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A work held in high estimation in the dark ages, and taught in their seminaries, was a disquisition of Marcianus de Capella, who lived in the fifth century. It comprised the subjects of grammar and rhetoric, logic and arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. “Among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum," says Warton, script occurs written about the eleventh century, which is a commentary on these nine books of Capella, compiled by Duncan, an Irish bishop, and given to his scholars in the monastery of St Rhemigius. To this Warton might have added, that the monastery referred to was in the county of Down.
Erigena, and Dungal, who was the correspondent of Alcuine, are mentioned by name as two, among other Irish scholars, who at that period took refuge in France, and in an ancient catalogue in the monastery at Pavia written in the tenth century, is a book in Irish, under the head of
Books given by Dungalus præcipuus Scottorum.” John Erigena, or John the Irishman, is known for his eminence as a scholar, especially as a Grecian. About the year 860, he translated from the Greek four treatises of Dionysius, styled the Areopagite,ß (a supposititious work written after the fourth century ;) and the Scholia of Maximus on Gregory the theologian, i. e. Gregory Nazianzen ; but his principal work was entitled “De Divisione Naturæ,” written at the request of Charles the Bald, of which some account may be found in Turner's History of the AngloSaxons.l!
Such were a few of the Native Irish who assisted in the work of instruction, both in their own country, and on the continent. It is true, we must not form too magnificent
specting him, or the age in which he flourished, I do not enter. Sentiments in this volume, however, might enlighten the present age, and a brief selection in some of the periodical works might interest his countrymen even now. On 1. Cor. xiv. 19, 20, he says, “It is better to speak a few lucid words, verba lucida, in the right sense, than innumerable that are obscure and unknown, which do not edify the hearers; because, better are a few words which profit, than many which do not. Be not children in understanding,--as if he had said, the desire of various languages is childish, in which there is pleasure only, and not advantage, unless an interpretation follow. Or, be not children in understanding, but ye ought to know wherefore languages were given.” May net the English, and the Anglo-Hibernian of the present day, both listen to this voice from the tomb ?
* Warton, 8vo. v. ii. 384. Leland, the antiquarian, says that he saw this work in the library of Worcester Abbey. Col. iii. 268.
Colgan, Act Sanct, p. 256. # Muratori, Antiq. Ital. p. 821. Most of these books were presented to the Ambrosian library at Milan, by Cardinal Borromeo, where they are now said to remain.
$ " So abounding, however, with Greek phrascolngy," says Warton, “as to be hardly intelligible to a mere Latin reader."
| Turner, 3d ed. III. 390.
i leas of these men, who were then patronised by kings, or invited to promote their education, and lay the foundation of schools which afterwards rose to eminence, especially at the revival of letters; but, amidst the scholars of his day, Erigena seems to have been considered conspicuous. Even Warton admits the probability of bis having “ taken a journey to Athens, and spent many years in studying not only the Greek, but the Arabic and Chaldee languages; but this has been questioned by others; and though better acquainted with Aristotle than any man of his age, that he ever translated any part of his writings into Chaldaic and Arabic as well as Latin, seems to be also doubtful. After living in France for about thirty years, he probably died there, and before the year 875.6 We forget not that his principal work contributed its share to a species of dialectic philosophy, or rather folly, which continued through the dark ages to hold many in perplexity, and drove others to infidelity: for of that great division of the schoolmen in which all this terminated, the Nominalists, Erigena has been considered the remote parent. It is chiefly as a scholar that he is here noticed. When referring to him, Anastasius, the lil
rian of the Vatican, in a letter to Charles, expresses his astonishment “ how that ' vir barbarus, placed in the very ends of the world, so remote from conversation with mankind, was able to comprehend such deep things, and transfuse them into another language.” This is equally creditable to his acuteness and scholarship; but was every man, not a Greek or a Roman, still denominated
barbarous ?" or was this only one ancient specimen of that unfounded prejudice which yet exists in many against the fine natural capacity of this hitherto neglected people ?
In an early part of the ninth century died Angus or Ængus Ceile dé, a Culdee, who, among other things, wrote the * Psalter na rann,” an abridged ry, in Irish, of the descendants of Abraham till after the death of Moses. And even in the tenth, we have a glossary, explaining the difficult words of his native language, by Cormac MacCullionan, in which there are many references to the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues. But we have already past the brink of general barbarism. The darkness of the ninth and tenth centuries is proverbial, as affecting every country in Europe, and Britain fully as much as Ireland. To her history, therefore, it is no disparagement that we can then find but little worth notice.
* Warton, 8vo, vol. I. cxxxvii. Spelman, Vit. Ælfrid. Pits. p. 168.
+ Thus he appears in France in connexion with Prudentius, bishop of Troies, so early as the year 847, and the letter of Anastasius, about to be quoted, speaks of him in the past tense. John Erigena, or Scotigena, which at this period was of similar import, is therefore not to be confounded with John of Aethcling, or he of Malmesbury, whether these be the same, or two different persons. The former, a presbyter and abbot, which Erigena nerer was, and who came over to our Alfred about 881, is styled by Asserius, * Ealdsaxonum genere.” If Erigena ever was in England, it could be merely on his way to the continent, and long before the reign of Alired. At all events, Charles, to whom Anastasius wrote respecting Erigena, and in the past tense throughout, died in 877.
In the eleventh century, about the time of the Norman Conquest, one Irishman, by his talents, rendered his name conspicuous, - Marianus Scotus, who lived for ten years at Fulde in Germany, i. e. until 1069, when he removed to Mentz, and, dying there, was interred in the church of St Martin's, in the year 1086, aged 58.* His chronicle from the birth of Christ to the year 1083, which is esteemed, has been continued by the Abbé Dobechin to 1200 ;t and an edition of it, with that of Martin of Poland, was printed in the sixteenth century by John Herold of Basil, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. In the curious and learned catalogue of manuscripts in the library of the Emperor of Germany, 8 volumes folio, by Peter Lambeccius, composed in the seventeenth century, we are told that there is a copy of “all the Epistles of Paul in the hand-writing of Marianus Scotus, done in the year 1079, illustrated with marginal and interlineary annotations.'s Trithemius says, that most learned in the Scriptures ;''|| and Sigebert, “ the most learned man of his age.”
In the journal of the learned and accurate Humphrey Wanley there is the following entry, dated 10th August, 1720 :-“ Mr O'Sullivan likewise acquainted me, that the library of those learned men who went from Ireland with
*“Anno 1028," says a chronicle in the Cottonian Library, “ Marianus, chronographus, Hibernensis-Scotus, natus est, qui Chronicum Chronicorum composuit." See also Dobechin's ed. of his Chronicle, anno 1069. Mabilon Annal. anno 1083. | L'Advocat's Hist. Dict., letter M.
Warton, 8vo, I. cclxii. After Ussher's account of this chronicle, he intimates, that Gerard Vossius intended to publish a correct edition of it.
§ Lamb. ii. cap. 8, p. 749. See also Ware's Antiq. p. 66. Vossius and Dempster have strangely mentioned Marianus as the author of the Notitia utriusque Imperii. That he wrote commentaries on this work is true, and, in the preface to the Venice ed. of 1393, it appears that the work, after lying hid for ages, had come to light in consequence of the copy written by Marianus having been found in 1557.
| Catal. Vir. Ilust. | De Script. Eccles. p. 172. When Edward 1. summoned the states of Scotland to appear at Norham to decide the claims of the different competitors for the crown, his first step was to put in his own claim to the sovereignty of Scotland, and the chief authority to which he resorted was that of Marianus, the Irish historian. When Henry IV. renewed the claims of Edward, he appealed to the same historian, adding, that his authority was irrefragable, because he was a Scotch
To this the states of Scotland replied, that Marianus was not an Albanian Scot, but an Irish Scot, Ireland being the ancient Scotland.
Marianus Scotus, A.D. 1058, is yet remaining in some church in Ratisbon, and has lately been seen there.”* But Marianus of Ratisbon, also from Ireland, who wrote some notes on the Psalms, and a harmony of the Evangelists, is affirmed to be a different man from the chronographer, who it is certain resided first at Fulde, or Fulda, and finally at Mentz.
Tighernach, the Irish annalist, was contemporary with Marianus, and died in 1088, two years after him. His Irish annals to his own day, partly in Latin and partly in Irish, were continued by one Magrath to the year 1405,-a copy of which is among the manuscripts in Trinity College.t
The first tract in the Hibernica of Harris is a history of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland from 1168 to 1171, This is a translation by Sir George Carew, afterwards Earl of Totness, from the French. But the French itself, which is in verse, after the fashion of the time, is only a translation from the Native Irish manuscript, written by Maurice O’Regan, the individual who was employed by Dermod, King of Leinster, as ambassador to Strongbow. This tract, such as it is, was translated into English, and published by Harris in Dublin in 1757, or above five hundred and sixty years after it had been written. Lord Lyttleton, in his History of Henry the Second, quotes the French' translation from a manuscript in the Lambeth Library:
As “it cannot but seem strange," says Harris, “ that in the thirteenth century an Irishman should be courted to undertake a version into French,” Godfrey, or Gotofrid of Waterford, deserves to be noticed. He was the author of translations into that language from Latin, Greek, and Arabic, of Dares Phrygius, Eutropius, and the Secretum Secretorum ascribed (erroneously) to Aristotle. Harris here alludes to Godfrey's own expressions in his preface to the latter, in which, addressing himself to a French nobleman who encouraged him, he says,
66 To other books which you already have, you desire to add a book called Secretum Secretorum, or a Treatise of the Government of Kings and Princes, and for this end you have requested me, that I would, for your sake, translate the said work from Latin into French, which I already translated from Greek into
* Nichol's Lit. Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, I. p. 87. | Iberno-Celtic Transac. p. 81. #Warton, 8vo, I. 89. Iberno-Celtic Trans. p. 87. Ware's Writers, p. 71.
Arabic, and into Latin,” &c.* In the library of M. Colbert, these three treatises, on vellum, were long preserved in a folio volume, in which, besides an exposition of the articles of Faith and the Lord's Prayer in French, there is also included the Elucidarium. Now,” say Quetif and Eckard, quoted by Harris, “ all these are written not only in the same hand-writing with the other works before-mentioned, which are certainly Gotofrid's, but also the style and manner of orthography are the same.”+ “ The Lucydayre, printed by Wynkyn de Worde,” says Warton, is translated from a favourite old French poem called Li Lusidaire, a work in dialogue, containing the sum of Christian Theology attributed to Anselm," and by others to Honorius of Autun. “ Again,” he says, " in the king's library at Paris, there is a translation of Dares Phrygius into French rhymes by Godfrey of Waterford, an Irish writer, not mentioned by Tanner, in the thirteenth century;" and, referring again to this period, he adds, “ Dares Phrygius, Eutropius, early translated into Greek at Constantinople, and Aristotle's Secretum Secretorum, appeared about the same time in French ;"|| thus confirming the account already given of Godfrey, who seems to have died in France, and probably at Paris.
Thomas Hibernicus, or Thomas of Palmerstown, born in the county of Kildare, towards the close of the thirteenth century, and well known at the beginning of the fourteenth, was an ecclesiastic who belonged to neither of the orders of the Friars. He became a fellow of the Sorbonne, and, from the Bibliothèque compiled by Quetif and Eckard, it appears that he bequeathed the books he had written, with other manuscripts, and a sum of money, to that college. T One of the tracts in the Sorbonne is entitled “Liber de Tribus Punctis Christianæ Religionis,” or “three points of the Christian religion,” which he explains as matters of faith, of command, or prohibition. His “ Flores Biblicæ," or
* Ware's Writers, p. 76. The Secretum, erroneously ascribed to Aristotle, but so highly esteemed in the middle ages, has been traced to Ægidius Romanus, a pupil of Aquinas. “ It was early translated,” says Warton, “ into French prose, and printed in English. • The Secret of Aristotyle, &c. with Rules for Helth of Body and Soul, very gode to teche Children to rede English, newly translated out of French, and em prented by Robert and William Copland, 1528."* One translation of the Secretum into French, Warton ascribes to Henry de Gande, i. e. Ghent, for Philip of France. The name to which Godfrey dedicates his translation does not appear. + Ware's Writers, p. 76.
# Warton, ill. 364. $. The Elucidarium must not be confounded with the Elucidarium Bibliorum, or Prologue to the Bible. See Baber's Wickliffe, lii. Warton, I. xxii.; II. 415.
9 Tom. I. p. 744.