Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Historical themes


Early Byzantine Italy and the Maritime Lands of the West
by Walter Berschin  
 From: Greek Letters and the Latin Middle Ages. From Jerome to Nicholas of Cusa. 
Translated by Jerold C. Frakes. Revised and expanded edition.  The Catholic University of America 
 Source: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/Walter_Berschin_20.html



1. The Byzantine Era of the Papacy in Italy       

2. Spain

3. Ireland   

4. England     

5. Notes 


1. The "Byzantine" Era of the Papacy and Italy

The deep caesura between "antiquity" and "the Middle Ages" in Italy was brought about not by the substitution of the Gothic monarchy for the Western Roman Empire, but rather by the Byzantine succession to Gothic dominion and by the invasion of the Langobards in an Italy which had been again brought under Byzantine rule only shortly before (568). The ancient character of Rome fell into decay; the city "verpuppte sich zugleich und verklösterte sich auf seltsame Weise" ("retired into its shell at the same time and became monasticized in an unusual manner"; Gregorovius).  

The last Goths were defeated by Byzantines on Mt.Vesuvius in 553, but Constantinople had already exercised great influence in Italy long before that -in Rome since 537. The catalogue-like Liber Pontificalis, which had been kept by the papal administration since the beginning of the sixth century, described the changeover from Gothic to Byzantine rule in a scene of impressive perspicuity:1  

He [Belisarius] sent for the holy Pope Silverius to come to him in the Pincio Palace and had all the clergy detained at the second and third curtain. Silverius entered the inner chamber with Vigilius alone [his successor, chosen by Constantinople], where the Patricia, Antonina, lay on a couch, and the Patrician, Belisarius, sat at her feet. And as Antonina saw him, she said to him: "Tell me, sir Pope Silverius, what have we done to you and the Romans, that you wish to deliver us into the hands of the Goths?" While she still spoke, John, the subdeacon of the first district, came in, took the pallium from his neck, and led him into another chamber; he undressed him, clothed him in a monk's habit, and had him led away. Then, seeing him to be a monk already, Xystus, the subdeacon of the sixth district, came forth and announced to the clergy that the lord pope had been deposed and made a monk. When they heard this, they all fled.  

Everything that Westerners both admired and abhorred for centuries as "Byzantine" is contained in this scene: Caesaro-papism, court intrigue, rule by females and eunuchs, theatrical politics, and calculated ceremony. Liudprand of Cremona, as ambassador of Otto the Great, wrote his colorful commentary on this topic in the tenth century.  

Pope Vigilius (537-55), the first of the bishops of Rome appointed by Constantinople, suffered a fate scarcely better than that of his predecessor, Silverius, who had been friendly to the Goths. When he withheld assent to Justinian's "Three-Chapter Edict," in which the emperor sought a doctrinal compromise with the "Monophysites" who remained in the empire, he was brought to the imperial capital (545~47) at the order of the empress Theodora. council summoned by Justinian to Constantinople in 553, which is designated the fifth ecumenical and second Constantinopolitan council, discussed the "Three Chapters"; Vigilius followed the council's debate from nearby Chalcedon, to which he had been able to escape from Constantinople. Vigilius knew no Greek, but some members of his retinue were proficient in both languages, as, for instance, Rusticus, the pope's nephew, who was occupied with conciliar acts long after the council of 553, and who, in the Akoimetan monastery in Constantinople, reedited the Latin Acts of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) according to Greek copies.2  

It characterizes the new era that Pope Pelagius (555-61), Emperor Justinian's appointee as successor to Vigilius, was the first bishop in the ancient Western capital to know Greek since the transition from Greek to Latin as the liturgical language. It is not without significance that he dedicated himself to the translation of ascetico-mystical aphoristic literature of Eastern monasticism. He thus continued the great work whose foundation had been laid by Athanasius in his bios of Anthony, the father of monasticism, and whose foundation walls had been raised by Jerome with his three vitae of monastic fathers, and by Rufinus with his Historia monachorum. n Rome, the first well-known author to work with hagiographic material was Dionysius Exiguus, in the early sixth century; by the middle of the century, the leading ecclesiastical circles were at last working intensively with monastic literature. While Pelagius was deacon, i.e., at the time when he was playing an important role beside and against Pope Vigilius, he translated a series of Verba seniorum3 (Adhortationes sanctorum patrum); the translation was completed by John, a subdeacon, who later as John became Pelagius' successor in the highest ecclesiastical office in the West.4 Thus the construction of the Vitas patrum gradually drew to a close; in the Latin West, the work was regarded as a treasure house of spiritual instruction and exemplary biography for a thousand years.  

With his Dialogi, Pope Gregory , the Great (590-604), produced the Latin complement to the Eastern lives of the fathers: henceforth Italy and the entire Latin West had its Vitae patrum italicorum. Soon they also became famous in the East as a continuation of the ancient monastic fathers which was itself worthy of study. Gregory was consciously a Latin who had little interest in or knowledge of Greek, despite his service for several years as papal apocrisarius in Constantinople; the vocation of the consul dei was an eminently Roman one.5 n the middle of the "Byzantine era of the papacy," he won Britannia for the orbis latinus and thus took the first and most important step toward a new ecclesiastical Roman Empire of the Middle Ages.  

Under Gregory's successors, Rome became "more Byzantine" than before, especially as a result of the Greek monasteries in Rome, which became places of refuge for orthodox Greek monasticism during the Monothelitic dispute of the seventh century and the iconoclastic conflict of the eighth and early ninth century. n addition, the Arabs in the Eastern Mediterranean, advancing under the banners of Mohammed, drove Christians from the Levant to Rome. Theodore of Tarsus, one of the most famous Greeks in seventh-century Rome, may well have come to Rome as a refugee, for his Cilician homeland fell to the Arabs in 645. The monastery of St. Anastasius ad aquas Salvias, in the southern district of Rome, between S.aul Fuori le Mura and the catacombs of the Via Appia, is the oldest Greek monastery in Rome.

Today it is the monastery of SS. Vincentius and Anastasius, near Tre Fontane. The sources of the history of the monastery until A.D. 1000 are assembled in clear order by Ferrari, Early Roman Monasteries, pp. 33 f. See also Michel, Ostkirchliche Studien 1 (1952), 41 f., and J.-. Sansterre, Les moines grecs et orientaux à Rome aux époques byzantines et carolingiennes (Brussels 1983)  , 13 ff. The monastery seems to have initially been occupied by Cilician monks. Theodore of Tarsus in Cilicia, sent from Rome in 668 to be archbishop of Canterbury, possibly came from the monastery of St. Anastasius; in any case, one could thus explain the uncommon interest which one of Theodore's "student's students" ("Enkel- Schüler"), the Venerable Bede, showed for the Passio S. Anastasii Persae, the patron of the Greek monastery in Rome: "... librum uitae et passionis sancti nastasii male de Greco translatum et peius a quodam imperito emendatum, prout potui, ad sensum correxi" (" the best of my abilities, corrected for meaning. the book of the life and passion of St. Anastasius, which was poorly translated from Greek and even less favorably emended by an unskilled [editor]") - thus Bede wrote in the list of his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (V 24). The Persian Anastasius became a martyr in 628 under Chosroes . It is possible that Bede's edition of the Passio S. Anastasii Persae is still extant among the numerous versions of the Latin text tradition; cf. C.Vircillo Franklin and . Meyvaert, "Has Bede's Version of the Passio S . Anastasii Come Down to Us in BHL 408?" 100 (1982), 373-400.

The Greek monastery in Rome is first attested to in the Acts of the Lateran Synod of 649, where Monothelitism (which had the support of the emperor) was debated, with Pope Martin presiding (649-53; d. 655 in exile at Chersonesus in the Crimea). This last great christological controversy of the early Christian period was intellectually borne by the Greeks in Rome, led by Maximus the Confessor (d.662); the Greek monks not only collected evidence for the debate, but also, according to Rudolf Riedinger, composed the speeches of the council fathers, which were then translated from Greek into Latin. Thus the synodal acts came into being even before the synod as a kind of "Textbuch austauschbarer Rollen"6 ("libretto of interchangeable roles")-a strange historical situation in which the genre of conciliar acts came close to dramatic literature. Pope Martin , during whose reign the Lateran Synod of 649 took place, knew no Greek; his predecessor, Theodore I (642-649), under whom preparations for the synod were made, was, however, a Palestinian Greek.7 After Theodore , numerous other Greeks or Greek-speaking Sicilians mounted the cathedra Petri up to the middle of the eighth century. At the end of the seventh century there was a lengthy sequence of such Greek popes: Conon (686-87), Sergius (687-701), John VI (701-5), John VII (705-7), Sisinnius (708), Constantine (708-15).8 The most important among them was no doubt the Syrian Sergius, "who was born in Palermo, whose family came from the vicinity of Antioch" (Liber Pontificalis), and who, because of his refusal to acknowledge the ecumenical validity of Eastern ecclesiastical customs, only just escaped the fate of Vigilius and Martin ;9 he did, nevertheless, enrich the Western Church with very important elements of Greek piety.

The long processions from the Forum (St. Adriano) to St. Maria Maggiore, n the four great Eastern feasts of the Blessed Virgin, were introduced in Rome under Sergius : Candelmas (Ypapanti), Annunciation, Assumption (Dormitio), and nativity: "Constituit autem ut diebus Adnuntiationis Domini, Dormitionis et Nativitatis sanctae dei genetricis semperque virginis Mariae ac sancti Symeonis, quod Ypapanti Greci appellant, letania exeat a sancto Hadriano et ad sanctam Mariam populus occurrat" ("It was established that n the days of the annunciation of the Lord, the assumption and holy birth of the eternal virgin and mother of God, Mary, and St. Simeon's, which is called Ypapanti in Greek, the procession should proceed from St. Adrian's, and the people should advance to St. Mary's"; Duchesne, Liber Pontificlis, , 376). Cf. Frenaud, "Le culte de Notre Dame dans l'ancienne liturgie latine," in . du Manoir, ria (Paris 1961), VI, 157-211, esp. p. 184. It is assumed that the translation of several processional antiphons for feasts of the Virgin go back to this period. The pre-Carolingian antiphonary of Mont Blandin (Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale 10127-10144, CLA, , 1548) clearly indicates that such translations were originally used in a bilingual liturgy; e.g., the famous processional antiphon drn thalamum tuum for Candelmas, ed. R. J. Hesbert, Antiphonrium Missarum Sextuplex(Brussels 1935), p. 38; cf. Wellesz, Eastern Elements, p. 61, and Hesbert, Corpus Antiphonalium, IV, no. 6051.

Catacosmyso ton nimphona su Sion - Adorna thalamum tuum Sion
ce ipodexe ton basilean Christon - et suscipe regem Christum
aspase tyn Marian - amplectere Mariam
tyn epuranion pylyn - que est celestis porta
auty bastazi ton Basilean tys doxis - ipsa enim portat Regem glorie
nepheli photos yparchy parthenos - novo luminis subsistit Virgo
ferusa en chersin Yon pro eosforu - adducens in manibus Filium ante luciferum
on labon Symeon en ancales autu - quem accipiens Symeon in ulnis suis
ekyrixen lais - predicavit populis
despotyn auton ine - Dominum eum esse
Zois ce thanatu - vite et mortis
ce Sothyra tu chosmu - et Salvatore mundi 

[Adorn your bridal chamber, Zion, and receive Christ the King; embrace Maria, who is the gate of Heaven, for it is she who bears the King of glory; the Virgin stands in the freshness of light, bearing forth the Son in her arms into the light, whom Simeon received into his arms and prophesied to the people that he was the Lord of life and death, the Savior of the world. ]

According to the Liber Pontifcalis, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, which celebrated the history of the rood -its legendary discovery by Helena, the mother of Constantine, theft by the Persians in 614 from the Anastasis Basilica, and triumphant return by Emperor Heraclius in 628- was introduced in Rome by Pope Sergius ..Bishop is responsible for the discovery that the bilingual litany for All Saints' Day which, along with a "Missa graeca," is contained in the "AEthelstan Psalter" (London, BL Cotton Galba XVIII, saec. and , from Winchester) and several other, chiefly English, manuscripts was produced in Rome during the Papacy of Sergius and came to England from Rome: Liturgica Historica, pp. 140 ff.; Brou, in Sacris Erudiri, , p.170; Bischoff, Mittelalterliche Studien, , 263, n. 92.  

Under Sergius a translation was also made of the acts of the sixth ecumenical council in Constantinople (Constantinople , 680-81);10 Pope Leo (682-83), who came from Sicily and whose bilingualism is extolled in the Liber Pontificalis, began the translation during his brief pontificate 11 At least the name of one of the translators of that period is known: Bonifatius Consiliarius.12 

Pope Zacharias (741-52), the last of the Greek popes of the seventh and eighth centuries, translated the most famous work of Gregory the Great, the Dialogi, into Greek, whereby Gregory, who so strongly resisted speaking Greek, became known as  C  to the Greeks.13 With the same pope, the "Byzantine" era of the papacy also came to an end: he made the momentous statement to Pepin, the Frankish majordomo, that "it is better that he who has the power be called king than he who no longer has any royal power," and thus he cleared the path to the throne for the distant parvenu, in whose protection he could then immediately take refuge from the dangerously close Greeks and Lombards. 

The "Chronicon Palatinum" (Cod. Vat. PaL. Lat. 277; CLA, I 91) was written in the eighth century in Italy (perhaps Rome) by an author who used the Greek chronicle of Johannes Malalas or a Latin epitome of it; T. Mommsen, ed.MGH Auctores antiquissimi (Berlin 1898), XIII, 427 ff.; L.Traube, "Chronicon Palatinum," Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen (Munich 1920), III, 201 ff. 

In the second half of the seventh or first half of the eighth century, a monk named Petrus translated the revelations of a Syrian, which are known under the name "Pseudomethodius"; several of the manuscripts of the translation belong to the eighth  (cf. Siegmund, Die: Überlieferung, pp. 172 ff.) According to the editor, E. Sackur (Sibyllinische Texte und Forschungen (Halle 1898], p.56), the text was certainly translated in Gaul, as the "Eigentümlichkeiten des fränkischen Vulrärlateins der Merovingian period")  ("peculiarities of the Frankish Vulgar Latin of the Merovingian period") and "Syrisch-gallisce[r] Verkehr" ("Syro-Gallic intercourse") suggest. But since no Greco-Latin translation or translator can be established for the time period in question, Sackur's conjectures lead to no probable determination of provenance. "Pseudomethodius" became important for the concept of the imperium in the East and West; cf. G. Podskalsky, Byzantinische Reichseschatologie (Munich 1972), pp.54 f. 

The numerous hagiographic translations from Italy are difficult to date, but many seem to go back to the Byzantine era in Italy, such as the oldest translations of the vitae of S.S. Anastasius the Persian, Bonifatius of Tarsus, Eustathius, Adrian and Natalia, Nicholas, Sergius and Bacchus, Theodore; the cult of these saints in Rome serves as a basic point of departure for dating the texts; cf. Siegmund, Die Überlieferung,pp. 226-54, under their names. After the  of John Moschos, (d. 619) there were again authors in Rome who wrote in Greek. The vita of the martyred pope Martin I (d.655) was probably written by a Greek in Rome; but it was not until the ninth century that a Latin translator for the work was to be found (Anastasius Bibliothecarius; see below, Chapter IX). The passion of St. Tatiana seems also to have been a text written by the Greeks of Rome; cf. F. Halkin, "Sainte Tatiana, Légende grecque d'une martyre romaine," AB 89 (1971), 265-309. There is a Latin translation of the work which has survived in only a handful of Roman manuscripts (the oldest of which is Rome , Vat. Archivio di S. Pietro A 2, saec. X-XI) -an indication of the Roman origin of the translation? 

Ravenna, the residence of the Exarch from the sixth to the eighth century, must also considered   a site of Greco-Latin translation. In the ninth century, Agnellus of Ravenna speaks of his bilingually educated ancestor Johannicius (Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatensis, c.146: "Et rogatus a pontifice, ut omnes antiphonas, quas canimus modo dominicis diebus ad crucem sive sanctorum apostolorum aut martirum sive confessorum necnon et virginum, ipse exponeret non solum Latinis eloquiis, sed etiam Grecis verbis, quia in utraque lingua fuit maximus orator" [MGH Scroptores rerum Langobardicarum, p. 373]. L.M. Hartmann, "Johannicius von Ravenna," in Festschrift Theodor Gompertz(Vienna 1902), p. 322, interpreted the passage thus: "Auf Wunsch des Erzbischofs erklärte er die in der Kirche von Ravenna üblichen Antiphonien in lateinischer sowohl wie in griechische Sprache" (At the request of the archbischop he explained in both Latin and Greek the antiphonies common in the church of Ravenna"). But is it not rather a matter of the composition of bilinguals antiphons? 

In addition to the hagiographic material, medical texts may also have been translated in some number in Byzantine Italy. The of Alexander Trallianus (d.605 in Rome), the youngest brother of the architect of Hagia Sophia, were translated into Latin perhaps even during the author's lifetime; Thorndike, History of gic and Experimental Science, , 579-84,. The codex Milan, Bibl. Ambrosiana G 108 inf , saec , is a copy of an old medical miscellany manuscript with translations of and commentaries on Hippocrates and Galen, which the "physician Simplicius read, collated, and wrote in Ravenna according to the words of the court physician, Agnellus": "ex vocem [sic] Agnello archiatro, deo iuvante, ego Simplicius medicus legi, contuli et scripsi in Ravenna feliciter"; cf.Beccaria, I Codici di Medicina, no. 92, here p.290.  

The history of Greek studies and translations in Lombard Italy is even more obscure than in Italy's Byzantine period. Yet even here Greek must have been of interest in the eighth century -the knowledge of Greek among the Italo-Lombardic grammarians at Charlemagne's court did not come about by chance. Duke Arichis of Benevento (758-87), friend of Paulus Diaconus, understood how to maintain his duchy between the Greeks and Carolingians, and founded a Sophia church in Benevento on the model of Hagia Sophia, into which he transferred the relics of St. Mercurius (among others) from Aeclanum in 768. The Greek passio of the soldier-saint originally venerated in Cappadocia -"le plus effacé ... dans le glorieuse phalange des saints militaires" ("the most effaced ... in the glorious phalanx of military saints," St. Binon)- circulated in an expanded Latin version under Arichis; the duke may have ordered the translation.14


2. Spain

One of the most ambitious plans of the Eastern Emperor Justinian (527- 65) was to rescue Spain from the Visigoths and Suevi, Italy from the Ostrogoths, and Africa from the Vandals; Emperor Heraclius (610-41) finally gave up the entire plan. The relationship between the Greek East and Spain was multifaceted and intimate, especially during the sixth century.15 Surprisingly, it was not in Byzantino-Visigothic Spain, but rather in the distant northwest of Spain, inhabited by the Suevi, that translation literature arose. At the same time as, or soon after, the Roman translations of the Apopthegmata, similar compilations were collected there: by order of the Suevian apostle, Martin of Braga (d.ca.580), a certain Paschasius translated parts of a codex called vitas patrum grecorum given to him for this purpose; the translation is called Liber Geronticon;16 Martin himself who had been in Palestine before he founded the monastery Dumio among the Suevi and become archbishop in the Suevian royal city of Braga, undertook a collection of Sententiae patrum Aegyptiorum. A translation of a collection of Greek canons is also ascribed to him. 

n the second half of the seventh century, as the Suevian kingdom was incorporated into the Visigothic monarchy, Abbot Valerius of Bierzo in Galicia produced an edition of the Vitas patrum which contained translations of Greek saints' lives; it is not clear whether they are the work of the Galician translators' school founded by Martin of Braga or came from Italy.18 

The Catholic Romanic populace and the Arian Goths of the Visigothic kingdom were reconciled by Bishop Leander of Seville (578-99), who came from Byzantine Cartagena. The successor to the bishopric of Seville was Leander's younger brother, Isidore (599-636), who, all things considered, was Spain's most famous Latin author.

His short treatise De ortu et obitu patrum (Migne PL 83, cols. 129-59) contains a core of prophets' lives, translated from Greek, within the series of eighty-six brief biographical sketches of figures from the Old and New Testaments; see . Schermann, Prophetarum vitae fabulosae(Leipzig 1907), and Propheten- und Apostellegenden nebst Jüngerkatalogen des Dorotheus und verwandter Texte, TU 31/g (Leipzig 1907); Vaccari, "Una fonte del 'de ortu et obitu Patrum' di S. Isidoro," in Miscellanea Isidoriana (Rome 1936), pp. 165-75.

Isidore's principal work is the Etymologiae (Origines), which served the West for centuries. As a second Varro, he attempted, in twenty brief books, to summarize conceptually the trivium, quadrivium, medicine, law, theology, history, philosophy, zoology, geography, book production, architecture, mineralogy, metallurgy, agriculture, military matters, public and private games, shipbuilding, and other areas of knowledge and technology. As was generally the case in antiquity, the knowledge transmitted by Isidore was primarily Greek; via the Latin mediators from whom he derived his information, numerous Graeca are preserved in Isidore's work. He uses Greek words, which are written in Greek script and incorporated into the Latin text according to ancient practice.19 The Greek alphabet is explained historically -after the manner of ancient models- at the beginning of the works; in addition he includes the important doctrine of the litterae mysticae, which was characteristic of the medieval valuation of Greek:20

Cadmus, the son of Agenor, first brought seventeen Greek letters to Greece from Phoenicia:     1    C T . Palamedes added three more during the Trojan War:   . Thereafter, the lyric poet Simonides added three more letters:   . Pythagoras of Samos first developed the letter Y on the model of human life: its lower stroke signifies the younger years, the still uncertain ones, which have not yet given themselves up to either vice or virtue. The bifurcation,  however, which remains begins in adolescence: its right arm is steep, yet leads to the blessed life; the left is easier; it leads to disaster and destruction. Persius says of this letter: "And the letter which extends the Samian branches/showed you the ascending path on the right hand" [ 56]. 

The Greeks have five letters of mystery. The first is , which signifies human life, of which we have just spoken. The second is , which signifies death, since judges place this letter  by the names of those whom they condemn to execution. And theta signifies   , i.e., "from death." For this reason, it also has a shaft through the middle, which is the sign of death. certain one says of this: "Theta, you are far more wretched than all other letters." The third, , signifies the cross of the Lord; therefore it is translated into Hebrew as "sign." Concerning this letter, the angel in Ezekiel [9:4] is told: "Go through the middle of Jerusalem and trace a tau on the forehead of the sighing and lamenting men." The remaining two letters are, however, claimed as the first and last by Christ for himself At the beginning and end, he says: " am the  and ." When these two letters move toward each other,  rolls to  and  in turn rolls up again to ; so that the Lord showed that the course from the beginning to the end and the return from the end to the beginning is in him. But all Greek letters form words and numbers. For the letter called alpha signifies one, the one called beta two; where they write gamma, it is called three, and delta four; and thus all their letters have numerical values. The Latins do not use letters for numbers, but form only words from them, except for I and X, which figure also signifies the cross and has the numerical value ten.

n another passage of the work, Isidore designated the Greek language as one of the tres linguae sacrae:21

There are three sacred languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, which are the most distinguished throughout the whole earth. For it was in these languages that Pilate wrote the Lord's legal case on the cross. Thence, it is also because of the obscurity of the ly Scriptures that a knowledge of these three languages is necessary, so that one can refer to the others when the text of one language gives rise to doubt about a name or a translation.Yet Greek is considered an especially splendid language among the rest of the nations. For it is more resonant than Latin and all other languages. Its variety is divided into five components:  first, the OINH,  i.e.,  "mixed" or "common," which everyone uses; second, the Attic, namely, the language of Athens, which all Greek authors have used; third, the Doric, which the Egyptians and Syrians have; fourth, the Ionic; and fifth, the Aeolic. ... There are several distinguishing characteristics in the observation of the Greek languages; their language is thus divided.

The greater part of this explanation is derived from older works, as is generally the case in the Etymologiae: Isidore praises the beauty of the Greek language after the manner of Quintilian; the doctrine of the linguae sacrae is developed from Augustine's statement concerning the linguae principales, etc.22 Yet whoever not nly uses but also reads Isidore will observe that there is an "inner line ... which connects all these apparently thoughtless excerpts" ("innere  Linie ...die sich durch alle diese scheinbar gedankenlosen Excerpte zieht").23 Isidore's achievement with respect to the medieval knowledge f Greek lies in his concentration on fundamental and clearly organized material: the litterae mysticae and linguae sacrae were  schemata of a new archaism which well suited the newly Christianized nations of the West.


3.  Ireland 

One of the most tenacious of modern legends concerning the Middle Ages is that classical studies escaped from Gaul to Ireland during the collapse f late antiquity, and that Greek was studied and known in Ireland during the early  medieval "Dark Ages": "L'hellénisme banni du continent Occidental alla se réfugier plus loin dans cette île qui avait échappé a la conquête romaine: l'Irlande. - L'état des lettres y était alors florissant depuis des siècles, grâce au zèle intelligent des Druides qui avaient importé leurs lumières des Gaules. Convertis au christianisme, ils n'en continaient pas moins à cultier la littérature ancienne. ...Le mysticismequi constituait le fond du caractère irlandais, les rendit enclins aux rêveries philosophiques, ce qui explique leur ardeur pour les doctrines de Platon. L'étude de la langue grecque formait dnc l'une des bases de leur enseignement." ("Hellenism, banned from the western reaches f the Continent sought refuge further away on the island which had escaped the Roman conquest: Ireland. At that time, literary studies had been flourishing for centuries, thanks to the intelligent zeal of the Druids, who had imported their cultural lights from Gaul. After their conversion to Christianity, they did not lessen their cultivation f the study of ancient literature ... The mysticism which constitutes the basis f the Irish character disposed them to philosophical reveries, which explains their ardor for the doctrines of Plato. The study of the Greek language was thus one of the foundations of their education.") Here, in his Alde Manuce et l'Hellénisme à Venise (p. xvii), the book collector and learned amateur Ambroise Firmin-Didot formulated especially well and imaginatively what others before him had already written about "le miracle irlandais" in cultural history.24 Already in 1905,  aurice Roger currectlv readjusted the standards n the basis of his manuscript studies, and in 1912, ario Esposito came to very negative conclusions after a critical analysis f all sources cited up to that time on which the high opinion of Greek studies in Ireland had been based: "During the earlier period, from the sixth to the end of the eighth century serious, serious evidence of Greek or classical knowledge in Ireland is slight and almost non-existent."25 

he Irish question has nevertheless persisted. From the relative and period-specific, historical point of view, many traces of Greek among the Irish are significant simply because they appear almost nowhere else: Greek letters as display script in the Schaffhausen Adamnan codex, written before 713 n the island of na - CC  (finitur secundus liber); and n the last page, the Greek paternoster in Greek majuscules (in part already with ЭЄ for ).26 Esposito correctly notes, "The orthography is not suggestive of any accurate knowledge of Greek grammar," but orthography and grammar should not be the nly standards of scholarly interest in these early traces, so typical of the medieval reception of Greek; nor may they be considered in isolation. Along with the Adamnan codex from na, one must also take into account the early Northumbrian fragment of an evangelary which includes a display page n which the Greek paternoster is written in the Roman alphabet;27 in addition, one must consider the "Book of Lindisfarne," written by Bishop Eadfrid of Lindisfarne (698-721), with the illumination titles  AGIOS MATTHEUS (image below), AGIUS MARCUS, AGIOS LUCAS, O AGIOS IOHANNES (image below), which should not be understood as an awkward copy of Greek illumination titles: there is a design of embellishment and encoding involved in this use of Greek words and letters.28 


Thus there was certainly an "ornamental" and perhaps even a liturgical interest in Greek in the Irish-Northumbrian culture domain around 700. he "Book of Armagh," Ireland's oldest "historical work" (ca.807), presents a kind of compilation of these uses of Greek: page titles, subscriptions, and even a name are written in Greek:   (dictante Torbach) with "spiritus asper"├ for h!29 

The Latin paternoster is also written in Greek majuscules in the "Book of Armagh." If one considers Ireland and Northumbria together, one can itemize abrief series of "Greek" paternosters:

before 700, Durham, Greek in the Roman alphabet
after 700, na, Greek in the Greek alphabet
after 800, Armagh, Latin in the Greek alphabet

ll variations n the Greco-Latin mode are thus represented. Coincidence or conscious variation? Similarly the Trier-Echternach illumination school "fully declined" in Latin the phenomenology of the Greek word and letter in the tenth/eleventh century.

This ornamental Greek of the Irish frequently radiated out to the Continent, although without tangible and demonstrable evidence for direct Irish influence in each particular case. B. Bischoff, Die südostdeutschen Schreibschulen der Karolingerzeit, 3rd ed. (Wiesbaden 1974), descibes ninth-century southern German manuscripts with such Graeca; among them is the manuscript of Gregory's Dialogi, Augsburg Ordinariatsarchiv 10 (from Füssen, St.Mang), saec. in., with Aэє (amen: эє  for as in many Western documents; for , "wohl aus der Rune für zu erklären" ["most likely to be explained n the basis of the rune for "]; Bischoff, p. 50) and XLICI. In spite of the Continental minuscule and Old High German glosses (in the vowel cipher attributed to Boniface and explained in the De inventione linguarum, Migne PL 112, cols. 1581-82), the insular influence in the lively ornamentation is unmistakable, and the Grecistic method of writing Amen Explicit also belongs to this insular "ornamentation."

Greek words occur occasionally in the poetry and prose of the Irish; for example, in the antiphonary of Bangor, Ireland's oldest "book of poetry," one finds proto, agie, agius, pantes ta erga, zoen.30 

The glosses in the Hisperica famina ("Occidental Orations"), a work which has often been associated with Irish erudition, abound in rare terms, with a sprinkling of Greek and Hebrew words:"

Titaneus olimphium: inflamat arotus tabulatum,
thalasicum: illustrat uapore flustrum ...

[The titanian star inflames the edifice of the heavens, lights up the calm of the sea with fire.]  

"These documents prove very little beyond a slight acquaintance with Greek vocabulary, such as could easily be derived from the textbooks and glossaries then in circulation" (Esposito); seen in the context of its time, however, this "slight acquaintance" with Greek is not inconsiderable. Just such an interest is often attributed to the filid, that Irish caste which particularly cultivated language and poetry; Auraicept, their textbook, which is thought to go back to the seventh century, contains the Greek alphabet (with numerical values) after the Hebrew.32  

Without question the Irish of the early Middle Ages were intensively occupied with script, language, and grammar. That is shown not only by the triad of splendid Irish Priscian manuscripts of the ninth century, in Karlsruhe, St. Gall, and Leiden, but perhaps also by the tradition of the enigmatic Virgilius Maro, whose abstruse grammar was transmitted by the Irish." Through grammatical texts of late antiquity, the Irish came into direct contact with Greek; the same is true of exegesis, to which the Irish were particularly devoted." A typical Irish endeavor in the fields of grammar and exegesis seems to have been to determine what the equivalents of a given word were in the "three sacred languages." Even St. Columban (d. 615) gave a solemn trilingual flourish to his letter to Pope Boniface IV: "... mihi Ionae hebraice, Peristerae graece, Columbae latine ..."35  be sure, the search for the equivalents in the three sacred languages was not always successful. The Irish Liber de numeris,"eine Fundgrube für ausgefallenes Wissen" ("a storehouse of obscure information"), contains a good example thereof: "... Pater, Filius, and Spiritus sanctus, in Hebrew these three persons are called Abba, Ben, and Ruha; and in Greek Pater, Bar [!], but have not yet found the Greek for 'spirit.' " Migne PL 83, col. 1293-1302 (in the appendices to Isidore of Seville), here col. 1302. The passage was first excerpted by Bishoff (Mittelalteriche Studien, II 249), then by R.E. McNally, "Der irische Liber de numeris" (diss. Munich, 1957), p. 51, and idem, in Theological Studies 19 (New York 1958). McNally (diss., p.156) proposes that the Liber de numeris originated in southern Germany in the late eighth century -more specifically, among the associates of Virgil the Irish Bishop of Salzburg (745 or 767-84). H. Löwe treats the problem cautiously in "Salzburg als Zentrum literarishen Schaffens im 8. Jahrhundert," Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Salzburger Landeskunde 115 (1975), 99-143, here pp. 104 f. 










Even in the field of epigraphy, fragments of Greek have been brought to light in modern times from early medieval Ireland: an inscription on the slab of Fahan Mura (image above) on the northern Irish coast, held to be illegible, was deciphered by R.A.S. Macalister ("The Inscription on the Slab at Fahan Mura," The Journal of the R. Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 59 [1929], 89-98) as a Greek doxology:



corresponds to Gloria et honor patri et filo et spiritui sancto). The discoverer associated the formulation of the texth with a Toledo Synod of 633; cf. Macalister, Corpus inscriptionum Celticarum (Dublin 1949), II, 118 ff., pl. XLVII. Macalister's reading is confirmed by F. Henry, Irish Art in the Early Christian Period, 3rd ed. (London 1965), p. 126 and pl. VII. One must nevertheless voice some misgivings concerning the early dating of the inscription. It would be unique in seventh century Ireland. According to our knowledge of Greek studies among the Irish, the inscription belongs more probably to the eighth century. Here one may compare the dating of the stone to "around 800" -on the basis of evidence from art history and style- by P. Harbison, in P. Harbison, H. Potterton, and J. Sheely, Irish Art and Architecture from Prehistory to Present (London 1978), p.65. 

Thus it can be said that the Irish were in any case remarkably interested in Greek during the seventh and eighth centuries. On their green island and in the monasteries of Irish character on the northern English coasts, they did not read Homer or Plato, but rather learned the Greek alphabet wholly or in part, excerpted Greek words from late antique sources -Jerome, Macrobius, Boethius, Priscian, Isidore, and others- and probably even participated in the transmission of glossaries; as for complete texts, only short liturgical pieces were evidently known. With a knowledge of Greek acquired in this manner, they could not understand or translate longer Greek texts with which they were unacquainted. But on the Continent, the Scotti peregrini had a scholarly advantage simply because of their receptiveness for languages, especially Greek; and in the ninth-century cultural realm of the Carolingians, with its better resources, it was again possible for an Irishman to translate texts into Latin from Greek.  


4. England

The most important of the emissaries whom the papacy dispatched to ngland with Augustine and his companions came from the Greek monasteries in Rome; in 668 Pope Vitalian (657-72) sent the North African Hadrian and the Cilician Theodore to the island missionized by Gregory the Great. Bede reports in his Historia ecclesiastic gentis Anglorum (731) that Hadrian and Archbishop Theodore taught Greek in Canterbury; their accomplishment was still seen in the fact that "even today there are still students of theirs who know Latin and Greek as well as their native language."36 All too often this sentence has simply been accepted, without checking whether the historian's statement was based more n hearsay and the veneration of Hadrian and Theodore than n personal experience. At another place in his Ecclesiastical History, Bede mentions two of Hadrian's and Theodore's alleged trilingual students by name: Tobias (V 8 and 23) and Albinus (V 20); we know nothing further of their knowledge of Greek.37

w splendid manuscripts from the scriptorium of Wearmouth and Jarrow, Bede's monastery, nevertheless attest to the fact that Greek was held in high regard there: the "Codex Amiatinus" contains a much-discussed scribal inscription in Greek,38 and ornaments the double-page illustration of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem (fol. 2v/r) with the Greek names of the four cardinal points of the compass: ANATOL() DYSIS ARCTOS MESEMBRIA.39 n the fragmentary evangelary, now bound with the "Utrecht Psalter" and paleographically similar to the "Codex Amiatinus," the following inscription appears in the margin (which has been marked ut with compasses) of one of the title pages:40

AlA AA   T     [Blessed ary, be of aid to the scribe]

Their most important student was Aldhelm of Malmesbury, "Englands ältester Klassiker" ("England's earliest classical scholar," Manitius), who occasionally flourishes Greek terms, which, however, by no means proves that his Greek was "comme sa langue maternelle" ("like his native language").41 One of Aldhelm's Grecisms which is especially appropriate and had important consequences was his use of sigla to mark questions and answers in De metris et enigmatibus: "so that no confusion may arise through the negligence of the scribe, as usually happens, have placed the Greek letter ЭC before the teacher's words, a before the student's, so that by means of the foreign letters, which differ from Roman script, all possibility of error is removed."42 As Aldhelm himself notes, he took this device from Iunilius' Instituta regularia divinae legis(saec. VI med.), although with one modification, which clearly shows, that he was not acquainted with the system as conceived in Greek: while Iunilius designated the "teacher" () with and the "student" () with , Aldhelm has for "student" (discipulus) and ЭЄ (=) for "teacher" (magister). Yet since, according to the tradition, questioned and  answered, it happened that, due to the reversal of the sigla, the student always questions the teacher in Aldhelm's treatise, and not the other way around. Bede, Alcuin, Hrabanus Maurus, and many others followed Aldhelm's practice, "und der Wahnsinn hat mit der Zeit Methode bekommen" ("and in time this madness acquired method").43 Aldhelm took over the siglum M in the form ЭЄ. Along with the Schaffhausen Adamnan codex, Aldhelm's De metris contains the earliest manuscript witness of this " siglum," which can be traced through the steps of the tradition Aldhelm-Iunilius-aul of Nisibis (Theodore of Mopsuestia?) back to its supposed origin in one of the Syrian schools of late antiquity."

wo new traces of Greek in the instruction at the school of Canterbury have been uncovered by recent research in Medieval Latin: Walther Bulst has shown that a translation of the Sibyl's song, improved over Augustine's version (De civitate dei XVIII 23) and containing the acrostic


originated in England "around 700"; Aldhelm (d.709) was the first, and for a long time the only, person to use the translation; it belongs to the circle of the Canterbury school: Bulst, "Eine anglolateinische Übersetzung aus dem Griechischen um 700," Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum 75 (1938), 105-11. Bischoff (Mittelalterliche Studien, I,155) proposes Constantine's "Oration to the Congregation of the Saints" (Eusebius) as the Greek source of this translation. 

Bernhard Bischoff has found direct evidence in biblical glosses that the two Roman ambassadors taught in England; the glosses follow the Antiochene method of literal exegesis and objective commentary; the great Alexandrine allegorist, Origen, is not to be found in them. "What a piece of biblical cultural information is contained in the commentary on John 10:3, Et vocem meam audient, 'Mos est orientalium pastorum praecedere et cantare gregibus suis.'"The hyrax (choerogryllus) in Lev. 11:5 is described: it resembles a pig, but is smaller; it inhabits the craggy crevices of the Sinai. The pepones, mentioned in Num. 11:5, a species of large melon, attains such a size in Edessa that a camel can barely carry two of them"; Mittelalterliche Studien, , 208.

The Venerable Bede (d.735) is the first "medieval scholar" in the sense that he immersed himself in Latin as a thoroughly foreign language without direct contact with the Mediterranean world -the environment of the greatest teacher of the eighth century extended geographically scarcely more than a few dozen miles around Jarrow into Northumbria. The beginnings of the artificial Latin of the Middle Ages and the modern period are found here; for while lexical, morphological, and syntactic changes were taking place in literary Latin n the Continent at this time due to its contact with the developing Romance languages, on their island the Angles and Saxons learned the language from books, among them splendid codices of late antiquity, which they were able to acquire n their many pilgrimages and embassies to Rome. They learned the literary language of late antiquity, which then through Anglo-Saxon missionary work and the "Carolingian Renaissance" in essence also became the scholarly language of the Middle Ages.  

This turning point in the study of the Latin language, which is nly sketched in broad outline here, was also a turning point in Greek studies. Bede was probably also the first to have approached the Greek language in what became the typical medieval manner 45 -through the study of bilinguals. n addition to an increase in the number of Graeca used, the study of a Greco-Latin manuscript of the Bible also introduced a deeper literal understanding of the ly Scriptures. It was Bede's concern with this latter aspect that brought him, in his later years, and now dissatisfied with his Expositio ctuum postolorum, to write a second commentary n the Acts, Retractatio in actus postolorum.46 n this work, Bede used a Greco-Latin manuscript of the Acts;47 one of the main purposes of the new commentary was to compare the Greek and the Latin texts of the Bible. It seems that Bede had no other bilingual books of the Bible at his disposal. Even so, he presented in his Retractatioan example of the value of a Greco-Latin textual comparison -insofar as it was still needed after the interpretations of the text by Jerome and Augustine. Additionally, in his explanation of the Greek system of numerals in De temporum ratione, Bede also performed a small service for Greek studies in the Middle Ages.48 



1. Duchesne, Liber Pontificalis, I, 292 f.
2. Acta Conciliorum I 3 and l 4. Cf. A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht, Das Konzil von Chalkedon (Würzburg 1953), II, 816-22.
3. Rosweyde, Vitae Patrum, lib. V. (Migne PL 73, cols. 855-988). Battle (Die Adhortationes) describes the text tradition in detail.
4. Rosweyde,  Vitae Patrum, lib. VI (Migne PL 73, cols. 933-1022). In many manuscripts, a group of sententiae patrum, is attached to this text; published by A. Wilmart, "Le recueil latin des apophtegmes," RB 34 (1922) 185-98. Battle, Die Adhortationes, pp. 10-15, and idem, " 'Vetra Nova.'" Vorläufige kritische Ausgabe bei Rosweyde fehlender Vätersprüche," Festschrift Bischoff (Stuttgart 1971), pp.32-42.
5. "You were God' s consul, now enjoy your triuphs", thus Gregory's contemporary grave inscription honored him in the ancient manner as a conqueror; Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum II 1; see also Caspar, Geschichte des Papstums, II 511. J.M. Peterson holds Gregory's declaration that he knew no Greek to be a topos of modesty; "Did Gregory the Great Know Greek?" in The Orthodox Churches and the West, ed. D. Baker (Oxford 1976), pp. 121-34.
6. R. Riendiger, "Die Lateransynode von 649 und Maximos der Bekenner," in Maximus Confessor. ed. F.Heinzer and C. Schönborn (Fribourg 1982) pp. 111-21, here p.120. This lecture provides the best introduction to Riedinger's argumentation, by means of which Erich Caspar's interpretation (until recently the one generally accepted) was refuted. A new edition by Riedinger of the Concilium Lateranense a. 649 celebratum appeared in Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum II 1 (Berlin/New York 1984).
7. "... natione Graecus, ex patre Theodoro episcopo de civitate Hierosolima ..."; Duchense, Liber Pontificalis, I., 331.
8. J. Gay, "Quelques remarques sur les papes grecs et syriens avant la querelle des iconoclastes 678-715," Mélanges Schlumberger (Paris 1924), I, 40-54.
9. Cf. Caspar (Geschichte des Papstums, II, 634 ff.). whose conventional opinion ("Müdigkeit und Schwunglosigkeit dieses griechischen Papsttums," p. 643; "lassitude and lack of imagination of this Greek papacy") derives last but not least from his biased evaluation of sources: liturgical history is left out of consideration, as if the liturgy could never be an important historical element.
10. Maassen, Geschichte der Quellen, p. 760 f. Siegmund, Die Überlieferung, pp. 158 f.
11. Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums, II, 614.
12. It would be profitable to examine critically all references to this influential person in seventh/eighth-century Rome. The most significant report in the present context is that Bonifatius Consiliarius translated a part of the Miracula SS. Cyri et Johannis by Sophronius of Jerusalem. Migne PG 87 (1865), cols. 3379-3675. The Liber pontificalis mentions Bonifatius in the Vita Benedicti II (683-85) and Vita Sergii (687-701). Eddius Stephanus (Vita S. Wilfridi,cc. 5 and 53) and Bede (Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum V 19) both mention him as the friend and teacher of Wilfrid, the missionary to the Frisians.
13. A manuscript of the translation, written in Rome in 800, is preserved in Cod. Vat. gr. 1666; see below, Chapter IX, sec. 2, ad init.
14. St. Binon, Essai sur le cycle de Saint Mrrcure, Bobliothèque de L'École des Hautes Études, Sciences Religieuses 53 (Paris 1937). Siegmund, Die Überlieferung, p.242. BHL nos. 5933-39 surveys the rich literature which arose in Benevento throygh the veneration of Mercurius.
15. P. Goubert, "L' Espagne Byzantine. Influences Byzantines sur l' Espagne Wisigothique, " Revue des Études Byzantines 4 (1946) 111-33.
16. Rosweyde, Vitae Patrum. lib. VII (Migne PL 73, cols. 1052-62). New edition by J.G. Freire, A versão latina por Pascásio de Dume dos Apophegmata Patrum (Coimbra 1971), I/2 (I, 159 ff. Liber Geronticon de octo principalibus vitiis). Freire hae edited a further translation ofapophtegmata from the sixth century in Commonitiones sanctorum patrum. Uma nova colecção de apotegmas (Coimbra 1974). This collection is to a large extent identical to the one published by Rosweyde in the third book of his Vitae Patrum under the name Rufinus.
17. Rosweyde included this translation in the appendix in his Vitae Patrum. New edition by C.W. Barlow, Martini episcopi Bracarensis opera omnia(New Haven 1950), pp. 30-51; the collections of canons, ibid., pp. 123-44. Cf. K. Schäferdiek, Die Kirche in den Reichen der Westgoten und Suewen(Berlin 1967), pp.120 ff.
18. D. de Bruyne, "L' héritage littéraire de l'abbé Saint Valère, "RB 32 (1920), 1-10. On the Vita S. Mariae Aegyptiacae in the compilation, one of the old translations of "expressive character," see Kunze, Studien zur Legende der heiligen Maria Aegyptiaca, pp. 28 ff.; cf. W. Berschin, in Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 10 (1975),310.
19. "The Greek roots and etymologies in Isidore' s work, which are corrected and printed in Greek in Lindsay's edition, are in very many cases written in the Latin alphabet in the manuscripts  and generally transmitted in more or less garbled form, since they did not always excibit the classical linguistic forms even in the original text"; Bischoff, in Latin Script and Letters A.D. 400-900, Festschrift Bieler, p. 209. In the same passage, Bischoff shows how the Medieval Latin word bannita = syllaba, littera came about from the transcription of the Graeca in Etym. I 16, 1: "nam syllaba dicta est  C  ."
20. Etym. I 3.
21. Etym. IX 1.
22. J. Fontaine's Isidore de Séville et la culture classique dans l' Espagne Wisigothique (Paris 1959), I/2 (pp. 58-61) on the passage cited concerning the Greek alphabet) contains an extensive source analysis.
23. Borst, Der Turmbau, III, 455.
24. Such important Celticists as Arbois de Jubainville and Heinrich Zimmer (e.g., Pelagius in Irland [Berlin 1901], pp. 5 ff.) have formulated critically indefensible arguments on this point. E. Coccia has collected much of the evidence employed in such untenable arguments; "La cultura irlandese precarolingia. Miracolo o mito? Studi Medievali III/8 (1967), 257-420.
25, Roger, L'enseignement, pp. 268-73. Esposito, "The Knowledge of Greek in Ireland," Studies (Dublin) 1 (1912), here p. 683. Esposito's article is a devastating analysis of an older method of evidence collection and interpolation, such as is practiced uncritically -though not without elegance- by Stokes, "The Knowledge of Greek in Ireland," Proceedings of the Irish Academy III/2 (1891-93).
26. Shaffhausen, Stadtbibliothek Gen. 1, pp. 103 and 137. The Graeca are those of Dorbbene, abbot of Iona (d. 713) and scribe of the manuscript; they are not added later, as Lowe (CLA, VII, 998) leads one to believe. The manuscript was in Reichenau during the Middle Ages. Although lying off the English coasts, Iona and Lindisfarne belong to the Irish cultural sphere in the early Middle Ages.
27. Durham, Cathedral Library A II 10, fol. 3v; a greatly reduced photograph in C. Nordenfalk, Before the Book of Durrow," Acta Archaeologica 18 (1947) 161; CLA, II, 147.
28. Cf. the use of Ф in  filii (fol. 27r). A fascimile edition of the "Book of Lindisfarne" (London, BL Cotton Nero D IV) has been published by T.E. Kendrick, T.J. Brown, et al. eds. (Olten/Lausanne 1956; commentary volume 1960); CLA, II, 187.
29. Dublin, Trinity College 52; partial fascimile ("The Patrician Documents"), ed. E. Gwynn (Dublin 1937); CLA, II, 270. L. Bieler, "The Book of Armagh,"Great Books of Ireland, Thomas Davis Lectures (Dublin 1967), pp. 51-63.
30. F.E. Warren, The Antiphonary of Bangor (London 1893), I, XIX.
31. Ed. by M.W. Herren (Torondo 1974), p. 74 (cf. pp. 191 ff: "Greek and Greek-derived words"). See also Bieler. "Ireland's Graeco-Latin Heritage,"Studia Patristica, TU 116, vol. XIII, p. 5 (bibliog.).
32. Auraicept na n-Éces: The Scholar's Primer, ed.G. Calder (Edinburgh 1917), pp. 230 f. for the Greek alphabet.
33. Ed. by J. Huemer (Leipzig 1886). Bischoff observes that the "gesamte frühe Überlieferung über Ireland gegangen ist" ("entire early tradition was transmitted via Ireland"); Mittelalterliche Studien, I 215.
34. Bischoff, Mittelalterliche Studien, I, 205-73.
35. Epist. 5 ed. G.S.M.Walker, S. Columbani opera (Dublin 1957), p. 54.
36. "...usque hodie supersunt de eorum discipulis, qui Latinam Graecamque linguam asque ut propriam in qua nati sunt norunt"; Historia ecclesiasticaIV 2.
37. Is one to imagine the fruit of this trilingual education in the form of the remarkable prologue to Aldhelm' s work, with a mixture of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek (transmitted in the second manuscript Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 326, saec. X; ed. R. Ehwald, Aldhelmi opera [Berlin 1919], pp. 219 f.)?
38. See above, Chapter II, n. 38.
39. This impressive double page is reproduced (in greatly reduced format) in R.L.S. Mitford, The Art of the Codex Amiatinus, Jarrow Lecture (1967), pl. D.
40. E.A. Lowe, English Uncial (Oxford 1960), pl.11.
41. Thus Blatt comments (in Classica et Mediaevalia 1, p. 235), obviously led astray by the passage from Bede, cited above, n. 36.
42. Aldhelmi opera, ed. Ehwald, pp.81 f.
43. Traube, Einleitung, p. 100.
44. On the Syro-Palestinian origin of the letter ЭЄ, see the author's "Griechsches bei den Iren," in Die Iren und Europa im Früheren Mittelalter (Stuttgart 1982), I, 501-10.
45. On Bede's Greek studies, see most recently J. Gribomont, "Saint Bède et ses dictionnaires grecs," RB 89 (1979), 271-80; A.C. Dionisotti, "On Bede, Grammars and Greek," RB 92 (1982), 111-41; and, uniformed about the current scholarly discussion, K.M. Lynch, "The Venerable Bede's Knowledge of Greek," Traditio 39 (1983), 432-39.
46. Ed. by Laistner, Bedae Venerabilis Expositio Actuum Apostolorum et Retractatio (Cambridge, Mass., 1939); idem, "Bede as a Classical and Patristic Scholar," The Intelectual Heritage of the early Middle Ages, pp. 93-116.
47. Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud. gr. 35, Sardinia, saec. VI-VII; CLA, II, 251. Laistner, "The Latin Version of Acts Known to the Venerable Bede," The intellectual Heritage, pp. 150-64. B. Bischoff and J. Hofmann (Libri Sancti Kyliani [Würzburg 1952], pp. 90 f. [bibliog.]) briefly outline the fate of this bilingual of Acts (except for the "Codex Bezae," Cambridge, Univ. Libr. Nn. II 41, the only ancient bilingual text of Acts): from Sardinia to Northumbria, to "insular Germany" and back to England from the Würzburg Dombibliothek during the Thirty Years'War. Diverse annotations indicate that this codex, like the Psalterium Verona I (1) was used as a textbook. The handwriting sample iacobus presbyter grecus (saec. IX) on fol. 226v deserves special attention; cf. Lowe, Palaeographical Papers (1971), I, pl. 30, and C. Mango, "La culture grecque et l'occident au VIIIe siècle," in I problemi dell' occidente nel secolo VIII, Settimane di studio 20 (Spoleto 1973), II, 683-721, esp. pp. 689 f. and pls. 1-3.
48. De temporum ratione, c. 1, ed. C.W. Jones, Bedae opera de temporibus (Cambridge, Mass., 1943), p. 181. In c. 14, Bede list the Greek names for the months (and in c. 15 the Old English names); ed. Jones, pp. 210 f. intentionally cite thw older U.S. edition of 1943 and not the recent 2nd edition inCC 123B (1977), which offers no scholarly advance over the previous edition and which the editor justly calls "electric." The new edition does not take into account the newly discovered fragments of De temporum ratione in an English uncial manuscript from the year 746 (Münster, Staatsarchiv Msc. I 243, and Bückeburg, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Dep. 3).



Article published in English on: 13-3-2011.

Last update: 13-3-2011.