Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.29-50
Table of contents -- Next section -- Previous section -- Edition
Main menu

[1.29] Since we have now thus assigned those rules which should be followed and maintained, we have also noted down things which should be precisely avoided or escaped. We shall insert to this present work varieties of salutations according to diverse persons, so that anyone who has held this opuscule in his hand and in his mind can have a perfect knowledge of dictamen.

[1.30] Thus, a calm emperor writing to anyone subject to him, whether to an archbishop or to a bishop, in this manner: H., emperor, forever august, to the archbishop of Cologne, his grace and all good things. Similarly, to anyone else subject to him; similarly, any king writing to his subjects. But an angered <emperor> sends no salutation, in this manner: H., by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, forever august, to the archbishop of Trier or to a count or to any duke or prince, or he sends an ironical salutation, namely what the recipient deserves, which is equivalent to an imprecation.1

[1.31] An archbishop or bishop or any prince writing to the emperor, in this manner: To F.,2 most noble and pious emperor of the Romans, forever august, H.3 humble minister of Arles, deserved and faithful service with fidelity and reverence. Then the first verse4 should begin in this way, according to the quality of the business: The dignity of the Roman empire is born from the wellspring of piety5 or The majesty of the Roman empire requires that Your Highness gives attention to every condition and every order.

[1.32] An archbishop or bishop or any prelate of the holy church writing to a church in which there is discord, will arrange a salutation in this way: R.,6 by the grace of God humble minister of Reims , to his beloved brethren, canons of the church of Meaux:7 Keep unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace8 or Do not rend the garment of Jesus Christ9 or Cleave tightly to the Rock, who makes everything whole.10 Thereafter he should recommend the good of harmony and reprehend the vice of discord, in this manner: Just as matters receive an increment of the highest increase by the slightest harmony, so on the contrary do matters sustain an especially grave and often irreparable detriment of their status through discord.

[1.33] If you would write to a hermit or to religious persons, you should arrange a salutation in this manner: Love the splendor of the house of God11 or Serve the Lord in fear and exalt Him with trembling12 or Desire in the fore-courts of the Lord and behold the King in all His splendor.13

[1.34] To someone introducing new words, in this way: Do not discern more than is fitting or Do not transgress the borders of justice, which the fathers of the Church have set.14

[1.35] To any tyrant or invader of church property, in this way: Fear the trial of strict judgment 15 or Set the punishments of Hell before oneself16 or Fear His judgment, Who bears away the souls of princes.17

[1.36] To anyone grieving over some adversity, in this manner: Bless the Lord at all times or Take patience with the example of blessed Job,18 or in another way: Murmur not against the Lord19 or Long for the consolation of the Paraclete20 or Do not fail in tribulation21 or Hope for help in tribulation.22

[1.37] To someone not according deserved honor to parents, in this manner: Honor father and mother according to the Lord's precept23 or Show deserved reverence to parents or Lay down contumacy undertaken against parents.

[1.38] To a slothful person, in this manner: Avoid that foolish Siren, namely a lazy mind or Strike out on the arduous path of virtue, casting off flexibility or Corrupt not a gift of nature by one's vice or Fan the fire of genius, summon forth doctrine.

[1.39] Proper names should be written in the third person in a salutation and <nominative> pronouns should not be used.24 For since it should be the task of a pronoun to substitute for a proper noun, that noun should be at first written in the third person and thereafter a second person pronoun by apostrophe, because there are no second person nouns, but these may be supplied by pronouns of the first and second persons.25

[1.40] To an obstinate person and to one shrinking from works of justice, in this manner: Put on the bowels of mercy26 or Hope for blessedness from works of mercy or Have compassion for a stranger's misery or Remember that one is a human.

[1.41] To someone conducting himself foolishly and inconsiderately, you will write a warning in this manner: Remember that one lives in the midst of a depraved and perverse nation27 or whatever can be probably contrived from the verb Avoid or Have a serpent's cleverness with a dove's simplicity.28 If the person addressed is a superior, in this manner: Keep your eyes open ahead and behind with the four beasts29 or Fear prudently the end of things.

[1.42] To some adolescent administering a high office, such as an archdiocese, a bishopric or an abbey, in this manner: Do not conform to age, but to office or Assume with office a maturity of conduct or Conquer the nature of a lustful age by gravity of conduct.

[1.43] To some rector neglecting the care of his subjects, in this manner: Keep watch over the Lord's flock with wise industry or propose to him an example: the sudden end of Heli neglecting his sons.30

[1.44] In the next verse you should then explicate the meaning offered in the salutation, in this manner: We know a certain story tells that Heli was a holy and just man, but because he did not rebuke his sinful sons, as he could and should have done, by consent he became a participant in their guilt, so he also sustained a sentence of punishment.31 For to consent in another person's error is to foster or hide that error, since you can and should correct by the duty of office.

[1.45] To someone acting fraudulently or attempting betrayal to his lord, to his friend or associate, in this manner: Beware especially when another sets a trap or Respect the gaze of He to whom nothing is hidden32 or Keep inviolate faith to He, Whom it is wicked to offend.

[1.46] To someone trusting more in arrogance of lineage than in justice and despising the accusation of a lesser person, in this manner: Remember Abner's flight and Asael's pursuit33 or Do not spurn the accusation of lesser people on account of nobility of birth or Take care, when one stands, lest one may fall. Then cite an analogy: Because an unnoticed pebble wounds quickly and darts which are not guarded against maim painfully.

[1.47] To someone boasting of worldly fortune: Despise with a elevated mind the effrontery of tempting fortune or Do not be implicated in the love of those things which cannot be lost without grief or Do not become accustomed to the gifts of fortune or Place no hope in fleeting goods.

[1.48] To someone neglecting the care of his own <subjects> with a bestial asperity, in this manner: Heed the force of nature even in animals lacking reason or Cherish the virtue of generosity and beneficence above all things. Immediately after the salutation you should add philosophical and divine sententiae, in this manner: He who does not have care of his subjects and especially of his domestic servants, has denied the faith and is worse than the infidel. Also: He who despises his flesh, makes himself despicable in deeds even if not in words.

[1.49] To someone pretending severity of conduct undertaken prematurely, although neither office nor any duty require this, you may write by metaphor: Bring forth at springtime the flower, not the fruit or Do not ripen before the proper age or Do not forestall the flower by the fruit. Then add that sentence of Cicero: The fruit cannot in itself be of long duration, which too quickly attains maturity34 and cite analogies by metaphor.

[1.50] By contrary, to an aged person exercising youthful lust, in this manner: Assume an elderly mind when you attain white hair or Cast off fittingly the lust of youth or Do not lose from moral turpitude the reverence owed to the elderly.

1 One possible identification of these two prelates would assume that a German king might have been in principle (if not also in fact) unwilling for his Reichsfürsten to attend church councils in France. Albero of Monreuil, archbishop of Trier (1131-1152), was present at the council held at Paris in April-May 1147 and played a major role at the 1148 general council at Reims. Arnold I, archbishop of Cologne (1138-1151) was immediately suspended from office by pope Eugene III for failing to attend the council at Reims: see Baldricus Gesta Alberonis 22 (MGH SS 8.254). -- Another scenario would center on 1156-7, when emperor Frederick Barbarossa might have been angered at Hillin, archbishop of Trier (1152-1169) for his activities as papal legate in Germany. -- There are no instances during reigns of the emperors Henry IV or V when the archbishops of Cologne and Trier were in markedly different states of imperial grace. -- See C. STEPHEN JAEGER "L'amour des rois: structure social d'une forme de sensibilite aristocratique" Annales ESC 46 (1991) 547-71.

2 Frederick I, emperor (1155-1190)--Barbarossa's only appearance as emperor in Admont cod. 759.

3 This initial probably indicates saint Hilarius, bishop of Arles (429-449).

4 See PASCALE BOURGAIN "Qu'est-ce qu'un verse au moyen age?" Bibliothèque de l'École des chartes 147 (1989) 231-282 and below, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.44.

5 DKo.III 211 (composed by Wibald, abbot of Stavelot and Corvey)and cf. Vita S. Sylvesti (ed MOMBRITIUS) 2.510.53 and Missale Romanum, sabbatum sanctum, Benedictio fontis. This incipit to a imperial charter is also found as a model in De doctrina privilegiorum (WIGHT ed.) 3.2.

6 Reinaldus de Martigné, archbishop of Reims (1128-1138).

7 Internal discord among the canons of Meaux probably arose in 1135, when dean Huges II and his cathedral chapter founded an abbey of canons regular at Chages, in the northern suburbs of Meaux. Chages possessed abundant spiritual and institutional resources to affect change: its founding abbot Elie came from S. Victor of Paris, accompanied by a group of his fellow Victorines. Meaux's chapter endowed Chages with four of its parishes and a chapel, as well as a prebend in the cathedral chapter, according to the foundation charter and its confirmation by pope Innocent II. Thus at least one monastic canon assisted at cathedral services alongside the secular canons. Such a monastic toehold within the cathedral at Meaux would have threatened any party of the chapter opposed to a strenuous reform. On Chages' foundation: MICHEL TOUSSANT CHRETIEN DUPLESSIS Histoire d'Eglise de Meaux (Paris 1731) 1.141-2 and vol. 2, nos. 47 and 53. --- I have not seen the Cartulaires A-C de la cathedrale, Meaux, Bibl. mun. mss. 63-65, whose documents DUPLESSIS used, nor the unpublished analysis of these cartularies by J. QUEGUINER deposited in Paris at the Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes. -- The Aurea gemma <Gallica> occupies a midpoint within a teaching tradition at Meaux on writing which perhaps began with the seventh century Formulae Marculfi and extends to John of Garland's writings. DUPLESSIS lists a John II of Garland as the sixty-seventh bishop to occupy the see of Meaux (1269-1272), discussing his bitter conflicts with the cathedral chapter, which led to the almost complete expunging of any memory of his reign (1.249-250, 2.401). It has not been noticed by previous scholars, beginnning with DUPLESSIS himself, that this bishop's date of death is identical with the famous author's. For literature on John of Garland: FRANZ JOSEF WORSTBROCK art. in Verfasserlexikon des Mittelalters (1983) 4.612-623. COLETTE JEUDY's art. in Dictionaire des lettres françaises: Le Moyen Age edd. GENEVIèVE HASENOHR and MICHEL ZINK (Turin 1992) 780-782 states that he was at Paris 1220-1229 and 1232-1272, where he died.

8 Eph. 4.3.

9 cf. Ioh. 19.24

10 cf. Act. 4.11 and I Cor. 6.17.

11 Psalm. 25.8.

12 Psalm. 2.11.

13 cf. Psalm 83.2.

14 Prov. 22.28.

15 cf. Sir. 41.5.

16 cf. Matt. 5.22.

17 Psalm. 75.13.

18 Iob 4.6.

19 cf. Ex. 16.8 and Ioh. 6.45.

20 cf. Act. 9.31.

21 Eph. 3.13.

22 Psalm. 59.13 and 107.13.

23 Matt. 19.19.

24 This rule applies only to the nominative case. Third person pronouns in oblique cases are used at Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.3-5,9,10,25,30,33,35,38,40,41,45,46.

25 cf. Boncompagno's Isagoge 2.10,13,30-31 (WIGHT ed.).

26 Col. 3.12.

27 Phil. 2.15.

28 cf. Matt. 10.16.

29 cf. Ezec. 1.15.

30 I Sam. 4.18.

31 I Sam. 3.13.

32 cf. Psal. 68.6.

33 cf. II Sam. 2.19.

34 Not identified. Not found in De senectute or in Cicero's other philosophical or rhetorical texts.

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