical Questions of the Suffragan Bishop Reginald.

(5) Whether it is permissible for a suffragan bishop to ordain priests and deacons with the consent of his bishop. He replies in the affirmative.

IV. Writings upon Penance. (1) Two Penitentials. They give the decisions of councils respecting penance. (2) Canonical questions relating to penance. (3) The virtues and vices and the satisfaction for sin.

V. Miscellaneous. (1) Homilies. There are two collections, the first seventy in number upon the principal feasts and on the virtues; the second, one hundred and sixty-three upon the Gospels and Epistles. The first collection must have been made earlier than 826, for it is dedicated to bishop Haistulf, who died in that year. The most of these homilies were doubtless actually delivered by Raban. The sermons of Leo the Great, Augustin, Alcuin and others have been liberally drawn on, and so the homilies are compilations in great measure, like the rest of his works. Yet a few are apparently original and have the greatest interest, inasmuch as they treat of the vices then current and so furnish a picture of the times.

(2) Treatise on the Soul. It is an extract with slight additions from Cassiodorus’ De Anima, as he acknowledges in his preface to king Lothair. To it are appended extracts from the De disciplina Romanae militiae of Flavius Vegetius Renatus. The reason given for this strange appendix is “the frequent incursions of the Barbarians.” The treatise was perhaps the last product of Rabanus.

(3) A martyrology. The saints for the different days are noted, in most cases merely the name is given, in others there are short sketches. Its principal source is Jerome. It was prepared at the request of Ratleik, who stole the relics of SS. Marcellinus and Petrus for Einhard; and is prefaced by a short poem addressed to the abbot Grimold.

(4) The vision of God, purity of heart and mode of penance. Three books dedicated to the abbot Bonosus (Hatto). The first is mostly extracted from Augustin’s De vivendo Deo; the second and the third from other old sources.

(5) The Passion of our Lord, a brief and pious meditation upon our Lord’s sufferings.

VI. Letters. (1) A letter to Bishop Humbert upon lawful degrees of relationship between married persons. (2) Seven miscellaneous letters. Epist. i. to suffragan bishop Regimbald on discipline. Epist. iii. to Eigil against Radbertus’s view of the Lord’s Supper. Epist. iv. v. vi. to Hincmar, Notingus and Count Eberhard upon predestination. Epist. vii. to Louis the German; the acts of the Mainz council of 848. Epist. viii. on Gottschalk, a synodical letter to Hincmar.

VII. Poems. Raban was no poetic genius; yet he had carefully studied prosody and he was able to write verses to his friends and for different occasions. He also wrote some epitaphs, including his own. His most extraordinary production is a long poem, “The praise of the Cross.” This was begun at the suggestion of Alcuin in Tours, but not completed until 815. It is a monument of misdirected skill and patience. He presents twenty-eight drawings by his friend Hatto. Some are geometrical, others are of persons or objects. The page on which is the drawing is filled in by a stanza of the poem, the letters of which are regularly spaced and some are purposely arranged in prominent and peculiar positions so that they catch the eye and form other words. Each stanza is followed by an explanatory section in prose, and the second book is a prose treatise upon the subject. The whole is prefaced by three poems; the first pleads for the intercession of Alcuin, the second is the dedication to the Pope, and the third, “The figure of Caesar” is the dedication to Louis the Pious. Alcuin had written a poem, “On the Holy Cross,” upon a somewhat similar plan. So that the suggestion may have come from him, but the idea may be traced to Fortunatus. This poem of Raban Maur was very popular in the Middle Age and was considered a marvel of ingenuity.

The hymns of Raban are few in number, for although many have been attributed to him his right to most of them is very doubtful.


168. Haymo

I. Haymo, Halberstatensis episcopus: Opera, in Migne, Tom. CXVI.-CXVIII.

II. Paul Anton: De vita et doctrina Haymonis, Halle, 1700, 2d ed. 1705; C. G. Derling: Comm. Hist. de Haymone, Helmstädt, 1747. Ceillier XII. 434-439. Hist. Lit. de la France, V. 111-126. Bähr, 408-413.

Haymo (Haimo, Aymo, Aimo) was a Saxon, and was probably born about 778. He took monastic vows at Fulda, was sent by his abbot (Ratgar) with his intimate friend Rabanus Maurus in 803 to Tours to study under Alcuin; on his return he taught at Fulda until in 839 he was chosen abbot of Hirschfeld. In 841 he was consecrated bishop of Halberstadt. In 848 he sat in the Council of Mayence which condemned Gottschalk. He founded at considerable expense the cathedral library of Halberstadt, which unfortunately was burnt in 1179. He died March 27, 853. He was an excellent scholar. As an exegete he was simple and clear, but rather too verbal.

His writings are voluminous, and were first published by the Roman Catholics in the Reformation period (1519-36). They teach a freer and less prejudiced Catholic theology than the Tridentine. Thus he denies that Peter founded the Roman church, that the pope has universal supremacy, and rejects the Paschasian doctrine of transubstantiation. His works consist principally of (1) Commentaries. He wrote or compiled upon the Psalms, certain songs in the Old Testament, Isaiah, the Minor Prophets, Canticles, Pauline Epistles and the Apocalypse.

Besides these commentaries, (2) Homilies, upon the festivals of the church year and (3) Miscellanies, “The Body and Blood of the Lord,” which is an extract from his commentary on 1st Cor., “Epitome of sacred history,” substantially though not entirely an extract from Rufinus’ Latin translation of Eusebius’ “Ecclesiastical history,” and an ascetic piece in three books, “The love for the heavenly country.”


169. Walahfrid Strabo

I. Walafridus Strabus, Fuldensis monachus: Opera, in Migne, Tom. CXIII.-CXIV. His Carmina have been edited in a very thorough manner by Ernst Dümmler: Poetae Latini aevi Carolini. Tom. II. (Berlin, 1884), pp. 259-473.

II. For his life see the Preface of Dümmler and Ebert, II. 145-166. Cf. also for his works besides Ebert, Ceillier, XII. 410-417; Hist. Lit. de la France, V. 59-76; Bähr, pp. 100-105, 398-401.

Walahfrid, poet and commentator, theologian and teacher, was born of obscure parentage in Alemannia about 809, and educated in the Benedictine abbey school of Reichenau on the island in Lake Constance. His cognomen Strabus or, generally, Strabo was given to him because he squinted, but was by himself assumed as his name. From 826 to 829 he studied at Fulda under Rabanus Maurus. There he formed a friendship with Gottschalk, and there he appears to have lived all alone in a cell, the better perhaps to study. On leaving Fulda he went to Aix la Chapelle, and was befriended by Hilduin, the lord chancellor, who introduced him to the emperor Louis the Pious. The latter was much pleased with him and appreciating his scholarship made him tutor to his son Charles. The empress Judith was also particularly friendly to him. In 838 Louis the Pious appointed him abbot of Reichenau, but two years later Louis the German drove him from his post and he went to Spires, where he lived until 842, when the same Louis restored him to his abbotship, probably at the solicitation of Grimald, his chancellor. In 849 he went over to France on a diplomatic mission from Louis the German to Charles the Bald, but died on August 18th of that year while crossing the Loire, and was buried at Reichenau.

Walahfrid was a very amiable, genial and witty man, possessed remarkable attainments in both ecclesiastical and classical literature, and was moreover a poet with a dash of genius, and in this latter respect is a contrast to the merely mechanical versifiers of the period. He began writing poetry while a mere boy, and in the course of his comparatively brief life produced many poems, several of them of considerable length.

His Writings embrace

1. Expository Works. 1. Glosses, i.e., brief notes upon the entire Latin Bible, including the Apocrypha; a very meritorious compilation, made especially from Augustin, Gregory the Great, Isidore of Seville, and Bede, with very many original remarks. This work was for five hundred years honored by the widest use in the West. Peter Lombard quotes it as “the authority” without further designation; and by many its notes have been given equal weight with the Bible text they accompany. It was one of the earliest printed works, notwithstanding its extent. 2. Exposition of the first twenty Psalms, rather allegorical than really explanatory. 3. Epitome of Rabanus Maurus’ Commentary on Leviticus. This work is an indication of Walahfrid’s reverence for his great teacher. 4. Exposition of the Four Evangelists. It was formerly printed among the works of Jerome. The notes are brief and designed to bring out the “inner sense.” 5. The beginnings and growth of the divine offices. This valuable and original work upon the archeology of the liturgy was written about 840 at the request of Reginbert, the learned librarian of the abbey of Reichenau, who desired more accurate information upon the origin of the different parts of the liturgy. The supplementary character of the work explains its lack of system. Walahfrid treats in disconnected chapters of temples and altars; bells; the derivation of several words for holy places; the use of “pictures,” as ornaments and aids to devotion, but not as objects of worship; the things fitting divine worship; “the sacrifices of the New Testament” (in this chap., No. XVI., he dissents from the transubstantiation theory of Radbertus, saying, Christ “after the Paschal supper gave to his disciples the sacrament of his body and blood in the substance of the bread and wine and taught them to celebrate [the sacrament] in memory of his passion”); then follow a number of chapters upon the Eucharist; sacred vestments; canonical hours and hymns; baptisms; titles, &c. The work closes with a comparison of ecclesiastical and secular dignities.

II. A Homily on the Fall of Jerusalem. Walahfrid gives Josephus’ account of the fall of the city and then proceeds to the spiritual application of our Lord’s prophetic discourse (Mat_24:1-51).

III. Biographies. 1. Life of the Abbot St. Gall, the apostle of Switzerland (d. 645 or 646). It is not original, but a rewriting of the life by Wettin, Walahfrid’s honored teacher at Reichenau. Walahfrid reproduced the same in verse. 2. Life of St. Othmar, abbot of St. Gall, similarly reproduced. 3. The prologue to his edition of Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne, which gives valuable information about Einhard.

IV. Poetry. 1. The Vision of Wettin. This is the oldest of his poems, dating according to his own assertion from his eighteenth year (i.e., c. 826). It is not original, but a versification, with additions, of the prose work of Heito. The ultimate source is Wettin himself, who relates what he saw (October 824) on his journey, under angelic guidance, to Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. The fact that Wettin was very sick at the time explains the occasion of the vision and his reading its contents, but the poem is interesting not only in itself, but as a precursor of Dante’s Divine Comedy. 2. The Life and Death of St. Mammes, an ascetic from childhood, who preached to the wild sheep gathered by a strange impulse in a little chapel. This extraordinary performance attracted adverse notice from the authorities. Mammes was accused of witchcraft and, on refusing to sacrifice to the gods, also of atheism. His enemies vainly attempted to kill him by fire, by wild beasts, and by stoning. Finally he was peacefully called from life by the voice of God. 3. The Life and Death of St. Blaithmaic, abbot of Hy and martyr. It relates how an Irish crown prince embraced an ascetic life in childhood and attained a martyr’s crown on the island of Hy. 4. Garden-culture, a curious poem upon the plants in the convent garden. 5. On the Image of Tetricus (Dietrich), an ingenious poem in laudation of Louis the Pious and his family. 6. Miscellaneous Poems, including epistles, epigrams, inscriptions and hymns.


170. Florus Magister, of Lyons

I. Florus, diaconus Lugdunensis: Opera omnia, in Migne, Tom. CXIX. ol. 9-424. His poems are given by Dümmler: Poet. Lat. aev. Carolini, II. (Berlin, 1884), pp. 507-566.

II. Bach: Dogmengeschichte des Mittelalters, Wien, 1873-1875, 2 Abth. I. 240. Hist. Lit. de la France, V. 213-240. Ceillier, XII. 478-493. Bähr, 108, 109; 447-453. Ebert, II. 268-272.

Florus was probably born in the closing year of the eighth century and lived in Lyons during the reigns of Louis the Pious, Charles the Bald and Louis II. He was head of the cathedral school, on which account he is commonly called Florus Magister. He was also a deacon or sub-deacon. He enjoyed a wide reputation for learning, virtue and ability. He stood in confidential relations with his bishop, Agobard, and with some of the most distinguished men of his time. His library was a subject of remark and wonder for its large size.

Like every other scholar under Charles the Bald, he made his contribution to the Eucharistic and Predestination controversies. In the former he took the side of Rabanus Maurus and Ratramnus against the transubstantiation theory of Paschasius Radbertus; in the latter he opposed Johannes Scotus Erigena, without, however, going entirely over to the side of Gottschalk. He sat in the council of Quiercy (849), the first one called by Hincmar in the case of Gottschalk. He died about 860.

His complete works are:

1. A patristic cento on the election of Bishops, written in 834, to show that in primitive Christian times the bishops were always chosen by the free vote of the congregation and the clergy. Therefore the interference of the king in such elections, which was one of the growing evils of the time, was unwarranted by tradition and only defensible on the plea of necessity to preserve the union between Church and State.

2. An Exposition of the Mass, compiled, according to his own express statement, for the most part, from Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustin, and other Fathers.

3. A Treatise against Amalarius, in which he supports Agobard against Amalarius, who had explained the liturgy in a mystical and allegorical manner.

4. A Martyrology, a continuation of Bede’s.

5. Sermon on Predestination.

6. A treatise against Scotus Erigena’s errors, written in 852 in the name of the church of Lyons. He calls attention to Erigena’s rationalistic treatment of the Scriptures and the Fathers; rejects the definition of evil as negation; insists that faith in Christ and an inner revelation are necessary to a right understanding of the Scriptures. It is noticeable that while he censures Erigena for his abuse of secular science, he claims that it has its proper use.

7. St. Augustin’s Exposition of the Pauline Epistles, long attributed to Bede.

8. Capitulary collected from the Law and the Canons.

9. Miscellaneous Poems, which prove him to have had a spark of true poetic genius.

10. There is also extant a letter which he wrote to the empress Judith.