Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.2-4
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[1.2] Distinguishing the varieties of salutations1 according to the diversity of persons, we should consider which of all persons are the highest, which are very high, which are in the middle, which are private and which are lowest. The highest persons are those to whom no one is greater, to whom there can be no peer: the pope and the emperor, which the singularity of the name also shows. Very high persons are kings, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, dukes, marquises, counts palatine. Persons of middle rank are archdeacons, abbots, deans, provosts, sacristans, choir-chiefs, treasurers, viscounts, vicedomini, prefects and consuls. Those persons are private, who though possessing an honorable status, still administer no office, such as clerics and knights. The lowest type of persons are peasants and all handworkers.

[1.3] Thus, if an emperor would write to the pope, the salutation will be thus: To E.,2 his lord and father, pontiff of the apostolic see, H.,3 by the grace of God emperor of the Romans and forever august, a deserved reverence with love. If he is an enemy of the church, one will place the emperor's own name first and there will be another salutation, in this manner: H.,4 by the grace of God emperor of the Romans and forever august, to G.,5 pope of the Romans: Render unto Caesar those things that are of Caesar and unto God those things that are of God.6 A pope to the emperor: E., <bishop>, servant of servants of God, to his beloved son H., august emperor of the Romans, an eternally glorious triumph over the enemy or over barbarous nations or Fortune in this present and in the future life. If indeed that emperor is an enemy to the church,7 the salutation will be as follows: G., bishop, servant of the servants of God, to H., by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, forever august: Do not offend the celestial emperor or Compunction for evil deeds.

[1.4] If indeed a pope would write to an archbishop or to any king, one will not change the salutation, which will be as follows: E., bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved son <--> archbishop of Reims, greetings and apostolic benediction.


1 The phrase 'varieties of salutations' (see also below, 1.29,78) is found before in Hugo of Bologna Rationes dictandi prosaice (ROCKINGER ed. 60) and also appears in the Summa of master Bernardus (Poitiers, Ms. 213, fol. 7r).

2 Eugene III, pope (1145-1153).

3 The young king Henry (VI) of Staufen, who ruled the empire in 1147-8, while his royal father Conrad III was away on the Second Crusade. Henry was left in the protection of pope Eugene III; the imperial regents were Wibald, abbot of Stavelot and of Corvey and Henry, archbishop of Mainz. For other appearances of the young king Henry, see Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.30 and 2.17, 2.34. The single appearance at 1.31 of the emperor Frederick Barbarossa (1152-1190) is best explained as a later modification. An emperor 'P.' appears at 3a.30.

4 Henry IV, emperor (1056-1106).

5 Gregory VII, pope (1075-1085).

6 Matt. 12.21.

7 This phrase, which also appears above introducing the address of an emperor hostile to the pope, occurs in Hugo of Bologna Rationes dictandi prosaice (ROCKINGER ed.) 61, where pope Calixtus II (1119-1124) addresses the emperor Henry V (1106-1125).

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
Scrineum © Universitą di Pavia 1999