BOOK I

THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF ORDERICUS VITALIS.

BOOK I. [1]

CHAPTER I.

Birth of Christ-Chronology of the event.

THE Almighty Word, by whom God the Father created all things, is the true vine: and the Lord of the household who planted this vine cultivates the vineyard- that is, holy church- by means of the labourers sent into it, from dawn of day to the eleventh hour, that he may gather from it abundant fruit. He never ceases tending this vine, and propagating its magnificent branches throughout every region of the world. He, indeed, the true King of ages, the true High Priest of good things to come, the true Prophet, and the Lord of men and angels, ineffably "anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows", the Angel of the covenant of the Father's unfathomable counsels,- He (according to the oracles of the prophets, who, taught by the Holy Spirit, shone as stars in the


[1] Duchesne, in his edition, divided the history into three parts, one of which included the two first books, with the following title here prefixed: "The first part, containing short annals of affairs, from the incarnation of Christ to the year of our Lord, 1149, with the succession of emperors, kings, and Roman pontiffs". As however, this title is not found in the MS. of St. Evroult, and is omitted in the recent French edition, it is not inserted in the present text.

6 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

darkness of this world, and, like the cock which by his crowing awakes slumbering man before day-break, foretold the mysteries of the Lord's advent) chose for his mother, among many thousand women, Mary, the royal virgin, descended from the house of king David, and wonderfully endowed with the fulness of grace. This blessed Virgin, thus adorned with distinguished virtues, having been miraculously espoused to that just man, Joseph, saluted by the archangel Gabriel, and overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, conceived without sin, and brought forth without pain, on the eighth of the calends of January (25th of December), the Saviour, who was the desire of all nations. Thus our Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, a city of Juda, at the time of the first census, when Cirinus [1] was governor of Syria, according to the order of all the prophecies which had announced his coming. Glorious signs, as the sacred oracles relate, appeared in heaven at the birth of Christ, and the angels with pious thanksgivings for the salvation of man, sang: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men"! Thus, in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Augustus, twenty-eight years after the deaths of Cleopatra and Anthony, when Egypt became a Roman province, in the third year of the 193rd olympiad, and 752 years after the foundation of Rome, that is to say, at the time when Octavianus Caesar, having restored order among all the nations of the earth, and, by God's providence, established a most firm and secure peace, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, consecrated by his advent the sixth age of the world. From the creation to the birth of Christ, we reckon 3952 years, according to the correct Hebrew chronology; after the computation of Isidore, bishop of Seville, and some other doctors, there are 5154 years; again, according to the calculation of Eusebius of Caesarea and Saint Jerome, we find 5231 years between the birth of Adam and the eighteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, when Christ suffered on the cross.

Let the whole multitude of believers rejoice in the Holy Spirit, unceasingly adoring the eternal Creator, and offering


[1] P. Sulpicius Quirinus.

[2] Luke ii. 1-14.

CHAP. II.] CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST.

with their whole hearts a sacrifice of praise to Him, who appointed his only Son, co-eternal and consubstantial with himself and the Holy Spirit, to take upon him our flesh and redeem the servant of sin from a well-merited death by the undeserved death of his own Son! For our merciful Maker, who had fashioned man after his own image and similitude, was grieved at his fall, and decreed, in his secret and unfathomable counsels, that his Son, co-equal with himself, should visit the condemned servant in prison, and lovingly bring back man on his own shoulders from captivity to the flock, and heartily rejoice the nine orders of angels by the re-establishment of their number.

CHAPTER II.

Circumcision of Christ - Offering of the wise men.

THUS, the Son of God, made man, remained what he was, and took upon him what he was not, without confusion or division of substance; but ruling all things, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, by his divinity, and enduring all the infirmities of our flesh by the assumption of humanity. The law which he had given by Moses, he kept inviolate; and, himself a lawgiver, fulfilled all righteousness. Thus, on the eighth day, he was circumcised, and on the fortieth, was presented to his Father in the temple, with the legal offering. [1]

Although the Virgin Mother wrapped her divine Son in swaddling clothes, although tight bandages swathed his feet and hands, although the tender infant, concealed within a narrow manger, uttered the cries of that human misery which it was the will of the Father that he should take upon himself; yet the High God was manifested by a new star appearing in the heavens, and the eastern Magi, thus guided, sought for him at Bethlehem, found him cradled in a manger, and worshipped him as God. The wise men then opened their treasures, and presented to Christ three costly presents, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, thus proclaiming


[1] Luke ii. 21, 24.

8 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

him King of kings, true God, and mortal man. The first fruits of the election of the Gentiles were consecrated in those who hastened to Christ in Bethlehem from Saba, and from other nations scattered through the world. Being warned by an angel in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed, rejoicing, into their own country another way. [1]

When the days of her purification were accomplished, the holy Virgin Mother presented herself in the temple, and, offering the child to God his Father, Simeon, that just and devout man, took him up in his arms. Although bowed with age, he rejoiced in God, because he had now before his eyes the long-expected Saviour of the nations, revealed to him by the Holy Ghost; he took him in his hands, announced to the people that he was the Master of life and death, and blessed him before the admiring multitude who leaped for joy.

Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, came into the temple at that moment rejoicing; this widow, endowed with every virtue, knew that Christ was there, and announced to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem, that the Saviour was come. His parents offered for him the sacrifice of a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons,- a figure of the spotless purity and the gentle simplicity of the church. [2]

Behold, then, how not only the angels in heaven, but also mortals of every age and of both sexes, gave their testimony to the Lord born in the flesh. The Virgin Mary, conceived by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, brought forth her child, suckled him, and, by his aid, effectually ministered to all his wants. John, leaping for joy in his mother's womb, saluted the Lord, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, spoke three times in prophetic language of the Messiah and his mother. The angels glorified God who had become incarnate for the redemption of man, rejoicing to see us redeemed and added to their number. The shepherds, instructed by the angelic visitation, hasten to Bethlehem and search in a stable for the living bread which comes down from heaven; they find Him who rules the heavens,


[1] Matt. ii. 1-12.

[2] Luke ii. 22-38.

CHAP. III.] BAPTISM OF CHRIST. 9

an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. The hearts of the shepherds, when they heard from the heralds the tidings of Christ, were filled with joy and wonder. Zacharias and Simeon, both righteous men, at the end of their earthly career, confess their belief in Christ, and predict his future history; and the blessed Anna, bending with years, partakes of their love of Christ. [1]

But, while the righteous were rejoicing with exceeding great joy, the impious Herod, hearing strange rumours, was troubled, and commanded that all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, should be slain. When, therefore, Joseph had taken Jesus and his immaculate mother into Egypt, the fury of Herod vented itself in the massacre of the infants, and the fields of Bethlehem were watered with the blood of the innocents. [2] But Christ received into his own mansions those who were slain in his stead, where they enjoy everlasting felicity.

CHAPTER III.

Christ's baptism.

OUR Saviour dwelt on the earth thirty-two years and three months, but he was without sin, and spake no guile; and he alone among the dead was found free from guilt. At the beginning of his thirtieth year, he went down to the river Jordan, received the sacrament of baptism at the hands of John, and by so doing, sanctified the waters, and set his disciples an example of the most perfect humility. While Jesus was praying after his baptism, the heavens were opened unto him, and the Holy Ghost was seen to descend upon him in a bodily shape like a dove, and the voice of his Father was heard from heaven: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". [3] John indeed deserves the first place among them that are born of women, for Christ placed himself in his hands to be


[1] Luke i. 41-80; ii. 25-40.

[2] Matt. ii. 3-18.

[3] Matt. iii. 13, 16, 17; Mark i. 9-11; Luke iii. 21, 22; John i. 29-33.

10 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

baptised, the invisible Spirit showed itself to him in a visible shape, and God the Father proclaimed from heaven his Son to him. Thus the mystery of the Trinity was manifested to the blessed forerunner in our Saviour's baptism.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the twelfth year of his age, was found in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, not teaching them, but asking them questions. He was baptized at the age of thirty, and thenceforth proved his divine mission by miracles. During the space of three years He performed miracles and taught his disciples. [1] This triennial period shadows forth the sacrament of our baptism, by means of faith in the Holy Trinity, and the operation of the legal decalogue. Our divine Lawgiver also teaches men, by his example, that they should not venture to speak in public or preach at too early an age, or eagerly covet preferment; but be content to wait humbly for the proper and appointed time for their admission to the priesthood, or the office of teaching.

CHAPTER IV.

Chronology of Christ's ministry.

IT is now my purpose to examine the series of our Lord's miracles recorded in the four gospels, giving a faithful compendium which may serve easily to recall them to the mind. I shall trace the succession of events as the four evangelists have related them, and, by His help who makes eloquent the tongues of infants, I hope to sum them up in a short account. As I have determined to give a correct chronography, it is right that I should begin with endeavouring diligently to fix exact dates, as the holy evangelists, and other historians, long ago supplied them in their writings.

Octavianus Caesar Augustus, nephew of Caius Julius Casar by his sister Octavio, succeeded his uncle as the second emperor of Rome, and reigned fifty-six years and six


[1] Luke ii. 42, 46; iii. 23.

CHAP. IV.] SUCCESSION OF HIGH PRIESTS. 11

months; [1] in the forty-second year of whose reign Christ was born. Tiberius Caesar, the step-son of Augustus, being the son of his wife Livia by a former husband, reigned twenty-three years; in his eighteenth year Christ redeemed the world by suffering on the cross. [2] After the death of Herod, the son of Antipater of Ascalon, who for twenty-four years usurped the throne of Judea, his son Archelaus exercised his tyrannical authority over the Jews for the space of ten years; St. Matthew tells us that Joseph, after his return from Egypt in obedience to the commands of the angel, being afraid of Archelaus, turned aside into Galilee with the child and his mother, and dwelt at Nazareth. [3] But Archelaus, on account of his intolerable cruelty, being accused by the Jews before Augustus, was deprived of power and banished for life to Vienne, a town of Gaul, where he died. [4] In order to weaken the kingdom of Judea, Augustus divided it into tetrarchates for the brothers of Archelaus. Moreover, Pilate, in the twelfth year of the reign of Tiberius, was sent into Judea, to undertake the government of that country; he remained there for ten consecutive years until about the time of the death of the emperor. Herod, Philip, and Lysanias, as St. Luke relates, shared the government of Judea with Pilate; they were the sons of the elder Herod, during whose reign the Lord came into the world. [5]

The whole period of our Lord's teaching on earth was confined within the space of four years. During that time, as Josephus tells us, after Annas was deposed, the following Jewish high priests succeeded each other: Ismael, son of Baffus; Eleazar, son of the high priest Ananias; Simon, son


[1] Augustus only reigned in reality from the time of the battle of Actium (Sept. 2, A.U.C. 723) until his death (Aug. 19, 767). The general opinion is, that we ought to place the birth of Jesus Christ in 749, and consequently in the 27th year of this reign.

[2] Tiberius reigned twenty-two years and about seven months (17 Aug. 14-16 March, 37). The death of Jesus Christ happened the spring of A.D. 33, and consequently in the nineteenth year of this reign.

[3] Matt ii. 22, 23.

[4] Herod the Great was born at Ascalon in Judea, in the year 71, B.C.; he reigned thirty-seven years after he was raised to the throne by the Senate, and died at the age of sixty-eight. Archelaus reigned from A.U.C. 750 until 759.

[5] Luke iii. 1.

12 ORDERICUS [BOOK I.

of Canufus; and Joseph Caiaphas, who prophesied that Jesus "should die for the people". [1] Eusebius of Caesarea, reckoning from the sixth year of the reign of Darius, who succeeded Cyrus and Cambyses, when the works of the temple were finished, until the period of Herod and Augustus, finds in Daniel seven and forty-two weeks, which make 483 years to the time when Christus, that is to say, Hircanus, the last high priest of the family of the Maccabees, was killed by Herod, and the succession of the high priests, according to the law, ceased. But St. Hippolytus reckons 230 years as the time that the kingdom of the Persians lasted, and 300 years as the duration of that of the Macedonians, and then thirty years until Christ; that is to say, he computes 560 years from the commencement of the reign of Cyrus, king of the Persians, until the advent of our Lord. Enlightened by these researches on the succession of ages, the studious reader will understand that the Sun of Righteousness rose in the sixth age, at the first hour of the century. I shall, therefore, begin my intended work with the history of our Lord, in whose almighty goodness I put my whole confidence, invoking his assistance in faith, that what I have begun I may finish worthily to his praise.

CHAPTER V.

Christ's temptation.

JESUS, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan into Galilee, and there, on the third day, he and his disciples were called to the marriage in Cana. When they wanted wine, at the request of his mother, he ordered six water-pots to be filled with water, and when he had turned this water into wine, he commanded the


[1] John xviii. 14. "Neither the names nor dates are given correctly. Ismael, son of Fabi, not of Baffus; Eleazar, son of Annas or Ananus; and Simon, son of Camith, not Canufe, were high priests in the years 23, 24, and 25 of Jesus Christ. Joseph Caiphas succeeded them in the 25th year; consequently it was during his pontificate only that the gospel was preached".- Le Prevost.

CHAP. V.] TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. 13

servants to bear it to the governor of the feast. By this beginning of miracles Jesus manifested forth his glory to his disciples, and pointed out the alteration in the carnal meaning of the old law, which by the grace of the Holy Spirit he transformed into newness of life. [1]

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, who was astonished at seeing in him the man of incomparable righteousness. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and thus taught us by his example how the just may overcome the whole race of demons by fasting and prayer. The old serpent had overcome the first Adam by his appetite, vain glory, and unlawful desires; he made use of other stratagems to tempt the second Adam, by whom he was repulsed three times; he fled, and, behold, angels came and ministered to the Son of God, who will reward in paradise with eternal felicity the conquerors of Satan. [2]

Our Lord, with his mother and his brethren, went down to Capernaum, and continued there not many days. From thence, when the time of the Jews' passover was at hand, he went up to Jerusalem, and entered into the temple, where he found those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the money-changers sitting; all these he drove out, in a wonderful manner. [3]

At the passover, on the feast-day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. Then a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night, desiring to confer with him secretly. He was therefore worthy of being instructed in the efficacy of baptism, regeneration by water and the Spirit, how Christ was to descend into hell and ascend into heaven, the typical lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, and the unmerited passion of the Son of man. [4]

After these things, the Lord came into Judea, and there tarried with his disciples, and performed many wonderful miracles of healing. But John was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because there was much water there; and


[1] Luke iv. 1; John ii. 1-11.

[2] Matt. iv. 1-11; Mark i. 12, 13; Luke iv. 1-13.

[3] Matt. xxi. 12; Mark xi. 15; Luke xix. 45; John ii. 12-17.

[4] John ii. 23; iii. 1-3, 5, 13, 14, 16.

14 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

gave a true testimony in answer to tho inquiries of his disciples and the Jews concerning Christ. Then Jesus left Judea, and departed again into Galilee, passing through Samaria. [1] In a city of Samaria, which is called Sichar, near to the parcel of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph, there was a well called Jacob's well. Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat on the well, about the sixth hour, and held a mystical conversation with a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans receiving the Saviour with joy, besought him that he would tarry with them, and he abode there two days; and many devout persons believed on him. [2] From thence Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee; and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. [3]

At Nazareth he went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, to read; and, standing up, he unrolled the book of the prophet Isaiah, [4] and found the place where this prophecy is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor". When he had closed the book, he gave it again to the minister, and sat down, saying: "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears"; and all wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. Jesus himself testified that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. That this assertion was true he proved by many examples, drawn from the Old Testament, saying- "Many widows were in Israel, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto a woman of Sarepta; many lepers were left in want and affliction, and none of them was cleansed in Jordan by Eliseus the prophet, saving Naaman the Syrian". All they in the synagogue, when they heard the words of the Lord, were filled with wrath. Confirming the truth he had spoken by a sacrilegious act, they rose up against him, and in their fury thrust out of the city the chief Physician of souls, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city


[1] John iii. 22-36; iv. 3, 4.

[2] John iv. 5-42.

[3] Matt iv. 12; Mark 14, 28; Luke iv. 14, 15; John iv. 3, 43-45.

[4] Luke iv. 17.

CHAP. VI.] CHRIST PREACHING AT GALILEE. 15

was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way, and came down to Capernaum. [1]

Jesus returned to Cana of Galilee, and a ruler, whose son was sick at Capernaum, besought him as he was coming out of Judaea into Galilee, that he would come down and heal his son. Then said Jesus unto him: "Go thy way; thy son liveth". The sick man immediately recovered; the father believed the word that Jesus had spoken, returned to his home the next day, and there found his son in perfect health, to the great joy of his family; and learning what had happened, himself believed and his whole house. This, as St. John says, is "the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee". [2]

CH. VI. Christ's preaching in Galilee.

WHEN Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he left Nazareth, which signifies a flower, and dwelt in Capernaum, a name that means a beautiful city, and signifies the Church. Now Nazareth, which gave the surname of Nazarene to Christ, is a small town in Galilee, near Mount Thabor. But Capernaum is a strong city in "Galilee of the Gentiles", situate near the lake Gennesareth, "in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthali", where the Hebrews were first made captives by the Assyrians. [3]

From that time, that is to say, after that John was put in prison, Jesus began to preach, because the voice being uttered, the word follows, and the law ceasing the gospel follows, as the sun succeeds the dawn of day. "Repent", said he, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand".

Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw Simon Peter, and Andrew his brother, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, and calling them, they straightway left their nets and followed him. Simon means obedient- Peter, grateful- Andrew, strong or manly- James, supplanter- John, grace of God. These interpretations are very well suited to the characters of these holy preachers. For without obedience no one comes to God; without fortitude no one can persevere;


[1] Matt. iv. 12-16; Mark i. 21, 22; Luke iv. 16-31; John iv. 44; Isaiah lxi. 1.

[2] John iv. 46-54.

[3] Matt. iv. 12-16; Mark i. 21.

16 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

and he who supplants vices ascribes all the good he possesses to the grace of God. [1]

Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease, among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria, a country extending from the Euphrates to the great sea, from Cappadocia to Egypt. They brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases, both of the mind and body, and torments, that is to say, acute sufferings, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. [2]

Great multitudes therefore followed him from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan. In doing this they were actuated by different motives; some went to Jesus as disciples, on account of his heavenly mission; others, to be cured of their infirmities; others, hearing the favourable reports that were spread abroad, and which excited their curiosity, wished to know by experience if all that was said of him were true; some followed him from envy, wishing "to catch him in his words", and accuse him; others, again, for the sake of obtaining food for the body. [3]

Jesus, seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him. He, who in ancient times had given utterance to the prophets, now opened his own lips to preach to them a long discourse, full of all perfection, in which he beautifully and profitably instructed and enlightened the apostles. Thus he who had given the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, now taught his disciples in Galilee, on Mount Thabor, and implanted in their hearts the principles of perfect righteousness. He discoursed fully on the eight beatitudes, and the other commandments of the law, which he came not to "destroy, but to fulfil"; telling them that the precepts of the new law were more strict than those of the Old Testament, as they required men to love even their enemies; that alms


[1] Matt. iv. 17-22; Mark i. 14-20; Luke v. 1-11.

[2] Matt. iv. 23, 24; Luke iv. 40-44.

[3] Matt. iv. 25; Mark iii. 7, 8; Luke vi. 17-19.

CHAP. VI.] SERMON ON THE MOUNT. 17

were to be given in secret; and he laid down many other rules of a perfect life. This true Teacher of teachers concluded his incomparable discourse, by remarking on the treasure to be laid up in heaven; that no man can serve two masters; on the fowls of the air, and the lilies of the field; the mote and the beam in the eye; on casting your pearls before swine; on our entry into life through the strait gate; that we must beware of false prophets; and that we must build our house upon a rock. [1]

When Jesus had ended these words of perfection, the multitudes were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them like God, who has authority over all things, and not as the Scribes and Pharisees, who were the blind slaves of the law of Moses, and could only teach the little they were capable of understanding. [2]

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And a leper worshipping him, and beseeching him to cure him of his leprosy, the Saviour touched him with his hand, and immediately made him clean, commanding him to go and shew himself to the priests, and to "offer the gifts required by the law". In which command the necessity of confession and penance for sin is implied. [3]

At Capernaum he approved the faith of the centurion and, at his entreaty, healed, by a word only, his servant who lay at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. [4] On a sabbath day, while he was teaching in the synagogue, a man possessed with a devil cried out: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God". And Jesus rebuked him, saying: "Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, he came out of him"; and the man was healed, to the great amazement of all those who were present. [5]

And forthwith, when he was come out of the synagogue, he entered into the house of Simon, where he saw Simon's


[1] Matt. v. 1-48; vi. 1-34; vii. 3, 6, 13-15, 29; Luke vi. 20-49.

[2] Matt. vii. 28, 29; Mark i. 22; Luke iv. 32.

[3] Matt. viii. 1-4; Mark i. 40-44; Luke v. 12-19.

[4] Matt. viii. 5-13; Luke vii. 1-10.

[5] Mark i. 23-28; Luke iv. 33-36.

18 ORDERICUS VITALIS. BOOK I.

wife's mother lying sick of a fever. At the request of her friends, he "took her by the hand, and immediately the fever left her"; and she arose in perfect health, and thankfully ministered to her divine Physician. [1]

At even, when the sun was setting, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils, and sick of divers diseases, and the true Physician "laid his hands on every one of them, cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick". By the setting of the sun the death of our Lord was foreshadowed; which happened when the Gentiles were delivered from the power of Satan, through faith, and when those who were sick with the disease of sin were healed by the remedy of a reformed life. [2]

CH. VII. Christ at the sea of Galilee.

WHEN Jesus saw great multitudes about him, late in the evening, he commanded his disciples to go over unto the other side of the lake; and when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. It was but right that, as he had performed miracles upon the land, he should exhibit the same power upon the water, in order to prove himself master both of the earth and the sea. As soon, therefore, as he had got on board, he caused the sea to be greatly agitated, the winds to blow, and the waves to rise. His body was indeed asleep, but his mind remained awake; and when this tempest arose, his disciples awoke him, saying: "Lord, save us; we perish". Then he arose, commanded the winds and the sea to be still, and there was a great calm. [3]

This does the same Emmanuel exert his power every day on the troubled sea of the world, while the vessel of his church is tossed about by the storms of so many different tribulations, and its safety is almost endangered by the extremity of the peril to which it is exposed. But when he is invoked with faith and tears by his true followers, he soon listens to their prayers for succour, and helps them in a marvellous manner, by virtue of his divine nature, presently removing the


[1] Matt. viii. 14, 15; Mark i. 29-31; Luke iv. 38, 39.

[2] Matt. viii. 16, 17; Mark i. 32-34; Luke iv. 40, 41.

[3] Matt. viii. 18, 23-27; Mark iv. 35-39; Luke viii. 22-24.

CHAP. VII.] THE HERD OF SWINE. 19

trials which beset them, and strengthening them with his arm.

When he had crossed the lake to come into the country of the Gergesenes, two men possessed with devils, exceedingly fierce, came out of the tombs, and running up to him, cried out: "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine". And he said unto them, "Go". Then the devils immediately entered into the swine, and cast the whole herd into the lake. In this manner a herd of about two thousand swine, driven into the sea by a legion of devils, was drowned; and they that kept them fled, and coming into the city, told everything. The Gergesenes, seeing how the two men had been healed, and their swine cast into the sea, were beyond measure affrighted; and foolishly came forth from their city to beseech the Lord that he would depart out of their coasts. [1]

Gerasa is a town in Arabia, [2] beyond Jordan, close to Mount Gilead; it belonged to the tribe of Manasses, and is at no great distance from the sea of Tiberias, in which the swine were drowned. The name signifies ejecting the inhabitants; or, the stranger approaching; in allusion to the Gentiles, whom the Son of God came into the world to save, when he had clothed himself with human flesh. The two men whom the legion of devils had possessed, represent two nations, the Jews and the Gentiles, who were governed by the whole "body of sins". They lived in tombs, because they were the servants of dead works, that is to say, of sin. The impotence of Satan is plainly manifested in this circumstance, that he was not even able to injure the swine without the permission of God. It is worthy of notice, that, while those who are predestinated to eternal life turn to the Lord, and, by the use of a sound understanding, save themselves; filthy and proud


[1] Matt. viii. 28-34; Mark v. 1-17; Luke viii. 26-37. Ordericus calls these people "Geraseni"; Mark and Luke, "Gadarenes"; St. Matthew, "Gergasenes".

[2] Jerash was in the Decapolis, and formed the eastern boundary of Petrĉa. Origen calls it a city of Arabia.- Kitto. This town must not be confounded with Gadara, the capital of Petrĉa.

20 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

idolaters, and all reprobate men who cleave to their wickedness, here designated by the word swine, are condemned to live polluted in the stagnant pond of their foul deeds.

Jesus entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into Capernaum. While he was there, so great a multitude came to him to hear his word that they filled the house where he was. Then four men brought to him one afflicted with the palsy; and having uncovered the roof of the house, they let down before Jesus the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay. Our merciful Lord, perceiving the faith of the bearers, forgave the sins of the paralytic man, and said to him, although the Scribes were murmuring against him: "Arise, take up thy bed, and go thy way unto thine house". And immediately he arose, took up his bed before them all, and returned to his own home. [1]

As Jesus passed forth from thence, he called to him a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom; the man followed him, and from the mean station of a publican was raised to the high office of an apostle and an evangelist. As Jesus sat at meat in the house of Levi, the Pharisees murmured, and spoke to him in reproachful terms, because he ate with publicans and sinners; but the benign Teacher, perceiving their evil thoughts, uttered this useful maxim: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance". [2] Our Lord frequented the society of sinners, in order that, by teaching his hosts, be might invite and lead them to the heavenly feast.

When Jesus was talking with the disciples of John, and was rebuked by the Pharisees, because his own disciples did not fast like the followers of John, he drew a suitable comparison from the example of the children of the bridechamber, who could not mourn as long as the bridegroom was with them; from the story of the piece of new cloth, which must not be joined to an old garment; and of the new wine, which must not be put into old


[1] Matt. ix. 1-7; Mark ii. 3-12; Luke v. 18-26.

[2] Matt. ix. 9-13; Mark ii. 14-17; Luke v. 27-32. "Our author seems to be ignorant of the fact that Matthew and Levi are the same person".- Le Prevost.

CHAP. VII.] JAIRUS'S DAUGHTER RAISED. 21

bottles. [1] He thus proves that the severe observances of the new law are not to be required of carnal men who have not yet been regenerated, until it be plainly manifest that this spiritual renovation has taken place in them, through the mystery of the passion and resurrection of our Lord.

While Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came near him, threw himself at his feet, and worshipped him, saying: "Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live". The good Physician arose, and immediately followed him. But a great multitude surrounded and pressed upon him, and a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, and had spent all her living upon physicians (by which term are meant the false theologians or philosophers, and the doctors of the secular laws), neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment; for she said within herself: "If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole". But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said: "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole". And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she was made whole. And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, he said: "Give place; for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth". And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went into the chamber, but suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden; and he took the damsel by the hand, and commanded her to arise, and that something should be given her to eat. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. [2] Jairus, whose name signifies illuminating, or illuminated, represents Moses and the other doctors of the law; the damsel, about twelve years of age, is the symbol of the synagogue; the woman with the issue of blood is the emblem of the church of the Gentiles, which had before received the faith through Christ, and was graciously saved from the corruptions of idolatry and carnal pleasures. Lastly: as the young maiden is said


[1] Matt. ix. 14-17; Mark ii. 18-22; Luke v. 33-39. Utres, "wine-bags".

[2] Matt. ix. 18-26; Mark v. 21-43; Luke viii. 40-55.

22 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

to have come to life again by the command of the Lord, in the same way will Israel at last be saved, when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Jesus departing thence, two blind men followed him, crying: "Thou Son of David, have mercy on us". And when he was come into the house, he touched their eyes, and they again saw the light of heaven. [1]

As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man, possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake; and the multitudes marvelled, saying, "It was never so seen in Israel". But the Pharisees said, "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils". [2]

The multitudes sought Jesus in the desert place, and when they had found him they wished to stay him, that he should not depart from them. [3]

As the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, Jesus entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land, into the lake of Genesareth. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, who had toiled all the night in vain: "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught". And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, and their net brake with the weight. [4]

In those days he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples; and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named Apostles, that is to say, "sent". Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; Simon Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew; James, the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. [5]

The sacred number of the apostles is not free from mystery; for the number twelve designates those who were to preach faith in the Holy Trinity throughout the four


[1] Matt. ix. 27-31.

[2] Matt. ix. 32-34.

[3] Mark i. 35-37; Luke iv. 42.

[4] Luke v. 1-6.

[5] Matt. x. 1-4; Mark iii. 13-19; Luke vi. 12-16.

CHAP. VIII.] THE WIDOW'S SON RESTORED TO LIFE. 23

quarters of the world. The quartenary number tripled makes the number twelve, which figure was often used before for many purposes. The apostles are represented by the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve princes of the people of Israel, the twelve springs found in Elim, the twelve jewels of the priest's vestment, the twelve loaves of shew-bread, the twelve spies sent by Moses, the twelve stones of the altar, the twelve stones taken out of the river Jordan, the twelve oxen that supported the brazen sea, the twelve stars in the crown of the bride, and the twelve foundations and twelve gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, described in the book of Revelation. They were prefigured by many other signs excellently adapted to make known to the nations the mysteries of God.

CH. VIII. The widow's son raised.

THE glorious Emmanuel went about all Galilee, preaching the gospel in all the villages, towns, and cities, that is to say, both to small and great, without respect of persons. He did not regard the power of the nobles, but the salvation of believers; and, after his teaching, sweet as honey, he healed every sickness and every disease, that those whom his discourses could not persuade, might be convinced by the greatness of his works. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and lay down, as sheep having no shepherd. He therefore called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them power to cast out unclean spirits, and to heal all manner of sickness; and he said to them, "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses; nor scrip for your journey; neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves". [1] Their heavenly Master gave them many more profitable admonitions, which his faithful historians, Matthew and Luke, have handed down to us in their writings.

Jesus went into a city of Galilee, called Nain, which is situate not far from Endor, about two miles south of


[1] Matt. ix. 35, 36; x. 1, 7-10; Mark vi. 6-9.

24 ORDERICUS VITALIS. BOOK I.

Mount Thabor. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, surrounded by a great multitude, they were carrying out the corpse of a young man, who was the only son of a widow; and when the Lord saw her weeping, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, "Weep not". And he came and touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still, and he said to the dead man, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise"! And he immediately revived, and sitting up began to speak; and the Giver of life delivered him to his mother in perfect health. And there came a fear on all who witnessed this miracle, [1] it being the will of God that a great multitude should follow the Lord; and much people accompany the widow, in order that, there being many witnesses of this great miracle, many might be found to give praise to God.

Now when John had heard, in Herod's prison, the works of Christ, he sent from thence two of his disciples, that they might diligently inquire of the wisdom of God, what were the secrets of the divine will. And when the messengers of John were departed, Jesus began to say many things concerning the greatness of John, and likened the generation of the Jews to children sitting in the market-place. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not on hearing him preach. Hitherto he had reproved the whole Jewish race in common, but now he reprimanded each of their cities by name, especially Chorazin, that is to say, my mystery; Bethsaida, that is to say, the house of fruits; and Capharnaum, because they would not be converted when they saw these signs and mighty works. [2]

After this Jesus returned thanks to God his Father, because he had hid his secrets from the wise men of this world, but had revealed them unto babes. [3]

When the Pharisees reproved his disciples, because, as they went on the sabbath day through the corn-fields, they plucked the ears of corn and did eat, rubbing them in their hands; our Saviour excused them, inasmuch as they had followed the example set by David and Abiathar


[1] Luke vii. 11-16.

[2] Matt. xi. 2-24; Luke vii. 18-32; x. 13-15.

[3] Matt. xi. 25; Luke x. 21.

CHAP. VIII.] PARABLES OF CHRIST.

the high priest, saying: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Therefore, the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath".

On another sabbath he entered into the synagogue, and healed a man whose right hand was withered. But the Pharisees, moved with envy at the glory Jesus had gained by his many miracles, went out straightway and took counsel with the Herodians against him how they might destroy him. Wherefore Jesus withdrew himself thence, and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb, and he healed him, insomuch that he both spake and saw. But when the Scribes and Pharisees wished to depreciate the works of Christ, by a false interpretation, desiring him to show them a sign from heaven, he spoke to them words of profound wisdom and spiritual comfort, by which he reproved the wicked and taught the good. He told them that to an evil generation no sign should be given, but the sign of the prophet Jonas, and he set before them, in comparison with themselves, the queen of the south, who came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and the Ninevites who repented. [2]

When his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him, he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said: "Whoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother". [3]

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea-side, and great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and spake many things in parables unto the multitude that stood on the shore. From the husbandman, who went forth to sow, he took occasion to show the similarity of his own labours; and of the seed itself, part perished, because some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down and the fowls of the air devoured it; some fell upon stony places, and some


[1] Matt. xii. 1-8; Mark ii. 23-28; Luke vi. 1-5.

[2] Matt. xii. 9-42; Mark iii. 1-10; Luke vi. 6-11; xi. 14-32.

[3] Matt. xii. 46 - 50; Mark iii. 31-35; Luke viii. 19-21.

26 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

among thorns, and was choked by divers accidents; but other fell on good ground, and yielded much fruit. What these things mean, I shall explain in a few sentences: The seed is the word of God; the sower is Christ; the birds are the demons; the way is a depraved mind, worn and dried up by the continual circulation of evil thoughts; the rock represents the hardness of a reprobate soul; the good ground represents the gentleness of an obedient spirit, but the sun the heat of a cruel persecution; the thorns are the hearts of those who are tormented by the desire to become rich; the good ground is a devout and faithful soul which brings forth fruit, some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold. [1] He who, in all his actions, has eternity constantly in view, bears fruit an hundred-fold; he that bears fruit sixty-fold performs works perfected by sound doctrine, signified by the numbers six and ten; the fruit increased thirty-fold typifies faith with sound doctrine, by the numbers three and ten. Or in other words: the fruit multiplied a hundred-fold, recalls to our mind the virgins and martyrs, either in their sanctity of life or contempt of death; [2] the fruit multiplied sixty times is that of widows, on account of the internal calm which they enjoy, because they have not to struggle against the desires of the flesh. It is the custom to allow persons of sixty years of age to repose after their warfare. But the fruit multiplied thirty-fold is that of married people; because this is the age fit for contending with the world.

After this, the true Prophet, seeing the multitudes that were gathered together unto him, spake other parables unto them, of the good seed that was sown and the tares, of the grain of mustard seed, and of the leaven which the woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Our Saviour, sitting in the boat, is like a rich master of a house, who refreshes his guests with different


[1] Matt. xiii. 1-23; Mark iv. 1, 20; Luke viii. 4-15.

[2] This passage is extracted from St. Augustine, Quaest. Evang. lib. i. quaest. 9; but the word societatem here introduced into the text of Ordericus Vitalis is a corruption for either sanctitatem or satietatem, both of which are found in MSS. of St. Augustine. The former of these readings is here adopted.

CHAP. IX.] MARY MAGDALENE. 27

kinds of food, that each of them may take those which his stomach requires. So our Lord makes use of different parables, that he may suit the diverse tastes of his hearers. [1]

Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house; and when his disciples questioned him on the subject, be expounded to them the parable of the tares. He also, at the same time, added and explained to them the figurative meaning of the parables of the treasure hid in a field; of the merchantman and the pearl; and of the nets cast into the sea. From thence he came into his own country, and taught them in their synagogues, insomuch that all were astonished. [2]

CH. IX. Mary Magdalene- St. John, beheaded- Miracle of the loaves and fishes.

WHEN our Saviour, invited by a Pharisee, was eating in his house, a woman, which was a sinner, began to wash his feet with her tears, as he sat at the table, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and anointed them with ointment. All the things that she had unlawfully made use of when leading a life of sin, she now in her repentant state sacrificed entirely to God; all the seductions she possessed in herself, she now converted into offerings to heaven. The Pharisee, swelling with false righteousness, rebuked the sick woman for her infirmity, and the Physician for affording her relief. Hence arose the parable of the two debtors; and the man was convicted by his own admission, like the madman who carries the cord with which he is to be bound. The Judge, to whose eyes the most secret things are naked and open, noted the deserts of the penitent sinner, and rebuked the wickedness of the unjust Pharisee. He then forgave the sins of Mary, because, as he himself testified, she loved much; saying to her: "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace". [3]

While the Lord and his disciples were thus preaching, certain women, that is to say, Mary, called Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Chusa, Herod's steward, and Susanna, with many others, inspired by God, followed him and ministered


[1] Matt. xiii. 24, 35; Mark iv. 26-33; Luke xiii. 18-21.

[2] Matt. xiii. 36-58; Mark iv. 34; vi. 1-6.

[3] Luke vii. 36-50; Hebrews iv. 13.

28 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

unto him of their substance. It was a custom among the Jews, and was not considered wrong, for women, according to this national institution, to furnish their teachers with food and raiment. This custom, St. Paul tells us, he rejected, because he feared it might be an occasion of scandal to the Gentiles. Susanna signifies, a lily; Joanna, the gracious, or merciful, Lord; Mary, the bitter sea; Magdalene, a tower. From the signification of these names, it may be clearly perceived what privileges are conferred upon the hand-maids of the Lord for their meritorious services. [1]

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He there healed, at the sheep-pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, a certain man, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. In the water of this pool the priests washed the flesh of the victims which they offered in sacrifice to God, according to the law. This pool had five porches, in which lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel of the Lord went down (at a certain season) into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first, after the troubling of the water, stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. At Christ's command, the man was immediately made whole, and took up his bed; and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews, therefore, beginning to murmur and blaspheme, Jesus, the wisdom of the Father, answering them, as St. John, the divine, relates, manifested the mysteries of his divinity in various ways, and bore a remarkable testimony to his shining light John, and to Moses. [2]

At that time Herod, the tetrarch, heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants: "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do spew forth themselves in him"! For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, whom he had taken from his brother Philip, and had married, in spite of the remonstrances of John. This cunning and adulterous king would have put to death the herald of truth, but he feared the multitude, because they treated the prophet of God with great veneration. Herod was also afraid of John, because he knew him


[1] Matt. xxvii. 55; Mark xv. 40, 41; Luke viii. 1-3.

[2] John v. 1-47.

CHAP. IX.] JOHN THE BAPTIST BEHEADED. 29

to be a just and holy man; but he was overcome by his passion for the woman, and God's righteous judgment so ordered it that the desire of the adulteress made him shed the blood of the holy prophet. Herod on his birth-day made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and when the daughter of Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. She, being before instructed by her perfidious mother, requested that he would give her in a charger the head of John the Baptist. The cruel king sent an executioner, and commanded him to cut off the head of the messenger of Christ, which was brought in a charger to the young woman, who was to be thus rewarded for her talent in dancing, and the viands were thus polluted with blood at this impure festival. But the disciples of John buried his body in Samaria, and coming to Jesus, told him all that had happened. Our Saviour, when he heard of the execution of John the Baptist, his servant, departed, and crossing the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias, retired into a desert place apart; not because he dreaded death, but because he wished to spare his enemies the crime of adding another murder to the one already committed, should the sight of his many miracles rouse their deadly zeal. [1] He, therefore chose to put off the day of his death until the time of the passover, and thus afford us an example of evading the sudden attacks of traitors.

When the people heard of his departure, they followed him on foot; and Jesus, seeing a great multitude, was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, he took five barley-loaves and two fishes, and, looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave them to his disciples to set before the multitude, whom he had previously commanded to sit down on the green grass. The apostles ministered to the wants of five thousand men, beside women and children, who did all eat and were filled; aud they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. [2] All these things are full of mysteries. Jesus leaves Judea, and comes into the desert


[1] Matt. xiv. 1-13; Mark vi. 14-32; Luke iii. 19, 20; ix. 7-10.

[2] Matt. xiv. 13-21; Mark vi. 33-44; Luke ix. 11-17; John vi. 1-13.

30 ORDERICUS [BOOK I.

of the Gentiles; the people follow him; moved with compassion, he heals their sick; he feeds them with the five barley-loaves of the Mosaic law, and with the two fishes, which are the figure of the prophets and of the psalms. He performed this miracle in the evening, signifying the close of time, when the Sun of righteousness set for us.

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said: "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world". When Jesus, therefore, perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king, be constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side of the sea; and when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray. When the evening was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves, and they toiled nearly the whole night in rowing, for the wind was contrary. In the fourth watch of the night, when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, he cometh unto them walking upon the sea; and when they saw him, they were troubled, because they supposed it had been a spirit, and they cried out for fear;- but straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying: "It is I; be not afraid". "Lord", said Peter, "if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water". And he said, "Come". And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and, beginning to sink, he cried, saying, "Lord, save me". And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, because he called to him in the hour of danger, and said unto him: "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt"? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased; and those, who saw this worshipped him, and confessed that he was the Son of God. [1]

It is necessary to remark that St. John describes the miracle of the loaves as having taken place near the time of the passover; but St. Matthew and St. Mark relate that it happened immediately after the beheading of St. John the Baptist; from which we may conclude that St. John was beheaded shortly before Easter, and that, in the year following,


[1] Matt. xiv. 22-33; Mark vi. 45-51; John vi. 14-21. .

CHAP. IX.] CHRIST FORSAKEN BY HIS DISCIPLES. 31

when the time of the passover was again at hand the mystery of the passion of our Lord was accomplished. Jesus with his disciples came into the land of Gennesareth, where he was received with joy by the men of that place, and he healed their sick. For the merciful kindness of their Saviour drew them to him; and they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased, and besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment; and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. [1]

In the same place he had many disputes with the scribes and Pharisees, which came from Jerusalem, and refuted the superstitious traditions of the elders. [2]

The multitudes took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus; and he said to them: "Verily, verily, I say unto you: Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed". These, and many other like things about the bread from heaven and eternal life, said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum; but the Jews, whose heart was of stone, did not understand them. They therefore said: "This is an hard saying". Many of his disciples, blinded by malice, began to murmur against him, and were so offended at his words that they went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve: "Will ye also go away"? Simon Peter answered him: "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe, and are sure that thou art Christ, the Son of God". [3]

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill - him. Then, as the historian St. John relates, his relations, who, in compliance with the Jewish custom, were called "his brethren", invited him to go with them to the feast of tabernacles, that he might show himself openly to the


[1] Matt. xiv. 34-36; Mark vi. 53-56.

[2] Matt. xv. 1-9; Mark vii. 1-13.

[3] John vi. 22-69.

32 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

world. And when they, who sought for worldly glory, set out on their journey, he abode still in Galilee. Now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up, and taught in the temple, and all the Jews marvelled at his doctrine. The Pharisees heard that the people differed in opinion respecting him, and sent officers to take him; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. [1] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. Many of the people, when they heard this saying, said: "Of a truth this is the Prophet". Others said: "This is the Christ". But some said: "Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was"? So there was a division among the people because of him. But the officers, who had been sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to take Jesus, when they heard his sayings, forgot the purpose for which they were sent, and returned without any accusation against him, but full of admiration. When, therefore, the cruel magistrates harshly demanded of their officers why they had not brought the Teacher of life bound before them, they, taught by divine inspiration, bore true testimony concerning the doctrine of Christ; for their answer to those who sent them was: "Never man spake like this man". And we must not be astonished at this, when we consider that he who spoke to them was both God and man. But as these proud rulers of the people endeavoured wickedly to suppress the truth, Nicodemus put a stop to their criminal efforts by the authority of the law; so that, their designs being frustrated, they returned home, void of faith, and without deriving any benefit from this conference. [2]

From thence Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives; and early in the morning he came again into the temple, where he sat down, and taught all the people that came


[1] John vii. 1-30.

[2] John vii. 37-53.

CHAP. IX.] THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY. 33

unto him. And they brought unto him a woman taken in adultery, who, though condemned by strict justice, was absolved by the sweetness of his mercy. Pharisaic craft had reckoned on ensnaring Christ, and lowering him in the eyes of the people, by exhibiting him as either harsh, or disregarding the law. For if he had condemned the accused woman, in obedience to the law of Moses, they would have charged him with cruelty, and taunted him with forgetting to show that mercy which he was continually preaching; and would thus have rendered him odious to the people by whom he was beloved. If, on the contrary, he had forbidden them to stone the adulteress, from a love of clemency, they would have accused him of being an enemy to the law and of encouraging crime. But he, the true Wisdom, broke the snares of these wicked men like the threads of a spider's web, in virtue of his supreme authority. He said unto them: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". In the first part of the sentence, we discover the feeling of a compassionate observer; in the second, the sentence of a just judge. Stooping down, he wrote on the ground with his finger, and his word, as a two-edged sword, pierced the conscience of these insidious men: thus he completely satisfied the severity of justice and the gentleness of mercy. At last these crafty questioners, struck with shame at the equity of the sentence pronounced, left the adulterous woman, and, beginning at the eldest, went out one by one. Then the Supreme Judge kindly lifted up the accused woman, thus left alone with him: "Go", he said unto her, "and sin no more". See how his mercy pardons past sins, while his justice forbids the presumption of sinning any more. [1]

In the treasury, Jesus spake unto them of his being the true light of the world, expatiated on the nature of liberty, on his own exaltation, on the servitude of sin, and on falsehood and truth. The enraged Jews, in answer to the blessed words of Christ, replied: "Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil". Notwithstanding, however, their injurious language, he replied with patience, instructed them with humility, and taught the knowledge of divine things to those who were to be saved. But they, becoming infuriated,


[1] John viii. 1-11.

31 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

collected. stones to cast at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple. [1]

CH. X. The pool of Siloam - The transfiguration.

As he passed by, seeing a man which was blind from his birth, he spat on the ground, and making clay of the spittle, anointed the eyes of the blind man, and said unto him: "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam". He went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing. This was done on a sabbath-day; and in consequence, a great division arose among the Jews. The man whose eyes were opened was cast out of the synagogue, because he bare witness to him from whom he had received his sight; but was afterwards recognized and received by him whom he loved with so much reason. Then Jesus related to them the parable of the door of the sheepfold, of the shepherd and his flock, and of the good pastor and the hireling. Many of the Jews received his words; but a great number, on the contrary, lightly rejected them. [2]

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon; where a woman of Canaan earnestly entreated him that he would heal her daughter, who was grievously vexed with a devil. His disciples besought him [to send her away]; but, after some hesitation, he granted her prayer, and having commended the faith and humility of the mother, freed the daughter from the power of the demon. [3]

And departing from the coasts of Tyre, the chief city of the Canaanites, he came by Sidon, a town of Phoenicia, unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. He there took aside from the multitude one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech, and, putting his fingers into his ears, he spat, and touched his tongue, and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said unto him: "Ephphatha", that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And those who were witnesses of this miracle were astonished, saying: "He hath done all things


[1] John viii. 12-59.

[2] John ix.; x. 1-21.

[3] Matt. xv. 21-23; Mark vii. 24-30.

CHAP. X.] MIRACLE OF THE LOAVES AND FISHES. 35

well; he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak". [1]

Jesus came nigh unto the sea of Galilee, and went up into a mountain, and taught the great multitudes that came unto him. And they cast at Jesus' feet those that were dumb, lame, blind, maimed, and many others, and he healed them; insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb speak, the lame walk, and the blind see. [2] In the same manner the Lord works spiritually in his holy church, and by his grace a multitude of sinners are saved every day. The dumb are those who refuse to sing praises to the Lord, and who do not confess a belief in him. The blind are those who do not understand, although they obey. The deaf are those who will not obey, even though they understand. The lame are those who neglect to fulfil the divine precepts, and walk through the devious paths of wickedness. Such are the men who are healed every day by the grace of God, and are guided into the way that leads to life eternal. Those who feared the Lord, and were eyewitnesses of these corporeal signs, magnified the King of sabaoth with joy. Now also the faithful rejoice in the conversion of sinners, and devoutly glorify the Lord God of Israel, who doeth all good things.

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said: "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way". He then commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and taking seven loaves and a few little fishes, gave thanks, brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled; and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala or Dalmanutha,in the neighbourhood of Gennesareth. Here the Sadducees and the Pharisees, tempting him, desired that he would shew them a sign from heaven, for they made light of the great miracle he had performed in feeding four thousand men with seven loaves, and filling


[1] Mark vii. 31-37.

[2] Matt. xv. 29-31.

36 ORDERICUS VITALIS. BOOK I.

seven baskets with the fragments that remained. But he reproved their insolence; and refusing to give them any other sign than that of the prophet Jonas, left them, and entering into the ship again, departed to the other side. [1]

At Bethsaida, they besought him to touch a blind man. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when be had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw aught. And he said: "I see men as trees walking". Jesus put his hands again upon his eyes, and he was restored, and began to see every thing clearly. Our Lord then said to him: "Go unto thine house; and if thou enter the town, thou shalt not tell it to any one". [2]

And Jesus went out, and came into the towns of Caesarea, Philippi; and by the way he asked his disciples what men thought concerning him? And they answered: "Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets". He saith unto them: "But whom say ye that I am"? And Simon Peter answered and said: "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God". And Jesus answered and said unto him: "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven". He then charged his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter, taking him aside, from excessive love began to rebuke him, saying: "Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee". But he turned, and said unto


[1] Matt. xv. 32-39; xvi. 1-4; Mark viii. 1-13.

[2] Mark viii. 22-26. We read in St. Mark: "And he sent him away to his house, saying, 'Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town'".

CHAP. X.] THE TRANSFIGURATION. 37

Peter: "Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men". After the Lord had shown to his disciples the mystery of his passion and resurrection, he exhorted them, as well as the people, to follow the example of his passion, and promised them the reward provided for those who suffer. [1]

After six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became as white as snow. And there appeared unto them Moses and Elias, talking with him; and, behold, a bright cloud over-shadowed them; and, behold, a voice ont of the cloud, which said: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him". And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said: "Arise, and be not afraid". And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: "Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead". Then, in answer to their inquiry, he told them that Elias was come already; and they understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [2]

On the next day, when he was come to the multitude, straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and, running to him, saluted him. Then a certain man of the company came to him, and threw himself down on his knees, saying: "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic from his infancy, and sore vexed; for ofttimes the devil hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him; and I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him". And when Jesus had commanded the sick child to be brought, while he was yet coming, the evil spirit threw him down and tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. Jesus rebuked the foul spirit, and charged him to come out of him, and to enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent


[1] Matt. xvi. 13-28; Mark viii. 27-38; Luke ix. 18-27.

[2] Matt xvii. 1-13; Mark ix. 2-I3; Luke ix. 28-36.

38 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

him sore, and came out of him, and he fell on the ground as one dead, insomuch that many said that he was dead. But Jesus, took him by the hand, lifted him up, and delivered him whole to his father. Afterwards, when the disciples asked him privately why they could not heal him, he said unto them: "Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove, hence, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting". [1]

And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them: "The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; aud the third day he shall rise again". And they were exceeding sorry. [2]

CH. XI. The tribute money - The labourers in the vineyard.

AND when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said: "Doth not your Master pay tribute"? He saith, "Yes". And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying: "Of whom do the kings of the earth take tribute? of their own children, or of strangers"? Peter saith unto him: "Of strangers". Christ was the Son of a King, both according to the flesh and the Spirit, whether we consider him as born of the seed of David, or as the Word of the Almighty Father. Therefore, as the son of a king, he was not obliged to pay tribute money; but he who had taken upon him the humility of the flesh wished to fulfil all righteousness. In every kingdom, it is clear, children are free from taxation: Jesus saith unto Peter: "Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, and give unto them for me and thee". [3] This fish is the figure of Christ; the sea represents mortal life; the tribute money, or the two drachms, means confession, which is given for Peter as for a


[1] Matt. xvii. 14-21; Mark ix. 14-2.9; Luke ix. 37-12.

[2] Matt. xvii. 22, 23; Mark ix. 30-32.

[3] Matt. xvii. 24-27.

CHAP. XI.] CHRIST BLESSETH LITTLE CHILDREN. 39

sinner, but for Christ as for a Lamb without spot and guiltless.

Then there arose a reasoning among the apostles, which of them should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said: "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven"; adding other precepts, concerning humility and gentleness, avoiding to offend little children, and correcting a brother mildly. He then spoke to them of paternal kindness, and set before them the parable of the king who forgave his servant the debt of ten thousand talents, when he besought him, and of that same servant who refused to acquit a fellow servant who owed him an hundred pence. The discourse, after payment of the tribute, in commendation of humility and innocence, and teaching us how to correct and pardon, being ended, the righteous Teacher departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. [1]

When the Pharisees asked him if it were lawful for a man to put away his wife, he referred to the fixed law of marriage, saying: "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder". [2]

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But Jesus was much displeased, and said unto them: "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven". [3]

A young man asked him, kneeling, the way to eternal salvation; when, after instructing him in the commandments of the law, he added: "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me". But when he heard that saying, he went away


[1] Matt. xviii. 1-35; xix. 1, 2; Mark ix. 33-49; Luke ix. 46-48.

[2] Matt. xix. 3-6; Mark x. 2-9.

[3] Matt. xix. 13, 14; Mark x. 13, 14; Luke xviii. 15, 16.

40 ORDERICUS VITALIS. BOOK I.

sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus: "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God". Peter, hearing what was said in praise of voluntary poverty, self-complacently said to the Lord: "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore"? And Jesus said unto them: "Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first". [1]

He then set before them the parable of the householder, who took labourers into his vineyard at different hours of the day, but gave to all of them the same hire, one penny, beginning from the last unto the first. [2] These different hours of the day are understood to represent typically the past ages. Abel laboured at day-break, Noe at the third hour, Abraham at the sixth, and the lawgiver Moses at the ninth. At the "eleventh hour" Christ came, rebuked the Gentiles, because they stood idle in the great market-place of this world, and commanded them to work by faith in the vineyard of his church. Or, these different hours may also be likened to the several stages of a man's life. The morning represents childhood; the third hour of the day, youth; the sixth hour is emblematical of manhood; the ninth, of old age; the eleventh, of decrepitude, or superannuation. At all these ages conversions take place; and the converts are rewarded with the penny of everlasting life. A modern poet thus speaks of this similitude:-

When the sun sinks in the west,
And the vineyard-labourers claim
Wages due and grateful rest,
Their reward is all the same;


[1] Matt. xix. 16-30; Mark x. 17-31; Luke xviii. 18-30.

[2] Matt. xx. 1-8.

CHAP. XII.] LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD. 41

Whether through the noontide heat
Bending o'er thethirsty soil;
Whether theirs, with lingering feet,
Cooler hours and lighter toil.
Tasks unequal - equal hire -
Such the master's righteous will;
All that justice can require,
Thus both first and last fulfil.
In the vineyard of the Lord,
Young and old, and weak and wise,
Taught by His most holy word,
Surely gain the glorious prize.

CH. XII. Third year of Christ's ministry - In Judea - After leaving Galilee.

THUS far I have attentively examined, for a salutary exercise, as I have been able to gather from the writings of the evangelists, and endeavoured to relate briefly, the works which our Lord performed during the first two years of his mission. It is now my duty to search out the acts of his third year, and briefly to recount the important and memorable deeds of our Lord after his departure from Galilee into Judea, that he might accomplish in Jerusalem the mystery of his Father's dispensation, and reveal to us by his own ineffable operation the hidden things of the law and the prophets. He, indeed, at first taught in the eastern parts of Judea, beyond Jordan; but afterwards on this side of it, when he went to Jericho and Jerusalem. For although the whole kingdom of the Jews was generally called Judea, to distinguish it from other countries, yet the southern part was more especially named Judea, as distinct from Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis, and the other districts of the same province.

Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, privately foretold his passion to his disciples. Then the mother of Zebedee's children desired him to grant that her two sons might sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom. But he taught them to be patient and lowly, and he himself set an example of perfect righteousness for them to follow. In answer to John's inquiry, he commanded him not to forbid any one to perform miracles in his name. [1]


[1] Matt. xx. 17-28; Mark x. 32-45; Luke ix. 49, 50.

42 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

As he was drawing nigh unto Jerusalem, he sent messengers before his face into a village of the Samaritans; but they did not receive them. However, when James and John wished him to command fire to come down from heaven upon the heads of the men who had treated him with scorn, he rebuked his disciples, saying "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them". [1]

After these things the Lord appointed seventy-two disciples, and sent them, two and two, into every city and place whither he himself would come, and gave them directions to whom and how they were to preach. He then upbraided the cities that would not believe in his name. And when the seventy-two disciples returned again with joy to him, the Lord charged them not to rejoice in this, that the spirits were subject unto them, but because their names were written in heaven; he referred all praise to his Father, and called the eyes of the disciples blessed, because they saw those things which many just men and kings before them had desired to see, but had not seen. [2]

When a lawyer asked him a question, tempting him, he showed him what to do in order to inherit eternal life, and mentioned the ease of the man who "went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves", proving to them all that the Samaritan, who, when the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side, went to the assistance of the man who had been wounded by the thieves, was his neighbour, because he had compassion on him. [3]

In a certain village, a woman named Martha received Jesus into her house, and when she complained to him that her sister had left her to serve alone, and would not help her, he put a stop to her murmurs by asserting that Mary had "chosen the good part". [4]

St. Matthew, in the Lord's prayer, gives the seven


[1] Luke ix. 5I-56.

[2] Luke x. 1-24; we here read, "other seventy also".

[3] Matt. xxii. 34-40; Mark xii 28-34; Luke x. 25-37.

[4] Luke x. 38-42.

CHAP. XII.] THE LORD'S PRAYER. 43

petitions in the following words:- Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. In the first three petitions we pray for things eternal, but in the last four for things temporal, which are, however, necessary in order to acquire those that are eternal.

Now St. Luke has but five requests, thus:- Our Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not info temptation. Thus we see seven petitions, according to St. Matthew, reduced to five in St. Luke's gospel: for instance, the name of God is sanctified in the Spirit; but the kingdom of God is to come in the resurrection of the flesh. He then adds three others, for the daily bread, for the remission of sins, and for avoiding temptation. All that man requires in this life and the next may be understood to be embraced by these petitions. [1] For this reason, when the disciples said to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray", he not only gave them a form of prayer, but taught them to pray frequently and with importunity. He admonished them to persevere constantly in their petitions to Heaven, and related to them the parable of the friend who requested the loan of three loaves at midnight. He advised them to "ask, seek, and knock"; he, therefore, exhorted them to ask for the bread of the word of God, by which the friend, that is to say, the soul, is nourished; to seek for the friend who gives abundantly, that is to say, the Lord; to knock at the door of divine mercy, through which they enter the treasury of wisdom, where the celestial joys are kept. The word bread is understood to signify charity, with which the stone, that is to say, the hardness of avarice, is contrasted. The fish represents the faith of invisible baptism, on account of the water used, or because it is caught in invisible places, and is imperishable by the waves of this world that roar around it; with this the venomous serpent is contrasted; this last is the figure of perfidy or incredulity. The egg is the


[1] Matt. vi. 9-13; Luke xi. 1-13.

44 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

emblem of hope; because the egg is not yet a perfect foetus, but we hope to see it become one by being hatched. Now despair is the reverse of hope; it has for its image the scorpion, which strikes the unwary with its envenomed sting from behind, and the secret puncture causes sudden death.

Our Saviour accused the Pharisees of blasphemy and ingratitude for the acts of mercy which they witnessed. He took the illustration of the armed man who was overcome by a man stronger than himself, and spoke of the unclean spirit that returned into the man, with seven other spirits more wicked than himself. [1] When a certain woman lifted up her voice, and said, that the womb that bare him was blessed, he answered that he who kept the word of God was blessed. [2] When he had healed the man on whom three miracles were performed at the same time (being blind he saw, dumb he spoke, possessed with a devil was freed), he, who was the truth itself, gave them many precepts conducive to salvation, repelled with the weapons of reason the Pharisees who tempted him, told them that a lighted candle was not to be put under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and taught them that the eye ought to be single. [3]

When the Pharisee, who had besought him to dine with him, marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner, after the manner of the Jews, Jesus observed that external ablutions did not purify their inward parts, which were foul with sins, and repeating, "Woe to the Pharisees", six times, added a long list of their evil deeds. [4]

He also charged his disciples to take heed of the leaven of hypocrisy, not to be afraid of them that can only kill the body; and, in the hour of persecution, to take no thought what they should say. [5]

When one of the company requested him to divide the inheritance between him and his brother, he related the parable of the rich miser. He then warned his disciples to


[1] Matt. xii. 31-45; Mark iii. 22-30; Luke xi. 15-26.

[2] Luke xi. 27, 23.

[3] Matt. xii. 22-30; Mark iii. 22-30; Luke xi 14, 29-36.

[4] Matt. xxiii. 13-38; Luke xi. 37-52.

[5] Matt. xvi. 6-12; Mark viii. 15; Luke xii. 1-12.

CHAP. XII.] CHRIST'S TEACHING. 45

avoid, like the fowls of the air, being careful for meat and raiment. [1] Having promised the kingdom to the little flock, he commanded them to sell all that they possessed, and all they acquired, and to give alms; telling them that their loins ought to be girded about, and their lamps burning. He also commanded them to watch, mentioning the case of the two servants, the one good, the other bad; and declared that the servant, which knew his lord's will, but did it not, should be beaten with many stripes, while he that knew not should be beaten with few stripes. [2]

He told them that he was come to send fire on the earth, by reason of their divisions; that, as they could discern the face of the sky, they ought to discern the signs of the times; and recommended them to consent to the demands of their adversary, while they were in the way. [3]

When he was told that Pilate had put to death some of the Galileans, Jesus, answering, said, that all should likewise perish, unless they repented; or be like the eighteen who were crushed by the fall of the tower in Siloam. In the parable of the barren fig-tree, he warns those who defer the hour of repentance. [4]

He made straight on the sabbath-day a woman who had been bowed together eighteen years; and when some of them murmured, because Jesus had healed on that day, he silenced them by saying that an ox must be led away to watering on the sabbath; and all the people rejoiced for the glorious things that were done by him. [5]

Comparing the kingdom of God to a grain of mustard seed and to leaven, he spoke of the few that enter in at the strait gate, and said: "There are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. [6] The Lord then called Herod a "fox", a name by which heretics are designated, on account of the deceitful and insidious character of their conduct; and reproved Jerusalem because it refused to seek the protection of his wings. [7] He healed, on the sabbath-day, a certain man which had the


[1] Matt. vi. 25-34; Luke xii. 13-31.

[2] Luke xii. 32-48.

[3] Luke xii. 49-39.

[4] Luke xiii. 1-9.

[5] Luke xiii. 10-17.

[6] Matt. xiii. 31-33; Mark iv. 30, 31; Luke xiii. 18-30.

[7] Luke xiii. 31-35.

46 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

dropsy, ridding him as it were of a fountain of humours; and when the Pharisees objected, he confounded them by asking if they did not [on the sabbath-day] pull an ass or an ox out of a pit into which it had fallen. He taught them to practise humility, not seeking the first places at a feast; and to bid to their table, not the rich, but the poor, who could not return their hospitality. [1]

CH. XIII. Parables and discourses of Christ.

THE Lord Jesus Christ, employing various means to further the salvation of man, gives us the parable of those that were bidden to a supper; but, as they all sought to be excused, they were not considered worthy of such an honour. The first refused the invitation, because he had bought a piece of ground; representing those who through love of worldly things, make no account of heavenly things. Another, who was prevented by his five yoke of oxen, is the type of those curious persons, who, influenced by the bodily senses, scrutinize external things only, and, while they remark the life of others, and neglect the care of their own souls, refuse to take their place at the banquet of eternal salvation. The third, who refused to be present on account of his recent marriage, is the image of all persons who allow themselves to be caught in the meshes of carnal pleasure. Thus, while one man is occupied with the cares of this world, another is tormented by incessantly thinking of the actions of his neighbours, a third allows his mind to be defiled by the pleasures of the flesh; but all equally disdain to hasten to the banquet of eternal life. [2]

Our Saviour told the great multitudes that went with him, that they must not only give up all their connections, but their own life, and take up the cross and follow him. That they might not fail, he suggested that they ought to act like the man who, "intending to build a tower, sitteth down first and counteth the cost", and proposed the example of the two kings who were going to make war against each other. [3]

When they murmured because be kept company with sinners, he spake unto them the parable of the lost sheep, and of the piece of silver; the owners of which


[1] Luke xiv. 1-14.

[2] Luke xiv. 16-24.

[3] Luke xiv. 25-32.

CHAP. XIII.] THE PRODIGAL SON. 47

were as joyful at finding them as they were sorrowful at having lost them. He told them that there would be likewise joy in the presence of the angels of God over the salvation of one sinner that repenteth. But true penitence consists in contrition for sins committed, and a resolution not to repeat what is now lamented. He who has done what is forbidden, ought also, in order to satisfy the will of God, to deny himself what is permitted. [1]

The Lord then gave them the parable of the frugal and prodigal sons, shewing them how the prodigal son returned to his father, who received him with the greatest kindness, and kissed him; how be put the best robe upon him, that is to say, the garb of innocence; gave him the ring of sincere faith, and put shoes on his feet, that is to say, ordained him to preach the gospel. In thus adorning the hands and feet of the convert, the Lord typified good works and missions. The father, having killed the fatted calf, made a great supper. Now his elder son, that is to say, the Jewish people, as he drew nigh to the house from the field, which represents external observances, heard music and dancing, that is to say, remarked that the sons of the church, full of the Holy Ghost, preached the gospel with harmonious voice. Having obtained information respecting the cause of these signs of joy, he was angry with his father, complaining that he had killed the fatted calf for the son who had devoured his living with harlots, and had a greater regard for him than for himself. [2]

After this our Lord introduced the case of the unjust steward, who, by a crafty device, reduced what was due to his lord. [3]

He declared that we cannot serve God and mammon; rebuked the avaricious Pharisees, telling them that the law and the prophets were until John the Baptist; and then related the parable of the unmerciful rich man who was clothed in purple, and the poor beggar, showing, from the fate of the merely selfish, what will be that of such as live by robbery. [4]

After saying, "Woe to the man by whom the offence


[1] Luke xv. 1-10.

[2] Luke xv. 11-32.

[3] Luke xvi. 1-8.

[4] Luke xvi. 13-31.

48 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

cometh", he commanded [Peter] to forgive a repentant brother "until seventy times seven". [1]

The apostles, beseeching him to increase their faith, are taught how they might remove a sycamine-tree; and drawing a comparison between them and the servant ploughing or feeding cattle, the Lord informs them that they must confess themselves "unprofitable servants", even when they shall have done all those things which were commanded. [2]

As Jesus went to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, he cleansed ten men that were lepers, but only one of them, and he a stranger, returned to give glory to God. [3]

It being enquired when the kingdom of God should come, Jesus answered that it would not come with observation, and he compared the advent of the Son of man to a flash of lightning. He told them that the day of judgment ought to be continually the object of the thoughts of men, as it would come suddenly upon them; and he likened that day to the days of Noe and Lot, when death unexpectedly came upon mankind. He also spake of the two persons, either in bed, or at the mill, or in the field, one of whom would be chosen and the other left. The bed is the figure of the church in a state of rest; our Saviour speaks of two as of two persons; but we must understand the expression to mean two states of the affections; for he who, for God's sake, practices continence, so that, living without any worldly cares, he may keep his thoughts bent upon the things that be of God, will be admitted by hint to happiness eternal. He, on the contrary, who, from love of the praise of men, although free from the corruption of other vices, tarnishes the purity of the monastic life to which he is devoted, will be left to eternal misery; as Jeremiah intimates in his Lamentations, when he describes the fall of an idle and sinful soul, under the figure of Judea, in these words: "The adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths". [4] The two women grinding at the mill (in allusion to the revolutions of


[1] Matt. xviii. 21, 22; Luke xvii. 1-4.

[2] Matt. xvii. 20; Luke xvii. 5-10.

[3] Luke xvii. 11-19.

[4] Lament. i. 7.

CHAP. XIII.] THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. 49

temporal affairs), represent the vulgar who ought to be governed by their teachers, as women are by their husbands, and, by their labours in various arts, minister to the service of the church. One of them will be taken because she enters the wedded state only from a desire to have children, and makes use of her worldly substance to obtain heavenly riches; while she who marries for the sake of carnal enjoyment will be rejected. But whosoever shall offer their earthly goods to the church or to the poor, in the name of our Lord's redemption, shall have them multiplied. The two men in the field represent the labourers in the ministry of the church, performing their duties as in the field of God. The one that shall have publishod the word of God sincerely will be chosen; but he that shall have preached Christ imperfectly and carelessly will be left. [1]

These three classes of persons constitute the church, which is divided into two distinct portions - the adopted and the rejected. For this reason the prophet Ezekiel saw three men delivered- Noah, Daniel, and Job, [2] in whom are shadowed the preachers of the gospel, the continent, and married people. For Noah guided the ark on the waters, and therefore represents those who govern; Daniel, retaining the gift of abstinence even at the court of a king, showed how continent men live; but Job, although united to a wife by the bonds of marriage, and obliged to take care of his own house, pleased God, and thus worthily represents the class of good married people. To teach that men ought always to pray and not to faint, the Lord spake the parable of the widow who importuned the unjust judge to avenge her of her adversary, and obtained, by incessant supplication and weariness of the judge, what she solicited with such pertinacity. [3]

By showing us how the Pharisee and the publican prayed in the temple, he teaches us not to extol our merits, but to confess our sins. The righteous pray without ceasing that they maybe avenged of their enemies, so that all the wicked should perish. Now the wicked perish in two different ways; by being converted to righteousness, or in losing by punishment the power to do wrong. [4]


[1] Luke xvii. 20-37.

[2] Ezek. xiv. 14.

[3] Luke xviii. 1-8.

[4] Luke xviii. 9-14.

50 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

The Lord then foretold that he was to be delivered to the Gentiles at Jerusalem, and suffer on the cross; and when they were come nigh unto Jericho, he heard the cries of a blind man who sat by the wayside, begging. Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be brought unto him; and as soon as he had learned the request of the blind man, he mercifully restored his sight. [1]

And as Jesus passed through Jericho, he saw Zaccheus, the chief among the publicans, who had climbed up into a tree, and received hospitality at the house of this man, who wished very much to see him. And when the Jews murmured, saying that he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner, Zaccheus, in the sincerity of his faith, said unto the Lord: "Behold, Lord, the half my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold". And Jesus said unto him: "This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost". [2]

He then spake the parable of a certain nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return, after he had delivered ten pounds to his servants to trade with. When he was returned, the first came, saying: "Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds". This first servant is the order of teachers sent to the circumcised; he received one pound for the purpose of trade, because he is commanded to preach "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God". [3] Now this same pound hath gained ten pounds, for this reason - that he has, by preaching the word, drawn to him the people living under the law. When he had been rewarded to his great satisfaction, the second came, saying: "Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds". This servant represents the company of those who were sent to announce the gospel to the uncircumcised, and are deservedly, by a divine decree, placed at the head of those who, through their ministry, are converted to the worship of one God, having mortified the deeds of the flesh. On the other hand, the servant who,


[1] Matt. xx. 18, 19, 30-34; Mark x. 32-34, 46-52; Luke xviii.31-43.

[2] Luke xix. 1-10.

[3] Ephes. iv. 5, 6.

CHAP. XIV.] RAISING OF LAZARUS. 51

when he was commanded to trade with the money entrusted to him by his master, kept the pound laid up in a napkin, is the figure of those who, although they may be fit persons for preaching the gospel, in obedience to the Lord's commands, through the church, either decline to undertake that duty, or perform it unworthily. To tie up the money in a napkin, is to conceal the gifts we have received in sloth and uselessness. By this parable, then we understand that the two faithful servants are the teachers of both peoples; that the ten pounds and the five pounds mean believers in God; that by the wicked servant are represented bad Catholics; by the enemies, who would not allow the real heir to reign over them, the impiety of those who prefer never to hear the word or truth, or corrupt it by false interpretations. By reaping where seed had not been sown, [1] he means the separation of those who never heard the word of God. The whole human race that is to appear at the day of judgment, is certainly represented by these five persons. And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. [2]

St. John alone mentions that, at the feast of the dedication, in the winter, the Jews said to Jesus, who was walking in Solomon's porch: "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly". Taking advantage of this opportunity of teaching them, he answered: "I and my Father are one"; and uttered many other sublime words. For this reason the Jews, blinded by malice, took up stones to stone him [but he escaped out of their hand]. After this, he went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and believed on him there. [3]

CH. XIV. Lazarus restored to life.

A CERTAIN man, named Lazarus, was sick at Bethany; and his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent unto Jesus, saying: "Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick". When Jesus heard that, he said: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God


[1] Luke xix. 21.

[2] Matt. xxv. 14-30; Luke xix. 11-20.

[3] John x. 22-42.

52 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

might be glorified thereby". Then he abode two days in the same place, and after that went into Judea again, and found that Lazarus had lain in the grave four days already. Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, being strong in faith, went and met him, and said: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died". She who loudly lamented the loss of her brother, spoke to our Lord with composure, and after a short conference with Christ, during which she made a true confession of faith, that is to say, acknowledged him to be the Son of God, the life and the resurrection, she called Mary her sister, saying to her in a low voice: "The Master is come, and calleth for thee". Mary arose quickly, and went out of the town to the place where Jesus had stopped; and when she saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died". He - an inexhaustible fountain of pity - wept, in the midst of her friends weeping, the death of the friend they had lost; but his tears caused them ineffable joy. Jesus, groaning in himself, came to the grave, and commanded them to take away the stone from the mouth, and then, with a loud voice, called him who, in four days, had become putrid: "Lazarus, come forth". And straightway he came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and the Lord immediately ordered his disciples to loose him and let him go. After the performance of this glorious miracle, which ought to be celebrated to the end of time, they did not all believe in Jesus, but many of the Jews who came to Mary and Martha to comfort them, and saw the unhoped-for resurrection of Lazarus, confessed their belief in Christ. [1]

There is no doubt but that the Lord raised several persons from the dead; however, in the holy Gospel, by reason of a certain mystery, we read of three resurrections only. By the daughter of the chief of the synagogue, who was restored to life in her father's house before a small number of witnesses, those sinners are signified, who shut up their sinful propensities within their conscience, and do not suffer them to break out. These are often raised to spiritual life by a divine influence, which recalls them by secret checks from a depraved will. The son of the widow, who was carried beyond


[1] John xi. 1-45.

CHAP. XIV.] RAISING OF THE DEAD. 53

the gates of the city, and restored to life by Christ before a multitude of witnesses, represents those guilty persons, who, after consenting to perpetrate a crime, go forth, and, as it were, draw death from the darkest recesses of their soul; so that what was hidden in a secret corner, at last appears before the whole world. Such men are often admonished to their salvation, and restored to life in a divine manner by the remedy of a true conversion, as many know to their great joy. In Lazarus, already buried, already in a state of putrefaction, we have a figure of those sinners who are fettered with the bonds of depraved habits, to such a degree that wickedness has become so familiar to them, that it does not allow them to become sensible of the heinousness of the sin that they are committing; for which reason they often excuse the evil they do; and are already crushed, as it were, under the immense weight of their guilt. They presume to be angry when they are reproved, and are continually depraved by false praise, while their neighbours, observing them, are also injured. Lastly, those who, in the opinion of the world, are considered worthy of condemnation, are nevertheless internally vivified by the grace of God, and are afterwards absolved through the agency of the priest.

Or in other words, every man is born in a state of death brought on us by original sin. The first day of death is that which witnesses his birth; the second day, when, as he increases in stature, the boy becomes a man; arriving at years of discretion, he begins to find innately in his own heart the law which naturally teaches men not to do unto others what they would not have others do unto them: but, unfortunately, they often venture to transgress this law. The third day of death takes place when the written law is given to man, but this also he despises. After all Christ came; brought with him the Gospel, preached the kingdom of heaven, threatened all sinners with the torments of Gehenna, but promised eternal life to the righteous. The Gospel itself is despised, and this is the fourth day of death, as Lazarus lay in the tomb. Or again, we might say, that the four steps that lead a sinner to destruction, and bring him to the grave in which he decays, are: firstly, inclination of the heart; secondly, consent; thirdly, action;

54 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

fourthly, habit. But the grace of God recalls those who have been removed far from him by sin, and restores to life those who were sinking under the weight of their sins.

When the wonderful miracle of the divine power was published abroad by the reports of many witnesses, who, to satisfy their curiosity, had examined on the spot by what unknown law Lazarus issued from the grave, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council to conspire against Christ; and when they heard what Caiaphas prophesied, they took counsel together to put him to death. Jesus, therefore, went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephrem, and there continued with his disciples. Now, both the chief priests and their accomplices had given a commandment that if any man knew where he was, he should make it known, that they might take him: for they were afraid that all men would follow him, and that the Romans would come and take away the kingdom from them. [1]

Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to Bethany, and there they made him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus sat at the table. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard [unguentum nardi pistici], very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped them with her hair. Spikenard is a kind of aromatic. Pistis [pioti] in Greek, fides in Latin, means faith; for that reason the ointment is called pisticum, that is to say, faithful, because a corpse, when anointed with it, is preserved from putrefaction. The house was filled with the odour of the ointment, as the church is perfumed by the good report of a religious life. When the traitor Judas, who was a thief, and had the bag, smelt the sweet odour with which the house was filled, he was offended, and rebuked this faithful and devoted woman for what she had done. But the Lord mildly answered his harsh upbraidings: "Let her alone, for she hath wrought a good work upon me. Verily I say unto you, in the whole world shall this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her". [2]

Many Jews who went to Bethany, drawn thither by their


[1] John xi. 46-57.

[2] Matt. xxvi. 6-13; Mark xiv. 3-9; John xii. 1-8.

CHAP. XV.] CHRIST'S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. 55

curiosity, saw Lazarus eating at the same table as Christ, and joyfully bore witness to the miracle. The jealous Pharisees consulted that they might, therefore, put the resuscitated man to death; but in vain did they endeavour to oppose the almighty power of Christ. [1]

CH. XV. Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem - Teaches in the Temple.

ON the next day much people who were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him. As the hour of his immolation drew nigh, the Lamb of God proceeded towards the spot that was to witness his passion. When he was come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent forth two of his disciples, saying: "Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me". And the disciples went and brought the ass and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet long before: "Behold, thy king cometh unto thee",- not sitting in a golden chariot arrayed in splendid purple, nor does he mount a fiery steed, to take the lead in discord and strife,- but is sitting upon an ass, that loves tranquillity and peace. He is not surrounded with glittering swords, but he cometh unto thee, meek; not to be dreaded for his power, but to be loved for his gentleness. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest"! Some of the Pharisees said unto him, "Master, rebuke thy disciples"; but he answered and said unto them, "I tell you, that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out". [2] And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, and, as he foreknew every thing that was to happen,


[1] John xii. 9-11.

[2] Matt. xxi. 1-9; Mark xi. 1-10; Luke xix. 29-40; John xii. 12-15.

56 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

foretold all the ills that threatened it, because it knew not the time of its visitation. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying: "Who is this"? And the multitude said, "This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee". Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, saying: "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves".[1] And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying, with signs of grateful joy: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were sore displeased, and, filled with bitter envy, they said unto him: "Hearest thou what these say"? Jesus answered, "Yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise"? [2]

And when Jesus had looked round about upon all things, he left these evil-disposed inhabitants of the city, and went out unto Bethany with the twelve, and lodged there. Now in the morning, as he returned into the city, he hungered, and coming to a fig-tree that stood by the wayside, aud finding nothing thereon but leaves only, he cursed it, saying "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever". And presently the fig-tree withered away! This tree was the true figure of the synagogue, which had the letter of the law, but bore no fruit. [3]

In the temple, they asked him by what authority he did such wonderful things; but instead of answering their question, he inquired of them whether tho baptism of John was from heaven or of men. Christ by this short question baffled their crafty designs, and stopped their mouths; for malice prevented their confessing the truth, that it came from heaven, and they were not bold enough to deny it openly, because they feared the people.

He then laid before them the parable of the two sons,


[1] Isa. lvi. 7; Jer. vii. 11; Matt. xxi. 10-13; Mark xi. 15-17; Luke xix. 41-46; John ii. 13-16.

[2] Matt. xxi. 14-16.

[3] Matt. xxi. 17-19; Mark xi. 11-14, 20.

CHAP. XV.] TRIBUTE-MONEY. 57

whom their father sent to work in his vineyard; and who began and ended their day so differently; for one obeyed the will of his father, not in word, but in deed; while the other disobeyed him, and showed his contempt of his father's authority not by word of mouth, but by his actions. [1]

The Lord also added the parable of the householder which planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. Now these men took the servants whom he had sent to receive the fruits of the vineyard, and beat one, as Jeremiah; killed another, as Isaiah; stoned another, as Naboth and Zacharias; and, lastly, crucified the Son of God. The servants successively sent typify the law, the psalms, and the prophecies; by whose teaching men might learn to do right. But the messengers are beaten and driven away, when the word is despised, or, what is worse, blasphemed. He who tramples under foot the Son of God, and does despite unto the Spirit of grace, kills, as far as he is able, the heir to the vineyard. When the wicked husbandman is destroyed, the vineyard is given to another; while the proud lose the gift of grace, the humble receive it. [2]

Jesus spake a third parable unto them, of a certain king which made a marriage for his son; and when they that were bidden to the wedding made light of it, he sent forth his armies, and punished them. [3]

The Pharisees with the Herodians tempted him, by asking if it were lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not. When they had brought unto him a penny, Jesus answered: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are God's". [4]

The Sadducees also attempted to make him fall into a snare, by describing the case of the woman who had seven husbands, and asking him: "In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of them"? Jesus answered: "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are


[1] Matt. xxi. 23-32; Mark xi. 27-33; Luke xx. 1-8.

[2] Matt. xxi. 33-4I; Mark xii. 1-9; Luke xx. 9-16.

[3] Matt. xxii. 1-7.

[4] Matt. xxii. 15-21; Mark xii. 13-17; Luke xx. 20-25.

58 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven". In this manner the good Master inspires the children of the church with confidence, that, at the resurrection, they will enjoy the vision of God, unspotted by corruption. [1]

When he was questioned by the doctor of the law as to which was the great commandment in it, he said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets". He now asked the Pharisees whose son Christ was; and confounded them, showing them that he was the Lord of David, and thus put them to silence so effectually, that no man "durst, from that day forth, ask him any more questions"; but now they began openly to take steps to deliver him into the hands of the Romans. [2] Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples: "The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat; all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not. For they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in". In this manner Jesus uttered many things for the benefit of mankind, teaching


[1] Matt. xxii. 23-30; Mark xii. 18-27; Luke xx. 27-36.

[2] Matt. xxii. 34-46; Mark xii. 28-37; Luke xx. 41-44.

CHAP. IV.] DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE FORETOLD. 59

the simple, but confounding the hypocrites. He spoke of those who swear by the temple, and by the gold that is in the temple; of the altar, and the gifts that are thereon; of the divine mercy, which had sent unto them prophets, and wise men, and scribes, and of the cruelty of the Jews, which was exhibited in the various kinds of death which they inflicted upon those who were sent from God. He mourned over Jerusalem, lamenting, not the buildings, but the inhabitants. Twice he repeated, in a sorrowful tone: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! which slew the prophets, and would not repent of her wickedness".

On Jesus departing from the temple, and his disciples pointing to the magnificent buildings, he answered: "There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down". And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, his disciples privately questioned him, as Matthew and Mark affirm, about the time and the signs of this predicted destruction. To their inquiry as to when the end of the world should be, he answered that many great calamities would come to pass before that day, wars between nation and nation, earthquakes in divers places, pestilences, and famines; fearful sights from heaven, and great signs. He foretold many things relating to the persecutions they would have to suffer, and to his own coming on the earth; warning the faithful, when they were delivered up, to take no thought beforehand what they should speak, but in their patience to possess their souls. He predicted that Jerusalem would be compassed with an army, and then woe unto them that are with child; that they would fall by the edge of the sword, or be led away captive into all nations; that there would be signs in heaven; and that they would see him coming in a cloud with power and great glory. "Then look up", said he, "for your redemption draweth nigh". Forbidding drunkenness and the cares of this life, he exhorted them to watch and to pray always. He rebuked the scribes for their pride, and declared that the widow who threw two mites into the treasury had cast in more than they all. [2]

In the parable of the fig-tree, he teaches us how the end


[1] Matt. xxiii.; Mark xii. 38-40; Luke xx. 45-47.

[2] Matt. xxiv.; Mark xii. 38-44; xiii.; Luke xx. 45-47; xxi. 1-36.

60 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

of the world will come. He relates the parables of the ten virgins, and of the householder who left his servants in charge of his goods, and went into a far country; describes the advent of the Son of man in his glory, and all the holy angels with him; speaks of the sheep that are to be set on his right hand, separated from the goats that are to be placed on his left; of the retribution of the wicked, who are to go away into everlasting punishment; and of the reward of the righteous, who are to go away into life eternal. [1]

CH. XVI. The holy supper instituted - Christ's discourse.

Now, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him: "Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover"? And he said unto Peter and John: "Go ye into the city, to a certain man, whom one bearing a pitcher of water shall point out to you; follow him into the house where he entereth in, and say ye to the good man of the house: Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will shew you a large upper room furnished; there make ready". And they went forth, and found as he had said unto them; and they made ready the Passover. And in the evening, he came with the twelve, and as they sat he said unto them: "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God". [2] According to St. John, [3] the supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God and went to God, rose from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that, he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. After he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them "Know ye what I


[1] Matt. xxiv. 32, 33; xxv.; Mark xiii. 28, 29; Luke xix. 11-27.

[2] Matt. xxvi. 17-20; Mark xiv. 12-17; Luke xxii. 7-16.

[3] John xiii. 1-20.

CH. XVI.] THE LAST SUPPER. 61

have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet". And so on, until he says: "He that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me".

Saint Matthew relates that, as his disciples did eat, Jesus said: "Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me". And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say: "Lord, is it I?" And he answered and said: "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me". And, as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said: "Take, eat; this is my body". And taking the cup, he gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: "Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you: I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom". [1]

The Lord, on the night when he was delivered up, prayed three times; to show us that we should pray to be pardoned for our past sins, to be protected from present evils, and to be warned against future perils; addressing all our prayers to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. It is also to be remarked that as the temptation of desire is triple, so is also the temptation of fear: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, worldly ambition; fear of death, fear of shame, fear of pain. Against all which he teaches us that we ought to fortify ourselves by prayer. For which reason we understand why the Lord prayed three times on account of the triple temptation of his passion.

That great divine, St. John, relates that Jesus, after he had washed the feet of Peter, who reluctantly submitted, and the other apostles, obscurely pointed out his betrayer by referring to the mysterious prophecies contained in Scripture, saying: "He that eateth bread with me will lift up his heel against me". Afterwards, when he had determined to make him better known; he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me". Then the disciples looked


[1] Matt. xxvi. 2I-29; Mark xiv. 18-25; Luke xxii. 17-23.

62 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

one on another, doubting of whom he spake. And Simon Peter beckoned to John, who was leaning on Jesus' bosom, and John asked him: "Lord, who is it"? Jesus answered: "He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it". And when be had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop, Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him. "That thou doest, do quickly". Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. He then went immediately out; and it was night. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said: "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". And many other words of deep meaning spake Jesus, concerning the true love of God and of one's neighbour, the unity of the Trinity, Peter's denying him thrice, and the coming of the Holy Ghost to comfort them; on the observance of God's commandments, and the rewards prepared for the righteous; of the persecutions of the faithful, and the inevitable condemnation of the wicked; the dispersion of his disciples; and his own passion, now nigh at hand.

When Jesus had finished this incomparable discourse, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and audibly addressed a compassionate prayer to his Father on behalf of his disciples and all those that should believe in God through their word. In this prayer the merciful speaker implored his Father to grant us much more than our human frailty would ever presume to ask. [1]

Then, according to St. Luke, there was a strife among his disciples, which of them should be accounted the greatest; but their heavenly Teacher recalled them to a sense of humility by his example and sayings. He thus kindly put a stop to the contention among his weak-minded disciples, declaring that his love for them led him to be their servant. He also promised a kingdom to those who had continued with him in his temptations; and, after further discourse he said to Peter, when rashly boasting: "Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren". And he said unto him: "Lord, I am ready to go with thee,


[1] John xiii. 18-xvii. 26.

CHAP. XXII.] CHRIST ARRESTED. 63

both into prison and to death". Jesus answered: "I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me". And he said unto them: "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything"? And they said: "Nothing". Then said he unto them: "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one". And they said: "Behold, here are two swords". And he said: "It is enough".`

CH. XVII. Christ arrested - Arraigned before the Sanhedrin - and before Herod and Pilate.

AND when they had sung an hymn, as Matthew and Mark relate, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them: "All ye shall be offended because of me this night". And they came to a place called Gethsemane, which signifies the valley of fat things, or of fatness; and he saith unto the disciples: "Sit ye here, and pray, lest ye enter into temptation". And he taketh with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sore amazed and sorrowful, and very heavy. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down and prayed, saying: "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done". And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him; and being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was, as it were, drops of blood, falling down to the ground. We understand that on the other side of the brook Cedron, there was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. Judas also knew the place; so, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, he came thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said: "Hail, master; and kissed him". Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. Then Jesus, as St. John informs us, said unto them: "Whom seek ye"? They answered him: "Jesus of Nazareth". As soon as he had said: "I am


[1] Luke xxii. 24-38.

64 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

he", they went backward, and fell to the ground, and so on. [1]

St. Luke tells us that, when they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him: "Lord, shall we smite with the sword"? Then Peter smote the high priest's servant (Malchus), and cut off his right ear. Jesus answered their question by saying: "Suffer ye thus far". And he immediately added, addressing Peter, who had made use of the sword, as St. Matthew records: "Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve (thousand) legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be"? We may add to these words what St. John tells us he said also in this place: "The cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink it"? Then, as St. Luke says, he touched the ear of Malchus, and healed him. In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes: "Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness". Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. One young man followed him having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and when they laid hold on him, he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. The captain, with his band, and the officers of the Jews came among the crowd, and they bound our Saviour, and led him away to Annas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, and high priest that same year. [2]

But Peter followed him afar off, unto the high priest's palace, and went into the hall, to see the end, and there he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire, for it was cold. Now this fire was kindled in the midst of the hall, and when the servants had seated themselves round it, Peter placed himself among them. St. Peter is to be regarded with great veneration for following the Lord in


[1] Matt. xxvi. 30-50; Mark xiv. 26-46; Luke xxii. 39-48; John xviii. 1-9.

[2] Matt. xxvi. 51-57; Mark xiv. 47-53; Luke xxii. 49-54; John xviii. 10-14.

CHAP. XVII.] PETER'S DENIAL OF CHRIST. 65

spite of his fear. It was natural for him to fear; his following his Master was a token of devotion; his denial, of deceit; his repentance, of faith. [1]

Now the chief priests and all the council sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none, though many false witnesses came. When Jesus held his peace, the high priest said unto him: "I adjure thee, by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God". Jesus said unto him: "Thou hast said". Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying: "He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye"? They answered: "He is guilty of death". Then did they spit in his face, and strike him with the palms of their hands; some began to cover his face, others buffeted him, saying: "Prophesy unto us, thou Christ; who is he that smote thee?" We understand that the Lord suffered all these things during the night he passed in the house of the chief priest, into which he was first led; there, also, Peter was tempted, while all these insults were offered to the Lord. According to St. Mark, the triple denial of St. Peter was begun before the first crowing of the cock, and finished before the cock crew again. The three other evangelists relate that, before the first crowing, St. Peter had showed all these signs of grief and fear. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him: "Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice". And he went out, and wept bitterly. [2]

The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus answered him: "I spake openly to the world, I plainly taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them; behold, they know what I said". And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying: "Answerest thou the high priest so"? Jesus answered him: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the


[1] Matt. xxvi. 58; Mark xiv. 54; Luke xxii. 54-62; John xviii. 15, 18.

[2] Matt. xxvi. 59-75; Mark xiv. 55-72; Luke xxii. 56-65; John xviii. 17, 25-27.

66 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

evil; but if well, why smitest thou me"? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. [1]

When the morning was come, as Matthew relates, [2] all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; and when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate, the governor. St. Luke [3] has given an account of what happened to our Lord about dawn, when the men that held him mocked him and smote him; and when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face; and many things blasphemously spake they against him. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and the chief priests, and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying: "If thou art the Christ, tell us". And he said unto them: "If I tell you, ye will not believe; and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God". Then said they all: "Art thou, then, the Son of God"? And he said unto them: "Ye say that I am". And they said: "What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth". And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. Luke has recounted these circumstances; but Matthew and Mark have related all that befell our Lord until morning; afterwards they return to their account of Peter's denial; and when this is finished, they go back to what took place early in the morning, and continue their narrative of all that happened to our Saviour from that time.

St. John [4] says: then led they Jesus to Caiaphas, [5] unto the hall of judgment [praetorium]: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover. But the base crowds assembled there, bringing the Lord with them, as if he were already convicted, and, with the consent of Caiaphas, to whom it had before appeared expedient that Jesus should die, no delay was allowed to intervene before he was delivered to Pilate to be condemned.


[1] John xviii. 19-24.

[2] Chap. xxvii. 1, 2; Mark xv. 1.

[3] Chap. xxii. 63-xxiii. 1.

[4] John xviii. 28.

[5] According to St. John, from Caiaphas.

CHAP. XVII.] CHRIST ARRAIGNED BEFORE PILATE. 67

St. Matthew is the only evangelist who mentions the death of the traitor Judas, which he ages in these words: "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying: 'I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood'. And they said, 'What is that to us? see thou to that'. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. The chief priests took the silver pieces, and said: 'It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood'. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field is called, 'Aceldama', that is, the field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled all that had been foretold long before". [2]

And now the holy evangelists take pains to describe, in regular order, all that happened to our Lord before Pilate; facts which the studious reader ought himself to investigate with diligence, and put each in its proper place. During the passion of Christ, many things were said, and many questions answered, as Augustine, bishop of Hippo, judiciously remarks, in the third book of his work, called: "The Harmony of the Evangelists", from which each of the holy writers selected what seemed to him expedient, and inserted in his history what, in his judgment, sufficed. Matthew relates that Jesus stood before the governor, who, asking him if he were the king of the Jews, he answered: "Thou sayest". Pilate then went out, as we read in the gospel according to St. John, to those who would not enter the judgment-hall, and said: "What accusation bring you against this man"? They answered: "If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee". Then said Pilate unto them: "Take ye him, and judge him according to your law". The Jews said unto him: "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death". Then Pilate entered into the judgment-hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him: "Art thou the king of the Jews"? Jesus answered: "Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others


[1] Chap. xxvii. 3-9; Acts i. 18, 19.

[2] St. Matthew quotes Jeremiah, in whose prophecy no such passage is extant. See Zachar. xi. 12, 13.

68 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

tell it thee of me"? Pilate answered: "Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me. What hast thou done"? Jesus answered: "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence". Pilate therefore said unto him: "Art thou a king, then"? Jesus answered: "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice". Pilate saith unto him: "What is truth"? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them: "I find in him no fault at all". Then, as Luke relates, the Jews, becoming furious, began to accuse him, saying: "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a king". And when, as Matthew says, he was accused of the chief priests and elders of the people, he answered nothing; so great was his meekness! Then said Pilate unto him: "Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee"? And he answered him never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. When Pilate was sat down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying: "Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him". St. Luke writes that, whon Pilate said: "I find no fault in this man", the Jews were the more fierce, saying; "He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place". When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean; and as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad; for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him, and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood, and vehemently accused him. And Herod, with his men of war, set him at naught, and arrayed him in a white robe, and

CHAP. XVII.] CHRIST BEFORE HEROD. 69

sent him again, to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together, for before they were at enmity between themselves.

And Pilate, when he had called together the rulers and the people, said unto them: "Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people; and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in him, touching those things whereof ye accuse him. No, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him, and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him and release him". For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. Therefore, when they were gathered together, he said unto them: "Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ"? But the chief priests persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. Now Barabbas was a notable prisoner who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison. The governor said unto them: "Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you"? They said "Barabbas". Pilate saith unto them: "What shall I do then with Jesus, which is called Christ"? They all said unto him: "Let him be crucified". And the governor said: "Why? what evil hath he done"? But they cried out the more, saying: "Let him be crucified". When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying: "I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it". Then answered all the people: "His blood be on us, and on our children". Then released he Barabbas unto them, and took Jesus, and scourged him. St. John informs us, that the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and coming up to him, said: "Hail, King of the Jews"! And they smote him with their hands. Pilate went forth again, and saith unto them: "Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him". Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them: "Behold the man"! When the chief priests, therefore,

70 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

and officers saw him, they cried out, saying: "Crucify him, crucify him". Pilate saith unto them: "Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him". The Jews answered him: "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God". When therefore, Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment-hall, and saith unto Jesus: "Whence art thou"? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said unto him: "Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee"? Jesus answered: "Thou couldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above; therefore, he that hath delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin". From thenceforth Pilate sought to release him; but the Jews cried out, saying: "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar".

CH. XVIII. Christ sentenced - Crucified - And buried.

WHEN Pilate, therefore, heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, "Gabbatha". And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour; and he saith unto the Jews: "Behold your king"! But they cried out: "Away with him, away with him, crucify him". Pilate saith unto them: "Shall I crucify your king"? The chief priests answered "We have no king but Caesar". Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. [1]

Such is the account John gives us of what Pilate said and did; things that Matthew and Mark, omitting at first, afterwards recollected. Thus Matthew says: "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band; and they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying: "Hail,


[1] Matt. xxvii. 11-26; Mark xv. 1-15; Luke xxiii. 1-25; John xviii. 28-40.

CHAP. XVIII.] THE CRUCIFIXION. 71

King of the Jews"! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe (or the purple, according to St. Mark) off from him, and put his ovm raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. John relates that Jesus, "bearing his cross, went forth into a place called Golgotha", or Mount Calvary. "And they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus", a fact mentioned by three evangelists; "and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it" to the place just named. [1]

They crucified Jesus in Golgotha, between two malefactors, and gave him wine mingled with myrrh; and set up over his head his accusation written: "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews". And this title was written in Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. [2]

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves "Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be"; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith: "They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots". [3]

The rulers and the scribes railed on him as he hanged on the cross, wagging their heads, and saying: "Ah! thou that destroyest the temple of God, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. [4] If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross".

We learn from Luke that one of the malefactors which were hanged, railed on him, saying: "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us". But the other rebuked bim, saying; "Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the


[1] Matt. xxvii. 27-33; Mark xv. 16-22; Luke xxiii. 26; John xix. 17.

[2] Matt. xxvii. 34-38; Mark xv. 23, 25-27; Luke xxiii. 32, 33, 36, 38; John xix. 17-20.

[3] Psalm xxi. 19; Matt. xxvii. 35; Mark xv. 24; Luke xxiii. 34; John xix. 23, 24.

[4] We follow here the text of the Bible and Duchesne. The MS. of Saint-Evroult reads destruit et reaedificat in the third person. Matt. xxvii. 38-44; Mark xv. 27-32.

72 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss". And he said unto Jesus: "Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom". And Jesus said unto him: "Verily I say unto thee: Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise". [1]

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother: "Woman, behold thy son". Then saith he to the disciple: "Behold thy mother". And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. [2]

From the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, and at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: "Eli, Eli, lama-zababdani"? that is to say: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me"? After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith: "I thirst". Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar; and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, according to Luke, he said: "Father, into the hands I commend my spirit".

At last, according to John, when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said: "It is finished"; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept, arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done,


[1] Luke xxiii. 37, 39-43.

[2] John xix. 25-27.

[3] Matt. xxvii. 45-49; Mark xv. 33-36; Luke xxiii. 44-46; John xix. 28, 29. The words which Jesus Christ pronounced when upon the cross: Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani! belong to the Syro-Chaldaic dialect, which was spoken at Jerusalem at that period. We find them in Hebrew in the twenty-second psalm, ver. 1: Eli, Eli, lama azabtani! It seems to have been the author's intention to have given them in this latter form.

CHAP. XIX.] THE BURIAL OF CHRIST. 73

they feared greatly, saying: "Truly this was the Son of God". And many women which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him, stood afar off; among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. [1]

When the even was come, Joseph of Arimathea, honourable counsellor, a good man and a just, who also himself waited for the kingdom of God (being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews), went boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus; and the governor, when he knew of the centurion that he was already dead, gave Joseph leave to take it. Joseph came, therefore, and took the body of Jesus, and having bought fine linen, he wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre. And there came also Nicodemus, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre, hewn out of a rock, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. The women, whose names we have already mentioned, and whose affection for him was the most ardent, sat over against the sepulchre, and beheld where he was laid. [2]

Now the next day, the priests and Pharisees falsely reported to Pilate some of the words of the Lord, and having obtained his consent, they sealed the stone, and placed soldiers all round to keep watch over the sepulchre. [3]

CH. XIX. Our Lord's resurrection - Harmony of the accounts of the evangelists, from St. Augustine.

WE read in the evangelical narrative an account of


[1] Matt. xxvii. 50-56; Mark xv. 37-41; Luke xxiii. 46-49; John xix. 30.

[2] Matt. xxvii. 57-61; Mark xv. 42-47; Luke xxiii. 50-55: John xix. 33-42.

[3] Matt. xxvii. 62-66.

74 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

several circumstances which took place at the resurrection of our Lord, which would appear to be irreconcileable, unless the order in which they happened is carefully considered. It may, therefore, be well to consult what Augustine, an enlightened commentator on the holy Scriptures, says upon this subject, in the third book of his "Harmony of the Evangelists", which I shall quote in his own words. Thus, after discussing several questions, he makes this declaration: "I will endeavour, by God's help, to collect in one continuous narration all the facts immediately connected with our Lord's resurrection, according to the testimonies of the several evangelists, so far as they can be arranged". [1]

They all agree in the coming [of the women] to the sepulchre, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week; before which, however, the facts which Matthew alone relates had occurred, viz., the great earthquake, the rolling back of the stone, the consternation of the keepers, some of whom lay near the spot like dead men. According to John, Mary Magdalene came, no doubt with the other women who ministered to our Lord, but her affection for him was more ardent; and therefore, with good reason, John makes particular mention of her, passing over in silence the names of those who, according to the statements of the other evangelists, were with her. She came, therefore, and when she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre, before she had examined anything attentively, not doubting that the body of Jesus was removed, as John tells us, she ran to announce to himself, as well as to Simon Peter, what she had seen. This John was the disciple whom Jesus loved. And they both began to run towards the sepulchre, and John, coming first to the place, stooped down, and saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in. Then cometh Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then John went in also, and saw and believed what Mary had said, that they had


[1] St. August., de Consens. Evangel., iii. 69. The quotation from St. Augustine continues to the end of the first paragraph in page 83 here following.

CHAP. XIX.] THE RESURRECTION. 75

taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre; for as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre, weeping, that is to say, before the spot where the tomb had been hewn out of the rock, although within the space where the women had already entered. Now in that place there was a garden, as John informs us. They then saw on their right hand the angel who had rolled back the stone from the door of the sepulchre; and was sitting upon it. Of this angel Matthew and Mark speak in the following terms: "Then said he unto the women: 'Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you'". What Mark relates does not differ from Matthew's narrative.

As Mary wept on hearing these words, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre, and, as John informs us, "saw two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. They say unto her: 'Woman, why weepest thou?' She saith unto thom: 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him'". We must understand that the angels had risen, and that they were seen standing, as Luke mentions, when they said to the women who were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth: "Why seek ye the living among the dead? he is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again". And they remembered his words. [1]

After this, Mary turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, as John tells us, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her: "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith


[1] Matt. xxviii. 1-7; Mark xvi. 1-7; Luke xxiv. 1-8; John xx. 1-13.

76 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

unto him: "Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away". Jesus saith unto her: "Mary". She turned herself, and saith unto him: "Rabboni", which is to say, "Master". Jesus saith unto her: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them: 'I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God'". She then departed from the sepulchre, that is to say, the place where the garden lay before the cave in the rock, accompanied by the other women, who, as Mark informs us, "trembled, and were amazed, neither said they anything to any man". And as they went, behold, Jesus met them, saying: "All hail". And they came, and clung to his feet, and worshipped him. From these statements we gather, that, during their visit to the tomb, they were twice addressed by the angels, as well as by the Lord himself; that is to say, the first time when Mary supposed him to be the gardener, and afterwards when Jesus came to meet them in the way. By appearing twice before these women, he confirmed their faith, and allayed their fears. He then said unto them: "Be not afraid; go, tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me". Mary Magdalene, therefore, came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her; and not only unto her, but also to the other women who are mentioned in the gospel of Luke. They told these things unto the eleven disciples, and to all the rest; and their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Mark attests these facts. Indeed, after he has described the state of these women, who went out of the sepulchre trembling and amazed to such a degree that they did not say anything to any man; he adds that, when the Lord was risen he appeared first - early the first day of the week - to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils; and that she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept, who, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. Matthew inserts this additional circumstance in his narrative, that, after the departure of the women who had seen and heard all these things, some of the watch, who had fallen to the ground as dead men, came into the

CHAP. XIX.] CHRIST APPEARS TO HIS DISCIPLES. 77

city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done, that is to say, all that they had seen and known. When the priests were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large bribes unto the soldiers to induce them to say that his disciples had stolen him away while they slept; promising at the same time to secure them from the anger of the governor, who had placed them there to guard the tomb. The soldiers took the money, and did as they were taught; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Luke is the only evangelist who does not say that our Saviour appeared to the women, but only the angels. Now Matthew asserts that Jesus met them on their return from the sepulchre. Mark also assures us, as well as John, that he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, but does not tell us how he appeared to her, while John explains this. [1]

As the four evangelists agree, in their faithful narratives, on all that the Almighty Emmanuel did before his passion; so they relate, in harmony with each other, his resurrection and ascension, and inform us that the Lord was seen by mortal eyes on ten occasions after he had risen from the dead: once by the women at the sepulchre; again, by these same women in the way as they returned from the tomb; the third time he appeared to Simon Peter; and if the evangelist has not informed us when or where the meeting took place, he plainly declares that it did occur. The fourth time, he appeared to the two disciples who were going to a village called Emmaus, but in another form, that they might not know him; he accompanied them in the way as a traveller, and inquired of them the cause of their sadness and of their complaints. When he heard the lamentation of Cleopas concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how they delivered him to be condemned to death, he gently reproved them for being slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken; and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, hc expounded unto them the Scriptures. And they constrained him to accept of their hospitality; and, as he sat at meat with them, he took


[1] Matt. xxviii. 8-15; Mark xvi. 8-1I; Luke xxiv. 9-12; John xx. 14-18.

78 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And while he was breaking the bread, he opened their eyes, that they might know him; and as soon as they had recognized him, he vanished out of their sight. His fifth appearance was at Jerusalem when several of the disciples were assembled in the evening, as Luke and John inform us, but Thomas was not among them. Jesus entered the place, although they had shut the doors ["for fear of the Jews"], shewed unto them his hands and his side, took a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb, and did eat before them. He then breathed on them, and said unto them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost". The sixth time that he appeared was after eight days, when Thomas saw him, and said: "My Lord and my God". The seventh time he shewed himself at the Sea of Tiberias, when seven of his disciples, who were fishing, saw him in the morning, after a night's toil, and ate bread and fish with him on the shore, after the miraculous draught of 153 fishes. The eighth time he appeared on a mountain in Galilee, according to Matthew; and when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted. He then said unto them: "All power is given unto, me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world". His ninth visit, Mark tells us, was when he appeared for the last time unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart. It is called the last time, because they were not to be with him any longer on the earth. His tenth appearance, as we read in the narrative of Mark and Luke, took place on the same day: the disciples saw him not here below, but as he was ascending into heaven, taken up in a cloud. Such was the number of times, that our Saviour is said in the writings of the evangelists, to have been seen of man before he ascended into heaven; that is to say, nine times on earth, and once as he rose through the air; but, as John says, all his acts are not recorded. And, indeed, they had many opportunities of being in company with him during the forty days that preceded his ascension,

CHAP. XX.] THE ASCENSION. 79

although he did not remain with them throughout the whole time. John informs us that, between the first day of his resurrection and his next appearance, there was an interval of eight days. In this manner, appearing during those forty days, as often as he would, to whom he would, and as he would, he confirmed his disciples in the belief of his resurrection. [1]

CH. XX. Christ's last appearances upon earth - His ascension - The eleven apostles - Matthias elected.

MARK and Luke mention our Lord's two last appearances, and relate all that was said and done. We read in Mark that he upbraided the doubtful, for their hardness of heart, but said unto those who were strong in the faith: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he, that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover". So then after the Lord Jesus had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Moreover Luke at the end of his Gospel says: "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven". Again in the opening chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, he speaks of the ascension in these words: "And being assembled together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, 'ye have heard of me; for John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence'. When they, therefore, were come together, they asked of him, saying: 'Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel'? And he said unto them: 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons


[1] Matt. xxviii. 16-20; Mark xvi. 12-19; Luke xxiv. 13-49; John xx. 19; xxi.

[2] Mark xvi. 15-19; Luke xxiv. 50, 51.

80 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

which the Father hath put in his own power, but ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth'. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven, as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said: 'Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven'. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath-day's journey". There, as Luke testifies, these faithful disciples rejoiced greatly in the triumph of their heavenly Master, continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, both in the temple and in an upper room, and waited with confidence for the promise of the Father, as Jesus had commanded them. [1] All that they had heard him say was fully proved to them by the miracles which they saw performed before their own eyes. And, indeed, as they had often heard from his own lips that he should have to endure the most cruel sufferings during his passion, and that he should rise again in triumph on the third day; now they rejoiced to see the immortal Giver of life overcome the sharpness of death, and triumph because he is exalted above the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father. Angels also appeared in white apparel, and, addressing the men of Galilee, while filled with admiration they looked steadfastly toward heaven, pointed out to them the great joy both of angels and of men, and announced that Jesus would re-appear at the end of the world to judge all nations. [2]

Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, who remained with the Lord Jesus unto the end, were called by him the salt of the earth and the light of the world; and justly so, for they despised this world, in order to follow his steps, and were rewarded by being appointed by God rulers


[1] Luke xxiv. 52, 53; Act. Apost. i. 1-14.

[2] Acts i. 10, 11.

CHAP. XX.] ELECTION OF MATTHIAS. 81

and judges of the earth. When this venerable company was returned to Jerusalem, Peter, who was the first called. and the greatest in dignity among the apostles, stood up in the midst of the disciples, who were about an hundred and twenty in number. He began his address to them by speaking of the fate of the traitor Judas, who, having hung himself between heaven and earth, burst asunder in the midst, and his bowels gushed out because he was unworthy of a place in either; this happened after he had purchased with the reward for betraying Christ, a field called "Aceldama", that is to say, The field of blood. He then reminded them that they were, as David had foretold, to ordain another apostle in his room, that he might take part in this heavenly ministry and apostleship. All, therefore, adopted the proposal of their president, and in order to complete the sacred number of the apostles they appointed two, Joseph, surnamed Justus, and Matthias; and they gave forth their lots, after Peter had offered up a prayer, which the rest confirmed, and the lot falling upon Matthias, he was numbered with the eleven apostles. [1]

These twelve apostles represent the hours of the day, and the twelve months of the entire year, and had been often signified long before in dark sayings of the prophets and patriarchs. They are held in reverence by all the nations of the faithful, and justly regarded as the senators of heaven, and the glorious princes of the church; because they are grafted aS fruitful branches into Christ, the true vine. In the Lord's field, they faithfully followed his steps among men, more especially by voluntary poverty; and having, as companions and partakers of the same mysteries, shone with the effulgence of miraculous powers, they now sit together on celestial thrones, the righteous judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. And as, while they were on earth, they had without ceasing contended for the prize set before them, and indefatigably laboured in the church, as Christ's faithful vicars and witnesses, so now they shine as his blessed co-heirs in heaven.


[1] Acts i. 3, 15-26.

82 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BOOK I.

CH. XXI. Descent of thc Holy Ghost at Pentecost.

XXI. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, and the faithful disciples were all with one accord in one place, at the third hour of the day, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, and the Holy Ghost descended in the form of tongues, like as of fire, and sat upon each of them, filling them with all wisdom and heavenly gifts. O how quick and skilful is the heavenly Artificer, the sweet and vivifying helper of those souls which desire his unction! This celestial fire, which did not consume, but illumine, came down to inflame fully the hearts of the disciples, and free them from the attractions of carnal pleasures, and from the dread of punishment. It suddenly taught them to speak with other tongues, strengthened their minds by authority, and raised them to the summit of virtue, against all the wiles of the enemy. The apostles spake of the wonderful works of God in divers tongues, so that strangers out of every nation under heaven were amazed that these Galileans, who had never quitted their native land, should speak so fluently in every language. The Jews, full of envy, and confounded by this miracle, and accustomed as they were to put a wrong construction upon the words and works of Christ, asserted that these men, who were showing forth the mighty works of God, were full of new wine, which made them talk like madmen. But Peter, who was indeed intoxicated with spiritual drink, rose up against these perfidious men, spoke to them the words of saving wisdom, treated eloquently of the incarnation, the passion, and the resurrection of Christ, and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, confounded the multitude of the malicious. As he had once smitten with the sword Malchus, and had cut off the ear of this servant of the high priest, so with the spiritual word of God he pierced the hearts of those who were carnally slaves to the letter of the Mosaic law, and commanded the neophytes to banish from their minds the recollection of the ancient ceremonies and observances. These same Jews who, shortly before, had so cruelly persecuted the Messiah to death, were exhorted by St. Peter, in a fervent address, to repent and to be baptized in

CHAP. XXII.] THE DAY OF PENTECOST. 83

the name of Jesus Christ; and as he had been hitherto accustomed to take fish from the sea by means of his net, so now, by performing the sacred duties of a preacher, he drew the wandering sinner from the depths of ignorance, to set his feet on the solid ground of faith. In one day he baptized three thousand of those who were converted, and, putting on the new man, had cast off the old things of a carnal life. [1]

CH. XXII. Recapitulation of preceding twenty-one chapters - Continuation of History proposed.

And now, by God's help, I have compiled a plain narrative of all that passed from the birth of Christ to the coming of the Holy Ghost the Comforter; and have collected and briefly arranged our Lord's miracles from the writings of the evangelists, as well as my feeble powers enabled me, or I have gained from the accounts given by the fluent or and other doctors of the church. I have endeavoured in this work to be useful to my fellow creatures and to myself; wishing especially to be of some service to those who dislike the perusal of those learned and extensive works; for which purpose I have collected the accounts of our Lord's miracles, which are spread over four books, and comprised them within the limits of a small volume. Moreover, I have generally been anxious to adopt the very words I found in the authentic books; and although, for brevity's sake, I have been frequently compelled to alter their language, yet I have made every effort to arrive at the precise truth, and have never voluntarily deviated from received opinions.

And now, purposing to continue this history, in order that the reader may clearly understand the chronology, I shall insert some information, which the ancient fathers have given upon the subject in their works. For Eusebius of Cesarea, St. Jerome, who understood three languages, the Spanish philosophers Orosius and Isidore of Seville,


[1] Acts ii. 1-41.

[2] As our author here states, he has principally drawn the materials for the twenty-one preceding chapters, occupied with the life of Jesus Christ, from St. Augustine's treatise on the "Harmony of the Evangelists".

84 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

and several others, have written at large on the course of former events, and especially Beda, the priest, in his book entitled, "De Temporibus". [1] He is the latest [2] of the English writers, and carefully studied to imitate the style of the ancients.

CH. XXIII. Series of emperors of Rome and Constantinople, from Tiberius to Leo the Isaurian.

TIBERIUS, the step-son of Octavianus Augustus, being the son of Livia his wife by a former husband, reigned twenty-three years. In the twelfth year of his reign, he sent Pilate into Judea, as procurator of that province. Herod the tetrarch, when he had been in possession of this principality twenty-four years, founded the cities of Tiberias and Libias, in honour of the emperor Tiberius and his mother Livia. [3]

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, our Lord Jesus, after his baptism, as was foretold by St. John, preached the kingdom of heaven to the world, four thousand years after the creation, according to the Hebrews, as is proved by Eusebius, in his Chronicles; we must here notice that the fifteenth year of Tiberius corresponds with the commencement of the eighty-first Jubilee among the Jews; if we consult these same Chronicles, which Eusebius himself compiled, as he thought best, from the two editions extant, [4] we find five thousand, two hundred, and twenty-eight years.


[1] It is not the work of Bede, "De Temporibus", but the one bearing the title, "De Sex Ĉtatibus Mundi", which our author has followed, for the most part literally, through most of the historical and chronological notices that occupy the remaining portion of this book.

[2] Bede, however, died A.D. 735.

[3] Pilate succeeded in the government of Judea A.D. 26 or 27, of which he was dispossessed in the year 37. Tiberias appears to have been founded in the year seventeen of Jesus Christ, which does not correspond with the twenty-fourth, but with the nineteenth or twentieth year of the reign of Herod Antipas. The town called, in honour of Livia, sometimes Libias, sometimes Julias (Livia herself having taken the name of Julia after she had been adopted by Augustus in his will), already existed under the name of Beth-Haram, or Beth-Ramphta.

[4] That is to say, from the text as it was before Origen, and that which had been corrected by him. The first was called Editio Vulgaris; the second, Editio Hexaplaris.

A.D. 32-42.] TIBERIUS AND CALIGULA. 85

In the eighteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, our Lord redeemed the world by his passion, and rising again victoriously from the dead on the third day, showed himself openly to his faithful disciples, and on the fortieth day ascended into heaven before their eyes. Agrippa, surnamed Herod, whose father was Aristobulus, son of King Herod, went to Rome, to impeach Herod the tetrarch, but was thrown into prison by order of Tiberius, [1] where he made himself many friends, especially Caius (Caligula), son of Germanicus.

Caius, surnamed Caligula, reigned three years, ten months, and eight days. He gave the kingdom of Judea to his friend Herod Agrippa, whom he had liberated from confinement. This prince held the sceptre for the space of seven years, that is to say, until the fourth year of the reign of Claudius, when "the angel of the Lord smote him", and his son Agrippa, [II.] succeeded in the government, and reigned twenty-six years, until the extermination of the Jews. He, as well as Herod the tetrarch, was persuaded by Herodias to go to Rome, to conciliate the friendship of Caligula, but being there accused by Agrippa, he lost even his tetrarchate, and escaping by flight into Spain, with Herodias, died there of grief. Pilate, who had pronounced sentence of death on Christ, received so many affronts from Caligula, that he killed himself with his own hand. This emperor, to honour his gods, polluted the holy places of the Jews, by placing in them these impure idols. [2]

Claudius governed the empire thirteen years, eight months, and nineteen days. He himself, in the fourth year of his reign, during a dreadful famine, of which St. Luke


[1] In the month of September, A.D. 37, about six months before the death of Tiberius.

[2] He did not give Judea to Herod Agrippa, as our author states, according to Bede, but Batanea and the Trachonitis. Claudius, A.D. 41, added to them Judea and Samaria. The death of this king happened in 44. Agrippa II. never possessed Judea, but other territories, with the superintendence of the Temple, and the right of appointing the high-priest. It was in the year 39 that Herod Antipas, accused of entertaining a treasonable correspondence with the Parthians, was banished with Herodias to Lyons; from whence, it appears, they were subsequently removed to Spain. Pilate, according to a tradition, was sent to Vienne in Dauphiny, where he killed himself in a fit of despair, A.D. 40.

86 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

makes mention in the Acts of the Apostles, passed over into Britain, where no army had dared to land either before or after Julius Caesar, and, without fighting any battles or shedding blood, within the space of a few days, received the proffered submission of the greater part of the island. He also added the Orkney Islands to the Roman empire, and returned to his capital, whence he had been absent altogether somewhat less than six months. In the ninth year of his government, he drove the rebellious Jews out of Rome, as we read in the Acts of St. Luke. In the following year a dire famine afflicted the Romans. [1]

Nero filled the imperial throne for the space of thirteen years, seven months, and twenty-eight days. In his second year, Festus succeeded Felix as procurator of Judea, and sent Paul in chains to Rome. Albinus succeeded Festus in the government of Judea, and was followed by Gessius Florus. The Jews were not long able to bear the dissolute manners, the avarice, and the other vices of Florus; for which reason they rebelled against the Romans. Vespasian was sent against them at the head of an army, and took several of their towns. Nero's greatest crime, and he committed many, was his having given the order for the first persecution of the Christians, the most distinguished leaders of whom he commanded to be put to death at Rome; St. Peter was crucified, and St. Paul fell by the sword. This emperor did not venture to undertake any wars, and was very near losing Britain; for during his government, two towns of great importance were captured and destroyed. [2]


[1] The conquests of the Romans in Britain commenced under A. Plautius. A.C. 43. The expedition of Claudius into England, where he remained only sixteen days, took place in the third year of his reign. There was, indeed, at the same period a famine at Rome; but the one our author speaks of, and of which St. Luke makes mention in the Acts of the Apostles (xi. 28), belongs to the next year. The conquest of the Orkneys did not happen under this prince, but under Vespasian. The expulsion of the Jews from Italy (Acts xviii. 2) must be referred to the year 49, and the second famine to the year 51.

[2] The expedition of Vespasian into Judea took place in the year 67, Festus had succeeded Felix in 60, and consequently not in the second, but in the sixth year of the reign of Nero.- St. Peter and St. Paul appear to have suffered martyrdom on the 29th of June, A.D. 66.- The Roman power in Britain was almost stationary under Aulus Didius and Varanius, the immediate successors of Ostorius; indeed, it is said that the Emperor Nero seriously entertained the thought of abandoning the island, but the next governor, Paulinus Suetonius (A.D. 59-61) revived the spirit of the Romans. He conquered the island of Mona now Anglesey. Boadicea, widow of King Prasutagus, and queen of the Iceni who were joined by the Trinobantes, rebelled against the Romans, laid waste with fire and sword the colony of Camalodunum (Colchester), and took London and Verulam by assault, massacring the inhabitants. The Britons, however, were afterwards defeated by Suetonius with tremendous loss, and Boadicea put an end to her existence by taking poison. This revolt took place A.D. 61.

A.D. 69-79.] VESPASIAN. 87

Vespasian held the reins of government for the space of nine years, eleven months, and twenty-two days. He was in Judea when he was proclaimed emperor by the army, and, leaving the direction of the war to his son Titus, he returned to Rome by the way of Alexandria, and, after the murder of Vitellius, took possession of the throne. Titus, within the space of two years, overthrew the kingdom of Judea, and razed the temple to the ground one thousand and eighty-four years after its first erection. This war was terminated in four years; it was carried on for two years during the life of Nero, and was continued for two years after his death. Vespasian, among other great actions while he was yet a subject, signalized himself in Germany, and afterwards in Great Britain, whither he had been sent by Claudius, and where he fought thirty-two pitched battles with the enemy; he added to the Roman empire two powerful nations, twenty towns and the Isle of Wight on the coast of Britain. It was during his reign that the colossus [of Rhodes] was erected; its height was a hundred and seven feet. [1]

The emperor Titus reigned two years and two months; a man whose character was so admirable on account of his being endowed with every virtue, that he was called the love and delight of mankind. He completed the amphitheatre at Rome, when five thousand animals were killed at the dedication. [2]


[1] The Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by fire, Aug. 10, A.D. 70, and consequently one thousand and seventy-two years after its first construction.- The colossal statue, executed by Zenodorus in marble, was erected in the year 75; it was 110 or 120 feet high (Pliny), and was originally intended to represent Nero, but having suffered in the fire which destroyed the Domus Aurea, or Golden House, it was repaired by Vespasian, and by him converted into a statue of the sun.

[2] A destructive fire and a dreadful plague happened at Rome, A.D. 79. The Flavian Amphitheatre, afterwards called the Colosseum, was completed and dedicated by Titus in the year 80. Not nine thousand, but (according to Dion. Cassius) five thousand animals were killed during the festival, which lasted a hundred days.

88 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Domitian, the younger brother of Titus, governed the empire fifteen years and five months. He commenced the second persecution of the Christians, Nero's being the first, and shortly afterwards received his reward for thus fighting against God, being slain in the senate-house. [1]

Nerva held the imperial sceptre one year, four months, and eight days. His first edict recalled all those who were banished. The apostle St. John regained his liberty by this general amnesty, and took advantage of it to return to Ephesus. [2]

Trajan filled the throne nineteen years, six months, and fifteen days. He began the third persecution of the Christians, and ordered the most eminent servants of God to be tortured to death. Pliny the younger, born at Como, lived during this reign; he is regarded as a great orator and historian: many of his works, proofs of his remarkable talent, are still extant. The Pantheon at Rome, built by Domitian, was destroyed by lightning; it was so named, because it was consecrated as the temple of all the gods. The Jews, who excited seditions in every part of the world, were slaughtered in great numbers, a punishment they deserved. This emperor extended far and wide the bounds of the Roman empire, which, since the time of Augustus, had been rather defended than added to by any remarkable conquests

Hadrian, cousin of Trajan, reigned twenty-one years. Being enlightened by the books written on the Christian religion by Quadratus, a disciple of the apostles and bishop of Athens, Aristides, an Athenian full of faith and wisdom,


[1] Domitian persecuted the church A.D. 95, the year before his death.

[2] The persecution appears to have ceased before the death of Domitian. Nevertheless St. John did not return from banishment before Nerva recalled the exiles.

[3] The third persecution took place A.D. 117. The measures taken to punish the Jews were begun the year before.- The first burning of the Pantheon happened A.D. 80, and the second A.D. 110.- Pliny the Younger (Caius Caecilius Plinius Secundus) was born at Como about A.D. 52, and died about the year 102. The passage relating to him is borrowed from St. Jerome, who, as well as our author, appears to have confounded him with Pliny the Elder, his uncle.

A.D. 98-117.] EMPEROR HADRIAN. 89

and Serenus Granianus, proconsul [of Asia], he wrote a letter commanding that the Christians should not be condemned unless accusations were preferred against them. This emperor subdued a second time and finally, with great slaughter, the Jews who had again rebelled; he even deprived them of the permission to enter Jerusalem, which he carefully rebuilt, and surrounded with walls; commanding that it should be called AElia, after his own name. Being perfect master both of Greek and Latin, he founded at Athens a library of admirable architecture. Mark was the first gentile bishop of Jerusalem; those who preceded him having been all Jews. Their names were: James the brother of our Lord, Simeon the son of Cleophas, Justus, Zaccheus, Tobias, Sixtus (Benjamin), John, Matthias, Philip, Seneca, another Justus, Levi, Effrem, Joseph, and Judas. These bishops, fifteen in number, who were of the circumcision, governed the Christian church at Jerusalem, from the time of our Lord's passion until the reign of AElius Hadrian, a space of nearly one hundred and seven years; rendering themselves illustrious by their sanctity, their faith, and their learning. Their successors of gentile origin, were Mark, Cassianus, Publius, Maximus, Julian, Caius, another Julian, Capiton, Valens, Dolician, Narcissus, Alexander, Mazabanes, Hymenaeas, Zabdas, Hermon, Macharius, another Maximus, Cyrill, and John. [1]

Antoniuus, surnamed Pius, with his two sons, by adoption, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius (Verus), reigned twenty-two years and three months. Justin the philosopher presented to Antoninus a book he wrote in favour of the Christian religion, which induced the emperor to treat the Christians


[1] The initiation of the Emperor Hadrian into the mysteries of Eleusis in 126 had excited the persecution which induced St. Quadratus, bishop of Athens, St. Aristides, and Serenus Granianus, proconsul of Asia, to present to the emperor apologies for the Christian religion, which induced him to put an end to the persecution. Jerusalem was retaken, and reduced to ashes by Julius Severus in the month of August, 135. Its conversion into a Roman colony, under the name of Colonia AElia Capitolina, was already effected in 138, the period of the ordination of the patriarch Mark. Seven names are missing in the list which Ordericus gives of the successors of this bishop, to the commencement of the sixth century. The foundation of the library of Alexandria belongs to the early part of the year 135.

90 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [BI. CH.XXIII.

With kindness. Not long after, however, he lost his life for Christ's sake, during the persecution excited by Crescens the Cynic, in the time of Pope Pius I. Hermes wrote a book entitled, "The Pastor" which contains the precept of an angel, that Easter should be kept on the Lord's day. Polycarp, on his arrival at Rome, reclaimed from their heresy many who had been recently corrupted by the doctrines of Valentine and Cerdo. [1]

Marcus Antoninus Verus, and his brother [by adoption] Lucius Aurelius Commodus, reigned nineteen years and two months. The government was now for the first time administered by them jointly, hitherto there having been sole emperors. They afterwards made war against the Parthians with distinguished courage and success. During the persecution of the Christians in Asia, Polycarp and Pionius suffered martyrdom. In Gaul, also, Pothinus, bishop of Lyons, and several other Christians gloriously shed their blood for Christ. Not long after, the plague, that avenger of crime, depopulated many provinces of the Roman empire, above all Italy, and Rome itself. On the demise of his brother Commodus, Antoninus took his own son Commodus as his colleague in the government. Melito, bishop of Sardis, in Asia, wrote an apology for the Christians, addressed to the emperor Antoninus. Lucius, king of Britain, sent a letter to Eleutherius, bishop of Rome, soliciting


[1] Justin Martyr, born A.D. 103, at Neapolis (Sicham), drew up his first Apology about the year 140. Crescens, a philosopher, caused him to be apprehended with six of his companions, when they were all beheaded in 167, in the pontificate of Auicetus, and not during that of Pius I., who died ten years before (July 11, 157); consequently he does not belong to this reign, but to that of Manus Aurelius. St. Hermas, and not Hermes, the father of Pius I., wrote the book called "The Pastor", translated into English by Archbishop Wake in 1710. Many are of opinion that he was the disciple of St. Paul, of whom mention is made in Romans xvi. 19. The book does not contain anything relative to the time of celebrating Easter. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, who is supposed to be the "angel of the church of Smyrna" (Rev. ii. 8), undertook a journey to Rome in 158, to confer with Pope Anicetus on this subject. He was burnt at the stake A.D. 167. The heretical opinions of Valentine and Cerdon had been condemned several years before.

This passage, like most of those which precede and follow it, is borrowed literally from Bede.

A.D. 180-192.] COMMODUS. 91

admission into the Christian church. Apollinaris of Hierapolis in Asia, and Dionysius of Corinth, are ranked amongst the most illustrious bishops of this age. [1]

After the death of his father, Lucius Antoninus Commodus reigned thirteen years. He was successful in his war with the Germans. In all other respects he did not inherit his father's virtues, being addicted to every species of debauchery. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons at this time, had gained great celebrity. The emperor Commodus having ordered the head of the Colossus to be taken off, replaced it by one taken from his own statue. [2]

Helvius Pertinax reigned only six months; he was assassinated by Didius Julian, who, after a reign of only seven months, was vanquished and killed, during the civil war, by Severus, near the Milvian bridge. Victor, bishop of Rome, by a decree which was widely dispersed, ordered the feast of Easter to be celbrated, as his predecessor Eleutherius had done, on the Sunday between the 14th and the 21st day of March,- which was then reckoned the first month of the year. Theophilus, bishop of Caesarea, in Palestine, adopted this decree, and in conjunction with other bishops, present at a council, wrote a synodical and valuable epistle, against those who persisted in celebrating


[1] Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, born at Rome, A.D. 121, married Faustina, daughter of Antoninus Pius, and died of a pestilential disease in the fifty-ninth year of his age. By consulting the dates given before, it will be apparent that his reign lasted only nineteen years and ten days; Bede having reckoned nineteen years and one month. The war against the Parthians, begun in 161, was brought to a successful issue in 165. L. Verus, in the year 166, on his return from the East, carried the plague to Rome. Polycarp and Justin both suffered martyrdom in the same year (167), and Pothinus in 177. Our historian is in error as to Pionius, who was burnt in the persecution of Decius, A.D. 250. Commodus was raised to the dignity of Caesar in the year 177. Melito, bishop of Sardis in Lydia, addressed his Apology for Christianity to Marcus Aurelius in the year 175; it was followed in 177 by another from the pen of Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis, whose writings are all lost.- The demand of the British king, Lucius, to Eleutherius, bishop of Rome, for a Christian missionary, must have been between the years 177 and 193, when that pope filled the see. Only a few fragments of the letters of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, have been preserved.

[2] The expedition against the Germans took place in September, 177. Irenaeus was, indeed, contemporary with Commodus, but he did not suffer martyrdom before the year 202.

92 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

this festival like the Jews, on the fourteenth day of the March moon. [1]

Severus Pertinax held the reins of government for seventeen years, firmly, but not without difficulty. He ordered a cruel persecution of the Christians. Clemens, a priest of the church of Alexandria, and Pantaenus, a stoic philosopher, distinguished themselves by their theological discussions. Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, Theophilus of Caesarea, Polycarp and Bacchiolus, Asiatic bishops, were also illustrious. In different parts of the empire, a great number of Christians received the crown of martyrdom. Clodius Albinus, who had assumed the title of Caesar in Gaul, having been slain near Lyons, Severus transferred the war into Britain. In order to secure the conquered provinces from the incursions of the barbarians, he ordered a wide ditch to be dug, and a very strong wall to be raised; which was additionally fortified, at unequal distances, by a number of towers; these works very nearly extended from sea to sea, being about one hundred and thirty-two thousand paces long. This emperor died at York. [2]


[1] Our author seems, in imitation of Aurelius Victor, to have confounded Didius Julianus with his grandfather, the famous jurisconsult, Salvius Julianus. However Eutropius affirms that Didius also was well versed in jurisprudence. It was not Didius who was defeated by Septimius Severus near the Milvian Bridge, but Maxentius by Constantine, a century and a half afterwards. The truth is that Didius was beheaded, by order of the senate on receiving the news of the election of Septimius Severus, after a short reign of sixty-six days.- The Council of Caesarea in Palestine, convoked for the discussion of the great question of those times, the proper day for the celebration of Easter, which so long disturbed the church, was held in the year 196, and consequently in the reign of Septimius Severna.

[2] The surname of Pertinax was given to Severus by the soldiers at the moment when they proclaimed him emperor. Bede asserts that he reigned eighteen years: this comes nearer to the truth than our author's number. The fifth persecution of the Christians began in 201 or 202, and continued until the death of this prince.- Clemens of Alexandria [Titus Flavius Clemens], one of the doctors of the church, was obliged to seek refuge in Cappadocia during the whole time it lasted. He died in 217, one year after Pantaenus, whose disciple and successor he was, and who, as early as 179, was master of the famous school of Alexandria.- Narcissus, bishop or patriarch of Jerusalem presided at the Council of Caesarea, convoked by Bishop Theophilus in 196.- Instead of Polycarp, read Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus. Bacchyolus was not bishop of a see in Asia, but of Corinth. It appears that there is here an omission in the passage of St. Jerome transcribed both by Bede and Ordericus, and that we must restore it by inserting the words "bishop of Corinth", after Bacchyolus.- The defeat of Clodius Albinus, the governor of Britain, on the plains of Trevoux, took place the 19th of February, 197; the expedition of Septimius Severus into Great Britain in the year 208; the building of the great wall in 210; and the death of that prince on the 4th of February, 211. The wall was about eight feet thick, and twelve high to the base of the battlements. There were added, at unequal distances, a number of stations or towns, eighty-one castles, and three hundred and thirty castelets or turrets. The ditch was about thirty-six feet wide, and from twelve to fifteen deep.

A.D. 211-222.] CARACALLA-ELAGABALUS. 93

Antoninus, surnamed Caracalla, the son of Severus, reigned about seven years. Alexander, bishop of Cappadocia, having gone to Jerusalem, drawn thither by his desire of visiting the holy places, during the lifetime of Narcissus, bishop of that city, who had attained a very great age, he was ordained to succeed him, the Lord having, by revelation, suggested this choice. Tertullian, an African, son of a proconsular centurion, is celebrated in all the churches. [1]

Macrinus reigned one year, and was massacred near Archelais, during a mutiny of the soldiers, as well as his son Diadumenianus, who had assisted him in usurping the throne.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus reigned four years. The town of Nicopolis, in Palestine, before called Emmaus, was founded during this recess; Julius Africanus, a writer of that day, having successfully promoted the building. Emmaus is the place which our Lord vouchsafed to sanctify with his presence, after his resurrection, as we read in the gospel of St. Luke. Bishop Hippolytus, the author of many works, has brought down to this period the chronological canon which he composed. He tells us that, by finding the return of Easter to the same day, after the lapse of a certain number of years, he furnished Eusebius with the idea of his paschal cycle. [2]


[1] Narcissus died in 212, at the age of one hundred and six years. He was indeed succeeded by Alexander, bishop of Cappadocia, who had assisted him for several years before his death. The illustrious Tertullian flourished during this period. as our author intimates. Born about A.D. 160, he died about 245.

[2] This prince, on being raised to the throne, changed his name of Elagabalus, taking those which our author here gives. He was murdered by his guards.- The establishment of the town of Nicopolis at Emmaus, in consequence of the request made by Julius Africanus in the name of the inhabitants, took place in the year 221.- Hippolytus, a saint whom Gaul appears to have a right to claim, and who was a disciple of Irenaeus, suffered martyrdom about A.D. 240.- His canon begins, instead of ending, with 242, as our author asserts here. L'Histoire Litteraire de la France, tome i., may be consulted with respect to it and the other works of Hippolytus. Our author has misquoted Bede, and added to the obscurity of the passage, which runs thus: "Qui etiam sedecennalem Paschae circulum reperiens, Eusebio qui super eodem Pascha decennovalem circulum composuit, occasionem dedit".

94 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Aurelius Alexander reigned thirteen years. His singular love for his mother Mammaea gained him the affection of everyone. Urban, bishop of Rome, brought over to the Christian faith, and led to martyrdom, a great number of persons belonging to noble families. Origen of Alexandria gained so great a reputation throughout the world, that Mammaea, the mother of Alexander, wished to hear him, and having invited him to Antioch, loaded him with honours. [1]

Maximinus reigned three years. He directed a violent persecution against the priests of the churches, the clergy, and doctors, the principal motive for which was the hatred he bore to the Christian family of Alexander, his predecessor, and his mother Mammaea; and more especially on account of Origen the priest. [2] Pontianus and Anterus, bishops of Rome, received the crown of martyrdom, and were interred in the cemetery of Callistus. [2]

Gordian reigned six years. Julius Africanus holds a conspicuous place among ecclesiastical writers. He relates in


[1] St. Urban became pope in 223, and died May 25, 230. It does not appear that he could have led to execution a great number of distinguished Christians, as there was no persecution under his pontificate; and we must even consider the violent death of his predecessor, St. Callistus, and some other Christians, as the fortuitous result of popular tumults. Nevertheless, the church venerates him as having himself suffered martyrdom, and having led to it St. Cecilia, and Valerian her betrothed, with Tibertius his brother; and Maximus, prefect of the imperial palace.- The interview between Julia Mammaea and Origen at Antioch, must have taken place in 218.

[2] This famous doctor of the church, born at Alexandria about 185, died in 253.

[3] The sixth persecution began with the reign of Maximin in 235. St. Pontian, banished to the island of Sardinia, died there in the same year, after having governed the church for five years. St Anterus, his successor, filled the see for the short space of one month and thirteen days. They were both buried in the cemetry of St. Callistus by the pious care of St. Fabian.

A.D. 244-219.] PHILIP. 95

the Chronicles he wrote, that he hastened to Alexandria, attracted by the widely-spread reputation of Heraclea, of whom fame spoke as very learned in divinity, philosophy, and all the knowledge of the Greek school. [1]

Philip, with his son of the same name, governed the empire for the space of seven years. He was the first emperor who embraced Christianity, after having lent an attentive ear to the exhortations of that faithful soldier of Christ, Pontius. The third year of his reign witnessed the completion of the year one thousand from the foundation of Rome. The doors of the pagan temples having been closed, the holy church freely opened hers with joy for the celebration of God's praise; and this year, more august than any that had preceded it, was kept with magnificent games by a Christian emperor. Origen son of the martyr Leonidas, instructed in the divine philosophy of Christianity, at Caesarea of Palestine, two young brothers, Theodore surnamed Gregory, and Athenodore, who afterwards became illustrious bishops of Pontus. His reply to a certain Celsus, an epicurean philosopher, who had written against us, filled eight volumes. In short, such was his diligence in writing, that St. Jerome says somewhere that he had read five thousand books of which Origen was the author. [2]

Decius reigned one year and three months. Having put


[1] Gordianus Pius, whose reign is here confounded with that of his predecessors, the Gordians of Africa, Maximus and Balbinus, reigned in reality but five years and about eight months, having been assassinated in the east at the instigation of Philip. It was before this reign, and about A.D. 231, that Julius Africanus went to Alexandria to take lessons of Heraclea, who at that time had succeeded Origen in the functions of catechist, and afterwards became patriarch of that church.

[2] The acts, evidently apocryphal, of St. Pontius, may be seen in the Miscellanea of Baluze. He appears to be quite an imaginary personage; and indeed Bede has not mentioned his name. We do not read anywhere that Philip ordered the temple to be closed, nor that the secular games by which he celebrated, in 247, the year 1000 of Rome, had a Christian character. It is true that a few temples and idols were destroyed at Neocesarea, in Pontus, but this was an entirely local act, brought about by the zeal of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, one of the pupils of Origen mentioned here. It does not appear why our author asserts that this orator of the church gave lessons during this reign, which Bede more suitably places under Gordian the Pious. Origen died, as already stated, in 253; and his treatise against Celsus, being the last of his writings, might very well have been composed in the time of Philip.

96 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

to death the two Philips, father and son, he carried the hatred he bore them so far as to order the Christians to be persecuted; pope Fabian then received the crown of martyrdom, and left the episcopal see to Cornelius. Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, also received the martyr's crown at Caesarea in Palestine, and Babylas at Antioch. [1]

Gallus, with his son Volusian, reigned two years and four months. Dionysius, a priest of Alexandria, relates that the commencement of the reign of this prince was most prosperous, and that everything succeeded according to his mind, but that, having persecuted the holy men who offered up prayers to the supreme God for the tranquillity of the empire, his own peace aud prosperity vanished. Origen died before he had quite completed his seventieth year, and was buried in the city of Tyre. At the request of Lucina, a Roman matron, the pope, Cornelius, raised from the catacombs, during the night, the bodies of the two apostles, which had been deposited there, and interred that of St. Paul on the road to Ostia, where he had been beheaded, and that of St. Peter near the spot which had witnessed his crucifixion; among the bodies of the holy bishops, where formerly stood the temple of Apollo, on the Vatican Mount, and Nero built a palace. The bodies were translated on the third of the calends of July, [2] (the 29th of June).


[1] The seventh persecution, which took place under this prince, in which a great number of martyrs perished, began A.D. 250. St. Fabian, the pope, was one of the first victims, as well as St. Babylas and St. Alexander. St. Cornelius, who was not elected until after a vacancy of six months (June 4, 251), suffered martyrdom under Gallus, in 252.

[2] We are not aware that St. Cornelius effected the two removals here attributed to him. It was he himself who was buried by Lucina in a crypt near the cemetery of St. Callistus. On the pretended removals mentioned in this paragraph, Baronius may be consulted, under the year 221. There are few questions more obscure and perplexed than those of the interments and translations of the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul. If we believe St. Gregory the Great, the corpses of these two princes of the apostles were, immediately after their execution, taken away by those among their disciples who were Greeks and who wished to carry them away to their own country, but re-taken, when at a distance of two miles from Rome by the Latin Christians, who placed them provisionally in the catacombs situated near the spot; later they were deposited, one in the Vatican, the other in the church of St. Paul extra muros; then Pope St. Xystus, transferred them once more to the catacombs on the 29th of June, 258. In the days of Liberius (354-366), the relics of St. Paul had been already taken back to his church, but those of St. Peter still remained in the catacombs, whence they did not return to the Vatican until some time between the epoch of this pope and that of St. Jerome.

A.D. 258-270.] VALERIAN-CLAUDIUS II. 97

Valerian and his son Gallienus reigned fifteen years. Having raised a persecution against the Christians, Valerian was soon afterwards taken prisoner by Sapor, king of the Persians, and being deprived of his sight, wore out his days to old age a wretched captive. Gallienus, terrified at such a manifest judgment of God, gave orders that the Christians should not be molested. Nevertheless, either as a punishment for his own licentiousness, or for his father's hostility to God, the incursions of the barbarians caused the greatest calamities throughout the Roman empire. During this persecution, Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, whose very learned works are still extant, suffered martyrdom. Pontius, one of his deacons, has left us an admirable volume, describing his life and death, having suffered exile with him up to his last moments. Theodore Gregory, bishop of Neocaesarea, in Pontus, was eminently distinguished by the performance of miracles; he gave a proof of this power, when, by his prayers, he removed a mountain in order to have sufficient room for the foundations of a church which he intended to raise. Stephen and Sixtus, bishops of Rome, suffered martyrdom. [1]

Claudius (II.) reigned one year and nine months. He vanquished the Goths, who, for fifteen years, had been ravaging Illyricum and Macedonia; for this service rendered to the state, the senate heaped honours on his memory; a golden shield was hung up in the senate-house, and a statue of the same metal erected in the Capitol. Marcion, a very eloquent priest of the church of Antioch, who taught rhetoric in that city, disputed with Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, who held that Christ was of the nature common to man; his discourse, which was taken down in writing by the notaries, is still extant. [2]


[1] Valerian was made prisoner A.D. 260, while the eighth persecution began as early as 256. St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, was beheaded in September, 258; St. Stephen, pope, August 2, 257; and St. Sixtus, his successor, August 6, 258. Our author here again calls St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Theodore Gregory.

[2] M. Aurelius Claudius, surnamed Gothicus, descended from an obscure family in Illyria, upon the death of Gallienus, was proclaimed his successor. He defeated the Goths, who had crossed over into Greece with an army of 32,000 men, in the years 269 and 270, nearly destroying their vast force; a pestilence carried him off at Sirmium. The statue erected in honour of Claudius in the Capitol, by the senate, was ten feet high.- The refutation of the errors of Paul of Samosata by Manion took place in the third council of Antioch, over which Hymeneus, patriarch of Jerusalem, presided at the commencement of the year 270. The acts of this public disputation no longer exist.

98 ODERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Aurelian governed the Roman empire for five years and six months. Having excited a persecution against us, a thunderbolt fell before him to the great consternation of all present; and not long after this he was massacred by the soldiers half way on the road leading from Constantinople to Heraclea. Eutychian, the pope, was martyred at Rome, and interred in the cemetery of Callistus, where he had buried three hundred and thirteen martyrs with his own hands. [1]

Tacitus reigned six months. Having lost his life in Pontus, Florian seized the empire which he held eighty-eight days, and was killed at Tarsus. Anatolius, a native of Alexandria, and bishop of Laodicea, in Syria, well versed in all the learning of the philosophers, is highly spoken of; we may judge of his genius by his work on Easter, and his ten books on arithmetic. About this time the insane heresy of the Manicheans and Sabellians commenced. [2]

Probus, during his reign of six years and four months, completely delivered Gaul from the barbarians, who for a long time had occupied that country, but whom he routed in many bloody battles. Archelaus, bishop of Mesopotamia, composed, in the Syrian language, a book on his


[1] This persecution was the ninth, and happened not before but after the fall of the thunderbolt mentioned by our author. St. Eutychian did not suffer martyrdom, and he died as late as December, 283. He is said to have interred as many as three hundred and forty-two martyrs with his own hands.

[2] Marcus Claudius Tacitus, a Roman, was elected emperor by the senate after the death of Aurelian, when in his seventieth year. During a short reign of about six months he not only repelled the barbarians who had invaded the territories of Rome in Asia, but he prepared to make war against the Persians and Scythians. He died in Cilicia, during the expedition, of a violent distemper, or, according to some, was assassinated, on the 13th of April, A.D. 276. Bishop Anatolius flourished about the year 270. The heresy of the Manichees began in 277; that of the Sabellians dates as far back as the year 250.

A.D. 282-305.] CARUS-DIOCLETIAN. 99

controversy with Manes of Persia; this work, translated into Greek, is in the hands of a great many readers. [1]

Carus reigned, jointly with his sons Carinus and Numerianus, two years. Gaius, bishop of Rome, shone illustriously as the head of that church, but suffered martyrdom under Diocletian. Pierius, a priest of Alexandria, during the patriarchate of Theonas, instructed the people with the greatest success; his sermons and divers treatises, still extant, are written in so elegant a style, that he was called Origen the younger; a man surprisingly frugal, and affecting voluntary poverty; he spent the remainder of his days after the persecution at Rome. [2]

Diocletian reigned jointly with Heracleus Maximian twenty years. Carausius having assumed the purple, took possession of Britain. [3] Narses, king of the Persians, invaded the east. The Quinquegentians infested Africa. Achilleus made himself master of Egypt. To face so many enemies, Diocletian admitted into the government the Caesars Constantine and Galerius Maximian. The first married Theodora, the step-daughter of Heracleus, by whom he had six children, who were the brothers [and sisters] of Constantine. Galerius obtained the hand of Valeria, daughter of Diocletian. Ten years afterwards, Asclepiodotus, the praetorian prefect, recovered Britain.

In the nineteenth year of this reign, Diocletian in the east, and Heracleus Maximian in the west, ordered the churches to be plundered, and the Christians to be tormented and put to death. In the second year of this persecution, Diocletian laid down the purple in Nicomedia,


[1] The dispute between Archelaus and Manes took place in 277.

[2] Caius, or Gaius, elected pope September 17, 283, suffered martyrdom under Diocletian in 296. Theonas was patriarch of Alexandria from 282 until the 23rd of August, 300. What our author says of Pierius is quite true. He must have undertaken his voyage to Rome when the persecution had ended in 311. We are not informed of the date of his death.

[3] Carausius, by birth either a Belgian or a Briton, it is not very certain which, was a bold and skilful naval commander; the legions and auxiliaries in Britain bestowed on him the imperial purple, A.D. 288, which he retained until the year 297, when he was murdered at York by Allectus, a Briton. The names he assumed were, Marcus, Aurelius, Valerius, Carausius. Narses invaded the east in 297. The Quinquegentians or Quinquegentana, committed their ravages in Africa during 292. The revolt of Achilleus belongs to the same date, and lasted more than five years.

100 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

and compelled his colleague Maximian, at the same time, to abdicate the government at Milan. However, this persecution, having once commenced, continued to rage until the seventh year of the reign of Constantine.

Constantius (Chlorus), a prince of a mild disposition, and of great affability, died at York, in Britain, in the sixteenth year of his reign. The persecution of the Christians was urged forward with such cruelty and fury, that in the course of a month they reckon eighteen thousand martyrs, who had suffered death for Christ. Having passed the limits of the ocean, it shed the precious blood of Alban, Aaron, Julius, and many other persons of both sexes, in Britain. Then also Pamphilus suffered martydom; he was the particular friend of Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, who himself has given, in three books, the history of the life of this holy priest.

In the third year of the persecution, Constantius quitted this world, and Maximinus and Severus received the title of Caesar from Galerius Maximian; [1] this Maximian added to his many misdeeds and adulteries, the crime of persecuting the Christians. [2] At that time, Peter, bishop of Alexandria, and several other bishops in Egypt, were put to death, as well as Lucian, a priest of Antioch, remarkable for his good morals, continence, and erudition; with many other servants of Christ. [3]


[1] Constantius Chlorus (to whom Britain fell in succession on the resignation of Diocletian and Maximian) and Galerius were created Caesars, and taken as colleagues in the government, March 1st, 292. The two marriages mentioned above were also celebrated in the same year. Constantius had three sons and three daughters by his wife Theodora. Asclepiodotus, an officer of Constantius Chlorus, recovered Britain in 300, having defeated and slain Allectus, who had reigned about three years.

[2] The tenth persecution against the Christians began on the 23rd of February, 303. The abdication of the two emperors took place May 1, 305. The edict that put an end to the persecution appeared in the spring of 311 (fifth year of Constantine). Constantius Chlorus died at York, July 25, 306, in the fifteenth year of his association to the empire as Caesar. The number of martyrs who perished in one month is only 17,000 in Bede (Ecclesiastical History, i. c. 7). St. Pamphilus was put to death, Feb. 13, 309.

[3] Maximin and Severus were raised to the rank of Caesar on the 1st of May, 305, by Diocletian and Maximian, at the moment of their abdication. Peter, patriarch of Alexandria, suffered martyrdom, Nov. 25, 311, and St. Lucian, Jan. 7, 312, the persecution having recommenced almost immediately with fresh fury in those countries which were under the dominion of Maximin.

A.D. 306-337.] CONSTANTINE. 101

Constantine, the son of Constantius, by Helena his consort, was proclaimed emperor in Britain; he reigned thirty years and ten months. In the fourth year of the persecution, Maxentius, [1] son of Heraclius Maximian, was proclaimed Augustus at Rome, and Licinius, who had married Constantia, the sister of Constantine, was created emperor at Carnuntum. Constantine, after having been a persecutor, became a convert to Christianity, and endeavoured, to the utmost of his power, to exalt the church of God. [2] The catholic faith was defined at the council of Nice. The emperor ordered a number of churches to be built for divine worship: he had one constructed at Rome, in honour of St. John the Baptist, in which he was baptized, which was called the church of Constantine, after the founder's name; another on the site of the temple of Apollo, dedicated to St. Peter; and a third on the road to Ostia, to St. Paul; he raised a chapel in the Sessorian palace, to which he gave the name of Jerusalem, and placed in it a fragment of our Saviour's cross. At the request of his daughter, he dedicated a church to St. Agnes the Martyr, and another to St. Lawrence the Martyr, on the road to Tibur, on the land of Veranus. He also built a church on the Lavican way, between two laurels, in honour of the holy martyrs Marcellinus and Peter, and a mausoleum, where he laid the remains of his mother in a sarcophagus of porphyry. He, besides, ordered the construction of a church, to be dedicated to the memory of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and St. John the Baptist, near Ostia, the port of Rome. Churches


[1] Maxentius seized the purple at Rome, Oct. 28, 306. Licinius obtained the title of Augustus, Nov. 11, 307, at Carnuntum in Pannonia, on the Danube, and not at Chartres (Carnutum), as Zozimas has asserted. He married, in 313, Constantia, sister to Constantine.

[2] Constantine was proclaimed emperor at York, 25th July, 306, and died 22nd May, 337. The council of Nice lasted from the 19th of June until the 25th of August, 325. The foundation of Helenopolis at Drespana in Bithynia, took place in 317, and the building of Constantinople began Nov. 26, 329. Constantine was baptized, not at Rome but in the neighbourhood of Nicomedia, a few weeks before his death. This prince rather forbade sacrifices than closed the temples. His principal edict on this subject was made in 323. On the churches built by Constantine, consult the third volume of the Vetera Monimenta of Ciampini.

102 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH. XXIII.

were also built to the memory of St. John in the towns of Albano and Naples. This same emperor rebuilt Drepana, a town in Bithynia, in honour of the martyr Lucian, who was buried there, and called it Helenopolis, after the name of his mother. But he founded in Thrace a town which was to bear his own name, and wished it to become the seat of the Roman government, and the capital of all the east. He also commanded that the pagan temples should be closed without further effusion of human blood.

Constantius [II.] with his brothers Constantine and Constans, reigned twenty-four years, five months, and thirteen days. James was acknowledged bishop of Nisibis, a town which was often delivered by his prayers from the perils that threatened it. The Arian heresy, upheld and protected by the emperor, at first caused the persecution of Athanasius, and afterwards of all the bishops who were not of that sect; who had to suffer banishment, imprisonment, and all kinds of punishment. Maximin, bishop of Treves, was one of the most illustrious prelates of that period; he sheltered with honour Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, when Constantine sought to punish him. Anthony, the monk, died in his hermitage, at the age of a hundred and five. Constantius, having returned to Rome, the Christians at Constantinople received the bones of Andrew the apostle, and of Luke the evangelist, with great exultation. Hilary, bishop of Poictiers, who had been sent an exile into Phrygia by the Arians, after having repaired to Constantinople to present his petition to Constantius, was allowed to return to Gaul. [1]


[1] St. James, bishop of Nisibis, in Mesopotamia, is said by his prayers to have saved three times this town from being taken by Sapor, in 338, 346, and 350. The banishment of St. Athanasius to Treves, took place in the year 335, and consequently in the reign of Constantine; the motive for it was a political denunciation by the partisans of Eusebius before this prince, and not a point of doctrine. St. Maximin, a native of Sile, in Poitou, bishop of Treves at the time when he received St. Athanasius, appears to have died, Sept. 12, 349, and St. Anthony on the 17th of January, 356. The removal of the relics of SS. Andrew and Luke to Constantinople was performed on the 3rd of March in the same year, before the journey of Constantius to Rome, which did not take place before the 28th of April, 357. St. Hilary, bishop of Poictiers about 350, was banished to Phrygia in 356, presented his petition to Constantius, and returned to Poictiers in 360.

A.D. 361-363.] JULIAN. 103

Julian reigned two years and eight months. He had been baptized, had taken holy orders, as far as the rank of deacon; [1] but having left the church, he adopted the profession of arms, made himself master of the empire, and returning to the worship of idols, became a persecutor of the Christians. Then the pagans took possession of the tomb of John the Baptist, at Sebaste, a town of Palestine, and scattered his bones about the country; they then collected them together again, and burned and dispersed them over a wider tract. But, by the providence of God, a few monks came from Jerusalem, and mixing with the crowd, who were collecting these remains, gathered up what they could, and carried them to their superior, Philip. Convinced that it would be beyond his power, with the means at his disposal, to preserve a treasure of such importance, he immediately sent them to Athanasius, the most illustrious bishop of that age, confiding them to the care of his deacon, Julian. The bishop, as soon as he had received them, enclosed these relics in a cavity which he caused to be made in the wall of the sanctuary, in the presence of only a few witnesses, and with a prophetical spirit dedicated them to future generations. What he foresaw was fulfilled under the emperor Theodosius by Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, who, having destroyed the tomb of Serapis, consecrated on that same spot a church to St. John. [2]

Jovian reigned eight mouths. Meletius and his adherents called together a council at Antioch, which condemned the doctrine of Macedonius, who blasphemed the Holy Ghost. [3] The emperor, having concluded with the Persians a truce for twenty-nine years, re-entered the territory of the Roman empire. Warned by the fall of his predecessor Constantius, he wrote to Athanasius the most respectful and kind letters,


[1] Julian never was a deacon, an addition of our author to the text of Bede, but only a reader, a lower order in the church. He was proclaimed emperor by the army in the spring of 360.

[2] The destruction of the temple of Serapis at Alexandria, and the erection of a church dedicated to St. John the Baptist on its site, took place A.D. 389.

[3] The council of Antioch here mentioned, was held in the month of October, 363; and in the course of the same month, St. Athanasius met the emperor in the same city. He did not die in Cilicia, but in Bithynia, on the borders of Galatia, in the night of the 16th or 17th of February, 364.

104 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

and received from him the orthodox creed, and rules for the better government of the churches. Unfortunately, a premature death, which carried him off in Cilicia, did not allow his pious and happy principles to bear fruit.

Valentinian reigned jointly with his brother Valens eleven years. Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, wrote several works favourable to our doctrines, but having afterwards swerved from the faith, he founded the heresy which bears his name. Damasus, bishop of Rome, built a church near the theatre, in honour of St. Lawrence, and another over the catacombs, where lay the bodies of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul; and decorated the pavement which covered them with inscriptions in verse. Valens, after being baptized by Eudoxius, an Arian bishop, persecuted the orthodox. Gratian, son of Valentinian, was raised to the imperial dignity at Amiens, in the third year of his father's reign. At Constantinople a church was dedicated to the apostles who had suffered martyrdom. Auxentius at length dying, Ambrose was raised to the bishopric of Milan, and by his preaching, converted to the faith of Christ the whole of Cisalpine Gaul. [1]

Valens reigned four years with Gratian and Valentinian, the sons of his brother Valentinian. Valens, having made a decree that monks should be subject to military service, ordered all those who refused to be beaten to death. The Huns, who up to that time [A.D. 375] had been confined to their inaccessible mountains, driven by a sudden fit of rage, fell with fury upon the Goths, who, being attacked in different quarters, were expelled from their ancient seats [A.D. 376]. Having passed the Danube, the Goths were received in their flight by Valens, who did not require them to lay down their arms; but soon afterwards, experiencing


[1] The errors of Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, already censured several times since the year 362, were definitively condemned in the oecumenical council of Constantinople in 381. He died soon after. Damasus filled the holy see from the autumn of 366 until the 2nd of December, 384. The emperor Valens was baptized by Eudoxius at the commencement of 367, and Gratian received from his father Valentinian the title of Augustus at Amiens, on the 24th of August in the same year. The church of the Apostles at Constantinople was consecrated in 370. Auxentius, an Arian, usurped the see for almost twenty years. St. Ambrose was raised to the episcopal dignity in 374.

A.D. 378-383.] GRATIAN. 105

all the horrors of a famine, through the avarice of Maximus, the Roman general, they were compelled to take up arms aginst the Romans, and having defeated the emperor's troops, they overran Thrace, plundering and destroying everything with fire and sword.

After the death of Valens, Gratian and his brother Valentinian [II.] reigned six years. [1] Theodosius, created by Gratian emperor [of the east], vanquished in many great battles those powerful nations which had emigrated from Scythia, that is to say, the Alans, Huns, and Goths. The Arians, displeased at seeing the harmony that existed between these two princes, at last gave up the churches which they had retained possession of by violence during forty years. A council of one hundred and fifty fathers assembled at Constantinople under Damasus, bishop of Rome, against Macedonius. [2] Theodosius took his son Arcadius as his colleague in the empire. In the second year of the reign of Gratian, when he, as well as Theodosius, was consul for the sixth time, [3] Theophilus compiled his Easter tables. Maximus, a valiant and good man, and worthy of the title of Augustus, if, contrary to his oath, he had not aspired to the empire, was, almost against his will, proclaimed emperor by the army in Britain [A.D. 383]; he passed over into Gaul, where, near Lyons, he treasonably killed the emperor Gratian whom he had drawn into a snare, and drove his brother Valentinian out of Italy. He nevertheless justly suffered the punishment of being banished with his mother Justina, for both were infected with the impure heresy of Arius, and he had shamefully persecuted Ambrose, the glorious bulwark of the catholic faith, and did not desist from his impious projects until the relics of the blessed


[1] Gratian was named Augustus as early as 367,as we have just observed, and he succeeded his father on the 17th of November, 375. Theodosius was raised by him to the empire of the east, January 19, 379.

[2] The Arians were compelled, by an imperial edict, dated Jan. 10, 381, to give up the churches to the catholics. Damasus did not preside over the council of Constantinople of the same year.

[3] The paschal table of Theophilus the archdeacon, and afterwards patriarch of Alexandria, begins with the year 383, when Gratian and Theodosius were, it is true, consuls, but the first for the fifth and not the sixth time.

106 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

martyrs, Gervase and Protase, were discovered by a divine revelation.

Theodosius, who during the lifetime of Gratian had already governed the east for the space of six years, reigned eleven years after the death of the latter. He and Valentinian, whom he had kindly received at his court after his expulsion from Italy, caused the tyrant Maximus to be put to death, near the third milestone from Aquileia. [1] As this usurper had withdrawn from Britain nearly all the troops and all the youth capable of bearing arms, who followed his standard to Gaul but never again returned home, those barbarous nations beyond the straits, the Scots from the north-west, and the Picts from the north, seeing the island defenceless and deprived of its soldiers, crossed over and harassed it many years with ruin and plunder. [2] Jerome, the interpreter of sacred history, brought down the book he wrote on the illustrious men of the church to the fourteenth year of the reign of Theodosius. [3]

Arcadius, son of Theodosius, with his brother Honorius, reigned thirteen years. The bodies of the holy prophets Habakkuk and Micah were discovered in consequence of a divine revelation. The Goths attacked Italy [A.D. 400], while the Vandals and the Alans penetrated into Gaul [Dec. 31, A.D. 400]. Innocent, bishop of Rome, dedicated a church to the blessed martyrs, Gervase and Protase, built with the funds left in her will by an illustrious woman named Vestina. Then Alexis, a servant of Christ, quitted this world. Pelagius, a Briton, impugned divine grace. [4]

Honorius with Theodosius the younger, his brother's son,


[1] Maximus, after being defeated several times by the two emperors in the neighbourhood of Aquileia, was taken prisoner in that town, and put to death by the soldiers on the 26th of August, 388.

[2] Our author, with Bede, whom he always follows, places these incursions of the Scots and Picts too soon. They did not take place until after the revolt and expedition of the usurper Constantine, in the year 407, as indeed Bede himself informs us, Ecclesiastical History, i. 12.

[3] St. Jerome composed this work in 392.

[4] The remains of the prophets here mentioned were discovered during the last years of the reign of Theodosius. Innocent I. filled the holy see from 402 until the 12th of March, 417; under his pontificate, about the year 404, the Pelagian heresy began to spread itself, and the very suspicious legend of Alexis is placed.

A.D. 408-423.] HONORIUS. 107

reigned sixteen years. Alaric, king of the Goths, took possession of Rome, and set fire to it, on the 9th of the calends of September [24th of August], 1161, quitting it and carrying off an immense booty, six days after he entered it. [1]

Lucian, the priest, to whom God, in the seventh year of the reign of Honorius, revealed the spot where lay the tombs that enclosed the remains of St. Stephen, the first martyr, and of Gamaliel and Nicodemus, of whom we read in the Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, wrote this revelation in Greek, and addressed it to the heads of all the churches. Avitus, a priest of Spanish extraction, translated this work into Latin, and adding an epistle to it, gave it to the western world through the instrumentality of the priest Orosius. This same Orosius, who, on his arrival at the holy places, where Augustine had sent him to learn what was good for his soul, received the relics of St. Stephen, and returning to his own country, was the first to carry them into the west. [2]

The Britons, no longer able to bear the exterminating inroads of the Scots and Picts, sent envoys to Rome imploring aid against these enemies, and offering to submit to the Roman government. A legion was immediately sent to their relief, which put to the sword an immense number of the barbarians, drove the rest beyond the frontiers of Britain, and, on the eve of returning home, advised their allies to raise a wall across the island, from sea to sea, to check the incursions of their enemies.

This rampart, constructed without regard to the rules of art, and in which more turf than stone was used, was of no service to those who built it; for as soon as the Romans had turned their backs, their old enemies reappeared in their boats, and cut down, trampled under foot, and devoured, everything they could find, like a ripe field of corn. The


[1] Alaric took Rome, 24th of August, A.D. 409. Here our author returns, probably from inattention, to the chronological system of Dionysius the Little, which he had quitted when giving the date of the birth of Jesus Christ, as he refers this event to the year 1164 from the foundation of Rome, that is to say, 409 years after 754, and not 752.

[2] The relics of St. Stephen were discovered in 415, the year of Orosius's voyage to Palestine.

108 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Britons again applied to the Romans for succour, who hastened to their assistance, defeated the barbarians, and drove them across the sea; they then, with the assistance of the natives, raised between the towns which they had built in their alarm a wall, from sea to sea, not as before of loose earth, but of solid stones. On the southern shore of the straits also, as incursions were apprehended in that quarter, they erected at intervals watch-towers, commanding extensive views. The Romans then took leave of their allies, never to return again. Boniface, bishop of Rome, erected a chapel in the cemetery of St. Felicitas, and ornamented her tomb and that of St. Sylvanus. Jerome, the priest, died at the age of ninety-one, in the twelfth year of the reign of Honorius, the 2nd of the calends of October [30th of September]. [1]

After the death of Honorius, Theodosius the younger, son of Arcadius, reigned twenty-six years. Valentinian the younger, the son of Constantius, was created emperor at Ravenna; while his mother Placidia had received the title of Augusta some time before. Those fierce nations, the Vandals, Alans, and Goths, crossing over into Africa from Spain, ravaged the country with fire and sword, and polluted it by the impiety of the Arian heresy. [2] St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, an eminent doctor of the church, was saved from seeing the ruin of his city by being translated to the Lord during the third month of the siege it was then undergoing, on the fifth of the calends of September [28th of August], having lived seventy-six years, of which he had spent near forty as clerk or bishop. About the same time, the Vandals, after taking Carthage, passed over into Sicily, and completely devastated it. Paschasinus, bishop of Lilybea, mentions the captivity of its inhabitants in a letter which he wrote to Pope Leo concerning the period for the celebration of Easter. [3]

Palladius, ordained by Pope Celestine the first bishop


[1] Boniface was pope from A.D. 418 to 422. St. Jerome, born about 342, died, Sept. 30, 420.

[2] The Vandals crossed over into Africa in May, 429. St. Augustine died on the 28th of August, 430. Carthage was captured in 438, and Sicily in 440.

[3] Paschasinus, bishop of Lilybea (now Marsala), was himself taken prisoner, as he mentions in his letter to Pope Leo.

A.D. 449.] THE SAXONS LAND IN BRITAIN. 109

of the Scots who had been converted to the faith of Christ, was sent over in the eighth year of Theodosius. When the Roman army was withdrawn from Britain, the Scots and Picts, knowing that they would not return, re-appeared, and wrested from the natives the whole island from the north, as far as the wall. The guards of the rampart were quickly killed, taken prisoners, or put to flight, the wall itself was broken through, and the country on the other side of it savagely plundered. A letter full of grief and trouble was sent to Aetius, who had the command of the Roman troops in the twenty-third year of the reign of Theodosius, and was now consul for the third time, imploring succour in vain. Meanwhile a dreadful and memorable famine afflicted the fugitives, and caused some of them to go over to the enemy, while the remainder, retiring to the mountains, caverns, and forests, made a desperate resistance, and inflicted great loss on the invaders. The Scots returned to their homes, intending shortly to renew their incursions; but the Picts retained possession of the extreme part of the island, which they now for the first time determined to inhabit. The famine, just spoken of, was followed by a great abundance of the fruits of the earth, with its natural consequences, extravagance and carelessness; a pestilence ensued, to which was shortly added a plague still worse, the arrival of the English, who were new enemies, in the country. The Britons in a general assembly under their king Vortigern, unanimously agreed to invite them over to assist in the defence of the country; but they soon discovered that the English were their oppressors instead of their defenders.

Sixtus, bishop of Rome, dedicated to St. Mary, the mother of our Lord, the building which the ancients called the church of Liberius. Eudosia, the wife of Theodosius, returned from Jerusalem, bringing with her the relics of the blessed St. Stephen, the first martyr, which were exposed to the veneration of the faithful in the church of St. Lawrence. Bleda and Attila, his brother, who governed several powerful nations, devastated Illyricum and Thrace. [1]


[1] Palladius was sent into Scotland in 428, according to the Roman annalists. The abject prayer, entitled "The Groans of the Britons", was addressed to Aetius in 446. The year following Vortigern invited the aid of the Anglo-Saxons, who first came over A.D. 449. St. Sixtus III., more properly called St. Xystus (July 31, 432-Aug. 18, 440), probably rebuilt and decorated with the mosaics now existing, the church of Sta. Maria Maggiore, founded by Liberius, one of his predecessors. The person here mentioned was Eudocia the empress, and not her daughter Eudoxia.

110 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Marcian and Valentinian reigned as joint emperors seven years. The Angles, or Saxons, who crossed over the sea in three long ships, now landed in Britain. [1] Their countrymen at home, hearing reports that their voyage had been prosperous, sent over a stronger force, which, combining with the former band, soon overcame the resistance of the enemy. They then turned their arms against their allies, and ravaged nearly the whole island from the east to the west with fire and sword, under pretence that the Britons had not sufficiently remunerated those who had fought for them.

John the Baptist revealed to two eastern monks, who had travelled as pilgrims to Jerusalem, the place where his head was concealed, near the palace which once belonged to King Herod; this head was atterwards carried to Emesa, in Phoenicia, where it received due honour. [2]

When the heresy of Pelagius disturbed the faith of the Britons, they implored assistance from the bishops of Gaul, and found defenders of the truth in Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, bishop of Troyes, both confessors of the apostolic grace. These illustrious champions of our Lord strengthened the faith by the word of truth, as well as by signs and miracles; and the attack made on the Britons at this time by the combined forces of the Saxons and Picts, was by divine help defeated. For Germanus taking the command himself, put the hosts of the enemy to flight, not by the sound of the trumpet, but with shouts of "Hallelujah", the whole army raising their voices to heaven. [3] After this, he went to Ravenna, where


[1] The Anglo-Saxons landed in the Isle of Thanet. In 455, they began their attacks upon the Britons.

Marcianus I., son of an obscure but respectable man, was born either in Thrace or Illyricum, about A.D. 391; married the celebrated Pulcheria, widow of Theodosius II.; died in the midst of universal popularity after a reign of six years, on the 26th of June, 457, in his sixty-ninth year.

[2] The inhabitants of Emesa still believe that they possess the head of John the Baptist.

[3] Both Bede and Ordericus fall into an anachronism in making the Saxons parties in the war which resulted in the victory of Germanus, who arrived in Britain about the year 429, returned again in 446, accompanied by Severus, bishop of Treves, when he procured the banishment of the leaders of the Pelagians from the island. He died at Ravenna, July 31, 448, one year before the arrival of the Saxons in this country.

A.D. 420-448.] FIRST KINGS OF THE FRANKS. 111

he was received with the greatest respect by Valentinian and Placidia, and then departed in the Lord. His body was carried to Auxerre, with honourable attendance and working of miracles. The patrician Aetius, the saviour of the western part of the empire, and once the terror of Attila himself, was put to death by Valentinian. With him fell the western empire, which was never restored. [1]

About this time the kingdom of the Franks was founded. For Ferramund [Pharamond], the son of Francus, duke of Sens, during the reign of Theodosius the younger, son of Arcadius, and when Celestine was pope, was the first king of the Franks. He reigned five years; and on his demise, was succeeded by Clodion, whose reign lasted seven years. [2]

Then the devil appeared to the Jews in the island of Crete, in the form of Moses, and promised that he would conduct them dry-shod across the sea to the land of promise; but several lost their lives, and the remainder were converted to the Christian faith.

In the second year of Marcian and Valentinian, Merove, king of the Franks, died after a reign of thirteen years, and was succeeded by Childeric his son, who governed the Franks twenty-three years. [3]

Leo [I.] was emperor seventeen years. After the council of Chalcedon he addressed a circular letter to all the orthodox bishops throughout the world, requesting them to let him know their individual opinions respecting the decisions of that assembly. The answers he received from them all, on the true nature of the incarnation of Christ, agreed as if


[1] In transcribing this passage from Bede, Ordericus forgot that the empire of the west had then been re-established more than three centuries.

[2] Seven or eight years are attributed to the reign of Pharamond. As for Clodion, a much better authenticated personage, he reigned twenty years (427-448).

[3] The year 456 is commonly considered as the time of the death of Merove, which is here referred to the interval between Aug. 25, 451, and Aug. 24, 452. Childeric his son reigned about twenty-five years (456-481).

112 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

they were written at the same moment and dictated by the same person. [1]

Theodoret, bishop of Cyra, which took its name from its founder Cyrus, king of the Persians, wrote a treatise on the true nature of the incarnation of our Saviour against Eutiches, and Disocorus, bishop of Alexandria, who denied the human nature of Christ. Besides this, he composed an Ecclesiastical History, from the end of the Chronicle of Eusebius, to his own time, that is to say, the reign of the Emperor Leo, during which he departed this life. Victorius, in obedience to the orders of Pope Hilary, composed his Paschal Canon, of five hundred and thirty-two years. [2]

Zeno reigned seventeen years. The body of the apostle Barnabas, and the Gospel of St. Matthew, copied by him, were discovered, by a revelation made by himself. [3] Odoacer, king of the Goths, made himself master of Rome, which the kings of that nation held for some time.

On the death of Theodoric, son of Triarius, another Theodoric, surnamed Walamir, became king of the Goths. This prince ravaged both Macedonia and Thessaly, set on fire several quarters of the imperial city, and invaded and occupied Italy. Huneric, king of the Vandals, an Arian, banished or drove out more than three hundred and thirty-four Catholic bishops in Africa, closed their churches, and tortured the people in various ways, chopping off their hands and cutting out their tongues, but he could not prevent the Catholic faith from being openly confessed. [4]


[1] [A.D. 457-454.] The emperor Leo addressed his circular letters to the metropolitans A.D. 457, and received their answers in 458.

[2] Theodoret, born about A.D. 387, bishop of Cyra in 423, died about 458. His Ecclesiastical History is not brought down to the reign of Leo (A.D. 457), nor later than the year 429. Victorius composed his Paschal Canon in 457.

[3] The tomb of St. Barnabas was discovered about the year 488, in the environs of Salamis. The Gospel of St. Matthew was written on the wood of the cypress tree. The emperor Zeno enriched it with gold ornaments, and deposited it in the chapel of his palace, where it was used every year, on Holy Thursday.

[4] Odoacer, having become master of Rome, was proclaimed king of Italy on the 23rd of August, 476. Theodoric succeeded him in March, 493. The two Macedonias and Thessaly were devastated in the year 482; and the persecution of the Catholics by Huneric took place in 484.

A.D. 474-518.] ZENO-ANASTASIUS. 113

Aurelius Ambrosius, a man of great moderation, the only one of Roman extraction who had the good fortune to escape the swords of the Saxons, when they had massacred his parents, who were next robed in the imperial purple, now led the Britons to battle against their conquerors who were defeated in turn. From that day victory declared itself, sometimes in favour of one party, sometimes of the other, until the moment came when a more powerful foreigner possessed the whole island, for a long period. [1]

In the first year of the reign of Zeno, on the death of Childeric, his son Clovis began to reign in Gaul, and held the sceptre with a powerful hand for nineteen years. [2]

Anastasius governed the empire for the space of eighteen years. Thrasamond, king of the Vandals, ordered the Catholic churches to be closed, and banished two hundred and twenty bishops to Sardinia. Pope Symmachus, who either founded or repaired a great number of churches, ordered dwellings to be erected for the poor near the churches of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Lawrence, and sent every year money and clothes to Sardinia and Africa, for the bishops who were banished. Anastasius, who, favouring the heresy of Eutyches, persecuted the Catholics, was killed by lightning from heaven. [3]

Clovis, king of the Franks, was baptized by St. Remi, archbishop of Rheims, in the fifteenth year of his reign, with three thousand of his nobles. He died four years afterwards, and was succeeded by his son Theodoric. On his death, Clotaire, his brother, reigned fifty-one years in France. At that time, Guildard and Flavius flourished in the see of Rouen; and Mamertus, archbishop of Vienne, appointed litanies, that is to say, rogations, before Ascension-day, on account of the destructive plague which afflicted the people. [4]


[1] A date cannot be assigned with certainty to the victory gained by the Britons, commanded by Aurelius Ambrosius, over the Anglo-Saxons.

[2] The reign of Zeno began in February, 474, and that of Clovis in 481. This prince reigned not nineteen, but about thirty years (481-511).

[3] Thrasamond, king of the Vandals, ascended the throne Sept. 21, 496. It was in 504 or 505 that he banished two hundred and twenty-eight bishops to Sardinia. Pope Symmachus (Nov. 22, 498-July 19, 514) was a native of this island. It is doubtful whether Anastasius was killed by a thunderbolt.

[4] Duchesne has corrected (?) the text by omitting the decimal in counting the years of the reign of Clovis after his baptism, the MSS. having xiv. The French editor of Ordericus Vitalis has restored the original reading, as, though evidently faulty, it agrees with the total number of years assigned to the reign of Clovis in a preceding paragraph. On the death of Clovis, the kingdom of the Franks was divided between his four sons, and was not re-united by Clotaire until the successive deaths of his brothers and their heirs. Clotaire, therefore, dispossessed, not his brother Theodoric, but his grand-nephew Theodebald, of the kingdom of Metz. St. Godard and Flavius, or Filleui, were indeed contemporaries of this prince, but not St Mamertus as he died May 11, 475.

114 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Justin the elder reigned eight years. [1] Pope John, when visiting Constantinople, was met at the Golden Gate, by a great concourse of people, in whose presence he restored to sight a blind man, who implored relief. On his return, Theodoric ordered him to be arrested at Ravenna, and thrown into prison with his attendants, where he died. Theodoric was led to commit this crime from jealousy, because Justin, the defender of the Catholic faith, had received this prelate honourably. In the same year, he put to death Symmachus, patrician of Ravenna; but the next year he himself died suddenly in the same city, and was succeeded by his nephew Athalaric. Hilderic, king of the Vandals, ordered the bishops to be recalled from exile, and the churches to be repaired, after seventy-four years of heretical profanations. Benedict, the abbot, was illustrious for his virtues, which Pope St. Gregory has recorded in his book of Dialogues. [2]

Justinian, nephew of Justin by a sister of that prince, reigned twenty-eight years. The patrician Belisarius, sent into Africa by Justinian, subdued the Vandals. He re-took Carthage after it had been ninety-six years in their hands, whom he defeated and expelled, taking their king Gelimer, whom he sent prisoner to Constantinople. The


[1] July 10, 518-August 1, 527.

[2] Pope John I. died May 18, A.D. 526, at Ravenna, in the prison where Theodoric ordered him to be confined, on his return from Constantinople; Symmachus, on the 28th of May, 525 or 526, and Theodoric himself, on the 30th of August of this last year. The recall of the Catholic bishops into Africa by Hilderic appears to have taken place immediately after the accession of this prince to the throne, in May, 523. The number of years which our author gives here, as the duration of the persecution, is inexact, whether we reckon from the first period (A.D. 437), the second (A.D. 483), or the third (504 or 505). St Benedict, born in 480, died on the 21st of May, 543.

A.D. 527-578.] JUSTINIAN-JUSTIN THE YOUNGER. 115

body of St. Anthony the monk, found by a divine revelation, was conveyed to Alexandria, and buried in the church of St. John the Baptist. Dionysius the Little wrote on the paschal cycles, beginning with the year of the incarnation of our Lord. At the same time the code of Justinian was promulgated throughout the world. Victor, bishop of Capua, also composed a book concerning Easter, in which he refuted the errors of Victorius. [1]

King Clotaire died at a great age, and the kingdom of the Franks was parted into four divisions; Paris fell to the lot of Charibert, Orleans to Guntran, Soissens to Chilperic, and Metz to Sigebert. But in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Justinian, King Sigebert was slain by the treachery of his brother Chilperic, with whom he was at war. His son Childebert, who was yet in his infancy, succeeded, under the guardianship of his mother Brunehaut, and reigned twenty-five years. [2]

Justin the Younger's reign lasted eleven years. [3] The patrician Narses vanquished and killed Totila, the king of the Goths, in Italy. The Romans, for whom he had struggled bravely against the Goths, enviously accusing him before Justin and his wife Sophia of oppressing Italy, he retired to Naples in Campania, whence he wrote letters to the Lombards, to induce them to invade and take possession of Italy. Pope John finished and consecrated the church of SS. Philip and James, which his predecessor Pelagius had begun. Then the warlike Alboin, son of Audoin, king of the Lombards, passed from Pannonia into Italy, at the head of the Guinili, and, with the consent of the patrician Narses, subjected it to his dominion. [4]


[1] Belisarius put an end to the dominion of the Vandals in Africa, and took their king Gelimer captive, A.D. 534. The body of St. Anthony was brought to Alexandria about 530. The Justinian code was published three times, A.D. 529, 533, and 534. The edition we now possess is the last of these. Victor, bishop of Capua, composed his Treatise on the Paschal Cycle about 540 or 545.

[2] The thirty-sixth year of Justinian coriesponds with 562-563, while Sigebert was assassinated in 575. Childebert, king of Austrasia, died in 596, in the twentieth year of his reign.

[3] November 14, 565-October 1, 578.

[4] The battle in which Totila was defeated and killed by the army of Narses, was fought in the month of June, 552. Narses retired to Naples in 567, but returned to Rome, and died in the same year. It is not true that the Lombards invaded Italy at his instigation. This invasion took place in April, 568, and the taking of Milan on the 4th of September, 569. Guinili or Winili is the primitive name of the Lombards. Alboin, who led them into Italy, died June 28. 573. John III., who finished the church of SS. Philip and James, filled the pontifical chair for thirteen years (July 18, 560-July 13, 573).

116 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Tiberius Constantine reigned seven years. [1] Gregory, then apostolic nuncio at Constantinople, and afterwards bishop of Rome, composed his commentary on the book of Job, and, in the presence of Tiberius, convicted Eutychius, the bishop, of error in his belief in the resurrection. He proved this so clearly that the emperor was of opinion that the book Eutychius had written on the resurrection ought to be committed to the flames, having also refuted it himself by allegations derived from Catholic authorities. Eutychius taught that in the glory of the resurrection, our bodies will be impalpable, and more subtile than the winds and the air; an assertion which was contrary to these words of our Saviour: "Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have". [2]

The nation of the Longobards, or Lombards, having in their train famine and mortality, overran the whole of Italy, and laid siege to the city of Rome. Alboin was then their king.

Maurice reigned twenty-one years. Hermenegild, son of Leuvigild, king of the Goths, having resolutely confessed the Catholic faith, was deprived by his father, who was an Arian, of all his honours, thrown into prison and chains, and at last beheaded, on the second night after Easter; and thus the king and martyr exchanged an earthly throne for the celestial kingdom. His brother Recared, who soon after succeeded his father, converted to the Catholic faith the whole nation of the Goths under his dominion, at the instance of Leander, bishop of Seville, who had also instructed Hermenegild. [3]


[1] September 26, 578-August 4, 582.

[2] Luke xxiv. 49. Gregory the Great resided at Constantinople as apocrisary of the Roman church, from 579 till 584; he was elected pope in 590; and died March 12th, 604. The discussion between him and Eutychius, patriarch of Constantinople, who retracted his error, took place in 582. In 593, he persuaded Agilulf, king of the Lombards, to raise the siege of Rome. Alboin had been then dead twenty years.

[3] The martyrdom of Hermenegild, by order of his father Leuvigild, took place in 585 or 586, and the return of Recared to Catholicism in 587.

A.D. 582-601.] MAURICE-PHOCAS. 117

Maurice married the daughter of Tiberius Constantine, and was the first of the Greek emperors who ordered the Roman fasces to be carried before him. In the thirteenth year of the reign of Maurice, the thirteenth indiction, Gregory, bishop of the Roman church, and a very learned doctor, assembled a council of twenty-three bishops at the tomb of St. Peter the apostle, to make such decrees as the state of the church required. The same pope, having sent into Britain, Augustine, Mellitus, John, and several other monks who feared God, converted the English to Christianity. Ethelbert soon received the faith of Christ with the whole Kentish nation, his subjects, and the neighbouring provinces under his rule, conferring bishoprics, not only on Augustine, his own teacher, but also on other holy priests. The English nations to the north of the river Humber, under their kings Ella and Ethelfrid, had not yet heard the word of life. Gregory, writing to Augustine and the bishops of London and York, in the eighteenth year of the reign of Maurice, in the fourth indiction, sent them the pall, and gave them the title of metropolitans, and died four years afterwards. [1]

Phocas reigned eight years. [2] This prince, at the request of Pope Boniface, decided that the Roman and apostolical see was the head of all the churches in Christendom, in order to put a stop to the pretensions of the church of Constantinople, which styled itself the first of all the Christian churches. The same emperor, at the instance of another pope Boniface, gave orders that the ancient temple called the Pantheon, after being cleansed from the pollutions of idolatry, should be converted into a church, dedicated to the blessed Mary, ever-virgin, and all the martyrs, so that the very place where of old they celebrated the worship, not of all the gods, but of all the demons, was from that day rendered sacred to the memory of all the saints. The Persians, still continuing a ruinous war against the republic, wrested from it many of the Roman provinces, and even Jerusalem, destroying the churches, profaning everything sacred, and


[1] Maurice [A.D. 582-602.] married Constantina, the eldest daughter of Tiberius II., and was murdered by Phocas in 602. The synod here mentioned is the third council of Rome, opened July 5, 595. The next year, Gregory sent the missionaries to England, where they arrived in 597.

[2] A.D. 602-610.

118 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

among the ornaments belonging to the holy places, or to individuals, they carried off the standard of our Saviour's cross. [1]

Heraclius reigned thirty-one years. [2] Anastasius, a Persian monk, suffered a glorious martyrdom for Christ's sake. Although born in Persia, and instructed by his father, when a child, in the science of the Magi, yet as soon as he heard the name of Christ from the captive Christians, he presently turned to him with all his heart; and having quitted Persia, he went to Chalcedon and Hierapolis, seeking Christ everywhere, and lastly to Jerusalem. Here he received the grace of baptism, and entered the monastery of abbot Anastasius, situated at the distance of four miles from the city. Having there spent seven years, under the monastic rule, while on a pilgrimage to Caesarea, in Palestine, he fell into the hands of the Persians, and after much suffering from Marzabanes, the judge, who caused him to be scourged, imprisoned, and bound in chains, he was at length sent into Persia to King Chosroes. This prince ordered him to be scourged three times at intervals, then suspended by one hand for three hours, and at last to be beheaded, with seventy other martyrs. Soon afterwards a certain demoniac, being clothed in the tunic of this saint, was healed. Meanwhile,the emperor Heraclius, coming suddenly at the head of an army, and defeating Chosroes and the Persians, recovered with triumph the captive Christians, and brought back to Jerusalem the wood of the holy cross. The relics of the blessed martyr Anastasius were conveyed at first to his monastery, but afterwards to Rome, where they are exposed to veneration in the convent of St. Paul the apostle (ad aquas Salvias). [3]

In the sixteenth year of the reign of Heraclius, in the


[1] What Boniface III. obtained from Phocas was an order that the patriarch of Constantinople should no longer take the title of ecumenical, which Pelagius II. and St. Gregory had already protested against in vain. The dedication of the Pantheon by Boniface IV. took place on the 13th of May, 610. The invasions of the Persians had commenced as early as 603; but the taking of Jerusalem and the carrying off of the true cross happened in 614, and consequently in the following reign.

[2] October 5, 610-February 11, 641.

[3] Now Sto. Paulo fuori muri. The martyrdom of St. Athanasius took place on the 22nd of January, 628. This victory was gained by Heraclius over Chosroes towards the end of 627; but the captives and the relics were not restored before 628.

A.D. 610-641.] HERACLIUS. 119

fifteenth indiction, Edwin, the excellent king of the English in Britain living to the north of the Humber, received, as well as his subjects, the word of salvation preached to them by bishop Paulinus, whom the venerable Justus, archbishop of Canterbury, had sent into those parts. In the eleventh year of his reign, and about 180 years after the arrival of the English in Britain, Paulinus was raised to the episcopal see of York. As an auspicious omen of the faith that was to come, and of the celestial kingdom, the king Edwin's temporal power had so increased, that (what no English king before him had ever achieved) he extended his dominion through every quarter of the island, whether possessed by the Saxons or the Britons. At that time Pope Honorius refuted an error which had arisen among the Scots, with regard to the observance of Easter, in a letter addressed to that nation; and John, the successor of Severinus, who followed Honorius, also wrote to the same people while he was pope elect, concerning Easter and the Pelagian heresy, which had again revived in their country. [1]

After the deaths of Theodebert and Theoderic, Clotaire the Great, the son of Chilperic, flourished in France, of which he obtained the sole monarchy. On his death Dagobert, his son, succeeded him, and for twelve years held the reigns of government with a powerful hand. His son Clovis ascended the throne after him, and at his death bequeathed his dominions to his three sons, Clotaire, Theoderic, and Childeric. In the time of these kings, several holy men distinguished themselves in France by their virtues and miracles: Romanus and Ouen, Ansbert and Eloi, Evroult and Laumer, Maur and Columban, Philibert and Wandrille, with many others, powerful by their faith and. preaching, and illustrious for their sanctity and miracles. [2]


[1] Edwin, king of Northumberland (617-633), was baptized by Paulinus on Easter-day, April 12, 627, and consequently in the seventeenth ear of Heraclius, and not the sixteenth, one hundred and eighty years after Vortigern's calling in the Anglo-Saxons, but only one hundred and seventy-eight after their arrival in Britain. Honorius filled the apostolic see from the year 625, or 626, till the 12th of October, 638. John IV. must have written his letter to the Scots in 640.

[2] Theodebert II. died towards the close of 612, and Thierri, or Theoderic II. in 613. From that time Clotaire II. reigned alone until his death in 628; if we except the time when Dagobert, his son, was taken as his colleague in the kingdom of Austrasia in 622. The latter reigned sixteen years in Austrasia and ten in Neustria and Burgundy. Clovis II. only began the nineteenth year of his reign (Jan. 19, 638-Sept. 656.) Childeric was his second and Theoderic III. his third son. The holy persons here mentioned died as follows: Maur (584), Laumer (590), Evroult (596), Columban (615), Romanus (638), Eloi (659), Wandrille (667), Ouen (683), Philibert (634), Ansbert (693 or 695).

120 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Heracleonas reigned two years with his mother Martina. Cyrus, bishop of Alexandria, Sergius and Pyrrhus, bishops of Constantinople, renewed the heresy of the Acephali, by teaching the doctrine of one operation and one will in the divinity and humanity of Christ. Pyrrhus came from Africa to Rome, on a visit to Pope Theodore, and feigning a penitence which afterwards appeared to have been assumed, presented the pope, in the presence of the clergy and people, a writing under his hand, condemning all that he or his predecessors had written or done against the Catholic faith. Deceived by this step, the pope kindly received him as bishop of the imperial city. But, on his return to Constantinople, he re-asserted his former errors, upon which Pope Theodore convoked the priests and clergy in the church of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and sentenced him to excommunication. [1]

Constantine, the brother of Heraclius, reigned six months. [2] Paul, the successor of Pyrrhus, not only troubled the Catholics by his strange doctrine, as his predecessors had done, but by open persecution. The apostolic nuncios, sent by the holy Roman church to correct him, were imprisoned, banished, or scourged; and he went so far as to strip and pull down the altar they had dedicated in the oratory of Placidia's palace, forbidding them to celebrate mass there.


[1] Heracleonas reigned only a few months, May 25-October, 641. Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, founded the Monothelite heresy in 626. It was adopted by his successor Pyrrhus, and by Cyrus, patriarch of Alexandria. Pirrhus abjured this heresy in 646, but returned to it in 648, at the instance of Constans II. It was definitively condemned, and the prelates who favoured it anathematized, by popes Theodore and Martin, in the councils of Rome (648) and of Lateran (649). Monothelism is not, as we might be led by the words of our author to believe, the complete reproduction of the more ancient heresy of the Acephali.

[2] Our author's chronology is here much confused. He not only follows Bede in placing Heraclius Constantine, who is here spoken of, after his younger brother, but makes him the brother instead of the son of Heraclius,

A.D. 611-603.] CONSTANS II. 121

Like his predecessors, therefore, the sentence of deposition was justly pronounced against him by the apostolic see. [1]

Constans [II.], the son of Constantine, reigned twenty- eight years. Deceived by Paul, as Heraclius his grandfather had been by Sergius, also bishop of the imperial city, he published an edict against the Catholic faith, defining that there were neither one nor two wills, or operations, in Christ, as if we were to believe that he had neither willed nor acted. Wherefore Pope Martin, having assembled at Rome a synod of one hundred and five bishops, excommunicated Cyrus, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, the heretics just mentioned. The exarch Theodore, who was soon afterwards sent by the emperor, carried off Pope Martin from the Lateran, and conducted him to Constantinople. He was then banished to the Chersonesus, where he ended his days, and the lustre of his miracles still continues. The synod above-mentioned was held in the ninth year of the reign of Constans, in the month of October, in the eighth indiction. This emperor sent to Vitalian, recently elected pope, a book of the gospels, written in letters of gold, and ornamented all round the cover with diamonds of an extraordinary size, to be deposited in the church of St. Peter the apostle. A few years afterwards, that is, during the sixth indiction, the same emperor, on his visit to Rome, offered on the altar of St. Peter a pall of cloth of gold, and made his whole army enter the church, each soldier carrying a wax-candle. The following year, the sun was eclipsed on the 5th of the nones [3rd] of May, about ten o'clock in the day. Archbishop Theodore and Adrian, the abbot, a man equally learned, were sent by Vitalian into Britain, where they caused most of the English churches to bear the fruits of sound doctrine. Constans, after frequently subjecting the provinces to incredible ravages, was assassinated in a bath in the twelfth indiction; and not long after Vitalian, the pope, departed to the realms of bliss. [2]


[1] Paul II. was deposed in the council of the year 648; but, supported by the Emperor Constans II., he continued to fill the see, and persecuted the Catholics until his death, A.D. 654. [2] Constans published his edict named the Typus, or Formulary, in 648. It was soon after condemned by the council of Lateran in 649. Pope St. Martin was carried off from the church of St. John Lateran, and embarked for Constantinople on the 19th of June, 653. He was then banished to the Chersonesus, where he died, Sept. 16, 665, from the cruel treatment to which he was subjected. Our author, as well as Bede, while mentioning the offerings which the emperor made to Pope Vitalian I., when he visited Rome in July, 663, has omitted to speak of the depredations he committed during the twelve days he remained there. He carried them so far as even to strip the Pantheon of its bronze roof, though it was now converted into a Christian church. Constans went from Rome to Sicily, where he was murdered in a bath at Syracuse, on the 15th of July, 668. The eclipse of the sun here mentioned happened on the 1st of May, 664, at half past three in the evening, according to the astronomical calculations. Archbishop Theodore was sent into England, A.D. 668.

122 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Constantine, the brother of Constans, the last emperor, reigned seventeen years. [1] The Saracens invaded Sicily, but soon afterwards returned to Alexandria, carrying off an immense booty. Pope Agatho, yielding to the prayer of the Emperor Constantine and his two brothers, Heraclius and Tiberius, princes remarkable for their piety, sent legates to Constantinople, to restore union among the holy churches of God. Amongst these were John, then deacon of the Roman church, who became a bishop a short time afterwards. These legates were received with the greatest tokens of regard by Constantine, the august defender of the Catholic faith, and received orders to examine the true doctrine in an amicable conference, setting aside all philosophical disputations. They were supplied from the library of Constantinople with all the books of the ancient fathers of the church which they required. One hundred and fifty bishops assembled under the presidency of George, patriarch of the imperial city, and Macharius, patriarch of Antioch. Those who pretended that there was but one will and one operation in Christ, were convicted of running counter to numerous passages of the Catholic fathers. This debate ended, George was reclaimed; but Macharius with his followers, as well as his predecessors, Cyrus, Sergius, Honorius, Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter, were anathematized; and Theophanius, a Sicilian abbot, was made bishop of Antioch instead of Macharius. So much favour was shown to these messengers of catholic unity that John, bishop of Oporto, one of them, was allowed to celebrate high mass before the emperor and the patriarch,


[1] A.D. 668-685. Constantine Pogonatus was not the son, but the brother of Constans. Our author was led into the error by copying Bede.

A.D. 680, 681.] THE SIXTH GENERAL COUNCIL. 123

in the church of St. Sophia, on the Sunday after Easter, in Latin. This was the sixth oecumenical council, and it was held at Constantinople, and its acts written in the Greek language. It assembled in the time of Pope Agatho, in compliance with the request of the emperor then reigning, the most pious Constantine, in whose palace it met, and was attended by the legates of the holy see and one hundred and fifty bishops. [1]

The first general council was held at Nice against Arius, in the time of Pope Julius, under the Emperor Constantine [I.]; when three hundred and eighteen bishops were present.

The second, consisting of one hundred and fifty fathers, assembled at Constantinople to condemn the doctrines of Macedonius and Eudoxius, in the time of Pope Damasus, and the Emperor Gratian, when Nectarius was ordained bishop of Constantinople.

The third council, of two hundred fathers, held its sittings at Ephesus, during the reign of Theodosius the Great, and in the popedom of Celestine, to oppose Nestorius, bishop of the imperial city.

The fourth council, that of Chalcedon, consisted of six hundred and thirty bishops under Pope Leo, in the days of the Emperor Marcian. Its censures were levelled against Eutyches, who was at the head of some most unprincipled monks. [2]

The fifth council, which also assembled at Constantinople, when Vigilius was pope and Justinian emperor, was directed against Theodore and all heretics.

The sixth oecumenical council has been just mentioned.

St. Etheldrida, who devoted herself to Christ in perpetual virginity, was daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles, and first married to Tonbert, a very great man, chief of the


[1] Pope Agatho, consecrated in June, 678 (or 679), was represented bv his legates at this council, which sat from the 7th of Nov. 680, until the 16th of Sept. 681. Amongst these legates we find John, who was afterwards pope under the name of John V. (June 10, 686-Aug. 7, 687). In this council the chiefs of the Monothelites, including Pope Honorius, were again condemned and anathematized, Macharius, patriarch of Alexandria, deposed, and George, patriarch of Constantinople, obliged to recant.

[2] The general opinion is, that there were only five hundred and twenty, or five hundred and twenty-six, bishops present at the oecumenical council of Chalcedon, while our two authors have raised the number to 630.

124 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Southern Girvii, and afterwards to Egfrid, king of the Northumbrians, with whom she lived twelve years undefiled by intercourse with her husband. She afterwards descended from the throne, and, taking the veil, became a mother of virgins and the pious nurse of holy women, choosing a site for the erection of a convent in a place called the Isle of Ely. Even her dead body recalled to mind her living merits, for it was found entire, as well as the shroud in which it was buried, sixteen years afterwards. [1]

Justinian the younger, son of Constantine, reigned ten years. He concluded a truce with the Saracens for ten years, by sea and land. The province of Africa was reunited to the Roman empire, from which it had been wrested by the Saracens after they had captured and destroyed Carthage. The emperor, finding that Sergius, of happy memory, bishop of the Roman church, would not ratify and subscribe the acts of the heretical council, which he had convoked at Constantinople, sent Zacharias, the captain of his guards, with orders to convey him there; but the troops of Ravenna and the neighbourhood, opposed the cruel orders of the prince, and Zacharias was driven out of Rome, insulted and ill-used.

In the fourth year of the reign of Justinian, Pepin became mayor of the palace in France. Pope Sergius ordained that venerable man Wilbrord, surnamed Clement, bishop of the Frisians. An Englishman by birth, he quitted Britain to live amongst the barbarians, every day increasing the influence of the Christian faith and destroying the power of Satan. Justinian, deprived for his perfidy of the imperial dignity, retired, an exile, into Pontus, where he was hospitably entertained by the abbot Cyrus. [2]


[1] "For the history of the pious princess Etheldrida, who died in 679, and a description of the convent she founded at Ely, consult the Ecclesiastical History of Bede, lib. iv. c. 19; the second volume of the Acta SS. Ord. Sancti Benedicti, and the Bollandists on the 24th of June. The australes Girvii appear to be the inhabitants of the country situate on the right bank of the Tyne, in the county of Durham, in the neighbourhood of Jarrow, the birth-place of Bede, which then bore the name of Girvum or Girvi".- Le Prevost. "The Girvii inhabited the counties of Rutland, Northampton, with part of Lincolnshire, and had their own princes, depending on those of Mercia".- Note to Bede's Hist., Bohn's edition.

[2] 685-695. Sergius refusing in 692 to sign the acts of the council in Trullo of the preceding year, Zacharias was sent to arrest him in 694. Africa was not re-taken from the Mohametans till 697, and was again lost the following year. The fourth year of Justinian II. corresponds with 688-689; but Pepin d'Heristal was raised to the dignity of "Maire du Palais" in 687. Wilbrord, the apostle of Friesland, died, according to Mabillon, in 740 or 741; but according to Dr. Smith in 745. Justinian II., after having his nose cut off, was banished to Cherson in the Crimea, in the autumn of 695, and was entertained at the monastery of Chora by Cyrus the abbot.

A.D. 695-698.] LEONTIUS, EMPEROR. 125

Leo reigned three years. [1] Pope Sergius, by a divine revelation, discovered in the sanctuary of the church of the blessed apostle Peter, a silver casket which had remained for a long while forgotten in a dark corner, and which enclosed a crucifix ornamented with precious stones. Having unfolded four coverings studded with gems of remarkable size, he perceived that there was inserted in the crucifix a portion of the wood of the life-giving cross of Christ. From that time it is yearly kissed and adored by the people on the anniversary of the exaltation of the cross, in the church of Constantine, [2] dedicated te our Saviour.

In Britain, the venerable Cuthbert, who from being a hermit, was raised to the bishopric of Lindisfarne, [3] wrought a succession of miracles from infancy to old age, which have rendered his name illustrious. Eleven years after his interment, his body and the robes in which he was buried were found as perfect as at the hour of his death. Caedwalla, king of the West Saxons, abdicated in favour of Ina, and repaired to Rome, where he was baptized by Pope Sergius on Easter eve; and, while yet wearing his white garments, was seized with a disorder that caused his death, on the 12th of the calends of May [20th of April]. By order of the pope, who had given him at the baptismal font the name of Peter, he was buried in the church of the holy apostle whose name he had adopted, and the following epitaph was engraved on his tomb:-

"High state and place, kindred, a royal crown, The spoils of war, great triumphs and renown;


[1] For Leo, read Leontius.

[2] The church of Constantine is now called St. John Lateran.

[3] St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, died Mar. 20, 687. Lindisfarne was the original seat of the present bishopric of Durham, transferred thither in 995.

120 ORDERICUS VITILIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

Nobles, and cities walled to guard his state, His palaces and his familiar seat; Whatever skill and valour made his own, And what his great forefathers handed down: Cedwall armipotent, by Heaven inspired, For love of heaven, left all, and here retired. Peter to see, and Peter's holy seat, The royal stranger turned his pilgrim, feet; Drew from the fount its purifying streams, And shared the radiance of celestial beams".

After more to the same purpose, the epitaph thus concludes:-

"From Britain's distant isle his vent'rous way, O'er lands, o'er seas, by toilsome journeyings lay, Rome to behold, her glorious temple see, And mystic offerings make on bended knee. White robed among the flock of Christ he shone, His flesh to earth, his soul to heaven is gone. Sure, wise was he to lay his sceptre down, And change an earthly for a heavenly crown". [1]

Tiberius reigned seven years. The synod of Aquileia, from its lack of knowledge in the faith, was reluctant to admit the fifth general council, until it had listened to the sound instructions of the holy pope, when it consented to receive it, as the other Christian churches had done. Gisulf, duke of the Lombards of Beneventum, ravaged Campania with fire and sword, and reduced a number of the inhabitants to captivity. As no human power could resist these violent attacks, Pope John [VI.], who had succeeded Sergius, sent priests, loaded with presents, who redeemed the captives and induced the enemy to retire. Another pope of the same name filled the apostolica1 chair immediately after him, and, among other remarkable works, erected a chapel dedicated to the holy mother of God - a building of great beauty, within the church of the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles. [2]

Aribert [II.], king of the Lombards, restored to the holy see a number of farms in the Cottian Alps, which justly belonged to the apostolic see, but had been long before seized by the Lombards, ordering this donation to be


[1] The whole epitaph is given by Bede, Eccles. Hist., b. v. c. 7. [2] John VI. filled the papal chair from Oct. 28, 701, till Jan. 9, 705. The chapel which John VII., his successor, erected, was called Sancta Maria ad Praesepe.

A.D. 705-713.] JUSTINIAN II. 127

inscribed in letters of gold on a tablet, which was sent to Rome. [1]

Justinian [II.] reigned six years with his son Tiberius. Having re-ascended the throne by the assistance of Terbellis, king of the Bulgarians, he condemned to death the patricians who had driven him out of his kingdom, as well as Leontius, who had usurped his sceptre and Tiberius, his successor, who had detained the banished emperor in custody within the walls of the city, during the whole period of his reign. He ordered the patriarch Callinichus to be sent to Rome, after having his eyes put out, and bestowed his bishopric upon Cyrus, who was abbot in the Chersonesus, and who had entertained him during his exile. Having sent for Pope Constantine, he received and dismissed him with great honour, so much so that, on the Sunday before his departure, the emperor requested him to say mass in his presence, and received the sacrament at his hands. Prostrate on the ground, he besought the pope to intercede for the pardon of his sins; and he also renewed the privileges of the whole church. The troops which, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the pope, Justinian had sent into the Chersonesus to seize the person of Philippicus, banished there by his orders, suddenly took the part of Philippicus, and the whole army proclaimed him emperor. On his return to Constantinople, when near the twelfth milestone from the city, he joined battle with Justinian, who was defeated and killed, and Philippicus mounted the throne. [2]

Philippicus reigned eighteen months. This emperor ejected Cyrus from his bishopric, and ordered him to return to Pontus to resume, as abbot, the government of his monastery. He addressed to Pope Constantine a missive so full of unsound doctrine, that, by the advice of the apostolic council, Constantine rejected it. In consequence, he ordered tables, inscribed with the acts of the six oecumenical councils, to be set up in the portico of the church of St. Peter, as Philippicus had commanded those which were in the imperial city to be removed. The Roman people,


[1] Baronius places this occurrence somewhere about the year 704.

[2] Pope Constantine went to Constantinople October 5th, 710, and returned to Rome on the 24th of October in the following year. Justinian was killed in December, 711.

128 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIII.

also decreed that the name of the heretical emperor should no longer be used in public documents or on coins; and his effigy was not placed in the church, nor his name pronounced in the office of the mass. [1]

Anastasius reigned three years. He ordered his prisoner Philippicus to be deprived of sight, but his life to be spared. This emperor wrote letters to Pope Constantine, and commissioned Scolasticus, patrician and exarch of Italy, to carry them to Rome. In these letters he showed himself a defender of the Catholic faith, and recognized the validity of the acts of the sixth holy council. Liutprand, king of the Lombards, admonished by the venerable pope, Gregory [II.], confirmed the donation of the land situate in the Cottian Alps, which Aribert had made and Liutprand had annulled. Wulfran, archbishop of Sens and a monk of Fontenelle, signalized himself by the many miracles he performed while preaching the word of God to the Frisians. Egbert, a holy man of the English nation, and an honour to the priesthood by his monastic life, while a pilgrim to his heavenly country, converted several provinces inhabited by the Scots to the canonical observance of the time for celebrating Easter, from which they had departed for many years. He preached among them in the year 717 of the incarnation of our Lord. [2]

Theodosius reigned one year. [3] Elected emperor, he defeated Anastasius in a severe engagement near the town of Nice, and having received his oath of allegiance compelled him to become a clerk, and be ordained priest. As soon as he was seated upon the throne, being a Catholic, he replaced in its former situation the honoured tables containing the acts of


[1] We learn from this curious paragraph what sort of honours were still rendered at Rome to the emperors of Constantinople.- According to some historians, it was not the acts of the council, but the portraits of the bishops present at them, which were set up in the porches of the churches at Rome and Constantinople, but that would have formed a collection of more than 1500 pictures.

[2] Gregory II. filled the pontifical chair from the 19th of May, 715, to the 13th of February, 731. The Cottian Alps are now called the Alps of Mount Generara. St. Wulfran, bishop of Sens about 690, retired to Fontenelle (St. Uvandrille) in 719, and died there soon after. Bede (Hist. Eccl. lib. v. c. 23) informs us that St. Egbert was sent into Scotland in 716. He died there in 729. Anastasius reigned 713-716.

[3] Theodobius, January, 716-March, 717.

A.D. 717-741.] LEO, THE ISAURIAN. 12l

the six holy synods, which Philippicus had ordered to be removed. The river Tiber overflowed its banks, and caused much damage in the city of Rome; its waters rose to a height of about eight feet in the Broad street (via lata), and formed a wide torrent, extending from St. Peter's gate to the Milvian bridge. This inundation lasted seven days, until, the citizens having frequently made processions with litanies, the river returned at last to its channel on the eighth day. In those times, it was the custom of great numbers of the English, high and low, men and women, persons of rank and private individuals, inspired by the love of God, to leave Britain and repair to Rome. [1]

Leo reigned nine years. [2] In the third year of his reign Charles Martel, son of Pepin, became mayor of the palace, and, the year following, defeated the tyrant Ragenfred at Vinci, and after this victory besieged him in Angers. The Saracens, investing Constantinople with an innumerable army, besieged the city for the space of three years, until the inhabitants, having raised their voices to heaven, their fervent prayers were heard, and the greatest part of the barbarians perished from hunger, cold, and pestilence; and the survivors, disheartened at the length of the siege, retired. On their return to their own country, the Saracens attacked the Bulgarians, a nation on the Danube, but sustaining another defeat, were forced to seek refuge on board their


[1] Our author only cursorily alludes to passages in Bede describing the strong tendency at this period among the Anglo-Saxon princes and others to withdraw from the troubles and revolutions then so prevalent, and seek the repose of a monastic life in the capital of the Christian world.

[2] Our author has servilely followed Bede in the computation of the years of the reign of Leo, without reflecting that the English historian, who died in 735, could not have seen the end of this emperor's reign. This number of nine years proves that Bede finished his treatise, "On the Six Ages of the World", about 726 or 727, and consequently four or five years before his "Ecclesiastical History" (731). The third year of Leo comprehends the time between the 25th of March, 719, and the 24th of March, 720; Charles Martel was named duke of Austrasia in 715, defeated Ragenfred before Vinci in Cambrai, and besieged Angers in 724. The siege of Constantinople only lasted one year (Aug. 15, 717-Aug. 15, 718). In the winter the earth was covered with ice and snow for one hundred and ten days. The Bulgarians attacked the Saracens at the time they were raising the siege. The tempest was so dreadful that it is said only five vessels out of the whole re-entered the ports of Syria.

130 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

ships. They had scarcely gained the offing, when a violent storm suddenly arose, and immense numbers either perished in the waves, or, their vessels being dashed to pieces on the shore, were massacred by the natives. King Liutprand, hearing that the Saracens had not contented themselves with ravaging Sardinia, but had even dared to defile the spot to which the remains of St. Augustine, profane bishop, had been formerly translated in order to protect them from the fury of the barbarians, and where they were reverently interred, sent to claim them; and having obtained them for a large sum of money, ordered them to be transferred to Pavia, where they were again buried with all the honours due to so great a father of the church. [1]

CH. XXIV. Continuation of the series of the emperors of Constantinople - Kings of the Franks - English kings - and emperors of Germany.

UP to this point I have followed the chronography of the Englishman Bede, who has brought down his work to the year 734 of the incarnation of our Lord. [2] This Bede, a priest, and Paul, of Mount Cassino, both monks, and men of deep learning, among other useful works, have published in five books the history of their respective nations; they have clearly made known to us whence the Lombards and English came, and how the former subdued Italy, while the latter occupied Britain. [3] Henceforth I shall be forced to make laborious researches through the writings of other fathers of the church, while I endeavour to bring my history of past events down to the present day, embittered by so many and such varied calamities, while two prelates have ambitiously contended during the last six years for the pontifical chair, and, since the demise of Henry I. king


[1] The translation of the relics of St. Augustine to the church of St. Peter in Pavia, in compliance with the order of King Liutprand, appears to have taken place in 722.

[2] As we have just seen, Bede did not bring down his work "On the Six Ages" further than 726, and his Ecclesiastical History later than 731; but there is a short continuation extending as far as A.D. 766, appended to the edition, of which the entries as far as A.D. 734 may perhaps have been written by Bede.

[3] The History of the Lombards, by Paul the Deacon, is not divided into five, but six books.- De Gestis Longebardorum libri vi.

A.D. 741-775.] CONSTANTINE V. COPRONYMUS. 131

of England, Stephen of Blois, his nephew, and Geoffry of Anjou, his son-in-law, are contending for the crown and venting their fury, to the common loss, by having recourse to arms, as well as by threats. [1]

Constantine, the son of Leo, reigned fifty-eight years. [2] Then Hugh, archbishop of Rouen, gloriously filled the sees of Paris and Bayeux, and governed the abbeys of Jumieges and Fontenelle. Carloman and Pepin become mayors of the palace, and Remi, their brother, having ejected Ragenfroi, obtains the archbishopric of Rouen. Constantine and Abdallah, the emir of the Saracens, are rivals in cruelty towards the orthodox followers of Christ. Constantine assembled at Constantinople a council of three hundred and thirty bishops. [3]

In the year 754 of our Lord's incarnation, Stephen, the pope, no longer able to bear the persecutions of Astolph, king of the Lombards, escaped to France and was honourably received by the inhabitants, but fell sick at Paris. As soon as he was convalescent, he consecrated an altar in the church of St. Denys, crowned Pepin and his two sons, Charles and Carloman; and committed the holy church to their protection against her enemies. [4]


[1] As our author has mentioned that six years had already elapsed since the commencement of the struggle between Innocent II. and the antipope Anacletus (February, 1130), we learn that this paragraph must have been written in 1136, the period when the succession to Henri I. was disputed with fury by Stephen of Blois, his nephew, and Geoffry of Anjou, his son-in-law, or rather by the empress, Geoffry's wife.

[2] Here our author, who had cut off fifteen years from the reign of the father (or rather some unskilful corrector, for the number has evidently been erased by a later hand in the manuscript of St. Evroult), gives as a compensation too many, by twenty-four, to that of the son.

[3] Hugh, archbishop of Rouen before 722, bishop of Paris and Bayeux, abbot of Fontenelle and Jumieges in 722, died at Jumieges on the 8th of April, 730. Carloman and Pepin inherited the power and the functions of their brother Charles Martel, in 741. Remi their brother, archbishop of Rouen in the room of Ragenfroi, in 755, died January 19, 772. The most severe persecutions directed by Constantine Copronymus against the Catholics took place in 754, 761, and 763. Among the Saracens they were persecuted by the caliph Almanzor and his lieutenant Selim, more than by his uncle Abdallah. Three hundred and thirty-eight bishops were present at the council convened by the emperor at Constantinople in 754.

[4] Stephen II. left Rome Oct. 14, 753, arrived at Pontion (Marne) Jan. 6, 754, consecrated Pepin and his children on the 28th of July, and set out on his return before the end of the year.

132 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

Pepin, king of the French, after having held the reins of government with a strong hand for sixteen years, died on the eighth of the calends of October [24th September]. He left his crown to his son Charlemagne, who reigned forty-seven years, and whose conduct, both of secular and ecclesiastical affairs, was memorable. His virtues were great in the sight of God and man; so that numbers relate his acts with admiration, and celebrate them before attentive hearers. He marched to Rome at the head of an army of Franks, and, on his return, seized Desiderius, king of the Lombards, and made himself master of Pavia and other towns in Italy. He dismantled Pampeluna, took Saragossa sword in hand, annihilated, in the numerous battles he won, not only the Saxons but the Spaniards and Saracens, and humbled the infidel power by Christian valour, raising, in the name of Christ, the standard of the cross. [1]

Leo, the son of Constantine, reigned five years. [2] Charlemagne went a second time to Rome, and, then overran with his army Capua and Apulia. [3]

Constantine reigned seventeen years jointly with his mother Irene. During his reign, an inhabitant of Constantinople discovered a stone chest, enclosing the body of a man, and bearing this inscription: "Christ born of the Virgin Mary, and I believe in him. When Constantine and Irene are emperors, the sun shall see me again". Charlemagne crossed Germany to the frontiers of Bavaria, which he conquered in three years. He then marched against a


[1] Pepin died on the 24th of September, 768, in the 27th year of his administration and the 17th of his reign. Charlemagne did not reign forty-seven years, but forty-five years and four months (Sept. 768-Jan. 28, 814). During his first expedition into Italy, he entered Rome on the 2nd of Apri1, 774, and took Desiderius prisoner at Pavia in the month of May following. It was in 778 that he made himself master of Pampeluna, besieged Saragossa without taking it, and dismantled Pampeluna on his return. A different account of Charlemagne's expedition to Spain is given by the Arabian and some of the Latin historians. The Frank writers gloss over his severe losses in his retreat at Roncesvalles, rendered memorable by the death of Roland, the Orlando of Ariosto; and his previous successes appear to have been partial and transitory.

[2] Leo IV., September 14, 775-September 8 780, Constantius VI., September 8, 780-August 19, 797.

[3] Charlemagne arrived at Rome in the winter of 788, occupied Capua at the commencement of the following spring, and returned to Rome to celebrate the feast of Easter.

A.D. 772-816.] POPES ADRIAN I. AND LEO III. 133

tribe of the slaves called the Wiltzes, and in the following year ravaged Hungary. [1]

In these times, Adrian [I.] and Leo [III.] governed the holy see forty-eight years, signalizing their pontificates by their great virtues and services to the church. Constantine and Leo, and another Constantine, were then emperors, as we have already stated. [2] From the time of Constantine the Great, the son of Helena, who founded Constantinople, until the reign of Constantine, the son of Irene, the emperor of Constantinople governed the Roman empire, and gave laws to Italy and many other nations speaking different languages. Several of these emperors were heretics, and were not raised to the throne by the lawful exercise of the rights of the people, nor legitimately elected by the people, but unjustly usurped it by cruel murders of their masters or their relations; nor were they able to defend one half of so vast an empire against the attacks of the barbarians, who were everywhere in arms against it. In consequence, Pope Leo, and an assembly of the senators and people of Rome, concerted measures for the safety of the state, and by unanimous resolve threw off the yoke of the emperors of Constantinople, and elected Charlemagne, the powerful king of the Franks, who had long protected them with great valour, to be emperor of Rome. Thus, in the fifth year of Pope Leo, which corresponds with the year 808 of the incarnation of our Lord, king Charlemagne became the eighty-third emperor from Augustus, and the Romans proclaimed him by that august name. He condemned to death the assailants of Pope Leo, by whom he had been consecrated; but at the pope's request he spared their lives, and only banished them to France.


[1] This pretended discovery happened in 781. The conquest of Bavaria belongs to the year 788. The invasion of the part of Sclavonia here mentioned, and situate on the right bank of the Oder, near its mouth, took place in 789, and the troops of Charlemagne overran Hungary as far as Raab in 792.

[2] Adrian I. occupied the pontifical chair from the 9th of February, 772, to the 25th of December, 795; and Leo III. from this last date until the 11th of June, 816; a period of forty-four years and some months, which nevertheless extends far beyond the reigns of the three emperors mentioned by our author, as it comprises those of Irene, Nicephorus, Maurice, Michael, Curopalates, and a part of that of Leo the Armenian.

134 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

About the same time, a great earthquake shook nearly the whole continent of Italy, and threw down the greater part of the roof and timber-work of the church of St. Paul the apostle. [1]

Nicephorus I., brother of Irene, reigned six years. He made peace with Charlemagne, to whom Aaron also, the king of the Persians, sent ambassadors with presents to induce him to join in friendship with him. [2]

Michael, the son-in-law of Nicephorus, reigned three years. He sent ambassadors to the emperor Charlemagne to renew their alliance.

Leo, son of Bardas, reigned six years. Charlemagne died at Aix-la-Chapelle; and Louis the Pious, his son by Hildegarde, daughter of Witikind, king of the Saxons, succeeded to the empire which he governed for twenty-seven years with spirit. During his reign a storm of troubles swept the world. Pascal, the hundredth pope from Peter, crowned Louis at Rome on Easter day. [3]

Theophilus reigned eleven years. Lothaire rebelled against his father Lewis, and disturbed the world by his repeated perfidies. The Normans now ravaged Britain and other countries, and the bodies of Samson, Philibert, and many other saints, were translated for fear of the pagans. [4]


[1] Charlemagne was crowned on the last day of the fifth year of the pontificate of Leo III., which corresponds with the year 800, and not 808, as our author states. The enemies of the pope to whom Ordericus here alludes, were Pascal and Campulus, officers of the Roman church, who, in a procession which took place in 799, fell upon him and cut out his tongue and put out his eyes. The earthquake happened during the night of the 30th of April, 801. The church of St. Paul here mentioned is that now called Fuori muri, outside the walls of Rome.

[2] Charlemagne received the ambassadors of the caliph (the famous Aaron-al-Raschid) in the spring of the year 801, between Verceill and Ivree, on his return to France from Rome, and those of Nicephorus in 803.

[3] Charlemagne died at Aix-la-Chapelle, January 28, 814. Louis le Debonaire (Jan. 28, 814-June 20, 840) was, it is true, the son of Hildegarde, but this princess was not a daughter of Witikind. He had been consecrated at Rome on Easter day, 781, as king of Aquitaine, at the age of five years. It was his son Lothaire who was crowned by Pope Pascal I., on Easter-day, 923.

[4] Theophilus, son of Michael II. The most serious revolts of Lothaire against his father took place in 830 and 833. The translation of the body of St. Samson from Dol to Orleans did not take place before 878. The relics of St. Philibert were carried from the island of Noirmoutier, at the mouth of the Loire, over to the continent in the month of June, 836, with the permission of Pepin, king of Aquitain, and deposited at the convent of Dee, near Nantz, as being more safe from the piratical incursions of the Danes; though the monastery of Noirmoutier had been strongly fortified, and the monks had spent the season of the year most favourable to such enterprises at Dee.

A.D. 842-876.] MICHAEL-BASIL, EMPERORS. 135

Michael, son of Theophilus, reigned twenty-seven years. In the second year of his reign, the Emperor Lewis died on the 12th of the calends of July [20th June]. He was buried by his brother Drogo, archbishop of Metz. Three years afterwards, that is to say, in the year of our Lord 842, the battle of Fontenay, near Auxerre, was fought, on the sixth of the calends of July [26th June], between his three sons, Lewis, Lothaire, and Charles the Bald, in which Christian nations destroyed each other with great slaughter on both sides. At last victory declared in favour of Charles. In the same year the Normans pillaged Rouen, and burned the abbey of St. Ouen, the bishop, on the ides [15th] of May. [1]

Basil, after having put to death Michael, his sovereign and master, reigned twenty years. A dreadful famine and consequent mortality, with a murrain among cattle, caused great calamities throughout the world. On the death of King Lewis, Rollo penetrated into Neustria, and on the 15th of the calends of December [17th November], in the year of our Lord 876 entered Normandy, and carried on a war with the Franks, which lasted thirty-seven years, until he was baptized by Franco, archbishop of Rouen. [2]


[1] Our author is not more fortunate than usual in his dates. Lewis le Debonaire died on the 20th of June, 840. The battle of Fontenai was fought on the 25th of June, 841, and in the month of May in the same year, the Normans made their first incursion in the valley of the Seine. They set fire to Rouen on the 14th, and perhaps, as here intimated, the flames did not reach the monastery of St. Ouen, in the suburbs, before the fullowing day.

[2] Our author probably alludes to the plague and famine of 889. Lewis, king of Germany, died on the 28th of August, 876. The arrival of Rollo in France so early as 876, rests on the assertions of writers too remote from this epoch to be of any authority, and the chronicles which mention it are visibly interpolated; but it is true that the valley of the Seine was entered by the Normans in 876, though it does not appear that Rollo was with them.

136 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

Leo and Alexander, the sons of Basil, reigned twenty-two years. Charles the Fat was crowned emperor on the death of Arnold, king of Germany, and reigned ten years. In the year of our Lord 900, King Zwintibold killed the son of Arnold. At this time Rollo laid siege to Chartres; but Gualtelm, the bishop, a holy man, issued forth carrying the tunic of St. Mary, mother of God, and with the assistance of Heaven, put the enemies to flight, and delivered the city. He had appealed for succour to Richard, duke of Burgundy, and Ebles, earl of Poictiers. The enemy being routed, the Christians rejoiced at the victory God had wrought. [1]

Alexander [after the death of his brother] reigned one year. The Huns devastated Saxony and Thuringia [A.D. 908].

Constantine [Porphyrogenitus], son of Leo, reigned with Zoe, his mother, ten years. In the third year of his reign, Lewis [III.], son of Arnold, departed this life, and Conrad, the son of Conrad, became emperor, and reigned seven years. [2]

Romanus, the Armenian, reigned, jointly with Constantine before mentioned, twenty-seven years. In their time Rollo embraced Christianity, and concluded a peace with Charles, king of the Franks, receiving in marriage Gisela, his daughter. [3] When Henry was emperor, king Charles died at Peronne, where he was imprisoned by Herbert, count of


[1] Charles the Bald died October 6, 877. Arnold became king of Germany, on the 11th of November, 887. He was crowned emperor in April, 896, and died on the 8th of December, 899.

It was Zwintibold himself that was killed, on the 13th of August, 900. The defeat of Rollo under the walls of Chartres, is the first authentic fact in which this chief of the Normans of the Seine makes his appearance, but it happened on the 20th of July, 911, and not in 900. The presence in this battle of the Earl of Poictiers, Ebles II., is only attested by writers of a later date. A more authentic fact is the part taken in it by Robert II., duke of France who afterwards contested the crown with Charles the Simple.

[2] Louis IV., king of Germany, son of Arnold, elected emperor on the 4th of February, 900, died on the 21st January, 912. Conrad, his successor, elected on the 19th of October in the same year, died December 23, 918, of the wounds he received in battle with the Hungarians.

[3] The baptism of Rollo took place in 912. The French editor of Ordericus raises doubts as to this marriage, on the ground that it rests only on the authority of Norman historians.

A.D. 919-969.] THE CONSTANTINES-STEPHEN. 137

Vermandois, and France was disturbed by great dissensions. Five years afterwards, Louis, the son of Charles, married Gerberga, the daughter of Henry, emperor of Germany. [1]

Constantine [VII.] associated with himself Romanus, his son, while yet a boy, and reigned fifteen years. At the same period Otho, son of Henry, began his reign, which lasted thirty-six years; his wife was the sister of Athelstan, king of England. [2] In those days, William Longsword defeated Ralph, count of Evreux, on the spot which was called Battlemead, and was himself assassinated eight years afterwards, on the sixteenth of the calends of January (17th December), by Arnold, earl of Flanders. Richard I., the son of William Longsword, succeeded his father, and governed his states with vigor fifty-four years, performing many great actions. [3]

Stephen and Constantine [VIII.], the sons of Romanus, expelled their father from the throne. But Constantine in turn deposed them both, and reigned sixteen years with his son Romanus. Edgar, son of Edmund, now governed the English, and was a bountiful patron to the servants of God, faithfully obeying his teachers in all that appertained to the edification of the church. In his reign Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, Oswald, archbishop of York, and Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester, were illustrious for their sanctity and learning, governing the people committed to their charge with diligence and happy effects. They used such efforts to encourage the growth of religious insitutions that by their means twenty-six monasteries and nunneries were


[1] Henry the Fowler, elected in 919, died on the 2nd of July, 936, and Charles the Simple, taken prisoner by Herbert II., Count of Vermandois (923), died in his prison at Peronne, on the 9th of October, 929. The marriage of Louis IV., D'Outremer, with Gerberga, the daughter of Henry the Fowler, was solemnized in the year 939.

[2] Otho the Great, elected king of Germany in 936, died May 7, 973. He married, in 930, Edith, the daughter of Edward, king of England, and consequently sister to Athelstan.

[3] It is difficult to assign a precise date to the victory gained by William Longsword on the spot which has received from that event the name of le Pre de la Bataille. M. Le Prevot, in his note on this paragraph, agrees with the Norman historians, that it happened in 933. William was murdered at Picquigni, on the 16th of December, 943. If, as is generally supposed, Richard I. died in 996, the number here stated is too many by two years.

138 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

founded in England. The ravages of the Danes, who some years before had martyred St. Edmund, king of the East-Angles, had spread desolation among Christ's flock throughout nearly the whole island of Britain, churches and monasteries being ruined, and the Lord's flock torn to pieces or dispersed as if they had been the prey of wolves. [1]

Nicephorus was emperor ten years. It was a period of general disorder; ambitious nobles putting themselves at the head of their vassals in arms for mutual hostilities. [2]

After the death of Nicephorus, who was assassinated at the instigation of his own wife, John [Zimisces] ascended the throne, and his niece, Theophania, married the emperor Otho. He died in the fifth year of his reign, leaving the crown to his son Otho III., who reigned eighteen years. [3] At this period, Hugh the Great and other French lords rebelled against Lewis, their king; the duke following the example of his father Robert, who revolted against Charles the Simple, and caused himself to be anointed king. Charles, the rightful sovereign, perceiving with what contempt he was treated by the perjured duke, did not allow a year to elapse before he attacked the rebel with troops assembled from all quarters, with which he fell upon and defeated and killed him at the battle of Soissons. [4]

In the month of May, on a Friday, a shower of blood fell upon the workmen in the fields. The same year [954], in the month of September, Lewis [d'Outremer] died, after


[1] The administration of Stephen and Constantine VIII. lasted only from the 20th of December, 944, until the 27th of January, 945. Edgar began his reign in 959, and died July 8, 975. St. Dunstan filled his see from 961 to May, 988; St. Oswald, 972-February 29, 992; St. Ethelwold or Athelwold, 963-984. St. Edmund suffered martyrdom in the preceding century (Nov. 20, 870).

[2] In an age so fruitful of disorders, it is difficult to point out the particular events to which the author alludes. They are probably those which occurred between the years 930-940.

[3] Otho II. married, in 972, Theophania, daughter of the Greek emperor Romanis II. This princess died at Rome, June 15, 991. Her husband had died there December 7, 983. Otho III., their son, crowned on the 25th of December, 983, at Aix-la-Chapelle, died on the 23rd of January, 1002.

[4] Our author probably here refers to the revolt of Hugh the Great and other lords, against Louis d'Outremer in 941, when that prince was forced to seek refuge with the Count de Vienne. He then goes back to the battle of Soissons (June 15, 923).

A.D. 954.] LOTHAIRE, KING OF THE FRANKS. 139

having suffered much adversity, and was buried at Rheims, in the church of St. Remi. [1] Lothaire, his son, was crowned at Rheims, and ably governed the kingdom for the space of seven years. At this time Hugh the Great, of Orleans, duke of France, raised himself above all the nobles of France by his riches and power. He married the daughter of the emperor Otho, by whom he had three sons, Hugh, Otho, and Henry, and a daughter of the name of Emma, who married Richard the elder, duke of Normandy, but died without children. [2]

In the second year of the reign of Lothaire, in the month of August, Hugh the Great besieged the town of Poictiers; but through the merits of St. Hilary, bishop and patron of the town, the Lord caused an awful thunder, while a violent whirlwind rent the duke's tent, who, struck with a panic, as well as his army, immediately raised the siege and retreated. [3] The same year, Gislebert, duke of Burgundy departed this life, and Otho, his son-in-law, the son of Hugh the Great, obtained possession of the duchy, but dying without children not long afterwards, he was succeeded by his brother Henry. Then Ansegise, bishop of Troyes, was driven from his see by Earl Robert, and repaired to the court of the emperor Otho in Saxony. Returning thence at the head of an army of Saxons, he laid siege to Troyes which held out for a considerable time, although he was ably assisted by the forces of the chiefs, Helpo and Bruno. One day as they were on an expedition to plunder the town


[1] These two events, the account of which is borrowed from the Chronicle of Hugh de Fleuri, as well as a great part of what follows, belong to the year 954. Lewis died at Rheims on the 10th of September, and was buried in the church of St. Remi, as our author states.

[2] King Lothaire was thirteen years old when he was crowned at Rheims on the 12th of November, 954. The duration of his reign was not seven, but thirty-one years. Hugh the Great, duke of France and Burgundy, count of Paris and Orleans, appears on the political scene from 922 to 956, the period of his death. By his third wife, Hadwide or Hedwiges, sister, and not daughter, of the Emperor Otto I., he had, besides the children here mentioned, an elder daughter named Beatrice.

[3] It was not in the second, but in the first, year of the reign of King Lothaire, that Hugh the Great, displeased at seeing William-Tete-d'Etoupe invested with the duchy of Aquitain and the earldom of Auvergne, appeared with the young king before Poictiers to lay siege to the place.

140 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

of Sens, archbishop Archambauld, with the aged count Raynard, and their troops, encountered them, fighting a battle in which duke Helpo and a number of the Saxons were slain. His colleague, Bruno, who was an eye-witness of their defeat, raised the siege, and returned to his own country in great sorrow. [1]

King Lothaire recovered the kingdom of Lorraine; he repaired, attended by a numerous army, to the palace at Aix-la-Chapelle, where the emperor Otho resided with his queen: he entered at the hour of dinner, no one trying to prevent him; for Otho, his wife and attendants, saved themselves by flight, and quietly left him in possession of the palace. Lothaire after this success returned to France, and the emperor, assembling an army, appeared before Paris, and set fire to one of the suburbs, but his nephew with many of his followers fell by the swords of the French. [3] Lothaire, therefore, calling to his assistance Hugh, duke of France, and Henry, duke of Burgundy, attacked their enemies, whom he defeated and pursued as far as Soissons. The terrified fugitives in their haste threw themselves headlong into the river Airne, and as they were not acquainted with the fords, numbers perished; indeed those who were drowned in the river were more


[1] Gislebert died on the 8th of April, 956; Otho, his son-in-law, on the 23rd of February, 965; Henry, about 1002. Robert de Vermandois, earl of Chalons and of Beaune in right of his wife Adelaide, drove Bishop Ansegise out of Troyes about 958. He also took Dijon the following year, and drove the king's officers out of the town. In the month of October, Archbishop Bruno, uncle of Lothaire, at the head of a strong army, in compliance with the request of this prince and of Queen Gerberga, retook these two places. No one knows who this Helpo was who fell near Sens. This episode of the expedition of Archbishop Bruno into Burgundy, as well as what relates to the town of Troyes, is borrowed from the Chronicles of Hugh de Fleuri.

[2] The expedition of Lothaire into Lorraine, and the momentary occupation of Aix-la-Chapelle by this prince, belong to the year 978; but the French editor thinks that we must exclude from this account the story, which seems to him evidently invented, of the dinner prepared for the emperor, but consumed by the king, although it is reported in almost all the chronicles of the succeeding age, and introduced again by our author in his seventh book, with fuller details. We know with certainty that the emperor having pursued Lothaire during his precipitate retreat, carried his devastations even to the environs of Paris; but as for the death of his nephew, this is considered another fable invented in the following century, and which has suffered many transformations.

A.D. 986.] DEATH OF LOTHAIRE. 141

numerous than those who fell by the sword. Its waters were swollen, and such multitudes perished in the current that its course was almost choked by their corpses. [1] King Lothaire continued the pursuit of the enemy three days and three nights. In the end of the same year, contrary to the wishes of his officers and his army, Lothaire concluded a peace with the emperor at Rheims, and ceded to him Lorraine, to the great grief of the French. [2]

King Lothaire died in the year of our Lord 976, and was interred at Rheims in the church of St. Remi. His son Lewis filled the throne eleven years, and at his death was buried in the church of St. Cornelius, the martyr, at Compiegne. [3] Charles, his brother, claimed the throne; but Hugh the Great [Hugh Capet], son of Hugh the Great, opposed him, and, having raised a numerous army, sat down before Laon, where Charles resided with his queen. The king, full of indignation, made a sally at the head of the garrison, attacked and put to flight the army of Hugh, and burnt their huts. The duke, perceiving that Charles was not to be subdued by open warfare, concerted measures with Ascelin, bishop of Laon, who was the king's adviser. The bishop, forgetting his age and profession, and not considering that death was approaching, followed the example of Achitopliel and Judas, and did not blush to become a traitor. During the night, when all the inhabitants were asleep, he admitted Hugh into the town, who made Charles and his wife, the daughter of Herbert, earl of Troyes, prisoners, and condemned them to perpetual captivity in the tower of Orleans. There, Charles became the father of


[1] There is much exaggeration in these details, borrowed from Hugh de Fleuri.

[2] Our author borrows this account also from the Chronicle of Hugh de Fleuri. The treaty between the two monarchs took place in 980. The Saxon Chronicle states that the place selected for the meeting was Ingelheim, and it is probably correct.

[3] King Lothaire was poisoned by his wife Emma, at Compiegne, on the 2nd of March, 986. Lewis V., called the Indolent, crowned at Compiegne during the lifetime of his father, on the 8th of June, 979, died May 21, 987; it is therefore impossible to reckon eleven years as the duration of his reign, even if we dated from his coronation. Our author's guide, Hugh de Fleuri, gives nine years, which is one too much.

142 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

two children, Lewis and Charles; but from that time the posterity of Charlemagne ceased to reign in France. [1]

In the year of our Lord 983, Hugh, the duke, was anointed king at Rheims. In the same year, Robert his son was crowned king, and reigned thirty-eight years. [2] Hugh was induced by a vision to commit this great crime. St. Valery appeared to him when he was duke at Lutetia, the city of the Parisii. He revealed to him in a dream who he was, and what he wanted, commanding him to undertake an expedition against Arnold, earl of Flanders, and take his body out of the monastery of Sithieu, where that of St. Bertin also lies, and restore it to the convent of Leuconaus in the Vimeux. He then promised him that, if he faithfully obeyed his orders, he and his posterity to the seventh generation should wear the crown of France. Hugh readily obeyed the orders of the saint, and, by the will of God, terrified Arnold with his impetuous courage, recovered and reverently restored to their tombs the bodies of the venerable saints Valery and Riquier, which had been carried away by a certain clerk named Erchambald, bribed by the offer of a large sum of money. The duke himself repaired to Leuconaus with the great men of his court, and deposited the remains of St. Valery in a monastery situate on the banks of the Somme, and having driven out the secular canons, filled their places with regular monks. Not long


[1] Charles of France, duke of Lorraine, was not brother of Lewis V., as our author, following Hugh de Fleuri, calls him, but King Lothaire's. Hugh Capet never bore the title of Great, which was exclusively given to his father. It was on Good Friday, April 3, 991, that Ascalin or Adalberon, bishop of Laon, opened the gates of that town to him. Agnes de Vermandois, the second wife of Charles, was the daughter of Herbert III., count of Vermandois, who was also often called count of Troyes and Meaux. Their children, Lewis and Charles, who shared their captivity at Orleans, were still alive in 1009, a period when mentioned with King Robert, at the commencement of a charter.

[2] The coronation of Hugh Capet took place on the 3rd of July, 987, and that of King Robert, his son, taken by him as his colleague, on the 1st of January, 988. The computation of the years of the reign of this last prince, given by our author, is inexact, whether we include or not those during which he shared the government with his father; because, in the first case, his reign lasted more than forty-two years and a half, and in the second, thirty-three years and nine months.

A.D. 987.] HUGH CAPET. 143

afterwards, as already stated, he usurped the throne, which his descendants have filled to the present day; for four kings of his race have reigned up to this moment, namely, Robert, Henry, Philip, and Lewis. [1] Hugh, at the commencement of his reign, convoked a synod at Rheims, to which he invited Sewin, archbishop of Sens, with his suffragans, and ordered Arnold, archbishop of Rheims, to be degraded; declaring that according to the canons of the church the son of a concubine could not be a bishop. But in truth he was jealous of Arnold, because he had the royal blood of Charlemagne in his veins, being the brother of king Lothaire, although the son of a concubine. He was not however for this reason the less worthy and unassuming, but was renowned for his great virtues. But the venerable Sewin feared God more than the king; he therefore refused to be a party to the unjust degradation of Arnold; what was more, as far as lay in his power, he opposed the king's design. His opposition only incensed the king against himself and induced him to persist in his unjust project. However, some other bishops were worked on by their fears, though with great reluctance, to pronounce the sentence of degradation on Arnold, and consecrated in his place Gerbert, a monk and philosopher, who had been tutor to king Robert. In this manner, by the imperious command of the king, Arnold was deposed, expelled ignominiously from the church of the blessed Mary, mother of God, and imprisoned at Orleans for three years. These outrages were soon brought to the knowledge of the pope, who, being highly indignant, suspended the bishops who had deposed Arnold and put Gerbert in his place. He also sent Leo, an abbot, into France, as the legate of the apostolical see, to remedy these irregular proceedings. The legate began his labours by first paying a visit to Sewin at Sens, and communicated to him the orders of the holy see, knowing him to be a more strict observer of what was right than the rest. In


[1] For information respecting this vision of Hugh Capet, and the events that were the consequence of it, see the Acta SS. ord. S. Benedicti, saec. v. p. 556, et seq. Leuconaus was the primitive name of St. Valeri sur Somme. The relics of the saint were carried back there by Hugh himself in 981, after he had exacted their restitution from the Earl of Flanders by threats of an invasion.

144 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

obedience to the apostolic commands, another council was assembled at Rheims, and archbishop Arnold was released from custody, and restored to his see with great honour. The pleadings between the prelate Gerbert, and abbot Leo are considered of great importance, and are carefully filed among the records of the archbishops of Rheims. [1] Gerbert was very well read in sacred and profane literature, and had many illustrious and noble pupils in his school, amongst whom were, King Robert, Leotheric, archbishop of Sens; Remi, bishop [monk] of Auxerre; Haimond, and Hubold, and several others who rank high on the list of learned men. Bishop Remi composed a good commentary on the mass, and published a useful edition of the work of the grammarian Donatus. Haimond wrote a valuable exposition on St. Paul's epistles, and commented on the gospels and other parts of the holy scriptures. Hubold, who was skilled in music, made the churches echo with the praises of the Creator, composing a sweet office in praise of the Holy Trinity, besides a number of hymns in honour of God and his saints [2] These, and many others received instructions


[1] Arnold, the illegitimate son of King Lothaire, and not of Lewis d'Outre-Mer, was created archbishop of Rheims through the influence of Hugh Capet in 988 or 989. Having violated the engagements into which he had entered with this prince, and given up the town to his uncle Charles, competitor with Hugh for the crown, he was arrested at Laon on the 2nd of April, 991, carried prisoner to Orleans, and deposed in the synod of bishops held at St. Basle, near Rheims. In 997, he was liberated, and recovered his bishoprick, which he kept until his death in 1023. It appears that there was no council at Rheims in 995, but only a preparatory council held at Mouson on the 2nd of June, in which another was announced to be held at Rheims on the 1st of July, which Hugh Capet, the protector of Gerbert, probably prevented from taking place. We still possess the discourse which Gerbert pronounced at this meeting, but his discussion with the legate Leo, abbot of St. Boniface, is now lost.

[2] Our author has confounded Remigius [Remi], a monk, and not bishop, of Auxerre, who taught at Rheims, and also at Paris, at the end of the ninth century, with Remigius, a monk of Mithlac in the diocese of Treves, who really was a disciple of Gerbert. The greater part of the works of Remi of Auxerre have been ascribed sometimes to Haimon, bishop of Halberstadt, a person still more ancient, sometimes to a certain Haimon the Wise, who is no other than Remi himself; indeed all those that are here mentioned under that name belong to him. Hubolde, canon of the church at Liege, was a professor at Paris towards the end of the tenth century, but had no relation with Gerbert. The works that are here attributed to him, we owe to Huebalde, a monk of Saint Amand, contemporary and friend of Remi of Auxerre, except the Office of the Holy Trinity, which is from the pen of Stephen, bishop of Liege. See the Hist. Litt. de la France, t. vi.

A.D. 999.] POPE SILVESTER U. 145

from Gerbert, and, by their varied knowledge in after days rendered the greatest services to the church of God. Degraded from the archiepiscopal throne of Rheims, which he had unjustly usurped, he quitted France with shame and indignation, and repaired to the court of the emperor Otho, by whom, and the people of Ravenna, he was promoted to the archiepiscopal see of that town. A few years afterwards, he was translated to the apostolic see, being raised to the papal dignity under the name of Silvester [II.] in the year 999. It is related that when Gerbert was master of a school, he had a conference with the devil, and inquired of him what his future career was to be. He immediately received the following ambiguous answer:-

Transit ab R. Gerbertus ad R. post papa vigens R. [1]

Translated from R, you still will be R, and as pope shall be R.

This oracle was too obscure to be then understood; but we clearly see that after a while it was fulfilled, for Gerbert passed from the see of Rheims to that of Ravenna, and afterwards was elected pope at Rome.

In the year of our Lord 1002, the emperor Otho died, and was succeeded by Henry [II.] Afterwards, that is to say in 1024, Cono [Conrad II.] became emperor. In the third year of his reign, Richard II. put off mortality. His zeal for religion justly gained him the title of father of the monks. [2]


[1] Gerbert was in Italy with Otho III. in the summer of 997. He was named archbishop of Ravenna at the commencement of the following year, and pope in 999. The verse quoted by our author is usually written in the following manner:-

Scandit ab R. Girbertus in R., post papa regens R.

[2] "Otho III. died, as already stated, on the 23rd of January 1002. Henry II., his successor, elected emperor June 6, 1002, died July 13, 1024. Conrad II. (not Cono) having been crowned on the 8th of September, 1024, the third year of his reign must be reckoned in September, 1027. But we know that Duke Richard II. died on the 23rd of August of that year. Ordericus Vitalis gives the 23rd of August, 1027, as the date of this event, that is to say, one year more than is usually done. We find the same date in a charter of William the Conqueror. This is also my own opinion, but it is a very obscure question, and I acknowledge that I have not always solved it in the same way".- French Editors.

146 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

During the reign of Ethelred the son of Edgar, many disastrous events happened in England. Sweyn, king of the Danes, having assembled a numerous fleet, invaded the country, upon which king Ethelred, being deserted by his own subjects, who went over to the Danes, escaped into Normandy with his wife and sons. Emma, his queen, was the sister of Richard I. [II.], son of Gunnor and duke of Normandy, and of Robert, archbishop of Rouen. Not long afterwards, the heathen king, Sweyn, was killed by St. Edmund, king and martyr, and his body was embalmed, and carried to Denmark. The Danes were still pagans, and were terrified at the death of their fierce chief, whose corpse could not be buried in English ground. However, king Ethelred, having heard the report of Sweyn's death, immediately returned to his own country, and, by fair words and promises, drew to him those who had deserted his standard, and encouraged them to defend themselves better than they had hitherto done. But Canute, the son of Sweyn, was highly incensed at the flight of his troops, who had abandoned in such a cowardly manner the noble kingdom of England, which they had already subdued; he therefore equipped a powerful fleet, and Olave, king of Norway, with Lacman, king of Sweden, crossing over to England, laid siege to London. At that time king Ethelred was lying sick, and soon afterwards died there; and Edmund, his son, surnamed Ironside, was raised to the throne. Many battles were fought between the English and the Danes with uncertain results, and much blood was shed on both sides. At last, through the well-directed efforts of some prudent men, the two princes agreed on the terms of peace so necessary to the welfare of their subjects. Canute embraced Christianity, and received for his wife Emma, the widow of King Ethelred, with one-half of the kingdom. By her he had Hardicanute, who became king of England, and Gunnilda, who married Henry III., emperor of the Romans. [1]


[1] Ethelred II. ascended the throne in 978, immediately after the assassination of his brother Edward the Martyr. In 1013, after a protracted contest, England was conquered by Sweyn, king of Denmark, and Ethelred retired into Normandy to the court of his brother-in-law, Duke Richard II. The death of Sweyn happened on the 2nd of February, 1014. Ethelred, who returned to England, after an absence of six weeks, was still as powerless as ever against the Danes, whatever our author may say to the contrary. After a severe struggle, Canute, son and successor of Sweyn, shared the kingdom with Edmund Ironside, the son and successor of Ethelred, in 1016, marrying at the same time the widow of the latter. Edmund did not long hold the kingdom of Wessex, his share under the treaty, as we shall presently see. As for Lacman and Olave (see William of Jumieges, lib. v. ch. 11), the first, who appears to be quite an imaginary personage, could not be king of Sweden at that period, as the throne was filled by Olave, surnamed the Infant, who died in 1026. Olave II., king of Norway, far from taking part in the expedition of Canute, had recovered his dominions from him in 1015, and never ceased to be his most inveterate enemy. Chunelind, daughter of Canute, here named Gunnilda, married, in 1036, the Emperor Henry III., and died in 1038.

A.D. 1016.] CANUTE, KING OF ENGLAND. 147

At the instigation of Satan, who never rests from stirring deadly feuds among men, King Edmund, after a reign of seven years, was murdered in a privy by the treachery of the cruel Edric Streon; and Canute obtained the sovereignty of the whole of England, which he enjoyed until his death. He sent to Denmark Edward and Edmund, the sons of Edmund II., two amiable young princes, [1] and requested Sweyn his brother, king of the Danes, to put them to death. However, he refused to be a party to the murder of these innocent children; and took an opportunity of delivering them as hostages to the king of the Huns, passing them off as his nephews. There Child Edmund prematurely died, but Edward, by God's permission, obtained the crown of Hungary, with the hand of the king's daughter, and became the father of three children, Edgar Atheling, [2] Margaret, queen of the Scots, and Christina, who became


[1] "Alveolos", a word peculiar to our author, from whence comes the French eleves. He sometimes writes it "Albeolos". Like the Norman [and Anglo-Saxon] authors in general, he calls Denmark Dacia, as just before he has called the Norwegians Norici, and elsewhere the Swedes, Suevi.

[2] Our author, in this paragraph and elsewhere, gives the young princes the titles generally applied, among the Anglo-Saxons, to the sons of the king, Clito and Atheling; giving to this last name the Norman form Adelin. The two words have the same meaning, a noble youth. Child, as Child-Harold, Child-Edmund, is the Anglo-Saxon word translated "Clito". Atheling is derived from adel, noble, with the termination ling, expressive of youth or inferiority, as suckling, hireling. See note to Henry of Huntingdon's History, p. 122 (Bohn's edition). Both these titles were introduced into Normandy, where the first has remained attached to the name of William Clito (Guillaume Cliton), son of Robert- Courte-Heuse (Curthose).

148 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

a nun. Edward, the son of king Ethelred, having recovered his father's throne, invited them over to England, and brought them up with as much care as if they had been his own children. [1]

In the year of our Lord 1031, Robert, king of the French, died, and Henry his son, supported by Robert, duke of Normandy, secured the throne notwithstanding the opposition of Queen Constance and his younger brother Robert, and others of the French. His reign lasted twenty-nine years. [2]

Robert, duke of Normandy, died on the calends [1st], of July, in the fifth year of his reign, at Nice, a town of Bithynia, on his return from Jerusalem, and William the bastard, his son, a boy only eight years old, succeeded to his dukedom, which he ably governed for fifty years. [3]


[1] Edmund Ironside succeeded his father Ethelred II., who died on the 23rd of April, 1016, and was assassinated, at the instigation of Edric Streon, towards the end of November in the following year, veru ferreo in secreta naturae transfixus, dum in secessu resideret, says Ralph de Diceto. What is related of the children of Edmund is disfigured with the grossest improbabilities, or even impossibilities. Thus our author makes Canute send them to his brother Sweyn, king of Denmark, but he never had a brother of that name, and the prince who shared with him the throne of Denmark from 1014 to 1017, was called Harold. Other historians call this Sweyn king of Sweden, but the king of Sweden contemporary with Canute, bore the name of Olave; lastly, they say one of the exiled princes married the sister of Solomon, king of Hungary, and our author even makes him reign over that country; and they marry the other to the daughter of the Emperor Henry II., sister-in-law to the king of Sweden. But Solomon did not ascend the throne before 1063, nearly fifty years after the princes were banished from England, and had only one sister, Adelaide, wife of Wratislas, king of Poland. What we know with certainty is, that the sons of Edmund took refuge in Hungary, whence the youngest returned to England, with his three children, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, his uncle, about the year 1055.

[2] King Robert died on the 20th of July, 1031. It is certain that the succour he received from Robert, duke of Normandy, in whose court Henry I. sought refuge, enabled that prince to defeat the intrigues of his mother. He died on the 29th of August, 1060.

[3] King Robert, having died July 20, 1031, the fifth year of his son's reign extends from July 20, 1035, to July 20, 1036. But the common opinion is that Duke Robert died at Nice in Bithynia on the 2nd of July, 1035, and consequently in the fourth year of the reign of Henry I. Our author himself confirms this by saying, that William governed Normandy fifty-two years (July, 1035-September, 1087). It would not appear that he had completed his eighth year at his father's death, as he had only begun his sixtieth when he himself died (fere sexagenarius, the continuator of the history of William de Jumieges says).

A.D. 1035.] WILLIAM I. DUKE OF NORMANDY. 149

However, during his childhood, the Normans, being naturally in an unsettled state, there was a long civil war, in which many of the nobility as well as the commons perished. Gislebert, count of Brionne, Osbern, high-steward of Normandy; Vauquelin de Ferrieres, Hugh de Montfort, Roger of Spain, Robert de Grantemesnil, Turketil, guardian of the younquarrels.1d many others, fell in these mutual quarrels. [1]


[1] Gislebert was uncle, according to the custom of Brittany, as well as guardian, of the young prince. The circumstances of his tragic end, little honourable to his memory, are related by our author in book vii.

Gislebert, count of Brionne, son of Godfrey, count d'Eu and Brionne, the illegitimate child of Richard I., possessed the earldom of Eu for a short time, parumper, says William of Jumieges, probably after the death of his uncle William, another natural son of Richard I., who had succeeded Godfrey in this earldom, and to whose posterity it reverted.

Osbern the high-steward is also sometimes called Osbern de Crepon, from the name of an estate in the neighbourhood of Bayeux. William of Jumieges calls him procurator principalis domus, an office which was only concerned with that branch of the stewardship which regulated the internal service of the palace. He was assasinated at Vandreuil, in the very room and before the eyes of the duke, by William of Montgomery. His son was the famous William Fitz-Osbern.

Vauquelin de Ferrieres, lord of Ferrieres St. Hilaire, near Bernai, was the founder of the family of the barons de Ferrieres and Ferrers (Ferrariis), so distinguished in Normandy and England. His descendants bore the singular title of "premiers barons fossiers de Normandie", or "baron-miners", which they derived from their ancient and valuable iron works at Ferrieres, a rare instance in those times of importance and rank derived from such sources.

Hugh de Montfort, surnamed A la Barbe, the son of Toustain de Bastenbourg, and brother of William Bertran de Briquebec, was the ancestor of the lords of Montfort-sur-Risle. He perished, as well as Vauquelin de Ferrieres, in a conflict in which these two barons attacked each other with the utmost fury, the first of the scenes of murder and anarchy which distracted the early years of the young duke's government, at that time purely nominal.

Roger, lord de Toeni and de Conches, surnamed of Spain, on account of his having visited that country (probably banished for some previous offence), during duke Robert's pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and where he signalized himself by his exploits against the Moors, was descended, according to William de Jumieges, or rather his continuator and interpolator, from Matahulce, uncle of Rollo, but that could only be in the female line. The imperious character of Robert, which probably caused his journey to Spain, immediately exhibited itself after his return, and he openly refused to submit to the authority of a child, who was also illegitimate. This succeptibility, though it is asserted by a number of his contemporaries, may well surprise those who are aware of the frightful barbarism which then prevailed. Roger de Toeni having become, by his ravages and devastations, insupportable to all his neighbours, and more especially to Humphrey de Vieilles, he attacked him with his vassals, headed by his son, Roger de Beaumont and the aggressor fell in the conflict, with his two sons.

Robert de Grentemesnil (now Grandmesnil, near Croissanville), founder of the family of that name, perished in the fight between Roger de Beaumont and Roger de Toeni. Turketil, guardian of the young duke, is called Thorold by William de Jumieges. He appears to have been assassinated under the same circumstances, and perhaps at the same moment as Osbern the high-steward. 150 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

Guy, son of Reynold, duke of Burgundy, by a daughter of Richard II., although William had conferred an earldom upon him, took up arms against him, and by dint of promises, drew over to his party a great number of the Normans, who were ripe for revolt. Supported by these, he menaced the young prince with the loss of his duchy, and he was forced to fly to Poissy, where he threw himself at the feet of Henry, king of France, and implored his aid against his traitorous nobles and relations. Henry, a generous prince, had compassion on one so young and friendless, and having assembled the flower of the French army, marched into Normandy to lend him his aid. [1]

In the year of our Lord 1039, Conrad the emperor died, and Henry, his son, succeeded him, who reigned seventeen years. In the fourth year of his reign, there was a general mortality. [2]

In the year 1047 was fought the bloody battle of Valesdunes, in which Guy, who could not withstand the impetuous attack of King Henry and Duke William, was defeated and


[1] Guy of Burgundy, second son of Reynold, earl of Burgundy, by Adelaide or Judith, eldest daughter of Richard II., received from Duke William, of whom he was cousin-german, Vernon and the earldom of Brionne, vacant by the death of Count Gislebert, whose children had retired to the court of the earl of Flanders. This token of good will did not prevent him from putting himself at the head of the malcontents of Lower Normandy, in order to take possession of the duchy. Never did William run greater danger than from the consequences of this rebellion, which broke out in 1047. He was forced, as our author says, to go to Poissy, and throw himself at the feet of King Henry to implore his assistance.

[2] Conrad died on the 4th of June, 1039, as already stated; his son Henry, elected in 1026, and crowned on Easter-day, 1023, died. Oct. 5, 1056.

A.D. 1049.] POPE LEO IX. 151

obliged to quit the field and fly with his troops, covered with shame and having suffered considerable loss. [1] In those days Bruno, bishop of Toul, repaired to Rome as ambassador from Lorraine. While on the road, one night as he was praying, he heard angels singing:- "I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil". [2] Bruno having attained the end of his journey, was honourably received by Pope Damasus, and ordained cardinal-bishop in a conclave. He was noble in person as well as descent, wise and eloquent, and adorned with many virtues. The same year Pope Damasus died, and Bruno, who took the name of Leo, was elected pope. He made great efforts to revise the decisions of the holy canons which had fallen into disuse in times past, through the negligence of the kings and pontiffs already mentioned, and were almost forgotten. He therefore held a very important council at Rheims iu the year 1050, in which chastity and righteousness were enforced in the ministers of God, and several decrees necessary to the welfare of the church renewed, though the bishops and priests were ignorant of their existence. He also, at the request of Herimart, the abbot, consecrated the church of St. Remigius, archbishop of Rheims, on the calends [1st] of October, assisted and translated the body of the same bishop, whose feast is celebrated every year in France with great pomp on the first of October. [3]

The following year, the monastery of St. Evroult at Ouche was repaired by William, the son of Geroie, and his nephews, Hugh de Grantemesnil, and Robert his brother;


[1] For the particulars of the battle of Valesdunes, or of the Val-des-Dunes, see Wace, ii. p. 27, et seq. This place appears to belong to the commune of Valmerai, now joined to Airan, near Croissanville. After his death, Guy shut himself up in his castle of Brionne, which, very differently situated from the one of which the ruins still exist, then occupied an island of the river Risle. He here defended himself for three years against the attacks of the besiegers, so that it was about the year 1001 that he quitted the island to seek refuge with the earl of Anjou, William's enemy.

[2] Jerem. xxix. 11.

[3] Bruno, the son of Hugh, count of Egesheim, and bishop of Toul in 1026, elected pope at Worms at the end of 1048, was enthroned on the 12th of February, 1049, under the name of Leo IX. The dedication of the church of St. Remi took place on the 1st of October, 1049, and the opening of the council two days after.

152 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

the venerable monk of Jumieges, Theoderic, was the first abbot. [1]

In those days, a violent animosity, which became the origin of a long war, broke out between the king of the French and the duke of the Normans. William D'Arques, uncle of the duke, had rebelled against him, and by the advice of Mauger, his brother, archbishop of Rouen, had requested the aid of King Henry. The brave duke immediately invested the town of Arques, and, marching against Engelran, count of Ponthieu, who attempted to throw relief into the place, killed the earl, and, after taking Arques, disinherited his uncle, and ordered Mauger, the author of these dissensions, to be degraded. The king of France chafed with indignation upon hearing this news, and, in 1054, entered the territory of Evreux, at the head of a numerous army, while he made his brother Eudes cross the Seine with a strong force and march into Beauvais. In these circumstances, Duke William hung upon the king's flank with a powerful army, having before detached against Eudes the troops of the Cauchois, under the orders of Robert, count d'Eu, and Roger de Mortemer. They came up with the French, and gave them battle at Mortemer, defeating them with dreadful slaughter on both sides, and Guy, count of Ponthieu, who had come to revenge the death of his brother, was made prisoner. The Normans, hastened to announce the victory to their duke in great triumph. The king of France was covered with shame on hearing that his troops were beaten by the Normans, and retired suddenly in great sorrow to his own dominions. Some time afterwards, the faithful ministers of peace interposed between the contending princes, and Guy and the other prisoners having been released, the king and the duke concluded a peace to the extreme satisfaction of their subjects. [2]


[1] It was on the 5th of October, 1050, that Theoderic de Matonville was chosen abbot of Ouche or St. Evroult. Our author supplies in the sequel very circumstantial details of the restoration of this abbey, and relating to the family of Geroie. For the present, it need only be observed, that Hugh and Robert de Grantemesnil were the two eldest sons of Robert de Grantemesnil lately spoken of.

[2] Archbishop Mauger was deposed by the council of Lisieux in May, 1055, two years after the revolt of the earl, and fourteen months after the battle of Mortemer. These facts, which are pretty correctly stated, are given in more detail in our author's seventh book. It may be observed, however, that the majority of contemporary historians agree that the active part taken by Archbishop Mauger in the dispute between William and the court of Rome relative to the canonical impediments to his marriage with Matilda of Flanders, had more to do with the bishop's deposition than the evil counsels he gave his brother, or the laxity of his own mode of life. He was not deposed till the synod of Liseux, held in May, 1055, two years after the count's revolt, and fourteen months after the battle of Mortemer.

A.D. 1066.] WILLIAM I. KING OF ENGLAND. 153

In the year of our Lord 1060, Henry, king of the French, departed this life, and his son Philip who succeeded him, held the sceptre of France forty-seven years. [1] In the sixth year of his reign, Edward, son of Ethelred, and king of England, being dead, [2] Harold, the son of Godwin, usurped the throne of England. The following year a comet was seen. [3] William, Duke of Normandy, crossed the sea in the autumn, and on the second of the ides [14th] of October fought with Harold, who, being slain in the battle, William became king. He was crowned on Christmas-day, and filled the throne twenty years and eight months. The holy church in his time increased and was exalted, under the direction of religious men and good rulers; for Maurillius, John and William filled the metropolitan see of Rouen, Lanfranc was archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas of York; the monasteries and bishoprics were entrusted to the care of godly fathers and superiors.

In the year of our Lord 1087, King William died, after whom William Rufus, his son, reigned twelve years and ten months. [4]


[1] Henry I., king of France, died on the 4th of August, 1060, as already stated. Philip I., his son, having lived until the 29th of July, 1108, reigned forty-eight years less six days.

[2] Edward the Confessor died January 5, 1066, and consequently in the course of the sixth year of the reign of Philip I.

[3] It will appear in the sequel that the comet appeared in the month of April of the same, and not the following, year. Our author reckons the years of William's reign from the day of his coronation (December 25, 1066-September 9, 1087). Maurillus was archbishop of Rouen from September, 1055, till the 9th of August, 1067; John (1067-1079); William Bonne-Ame (1079-Feb. 9, 1110). Lanfranc was primate of Canterbury from the 29th of August, 1070, till the 28th of May, 1089, and Thomas of York from the month of September, 1070, to November 18, 1100.

[4] The death of William the Conqueror took place on the 9th of September, 1087, according to our author and the necrology of Jumieges, and not on the 10th, as other historians assert. As William Rufus died on the 2nd of August, 1100, his reign really lasted twelve years and nearly eleven months, but our author reckons from the 30th of September, the anniversary of the feast of St. Michael, on which he was crowned.

154 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

About this period, in 1095, pope Urban held a numerously attended council at Clermont, at which he exhorted all Christians to join the crusade and deliver Jerusalem from the pagans. Drought, famine, and pestilence, at that time desolated the world. [1]

In the year of our Lord 1099, Jerusalem was captured by the holy pilgrims from the infidel tribes who had long held possession of it. Then died Pope Urban [II.], and Pascal [II.] succeeded him. [2] The following year William Rufus, king of England, was struck by an arrow which killed him as he was hunting in the New Forest. His brother Henry [I.] succeeded him, and reigned thirty-five years and four months. In the seventh year of his reign he fought the battle of Tinchebrai, in which he took prisoner Robert, his brother, duke of Normandy, and became master of the whole duchy. Then the emperor Henry died on the seventh of the ides [7th] of August, and Charles Henry his son succeeded him. Three years afterwards, Philip, king of the French, departed this life, and Louis Thibaut obtained the crown, and has now reigned twenty-nine years. The next year Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, and Hugh, abbot of Cluni, departed this life, and were soon followed by William, archbishop of Rouen. During these three years, a horrible famine in France, and a great number of persons were debilitated by attacks of erysipelas. [3]


[1] The council of Clermont was opened by the pope in person on the 18th of November, 1095, and closed on the 26th of the same month.

[2] Jerusalem was taken on the 15th of July, 1099. Urban II. died on the 29th of the same month, and the election of his successor, Pascal II., took place a fortnight after.

[3] The precise date of the death of William Rufus is already given; that of Henry I. happened December 1, 1135. The battle of Tinchebrai was fought at the commencement of the autumn of 1106. The death of the emperor Henry IV. took place on the 7th of the month of August, preceding that of Philip I. on the 29th of July, 1108; and consequently not in the third, but the second year, whether we reckon from the battle of Tinchebrai, or the death of the emperor. The twenty-ninth year of the reign of Lewis the Fat, crowned on the 2nd of August, 1108, ended in 1137, and as he died on the 1st of August at Paris, this paragraph must have been written before the news had arrived at Saint Evroult, that is to say, in July or at the commencement of August. St. Anselm died on the 21st, and Hugh, abbot of Cluni, on the 29th of April, 1109; William Bonne-Ame on the 19th of February, 1110, as we have just seen. The erysipelas was particularly severe in 1109, and especially desolated France; meanwhile the dominions of the king of England were a prey to two other plagues, leprosy in Normandy and famine on the other side of the channel.

A.D. 1118.] HENRY I. KING OF ENGLAND. 155

In the year of our Lord 1118, on the eve of Christmas, a violent gale of wind passed over the west of Europe, and many houses and forest-trees were blown down. The next year, war broke out between Henry, king of England, and Lewis, the French king; the battle of Bremulle, was fought on the thirteenth of the calends of September [20th August], in which the English and Normans gained the victory over the French army who were routed. The same year Pope Calixtus [II.] held a synod of many bishops, and used all his endeavours to put an end to the contest. Peace having been at last made between the two kings, as the king of England was returning to his own country, his two sons William and Richard, with a great number of the nobility from several countries, perished by shipwreck. [1]

In the year of our Lord 1123, the first indiction, Amauri, count of Evreux, and Valeran, count of Meulan, and some others associated with them, having rebelled against their sovereign, King Henry, beseiged, took, and burnt to the ground their towns of Montfort, Brionne, and Pont-Audemer. After many serious losses, count Waleran was taken prisoner in battle, with eighty of his soldiers, and kept five years in captivity by King Henry, who had brought him up, and against whom he had now the presumption to take arms. [2]

In the year of our Lord 1125, a great change occurred among the reigning princes. The emperor Charles Henry V.


[1] The battle of Bremulle, called by the English historians the battle of Noyon (see Huntingdon, p. 248, for a full account), was fought on the 20th of August, 1119; the council of Clermont between the 21st and 31st of October following; the peace between the two kings in the course of November; and lastly, the shipwreck of the Blanche-Nef on the 25th of the same month.

[2] The author or his copyists have omitted here the name of Hugh de Montfort, one of the leaders of this conspiracy, which was discovered in the month of October, 1123. Their meeting at La-Croix-Saint-Leufroi took place during the month of September. Brionne, invested in October, held out for one month; Pont-Audemer and Montfort for six weeks; Count Waleran was not taken before the 26th of March following, at the battle of Rougemontier.

156 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

died, and Lothaire, duke of Saxony, succeeded to the empire. At the same time, William, duke of Poictiers, and William, duke of Apulia, two illustrious princes, also departed this life; and before three years had elapsed, Charles duke [count] of Flanders, was assassinated in a church while hearing mass, on the calends [1st] of March. He was succeeded by William, the son of Robert, duke of Normandy, who was killed the following year at Alost. Then also died Gormond, patriarch of Jerusalem, and Geoffry, archbishop of Rouen. [1] In the year 1130 from the incarnation of our Saviour, Baldwin II. king of Jerusalem died on the 18th of the calends of September [15th August], and was succeeded by Fulk count of Anjou, his son-in law. Two years afterwards, Pope Honorius died at Rome; and soon after this event, a deplorable schism troubled the church; for the deacon Gregory, a native of Pavia, was chosen pope during the night by a few of his partisans, assuming the name of Innocent; and the church established in the western parts of Europe received and submitted to him; but three days afterwards Peter, the son of Leo, was enthroned, and called Anaclete. Being supported by brothers, relations, and friends, who were extremely powerful, he has now retained undisturbed possession of the city of Rome, and the revenues and domains of the papacy for seven years; Apulia, Sicily, and a great part of Christendom acknowledging his rule. [2]


[1] The emperor, Henry V., died on the 23rd of May, 1125, and was succeeded by Lothaire II. on the 30th of August following; William IX duke of Aquitain, died February 10, 1126; William, duke of Apulia, July 20, 1127; Charles, earl of Flanders, on the 2nd of March in the same year; William Clito on the 28th of July, 1128, and Geoffry, archbishop of Rouen, on the 25th of November following. Gormond, patriarch of Jerusalem, and son of Gormond the second of that name, lord of Picquigni, also died in 1128, from the effects of the fatigue he endured during his defence of the Castle of Bethassem, near Sidon.

[2] Baldwin II., king of Jerusalem, died August 21, 1131, and his son-in-law Fulk, earl of Anjou, was crowned on the 14th of September following. Honorius died February 14, 1130; Innocent II., his successor, was elected the next day, early in the morning, by sixteen cardinals, before the death of the pope was known, and the antipope Anaclete by twenty-one, as soon as the news was spread abroad. The approbation of St. Bernard, who openly declared in favour of Innocent, induced France and the rest of the western states to acknowledge him, but St. Bernard had some difficulty in bringing the king, and still more the Norman and English bishops to his side, perhaps because the Normans in Sicily had taken that of Anaclete; some traces of this feeling seem to be indicated in the terms which Ordericus employs in relating the election of Pope Innocent: a quibusdam noctu, by a small number and by night. The death of Anaclete, which happened on the 7th of January, 1138, put an end to the dispute. This paragraph was evidently written between the month of February, 1137, and the moment when the news arrived at St. Evroult.

A.D. 1135.] DEATH OF HENRY I. KING OF ENGLAND. 157

In the year of our Lord 1136, in the 14th indiction, Henry, king of England and duke of Normandy, a firm friend of peace and justice, a faithful worshipper of God, the protector of the weak, and zealous defender of the holy church, died on the calends [1st] of December, at the castle of Lions. His body, after being embalmed, was carried to England, and buried in the church of the Holy Trinity in the abbey of Reading, which he had founded and given to the monks. [1] Stephen of Blois, his nephew, a son of his sister Adela, succeeded him on the throne, and has now completed the sixth year of his reign, [2] which has been marked by important events, pregnant with serious losses and disasters; for Stephen, having fought a battle at Lincoln [3] with the barons who were in arms against him, was defeated and taken prisoner, and is now detained a wretched captive in the prison of Robert at Bristol. [4]


[1] We learn from our author himself that Henry I. died on the 1st of December, 1135, and not in 1136, at the castle of Lions. He was interred in the monastery of Reading (Berkshire), which he had founded in 1125, on the site of another more ancient.

[2] Stephen of Blois, his nephew by his sister Adele, was crowned on the 26th of December, 1135. The battle of Lincoln was fought on the 2nd of February, 1141.

[3] The preceding paragraph of the history was evidently written between the moment of hearing the news of the captivity of the king at Bristol, and that of his exchange for the Earl of Gloucester, which took place on the 1st of November following. We may be allowed to suppose that it was in the month of July, the period when Ordericus terminated the thirteenth and last book of his history. Perhaps the best account of the battle of Lincoln and succeeding events is that given by Henry of Huntingdon, who was a canon of that church, and was either there at the time of the battle, as seems probable, or heard the particulars from eye-witnesses. See pp. 273-280 (Bohn's edition).

[4] In the MS. Brihiton, a name which seems to have puzzled both Ordericus and his French editors. However there can be no doubt that Bristol is meant. Its ancient name was Brihtstowe, and its castle was the chief seat of Robert, earl of Gloucester, in which Stephen was confined.

158 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.I. CH.XXIV.

In the year of our Lord 1138, Peter Anaclete died suddenly. The emperor Lothaire [1] also breathed his last while on his way back from Apulia, which he had conquered; his successor, Conrad, was nephew to the emperor Charles Henry. Nevertheless Roger, king of Sicily, having followed the steps of Conrad, entered Apulia, and, on the decease of Ralph, the brave duke, to whom the pope and emperor had entrusted the defence of the country, recaptured all the towns which had been taken from him. However, he compelled the pope, though very reluctantly and with great regret, to grant him the investiture of the kingdom of Sicily and duchy of Apulia, and, having received his absolution, appointed his son Roger duke of Apulia. [2]

Following in the steps of my predecessors, and endeavouring to write annals, I have now, in this first book of my Ecclesiastical History, begun the thread of my narrative with the incarnation of our Saviour, and have brought it down, through the succession of emperors and kings to the present day, when the emperor John, son of Alexis, reigns at Constantinople, Lothaire governs the Germans, Louis the French, Stephen the English, and the ex-monk Remigius the Spaniards. [3] In my second book, I propose by


[1] After the words, "Lothaire the emperor", there is in the MS. of St. Evroult a blank page, in which the author probably intended to insert further particulars of passing events, but which contains only nine lines of an evidently later date. The preceding paragraph, except some words added or interlined, was written at the same time as the rest of the book, which seems to show that this part of the MS. was not written before 1141.

[2] The precise date of the death of Anacletus is already given; that of Lothaire happened on the 4th of December, 1137; and that of Ralph on the 3rd of April, 1139. Innocent II. was taken prisoner on the 22nd of July in the same year, and on the 25th bestowed on Roger the investiture of the kingdom of Sicily, the duchy of Apulia, and the principality of Capua. Roger, the son of this prince, who had taken the pope prisoner, received from his father the duchy of Apulia, and died before him in 1148.

[3] John Comnenus reigned from the 15th of August, 1118, until the 8th April, 1143. The person whom our author calls Remigius, king of Spain, is Ramirus II., king of Arragon, surnamed indeed the Monk, because he was taken out of a convent, after the death of his brother, to ascend the throne, which he occupied until 1137.

Ordericus Vitalis must have written the conclusion of this book between the coronation of Stephen (December 26, 1135) and the news of the abdication of Ramirus, as well as of the death of Lothaire (December 4, 1137), consequently about four years before the two preceding paragraphs, which were inserted at a later date.

A.D. 1135-1137.] POPE INNOCENT II. 159

God's help to inquire what the old doctors have written and scribes [1] have copied, respecting the holy apostles and apostolic men, meaning to make a short abridgment of their acts, as the Holy Spirit shall vouchsafe to inspire me.

At the request of my superiors, I shall diligently, with a faithful pen, trace the series of the popes of Rome and their fellow labourers in the Lord's vineyard.

From Peter, to whom first the Lord Jesus Christ said: "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven", [2] to Pope Innocent, who now governs the apostolic see, we reckon one hundred and forty-one bishops of Rome. I hope to be able to give to the world, in my next book, some account of all these popes who are mentioned in the work called "The Acts of the Popes".


[1] "Antigraphus", scriptor, cancellarius.- Du Cange Gloss.

[2] Matt. xvi. 19.

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