I completed these translations some time ago but now have no time to do anything with them. Suggestions on how to improve them are welcome. Email me: rmp422 [at] gmail [dot] com OR richard.pollard [at] ubc[dot] ca
See also my ongoing work on a new critical edition, commentary and translation for Heito's Visio Wettini
Richard M. Pollard, Ph.D. (U.B.C. Dept. of History), 2009-2011. To cite this page:
[ ] Text enclosed in square brackets is not in the text, but suggested for sense, or provides an alternative (with ‘?’) for the word just translated; [?] indicates the preceding word is difficult to render
[lit. ] Indicates the literal translation (as opposed to that chosen by the translator)
< > Indicates a translator’s comment or query
<?> Indicates a passage whose interpretation is doubtful, ending </?>
Punctuation has been altered at some points to preserve sense
N.B. Notes are at the foot of this page
| Lothar, Epist. 38, c. 842-6
The Well-Being of the Famed, Orthodox and August Lothar speaks Greeting to [lit. of] his Hrabanus Maurus.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 475-6
INCLITI ORTHODOXI HLOTHARII AUGUSTI SALUS SUI HRABANI MAURI FATUR
A roughness of speech hinders me, surrounded as I am by a vulgar tumult
[whose] ears have been cut off, even as I desire to repay your address
to me with the duties of mutual communication; [yet] I speak, [since]
the ardour of love forces me, and with sought-out help I pay the debt.
The extensive charity of God grants strength to [lit. of] the mind: for
He suggests words to those speaking and grants speech to emit to those
who are not able to speak [for themselves]; He seeks out everyone, he
invites all, and he presents himself to those ages <either Ages of
the world, or ages of people, sc. children> which do not know to say
prayers. <?> Let not our absence force you to miss us [lit. your
missing of us], since insofar as the corporeal sight perceives, the
sight of the eyes does not limit the breadth of the mind, if [the thing
seen?] it is seized in the mind by immediate translation; but rather
[the mind] spreading [the thing] out in its great breadth, represents
the absent body by spiritual action; </?> whereby the affection of
those loving purely does not know to wander. And for that reason we
ask that the desire in your heart for [lit. of] our presence be
frequently increased, and [we ask] that you, <?> not far off from
your own oversight, always remaining within your devoted mind [perhaps:
always remaining devoted <reading devotus for devoto> in your
mind?] </?> , [by] your assiduous asking beseech the omnipotent
Lord untiringly for the safety of my soul, and of my wife and children,
so that with grief held at bay, we might rejoice by granting of the
Kingdom together with its goods: for this Kingdom is by far the greater
than the kingdom of the world, [a Kingdom] where now nothing adverse
occurs whereby you shall be afflicted by grief, but [where] you will
exult with perennial joy: this [fate?] is the true judgement and the
arrival at victory.
mihi tuo alloquio mutui reddere alloquii officia, vulgari tumultu cesis
auribus circumseptus, facundiae horror arcet, fateor, cogit dilectionis
ardor, et prerogante suffragio debitum persolvo. Dat vires
animi caritas diffusa Dei: suggerit enim verba loquentibus illisque
donat edere sermones, qui loqui non valent; omnes expetit, universos
invitat, et illis occurrit aetatibus, quae vota dicere non sapiunt. Absentia
nostra desiderium tuum non coarctet, quoniam quantum corporeus intuetur
aspectus, amplitudinem mentis oculorum visus non coangustat, si subito
translatu rapitur in animo; sed ingenti amplitudine spatians, absentiam
corporalem spiritali representat officio; quoniam pure diligentium
peregrinari nescit affectus.
Et ideo flagitamus, ut
desiderium tuo in corde nostra de presentia crebro augeatur, et tu a
conspectu tuo non procul elongatus animo devoto in tuo semper manens
cunctipotentem Dominum infatigabiliter obsecret vestra assidua
flagitatio, nostra pro incolomitate animi, coniugis prolisque, ut
represso luctu, concesso regno simul cum bonis laetemur: regnum est enim
regnoque seculi longe prestantius, ubi iam non adversi aliquid
contingit, unde merore adfligaris, sed perenni gaudio exultabis: hoc
iudicium est verum ad victoriamque perventum.
Some confer on their faith small
or large things out of devotion, [while] you have conferred on us,
through your gifts, a very great book on [lit. of] the most noble
general Jesus Nave [Joshua]. And this man [lit. who] prefigured the
image of the eternal king Jesus Christ, such that we might accompany
Jesus prepared for battle; nor otherwise are we able to go forth to
capture victory, unless we obey the Lord of virtues. Moreover we should
wish and entreat by all our prayers [lit. it is to be wished by us and
entreated by all our prayers] to endure under such a master the
victorious service necessary for His triumph. This is therefore the
shape of the struggle and of the finished course of obtaining victory,
[victory] which both overcomes the form of the earthly condition, and is
raised up beyond the limits of corporeality by the grace of the divine
Spirit. <i.e. a metaphor for both the struggle on earth, sc. Joshua,
to the ultimate reward it will garner, sc. Christ?>
conferunt ex devotione fidei suae parva vel magna, tu contulisti
muneribus tuis nobis maximum librum ducis nobilissimi Iesu Nave, qui
tipum veri regis aeterni Iesu Christi preferebat, ut Iesum comitemur
armati, nec aliter ad capessendam victoriam valemus accedere, nisi
Domino virtutum adhereamus. Optandum vero nobis est, et votis omnibus ambiendum, sub tali magistro victricem tolerare militiam peragendam triumpho illius.
est ergo forma certandi consummatique cursus obtinendae victoriae, que
et formam terrenae conditionis exsuperat, et ultra corpulentiae
facultatem gratia divini Spiritus erigitur.
It is now
right for us to pursue the promise of an explanation <reading
expositionis for expositio> of other divine books [made by, lit. of]
your beatitude, about which [lit. as] the bearer of the [aforementioned
commentary] told us, and let us ask after it thusly, so that you do not
delay [to give] to our thirst [an exposition from] the beginning of the
book of Genesis up to ‘viam ligni vitae’ <Genesis 3.24>; [and]
join forces and ally your will with Bede [lit. (the will) of Bede],
until what one lacked, the other completes. I ask that you expound in
spiritual sense the words of Jeremiah, up to the place where the
Lamentations <Jeremiah is believed to be the author of Lamentations,
as well as ‘Jeremiah’> are finished, with the prayer <Lamentations
5>, on which we do not find an exposition by the great interpreter
Jerome. <Jerome’s commentary ended at Jeremiah 32> Moreover [the
book] of Ezechiel in the last vision, from that spot, in which the
homilies of the most blessed pope Gregory stop, even unto the end of the
prophecy, in which [prophecy] the sense of our interpreter <sc.
Gregory?> works according to the anagogical and ethical: we seek that
your generosity open up [this prophecy, translating ‘quam’].
Consider the benefits, whatever you spend, and with balanced scales
examine those things received. If you shall have received [just a]
portion, you will have a debtor on account of the remainder; if you
completely cease to be a creditor, by so much the better it is that each
procure what satifies his lot and multiplies his interest, first in
the present, then in the future which cannot perish.
tuae promissio et de divinis aliis libris expositio, ut portitor nobis
retulit, quaerenda nobis via est, et sic quaeramus, ut siti nostrae non
differas Genesis initium libri usque "viam ligni vitae" secundum
litterae sensum iungas opes, socies voluntates tuas cum Bedae, dum quod
alter desideravit, uterque perficiat.
Hieremiae sermones, in
quibus magni interpretis Hieronimi expositio non invenitur, ad locum
usque Trenos finitos, cum oratione, rogo ut spiritali sensu exponas.
vero in ultima visione, ab eo loco, in quo papae beatissimi Gregorii
homiliae terminantur, usque ad finem prophetiae, in qua nostri
interpretis sensus iuxta anagogen rimatur etiam ethicam, quam quaerimus
tua largitio aperiat.
Adpende beneficia quaecumque largiris, aequatisque lancibus ea que redibentur examina.
partem receperis, habebis in residuo debitorem; si totum creditor esse
desisti, quanto melius est utrumque prospicere quod et sortem repleat et
usuram multiplicet, aliud in presenti, aliud in futuro quod perire non
[must] say that your dwelling pleases us, so long as it is believed to
be apart from any ostentation. For the rustic solitude of the mountains
pleases the interior man more than the regal beauty of the cities;
[solitude] where no envy of a jealous person deceives the tranquil heart
with a [false] happy look, <?> nor is shared subterfuge in crafty
crime begun by the hidden flattery of simulated speech </?>. It
helps the mind to look over whatever lies at hand with internal
contemplation; [it helps?] first to lift up the eyes from the depths,
then to despise the valleys from on high, and to stretch to higher
things with as much ardour as [the mind?] will have eagerness on having
attained those high things. <i.e. Lothar is telling Hraban to stay
in his isolated refuge and meditate>
Placet, inquam, habitatio tua nobis, si creditur ab omni iactantia aliena. Plus
enim interiorem hominem rustica montium solitudo, quam regalis urbium
pulcritudo delectat; ubi nulla liventis invidia tranquillum pectus
hilari mentitur intuitu, nec fucati sermonis adumbrata blandities
artifici scelere mutua fabricatur astutia. Iuvat animum quicquid
adiacet obtutu interiore percurrere: modo de profundis oculos elevare,
modo despicere convallia de supernis, tantoque flagrantius ad altiora
pertendere, quanto cupidius ad alta pervenerit.
Be well in
the Lord and be mindful of our requests, which were inserted in two
letters, so that your cleverness grants what kindness seeks, and on
account of the the long duration of time we earnestly implore that your
memory not forsake the moderation of slowness <i.e. please stop being
I have sent to you two letters, of which one is only to
be read, but this other one is to be read and placed first in the book
of your work.
in Domino et memento petitionum nostrarum, quae insertae sunt in duabus
epistolis, ut sollertia tua tribuat quod benignitas petit, et propter
diuturnitatem temporis obnixe imploramus, a moderatione tarditatis
memoria tua non discedat.
Duas tibi epistolas misi, quarum una tantum est legenda, haec vero altera et legenda et in libro operis tui anteponenda.
| Hrabanus, Epist. 39, c. 842-6
the lowest of the servants of God, wishes for eternal salvation in
Christ for his most serene and excellent emperor august Lothar.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 476-8
DOMINO SERENISSIMO ET
EXCELLENTISSIMO IMPERATORI HLUDHARIO AUGUSTO HRABANUS, MINIMUS SERVORUM
DEI, AETERNAM IN CHRISTO OPTAT SALUTEM.
is a witness of how much the zeal of my mind loves you, because I
desire both that things are always prosperous for you here, and that
good things follow on for you in the future eternal life; and I pray
unceasingly so that the clemency of omnipotent God keeps you safe from
all your enemies here [on this earth], and makes you a participant,
together with all His saints, in His eternal beatitude in the celestial
vos animi mei intentio diligat, Deus testis est, quia et hic vobis
semper prospera adesse et in futura vita aeterna bona succedere desidero
et hoc oro assidue, ut omnipotentis Dei clementia hic vos a cunctis
hostibus protectos diu servet incolomes, et in regno caelesti simul cum
sanctis suis aeternae beatitudinis efficiat participes.
Wherefore I also desire to fulfill your wish according to
your petition and following the sense of the letter, which you have sent
to me; [and thereby I desire] to direct to your presence whatever I
shall have been able, with divine Grace allowing, to elaborate in
studies on [lit. of] sacred letters or in tracts on [lit. of] the divine
scriptures, so that you may have it <i.e. ‘whatever I shall...’>.
And [in] examining [it] together with your learned teachers, whatever
you shall have found there well and correctly said, please attribute
this to His Grace, from Whom comes [lit. is] every good; but if it seems
to you that something is placed there otherwise than the rule of Truth
teaches, please take care to tell me this even quicker, so that I might
either correct my error, or if something is said [which is] unclear, I
may speak more plainly. For thus [only] will I achieve the reward [lit.
fruits] of my labour, if it <i.e. my work> shall have been useful
to those who have chosen to use it.
etiam voluntatem habeo iuxta petitionem vestram et secundum tenorem
epistolae, quam mihi misistis, voto vestro satisfacere et quicquid in
studiis sacrarum litterarum vel tractatibus divinarum scripturarum,
divina gratia largiente, elaborare potuero, vestrae presentiae
potissimum dirigere, ut habeatis illud, et simul cum vestris eruditis
doctoribus examinantes, quicquid ibi inveneritis bene et congrue dictum,
eius gratiae hoc deputetis, a quo est omne bonum; si quid vero aliter,
quam regula veritatis doceat, ibi positum vobis videatur, hoc etiam mihi
citius intimare curetis, ut aut errorem meum corrigam, aut si obscurius
dictum sit, planius dicam. Sic enim laboris mei fructum consequar, si illis utilis erit, qui eo uti elegerint.
I have completed as far as I could what you enjoined in your
letter in placing three petitions together, namely, that I should
explain for you the historical sense in the beginning of Genesis, that
to the tract of St. Jerome on the prophet Jeremiah I should complete
that which remained after the 6th book of [Jerome’s] exposition unto the
end [of Jeremiah]. And composing the exposition on the book of
Genesis, I have explained, insofar I as I believe sufficient, the
historical sense as well as the allegorical, following the works of the
holy fathers. If anyone, however, seeks longer things <i.e.
explanations?>, let him read the books of St. Augustine [called] De
Genesi ad Litteram, and there he will filnd all things sufficiently
explained. I have now sent to you divided into 20 books the exposition
on Jeremiah, moreover, in as much as I found it explained in the
writings of the holy fathers, and insofar as I was able to conjecture
from my own understanding.
autem in epistola vestra subiunxistis tres petitiones simul ponendo,
hoc est, ut historicum sensum in exordio Genesis vobis explanarem, et de
tractatu beati Hieronimi in Hieremiam prophetam id quod post sextum
librum expositionis eius usque ad finem restat supplerem, feci quantum
expositionem in librum Genesis condens, sensum in eo historicum necnon
et allegoricum oportunis locis iuxta sanctorum patrum documenta, quantum
satis credidi, explanavi. Si
quis autem maiora quaerat, legat libros beati Augustini de Genesi ad
litteram, et ibi sufficienter omnia exposita inveniet. Expositionem vero
in Hieremiam, quantum ex sanctorum patrum sententiis explanatam inveni,
et quantum ex proprio sensu conicere valui, iam vobis in viginti libris
The third thing you asked for, on Ezechial, you hold
completed in the present little work, in as much as my infirmity of body
and smallness of talent allowed; for I did this not as if I were a
successor of Pope Gregory, completing what he began, as he taught the
people by the composition of [these] homilies, [which] nevertheless he
did not bring to the end of the prophecy. [Instead I worked] as if an
imitator and a disciple, following the footsteps not only of the
aforementioned Pope, but also those of other holy doctors. [Indeed, as
to the latter point] In composing the work that you asked for, I placed
the opinions of individual doctors alongside each passage, together with
notes of their names, not only in the last part of the prophecy, but
through the whole <i.e. Hraban added other doctors’ opinions to
supplement even the parts that Gregory had dealt with>. But what
divine Grace conceded to me to discover, I inserted at the same time.
Quod vero tertio loco postulastis de Ezechiele in presenti opusculo,
prout infirmitas corporis et parvitas ingenii sivit, confectum habetis;
feci enim non quasi successor papae Gregorii et predicator plebis Dei,
supplendo hoc quod ille omiliarum conditione populum docens inchoavit,
et tamen usque ad finem prophetae non perduxit, sed quasi imitator et
discipulus, non solum ipsius memorati papae, sed et aliorum sanctorum
doctorum vestigia sequendo.
opus quod rogastis, non tantum in extremam partem, sed in totum
prophetam et singulorum doctorum sententias per singula loca, simul cum
nota nominum eorum, posui.
Quod autem mihi insuper divina gratia investigare concessit, simul interposui.
And just as I completed the tract on Jeremiah in 20 books,
thus I completed that one <i.e. on Ezechial> in the same number
[of books], beseeching the reader, that he not think the expansiveness
of this work tedious, but let him read from it those things that he
chooses for himself, if he declines to read the whole, in the knowledge
that I did this <i.e. made my work long> not rashly but to useful
purpose. For if in seeking too much after brevity I passed by those
things, which the holy doctors judged to be necessary for those reading
[scripture], there is a chance that I would have harmed those wanting to
unravel the difficulties [lit. singular] of the prophetic book more
than I would have benefited [them]. For I did not insert here
everything that I found explained [on this book, translating ‘inde’],
but only those things that I judged would be necessary on the subject.
Indeed I have omitted [consideration of / quotation of] the Septuagint
edition in many places, namely where I thought it unnecessary to include
[consideration of / quotation of] it, followings the precept of St.
Jerome in this [decision], who spoke thusly about the controversy of
translators in the first book of the tract on the prophet Esaiah: ‘In
the exposition of holy scriptures we ought to seek the truth, not
contention’; and who spoke thusly in his tract on [lit. of] Ezechial: ‘I
warn the reader not to be disturbed by the diversity of translations,
but rather in the present place [and especially] in the measures of the
temple to be contented by Hebraic truth.’ <reading Jerome directly
here makes this quotation more clear, as Jerome inserts ‘et maxime’
sicut Hieremiae tractatum in viginti libris consummavi, sic et istum
eodem numero terminavi, petens lectorem, ut non tediose accipiat
prolixitatem huius operis, sed legat inde ea quae sibi elegerit, si
totum legere despexerit, sciens, quod non inconsulte, sed magis utiliter
si ultra modum brevitati studens ea, quae sancti doctores necessaria
legentibus fore iudicabant, intacta preterirem, forsitan scire
volentibus difficultatem prophetici libri magis nocerem quam prodessem:
non enim omnia, quae inde exposita repperi, hic posui, sed tantummodo
ea, quae inde necessaria fore iudicavi.
vero editionem in plerisque locis omisi, ubi eam videlicet ponere non
necessariam arbitrabar, preceptum beati Hieronimi in hoc ipso observans,
qui de interpretum disceptatione in libro primo tractatus in Esaiam
prophetam ita dicit: "In expositione sanctarum scripturarum veritatem
debemus sequi, non contentionem"; qui et in tractatu Ezechielis ita ait:
"Lectorem ammoneo, ne translationum diversitate turbetur, sed ut in
presenti loco, in mensuris templi Ebraica veritate contentus sit".
Nor do I think necessary to keep quiet about something I
have learned from others, that certain pedants have derided me about my
work [lit. in this], because in making excerpts from the writings of the
holy fathers, I noted their names in front, or because I have relied
more on the opinions of others, than I developed my own. To these I can
easily respond on this question [translating ‘ad hoc’]. For have I
sinned in this, [simply] because I have judged the masters of the Church
to be worthy of veneration and I have placed their opinions, just as
they wrote them, together with their names in oportune places in my
little works? For it seemed to me more salubrious that I should rely on
the teachings of the holy fathers, keeping my humility, than through
arrogance to publish indecently my own ideas, as if I were seeking
praise for myself. [This is especially so] when even the Lord master
seems to teach that this ideal of the highest humility <i.e. not
speaking from oneself, as Hrabanus has been careful to avoid> is to
be enacted, by a certain lesson of his, when He [lit. who] says,
disputing against the unbelieving Jews and his detractors in the Gospel:
‘He who speaks from himself, seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the
glory of Him, who sent him, this one is truthful, and there is no
injustice in him.’ <John 7.18, my translation> Whereby the most
noble doctors, namely blessed Jerome and Augustine, as well as others
likewise, are found not only to support their writings with testimonies
from [lit. of] the holy books, but also to strengthen their own opinions
with the words of preceding fathers, since their little works would be
all the more acceptable to their readers, the more [those readers]
considered them to be more certain and stronger through [use of]
suitable sources. <'firmiora ... considerarent' is supplied by the
editor of the Latin text>
etiam illud silendum arbitror, quod quibusdam narrantibus comperi,
quosdam sciolos me in hoc vituperasse, quod excerptionem faciens de
sanctorum patrum scriptis, eorum nomina prenotarem, sive quod aliorum
sententiis magis innisus essem, quam propria conderem; quibus ad hoc
facile respondere possum. Quid
enim peccavi in hoc, quod magistros aeclesiae veneratione dignos
iudicabam et eorum sententias, prout ipsi eas protulerant, oportunis
locis simul cum nota nominum eorum in opusculis meis interposueram? Magis
enim mihi videbatur salubre esse, ut humilitatem servans sanctorum
patrum doctrinis inniterer, quam per arrogantiam, quasi propriam laudem
quaerendo, mea indecenter proferrem, quando hoc summae humilitatis
exemplar et magister ipse Dominus faciendum quodammodo sub exemplo
docere videatur, qui in evangelio contra Iudaeos incredulos et
vituperatores suos disputans ait: "Qui a semetipso loquitur, propriam
gloriam quaerit; qui autem quaerit gloriam eius, qui misit illum, hic
verax est, et iniustitia in illo non est". Unde
nobilissimi doctores, beatus videlicet Hieronimus atque Augustinus,
necnon et alii similiter, inveniuntur non solum sacrorum librorum
testimoniis sua scripta probare, sed etiam precedentium patrum dictis
suas sententias roborare; quatinus eo acceptiora illorum opuscula
legentibus forent, quo certiora ac firmiora per idoneos testes ea esse
Indeed let those who seek praise and desire to be seen
[well] by people say or write whatever they want, and let them acquire
for themselves praisers and flatterers, whenceever they might; ‘for me,
however, it is good [enough] to stay close to God at all times in my
life and to put my hopes in the Lord God’, ‘such that I announce all His
praises in the gates of the daughter of Zion’; <Psalms 72.28 and
9.15, my translation> namely in those gates about which it was
written: ‘The blessed who walk on the footpaths of life and enter
through the gates into the city’ <Apoc. 22.14> so that they arrive
at those gates of celestial Jerusalem, about which it is said through
the psalmist, ‘Praise the Lord, Jerusalem, praise your God, Zion, since
He strengthens the bolts of your gates, [since] in you He blesses your
sons.’ And this happened at that time, when the bridegroom entered,
just as we read [lit. it is read] about the virgins in the Gospel: ‘and
those who were ready, entered with him to be married [lit. to go to
marriage], and the door was shut’. Shut, of course, not for the
punishment of imprisonment, but for sempiternal beatitude, because
neither will anyone after go out, nor will anyone else afterwards enter
<?: I’m not quite sure how the logic in this sentence works>
May God deign to consummate your long and long-safe life with eternal beatitude!
enim, qui laudem quaerunt et ab hominibus videri appetunt, dictent vel
scribant quicquid voluerint, et laudatores suos atque adolatores,
undecumque possint, sibi adquirant: "Mihi autem adherere Deo omni
tempore vitae meae bonum est et ponere in domino Deo spem meam". "Ut
adnuntiem omnes laudes eius in portis filiae Sion": in illis videlicet
portis de quibus scriptum est: "Beati qui ambulant in semitis vitae et
per portas introeunt in civitatem"; quatinus perveniant ad illas portas
Hierusalem caelestis, de quibus per psalmistam dicitur: "Lauda,
Hierusalem, Dominum, lauda Deum tuum, Sion, quoniam confortavit seras
portarum tuarum, benedixit filios tuos in te". Quod
illo tempore accidit, quando sponsus intraverit, sicut in evangelio de
virginibus legitur: "Et quae parate erant, intraverunt cum eo ad
nuptias, et clausa est ianua". Clausa scilicet non ad custodiae poenam,
sed in beatitudinem sempiternam, quia nec inde quisquam ulterius
exibit, nec aliquis postea novus intrabit.
Vitam vestram longaevam et diu incolumem Deus omnipotens aeterna beatitudine consummare dignetur!
| Lothar, Epist. 49, c. 854-5
Lothar, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Eternal God, August
Emperor by the ordering of Divine Providence, gives greeting to Hraban,
[his] venerable archbishop and orthodox Master.
|MGH Epp. 5, pp. 503-4
IN NOMINE DOMINI NOSTRI IESU
CHRISTI DEI ETERNI HLOTHARIUS, DIVINA ORDINANTE PROVIDENTIA IMPERATOR
AUGUSTUS, RHABANO, VENERABILI ARCHIEPISCOPO ORTODOXOQUE MAGISTRO,
in usual lent custom we tried to persist rather strictly to studies of
divine readings, in order to more fully capture the internal edification
of the mind, we felt the lack of readings suited for recitation in the
sollemnities of masses on successive weekdays, [readings] joined and
ordered according to the congruity of the occasion [lit. times] by the
holy fathers, based on [lit. from] the words of the Gospels and of
various holy histories, the exposition of which [readings], since it had
pleased the ancient and modern fathers to explain [such things] with
great searching in their collections, [were] to be read to us at
mealtimes, so that amongst fragile, failing foods our interior person
would not be cheated of the unfading feasts of spiritual nourishment.
[But] some of them <i.e. these expositions> we find less [easily],
especially since the aforementioned holy fathers only collected from
the tractates of great and famous men expositions of those [readings],
which are read on Sundays or especially on Feast days, with the catholic
populace coming together into one, [passing by the occasions of]
weekdays, fasts, rogations, tribulations of enemies, deprivations of
hunger and poverty, too frequent inundations of rains, hardnesses of the
earth <i.e. through drought>, sterilities of fruits, many feasts
of saints, commemorations of the dead, sacred orders [ordinations?],
even the fasts of Lent, and twelve readings of easter and pentecost and
other things, which your holiness thinking more carefully is easily able
to notice, on account of the breadth of [your] work and carefulness
[reading probitatem] of your labour, the ambrosia of which
<written?> [work] we were then mournful to have lacked. Indeed,
your paternity knows well that we cannot bring all our commentaries on
all expeditions, [commentaries] in which the aforementioned readings are
contained, [laid out?] according to the order of things described and
the exposition of these events, since generally only a single biblioteca historiarum can, we difficulty, be brought [on my travels].
solito quadragesimali more divinarum lectionum studiis artius niteremur
insistere, ob internam scilicet aedificationem animi plenius
capessendam, non minus inheserunt desiderio nostro lectiones continuis
feriis missarum sollemniis ad recitandum adhibite, iuxta congruentiam
temporum a sanctis patribus ex evangelicis diversarumque historiarum
sanctarum coadunatae ordinataeque sententiis, quarum expositiones, dum
in priscorum modernorumque patrum collectariis summa indagine percontari
libuisset, refectionis nobis tempore recitandas, ut inter deciduas
epulas interior homo noster spiritalis alimoniae non fraudaretur
inmarcescibilibus dapibus, nonnullas earum minus reperimus, presertim
cum memorati sancti patres illarum tantum expositiones ex magnorum
inlustriumque virorum tractatibus collegerint, quae diebus dominicis vel
precipuis tantum festivitatibus catholico in unum populo confluente
leguntur, pretermissis feriis, ieiuniis, rogationibus, tribulationibus
hostium, famis inopiaeque penuriis, imbrium inundationibus nimiis,
telluris squaloribus, frugum sterelitatibus, sanctorum crebris
festivitatibus, mortuorum commemorationibus, sacris ordinibus, quattuor
etiam temporum ieiuniis, pasche et pentecostes duodecim lectionibus et
ceteris, que sanctitas vestra diligentius perpendens facile valet
animadvertere, propter prolixitatem operis atque improbitatem laboris,
quorum ambrosio liquore funditus nos tunc caruisse doluimus. Siquidem
bene novit vestra paternitas omnem nos commentariorum copiam, in quibus
iuxta gestarum rerum ordinem et expositionem prefate continentur
lectiones, in cunctis expedicionibus non posse semper gerere et habere,
cum sola historiarum bibliotheca difficile possit etiam haberi
Meanwhile we lay out great thanks and praise to omnipotent
God, who amongst other gifts of generosity deigned to illuminate us also
by a radiance, not less so <translating ‘dispari’, which strictly
goes with ‘iubare’> than [He did for] our predecessors. For if He
provided to them <i.e. his predecessors> Jerome, Augustine,
Gregory, Ambrose and very many others, the same Maker conferred on us
Rhabanus Maurus, of the same merit and wisdom. Go, therefore, my holy
father and most excellent master, and kindly turn an ear to the prayers
of one asking, and be favourable to his wishes as an untiring worker;
take up the toil of the task, so that, through you, we are able to
obtain the object of our desire. By continuous prayers therefore we
implore your kindness to send expositions of all the aforementioned
readings, collecting them together into one volume, such that with the
epistles <of Paul?> always preceding, or the readings, which in
place [of the epistles] are recited at suitable times from a certain
history <i.e. book of the O.T.?>, the Gospels always follow,
according to the order appended to this letter. But if you find
anything [listed] there less well <i.e. if he cannot find an
explanation of a reading on Lothar’s list>, we beg you to apply
yourself more fruitfully, and with careful diligence, to all the
homilies or sermons, relating to various times (both feasts and fasts),
brought to bear on the populace in the church by the holy fathers. [The
result should be that] no reading at all can be found in the whole
lectionary, of which a homiletic sermon and complete explanation is not
found in the aforementioned book that you are to compile. Also, to
these [readings I want explained?] add the benedictions, by which Jacob
blessed his sons and [lit. or] predicted things to come; but also
[include] the blessings, by which Moses, man of God, blessed the sons of
Isreal at the end of his life; [include] also a sermon to be read on
the feast of All Saints’, and [one to be read on] the Invention
<reading ‘inventione’> of the Holy Cross <May 3rd> and on
the Raising [Aloft of the Cross] <reading ‘exaltatione’> <this
latter feast is on Sept. 14th>.
inmensas omnipotenti Deo laudes gratiasque rependimus, qui inter cetera
largitionis dona non dispari nos quoque quam predecessores nostros
doctrinae suae iubare inradiare dignatus est. Nam
si illis Hieronimum, Augustinum, Gregorium Ambrosiumque et ceteros quam
plurimos prebuit, et nobis idem opifex eiusdem meriti et scientiae
contulit Rhabanum Maurum. Ergo
age, pater sancte praestantissimaeque magister, postulantis precibus
aurem benignus accommoda et votis indefessus exsecutor faveto, suscipe
laboris ergastulum, ut per te desiderii nostri nancisci valeamus
obnixis precibus almitatem tuam deposcimus, ut nobis in uno volumine
omnium memoratarum lectionum expositiones colligens digeras, ita ut
precedentibus semper epistolis vel lectionibus, que earum loco congruis
temporibus ex quacumque historia recitantur, semper evangelia
subsequantur iuxta ordinem huic epistole subnexum. Quod
si minus quid ibi inveneritis, vos, quesumus, sollicita cura uberius
adhibeatis iunctis omeliis vel sermonibus diversorum temporum et
ieiuniorum seu festivitatum a sanctis patribus in ecclesia ad populum
habitis, ut nulla omnino in toto lectionario possit repperiri lectio,
cuius in memorato codice a vobis colligendo plena non inveniatur
expositio et omeliaticus sermo.
His etiam, quesumus, addite benedictiones, quibus benedixit Iacob vel
predixit ventura queque filiis suis; sed et benedictiones, quibus Moyses
homo Dei filiis Israhel extremo vitae suae tempore benedixit; sermonem
etiam in omnium sanctorum festivitate legendum, inventionem sancte
crucis et exaltationem.
And do not let the laborious breadth of this work seem harsh
to you, since a sweet and clear repayment shall await [you]; for as the
prophet sais ‘They who raise up many to righteousness will be like
stars unto perpetual eternities’ <Dan. 12.3>. Let my rest be the
exaction of your labours, and let the sweat of your brow [lit. the
labouring one] be the complete restorative to a thirsting mind. And let
me say [lit. I say] that no excuse of the weight of age should be used
as objection, since the youth of your talent remains fresh, nor should
you let it bother you, if perhaps you shall have found something trivial
and foolish inserted into the following order [of readings to be
expounded], since your sanctity shall have undertaken (to it) that it
returns [the order, the work...] to us according to the suitable order,
finished and polished in all things according to our request. But if,
on account of the immensity of the expositions the thickness of two
volumes is not able to contain the whole of the work, divide it into 3
volumes, so that the division is favourable to fullness <i.e. so they
can be as long as necessary>, and fullness does no harm to thickness
<i.e. makes them too big to bind>.
Nec vobis dura videatur operis huius laboriosa prolixitas, cum suavis
et lucida retributionis maneat merces, ut enim ait profeta: "qui ad
iusticiam erudiunt plurimos, erunt sicut stellae in perpetuas
aeternitates". Sit ergo nostra quies vestri laboris exactio et sudor esurientis ac sitientis animi plena refectio. Nulla,
inquam, senii obiciatur adgravationis excusatio, cum iuventus ingenii
maneat indefessa, nec vos moveat, si quid fortasse minus ineptumque in
subsequenti ordine inveneritis insertum, cum vestra ob id susceperit
sanctitas, ut nobis plenius iuxta conpetentem ordinem remittat per omnia
ad votum nostrum expletum atque politum.
Quodsi propter inmanitatem expositionum duorum voluminum densitas tanti
operis summam continere nequiverit, vos in tribus dividite voluminibus,
ut et divisio plenitudini faveat et plenitudo densitati non noceat.
| Hrabanus, Epist. 50, c. 854-5
most lowely servant of the servants of God, daily wishes for and prays
for eternal salvation in Christ for august Lothar, [his] most glorious
lord and [one who] by the merit of right faith and true religion and
good study [is] rightly to be venerated by all Catholics.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 504-5
DOMINO GLORIOSO ET MERITO
RECTAE FIDEI AC VERAE RELIGIONIS BONIQUE STUDII AB OMNIBUS CATHOLICIS
RITE VENERANDO HLUTHARIO AUGUSTO RHABANUS, VILISSIMUS SERVORUM DEI
SERVUS, COTIDIE OPTAT ET ORAT AETERNAM IN CHRISTO SALUTEM.
[I received?] Your letter, which you sent to me [and in
which] you complain, that you did not have a suitable exposition of the
divine readings and of the chapters of the Gospels, which are read in
celebration of the Mass in church of God during the whole year, [and in
which] you exhort my smallness, that I should collect from the works of
various fathers those things, which they published on this subject
<translating ‘inde’>, and compile them into one volume. And
therefore, although I was hesitant to begin this [task] on account of
the sickness of my body and the languor of my mind - [for] I, who though
there was never much to me [lit. though I was never anything],
nevertheless now am other than I used to be because of great age,
according that [saying] of the gentile poet, whereby he says: ‘Age bears
off all things, even the mind’, and I cannot [now] continuously work at
my reading, as once I was accustomed to do, insofar as it was allowed,
since my bed receives me supine more often than my chair holds me
thinking or teaching - but nevertheless because I did not want to resist
your wish, but rather chose to obey [you] in all things inasmuch as I
could, I began the work which you requested, and though it is not very
worthy, nevertheless I took pains to finish and complete it with a brief
exposition of the readings, as much as my strength allowed. The first
part of which [work], namely from Christmas to Easter, suited to the
present season, I have sent to you for reading. But the following part,
I have decreed to finish by similar study [zeal?], insofar as
possibility allows, [and] with divine Grace granting [me strength].
vestra, quam mihi misistis conquerentes, quod non haberetis idoneam
expositionem lectionum divinarum atque evangelicorum capitulorum, quae
per totum annum in missarum celebrationibus in eclesiis Dei leguntur,
exhortantes parvitatem meam, ut de diversorum patrum opusculis
colligerem ea, que ipsi inde tractando ediderunt, atque in unum volumen
colligerem; hoc ergo cum trepidarem incipere propter corporis
egritudinem et animi debilitatem: qui licet numquam aliquid fuerim,
longe tamen propter grandevam aetatem modo aliud sum quam eram, iuxta
illud gentilis poete quo ait:
fert aetas, animum quoque' nec lectioni possum assidue operam dare,
sicut quondam solebam quantum licebat, quoniam sepius suscipit me
lectulus meus cubantem, quam cathedra tenet meditantem aut docentem, sed
tamen quia vestrae voluntati resistere nolui, sed parere elegi in
omnibus quantum potui, opus quod postulastis inchoavi, et licet non
condigne, tamen brevi expositione lectionum illud consummare atque
conficere, quantum vires sinebant, studui.
Cuius primam partem vobis modo, hoc est a nativitate Domini usque in pascha, pro oportunitate temporis ad legendum transmisi.
Sequentem autem, prout possibilitas sinit, simili studio, largiente divina gratia, complere decerno.
Let it become God’s will, that this be completed to your
benefit according to the desire of your good wish, so that from this
thanks might be given to God. And anything good that His servants have
is conferred to them by His gift, because according to the passage of
James the Apostle ‘every perfect thing given and every perfect dift is
from on high, descending from the Father of lights, with whom there is
no change nor shadow of alteration <James 1.17, my translation with
suggestions from Douay-Rheims>, because He ‘does all things that He
wills in heaven and on earth, in the sea and in all the deeps’ <Ps.
134.6, likewise>, and there is no one who can resist His will, [and?]
‘the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him: and in them that hope
in his mercy’ <Ps. 146.11, Douay-Rheims>.
Domini voluntas, ut ad vestram utilitatem iuxta bone voluntatis
appetitum hoc perficiatur, quatinus inde Deo gratiae referantur.
dono servis suis quicquid boni habent confertur, quia iuxta Iacobi
apostoli sententiam "omne datum optimum et omne donum perfectum desursum
est, descendens a patre luminum, apud quem non est transmutatio nec
vicissitudinis obumbratio", quia ipse "omnia quecumque vult facit in
caelo et in terra, in mare et in omnibus abyssis", et non est qui possit
resistere voluntati eius, "bene placitum est Domino super timentes eum
et in eis, qui sperant in misericordia eius".
Nevertheless it is to be made known to you, that I have not
kept completely the order of composition dictated by [lit. ‘according
to’] that chapter, which followed your letter, [first] because our
manuscript, in which the readings about the divine scriptures have been
collected, does not follow this course, and [second because] I did not
find readings given for [from? lit. of] all the epistles and gospels
even in the just-mentioned book of mine. For that reason I have changed
the text of this work in several places, according to the rite of my
church and the custom of the office, which we celebrate there. I have
omitted to enumerate the series of readings and Gospels on a few feasts
of saints in the book [‘capitulare’], because I chose to put [such a
series (or perhaps ‘section’), translating ‘eam’] about/on the feasts of
saints all together [‘pariter’] near the end of this work, insofar as
it seemed necessary to me, so that there the prudent reader, if he
wishes to read anything on this subject, might easily find it.
tamen vobis est, quod iuxta illud capitulare, quod vestram epistolam
sequebatur, non per omnia conscriptionis ordinem servavi, quia nec codex
noster, in quo ipse lectiones de divinis scripturis collecte sunt, hunc
tenorem habet, nec etiam in praedicto capitulare nostro continuatim per
omnia lectiones epistolarum atque evangeliorum positas repperi.
Idcirco iuxta ritum ecclesiae nostrae et morem officii, quem ibi celebramus, im plerisque locis textum huius operis commutavi.
etiam in quibusdam sanctorum festivitatibus in capitulare seriem
lectionum et evangeliorum numerare, quia prope finem huius operis de
sanctorum festivitatibus, quantum mihi necesse videbatur, pariter eam
ponere elegi, ut ibi lector prudens, si quid inde legere vellet, facile
ibi invenire posset.
Therefore, searching amongst of all these things <this is
loose but the best I can make of it>, following the Apostle, hold to
what is good, and choose out what pleases you well. For the Lord gave
to you intelligence in all matters, such that you should be able to
discern what is useful and what is superfluous in the present little
work. Do therefore as God shall have inspired in your heart. For it
suffices to me, that I have directed the work to be tested by the trial
of your examination, [this] work that I made not without toil, obedient
to your order. Order that work to be read in your presence, and if you
should spy anything in it either not rightly explained, on account of
the weakness of my intellect, or [anything] marred by an error of the
scribes, make it be corrected by your learned readers; for thus a worthy
reward will be perpetually paid to you in heaven by Christ, Lord of
all, in exchange for your effort and at the same time for [your]
correction of me.
May Christ, the light, the way, the life, Salvation, save you unto eternity!
Be well, you great honour of our country, you beloved Caesar!
Vos ergo de his omnibus iuxta apostolum probantes quod bonum est tenete et quod bene vobis placeat eligite.
Dedit enim vobis Dominus in omnibus intellectum, ita ut bene possitis,
quid utile et quid superfluum sit in presenti opusculo, discernere. Facite inde quod Deus cordi vestro inspiraverit. Sufficit
enim mihi, quod, vestro imperio obtemperans, opus, quod non sine labore
confeci, vestri examinis iudicio ad probandum direxi.
Iubete illud coram vobis legi et si quid in eo propter tenuitatem
sensus mei non rite prolatum vel scriptorum vitio depravatum
conspexeritis, per vestros eruditos lectores facite illud corrigi, et
sic vobis merces condigna pro vestro bono certamine et nostra simul
correctione a Christo omnium domino perpetualiter recompensabitur in
Lux via vita salus Christus vos salvet in aevum!
Magnus honor patriae, caesar amate, vale!
| Hrabanus, Epist. 51, c. 847-55
[Hraban wishes] Health, Victory and Perpetual Life for the most Beloved August Emperor Lothar.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 505-6
AMANTISSIMO IMPERATORI LUDHARIO AUGUSTO SALUS VICTORIA ET VITA PERPETUA.
May your kindness know, my
lord, that just as you ordered me to write the first part of the
homilies on the Gospel and Apostolic readings, which I indeed completed
up to the eve of Easter, beginning from Christmas, and which [thus]
completed, I sent to you, thus [also] I have [now] worked out the second
part, [which treats] from Easter to the fifteenth Sunday after
Pentecost <~ August>, so that you might have something that might
be read in suitable hours in your presence, should it please you, in
this time of Spring and Summer. I foresee and plan to finish the third
part, if God shall have willed thus, [which will run] from the
aforementioned ending <i.e. the end of the second part> unto the
end of the year, and I likewise intend to send this [work] to you, when
it is finished [lit. when it shall have been finished]. In this third
part [lit. where], also, near the end of the work, are written sermons
on the feasts of the Saints and also about other celebrations, which
were decreed to be observed by the holy fathers for various reasons. At
the very end, moreover are placed readings which are read in the Vigils
of the dead, according to your request.
Cognoscat almitas vestra, mi
domine, quod sicut primam partem homiliarum in lectiones evangelicas
atque apostolicas mihi scribere iussistis, quam etiam a natali Domini
incipiens usque in vigilias paschae perduxi et vobis peractam transmisi,
ita a pascha usque ad quintam decimam dominicam post pentecosten
secundam partem pertraxi, ut haberetis quod in praesentia vestra tempore
veris et aestatis, si vobis ita placeret, horis competentibus
vero partem a termino supra notato usque ad finem anni perducere, si
Deus ita voluerit, cogito atque decerno, et vobis eam similiter, cum
perfecta fuerit, transmittere dispono, ubi etiam prope terminum ipsius
operis de sanctorum festivitatibus necnon et de aliis celebritatibus,
quae de diversis causis observandae a patribus statutae sunt, sermones
conscripti tenentur. Ad extremum vero lectiones, quae in defunctorum vigiliis leguntur, iuxta quod postulastis positae sunt.
Let it be the will of the
Lord, that [this work] be to your benefit as well as to the benefit of
your friends/retinue <translation ‘vestrorum’>. For I have done
as much as I could, but I do not doubt that what inability denied to me,
you will complete <reading adimplere rather than adimpleri> using
your healthy prudence and good zeal. I have faith, therefore, [that]
should a not small consolation thus be conferred on me <i.e. the
consolation of Lothar fixing up Hraban’s unfinished work>, also for
you an eternal reward in heaven shall be prepared by the Giver of all
good things, on account of the work you finished.
Fiat Domini voluntas, ut tam ad vestram quam ad vestrorum utilitatem proficuum sit. Ego
enim quantum potui feci, vos autem quod mihi impossibilitas denegavit,
per vestram sanam prudentiam et bonum studium adimpleri non dubito.
Confido ergo, quod sic mihi consolatio non minima conferatur, et vobis
pro perfecto opere aeterna merces a bonorum omnium largitore in coelis
| Lothar, Letter to Pope Leo IV (Epist. 46), c. 847-849in
by divine providence August Emperor, your spiritual Son, sends
perennial greetings in the Lord to our Most Holy and Reverend Spiritual
Father, Leo, Supreme Bishop and Universal Pope.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 609-611
SANCTISSIMO ET REVERENTISSIMO
SPIRITALI PATRI NOSTRO LEONI SUMMO PONTIFICI ET UNIVERSALI PAPAE
HLOTHARIUS DIVINA PROVIDENTIA IMPERATOR AUGUSTUS, SPIRITALIS FILIUS
VESTER, PERENNEM IN DOMINO SALUTEM.
providence wanted the Apostolic seat, which, on account of [its
connexion to] the most blessed prince of the Apostles, is the foundation
and head of sanctity throughout the whole world whithersoever the
Christian religion is spread, to hold the primacy of churches for the
following reason: so that in whatever cases, questions or business
dealings ecclesiastical necessity should demand [it], all might run back
as if to the mother of religion, and font of equity.
For that reason we judge that your prudence to have learned by
frequent audiences and by the telling of many, and especially by the
series of our letters [written] to your predecessor, or by the truth of
those [letters], which were sent to the Apostolic see when my lord and
father [was] alive, how the holy church of Rheims has lacked for a very
long time the sacerdotal and pontifical honor, as well as its old
dignity, [not only] in the times of my aforementioned father, my lord of
blessed memory, [but] also in my days and even of my brother, glorious
king Charles. And the reason for this is as follows. Ebbo, then
archbishop of that same seat in the time of the most unhappy discord,
which, because of the Devil’s minions, endured between us and our
father, had incurred <in the subjunctive because Lothar’s quod-clause
is giving the ‘reported’ reason for why something happened, implying he
knows this only at second-hand> the wrath of our oft-mentioned lord
and father, on account of some intrigues and jealousies. In turn,
[Ebbo], accused in an episcopal synod, either with his conscience
accusing him and convicting him, or because canon law beset him on all
sides, assumed certain bishops as chosen judges in name and office, with
their agreement <translating ‘sibi conscios’>. And by public
confession in sight of everyone, and by a written document proferred by
himself and confirmed by the subscription of his own hand <i.e. his
signature>, he judged himself unworthy and unsuitable of the office
of the episcopate, and asserted that a successor ought to be chosen for
him. And he confirmed by the aforementioned subscription [also] that by
canonical authority he could make no further requests about this case
<i.e. he could never again reopen it>, and he also offered this
subscription to the synod. And we have taken care that the examplar of
this document, taken from the archive of the church of Rheims, be sent
apostolicam, quae per beatissimum apostolorum principem in universo
orbe, quaqua versum religio christiana diffunditur, caput et fundamentum
est sanctitatis, idcirco superna dispositio primatum optinere voluit
ecclesiarum, ut in quibuscumque causis, questionibus, sive negotiis
ecclesiastica suaderet necessitas, omnes quasi ad matrem religionis,
fontemque recurrerent aequitatis.
quod iam et auditu creberrimo et multorum relatione, ac permaxime
scriptorum nostrorum ad praedecessorem vestrum serie, sive eorum etiam
quae, superstite domno et genitore nostro, ad sedem apostolicam directa
sunt veritate, vestram arbitramur comperisse prudentiam, qualiter sancta
Remensis ecclesia temporibus divae memoriae praefati domni genitorisque
nostri, et nostris quoque sive fratris nostri gloriosi regis Karoli
diebus, diutissime sacerdotali et pontificali honore, pristinaque
dignitate vacaverit, ex ea causa, quod Ebbo, tunc archiepiscopus eiusdem
metropolitanae sedis, cum tempore infelicissimae discordiae, quae
operante diabolo per satellites suos inter nos genitoremque nostrum
aliquandiu duravit, propter quasdam factiones et simultates offensam
saepedicti domni et patris nostri incurrisset.
episcopali denuo con ventu appellatus sive convincente et arguente
conscientia, sive quia eum undique leges ecclesiasticae constringebant,
quosdam episcopos ex eodem conventu, electorum iudicum nomine et officio
sibi conscios assumpsit, et manifesta in conspectu omnium confessione
scriptoque a se prolato et manus propriae subscriptione roborato, se
episcopatus officio indignum alienumque iudicavit, utque successor sibi
subrogari deberet, asseruit, et ut hac de causa nullam ulterius
repetitionem auctoritate canonica facere posset, prefata subscriptione
firmavit, quam etiam synodo optulit: cuius scripti vobis exemplar ab
archivio Remensis ecclesiae sumptum curavimus destinandum.
But by many causes and events emerging afterward, the
aforementioned church of Rheims, as we mentioned above, long lacked the
pontifical dignity <i.e. did not have a proper bishop>; [this was]
either because certain men, given over to worldly cares and substituted
againsts the divinely promulgated rules, were put in charge of the same
see, and on account of these [failings] <lit. ‘on account of
this’>, they refused to take up the pastoral burden, or [because]
they stood as leaders of other churches, and with peace divinely
returned <i.e. the end of conflicts between Lothar and his
brothers?>, [these bishops] preferred to return to their own seats.
variis deinceps emergentibus causis atque eventibus, quia aut
saecularibus dediti curis et contra promulgatas divinitus regulas
substituti quidam in eadem sede praefuerunt, et ob hoc pastoralem
sarcinam suscipere rennuerunt, aut aliarum ecclesiarum praesules
extiterunt, et reddita divinitus pace, sedes suas repetere maluerunt
memorata Remensis ecclesia diu pontificali, ut supra diximus, caruit
And when, with a pact of friendship made between us and our
brothers, our kingdom had been equally divided, nay distinguished into
three parts, and the oft-mentioned church of Rheims had fallen to the
lot of our brother Charles, who, considering the loss [sufferred by] the
church, made venerable monk and priest Hincmar, a man quite learned and
refined, of the monastery of the most blessed martyr Denis, to be
ordained as bishop, by the consent of the bishops and clergy and people
of the metropolis <’metropoleos’ is a genitive form, used also by
Gregory the Great> of Rheims. But because frequent complaint has
been made about this [appointment] by Ebbo [lit. a complaint of pleading
Ebbo has been made] that unjustly was a successor appointed for him
while he <i.e. Ebbo> was still alive, moved by his most pressing
petition, we took care to make known his complaints to your predecessor
Pope Sergius. And we implored him [lit. begging] that if he thought it
to be proper, he should send suitable men from his staff, who, together
with the consultation of the bishops of the province, would be able to
investigate the case of each [man] <sc. Ebbo & Hincmar>, and
to canonically resolve [the question]. We asked this because [lit.
since] we were not at all able to learn the course of events clearly, as
we did afterwards, [since] we were in Italy throughout that time, when
those things, which we explained above, were done about the
aforementioned Ebbo. Nevertheless, we believe that your reverence
certainly knows [lit. that you not at all cannot know] the reason why
your aforementioned predecessor did not send these legates we sought.
vero firmato inter nos fratresque nostros amicitiae foedere, regnum
nostrum aequaliter in tres partes divisum immo distinctum esset, et
saepedicta Remorum ecclesia sorti fratris nostri Karoli obtigisset, ipse
damnum perpendens ecclesiae, Hincmarum venerabilem monasterii
beatissimi martyris Dyonisii monachum atque presbiterum, virum sane
doctum atque eruditum, consensu episcoporum clerique et populi Remensis
metropoleos ordinari fecit antistitem.
Sed quia frequenter ad nos pro hoc ipso Ebonis facta est conquestio
causantis inique sibi adhuc superstiti successorem adtributum fuisse,
instantissima eius peticione commoniti, curavimus querelas eius sancto
decessori vestro Sergio papae significare, obsecrantes, ut si ipse ratum
esse decerneret, ex suo latere viros idoneos destinaret, qui una cum
episcoporum ipsius provintiae tractatu, causam utriusque inquirere et
canonice definire valerent, quoniam nos per illud tempus, quando ea,
quae supra comprehendimus, de iam dicto Ebone gesta sunt, in Italia
degentes, nequaquam ad liquidum, ut postea comperimus, rerum ordinem
Cur tamen praefatus decessor vester legatos a nobis petitos non miserit, vestram reverentiam nequaquam credimus ignorare.
Now, however, Hincmar offers synodal acts to us about his confirmation and the restoration of the church of Rheims,
[and] entreated our magnificence to obtain, by our intervention, the
pallium for him from your paternity, just as your predecessors granted
[it] to his [predecessors]. And we have reckoned that his petition, is
to be fulfilled by a definitive and absolute judgement, especially
because we know <i.e. have read> the synodal acts of the cisalpine
provinces, which acts, [since] they ought to have been sent to your
predecessor, we have also decreed should be sent to you through the care
of [Hincmar?]. We did this because [lit. since] it is right that your
sanctity should consent to the honour <i.e. the office conferred>
of him to whom you know the totality of bishops gives favour.
And now therefore committing the petition of the aforementioned
archbishop, one wholly devoted to and beloved by us, to your judgement,
we unhesitately assert this: [namely] that if, in giving honours to him,
and in confirming his status, you have decreed to follow the custom and
benevolence of the fathers and your predecessors, you will receive
worthy obdience and most gracious service more fully and easily.
<Lothar’s or Hincmar’s?>
autem suprascriptus Hincmarus archiepiscopus clementiae nostrae
synodalia gesta super confirmatione sui et restauratione Remensis
ecclesiae offerens, petiit magnificentiam nostram, ut a vestra
paternitate ei pallium, sicut praedecessores vestri suis largiti sunt,
interventu nostro optineremus.
Cuius petitionem rato et absoluto iudicio implendam existimavimus,
praesertim cum gesta synodalia provintiarum cisalpinarum novimus, quae
etiam, ut antecessori vestro mitti debuerunt, destinanda vobis ipsius
cura decrevimus, quoniam sanctitatem vestram eius honori consentire
decet, cui plenitudinem episcoporum favere cognoscitis.
iudicio sententiaeque vestrae petitionem iam dicti archiepiscopi, nobis
admodum devoti dilectique, ex integro committentes hoc indubitanter
asserimus, quoniam, si in dandis ei honoribus, confirmandoque ipsius
statu morem benivolentiamque patrum et praedecessorum vestrorum imitari
decreveritis, condigna obsequia gratissimamque vicem plenius faciliusque
Otherwise we beseech you frankly <forgive the pun>,
and we ask earnestly from your paternity that, whether the
aforementioned archbishop shall have visited your sanctity on his own,
or shall have sent legates of his church, you not deny to them the full
force of your affability and conversation and familiarity, and instead
[we ask] that you treat him as well as his men most kindly, for our sake
[lit. for our love], and whatever he shall have asked of you with good
reason, may you grant [along] with the grant of the pallium.
May divine Grace keep your paternity safe and mindful of us.
Ceterum fiducialiter supplicamus, et obnixe ex vestra paternitate deposcimus,
ut sive memoratus archiepiscopus per se ipsum vestram adierit
sanctitatem, sive legatos ecclesiae suae direxerit, affabilitatis et
conloquii familiaritatisque vestrae eis integerrimam copiam non negetis,
sed benignissime tam ipsum quam etiam suos pro amore nostro tractetis,
et quicquid ex vobis competenti ratione poposcerit, cum largitione
Memorem nostri paternitatem vestram incolomem gratia divina custodiet.
| Hrabanus, Epist. 28, c. 840-2
Hraban wishes Strength, Life and Perpetual Salvation upon the most Excellent Emperor Lothar.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 442-44
RABANUS EXCELLENTISSIMO IMPERATORI HLUTHARIO VIRTUS, VITA ET SALUS PERPETUA.
my smallness published little commentaries on the Heptateuch and on the
books of Kings and on Chronicles, and after the little expositions of
the books of Ester, Judith and Machabees, as well as of the book of
Wisdom and Ecclesiastes, and after the labours of other small works of
my own <i.e. not exegesis?> at last I have put my hand to
Jeremiah, so that, with sayings of the holy fathers gathered from all
over, I might also open up the meaning of this prophecy a bit to the
avid reader. And a necessity weighed upon me to accomplish this task,
because I could not find anywhere a whole copy of the explanations of
Jerome on this prophet, but only the first 6 books, which reach nearly
to the middle of the prophetic book. And that most clever man
Cassiodorius Senator said that he likewise could not find [the rest],
though he gives witness that [Jerome] wrote 20 books on the topic. And
thus <translating the ‘ut’ in ‘ut quia beati’>, with the prodding
of my brothers who study the divine books with us, I myself have given
effort to writing. Thereby also, what I was not able to finish from
[the work of] one expositor and interpreter of the divine books, I would
at least fulfil their petition
from many doctors and their diverse works. For it is said that Origin
expounded the present prophet in 45 homilies in Greek, of which I have
found 14 translated, which helped me not a little in this work, and
[indeed] the explanations of the other prophets, which the
aforementioned interpreter of the divine law published, in many places
clearly explained passages of Jeremiah [for me]. Thus also blessed pope
Gregory was more than a little helpful to us in our dictating <i.e.
to scribes?>, he who in explaining passages of the holy books in his
custom across various works, also unknotted many of the testimonies of
commentariolos, quos mea parvitas in Eptaticum et in libros Regum atque
in Paralipomenon aedidit, postque explanatiunculas historiarum Hester,
Iudith et Machabeorum, necnon et voluminis Sapientiae atque
Ecclesiastici aliorumque opusculorum meorum labores ad extremum in
Hieremiam manum misi, ut, collectis undique sanctorum patrum sententiis,
huius quoque prophetae sensus aliquantulum avido lectori aperirem. Eaque
mihi ad hoc faciendum incubuit necessitas, ut quia beati Hieronimi
explanationes in hunc prophetam nusquam ad integrum repperire potui, sed
tantum primos sex libros, qui pertingunt pene usque ad medietatem
voluminis prophetici, -- sicut nec vir sollertissimus Cassiodorus
Senator invenire se posse asserit, quem tamen viginti libros inde
scripsisse testatur -- cogentibus fratribus nostris, qui nobiscum
divinos libros scrutantur, ipse scribendi impenderem studium: ac sic
quod ex uno expositore et interprete divinorum librorum efficere non
potui, saltem ex pluribus doctoribus eorumque diversis voluminibus
illorum petitioni satisfacerem. Nam fertur Origenes XLV omiliis
praesentem prophetam Attico sermone exposuisse. Ex quibus XIIII tantum
translatas inveni, quae me in hoc opere non parum adiuvabant,
explanationesque ceterorum prophetarum, quas praefatus divinae legis
interpres aedidit, multis in locis Hieremiae sententias lucide
exposuerunt. Sic et beatus papa Gregorius non parum nobis in dictando
profuit, qui in diversis opusculis suis more suo divinorum librorum
sententias exponendo, istius quoque prophetae plurima testimonia
Therefore, with these things considered I decided to write
one little work, which I nevertheless decided to spread across 20 books,
lest the length of the books should produce impatience in the reader,
and indeed so that brevity makes him <i.e. the reader> sharper for
examining the individual points. Nor ought anyone call my efforts
[lit. me] in the composition of this work presumptuous or unnecessary,
as if [coming] after the best and most eloquent expositors, I,
ineloquent and meagre in talent, wished to obscure by rash boldness the
studies of great men. [No one should say this,] since they have [lit.
he has] seen that I have collected the sayings of the fathers and that I
have preserved everywhere their sense - though in some places for the
sake of brevity I used my own words. [Furthermore,] the words or
arguments that stand on the page have their source marked alongside.
[Therefore] let them [lit. he] think it a convenient compendium, when
they find gathered into one book what was to be read [only] in multiple
codices; nor is it now necessary for them [lit. him] to labour in
searching, when they find it sorted out to their ease by the labour of
ergo omnibus consideratis unum opusculum condere disposui, quod tamen
in viginti libros dispertire decrevi, ne longitudo librorum fastidium
lectori faceret, immo brevitas ad singula discutienda acutiorem
me presumptiosum aut superfluum quisquam in conditione huius operis
debet dicere, quasi post optimos et disertissimos expositores ego
elinguis et tenuis ingenii magnorum virorum studia temerario ausu velim
obfuscare, cum me viderit eorum sententias collegisse et ipsorum sensus
ubique servasse, licet in aliquibus brevitatis causa propriis sermonibus
usus sim, notatis forinsecus eorum nominibus, quorum verba aut sensus
in pagella consistunt; habeatque satis commodum compendium, quando id,
quod in multis codicibus patrum scrutari debuit, in unum reppererit
collectum: nec iam sibi laborare necesse esse inquirendo, ubi aliorum
labore quieti suae invenerit consultum.
Finally, since a letter sent from your exellence, o Emperor,
recently came to me, urging my smallness to explain for you the book of
this prophet <i.e. Jeremiah> and also that I should work through,
in a moral and mystical sense, the last part of the prophecy of
Ezechial, from that spot, where the blessed pope Gregory finished his
exposition of it ([an exposition which consisted of] ten homilies [on]
the moral and allegorical sense [of the book]), up to the end [of the
prophecy]. [But] it seemed arduous and very difficult to me, that I,
weak and unwell and not so much sickly in body as also diminished in
intellect, should attempt to obstinately attack this task, as if I were
equal to it, [this task] which the most learned and eloquent masters of
the Church judged to be beyond their powers and [from which] they
blanchingly retreated. And though there was never much to me,
nevertheless now I feel myself to be far different than I once was: now,
oppressed with weighty illness, I lie more often in my bed, than I sit
in my study for reading or for writing. Since for that reason ‘my harp
is turned to mourning and my organ into the voice of those weeping’
<Job 30.31>, it pleases me more to bewail my sins than to make
music by chant, speaking to the Lord [by quoting] the prophet: ‘I have
been bent and humilitated completely: I roared by the groaning of my
heart. And before You is all my desire, and my wailing has not been
hidden from Thee. My heart has been thrown into disorder in me, and my
fortitude has deserted me, and the light of my eyes <i.e. my
sight> is not with me.’ <Ps. 37.9-11> ‘Pity me, according to
Your great mercy, erasing my iniquity’ <Ps. 50.3>, ‘since my soul
trusts in You.’ <Ps. 56.2> ‘Don’t cast me into the time of
senility, and when my strength fails, do not abandon me!’ <Ps.
quoniam nuper epistola de excellentia vestra, o imperator, missa ad nos
pervenit hortans parvitatem meam, ut huius prophetae librum vobis
exponerem ultimamque partem Ezechielis prophetae, ab eo loco, ubi
expositionem eius beatus papa Gregorius in decima omelia morali sensu
atque allegorico finivit, ego usque ad finem morali sensu mysticoque
perducerem: quod mihi arduum valdeque difficile visum est, ut hoc, quod
doctissimi atque dissertissimi ecclesiae magistri ultra vires suas esse
iudicaverunt et stupendo ab eo declinaverunt, ipse infirmus et debilis
et non tam corpore aegrotus quam etiam sensu minutus pertinaciter quasi
ad hoc idoneus temptarem aggredi. Qui
licet aliquid magni numquam fuerim, tamen modo longe aliud me esse
sentio quam fueram: qui gravi aegritudine pressus iam saepius in lectulo
accumbo, quam ad scribendum vel ad legendum in meditatorio sedeo. Idcirco
quoniam "versa est in luctum cythara mea et organum meum in vocem
flentium", libet me magis peccata mea plorare quam cantu musicam sonare,
dicendo ad Dominum cum propheta: "Incurvatus sum et humiliatus sum
usquequaque: rugiebam a gemitu cordis mei. Et ante te est omne
desiderium meum, et gemitus meus a te non est absconditus. Cor meum
conturbatum est in me et deseruit me fortitudo mea et lumen oculorum
meorum non est mecum". "Miserere mei secundum magnam misericordiam tuam
delens iniquitatem meam" "quoniam in te confidit anima mea". "Ne
proicias me in tempore senectutis et, cum defecerit virtus mea, ne
Therefore, for this reason [I] gave up other things or
rather left them for a suitable time, [namely] if perhaps the Lord
should want to grant health to me through the immense grace of his
benevolence, and [thereby] confer the possibility of writing and
reading. For the moment I commit to your devotion and authority the
present work of exposition, namely of the prophet Jeremiah, which I
began with your well-remembered father August Louis still living, and
which I had finished after his death. [I do this] so that you have it,
and you read it, and you use it, along with your friends, for advancing
[lit. exercising] your good study. And since the wishes of the many are
all different, and so their talents, and their opinions change, it
pleased me that I should seek you as the one and only benevolent and
most wise judge [of my work], o most holy and august emperor Lothar, you
whose mind divine wisdom illuminates, and does not permit to be marred
by the trickery of jealous people, nor [does divine wisdom allow your
mind] to be seduced by the strategem[s] of evil men, but [instead] it
keeps you within the rule of equity and justice and leads you carefully
on the way of truth. Therefore to you, a fair judge, I offer the
present work, so that by your examination it be tested purely, and that
it be guarded by your authority against the jealous snappings of envious
men. For when I have had you as a favourable and kindly judge, I
reckon for nothing the false opinions of others, and instead I will
persevere as a lover of your justice, and a devoted follower of your
holy wish[es], faithful to you as long as I shall live, so long as
ob hanc causam ceteris omissis vel potius ad aptum tempus reservatis,
si forte Dominus per inmensam pietatis suae gratiam voluerit sanitatem
mihi tribuere facultatemque legendi atque scribendi conferre, modo
presens opus expositionis videlicet Hieremiae prophetae, quod bonae
memoriae genitore vestro Hludowico Augusto adhuc vivente inchoaveram, et
post obitum eius consummaveram, vestrae devotioni simul et auctoritati
committo, ut habeatis illud legatisque et ad bonum studium vestrum
exercendum cum vestris eo utamini.
Et quoniam plurimorum diversae sunt voluntates et differunt ingenia
vacillantque sententiae, placuit mihi te unum ac solum iudicem benevolum
et sapientissimum expetere, sanctissime atque augustissime imperator
Hludhari, cuius mentem divina sapientia illustrans non permittit fraude
invidorum corrumpi, nec versutia perversorum seduci, sed in aequitatis
et iustitiae regula conservans per viam veritatis sedulo deducit. Tibi
ergo aequo iudici praesens opus offero, ut tuo examine ad purum
probetur, et tua auctoritate contra invidos aemulorum morsus tueatur.
Cum enim habuerim te propitium et benignum iudicem, pro nihilo aliorum
opiniones falsas deputo, sed tui iuris amator ac tuae sanctae voluntatis
devotus exsecutor, fidelis tibi, Christo tribuente, quamdiu vixero,
May the eternal goondess of Good, and His excellent majesty
over all, continue to keep the most serene and pious August [Lothar]
safe from his enemies on earth, and may He afterwards allow [Lothar] to
reign blessedly and perpetually in heaven.
Aeterna Dei bonitas et super omnia excellens maiestas serenissimum ac
piissimum Augustum ab hostibus in terra diutius protegat inlaesum et
postmodum in caelis faciat perpetualiter regnare beatum.
| Hrabanus, Epist. 46, c. 841-851
most lowly of the servants of God, prays for salvation in Christ to his
famed mistress Ermengarda the August, most worthy of every honour.
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 500-501
DOMINE PRAECLARE ET OMNI HONORE DIGNISSIME ERMENGARDE AUGUSTE RHABANUS VILISSIMUS SERVORUM DEI IN CHRISTO OPTAT SALUTEM.
of your kindness and sweetness, by which you received me ([though I
was] unworthy) in a past time at Mainz, when you were there yourself
with lord emperor Lothar, always thereafter I have devoted [sc. to you]
and I have besought the Lord with continual prayers, so that He might
deign to multiply for you that which I first heard about you by your
good repute [reading bonā famā; text as edited would be ‘about you of
good repute’], and then in your presence experienced, and [that He might
deign] to lead you to the reward of eternal beatitude. I trust in my
God, that He will never allow that mind, which he illuminates, through
His benevolence and His true charity, by the gift of His Spirit, to be
free from the felicity of eternal beatitude, because good will stands as
the beginning and the makings of true beatitude. <i.e. she will
always have a good will, and thus will never be free from some measure
of aeterna beatitudo?> Perfection of it [good will?], however, is
the gift of God alone.
clementiae vestrae et mansuetudinis, qua me preterito tempore in
Mogontiaco oppido indignum suscepistis, quando ibi apud dominum
Hlotharium imperatorem presentialiter affuistis, semper deinceps devotus
fui et Dominum assiduis precibus deprecabar, ut hoc, quod antea de
vobis bonae famae audivi et postea praesens expertus sum, inenarrabili
gratiae suae dono vobis multiplicare atque ad praemium aeternae
beatitudinis perducere dignetur. Credo
in Deo meo, quod illam mentem, quam sui spiritus munere per
benivolentiam et veram caritatem illustrat, numquam ab aeternae
beatitudinis felicitate vacuam fieri permittat, quia bona voluntas verae
beatitudinis inicium et incrementum extat. Perfectio autem eius solius Dei donum est.
But I, because I can add nothing to your virtues and
spiritual richness, have decided to share with you, if you think it
worthy, that which, from the generosity of divine piety, I have been
able to work out in meditating on and discussing the Holy Scriptures.
As such I sent first to your dginity my exposition of the book of queen
Ester, whose prudence, constancy of mind, and victory over enemies
provides a most noble example to all the faithful, so that they trust
that they will be liberated from all enemies, [so long as] they keep the
divine law and keep faith in the goodness of God. But if these things
<i.e. which I have written> shall first have been kindly taken up
by your excellence, then afterwards I [shall] dispose myself to confer
more [to you] by similar study out of [lit. in] my loyalty to you.
May divine majesty deign to keep your life free from harm, and flourishing in prosperity!
autem, quia nichil vestrae opulentiae et virtutibus addere possum,
saltem hoc quod ex largitate divinae pietatis in sacris scripturis
meditando et disserendo elaborare potui, vobiscum, si dignum ducitis,
participare decerno. Idcirco
primum vestrae dignitati expositionem libri Hester reginae transmisi,
cuius prudentia et constantia mentis victoriaque de hostibus
nobilissimum quibusque fidelibus praebet exemplum, ut divinam legem
servantes et spem firmam in Dei bonitate habentes confidant se de
universis inimicis liberandos. Si
autem hec benigne a vestra excellentia primum suscepta fuerint,
deinceps plura in obsequium vestrum simili studio conferre dispono.
Vitam vestram illaesam et prosperitate pollentem maiestas divina conservare dignetur.
O powerful queen, I beg you accept an example
of a powerful queen very pleasing to God.
She rightly oversaw the salvation of he people
- behold the very propitious goods of her life.
Saving her relatives by prayers, she trampled enemies also,
believing in the Lord, she rejoicingly subdued all.
Likewise also [Ermengard] always have care of your
subject people, revealing this [care] in countenance, mind and deed.
Then to you the heavenly-throned One will provide
joyful times, a pacified realm, all things good and just.
And after this life you will climb to the ark of life,
in order that there you might have the blessed kingdoms of heaven.
The delights of the world perish, every beautiful thing perishes,
the kingdoms of the world fall to ruins, the world itself falls to ruin,
and [likewise] the right and authority, the vitur and glory of the world,
the day itself passes, black night fades in the sky.
The leaves fall, the arbutus trees grow dry in the forests,
the languid seeds fall down with the flower cut.
All beautiful things of the world are everywhere overturned.
Only the Love of Christ remains all around.
And whatever good things the brief guest does,
remain safe above with the piety of God.
For this reason I advise that whatever of outstanding
work your right hand can effect, you do with much effort.
Because after this life, there is no possibility of doing good,
but instead each heaps the fruit of one’s [past] work,
the time is now suitable and acceptable to serve Christ,
God, Whom love serves well.
To this One, offer your obedience in mind, deed,
and in kind speech, and thus you please the Lord.
<?> Hidden rewards [with] perpetual gifts in them</?>
Are for this reason kept for you and glory with God.
Let the majesty of the heavenly thunderer lead you thither,
that you may live always happy in the ark of heaven.
I have written these verses for you, Queen, as I lie
sick in bed, [but] you be well forever.
O regina potens, exemplar posco potentis
Accipe regine valde Deo placite,
Que gentis propriae praefecit rite salutem
Ecce sue vite valde benigna bona.
Salvans cognatos precibus contrivit et hostes,
In Domino sperans cuncta subegit ovans.
Sic quoque subiecte curam tu semper habeto
Plebis, hanc relevans oreque, mente, manu.
Tunc tibi celsithronus prestabit tempora leta,
Pacatum imperium, cunctaque iusta, bona.
Et post hanc vitam conscendes lucis ad arcem,
Illic quo teneas regna beata poli.
Delicie mundi pereunt, perit omneque pulchrum,
Regna ruunt mundi, mundus et ipse ruit,
Et decus et sceptrum, virtus et gloria mundi,
Transit et ipsa dies, nox ruit atra polo.
Folia decidunt, arescunt arbuta silvis,
Flacida deciso gramina flore cadunt.
Omnia vertuntur mundi speciosa per orbem,
Solus amor Christi semper ubique manet.
Et quecumque facit parvi bona temporis hospes,
Salva manent sursum cum pietate Dei.
Quapropter moneo quicquid tua dextera possit,
Egregii nimium strenue fac operis.
Post quia hanc vitam iam operandi est nulla potestas,
Sed fructus operis quisque metet proprii,
Tempus nunc aptum est atque acceptabile Christo
Inservire Deo, cui bene servit amor.
Huic tu mente, manu <...> et sermone benigno
Obsequium presta, sicque places Domino.
Premia perpetuis in se recondita donis
Hinc tibi servantur gloria cumque Deo.
Quo te perducat maiestas celsitonantis,
Ut vivas felix semper in arce poli.
Hos tibi decumbens eger, regina, grabatto
Composui versus, tu sine fine vale.
|Hrabanus, Epist. 52, c. 855
To the Most Excellent and Serene King LOTHAR the meanest  servant of your Sublimity HRABAN [sends greetings]
The Cena Cypriani
occurred to me, as I desired to write something for your dignity which
would be delectable and would sharpen the acumen of your thinking; in
this work is contained the recollection of many men. But because therein
are some names, which are not found in the sacred books, with these
omitted I went through the pages of the O.T. and collecting the names of
many fathers I put together this little work in which the
characteristics of both the good and bad [characters] are found. Indeed
I trust that these things will both be welcome to your serenity in your
re-reading or hearing [of the text] for the sake of humour <i.e.
‘for better appreciating its humour>, and useful on account of how it
recalls to mind many things <from the Bible?>. Therefore when
your highness shall have wished to read or hear these things <i.e.
the Cena>, returning to the pages of the O.T., you would [lit. will]
find why particular characteristics are imputed to particular
individuals. But because [those pages of the O.T.] did not make
complete mention of all characters <i.e. the references are scattered
across many pages>, there was need of a compendium, lest the
longness [of the O.T.] should produce weariness <i.e. for one
searching out the characteristics of individual figures> and such
that brevity should sustain [excite?] the mind of the reader.
|MGH Epp. 5, p. 506
DOMINO EXCELLENTISSIMO ATQUE SERENISSIMO REGI HLOTHARIO ULTIMUS VESTRE SUBLIMITATIS ALUMPNUS MAURUS.
mihi vestre dignitati aliquid scribere, quod delectabile foret et
acumen sensus vestri acueret, occurrit mihi caena Cypriani, in qua
multorum memoria continetur. Sed quia inibi quedam talia repperiuntur
nomina, que in sacris non inveniuntur libris, his omissis percurri
paginas veteris scripture et multorum nomina patrum colligens hoc
opusculum perparvum compegi, in quo et bonorum et pravorum officia
repperiuntur. Quoniam, sicut presens aecclesia malorum et bonorum in se
congeriem retinet, ita et hec scedula utrorumque ordines in se continet.
vero vestre serenitati relegenti sive audienti et grata fore credo ad
iocunditatem et utilia propter multarum memoriam rerum. Cum
ergo vestra celsitudo hec legere aut audire voluerit, recurrens ad
veteris instrumenti paginas, quare singulis singula sint inputata,
quia non omnimodis omnium fecerunt mentionem, causa fuit compendii, ne
prolixitas fastidium pareret et brevitas animum legentis attolleret.
| Angelomus, Epist. 7, c. 851-2
meanest of monks, by pleadingly entreating entreats to obtain perennial
glory for the most Glorious and Distinguished Emperor, Lord LOTHAR,
| MGH Epp. 5, pp. 625-30
PRESTANTISSIMO IMPERATORI DOMINO LOTHARIO SEMPER AUGUSTO ANGELOMUS
ULTIMUS MONACHORUM EXORANS EXORANDO EXORAT NANCISCI PERENNEM GLORIAM.
your sage prudence deigned to summon me, [who was] staying in your
palace under pretence (I should say) of teaching the liberal arts and
especially of unwinding of the divine scriptures, to your wise presence
(just as you remember) and to hold prayer with me <or perhaps, a
‘spiritual discussion’?>. But after the conversations about the
celestial life and the support of prayers, it pleased [you] to order, by
command, nay rather by direction, that I effect by the work of the pen a
short text on the Song of Songs, one following the interpretations of
the old fathers and according to the limits of my talent; [for in the
Song of Songs] it is agreed that the marriage of Christ and the Church,
and mysteries of allegories are contained beyond the other books of the
Old Testament. Also [you ordered], so that I speak truthfully, that I
should not refuse to expound [it] nor omit to show [it] to the presence
of your highness, whereby your wisdom might have [it] frequently read
for your ears after the affairs of state. [Your wisdom thereby shall]
extend itself in contemplation, by reading spiritual things for the sake
of consolation, away from the tumult of problems of the empire and
especially from the loss (though we trust it was God’s will) of your
most holy wife, [who was] chosen for the college of saints and inscribed
with the brilliance of beatitude; [on account of whom you] remain alone
sighing and groaning, just like a solitary turtle dove, whose nature,
so the scientists say, is such that if once it has perchance lost its
mate, it seeks not another, but keeping chastity it remains in a certain
way a widow. And about the turtle dove we read in the same book ‘The
voice, he says, of the turtle-dove was heard in our land’ <SofS,
2.12>, that is, the [voice] of Christ speaking: ‘Do penance, for the
kingdom of heaven approaches!’ <Matt. 3.2>. ‘And your cheeks are
beautiful like those of a turtle-dove’ <SofS 1.9>, with the lines
of your cheeks filled with tears, and you were able to pour out prayers
in hiding to the Lord for your excesses and for the absolution of the
most pious empress.
etenim excubante me in vestro sacro palatio sub optentu, inquam,
traditionum liberalium artium enucleationumque divinarum scilicet
scripturarum dignata est vestra sagax prudentia, sicuti non est inmemor,
accersire vestrae sollerti presentiae mecumque habere oraculum.
Sed post spiritalia caelestis vitae colloquia et suffragia orationum
placuit imperando immo intentando imperare, ut stili officio iuxta
sensum antiquorum patrum et frugalitatem ingenioli mei opusculum in
Canticis canticorum Salomonis, ubi Christi et aecclesiae coniunctio
allegoriarumque misteria pre caeteris veteris testamenti biblis
contineri probantur, digererem et, ut ita dicam, exponere non abnuerem
atque presentiae culminis vestri ostendere non omitterem, quo haberet
crebro post dispositionem rei publicae frequentata auribusque lectione
relata sollertia vestra, in contemplatione se extendens a tumultu
causarum imperii atque potissimum de amissione sanctissimae coniugis Deo
annuente, ut credimus, collegio sanctarum allectae alboque beatitudinis
inscriptae consolationis gratia legendo theorica, et velut turtur
singularis, cuius natura est, ut phisici ferunt, si semel coniugem casu
perdiderit, alium non requirere, sed castimoniam servans vidua
quodammodo permanere, solitarius ingemiscens atque paenitens. De
quo in eodem libro legitur: "Vox, inquit, turturis audita est in terra
nostra", id est Christi dicentis: "Paenitentiam agite, appropinquabit
enim regnum caelorum".
"Et pulchrae sunt genae tuae ut turturis" imbre lacrimarum genarum
rimulis infusis, preces pro vestris excessibus et absolutione piissimae
imperatricis Domino in abscondito fundere quivissetis.
And with this heard, growing pale at the weight of the work,
I began to wonder, astonished, nay rather stupefied, why it had pleased
your clemency to injoin so great a task, one to be feared even by the
most learned men, to unlearned me, [who does] not possess all the
disciplines of the liberal arts, and [who is] weak in the oracles and
texts of the divine scriptures, [especially] since you have many more
learned men under your rule <translating monarchia>, who have been
able to handle [such subjects] honestly and catholicly. But
considering the reasoning of your command, and going over quietly that
apostolic dictum by which it is said: ‘Be subject to every human
creature for God’s sake, whether to a distinguished king, or to dukes,
just as if they were sent by Him’ <1 Peter 2.13-14>, but also
especially [with] that [saying of] the Lord [in mind], when it is
promised: ‘Amen’, He said, ‘I say to you that whatever you ask for in
prayer, trust that you will receive it, and it will be done for you.’
<Mark 11.24, my translation>, and noticing also with the
consideration of my mind, that what is ordered by such great majesty,
would not be without divine assent, I presumed not to refuse with a bold
countenance by any apology or twise of excuse, but rather (as I was
able), supported by divine aid, I attempted to be obedient, though
hesitatingly, to the imperial orders.
audito pondus tantae rei expavescens attonitus, immo obstupefactus,
admirari caepi, cur clementia vestra tantum opus, viris etiam
eruditissimis formidandum, mihi indocto omnesque liberalium artium
disciplinas non nacto atque oraculis elogiisque divinarum scripturarum
inbecilli iniungere libuisset, cum plures haberet in monarchia
doctiores, qui honeste et catholice tractare potuissent. Sed
censuram imperii vestri considerans tacitoque pertractans illud
apostolicum quo dicitur: "Estote subiecti omni humanae creature propter
Deum, sive regi quasi precellenti, sive ducibus tamquam ab eo missis",
sed et potius illud dominicum, ubi pollicetur: "Amen, inquit, dico vobis
quicquid orantes petitis, credite, quia accipietis et fiet vobis";
animadvertens quoque interna trutinatione mentis, quod sine nutu divino
non foret, quod a tanta maiestate imperaretur, temerario ore refragare
nullo apologetico anfractuque excusationis presumpsi, sed magis ut
quiverim divinis fretus suffragiis, imperiis imperialibus quamquam
pavidus obsecundare temptassem.
But I did not think it of little import that I should not seem to
exceed the bounds of regular discipline and, without the affirmations
and likewise the orders of my magnificent lord and abbot (namely your
uncle Drogo), call the pen to writing </?>,
not only because he is the son of Charlemagne and brother of your most
holy and pious father, Louis Caesar, but [also] because he was the
highest bishop and my outstanding abbot. And when I had brought the
matter by suggestion to his ears, and had indicated the order of the
matter <i.e. how things had unfolded with Lothar?>, with [these
facts] taken in by ear, he not only did not refuse [the idea],
but, as he is very mild and persuadable by affability, and most
distinguished in kindness and most eager toward every good thing, in the
custom of his modesty he frankly ordered me not only with free
authority, but [also] with flattering calmness and pious address, that I
should not refuse to approach, insofar as I was able, the
imperial[ly-set] task and spiritual deed.
non floccipendens, quod sine magnifici domini et abbatis mei, scilicet
Druogonis patrui vestri, assertionibus pariterque iussionibus, ne
regularem excedere viderer disciplinam et stilum appulere ad exarandum
debuissem, non solum quia Karoli Magni imperatoris filius atque frater
sanctissimi et piissimi genitoris vestri Hludowici cesaris, sed quia
erat summus pontifex atque abba meus egregius.
Cumque sacris eius auribus suggerendo intulissem et ordinem rei
indicassem, quo auribus hausto non solum rennuit, verum, ut est
mitissimus et affabilitate suadibilis, benignitate prestantissimus et ad
omne bonum ferventissimus, more suae modestiae non tantum ingenue
libera auctoritate imperavit, sed blanda tranquillitate et pio affatu ut
augustale opus et spiritale decus quomodo quivissem aggredi non
this, and then at last roused by his <i.e. Drogo’s> exhortations,
[and] driven by your well-meaning accostings and holy commands, and
especially supported by divine aid, [and] provoked by the words
[prayers?] of the holy doctors, [and] because I find no single
[composition?] on the whole from anyone, I will attempt to heap up and
confine in the limits of a little book that which I was able to find
sprinkled about in the words of the holy doctors (amongst those works in
our possession), and especially [in the words] of the most blessed
Roman pope Gregory of decorous eloquence; [a work which is] brought
together, with my pen using a brief (though unpolished) style rather
than full style, both from the teaching of the master <i.e. Gregory?
Or singular for plural?> and from the conjecture of my own thinking.
[I did this so that] your highness might have something just as an
‘encheridion’, namely a little excerpt manual, which it may please to
read out at suitable times, with God so wishing, after the business of
rulership, and after the worries of the Church, for seeking divine
consolation <reading ‘ad consolationem divina rimandam’>. And
since a resting man is not able to go over the wide field of scripture,
let it not irk him to study at least briefly our little writings.
audiens sic iam tandem eius exhortationibus animatus, vestris almificis
affaminibus sanctisque iussionibus adactus, potissimumque divinis
auxiliis fretus, sanctorumque doctorum orationibus provocatus, quod, o
doctissime princeps, in doctorum penes nos sanctorum sparsim invenire
potero, presertim in beatissimi papae Gregorii Romanae decoris
eloquentiae dictis, quia a nullo solum per omnia repperio compactum
atque ex traditione magistri ingeniive mei coniectura stilo currente,
commatico potius compendiosoque sermone, licet inpolito, aggredi
temptabo et in libelli modum finire conabor, ut habeat vestra celsitudo
velut encheridion, hoc est manualem quodammodo libellum excerptum, quem
congruis horis lectitare Deo favente post studia imperii, post
sollicitudines aecclesiae ad consolationem divina rimando complaceat. Et
quia campos divinarum scilicet scripturarum non valet percurrere
latissimos, breviter saltem stromata nostra non pigeat scrutari quietus.
it ought to be recognised that, [though it] is the custom of certain
writers, we on the contrary have not marked out on the page the names of
the individual doctors [we have used] seperately with clear letters,
<?> but rather we have decided to join together from the writings
of those expositors some things out of many, namely with superfluous
things omitted by cutting back for brevity, [while] many things [we
decided] to make longer by interpolating some things of our own, namely
by choosing out some things from longer works
(following/according to their sense) to conjoin. Thus indeed we have
decreed to thus complete [this] little book of sayings, by adding on
brief things and in turn longer things, with various allusions to [lit.
of] dramas continuing throughout,</?>
not fearing those learned men, who twist up their noses as if they were
wise, nor those, who are prompter to reprehend than to imitate, and who
are not able to do what they grumblingly strive to repoach. For we
know, we know, that in a church organ some pipes are longer, others
shorter, but with one breadth given by the bellows and with a learned
hand guiding, and pressing with the fingers, the voices of the trumpets,
although there are different pipes, sweetly render a harmony and a
sweetly tuned harmonious song to astonished ears as if [they were] a
Thus indeed, although there are some sentences that are longer with
superfluous things cut out, and others briefer with necessary things
added in, with the Holy Spirit puffing through a single body, [and] with
the hand directing, and with its digits holding the pen, we shall have
dared to complete the commentaries of my little manual using [lit. with]
sententiae stuck together in turn. [We did this] with that one
advising, who says prophetically in this book <the SofS> about the
blended gifts of the Church: ‘Cyprus with nard, nard with saffron,
sweet cane and cinnamon with all the woods of Lebanon <i.e.
frankincense?>, myrrh and aloe, with all the best perfumes’ <my
translation, with suggestions from Douay-Rheims>. But as to how
these virtues of the church sing together all blended, alternating with
each other, I will discuss later in its own place.
sciendum vero, quia ut moris est quorundam scriptorum, non in pagella e
regione singulorum doctorum viritim litteris insignitis assignaverimus
nomina omnia, sed ex eorum dictis profecto expositorum nonnulla
compaginare ex multimodis, breviter recidendo videlicet demptis
superfluis, multimoda, nonnulla vero ex prolixioribus sensum eorum
sequentes coniungere decerpendo, aliqua nostra interpolando augmentare
censuimus longiora. Sic
nimirum sic diversis allusionibus dramatum percurrentibus brevia
syrmataque vicissim nectendo sententiarum explere libellum sancivimus,
non pertimescentes litteratos, qui nasum veluti sapientes contorquent,
nec eos, qui promptiores ad reprehendendum quam ad imitandum, quique
quod reprehendere subsannando moliuntur, adimplere nequeunt. Scimus
namque, scimus, quod concentu organi fistulae aeris aliae longiores
sunt, aliae breviores, sed uno flatu follibus amministrato et docta manu
imperante digitisque attrectando unam, cum sint diversae fistulae,
armoniam velut salpix, tubarum voces atque concentum dulci cantilena
melos afflando attonitis auribus suaviter reddunt. Sic
profecto cum sint aliae sententiae longiores recisis superfluis,
aliaeque breviores additis necessariis, flante Spiritu sancto per corpus
unum imperante manu digitisque stilum tangentibus, vicissim
conglutinatis sententiis dictationes enchyridionis explere ausi erimus,
adminiculante illo, qui in hoc libro de aecclesiae donis permixtis ait
prophetice: "Cyprus cum nardo, nardus cum croco, fistula et cinnamomum
cum universis lignis Libani, myrra et aloe, cum omnibus primis
unguentis". Sed qualiter istae virtutes aecclesiae alternando sibi permixtim concinant, suo in posterum dicemus in loco.
Whence now at last I suppliantly beg the imperial office and
equally those who shall have perhaps had the opportunity to read [my
work], that [the imperial office] not take horror at it or neglect it,
but let it read through by perusal using diligent consideration, and
gratefully let it search out the medicines of the soul, because in the
custom of physicians, who take care to weigh [things] with the balances
of an accurate scale so that they can properly put together various
unguents and antidotes, such that one thing does not outbalance another,
[and such that] even less do they leave out useful things from others,
[with the result that] they instead put together balanced [medicines
with the help of the] scale, I have attempted to weigh these sententiae
by the balanced scale of my mind, and to put together (in a way) both
antidotes and medicines for souls.
Unde iam tandem supplex exoro decus augustale aeque et eos quibus
fortassis legere contigerit, ut quod ego more medicorum ac
pigmentariorum, qui ut diversa unguenta et antidota temperatim possint
componere, bilanciis statere aeque ponderare satagunt, ut una alteram
non superabundet, nec de aliis minus utilia derelinquant, sed aequa
lance sua componant, studui aequali lance mentis trutinare sententias et
mella quodammodo et antidota animarum componere, non horrescat nec
squalescat, sed diligenti exagio lustrando perlegat, atque medicamina
animae gratanter investiget.
before the prologue comes to its end, it should be noted that nothing
carnal nor historical is to be sought in this book, and instead let it
not be doubted that the mysteries of allegories are contained [within].
For reference is made to ‘kisses’, ‘teats’, ‘cheeks’ and ‘legs’. In
such words the sacred writing is not to be laughed at, but rather
[reading maius for maior] the mercy of God is to be considered, because
when He refers to the members of the body, He thereby calls [us] into
His affection <affection for Him or by Him?>. That is, we should
consider how wondrously and mercifully He works with us, He who descends
even unto the words of base love, as Pope Gregory explains,
so that He might light up our heart[s] to incite sacred love [lit. ‘to
the incitement of sacred love’]. But as He debases Himself by speaking
thus, thereby He exalts us to understanding, because from the words of
this [base] love we learn with what strength we are to burn in love of
divinity. But we should carefully watch out lest we return to thinking
about exterior things, when we have heard the words of exterior love.
For this scripture is, in [terms of] words, just like a painting in
[terms of] colours and contents. And one would be very foolish who pays
such close attention to the colours of the painting, that he ignores
the contents. And if we embrace the words, which are said to be the
outside, and we ignore the meaning, it is as if we hold only to the
colours [of the painting], ignoring the contents which are depicted.
Indeed, we know that after man was expelled from the joys of paradise,
and came into the peregrination of the present life, he had a heart
blind to spiritual understanding. And if it were said, by the Divine
Voice, to this blind heart ‘Follow God’ or ‘Love God’, on account of the
frozen torpor of insensibility he would not grasp what he heard.
Therefore the Divine Word spoke to the languishing and frozen soul
through a few enigmas, and [working] from the things which [man] knew,
He secretly suggested the love which [man] knew not, and [thus] made for
the soul placed far off from God a something like a machine (as the
aforementioned writer <Gregory> says) so that by [this machine]
man might be lifted to God <Moralia in Job VI.37>. Indeed, with
the enigmas interposed, while man recognises in the words something
which is his <i.e. familiar>, in the sense of the words he
understands something which is not his <i.e. divine>, and [thus]
through earthly words eternal words are understood.
antequam prolegomena ad calcem perveniat, notandum est, quod in hoc
libro nil carnale nilque hystoriale requirere debeat, sed allegoriarum
misteria contineri non dubitet.
Nominantur enim in hoc libro oscula, nominantur ubera, nominantur
genae, nominantur femora. In quibus verbis non irridenda est sacra
descriptio, sed maior Dei misericordia consideranda est, quia dum membra
corporis nominat, sic ad amorem suum vocat. Unde
considerandum est, quam mirabiliter nobiscum et misericorditer
operetur, qui ut cor nostrum ad instigationem sacri amoris accenderet,
usque ad turpis amoris, ut papa Gregorius exponit, verba descendit.
Sed unde se loquendo humiliat, inde nos ad intellectum exaltat, quia ex
sermonibus huius amoris discimus, qua virtute in divinitatis amore
ferveamus. Hoc autem nobis sollerter intuendum est, ne, cum verba exterioris amoris audivimus, ad exteriora sentienda remeamus. Sic enim est scriptura haec in verbis, sicut pictura in coloribus et rebus. Et nimis stultus est qui sic coloribus picturae inhereat, ut res ignoret.
Nos enim si verba, quae exterius dicuntur, amplectimur et sensus
ignoramus quasi ignorantes res quae depicte sunt solos colores tenemus. Scimus
enim, quia, postquam genus humanum a paradysi gaudiis expulsum est et
in istam peregrinationem vitae presentis veniens cecum cor ab spiritali
intellectu habet. Cui
ceco cordi si diceretur voce divina: "Sequere Deum" vel "dilige Deum",
per torporem insensibilitatis frigidum non caperet quod audiret. Propterea
per quaedam enigmata sermo divinus animae torpenti et frigide loquitur
et de rebus quas novit latenter insinuat amorem quem non novit et animae
longe a Deo infra positae, ut prefatus tractator ait, quasi quandam
machinam fecit, ut per illam levetur ad Deum. Interpositis
quippe enigmatibus dum quiddam in verbis cognoscit quod suum est, in
sensu verborum intellegit quod non est suum et per terrena verba
this reason, o most invincible Caesar, we beg, that you seek after
nothing historical in this volume, but that you seek out the flowers of
allegory along with the moral sense, which [moral interpretation] we
have decided to adjoin in certain places for your consolation, lest
pressed only by the word-plays of allegories your highness loses
patience for reading theoretical things. Let [your highness] hear also
what is said through that same Solomon: ‘It is the glory of God to
conceal the word and the glory of kings to seek it out’ <Prov.
For God appears all the more gloriously to the mind seeking Him out,
the more subtlety one investigates so that He appears. Therefore we
ought to seek out what God conceals with mysteries. Indeed for that
reason follows ‘and the glory of kings is to seek out the Word’. For
kings are those who know to rule and understand not only the kingdoms of
the earth, but also their bodies and the motions of the flesh. To whom
it is also said through the Psalmist: ‘And now kings, understand: be
instructed, you who judge the earth’ <Ps. 2.10> et cetera.
Therefore the glory of kings is to investigate the word, because it is
[to] the praise of those living well to look closely at the secret
things [within] the commandments of God. Therefore, most glorious
Emperor, examine the scriptures, so that by penetrating and
understanding the divine mysteries your wisdom and intelligence may be
able to rule and understand the desires and motions of the flesh, and
[so that your wisdom may be able] to teach others subject to your rule,
and to govern most honestly [your] actions <reading actus for mactus,
cf. MGH, note l> with prudence and foresight.
these things examined, nay rather entreated beforehand, at last we will
attempt to turn the pen to those things which you commanded. May your
glory, the splendour of the Franks, always be well in Christ, by
flourishing in felicitous successes.
o invictissime cesar, oramus, ut nil in hoc volumine hystorialiter
requiras, sed flores allegoriarum cum morali intellectu investiges, quem
quibusdam in locis ob tuam consolationem subnectere decrevimus, ne
solummodo allegoriarum allusionibus pressus violenter vestra celsitudo
theoretica legendo fastidiat. Audiat etiam quod per eundem Salomonem dicitur: "Gloria Dei celare verbum et gloria regum investigare sermonem".Menti
enim Deum quaerenti tanto Deus gloriosius apparet, quanto subtilius
investigatur ut appareat. Debemus itaque quod Deus misteriis celat
requirere. Ideoque sequitur: "et gloria regum investigare sermonem". Qui enim non solummodo regna terrarum, sed corpora sua vel motus carnis regere et investigare noverunt, reges sunt. Quibus et per psalmistam dicitur: "Et nunc reges, intellegite, erudimini, qui iudicatis terram" et reliqua. Regum ergo gloria est investigare sermonem, quia bene viventium laus est perscrutari secreta mandatorum Dei. Scrutare
ergo, gloriosissime imperator, scripturas, quatenus misteria divina
penetrando et intellegendo desideria et motus carnis investigare et
regere vestra sapientia et sollertia ceterosque imperio vestro subiectos
docere et mactus prudentia consultuque honestissime gubernare valeat.
His itaque prelibatis immo efflagitatis, tandem ad ea quae imperastis stilum flectere conabimur. Valeat semper in Christo prosperis successibus pollendo gloria vestra decusque Francorum, oramus.
| * * *
|| * * *
at last you note, magnificent Caesar, that nothing historical <i.e.
literal> is found in this volume, as we said in the introduction; but
rather all things are redolent with the word-plays of allegories, and
are perfumed by the motions of dramatic things and the sweetnesses of
moral [meanings?]. Wherefore I wish to persuade, nay rather suggest
(although rashly) to the excellence of your highness, as one who has
obtained now a great knowledge of wisdom, and ensured the defence and
oversight of the holy Church, that you not only protect [the Church] by
the support of arms against the incursions of outside peoples, [while]
standing on the battlefield defended by columns of captains and girt
with troops of knights, but also that you remain devoted and zealous
toward the holy teaching and understanding of the divine scriptures,
namely so that amongst your subjects you may defend that same holy
Church from the barbs of evil internal spirits, who always seek to
extinguish not the bodies but the the souls of the faithful, [you being]
equipped with the shields of the Gospels, girt with the swords of the
divine scriptures, adorned with the spears of [Patristic?] sententiae.
tandem animadvertis, magnifice Cesar, quoniam, ut in ysagogen praefati
sumus, nil hystorialiter in hoc volumine repperitur, sed omnia
allegoriarum allusionibus redolent et dramatum decursionibus moraliumque
Quocirca suadere, immo suggerere, quamquam temere, excellentiae
culminis vestri exopto, ut qui iam magnam sollertiae sapientiam nactus
estis et defensionem tuitionemque sanctae aecclesiae indeptus, ut non
solum armorum suffragio in procinctu bellorum constitutus, cuneis
procerum vallatus et turmis militum constipatus ab incursionibus
exterarum gentium adversariorum eam protegas, verum sacrae doctrinae et
intellegentiae divinarum scripturarum devotus et sedulus persistas, ut
eandem sanctam aecclesiam in subiectis ab internorum videlicet
malignorum spirituum iaculis, anciliis evangeliorum munitus, gladiis
divinarum scripturarum accinctus, spiculis sententiarum ornatus,
defendere possis, qui semper non corpora, sed animas fidelium extinguere
|* * *
| * * *
at last with God’s help the book demands an end, [a book] which we
brought to the end with Himself advising, and using (I believe) correct
and true investigation according to the the sententiae <reading
sententias> of the doctors and the weakness of our intellect; [thus]
we have tried to obey (though blanchingly) your august imperial decrees,
o august Caesar. And I, a suppliant, supplicatingly entreat the
excellence of your highness, that your nobility should not decline to
peruse this [book] with careful examination, and that your wisdom should
likewise attempt to read through the minor works of the holy doctors
with the greatest attention. For if the emperor Theodosius,
born and educated under the empire, was of such great excellence that
he obtained the single rule of the whole world, [and such that] took
care to copy out completely with his own weak fingers and hands that
most polished ([indeed] wondrous in its polish) book of Priscian the
grammarian, the glory of Roman eloquence, and, cutting off social
intercourse, with imperial banquets despised, he was accustomed always
to live from the monetary reward of this [book? i.e. the price of sale
of the copies?], and he burned with such zeal, that by continuous
meditation and in his own hand he wrote out the divinely inspired Roman
law, and he cut back and coerced by his stubbornness the distorted
customs of the Romans to the norms of rectitude using (in a way) the
scalpel of the law, so much that with these things done an angelic
from on high intoned to him in a nocturnal vision and brought voice to
him through the apparition in [lit. of] a dream, saying: ‘Let not’, he
said, ‘the book of the law retreat from your lips, meditate on it day
and night’ <cf. Ps. 1.2>, <here taking up the ‘for if’ from the
beginning of this long sentence> how much the more ought
you, o most meek Prince, ponder by continual meditation the authority of
the hallowed scriptures
and seek after the heights of the divine law as if they were [the
summit of] a mountain, so that instructed in spiritual teaching, you may
be able to sagely betake yourself to the higher places of virtues
<i.e. heaven>, and call others to the path of rectitude.
Certainly you shall not be able to completely reach there <reading
quo for quod, i.e. heaven?> and climb that mountain of divine
scripture, except with wise study, purity of heart and chastity of body.
enim tandem aliquando Deo favente liber finem postulat, quem calcetenus
ipso adminiculante recta, ut credimus, indagine veraque iuxta
sententiam doctorum nostrique fragilitatem sensus perduximus et
imperialibus decretis atque augustalibus, o Cesar auguste, quamquam
pavide parere studuimus.
Quem supplex supplicando supplico excellentiae culminis vestri, ut
subtili investigatione lustrare nobilitas vestra non pigeat, et summo
studio sanctorum doctorum opuscula pari vestra sollertia perlegere
enim Theodosius imperator, in imperio natus et educatus, tantae
excellentiae extitit, ut singularem totius orbis monarchiam obtineret,
Prisciani grammatici, Romanae aeloquentiae decoris, librum
dissertitudine mira dissertissimum, calcetenus teneris digitulis
propriisque articulis describere curaret, atque ex eius precio
distractoque commertio despectis imperialibus dapibus vivere semper
consueverat, et tanto studio viguit, ut iugi meditatione et propria
descriptione legem Romanam divinitus inspiratam describeret, et mores
Romanorum distortos mucrone quodammodo legis ad normam rectitudinis
corrigeret atque a sua duritia coherceret, adeo ut his expletis angelica
salpix nocturna visione celitus ei intonuit et per oroma somnii
gratulando vocem extulit dicens: "Liber, inquit, legis non recedat de
ore tuo, meditare in eo die ac nocte, quanto magis, o mitissime
princeps, debes propriis studiis sacratarum scripturarum auctoritatem
iugi meditatione percurrere et altitudinem divinae legis velut
quodammodo montem appetere, ut doctrina spiritali instructus, et te
sagaciter ad altiora virtutum provehere, et alios ad tramitem
rectitudinis provocare valeas. Quod
profecto plenius penetrare et quodammodo montem divinae scripturae
subire, nisi sollerti studio et puritate cordis et pudicitia corporis
For the holy scripture, as the oft-mentioned writer says
<Gregory I>, is a mountain, from which the Lord comes in[to] our
hearts. About which the prophet says ‘God will come from mount Lebanon
and the holy from a cloudy and crowded mountain’ <cf. Habacuc 3.3,
but in the Itala>. That mountain is crowded by sententiae and cloudy
through allegories. But let it be known, that when the voice sounds on
the mountain, we are ordered to wash our clothes and be cleansed from
every iniquity of the flesh, if we would hurry to approach the mountain
<Exod. 19.10>. For it is written that ‘If a beast shall have
touched the mountain, it will be stoned’ <Hebr. 12.20>. A beast
touches the mountain, whenever anyone given over to luxury or irrational
impulses approaches the highness of the holy scriptures, and does not
understand it according to how he ought, but instead turns it
irrationally into an explanation/description of his own bodily
pleasure/desires. But that absurd or slow-in-the-head man, if he shall
have been seen about this mountain, let him be killed by the harshest
pronouncements, just as if by stones <cf. Greg. I, Moralia,
VI.37>. For that mountain burns, because those whom holy scripture
fills up spiritually are lit up with the fire of love. And for this
reason it is said through Moses: ‘In his fiery right-hand [was] the law’
<Deut. 33.2, cf. Douay-Rheims; possibly ‘in his right-hand was the
fiery law’, as in the King James>. Because in the minds of the
elect, who are to be set at the right hand of the judge, the divine
precepts are redolent, and have been lit up with the ardour of charity.
And for that reason, o augustal dignity and glory of the people of the
Franks, take care that you climb that mount while you possess chastity
of body and a rational mind, and penetrate the things to be read whilst
lit up by the fervour of charity, so that on account of the merit of
intelligence/understanding and [on account] of others whom your sage
prudence shall have taken care to correct, you shall certainly merit to
go, at last and with the Lord’s will, to the mountains of sweet smells,
namely the high abodes of the angels, and by the support of their
prayers [you shall merit] to be placed at the right hand of the Judge,
alongside the holy <i.e. Christian> emperors and consuls, and
likewise [you shall merit] to hear from the Lord: ‘Well, good and
faithful servant, because you were trusty in overseeing a few things, I
will set you over many; enter into the joy of your Lord’ <Matt.
Scriptura etenim sacra, ut saepe prefatus tractator ait, mons est, de quo in nostris cordibus Dominus venit. De quo propheta dicit: "Deus a Libano veniet et sanctus de monte umbroso et condenso". Iste mons condensus est per sententias et umbrosus per allegorias.
Sed sciendum, quia cum vox in monte sonat, vestimenta lavare precipimur
et ab omni inquinatione carnis mundari, si ad montem festinemus
accedere. Scriptum quippe est: "Quia si bestia tetigerit montem, lapidabitur".
Bestia tangit montem, quando quis luxuriae aut inrationabilibus motibus
deditus scripturae sacrae celsitudini appropinquat, et non eam secundum
quod debet intellegit, sed inrationabiliter ad suae voluptatis
intellegentiam flectit. Sed iste talis absurdus vel sensu piger, si circa hunc montem visus fuerit, atrocissimis sententiis veluti lapidibus necetur. Ardet enim iste mons, quia sacra scriptura quem spiritaliter replet amoris igne succendit. Unde per Moysen dicitur: "In dextera eius ignea lex". Quia in electorum mentibus, qui ad dexteram iudicis statuendi sunt, flagrant precepta divina et caritatis ardore succensa sunt. Idcirco,
augustale decus et Francorum gloria gentis, rationabilibus mentibus et
castimonia corporis stude montem istum subire et fervore caritatis
succensus legenda penetrare, ut pro merito intellegentiae et aliorum,
quos corrigere vestra sagax prudentia studuerit, profecto montes
aromatum, id est celsitudines angelorum, tandem Domino favente adire
atque eorum suffragiis orationum ad dexteram iudicis cum sanctis
imperatoribus et consulibus collocari merearis, pariterque audire a
Domino: "Euge serve bone et fidelis, quia super pauca fuisti fidelis,
supra multa te constituam, intra in gaudium Domini tui".
|Adnuntiatio of Lothar at the first assemby of Meersen, 847
us and to my brothers it seemed right that we should join ourselves
together, so as to seek after the will of God, [so as to find out?] how
the holy Church can be repaired [lit. is able to have been recovered]
and how both we, and you, and that [whole] Christian populace can have
peace. And we did just that now, and thus we are [disposed to] each
other, just as brothers ought rightly to be. And may you know that for
certain, [namely] that - thanks be to God! - we are thus and thus we
wish to remain in the future with God’s help, and each of us is prepared
to bear assistance to the other both in [terms of] counsel and in
[terms of] [military?] support, in whatsoever [matters] we shall have
been able, just as brothers ought to do by [lit. in] the will of God and
in their common profit.
| Adnuntiatio Domni Hlotharii - MGH Cap. 2, n. 204, p. 70
et fratribus nostris visum fuit, ut ad Dei voluntatem querendam,
qualiter sancta ecclesia recuperata esse possit et pacem et nos ac vos
et iste populus christianus habere possimus, nos simul coniungeremus,
sicut nunc fecimus, et sic simus inter nos, sicut fratres per rectum
esse debent. Et
pro certo illud sciatis, quia, gratias Deo! sic sumus et sic permanere
adiuvante Deo inante volumus et in consilio et in auxilio unusquisque
erga alterum parati sumus adiutorium ferre, sicut fratres in Dei
voluntate et communi profectu facere debent, in quibuscumque potuerimus.
| Adnuntiatio of Lothar at the second assemby of Meersen, 851
We wish that you know what our
attendence here was <i.e. meant?>. We came here, so that, with
God’s help, we might, alongside our vassals, consider the will of God,
and the state of the holy church and of the kingdom, and [consider] your
and our common profit; and thus we have done. And - thanks be to God! -
we on these matters united both with each other and with our vassals,
just as we recognise that there is a need [of support? i.e. an
obligation?] for us both within the kingdom and outside the kingdom, in
| Adnuntiatio Hlotharii - MGH Cap. 2, n. 205, p. 74
Volumus, ut vos sapiatis, quid
noster adventus hic fuerit. Venimus hic, ut simul adiuvante Deo cum
fidelibus nostris de Dei voluntate et statu sanctae ecclesiae ac regni
et communi nostro ac vestro profectu consideraremus, sicut et fecimus;
et gratias Deo! sumus inde sic adunati et nos ad invicem et cum
fidelibus nostris, sicut nos recognoscimus, quia et infra regnum et
extra regnum per marcas nostras nobis est necessarium.
Notes to the Translation
 Possibly, with suitable changes of punctuation ‘may your generosity open up what we seek also according to the ethical sense also’. Neither the PL text (PL 110, col. 496A) nor the MGH is quite clear here.
 Cf. the translation by De Jong, in Hen & Innes, The Uses of the Past, p. 192, which translates ‘iuxta gestarum rerum ordinem et expositionem’ as ‘historical and allegorical’, which does not seem quite right. It would seem this sentence refers to the fact that the commentaries are laid out in the liturgical order of the passages / readings, with appended expositions. It would seem that Lothar is complaining that while he could look up the meanings for all the weekday, etc., readings in his collection of Biblical commentaries, he does not have a work which discusses the readings alone and specifically.
 Again, see De Jong’s article in The Uses of the Past on this term.
 Cf. W. Ullmann, The growth of papal government in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed., London, 1962, p. 172.
 Knowing Hincmar, these were doubtless bad forgeries - RMP
 A contradiction of the high-sounding platitudes at the beginning of this letter?
 On the obscure meaning of necessarium here, cf. the adnuntiatio Ludowici that follows: unusquisque nostrum paratus est, ut suum fratrem, ubicumque necessitas fuerit, et infra patriam et foris patriam ... adiuvet (‘... wherever there is a need ...’) and cf. capit. 3 on p. 72.
 Petitioni is what the earlier quod must refer to, though Hraban has made it slightly unclear in his phrasing, even if strictly speaking he is not incorrect. The sense is the petitio = quod ... efficere non potui.
 Or perhaps ‘revealing your model, Ester’?
 Perhaps an example of Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt? Cf. Curtius, European Literature, trans. Trask, pp. 80-2.
 Perhaps, ‘in time’, as orbs also suggests a cycle of time.
 Possibly ‘Rewards, filled in themselves by perpetual rewards...’ These two lines are rather opaque to me, hence my rendering of it is only a best guess. I asked my friend Giancarlo Ciccia (a Ph.D. candidate in Latin Composition in Rome) about this line and he thought my translation a reasonable one of a garbled line, though he did suggest that ‘hinc’ might mean ‘after this life’. Cf. Bede, De Die Judicii, l. 139: praemia perpetuis tradens caelestia donis; Alcuin, Carmen 76, in MGH Poetae I, p. 297, l. 21: praemia perpetuis semper mansura diebus; Pachasius Radbertus, Egloga, in MGH Poetae III, p. 51, l. 165: Premia perpetuis firmantur denique donis.
 Apparently the use of ultimus for ‘lowliest’, which is clearly the meaning intended here, is quite rare.
 The Cena Cypriani is a sort of Biblical parody, where characters from all over the Bible attend a dinner hosted by Joel. Biblical characters act according to their recognisable characteristics, but in humorous ways; e.g. Judas offers silver (which he received for betraying J.C.!) as a host gift. A theft takes place and a ‘dinner party mystery’ ensues. Ed. C. Modesto, Studien zu Cena Cypriani und zu deren Rezeption, Tübingen, 1992.
 For this and especially for what follows in the next paragraph, Angelomus’ earlier letter makes the sense very clear. In fact, this letter seems nothing more than a paraphrase, in places, of the earlier text (in MGH Epist. 5, p. 623): Sed cum negare non valerem, tandem assensum prebere decrevi et ad aliqua licet temere et formidolose digerenda sum aggressus, eo videlicet iure ut intra domesticos parietes secretius retinerent, nec alicui ad legendum traderent, et tunc mea imperitia, verum et temeritas legentibus detecta manifesta foret et oblocutionibus occasio panderetur reprehendentium. Nam stilum cum ad primum librum describendo appulissem, ut abdite abdita auctore Deo congererem, extimplo mea impudentia est detecta, et sacris auribus magnifici Drogonis, egregii scilicet pontificis, quo nichil nobilius nichilque sanctius est, revelata nugacitas. Quo comperto cepit ingenue libera auctoritate imperare, ut darem operam et ceptum opus non sinerem, sed sagaciter calcetenus perducerem. Cuius quoque preconiis nullatenus resistere valui, verum nec tantae auctoritati renuere presumpsi, non solum quidem quia filius erat prestantissimi Karoli cesaris, immo frater mitissimi Hludowici principis, verum etiam quia preclarus erat pontifex et abbas meus egregius.
 This passage is extremely difficult to render but I think I have the sense correctly. My friend Giancarlo Ciccia is also due thanks for his advice here. Cf. the note above, which also makes things more clear.
 Here I read ‘non solum non rennuit’ rather than ‘non solum rennuit’, as this emendation is the only thing that makes the sentence take on a (semblence) of logic. Another possible emendation would be ‘adnuit’ (assented) for ‘rennuit’ (refused).
 I.e. from the more complete statements of a particular writer?
 I must admit that this clause sic diversis ... percurrentibus is almost completely obscure to me, even after many hours of thought. Thanks too to Mayke de Jong for helping here.
 Salpix is no doubt from Aldhelm, who uses this extremely rare word thrice.
 Although the MGH editor here exclaims about this ‘Nescio ubi’ (p. 628, n. 1) this whole sentence, and indeed, much of this section (which may be why it is clearer than Angelomus’ usual lumpy prose), comes from Gregory’s Expositio Super Cantica Canticorum, PL 79, with this passage at col. 473b-c: Hinc est enim quod in hoc libro, qui in Canticis canticorum conscriptus est, amoris quasi corporei verba ponuntur, ut a torpore suo anima per sermones suae consuetudinis refricata recalescat; et per verba amoris qui infra est, excitatur ad amorem qui supra est. Nominantur enim in hoc libro oscula, nominantur ubera, nominantur genae, nominantur femora; in quibus verbis non irridenda est sacra descriptio, sed major Dei misericordia consideranda est; quia dum membra corporis nominat, et sic ad amorem vocat, notandum est quam mirabiliter nobiscum et misericorditer operatur. Qui ut cor nostrum ad instigationem sacri amoris accenderet, usque ad turpis amoris nostri se verba distendit. Sed unde se loquendo humiliat, inde nos intellectu exaltat; quia ex sermonibus hujus amoris discimus qua virtute in divinitatis amore ferveamus.
 Cf. again for this whole section Gregory I’s Expositio, PL 79, col. 474a: Gloria Dei celare verbum. Menti enim Deum quaerenti tanto Deus gloriosius apparet, quanto subtilius atque interius investigatur, ut appareat; sed nunquid quod in mysteriis Deus celat, nos requirere non debemus? Debemus utique, nam sequitur: Et gloria regum investigare sermonem.
 Cf. here Aldhelm, Liber de Septenario, et de Metris, Aenigmatibus ac Pedum Regulis, PL 89, coll. 236d-237a: Nam inclytus ille Theodosius, ut prisca veterum opuscula produnt, qui totius propemodum mundi gubernans monarchiam maritabatur, et regalibus florentis imperii sceptris undecies labente annorum circulo feliciter fungebatur, quotidiani sumptus alimoniam et corporeae sustentationis edulium, in quibus mortalium vivacitas vescitur, in praecelso potestatis culmine antiquarii scriptoris mercimonia indeptus est, malens Scripturarum emolumento litterarum carnalis vitae nutrimenta per laboris exercitium adipisci, quam inertis desidiae torpore tabescens gratuitis epularum deliciis saginari. I would translate this as: ‘For that famed Theodosius, as the old works of the ancients tell us, who was married and held the reigns of nearly the whole world, and happily exercised the regal duties of the flourishing empire for 11 years, while he held the highest office obtained daily nourishment and food for corporeal sustenance, by which the energy of mortals is maintained, as the pay of a calligrapher, preferring by the profit of written letters to get nourishment ... through the exercise of labour, than to be sated with the free delicacies of banquets, languishing in the torpor of inert idleness’. Aldhelm goes on to relate the story of how Theodosius was believed to have copied with his own hand the 18 books of Priscian, which is surely a confusion between a scribe named Theodosius and the Emperor.
 Salpix seems only to have been used by Aldhelm, Laud. Virg. 21 (i.e. a different text of Aldhelm to that in the note above - perhaps A. had an MS with both?).
 The expression sacrata scriptura is extremely rare, A. probably got it from Ambrose, Exhortatio Virginitatis, IX.57, PL 16, col. 353b: Idque sacratae Scripturae docetur testimonio...
The text of these translations was completed by Richard Matthew Pollard, 2009-2010