Online: The Latin Josephus Project

Here’s something that I had never heard of!  It’s a website, based at Google Sites, called the Latin Josephus Project.  The URL is https://sites.google.com/site/latinjosephus/.

It contains the full text of the Latin Josephus for both the Jewish War and Antiquities, given in parallel with the Greek, and Whiston’s translation.  These words were translated in the 6th century, probably by Cassiodorus.  They are found everywhere in medieval monastic libraries.

This is a very useful piece of work!

Share

The “Vita Sanctae Keynae”, an extract from the “Vita S. Cadoci”, and a modern myth about the year 490 at St Michael’s Mount

One of the Cornish saints was a woman.  Her name was Saint Keyne, or Keyna – there are various spellings – and she is known from a number of hagiographical texts.  She flourished in the late 5th century, and is connected to St Michael’s Mount.  Indeed there are various places on the web that make claims such as:

Legends tell of a visit by St. Keyne and a spring that miraculously gushed forth when she set foot upon the rock in 490 AD.[1]

The precise date of 490 AD is curious.  Other sites mention a meeting between St Keyne and her nephew, St Cadoc.  Let’s look at the actual origin of these stories, which is two medieval saints’ lives.

The Latin text of the medieval saint’s Life of St. Keyne (=BHL 4653) was written in manuscript by John of Tynmouth in 1366.  He produced an edited and abbreviated version.  It is this version that was printed by John Capgrave, an Austin Friar, in his Nova Legenda Angliae in 1516.  In the 1901 reprint by C. Horstman (online here) it can be found in volume 2, on pp.102-104.  A footnote in Horstman states that the text was reprinted in the Acta Sanctorum for October, vol. IV, for the 8th October, on p.276-7, and also that the same text can be found in MS. Bodleian 240, a manuscript from the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds dated 1377.

Let me give the Latin text first, and then an English translation.  Note the medieval spellings, notably “terre” for “terrae”, etc.  I have normalised a few “v” and “u” where it will make the text easier to read, but left most of the medievalisms.

¶ De sancta Keyna virgine.

Beata enim Keyna virgo de regali prosapia in occidentali parte Maioris Britannie oriunda extitit. Cuius pater rex Breghenocensium nomine Braghanus erat. Fuerunt autem regi illi filii duodecim et filie totidem, omnes deo placentes et vite sancte. Primogenitus eius erat sanctus Canochus; primogenita filia Gladus, mater sancti Cadoci; secunda Molari, mater patris sancti David meneuensis archiepiscopi. Ceteris vero propter prolixitatem omissis, ad beatam Keynam stilum convertimus. Antequam enim nasceretur, mater eius in visione vidit sinum suum mirra et balsamo plenum, et mamillas suas celesti lumine radiantes. Vidit et niveam se pro prole peperisse columbam. Cum vero enixam filiam mater diligenter educaret, mira quedam spiritualis gratie venustas in facie virginis apparebat, ita ut quandoque sicut nix, quandoque sicut solaris claritas refulgeret. Cumque ad annos nubiles pervenisset, et multi nobiles eam in conjugium affectarent; virgo sancta, virilem copulam omnino recusans, virginitatem suam voto perpetuo domino consecravit. Ob hoc enim, que prius Keyna vocabatur, postea britannice ‘Keynwiri,’ id est ‘Keyn virgo’ dicta est. Proposuit tandem patriam deserere et locum desertum, ubi contemplationi vacaret, querere: et arrepto itinere, ultra Sabrinam veniens, repertis quibusdam locis silvestribus, a rege illius provincie solitudinem illam in qua deo servire posset expetiit: cui, quod petiit hilariter se concessurum respondit, nisi quia locus ille tanta serpentium multitudine repleretur, quod tam hominibus quam iumentis et feris inhabitabilis extitisset. Virgo vero constanter respondit, se confidere in adiutorio altissimi, et in eius nomine se velle et posse omnem illam virulentam multitudinem effugare. Concesso igitur virgini loco, ad solitas preces se prostravit et omnia illa mox genimina viperarum mortificata in lapidum duritiem commutavit. Lapides enim usque hodie imaginem serpentinam exprimunt per campos et vicos, quasi arte lathomi sculperentur. Elapsis autem multis annis, cum fama sancte virginis ubique divulgata esset, et visitatis multis, oratoria multa construxisset, sanctus Cadocus Montem sancti Michaelis peregrinationis gratia visitans, sanctam Keynam, materteram suam, ibidem repperit, et magno repletus gaudio, cum illam ad terram propriam reducere vellet, a populo terre permissus non est. Admonitione demum angelica virgo sancta ad patriam suam rediens, in quodam monticulo ad radices cuiusdam montis magni habitationem sibi faciens, fusa ad deum prece fontem de terra produxit, qui multis infirmitatibus meritis virginis sancte salutem prebuit. Cum autem, spiritu sancto revelante, dies consummationis eius appropinquaret, vidit in visione noctis columpnam quasi igneam usque ad lectuli eius pavimentum descendere—in nudo enim pavimento ramusculis arborum superiectis dormire solebat. Et angeli duo sibi apparebant; quorum alter reverenter ad illam accedens, cilicium quo induebatur leniter exuit, et casula bissina una cum tunica coccinea, cum clamide quoque auro contexta decenter illam ornans, dixit: ‘Parata esto et veni nobiscum, ut introducamus te in regnum patris tui.’ Que, cum pre gaudio flens angelos sequi vellet, evigilans sensit corpus suum febribus aggravari et finem suum imminere : accitoque sancto Cadoco ait: ‘Locus iste est quem pre ceteris diligo : hic erit memoria mea: locum hunc sepius in spiritu, si licuerit, visitabo: licebit autem, quia dominus hunc mihi locum jure hereditario possidendum concessit. Futurum est autem quod locus iste inhabitabitur a gente peccatrice, quam ego violenter ab hiis sedibus extirpabo; iacebitque tumulus meus multis diebus incognitus, donec veniant alii quos ego precibus meis huc adducam, protegam et defendam, et in hoc loco benedicetur nomen domini in eternum? Et cum anima a corpore egredi festinaret, vidit ante se angelicum exercitum, intra celi palatium sine metu et periculo animam illius cum gaudio suscipere paratum. Quod cum astantibus indicasset, sancta illa anima [a] corpore soluta est, octavo idus octobris. Que cum egrederetur a corpore, subrisit sancta facies ipsius, roseum induens colorem, tantaque suavitatis fragrantia ex corpore virgineo procedebat, quod omnes qui aderant, se cum ipsa putarent in paradisi gloria collocatos. Sepelivit autem eam sanctus Cadocus in oratorio suo, ubi in sancta conversatione multis annis vitam artissimam et deo placentem duxit.

Now the English, translated by Gilbert H. Doble.   This was printed as a single paragraph, but I have split it up.

De Sancta Keyna Virgine.

For the Blessed Keyna, Virgin, sprang of royal stock in the western part of Greater Britain. Her father, king of the Breghenocenses was named Braghanus. Now that king had twelve sons and the like number of daughters, all pleasing to God and of holy life. His first-born was Saint Canochus; his first-born daughter Gladus, mother of Saint Cadocus, the second (daughter) Melari, mother of the father of Saint David, Archbishop of Menevia. But omitting the rest, on account of the great length (of the list), we begin at once to write the Life of Blessed Keyna. For before she was born, her mother saw in a vision her bosom full of myrrh and balsam, and her breasts shining with heavenly light. She saw also that she had given birth to a snow-white dove. And afterwards when she (Keyne) was born and her mother was training her with great care, a certain wonderful beauty of spiritual grace appeared in the virgin’s face, which shone— sometimes like snow, and sometimes like the brightness of the sun.

And when she had reached the age when she might be wedded, and many noblemen sought her hand in marriage ; the holy virgin, refusing altogether to be joined to a husband, consecrated her virginity to the Lord by a perpetual vow. For this reason, she who before was called Keyna, was afterwards called in the British language Keynwiri, i.e., Keyne the Virgin.

She finally resolved to leave her native country and to seek a desert place where she might devote herself to contemplation; and setting out on her journey she came beyond the Severn, and finding certain wooded places, she asked the king of that province to give her that solitary place so that she might serve God there; He answered that he would gladly give it, but that the place was filled with such a multitude of serpents that neither man nor beast might live there. The virgin however replied with steadfast courage that she trusted in the help of the Most High and in His Name was willing and able to drive out all that poisonous multitude. The place was therefore given to the virgin, and, after prostrating herself in prayer, as she was wont, she quickly changed all that offspring of vipers into hard stones. For the stones in the fields and villages there even to this very day bear the form of serpents, as if they had been carved by the sculptor’s art.

Now after many years had passed, when the fame of the holy virgin had been everywhere spread abroad, and she had visited, and also built, many oratories, Saint Cadocus, visiting Saint Michael’s Mount on a pilgrimage, found his aunt Saint Keyna there, and filled with great joy desired to bring her back to her own land, but the people of the land would not permit it.

At last, warned by an angel, the holy virgin returned to her native land and made for herself an habitation in a certain hillock at the roots of a certain great mountain, and after pouring forth prayer to God, she caused a well to spring out of the earth, which has given health to many infirm persons (lit. infirmities) by the merits of the holy virgin.

And when the day of her consummation approached, which had been revealed to her by the Holy Spirit, she saw in a vision of the night as it were a fiery column descending to the floor on which her bed lay—for she was accustomed to sleep on branches of trees laid upon the bare floor. And two angels appeared to her; one of which, coming up to her with great respect, gently took off the hair shirt which she wore and clothed her with a linen chasuble, together with a scarlet tunic, and arraying her as became her dignity with a cloak woven with gold, he said, “Prepare thyself and come with us, that we may bring thee into the kingdom of thy Father.”

And she, weeping for joy, and wishing to follow the angels, awoke and felt that her body was oppressed with fevers and that her end was near: and calling for Saint Cadocus she said: “This is the place which above all others I love; here shall be my memorial; I will often, if it be permitted, visit this place in the spirit; and it shall be permitted, because the Lord has granted me this place to possess by hereditary right. But it will come to pass that this place will be inhabited by a sinful race, whom I will violently root up from these seats ; and my tomb shall lie unknown for many days, till other men shall come whom I by my prayers shall lead here, and whom I shall protect and defend, and in this place the Name of the Lord shall be blessed for ever.”

And when now her soul was hastening to leave her body, she saw before her the angelic host ready to receive her soul without fear or danger within the palace of Heaven, And she signified this to those who stood by, and straightway that holy soul was loosed from the body, on the eighth of the Ides of October. And when it left the body, her holy face smiled and assumed a rosy hue, and so great fragrance of sweetness proceeded from her virginal body that all who were present deemed they had been transported with her into the glory of Paradise.

Now Saint Cadocus buried her in her oratory, where she (had) lived a life most strict and pleasing to God in holy conversation many years.

Now for some very necessary bibliography, the gathering of which consumed some hours today.

The translation that I have just given was made by Canon Gilbert Doble; a High-Church Anglican clergyman of the first half of the 20th century, who collected an enormous amount of lore concerning Cornish saints.  His publications were slight and made in obscure places, and sometimes more than once. Accessing them is not a trivial enterprise, and even the bibliography can be confusing.  He produced around 40 pamplets on various saints in his “Cornish Saints” series.

One of these was  G.H. Doble, “S Nectan, S Keyne and the Children of Brychan in Cornwall”, Cornish Saints series 25, Exeter: Sidney Lee, 1930, which contained this translation.  After his death this was included in a 6 volume compilation “The Saints of Cornwall”; but sadly abbreviated.  Thus St. Nectan appears in volume 6, but I find that St Keyne has got lost along the way.  A reprint of the complete article, which was 60 pages long, was produced in 1990 by Oakmagic Publications.

Fortunately I was able to access a two-part article by Doble, also titled “S Nectan, S Keyne and the Children of Brychan in Cornwall”, in the Downside Review, volume 48 (1930) and volume 49 (1931).  The latter article contains the translation above.

    *    *    *    *

The other half of the story about St Michael’s Mount given in the Life of St Keyne is to be found in the Life of St Cadoc, which exists in two versions.

One version of this is was printed with English translation[2]  This text is BHL 1491, incipit “Quondam in quibusdam finibus Britannicae regionis”.

The Life is long, but we are only concerned with chapter 27.  According to the editor (p.22), the text was printed from MS Britsh Library Cotton Vesp. A. xiv, p.17, and collated with Titus D. xxii, p.51.

27. Quomodo Sanctus Cadocus in Cornubia fontem salubrem precibus de terra produxit.

Necdum Dei bonitatem mirabilibus mirabiliora adicere piget; verum ejus clarum vernulam signis clariorem miraculisque celeberrimum humane debilitati remedium atque solatium prebendo libet efficere. Nam dudum cum idem vir illustrissimus de monte Sancti Michaelis venisset, qui in regione Cornubiensium esse dinoscitur, atque illius provincie idiomate, Dinsol appellatur, et ibi idem arcbangelus ab omnibus illo adventantibus veneratur estuans ex itinere fatigatus, valde sitivit. Locus autem quo hoc accidit vehementer aridus extitit; beatus ergo Cadocus humum baculo pepugit, ac continuo illic fons largifluus de solo scaturiit; indeque tam ipsi qui sibi comitantes affati quoque potaverunt, in similitudine Israelitici populi sitientes in deserto, cum Moises virga petram percussit, et fluxerunt aque in habundantiam. Ut autem omnes limpha satiati sunt, dixit ad socios suos, “Oremus, fratres, divinam obnixius benignitatem, quatinus cuncti, qui ad hunc sacrum fontem languidi venerint, ex eo diversorum morborum medelam, Dei gratia annuente, recipiant; et sic nostram flagrantem sitim, ita corporum venenosas pestes extinguat. Si quis namque egrotus, ab ipso fonte firmiter in Domino confidens bibit, ventris ac viscerum sanitatem reciperet, cunctosque virosos vermes ex se perficiet.” Postquam autem Cornubienses crebra sanitatum remedia utriusque sexus apud eundem fontem indeficienter fieri divina pietate conspexerunt, in honorem Sancti Cadoci ecclesiolam juxta fontem edificaverunt.

The English:

27. How Saint Cadoc by his prayers produced from the earth, in Cornwall, a health-bearing fountain.

Nor it is unpleasant to mention the goodness of God in his more wonderful miracles, but it is agreeable to make his eminent servant more celebrated in miracles, by his affording a most excellent remedy, and comfort for human infirmity. For lately, when the said most illustrious man came from the mount of St. Michael, which is known to be in Cornwall, and in the idiom of the district, is called Dinsol, and there the same archangel, who was venerated by all who came there, being hot, and fatigued from his journey was very thirsty. And the place where this happened was very dry; therefore the blessed Cadoc struck the ground with his stick, and immediately a full flowing fountain sprang from the ground, and therefore they who accompanied him, also drank like the Israelites athirst in the wilderness, when Moses struck the rock with his stick, and the water flowed in abundance. As all were satisfied with water, they said to their companions. “ Let us earnestly beseech the divine goodness that all such persons, as shall come to this sacred fountain, may therefrom, with the favour of God, receive the cure of divers diseases; and as it extinguished our raging thirst, so let it heal the painful disorders of bodies.” For if any sick person, having firm confidence in God, shall drink of that fountain, he will receive the cure of his belly and bowels, and he will drive all venomous worms from his body. And after the men of Cornwall saw that frequent cures of the disorders of both sexes were constantly effected at that fountain by divine piety, they built a small church in honour of Saint Cadoc, near the fountain.

The other version of the Life of St. Cadoc is a much shorter Life printed by Capgrave (vol. 1, online here, p.167 f.) and reprinted in the Acta Sanctorum January vol. 2, 603-6.  This has the code BHL 1493, with incipit “Gundlei filius cum in utero matris…”.  The portion relating to St Michael’s Mount begins on p.171:

Dum autem de monte sancti Michaelis in Cornubia venisset et sitim maximam passus esset, in loco arido baculum fixit: et statim fons largifluus de terra scaturire cepit. Oravitque ut cuncti languidi illuc accedentes suorum morborum medelam reciperent, venenosas pestes illa aqua extingueret, vermesque cunctos de ventre potantium proiiceret. Juxta enim fontem illum in Cornubia in honore sancti Cadoci fundata est ecclesia magna.

A quick translation by me.

But when he had come away from St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, and suffered very great thirst, he set up a stick in the dry place: and at once a free-flowing spring began to gush forth from the earth.  And he prayed that all who were faint coming there should receive a cure of their malady, that  the water might extinguish toxic illnesses, and drinking it would expel all worms from the stomach.  For near that spring in Cornwall in honour of St Cadoc a great church was established.

As far as I know, these are the only sources for St Cadoc and St Keyne at St Michael’s Mount, and what they did there. These are medieval legends, quite literally, and their historical value is low.  They are also very much later than the events that they purport to record by many hundreds of years.  They post-date the establishment of a Benedictine priory on the Mount, recorded in charters of the Norman period.

The date of “490” for these events, which we see online, seems to be a guess.  I have read suggestions that these saints were active in the late 5th century.  No doubt somebody with a web page to write turned that into “490”.

Update 28 May 2021: A query on the “Gender Desk” blog produced a long and very interesting post in reply – Monastic Matrix.  This includes the interesting information that a 1516 abbreviated translation exists of the Life of St Keyne.  This is Edmund Pynson, Kalendre of the New Legende of England, 1516, which is in EEBO: Early English Books Online (Only At Wealthy Universities).  This is drawn from Capgrave.  Luckily it is transcribed at https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=eebo;idno=A17943.0001.001, and the St Keyne portion is here.  Let me modernise the spelling a bit (where I can understand it) for ease of reading:

¶De sancta Keyna virgine.

Saint Keyne virgin was daughter to the king of Breghenoke in the West part of Great Britain and nigh of kin to Saint David, and aunt to Saint Cadoc when her mother was with child with her, she saw in vision her bosom full of myrrh and balm, and her teats shining of a heavenly light, and she thought that instead of a child she was delivered of a fair wight, and when she was first born her face was sometimes white like snow, sometimes bright shining like the sun at her years of marriage she forsook all marriages advowing to keep virginity, & lived in a desert beyond Severn, where by her prayers serpents that before that time had made the country inhabitable turned into stones. Saint Keyne made many oratories & after she went to Saint Michael’s mount and there she met with Saint Cadoc, & by monition of an angel she went into her country again and dwelled at the foot of a hill, where by her prayers sprang a fair well whereby many have been healed. She saw in her sleep a beam of fire descend there where as she lay on a bare pavement with green boughs under her & two angels appeared unto her & one of them reverently did off a heer that she had used to wear & apparelled her with goodly apparel,  & bade her be ready to go with them into the kingdom of her father, & when she gladly would have followed them she awoke feeling her self sick of the Axes, and then she called Saint Cadoc to her and told him she would be buried in that same place, which she said she would in spirit often visit.  Before her death she saw a great company of angels ready to take her soul with great joy without fear or pareil, and when she had told them that stood about her thereof she departed the viii. Idus of October.  And anon her face was of a colour like red roses and a sweet savour was about her that all that were there thought it like a joy of paradise.  And Saint Cadoc buried her in her oratory where she had lived a hard and a blessed life many years.

I found the actual Monastic Matrix site (https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/monasticmatrix) very hard to use, but a search is the right way to do so.

The blog author drew my attention to Polwhele’s History of Cornwall (1816), where in book 2, p.126 (here), I find a mass of stuff about St Keyne, including this:

The first time I find this hill upon record as a place of devotion is in the legend of St. Keyne, a holy virgin of the British blood- royal, daughter of Braganus prince of Brecknockshire ; she is said to have gone a pilgrimage to St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, she lived about the year 490, and her festival is celebrated on the 30th of September. Now it must be concluded that St. Michael’s Mount was before of great repute , either for the residence of some saint or working-miracle hermit, or celebrated for some supposed angelic vision, as was the humour of those times, otherwise one of St: Keyne’s dignity and eminence would not have undertaken a pilgrimage thither ; St. Keyne made no short visit, she stayed long enough by the sanctity of her life and the miracles she was thought to have performed , to ingratiate herself with the inhabitants. For some years after this , St. Cadoc making a pilgrimage to this same place found here, to his great surprize, St. Keyne his aunt by his mother’s side, at which rejoicing he endeavoured to persuade her to go back with him to her native country Brecknockshire (the intercourse between Cornwall and Wales being then frequent and familiar ) but the people of the country interposing would not endure her removal ; at last having had an express command from above the saint obedient to the heavenly monition retired to her own country. Let it be observed here, that although there may be somewhat of the fabulous in these, as there is in most legends, yet that here are two pilgrimages of the same age, which mutually confirming each other, add tolerable support to the story in general.

This footnote is, I suspect, the origin of the date of 490 AD for the visit of Cadoc to Keyne at St Michael’s Mount.

Update (2nd June 2021):  Further discussion at GenderDesk here reveals a claim by Rice Rees, An essay on the Welsh saints, 1836, p.154 here, that in the Life of St Cadoc,

The Mount of St. Michael is the name of a hill near Abergavenny, which still maintains its sacred character.

The hill of Skirrid Fawr near Abergavenny is indeed said to have some form of association with St Michael on  various websites, although I have not investigated this very far.  The “Last Welsh Martyr” blog here offers various statements, calling it “St Michael’s Mount”, all post-Reformation and all unreferenced, unfortunately.  But the Life of St Cadoc  explicitly names Cornwall as the country in which the events took place.  In the Life of St Keyne, the Mount is said to be outside “her own country”, whatever that is; probably Wales, as this is a text written in the medieval period.  So I think it is safest to disregard the claim of Mr Rees.

Share
  1. [1]https://sacredsites.com/europe/england/st_michaels_mount.html
  2. [2]W. J. Rees, Lives of the Cambro British saints: of the fifth and immediate succeeding centuries, from ancient Welsh & Latin mss. in the British Museum and elsewhere, Llandovery (1853) (online here).  The Latin is on p.22-70; the English on 309-395.

The decretal “Consulenti tibi” (JK 293) and the canon of the bible

During the fourth century a change comes over the church, and indeed the bishop of Rome.  By the end of the century the medieval papacy is coming into existence.  The accession of Pope Damasus was attended with rioting in the streets and in the churches of Rome, as supporters of the candidates sought to impose their man by means of violence; and the lifestyle of Damasus was such that the Urban Prefect, Praetextatus, was reported as saying to him, by St Jerome (To Pammachius, against John of Jerusalem, c. 8):

“Facite me Romanae urbis episcopum , et ego protinus Christianus.”

“Make me bishop of Rome and I will at once become a Christian!”

Various pieces of imperial legislation require the church courts to follow the practices of the secular courts when hearing appeals.  Likewise it is in this period that the church began its collections of canon law, and papal decretals, and the other apparatus of a institution.

My attention was drawn to the letter of Pope Innocent I to Exsuperius of Toulouse in 405, which contains a canon of scripture.  This turns out to be a papal decretal. I have never known anything about these.  Apparently D. Jasper’s paper “Papal letters and decretals from the beginning through the pontificate of Gregory the Great (to 604)”, pp. 7 ff in D. Jasper & H. Fuhrmann, Papal letters in the Early Middle Ages, CUA (2001) is the orientation to read. (Preview).  A decretal is a papal letter, containing a ruling in response to an appeal for such a ruling from a subordinate bishop.

There is a catalogue of decretals, begin by Ph. Jaffé, Regesta pontificum romanorum; the 2nd edition, co-edited with S. Lowenfeld (who did 882-1198 AD), J. Kaltenbrunner (everything up to 590 AD), and P. Ewald (590-882 AD), appeared at Lepizig in two volumes in 1885 (here) and 1888 (here).  This lists all the decretals and gives them a number, with a brief summary of content.

The letter of Innocent to Exsuperius is JK 293 (on p.45, PDF page 86), with the incipit “Consulenti tibi”.  Here’s the entry:

This summarises the content, which falls into several chapters.  The last, as an appendix, gives a list of the canon of scripture, “which books are received in the canon.”

The Latin text of the letter / decretal is in PL20, 495-502, where it is labelled as Letter 6″ of Innocent I. Apparently a critical text was given by H. Wurm in 1939 in 87 Hubert Wurm, Decretales selectae ex antiquissimis romanorum Pontificum epistulis decretalibus, in: Apollinaris 12 (1939), 40-93, but this I have not seen; in fact I can’t even find any information about the journal.

A couple of chunks of the decretal were translated by Denzinger, and are online here.  An English translation of chapter 7 is online here with the Latin.

(2). . . It has been asked, what must be observed with regard to those who after baptism have surrendered on every occasion to the pleasures of incontinence, and at the very end of their lives ask for penance and at the same time the reconciliation of communion. Concerning them the former rule was harder, the latter more favorable, because mercy intervened. For the previous custom held that penance should be granted, but that communion should be denied. For since in those times there were frequent persecutions, so that the ease with which communion was granted might not recall men become careless of reconciliation from their lapse, communion was justly denied, penance allowed, lest the whole be entirely refused; and the system of the time made remission more difficult. But after our Lord restored peace to his churches, when terror had now been removed, it was decided that communion be given to the departing, and on account of the mercy of God as a viaticum to those about to set forth, and that we may not seem to follow the harshness and the rigor of the Novatian heretic who refused mercy. Therefore with penance a last communion will be given, so that such men in their extremities may be freed from eternal ruin with the permission of our Savior.

(7) A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the desiderata of which you wished to be informed verbally: of Moses five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Joshua, of judges one book, of Kings four books, and also Ruth, of the Prophets sixteen books, of Solomon five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, job one book, of Tobias one book, Esther one, Judith one, of the Machabees two, of Esdras two, Paralipomenon two books. Likewise of the New Testament: of the Gospels four books, of Paul the Apostle fourteen epistles, of John three [cf. n. 84, 92] epistles of Peter two, an epistle of Jude, an epistle of James, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John. Others, however, which were written by a certain Leucius under the name of Matthias or of James the Less, or under the name of Peter and John (or which were written by Nexocharis and Leonidas the philosophers under the name of Andrew), or under the name of Thomas, and if there are any others, you know that they ought not only to be repudiated, but also condemned.

Here’s the relevant bit of a (very poor) scan of the PL.

The last sentence is telling:

Data x kalendas Martias, Stilicone secundo et Anthemio viris clarissimis consulibus.

Given on the 10th day before the kalends of March, the nobile Stilicho for the second time and Anthemius being consuls.

The sack of Rome by the Goths was a mere 5 years away.

Share

BHL 5955b – the “Miracula in Monte S. Michaelis in Cornubia”

There is a very obscure medieval text, dated to 1262, which is referred to in a couple of modern works as the “Miracula in Monte S. Michaelis in Cornubia” – “The miracles at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall”.  It is, apparently, listed in the 1986 supplement to the Bibliographica Hagiographica Latina, “supplementum novum”, published by the Bollandists and still available on the website for no less than 130 euros.  The volume is itself not commonly held, and I have no access to it.  But I understand the author of the BHL supplement assigned the “Miracula” text the reference number  of BHL 5955b.

This information I derive from Richard F. Johnson, Saint Michael the Archangel in Medieval English Legend, (2002), p.68, n. 91.  This is a comment on

… Mirk follows the Garganic myth with a rendering of an apparition of St. Michael to “another bishop at a place that is now called Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.”[90] Although there indeed is a tradition of an apparition by St. Michael in Cornwall,[91]…

The footnote is:

91.  The apparition in Cornwall is designated “Miracula in Monte S. Michaelis in Cornubia” (BHL 5955b). On this apparition and St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, see G. H. Doble, Miracles at St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall in 1262 (St. Michael’s Mount, 1945) and J. R. Fletcher, Short History of St. Michael’s Mount (St. Michael’s Mount, 1951).

As printed this footnote can cause quite a bit of confusion.  It would be clearer in this form:

91.  The 12th century text recording healings by St Michael in Cornwall has been given the modern title “Miracula in Monte S. Michaelis in Cornubia” (BHL 5955b). For the text and translation see G. H. Doble, Miracles at St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall in 1262 (St. Michael’s Mount, 1945).  On St Michael’s Mount see J. R. Fletcher, Short History of St. Michael’s Mount (St. Michael’s Mount, 1951).

For the “Miracula” text itself does NOT in fact record any apparition; instead it records the miraculous healing of three people who came into the church of St Michael.  St Michael does not appear to anyone, unlike the situation alluded to and referenced to Mirk’s Festial which reads (p.258):

He aperet also to another byschop at a place that ys callet now Mychaell yn the mownt yn Corneweyle, and bade hym go to a hullus top that ys fer, and theras he fonde a bull tent wyih theues, ther he bade make a chyrche yn the worschyp of hym.

The Doble item is merely a couple of sheets of paper, with no title page, nor indication of date.  The catalogues that I have seen date it to the 1930s; which is perhaps more likely than 1945.  Thankfully it is online here.  The footnote does NOT make clear is that it is, in fact, the editio princeps of the “Miracula” text, together with an English translation of it.  In fact it contains nothing else of consequence.  (The Fletcher item is a small hardback, but I have no access to it.)

Let’s look further at the “Miracula” text.  From Doble we learn, by close reading, that he took the text from manuscript Avranches 159, folio 3r, at the foot of the second column.  This manuscript he says contains miscellaneous material, as well as its main text.  The “Miracula” is one such.

But we have an advantage over Canon Doble.  For we live in the age of digital manuscripts.

The surviving manuscripts of the great abbey of Mont S. Michel are now to be found at the public library – Bibliothèque Municipale – at Avranches, where the agents of the French Revolution deposited them.  Doubtless there were many losses.  But their modern heirs have placed the manuscripts online.  Our manuscript may be found here, and you can see the page images by clicking on the binding image at the bottom.

Avranches BM 159 is a 12th century manuscript of the Chronicon Eusebii, plus supplements.  But that work is preceded by three leaves of parchment in a different hand.  Folio 1r has an unreadable paragraph, at least to me; folio 1v starts talking about the books at the abbey of Bec; and fol. 2r, v and f.3r contain a catalogue of the books, giving their titles.  The red splodges seem to be intended to highlight such things as a change of author.  It is quite an impressive collection, for a 12th century abbey.  It is followed by a short paragraph, then more books; and then our text.

Our text is clearly visible on folio 3r.  It has no title, so “Miracula in Monte S. Michaelis in Cornubia” is a modern coinage, presumably by the Bollandist editor.  Doble does not give the work any title; indeed it is probably just a translation of the English title of his pamphlet!  That this is indeed the same work can be seen by looking at the incipit (the starting words) and explicit (final words) of the text, as printed by Doble; as visible in the manuscript, and as given for BHL 5955b on the Bollandist website which gives no other details:

Incipit: Nulli monasterio S. Michaelis in Cornubia accedenti
Desinit: …anno Domini MCCLXII, XIII kal. septembris.

So all these items are the same item.

Let’s look at folio 3r:

Avranches 159, fol. 3

Look at the right-hand column.  The top section is just the list of books.  Then there is a blank line, then a chunk of text, then another blank line.  Then a paragraph with red marks, which seems to be additional “libri”. And then, without any blank line, our text begins with a capital N beginning “Nulli…”.  The whole text is contained here, with abbreviations, and ends with “septembris”.

Here is the transcription by Canon Doble:

Nulli monasterio sancti michaelis in Cornubia accedenti vertatur in dubium quin quaedam mulier nomine Christina de partibus glastonie per sex fere annos occulorum luminibus orbata ad dictum monasterium orationis et peregrinationis causa cum maxima deuocione accedens ii ydus maii anno domini m cc lx ii ante magnam missam quadam die dominica in conspectu populi in maxima fide perseuerans intercessione beati archangeli michaelis clausorum recuperauit diuinitus lumen occulorum testibus presentibus quamplurimis religiosis & aliis. Eodem anno iii ydus Junii quedam mulier nomine matildis de parrochia lanescli que per duos dies & duas noctes sensum amiserat & loquelam a parentibus suis ducta ad illud monasterium die dominica statim cum intrasset ecclesiam precibus celestis milicie principis sensui & loquele fuit restituta. Ego vidi & interfui. erat tunc temporis prior illius loci Radulfus viel. Eodem anno quedam iuuencula nomine aalicia de partibus de herefort engales nata per septem annos elapsos occulorum luminibus orbata ad dictam ecclesiam orationis et peregrinationis causa cum maxima deuotione accedens iii i kal. Februarii ante solis ortum quadam die lune in maxima fide persuerans precibus beati michaelis archangeli clausorum recuperauit diuinitus lumen occulorum erant tunc temporis socii illius loci petrus de vallibus eng(elrannus) de baiocis mauricius taboeier quando illa iiii miracula in illa ecclesia acciderant quartum miraculum de quodam muto est in principio huius libri in vii folio anno domini mcclxii xiii kal septembris.

And his translation:

“Let no one going to the Monastery of St. Michael in Cornwall doubt that a certain woman, named Christina, of the neighbourhood of Glastonbury, who had been deprived of the sight of her eyes for about six years, coming with the greatest devotion to the said monastery for the sake of prayer and pilgrimage, on 14th May, 1262, before High Mass, on a certain Sunday, in the sight of the people, persevering in the greatest faith, by the intercession of the Blessed Archangel Michael, recovered miraculously (lit. divinely) the sight of her closed eyes. There were present as witnesses many monks and others.

In the same year, on the 11th June, a certain woman named Matilda, of the parish of Lanescli (Gulval), who for two days and two nights had lost consciousness and the power of speech, being brought by her parents to that monastery, on Sunday, immediately she had entered the church, by the prayers of the Captain of the Heavenly Chivalry, was restored to consciousness and power of speech. I saw it and was present. The Prior of that place then was Ralph Viel.

In the same year a certain girl named Alice, of the parts of Hereford, born in Wales, who for seven years past had been deprived of the sight of her eyes, coming with the greatest devotion to the said church for the sake of prayer and pilgrimage on the 29th of January, before the rising of the sun, on a certain Monday, persevering in the greatest faith, by the prayers of the Blessed Archangel Michael recovered miraculously the sight of her closed eyes. The socii of that place then were Peter De Vallibus, Engelran of Bayeux, Maurice Taboeier, when those four miracles happened in that church.

The fourth miracle, on a certain dumb man, is in the beginning of this book on page 7, in the year of Our Lord 1262, on the 20th August.

Mr Doble adds,

Unfortunately the page containing the record of the fourth miracle has disappeared.

These few leaves at the start of the manuscript evidently were part of a larger volume before being found in as endleaves to Avranches BM 159.

I hope that anybody in search of “Miracula in Monte S. Michaelis in Cornubia” will find these notes useful.

Share

New publication: Georgi Parpulov’s catalogue of NT catenas

A useful new open-access publication!  Georgi Parpulov has compiled a fresh catalogue of manuscripts containing the medieval chain-commentaries (“catenas”) on the Greek New Testament.  It’s being [published by Gorgias Press, here, but a free PDF is available here.  Get it now while it’s hot!

From Gorgias Press:

The book is a synoptic catalogue of a large class of Greek manuscripts: it describes all pre-seventeenth century copies of the Greek New Testament in which the biblical text is accompanied by commentary. Manuscripts where this commentary consists of combined excerpts (catena) from the works of various authors are described in particular detail. Those that have similar content are grouped together, so that the potential relatives of any given manuscript can be easily identified. Several previously unknown types of catenae are distinguished and a number of previously unstudied codices are brought to light for the first time. To ensure its longer shelf-life, the volume systematically references on-line electronic databases (which are regularly updated). It will be of use to anyone interested in Byzantine book culture and in biblical exegesis.

I remember that Eusebius’ Gospel Problems and Solutions included fragments of the work quoted by Nicetas of Heraclea in the catena on Luke.  It was very hard to find source material.  I’ve written before on catenas, and they are a very neglected area.  This catalogue must be of very great value.  Thank you, Dr. P.!

Via: Elijah Hixson at ETC Blog here.

Share

From my diary: the Tertullian Project cleanup

I’ve continued to work on cleaning up the old Tertullian Project website.  I’ve just counted how many Html pages it includes – the answer is 8,147.  I have been a busy boy, it seems, over the last 24 years.  By chance I came across a page announcing the “tertullian.org” domain – that appeared in 1999, it seems.

Something that I have removed reluctantly is the “counter” that showed the number of hits on each page.  But it had long ceased to work, and the numbers were all wrong anyway.  I gather that such things are often a security threat these days, which I can understand.

I’ve added to every page a long and annoying “meta” tag specifying the “viewport”. The only reason for this is that you get marked down by search engines if it is not there, so everyone is adding it to their pages.  I imagine sooner or later someone will realise the waste involved and get rid of it again.

I’ve started to look at the broken links, of which there are many.  Internal links I can fix.  These must always have been wrong.  External links to now vanished websites are another matter.  One possible solution would be to link to the version of that site archived at Archive.org, but this would be a hugely time-consuming business.  Another would be to remove the link; but this also removes the opportunity for the user to go and find the content at Archive.org.  I suspect that I will have to ignore external breakages.

It’s been a week and a half since I began.  The labour is immense, even with scripting tools.  I’ve always preferred to add content rather than worry about technical underpinnings.  I suppose a couple of weeks once in 25 years is not unreasonable.  Maybe I will revisit it again in 25 years.

I’ll continue working on internal links for a day or two, I think, and that will be that.  Whether it will produce better search results is another question.

Share

Peeking through the arch of Constantine – another view of the Meta Sudans

Another photograph care of Roma Ieri Oggi depicts a US actress, Aloha Wanderwell, with husband, in front of the Arch of Constantine in 1928.  The angle is square on to the arch, unusually, so we can see the Meta Sudans particularly clearly through the arch. Nice!

Share

From my diary

Over the last few days I have been working on the static HTML files of the Tertullian Project.  My objective is to improve its metrics in the search engine race, but I have found much else to do. I’ve enabled HTTPS, as seems trendy today (and you get marked down for not having it).

Most of the files were in ANSI format.  Many contained strange characters, a product of the very spotty support for anything but US 7-bit ascii, even today.  Various meta tags have been removed; others will be added.

At the moment I am grepping the files for non-ascii characters, whatever they happen to be, and fixing files.  I had not remembered that I have a letter by Lupus of Ferrières online, until my grep informed me that the e-grave in his name was corrupt.  Likewise an old favourite about a “Ramshackle Room on the Banks of the Cam” had mysteriously acquired corruption.

A kind correspondent let me know that, while doing this, I had disabled the Roman cult of Mithras pages.  This was mainly because a symlink had vanished; but I spent a stressful hour this morning before I discovered that a .htaccess file needed to be copied also.

A few days ago one of my backup hard drives started to make a squealing sound while idling.  I took this seriously; any odd noises from hard drives mean that failure is imminent.  What annoyed me was that the drive was only 3 months old; and bought to replace a drive which did the same only 6 months earlier.  So last week I bought a (third!) replacement from Amazon, which was defective on arrival, and went straight back.  I then bought a different drive from a shop locally.  But it is not a trivial process to back up in full the terabytes of data on my PC, and it is still running as I speak.

Ah well.  On with it!

Share

An aerial view of the Colosseum, the Meta Sudans, and the base of the Colossus (1909-25)

Via the amazing Roma Ieri Oggi site, I learn of this interesting aerial photo of the Colosseum and, much more interestingly, the meta sudans and the base of the Colossus, the statue of Nero.  It was made between 1909-25.

At the bottom left the gate of Constantine.  Above it is the Meta Sudans, the demolished Roman fountain.  And above that is a square pedestal, also ancient, which is the base on which once stood the massive statue of Nero known as the Colossus, from which the Colosseum took its name.  I believe the pedestal was also demolished by Mussolini when he created the Via del Impero at the top left of the picture.

Share

When saints disagree: the angry parting of St Epiphanius and St John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom started his career as a popular preacher in Antioch in the late fourth century.  Then he was translated to Constantinople, to take up the role of Patriarch.  This was a highly political role, and whoever held it was the target of intrigue and machinations.  So it was with Chrysostom; and eventually his many enemies got him deposed and exiled, and he died while in exile.

This was not the end of his story.  Once his most bitter foes had passed from the scene, it was decided that Chrysostom was actually the victim here, and he was rehabilitated.  He went on to become the most important of the Greek fathers.  His works are preserved in an enormous number of handwritten copies.

The seedy methods of the intriguers are what they always are, except for one unusual point.  Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, was Chrysostom’s enemy, as every Patriarch of Alexandria was a rival with every Patriarch of Constantinople.  He arranged for a “Synod of the Oak” at which Chrysostom was to be put on trial.  Further, he invited the famous Epiphanius of Salamis to attend.

Epiphanius was by this time an old man.  He is best known today from his catalogue of heresies, the Panarion.  This is invaluable as a guide to these groups, which are often today rather obscure.  But the impression given to many readers is of a rather coarse, not too-intelligent man, prone to hasty judgements.  Epiphanius had already got involved in the origenist disputes, which were then just getting underway.  That these were really a pretext for political infighting rather than any genuine doctrinal issue seems to have completely escaped him, as it did many.

So Theophilus got Epiphanius, the heresy hunter, to come to his synod at which he proposed to frame Chrysostom.  Epiphanius came to Constantinople spoiling for a fight.  Chrysostom, wisely, refused to be provoked.  The exact chronology of events is unclear, but it seems that Epiphanius did not in the end attend the synod.  Instead he left Constantinople by ship, intending to return to Cyprus.  We might speculate that the old man had finally realised that he was merely a pawn in someone else’s quarrel, and chose to leave rather than get further involved.

Both Sozomen (H.E. 8, 15:1-7) and Socrates (HE 6, 14:1-4) record that a story circulated about the two saints.  Here’s Socrates, in the old NPNF translation here:

Some say that when he was about to depart, he said to John, `I hope that you will not die a bishop’: to which John replied, `Expect not to arrive at your own country.’ I cannot be sure that those who reported these things to me spoke the truth; but nevertheless the event was in the case of both as prophesied above. For Epiphanius did not reach Cyprus, having died on board the ship during his voyage; and John a short time afterwards was driven from his see, as we shall show in proceeding.

And here is Sozomen:

I have been informed by several persons that John predicted that Epiphanius would die at sea, and that this latter predicted the deposition of John. For it appears that when the dispute between them was at its height, Epiphanius said to John, “I hope you will not die a bishop,” and that John replied, “I hope you will never return to your bishopric.”

Both spoke truly.  Epiphanius died at sea, and never saw Cyprus again, while Chrysostom died in exile.

Both writers express some doubts about the story.  Subsequent hagiographers play down the dispute, as Young Richard Kim has recently discussed in a fascinating article, “An Iconic Odd Couple: The Hagiographic Rehabilitation of Epiphanius and John Chrysostom”, Church History 87 (2018), 981-1002.[1]

All the same, it is an amusing picture.

Share
  1. [1]doi:10.1017/S0009640718002354