[Epistola Boncompagni ad Philippum electum Ferrariensis]
[De vitiis evitandis et cursibus servandis in dictamine] -- Epistola mandativa ad comites palatinos 
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Boncompagno sends a letter of condolence and caution to Philipp, bishop-elect of Ferrara. Salutation (§1). The lamentable state of the church is figured as a frantic mother hen and as a sinking ship (§2). Boncompagno consoles the bishop-elect for the persecutions he has suffered and advises caution in the future (§3). [Date: 10 November 1241-25 June 1243]
[1] Venerabili patro et domino reverendo Phylippo2 Dei gratia Ferrariensi electo, Boncompagnus modicum id, quod est Ieremie trenos.

[2] Cogor flebiliter innovare, videns quod gallina, que consueverat pullos suos congregare sub alas,3 raucessit et tamquam raucaci cauda flitingit.4 Unde vergit ad interitum, appetens illos confundere, quos consueverat spiritualiter enutrire. Quare filii eius in dispersionem gentium efugierunt et abierunt, ex eo quod lapides sanctuarum iacent in capite omnium platearum.5 Petri siquidem navicula submergitur,6 quia non est, qui regat temonem iuris canonici.7 Unde fides perit, iustitia deseritur, iustus et rectus peccant, sola potentia dominatur.8

[3] Cum ergo nullum possitis refugium invenire,9 fugere vos opportet in solitudinem et facere de necessitate virtutem. Pro vobis namque doleo, quia venistis in persecutionis profundum10 et agmina persequentium miserunt manus11 ad omnia desiderabilia vestra.12 Super omnia dominationi vestre duxi fideliter consulendum, ut circa personam vestram diligentissimam custodiam habeatis,13 attendentes quod serpentas comparuerunt hodie nocturales, habentes in capitibus cristas, cantant equidem ut Sirene, dulcedinem portant in ore et tamquam scorpiones fundunt cum caudis venena.14 A fructu cognosco arbores et opera per effectum,15 non dico amplius, nisi quod omni custodia servetis cor vestram16 etc.


1Accompanied by the erroneous rubric 'Deinde secuntur V. tabule', the letter to Filippo da Pistoia, appears only on f. 232v of Berlin SBPK lat. fol. 509. It is followed by the text of Boncompagno's De amicitia, and preceeded by two short dictaminal texts [De vitiis evitandis et cursibus servandis in dictamine] (fols. 231r-232v). These two dictaminal works, the letter to Filippo and the Epistola mandativa ad comites palatinos were all written by Boncompagno, and are thus newly discovered works to be added to the list of his writings. The first of the dictaminal works bears the rubric Quod sint vitia dictaminis etc., and the second Quis servandus sit cursus in dictamine, which includes a number of exordia, including some clearly meant for oration, and a few examples of narrations, with a quotation from Cicero's Rhetoricorum. This title conforms to Boncompagno's contention that Cicero compiled, rather than created his rhetorical doctrine. (The quote is actually from the Rhetorica ad Herennium). A similar view assessment of Cicero is found in the Gloss "In primis" to Cicero's De inventione (York Minster Library, XIV.M.7, fol. 2ra), Titulus autem talis est `Incipit liber rhetoricorum". Iste titulus valet ad operis commendationem quasi diceret: Non est iste liber Ciceronis vel alicuius rethoris sed liber rhetoricorum. Quasi quaecumque alii rhetores bene dixerunt omnia hic poterit lector reperire collecta in unum. Quoted in MARY DICKEY The Teaching of Rhetoric in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, with particular reference to the Schools of Northern France (Oxford Diss., 1973) 59.

2 Filippo da Pistoia, bishop of Ferrara (1239-1250), archbishop of Ravenna (1250-1279).

3 Matt. 23.37.

4 See Boncompagnus 5.1.37.

5 Thre. 4.1.

6 See Boncompagnus 5.20.1.§1, 5.22.1 §3.

7 This phrase dates this letter to the period 10 November 1241-25 June 1243. During this time, after the deaths of popes Gregory IX (22 August 1241), and the newly elected pope Celestine IV (reigned 2 weeks), the apostolic see was vacant for one and a half years.

8 This sentence also appears in Boncompagnus 3.10.1 and 4.5.9, where it is used to describe the miserable situation of Italy after the death of emperor Henry VI in 1197.

9 Cf. E. WINKELMANN Acta imperii inedita 1.544, no. 689, lines 22-23: ...quis ex mundo sperabit in vobis necessarium repperire refugium...

10 2 Esdr. 9.11. Philipp's enemies might be partisans of the emperor Frederick II, of Ezzelino da Romano or Ferrara's Ghibelline adherants of Salinguerra, who were driven from the city in 1240. OSKAR WILHELM CANZ Philipp Fontana Erzbischof von Ravenna. Ein Staatsmann des XIII Jahrhunderts, 1240-1270 (Leipzig 1911) says of the years 1241-1243: "In den nächsten Jahren festigte um Verona Ezzelin unermüdlich seine Macht auf Kosten des Markgrafen von Este, des Grafen von Verona und der Kirche von Ferrara. Diese hatte zudem unter die Angriffen der Vertriebenen zu leiden. Dagegen tat Philipp, was er konnte. Alle Lehensträger seiner Kirche, die die Sache des Kaisers unterstützten, erklärte er ihrer Lehen verlustig (BF 13490, 7572)."

11 Psal. 30.16, cf. Judit 15.4.

12 Cf Boncompagnus 3.16.1.13

13 Matt. 27.65.

14 Apoc. 9.19. Cf. E. WINKELMANN Acta imperii inedita 1.544-545, no. 690, lines 5-12.

15 Matt. 12.33, Luc 6.44.  For this phrase, see also Tractatus virtutum §53 and Liber .X. tabularum prol. 2.

16 Prov. 4.23.

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