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established schools to promote the higher branches of learning, as we are informed by an edict founding at Osnabrück a seminary for Greek as well as Latin studies*. And in the “Capitula data Presbyteris t,” of the same year as the preceding, the amount of knowledge required from ordinary priests is such as to convince us that the educational system produced by the Emperor for the previous twenty years had not been unfruitful of the most noble results. The contemplation of such facts as these may well induce us to hesitate, before we concur with the denunciations of ignorance and barbarism, urged by so many later writers against the clerical body from the fall of Rome to the revival of letters. What we may of more justice complain of is, that, so complete was the separation between the clergy and the laity, that the very men who so zealously promoted learning in their own order seem to have utterly neglected every attempt to impart to their flocks the knowledge they possessed themselves. It is true that Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans under Charlemagne, in his Capitulary which has been preserved to us enjoinst his clergy to be ever ready to bestow instruction on all who may seek it at their hands ;
* Baluz. t. 1. coll. 417–420. + [Ibid. t. I. col. 417.]
The following authorities are cited by Ducange: ‘Capit. Car. M. 1. ii. c. 5; Convent. Aquisgran. (an. 817) c. 45 ; Cap. Theodulf. c. 20;' &c.
I Quoted by Guizot, Civilisation en France, leç. 23. t. ii. (pp. 395—397. It is printed in Mansi, Conc. xiii. 993—1010, and (anonymously) in Spelman, Conc. Angl. i. 584—618. ed. 1639. See Baluz. Capit. Reg. Franc. ii. 1229.]
but such extraordinary intellectual prodigality as this was probably owing entirely to the learned zeal of Theodulf himself, for we have no trace of any statute of the kind in the contemporary public enactments. Indeed, where we speak of the earnestness of Charlemagne in promoting the cause of education, we would be understood to speak solely of clerical education, for it never seems to have occurred to him that the knowledge imparted to himself and his children in the “Schola Palatii” could be shared by any other laymen?
Ducange (s. v. Schola, vi. 110 6) quotes from the 'Capit. Aquisgran. (c. 45) a regulation “ut schola in monasterio non habeatur, nisi eorum qui oblati sunt.” The “oblati” he elsewhere (s. v. iv. 673 6–674 c) explains to be those who were dedicated to God in infancy by their parents at some monastery, (sometimes with the ceremony of wrapping the hand in the palla of the altar,) and were thereby irrevocably bound to a monastic life. This custom, originating in the 'Rule of St Benedict (c. 59), called forth many objections: and probably for this reason the same * Capit. Aquisgran. (c. 36)' required a confirmation of the involuntary vow on the arrival of years of discretion. See note + p. 131.
Ducange however further mentions certain “Schole Canonice, i.e. Canonicorum; seu, ut aliis placet, in quibus pueri seculares extra claustrum a monachis literis instituebantur.” Of Wilfrid bishop of York we are told (Eddi Vit. Wilf. 21. ap. Gale, xv Script. i. 62) that “Principes seculares viri nobiles filios suos ad erudiendum sibi dederunt, ut aut Deo servirent, si eligerent, aut adultos, si maluissent, Regi armatos commendaret.”
To a similar effect are the following Anglo-Saxon 'Ecclesiastical Institutes': (xix, xx, xxviii. ap. Thorpe, Anc. Laws, pp. 475, 480). “De scholis in ecclesiis. If any mass priest desire to put his nephew or any of his relations to learning, at any of the churches which are committed to us in charge, then we will grant that very readily.” “Ut presbyteri per villas scholas habeant et gratis
Such were the means by which the influence of those great heads of the Church on their Imperial disciple acted, not only in turning his mind to the nobler pursuits to which as a layman he professed almost exclusive access, but in promoting those clerical reforms which he alone had power to originate. No portion of the private history of the monarch is more interesting to us than that which presents him in constant literary intercourse with such men as Alcuin, Theodulf, Peter Pisanus, Eginhard, Angilbert, and many others, who had been drawn by his unbounded liberality to ornament the Frankish Court. The records we have had handed down to us from the writings of Alcuin, and less authentic sources, of the “Schola Palatii,” where the master of so many kings was content to sit, like Constantine at
parvulos doceant. Mass priests ought always to have at their houses a school of disciples, and, if any good man desire to commit his little ones to them for instruction, they ought very gladly to receive them, and kindly teach them. Ye ought to remember that it is written, ‘Those who are learned shall shine as the splendour of heaven,' and, “Those who many men incite to and instruct in learning, shall shine as the stars to eternity. They ought not however for that instruction to desire anything from their relations, except what they shall be willing to do for them of their own accord.” “Ut sacerdos quilibet modo aliquo plebem doceat. Also we command those mass priests who are subject to us, that they very earnestly busy themselves about the people's learning: that those who are learned in books frequently and zealously teach their parishioners from these books, who may not be so far learned in books. * * None of you may excuse himself from learning; each of you has a tongue; he, who will say what is good, may always better some one." See also n. 1, p. 202.
Nicæa, before the feet of those whom his favour had made what they were, place in a most striking light the untiring zeal with which he devoted to the pursuit of science every moment that could be spared from the sterner occupations of the council or the camp. He
1 “Nec patrio tantum sermone contentus etiam peregrinis linguis ediscendis operam impendit; in quibus latinam ita didicit, ut æque illa ac patria lingua orare sit solitus; græcam vero melius intelligere quam pronuntiare poterat. Adeo quidem facundus erat, ut etiam didascalus appareret. Artes liberales studiosissime coluit, earumque doctores plurimum veneratus magnis adficiebat honoribus. In discenda grammatica Petrum Pisanum diaconum senem audivit, in cæteris disciplinis Albinum cognomento Alcoinum, item diaconem, de Brittania, Saxonici generis hominem, virum undecumque doctissimum, præceptorem habuit ; apud quem et rethoricæ et dialecticæ præcipue tamen astronomiæ ediscendæ plurimum et temporis et laboris impertivit. Discebat artem computandi, et intentione sagaci syderum cursus curiosissime mirabatur. Temptabat et scribere, tabulasque et codicellos ad hoc in lecto sub cervicalibus circumferre solebat, ut, cum vacuum tempus esset, manum litteris effingendis adsuesceret; sed parum successit labor præposterus ac sero inchoatus” (Einhardi Vita Karoli Mugni, c. 25. ap. Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist. Script. t. ii. p. 456).
“Grammaticæ doctor constat prælucidus artis;
Nullo unquam fuerat tam clarus tempore lector;
was ever ready, not only to ascertain how the interests of learning might most satisfactorily be advanced, but to drink deeply himself of the very fountain-head of the abstrusest knowledge. In speaking of the prosperity of the English schools we have alluded to the letters addressed by Alcuin to his royal pupil, discussing the mysteries of the Calendar, and repeating at length the theories of the various ecclesiastical authorities on that complex subject. Lest it should be imagined that these papers were sent to gratify the silly vanity of a superficial pupil, a reply of the Emperor has been preserved among the correspondence of Alcuin, displaying a modest spirit of inquiry as well as a profound acquaintance with those difficult investigations, which reflect the highest credit on the professors of the royal seminary. Another remarkable proof of the spirit of theological and metaphysical research imparted to the sovereign by his courtly teachers is derived from a letter which he dispatched to a few of the leading prelates of his dominions*, entitled
Doctus in his etiamque modo rex floret eodem.
Excellit, tantum cunctis præponitur arte.”
* Hist. Lit. de France, t. iv. p. 400.