Oliva 1 
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[1.1] The dove brought back a verdant olive branch to Noah. This gesture signaled that Noah could leave the ark at will,1 because the waters of the flood were already receding from the face of the earth. Under that representative likeness, I therefore dare to title the present book. By its effect, this title Oliva fully convinces me that my books and treatises are received everywhere and authenticated by the judgment of wise men. Thence swarms of envious men are struck dumb,2 who might be likened to the waters of the flood.3

[1.2] Since I wish to weave a silken web4 in this book, I cannot warp up my loom from just any fleece. Nor can I construct out of potsherds the mold used to make vessels of the Lord's house.5 Nor am I able to mold from flowing lead7the golden capitals6required as ornament of the imperial court.

[1.3] For when the high priests enter the Sancta Sanctorum,8they first remove their everyday clothes. After washing their bodies, they dress in vestments shining with gold, precious gems9 and adorned with marvelous designs.

[1.4] As for me, since I fulfill no ecclesiastical office,10 I cannot render myself shining due to the flexibility of my lay condition, because 'gold pales in electrum'.11 When an iron file12 darkens the brightness of silver, it makes double corruption of one to the other regarding form--the other existing naturally.13 Finally, the tarnish of life removed, I will execute a work undertaken. Where it will not be successfully effected,14 let goodwill effect a supplement.15

[1.5] The reasons why this book should be called the Oliva should not be left in silence. It can deservedly be titled the Oliva, since the oil of adulation16does not come from it, but instead a liquid of sincere charity.

[1.6] Also, because I had first made the Palma, which 'rendered me victorious over my enemies'. Thus I wish to add the sibling Oliva to it, so that a double victory may be fathered for me.

[1.7] Many people carry olive branches20 in hand as a sign of victory19 and of happiness. To briefly summarize the truth, this book is titled the Oliva, because olive oil is the material of piety itself, and it signifies mercy.21

[1.8] From which source the priest (Christ) poured out oil23 (his mercy) on the wounds of the 'man descending from Jerusalem into Jericho'.22 Those called into the plenitude of power, namely the pope and the emperor,24 and even others called for solicitude,25 such as kings, princes,26 and great prelates of the church, ought to similarly act mercifully with their inferiors. These lords should protect the rights of their subjects with privileges and confirmations. With the help of God, I propose to discuss such privileges and confirmations in this book.

[1.9] Having regularly completed this work, I associate to it two books, one of which is called the Cedrus, and the other the Mirra. Why these names should be chosen, I will show evidently in their prologues.27

[1.10] Now I beseech those who envy me. Let them not wish to darken my books with smoke, as some have already done to clothe my treatises28 in spurious antiquity.

[1.11] In the name of the Almighty, I conjure all thieving plagiarists. Let them not excoriate these books, scraping off their titles, just as some have excoriated my other books.29

[1.12] Let those scribes who disfigure all urbanity of eloquence with falsifying pens30b e delivered to the sword of excommunication, along with those jealous and clandestine plagiarists.31


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1 Gen. 6.17, 7.6, 9.11 and cf. Liber X 1.15.1 §7. See Rota Veneris 10.2 (BAETHGEN ed. 19), a detail of which (per fenestram) suggests a pictorial source. --- Palma 11 suggests that the letter was invented in Noah's ark. Alexander Neckam (De Laudibus divinae sapientie 2.703) states that doves still served as letter-carriers--perhaps alluded to here: olive ore gerens ramum...Portat adhuc apices in partes ista remotas.

2 Boncompagno addressed his rivals in all his prologues from the Palma on (that is, after they 'smoked' his Quinque tabule salutationum to make these appear as plagiarisms--see below, Oliva 1.10-11). His most extensive and brilliant counterattack was the prologue to the Boncompagnus, where he personified his rivals as Invidia--in the pictoral form of Hydra, combined with the beast of the Apocalypse. --- For his rivals' criticisms: Boncompagnus 1.18.2, De amicitia 30 and Rhetorica novissima prol. 3.

3 Cf. Walter of Chatillon divites, quos poteris mari comparare (Carmina Burana 3, written ca. 1170).

4 For other comparisons between weaving and literary creation, see Palma24.1, Quinque tabule salutationum 4.10 and below, Oliva 8a.8. Palma 24 points out the appropriateness of this metaphor for the beginning of a literary work: Vel dicitur 'exordium' quasi 'ordinamentum'. Nam cum aliquis exordium sive generalem sententiam ponit in principio alicuius tractatus, suum tractatum sine dubio videtur exordiri. Mulieres vero cum telam facere volunt, primo quosdam filos tendunt per lineam rectam, quos ordinamentum vulgo appellant dicentes: Volumus nostram telam ordiri, et postea super ipsam filorum multitudinem cum pectine texunt. --- Embroidered texts often decorated sacerdotal vestments. Jefimija, a 14th c. Serbian poetess, wove a lament for her departed spouse on his funeral shroud.

5 The meaning of this sentence is ambiguous, perhaps intentionally so.

6 IV Reg. 25.17. --- Cf. Vita S. Petronii (AASS Oct. 4.454-64 at 459), Inventio reliquarum S. Petronii aliorumque sanctorum (AASS Oct. 4.466-7).

7 For the use of lead points as a medieval writing medium: WATTENBACH Schriftwesen 209-10, 216, 232.

8 On the Roman Sancta Sanctorum, the papal chapel of S. Laurence on the north-east corner of the Lateran palace, see HARTMANN GRISAR Die römisch Kapelle Sancta Sanctorum und ihr Schatz (Freiburg 1908) and PHILIPPE LAUER Le Palais de Latran: etude historique et archeologique (Paris: E. Leroux, 1911). See also below, Oliva 5.1 for the tablets of the Decalogue, enshrined in the Sancta Sanctorum and Oliva 5.5 (note 56) for the east wing of the Lateran palace as the 'location' of the papal chancery. --- The vases of the Hebrew Sancta Sanctorum, referred to in the preceding paragraph, are described in Exod. 26.34, 30.10,29, 40.11.

9 See Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLA ed. 47.3-4): Insuper donavit ei vestes imperiales, que auro et lapidibus pretiosis erant undique interserte.

10 Cf. Exod. 28.1,4, 29.44. See Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLA ed. 53.12-16).

11 For other instances of this alchemical metaphor, see De Amicitia 6 (NATHAN ed. 50); Libellus de malo senectute et seniis 9; Rhetorica novissima 9.6.1-4; Boncompagnus1.23.4 §1. For a similar comparison with respect to clerical celibacy, see Bernardus Papiensis Summa Decretalium 3.1 (ed. LASPEYRES 66): ...sic clerici dignitas noverca inhonestate nigratur. Ecce quomodo aurum obscuratur et color optimus immutatur.... and 3.2 (ed. LASPEYRES 67): Quoniam honestas clericorum, de qua diximus, saepe mulierum consortio decoloratur... --- Also on celibacy: Rhetorica novissima 9.2.7.

12 See the dedicatory epistle to the legal scholar and podesta of Ancona, Ugolinus Gosia, Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLA ed 3.7): Ecce presento vestre magnificentie librum diligentiori lima correctum. For the most recent study of erasures on medieval parchment, see STEFAN JANZEN "Über das Rasorium. Die Zurichtung von Beschreibstoffen durch mittelalterliche Schreiber" in PETER RüCK ed. Mabillons Spur: Zweiundzwanzig Miszellen aus dem Fachgebiet für Historische Hilfswissenschaften der Philipps-Universität Marburg, zum 80. Geburtstag von Walter Heinemeyer (Marburg 1992) 193-210.

13 The meaning of this sentence is not entirely clear. Other material substances in the Oliva: 9.17-20 (also 34.7, 36.7, 52.5).

14 Identical adnominatio (effectus...affectus) found in Matthaeus Vindocinensis Ars versificatoria prol. 4 (MUNARI ed. 41, FARAL ed. 109-110): Praeterea praesumptioni non ascribatur novitas opusculi, quod nec favoris appetitus nec vanae gloriae molitur ostentatio sed qualiscumque instructio minus provectorum, ut quam non potest effectus operis gratiam, extorqueat affectus operantis. See also Ars versificatoria 1.60: Etenim contemplandus est non effectus sermonis, sed affectus sermocinantis.

15 According to Quinque tabule salutationum 1.28 and Palma 10, 19, the purpose of a letter and its narratio is to express the voluntas and affectus animi of the dictator. See also Liber .X. tabularum prol. (DELISLE ed. 152).

16 Cf. Alanus de Insulis De planctu nature (PL 210.469); Alexander Neckam In Ecclesiasten 1.16 (Cambridge, Trinity College, R.16.4, fol. 160rb): Homo qui se alicuius momenti putat esse, cum sit pulvis et cinis, appetens caput suum impinguari oleo adulationis misere, ridendus esse videtur, nonne et lugendus and 2.5 [fol. 191rb]: Oleum fert [sc. Effraim] in Egypto, qui vitio servit adulationis. De hoc oleo dicit propheta David: 'Oleum autem peccatoris non impinguet caput meum.' Quid est autem Egyptus nisi mens tenebris viciorum obvoluta. Hoc oleum dum impinguat caput mentis, turpiter ipsum fedat and 2.12 [197vb]: Adulationis vitium ab aula nomen contraxit. Set proh dolor transivit a palatiis principum ad collegium claustralem. Set o res monstruosa ipsi senes iam cineriti [vel emeriti] student impinguare capita prelatorum oleo adulationis. --- For similar discussion by Boncompagno of the 'oil of adulation', see Liber de obsidione Ancone prol. (ZIMOLO ed. 5.3); De amicitia 30 (NATHAN ed. 67); Quinque tabule salutationum 4.10; Boncompagnus1.1.13, 1.13.1; Rhetorica novissima 9.4, 9.5.7; on the latter, see TERENCE TUNBERG "What is Boncompagno's 'Newest Rhetoric'?" Traditio 41 (1986) 299-334 at 319-320.

17Palma 1.1.

18 On the sibling relationship between various parts of Boncompagno's literary oeuvre, see Boncompagnus prol. 2.3, 3.24 and below, Oliva1.9.

19 Boncompagno's concept of signs deserves an entire study. He discusses or mentions signs in Quinque tabule salutationum 4.28; Notule auree cc. 10-14; Palma17.5, 33; Cedrus10.6; and Oliva, below 5.4, 8b.1, 8b.6, cc. 9, 18, 19.5-6, 34.1, 34.9, 34.11, 34.18, 34.25, 35.4, 35.6, 36.3, 37.6, 42.5, 42.9, 42.10, 52.5. See also Boncompagnus1.12.7, 1.13.32, 1.23.1, 1.23.2 §1, 1.23.13, 1.23.15, 1.27.32, 1.27.5, 3.1.1, 3.10.2, 4.1.1, 4.1.3, 4.2.6, 4.2.72, 5.1.3, 5.1.4, 5.1.15, 5.7.1, 5.12.7, 5.20.53, 6.14.2, Epistola mandativa ad comites palatinos §17, Azo Summa Institutionum 1.1 (1581 Venice ed.) 1044. --- On victory, see Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLA ed. 7.5-8); Cedrus1.1; Oliva, above 1.6, below 19.2, 19.13, 43.8; Boncompagnus 1.25.11, 4.2.6.

20 See Gesta Federici I Imperatoris in Lombardia (MGH SS, ed. OSWALD HOLDER-EGGER, Hannover 1892) 54: Et steterunt ibi usque in ramis oliuarum, qui erat in Kal. Aprilis; et in ecclesia sancti Ambroxii oliuas accepit; Burchardi Praepositi Ursbergensis Chronicon (MGH SS in usu scholarum, ed. OSWALD HOLDER-EGGER and BERNHARD VON SIMSON, Hannover 1916) 44.5-7 Imperator vero nobili potitus triumpho in oliuarum festo in beati Ambrosii basilica una cum oliua triumphalem gestavit victorie palmam (1 April 1162). See ERNST KüNZEL Der römische Triumph. Siegesfeiern in antiken Rom (Munich 1988) 87.

21 Cf. WILLENE B. CLARK ed. The Medieval Book of Birds: Hugh of Fouilloy's Aviarium (Binghamton 1992) 120, 122: Ad archam Noe columba revertitur...olivam gerit, quia misericordiam quaerit. --- For some applications of the distinction between vocalis and realis, see Epistola mandativa ad comites palatinos §18 (vocaliter et realiter eritis comiti palatini); De amicitia 19, Boncompagnus1.18.3 (vocalis amicus); Boncompagnus 1.25.1 (vocalis and realis consolatio).

22 Luc. 10.30,34. In the story of the good Samaritan, the sacerdos passes by without helping the wounded man (Luc. 10.31), as does the Levite. Boncompagno's terse reformulation of this story expresses Christian revalorization of the priesthood: the outer sign of consecration (annointment) should reflect an inner ethical state of virtue. A priest should be annointed like Christ, merciful like the good Samaritan, who was not a priest. See the letter which Boncompagno sent in 1225 to the theologian Jacob of Breganze, bishop-elect of Verona (Boncompagnus 5.1.26 §2). -- Boncompagno may have been influenced here by a form often used in Frederick Barbarossa's chancery, which also portrays Christ as the true Samaritan and compares the granting of a privilege to the Samaritan's merciful actions. The essentials of this form, which highlights the end of the good Samaritan story (Luc. 10.35), are found in DF.I.505: ...Si vero nos pia antecessorum nostrorum regum et imperatorum exempla sequentes in tabernaculo Dei offerentes aliquid supererogaverimus, a vero Samaritano, cum redierit, nobis in centuplum esse reddendum speramus et credimus. This idea is found in the preambles to at least 14 Staufer charters: DDF.I.249, 251, 270, 279, 294, 424, 454, 461, 470, 487, 505, 518, 523 and in a 1191 charter of Henry VI to the Clairvaux affiliate S. Maria de Columba, near Piacenza (BB 177 = Arengenverzeichnis 13, no. 81). --- For another example of an topic of argument drawn directly from a Barbarossa preamble, see below, Oliva19.9.

23 The connection between privilege and annointing made in this paragraph is also made in Hilary of Poitiers De Trinitate 11.20: Et prae participes unctus sit in ea natura cum privilegio, licet unctus qua participes unguentur. See also Jerome Commentarii in Isaiam 12.19.

24 Below, Oliva8b.27 and 18.4. --- For the distinction between the powers of the emperor (princeps) and his legate or governor (praeses): Quinque tabule salutationum5.5-6, see also below, Oliva c. 37; for the same distinction with respect to popes and their legates: ROBERT C. FIGUEIRA "Papal Reserved Powers and the Limitations on Legatine Authority" in JAMES ROSS SWEENEY and STANLEY CHODOROW edd. Popes, Teachers and Canon Law in the Middle Ages (Ithaca 1989) 191-211.

25 Although the pair plenitudo potestatis...in partem sollicitudinis had long been in common usage to describe papal and episcopal powers, it had lately become a stock feature of the letters and charters of Innocent III. For the usage by Innocent, KLAUS SCHATZ S.J. "Papstum und Partikularkirchliche Gewalt bei Innocenz III. (1198-1216)" Archivium Historiae Pontificiae 8 (1970) 61-111, summarized in KENNETH PENNINGTON Popes and Bishops 43-58, who also provides literature, and traces the development of the formulas up to Hostiensis, following JOHN WATT. --- For the earlier history: AGOSTINO MARCHETTO "In partem sollicitudinis...non in plenitudinem potestatis. Evoluzione di una formula di rapporto Primato-Episcopato" in Studia in honorem eminentissimi Cardinalis Alphonsi M. Sticker (Rome 1992) 267-98, who provides the relevant literature (281 note 68); add to this bibliography W.E. MCCREADY "Papal Plenitudo potestatis and the source of temporal Authority in the Late Medieval Hierocratic Theory" Speculum 48 (1973) 654-74 and GAINES POST "Plena potestas and Consent in Medieval Assemblies: A Study in Romano-Canonical Procedure and the Rise of Representation" Traditio 1 (1943) 355-408.

26 Nowhere else does Boncompagno apply these terms to secular powers. For his usage elsewhere of inplenitudinem potestatis: Boncompagnus1.25.5 (Christ), 3.14.5 (pope), 5.23.1 (pope); of in partem sollicitudinis: 3.18.2 (papal judges delegate, archbishops of Reims and Rouen), 5.1.2 (bishop-elect of Vercelli), 5.1.39 (bishop-elect of Commachio); of both together: 2.1.1 (Wahlanzeige of pope Honorius III, Po. 5321), 3.16.16 (students of Bologna to the pope Innocent III); Rhetorica novissima (bishop-elect and pope).

27Cedrus 1.2; Mirra 1.1.

28 The Quinque tabule salutationum; the plural tractatibus refers to the five tables, not to other works 'smoked' by his rivals). When quoting from it in his other works (Palma33, Oliva 7.6, 10.9), Boncompagno cites a specific table, without referring to the whole. Where he refers to all the 'Five tables of salutations' the plurality rather than the unity of these tables is stressed grammatically, e.g in Tractatus virtutum§1, Palma 1.1, Boncompagnusprol. 3.26, Liber .X. tabularum prol. (but by contrast, that prologue refers to the revised 'Ten Tables' as a singular entity, an opusculum, a libellus, a liber). See Henricus Francigena, Aurea Gemma prol. (KANTOROWICZ ed. 262); Quinque tabule salutationum 2.15, 4.30, 4.38; Tractatus virtutum§1; Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLA ed. 4.1); Palma1.1; Boncompagnus 1.18.9-10.

29 The story of 'forged plagiarism' of the Quinque tabule salutationum, related fully in Boncompagnus1.18.9-10, is mentioned or alluded to often in Boncompagno's works: Tractatus virtutum§7 Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLA ed. 4.7-10); Palma 1.1; Boncompagnusprol. 3.10; Rhetorica novissima 10.1.1. Although there seems to be no comparable medieval or ancient precedent in fact or fantasy for this story in its entirety, phenomena examined in three books by WOLFGANG SPEYER directly pertain to aspects of it: Bücherfunde in der Glaubenswerbung der Antike (Göttingen 1970), Die literarische Fälschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum (Munich 1971), Büchervernichtung und Zensur des Geistes bei Heiden, Juden und Christen (Stuttgart 1981). See also below, Oliva 8b.29-34.

30 Cf. Jer. 8.8 (vere mendacium operatus est stilus mendax scribarum) and Liber de obsidione Ancone (ZIMOLO ed. 38.17-18) utinam improvida scribentium caterva scripta non variet que per oratoris artifitium sunt regulariter ordinata, quia, licet dicatur: verba transposita idem significant, nichilominus tamen parva transpositio variat intellectum et regularem dictionum positionem deturpat. See also Boncompagnus 6.7.4 (pennas letitie), Epistola mandativa ad comites palatinos§7 (stili deficerent poetarum).

31 See Digest, const. Tanta 19-22.

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