Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.9
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[1.9] After this, it is fitting to bring forth examples of the kindness of other rulers, as for example Caesar, who forgot nothing except for injuries,1 in this manner:2 To L.,3 ordained by God the glorious king of the Franks, P.,4 humble abbess of the church of Jouarre with the flock committed to her, abound in the bowels of mercy. The glory5 of the kings of the Franks is celebrated not from tyranny, but from piety and mildness. Since all kings of the Franks have acquired <a name> from the glory of piety, especially the kings of your lineage have possessed the name of piety as if an excellent and spiritual <title>. And so glory to the supreme King, who has increased the virtue of piety in you, who, whatever you received from your parents as if by nature, you doubled in yourself by industry. Thus we flee to Your Mildness, as if to an altar of mercy, from which it is not licit for anyone to withdraw saddened, in whose court the rigor of justice is directed, so that mitigation of mercy shall not be not excluded. Our church has always remained faithful and devoted to the Royal Highness, was always submissive to your orders in peace and in war and always stood solicitous of your welfare and health. Although, if the matter stands as thus presented,6 we still presume nothing on our merits, but we confide in your innate mercy and justice. Therefore lend the ear of your mercy to entreaties and with clemency extend the hand of your mercy to our church, which continuously prays for you, so that He, Who gives salvation to kings, will deign to preserve the highness of your kingdom.


1 cf. Alexander Neckam In Ecclesiasten 1.16 (Cambridge, Trinity College, R.16.4, fol. 165rb): Reduco ad memoriam Ciceronis laudem Iulium Cesarem commendantis, quem nichil asserit oblivisci consuevisse preter iniurias. Although this epithet concerning Caesar is ostensibly from Cicero, I have not found it in among his philosophical or rhetorical works., using HUGO MERGUET Lexikon zu den philosophischen Schriften Ciceros (Jena 1887-94) and KENNETH MORGAN ABBOTT Index verborum in Ciceronis Rhetorica (Urbana 1964).

2 The following fragmentary model charter appears in its entirety, as a letter from Guido of Noyers, archbishop of Sens (1176-1193) to Phillip Augustus, king of France (1180-1223), in Peter of Blois Libellus de arte dictandi rhetorice: Cambridge, UL, Ms. Dd. 9. 38., fols. 115ra-121ra) at fol. 117rb-va. Peter's dependance on the Aurea Gemma <Gallica> is overlooked by MARTIN CAMARGO Medieval Rhetorics of Prose Composition: Five English Artes Dictandi and Their Tradition Medieval & Rennaisance texts & studies 115 (Binghamton 1995): edition of the Libellus 37-87. For a full examination, see below, Appendix Ia.

3 Louis VII, king of France (1137-1180).

4 Praxedes, abbess of Jouarre, who also appears below, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.21,26. According to the list of abbesses in L'abbaye royaleNotre-Dame de Jouarre (Paris 1961), she was active in 1151. L'Abbaye Notre-Dame at Jouarre is listed in JEAN-LOUP LEMAITRE Repertoire des documents necrologiques francais Recueil des Historiens de France, Obituaires, tom. 7 (Paris 1980) 644; I have not seen H. THIERCELIN Le monastere de Jouarre, son histoire jusqu'a la revolution (Paris 1861).

5 HEINRICH FICHTENAU Arenga. Spätantike und Mittelalter im Spiegel von Urkundenformeln (Cologne 1957) 72 traces the renewal of the ancient idea of a ruler's gloria in preambles to king Louis VII's 1149 charter for S. Genevieve, Paris (ed. TARDIF Monuments historiques 268 no. 505). Two years earlier, 5 June 1147, a papal privilege granted by Eugene III for the cathedral church of Paris expressed the same nexus: Quanto nobilis et gloriosa Parisiensis ecclesia pro sede regis Francorum extitit famosior... (JL 9072, PL 180.1234). See also the idea of glory expressed above, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 1.1.

6 The original source of this phrase Si res ita se habeat was in papal rescripts answering questions of law to 'bracket' facts already supplied by the petitioner, which facts the papal chancery could not verify. For discussion, see Boncompagno Tractatus virtutum §12 (WIGHT ed.) and several works by ERNEST PITZ, the latest being his Papstreskripte im frühen Mittelalter. Diplomatische und rechtsgeschichtliche Studien zum Brief-Corpus Gregors des Grossen (Sigmaringen 1989).

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