Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hrabanus Maurus, De virtutibus et vitiis (c. 834)

Hrabanus Maurus' work on the virtues and vices, written at the request of Louis the Pious, c. 834. A  curiously neglected text, considering the importance of Hrabanus and the sustained scholarly interest in Carolingian works of political and moral advice. Written in the wake of Hrabanus' evidently well-received opusculum on the duties of fathers and sons (amongst other topics) sent to the newly restored Louis (Ep. 15, MGH Epist., V, pp. 403-415) this work on the virtues and vices can - and perhaps should - be read in concert with the shorter earlier work. Despite the title Hrabanus' tract moves well beyond the conventional Tugendkatalog into something more idiosyncratic and substantial, and perhaps more timely, too. The only full edition of the work is that of the Viennese humanist Wolfgang Lazius (ob. 1565), physician by appointment to Ferdinand I, historian and pioneering cartographer. The polymathic Lazius is perhaps best known as the subject of Arcimboldo's frequently reproduced caricature-by-codex, 'The Librarian' of 1562. (The author of De laudibus, incidentally, might well have approved of Lazius' tombstone, viewable on line, albeit in a poor reproduction, here.) It is oddly fitting that a man who made pictures with his poetry should be edited by another whose likeness was captured in a painting of books.   
W. Lazius, Fragmenta quaedam Caroli magni Imp. Rom. aliorumque incerti nominis de veteris Ecclesiae ritibus ac ceremoniis (Antwerp, 1560) The text runs from 190 to 306. 
Discussion: C. Booker, Past Convictions. The Penance of Louis the Pious, and the Decline of the Carolingians (Philadelphia, 2009), pp. 171-2; 236-7, 379; E. Sears, ‘Louis the Pious as Miles Christi. The Dedicatory Image in Hrabanus Maurus’s De Laudibus Sanctae Crucis’, in P. Godman and R. Collins, eds, Charlemagne’s Heir: New Perspectives on the Reign of Louis the Pious (814-840) (Oxford, 1990), pp. 605-28, esp. 622-3. For Lazius the cartographer of Austria see W. Goffart, Historical Atlases. The First Three Hundred Years, 1570-1870 (Chicago, 2003), pp. 26, 45 n. 52, with references.  

No comments:

Post a Comment