1350 Letters to Rome

The Church was the only international organisation of the mediaeval era, indeed it was the only body capable of providing sufficient educated men, wealth and structure to become truly international. Nonetheless administering the Church was fraught with logistical problems. The following letter comes from a manuscript in the collection of All Souls College Oxford (MS182 fo82v) and explains the difficult nature of communication between Rome and England across the Mount Gotthard Pass. Letters could take quite a while and messengers may find their ways blocked by forces of nature (whirlwinds) or equally by the less salubrious forces of  mankind (Italian bandits). Keeping together such a large international organisation as the Church required that lines of communication be kept open - and somehow they achieved it - but it must have been a difficult task on occasion. In fact the author explains that this has been a perennial problem since the time of Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253, Bishop of Lincoln ).

 

Reverendissime pater et domine specialissime premissa recommendacione viscerali. Ille quidem epistola illa ve nescio quas vel quam non dum elapso tempore longo. Vestra michi benignitas delegare curavit secundum quod ex credebili relatu collegi me partem gavisum partem quod reddiderunt in ceu imo in aestuosum . Ex transmissione namquam litterarum huius valde letabar ex quarum tamen perdicione fortasse per baiulum negligentem posterius mestus eram unum dominacione vestra minores actiones non refero graciarum quam versi tales litteras realiter admisissem multa multociens inter Romam et Angliam nascuntur pericula varii quosque casus. Cuius rei gracia reverendissime pater si in eisdem litteris vestram reverendam sine meam simplicem personam quodius fuerit apprehensum id michi si placeat deprecor iterari per rescriptum qui semper unus et incommutabilis puta constringor ad vestre dominacionis bene placita totis mei viribus perimplenda perduco. Ac inter cetera quam locupletati estis latentis thesauri corporee sanitatis michi qui thesauro consilium deo donante gaudeo de private vestre dileccionis sinceritas epistolariter promisse ve non postponat ad mei multiplex consolamen. Scientes reverendissime pater quod viscero se dileccionis instinctum absque blandicie si velocitatis nundinee ac mumani cogitatus idem praeteritas michi foret aut si alias ut Grostest olim lincolnensis episcopus (Robert Grosseteste Bishop of Lincoln) scirem et auderem per evocationem ab ipse vis vibare spiritibus nec mare nostram cum suis turbinibus nec mons Gotardi cum suis miubus nec italici malandrini cum suis terroribus meum quomodolibet praepedirent accessim persona vestrorum michi desideratissimam corporaliter cotidie visitarum quam nulla vetante locali distancia in speculo mee conspicor omni dei ac illo precipue cum Romana curia inter disceptatores ad coram quandoque producta a variis indicibus varie indicantur ubi procul dubio vestram eulogium numquam noverim ab aliquo violari quin ymmo potius inter omnes cultores curie prelibate post summum pontificem de quo summe gaudeo in omni virtuoso vivendi modo meritorem quod sublimeium prominencia gloriosa dignissime sine pari.

All Souls College Oxford (MS182 fo82v)

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