Gambar halaman


[ocr errors]

The Abbey of Fulda, where the monks were organized into a community under the rule of St. Benedict, was one of the earliest to carry out the educar tional work begun by Alcuin at Aix and Tours. Two of the younger brothers were selected to study with the great master at Tours-Hatto and Rabanus, who resorted to him in 802. The name of Maurus was bestowed by Alcuin on his favorite disciple, and was afterwards retained by Rubanus in addition to his own. He studied both sacred and profane sciences, as appears from the letter be addressed many years later to his old schoolfellow, Haimo, bishop of Halberstadt, in which he reminds bim of the pleasant days they had spent together in studious exercises, reading, not only the Sacred booką and the expositions of the Fathers, but also investigating all the seven liberal arts. In 813, being then twenty-five years of age, Rabanus was recalled to Fulda, by the abbot Ratgar, and placed at the head of the school, with the strict injunction that he was to follow in all things the method of his master Alcụin. The latter was still alive, and addressed a letter to the young preceptor, which is printed among his other works, and is addressed to the boy Maurus,' in which he wishes him good luck with his scholars. His success was so extraordinary that the abbots of other monasteries sent their monks to study under him, and were eager to obtain his pupils as professors in their own schools. The German nobles also gladly contided their sons to his care, and he taught them with wonderful gentleness and patience. He carried out the system which had been adopted by Alcuin of thoroughly exercising his scholars in grammar before entering on the study of the other liberal arts. 'All the generations of Germany,' says Trithemius, "are bound to celebrate the praise of Rabanus, who first taught them to articulate the sound of Greek and Latin. At his lectures every one was trained to write equally well in prose or verse on any subject placed before him, and was afterwards taken through a course of rhetoric, logic, and natural philosophy, according to the capacities of each.

Every'variety of useful occupation was embraced by the morks; while some were at work hewing down the old forest which a few years before liad given shelter to the mysteries of Pagan worship, or tilling the soil on those pumerous farms which to this day perpetuate the memory of the great abbey in the names of the towns and villages which have sprung up on their site, other kinds of industry were kept up within doors, where the visitor might have beheld a huge range of workshops in which cunning hands were kept constantly busy on every description of useful and ornamental work in wood, stone, and metal. It was a scene, not of artistic dilettanteism, but of earnest, honest labor, and the treasurer of the abbey was charged to take care that the sculptors, engravers, and carvers in wood, were always furnished with plenty to do. Passing on to the interior of the building the stranger would have been introduced to the scriptorium, over the door of which was an inscription warning the copyists to abstain from idle words, to be diligent in copying good books, and to take care not to alter the text by careless mistakes. Twelve monks always sat here employed in the labor of transcription, as was also the custom at Hirsauge, a colony sent out from Fulda in 830, and the huge library which was thus gradually formed, survived till the beginning of the seventeenth century, when it was destroyed in the troubles of the thirty years' war. Not far from the scriptorium was the interior school, where the studies were carried on with an ardor and a largeness of views, which might have been little expected from an academy of the ninth century. Our visitor, where he from the more civilized south, might well have stood in mule surprise in the midst of these fancied barbarians, whom he would have found engaged in pursuits not unworthy of the schools of Rome. The monk Probus is perhaps lecturing on. Virgil and Cicero, and that with such hearty enthusiasm that bis brother professors accuse bim, in good-natured jesting, of ranking them with the saints. Elsewhere disputations are being carried on over the Categories of Aristotle, and an attentive ear will discover that the controversy which made such a noise in the twelfth century, aud divided the philosophers of Europe into the rival sects of the Nominalists and Realists, is perfectly well understood at Fulda, though it does not seem to have disturbed the peace of the school. To your delight, if you be not altogether wedded to the dead languages, you may find some engaged on the uncouth language of their fatherland, and, looking over their shoulders, you may smile to see the barbarous words which they are cataloguing in their glossaries; words, nevertheless, destined to reappear centuries hence in the most philosophic literature of Europe. Fulda derived its scholastic traditions from Alcuin and Bede, and could not neglect the vernacular.

In the midst of this world of intellectual life and labor, Rabanus continued for some years to train the first minds of Germany, and counted among bis pupils the most celebrated men of the age, such as Lupus of Ferrières, Walafrid Strabo, and Ruthard of Hirsange, the latter of whom was the first who read profane letters to the brethren of his convent after the manner of Fulda.' Lupus was a monk of Ferrières, where he had been carefully educated by the abbot Aldric, who was a pupil of Sigulf, and had acted for some time as assistant to Alcuin in the school of Tours. Aldric afterwards became arclibishop of Sens, and sent Lupus to complete his education at Fulda, under Rabanus. Like all the scholars of Ferrières, Lupus bad a decided taste for classical literature; the love of letters had been, to use his own expression, inpate in him from a child, and he was considered the best Latinist of his time. His studies at Fulda were chiefly theological, and he applied to them with great ardor, without, however, forgetting 'bis dear humanities.' It would even seem that he taught them at Fulda, thus returning one benefit for another. The monastery was not far from that of Seligenstadt, where Eginhard, the secretary and biographer of Charlemagne. was their abbot.. A friendship, based on similarity of tastes, sprang up between him and Lupus, and was maintained by a correspondence, much of which is still preserved. Lupus always reckoned Eginhard as one of his masters; not that he directly received any lessons from him, but on account of the assistance which the abbot rendered him by the loan of valuable books. In one of his earliest letters to this good friend he begs for a copy of Cicero's · Rhetoric,' his own being imperfect, as well as for the 'Attic Nights' of Aulus Gellius, which were not then to be found in the Fulda library. In aņother letter, he consults him on the exact prosody of certwin Latin words, and begs him to send the proper size of the Uncial letters used in manuscripts of that century.

Among the fellow-students of Lupus at this time was Walafrid Strabo, a man of very humble birth, whose precocious genius had early made him known in the world of letters. In spite of the unfortunate personal defect which


[ocr errors]

earned him his surname, Walafrid's Latin verses had gained him respect among learned men at the age of fifteen, and they are favorably noticed even by critics of our own time. He had received his early training in the monastery of Reichnau, the situation of which was well fitted to purture a poetic genius. His masters had been Tetto and Wetrin, the latter of whom was author of that terrible · Vision of Purgatory' which left an indelible impress on the popular devotion of Christendom. From Reichnau he was sent by his superiors to study at Fulda, where he acquired a taste for historical pursuits, and is said to have assisted in the compilation of the annals of the monastery. It was out of the Fulda library that he collected the materials for his great work, the G'oss, or Commentary on the Text of Scripture, gathered from the writings of the Fathers. It received many additions and improvements from subsequent writers, and, for more than six hundred years, continued to be the most popular explanation of the Sacred text in use among theologiars. Returning to Reichnau, Walafrid was appointed to the office of scholasticus, and filled it with such success as fairly to establish the reputation of that monastic school. Ermanric, one of his pupils, says of him, that to the end of his life he continued to exhibit the same delightful union of learning and simplicity which had endeared him to his masters and schoolfellows. Even after he was appointed abbot, he found his chief pleasure in study, teaching, and writing verses, and would steal away from the weightier cares of his office to take a class in his old school and expound to them a passage of Virgil. Neither old age nor busy practical duties dried up the fount of Abbot Walafrid's inspiration, and we find him in his declining years writing his poem entitled Hortulus,' wherein he describes with charming freshness of imagery, the little garden blooming beneath the window of bis cell, and the beauty and virtue of the different flowers which he loved to cultivate with his own hands.

Another of the Fulda scholars contemporary with those named above, was Otfried, a monk of Weissemburg, who entered with singular ardor into the study of the Tudesque dialect. Rabanus himself devoted much attention to this subject, and composed a Latin and German glossary on the books of Seripture, together with some other etymological works, among which is a curious treatise on the origin of languages. Otfried took up his master's favorite pursuits with great warmth, and the completion of Charlemagne's German grammar is thought to be in reality his work, though generally assigned to Rabanus. On retiring to his own monastery, where he was charged with the direction of the school, he continued to make the improvement of his native language the chief object of his study. A noblê zeal prompted him to produce something in the vernacular idiom which should take the place of those profane songs, ofteu of heathen origin, which had hitherto been the only production of the German muse.

The character of Rabanus may be gathered from that of his pupils. He was in every respect a true example of the monastic scholar, and took St. Bede for the model on which his own life was formed. All the time not taken up with religious duties he devoted to reading, teaching, writing, or "feeding himself on the Divine Scriptures.' The best lesson he gave his scholars was the example of his own life, as Eginhard indicates in a letter written to his son, then studying as a novice at Fulda. “I would have you apply to literary exercises,' he says, “and try as far as you can to acquire the learning of your master,

whose lessons are so clear and solid. But specially imitate his holy life. ... For grammar and rhetoric and all human sciences are vain and even injurious to the servants of God, unless by Divine grace they know how to follow the law of God; for science puffeth up, but cbarity buildeth up. I would rather see you dead thau inflated with vice.'

Nevertheless, the career of Rabanus was far from being one of unrnfiled repose, and the history of his troubles presents us with a singular episode in monastic anuals. The abbot Rutgar was one of those men whose activity of mind and body was a cro:8 to every one about him. He could neither rest himself nor suffer anybody else to be quiet. The ordinary routine of life at Fulda, with its prodigious amount of daily labor, boih meutal and physical, did not satisfy the requirements of his peculiar organization. He had a funcy for rearranging the whole discipline of the monastery, and was specially do: irous of providing himself with more splendid buildings than those which had been raised by the followers of the humble Sturm. Every one knows that the passion for building bas in it a directly revolutionary element; it is synonymous with a passion for upsetting, destroying, and reducing every thing to chaos. Hence, the monks of Fulda had but an uncomfortable time of it, and what was worse, Ratgar was so eager to get his fine buildings completed, that he not only conipelled his monks to work as masons, but shortened their prayers and masses, and obliged them to labor on festivals. Rabanus himself could claim no exemption; he had to exchange the pen for the trowel; and to take away all possibility of excuse, Ratgar deprived him of his books, and even of the private notes which he had made of Alcuin's lectures. Rabanus was too good a mouk to protest against his change of employment, and carried his bricks and mortar as cheerfully as ever he bad applied himself to a copy of Cicero; but he did not conceive it contrary to religious obedience humbly to protest against the confiscation of his papers, and attempted to soften the hard heart of his abbot with a copy of verses.

The building griev:nce at last grew to such a pitch, that the monks in despair appealed to Charlemagne, who summoned Ratgar to court to answer their charges, and appointed a commission of bishops and abbols to inquire into the whole matter. Their decisiou allayed the discord for a time, and so long as the emperor lived, Ratgar showed his mouks some consideration. But no svuner was be dead than the persecution recommenced, and Rabanus, again deprived of his books and papers, seems to have consoled himself by making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The abbot, however, raised again such a storm that a new commission was appointed by the emperor (Louis). On its report, Ratgar was deposed, and Eigil, a disciple of Sturm, elected in his place. Under his gentle administration the peace of the community was restored, and Rabanus resumed his teaching, which he soon after gave up (except the Holy Scriptures), on becoming the successor of Eigil in 822. The notes of his oral instruction on the chief duties of ecclesiastics and the rites of the church were afterwards revised and arranged in the Treatise De Institutione Clericorum, an invaluable monument of the faith and practice of the Church in the ninth century. It treats in three books of the Sacraments, the Divine office, the feasts and fasts of the Church, and the learning necessary for ecclesiastics, concluding with instructions and rules for the guidance of preachers. On the last subject he observes that three things are necessary in order to become a good preacher;

[ocr errors]

of prayer.

first, to be a good man yourself, that you may be able to teach others to be so; secondly, to be skilled in the Holy Scriptures and the interpretations of the Fathers; thirdly, and above all, to prepare for the work of preaching by that

As to the studies proper to ecclesiastics, he distinctly requires them to be learned not only in the Scriptures, but also in the seven liberal arts, provided ouly that these are treated as the handmaids of theology, and he explains his views on this subject much in the same way as Bede had done before him. In 847, Rabanus was raised to the archiepiscopal see of Mentz, and died in 856, leaviug his books to the abbeys of Fulda, and St. Alban's of Meutz.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Lupus became abbot of the monastery in 856, but continued to teach and labor for his school-particularly in collecting a noble library. He took extraordinary paius in seeking for bis treasures even in distant countries, in causing them to be transcribed, and sometimes in lovingly transcribing them himself. His interesting correspondence contains frequent allusions to these bibliographical researches. At one time he asks a friend to bring him the ‘Wars of Catiline and of Jugurtha' by Sallust, and the Verrines of Cicero.' At another, he writes to Pope Benedict III., begging him to send by two of his monks, about to journey to Rome, certain books which he could not obtain in his own country, and which he promises to have speedily copied and faithfully returned. They are, the Commentaries of St. Jerome on Jeremias,' • Cicero de Oratore,' the twelve books of Quintilian's Institutes, and the Commentary of Donatus on Terence. With all his taste for the classics, however, Lupus had too much good sense not to see the importance of cultivating the barbarous dialects, and sent his nephew with two other noble youths to Prom, to learn the Tudesque idiom. In his school he made it his chief aim to train his pupils, not only in grammar and rhetoric, but also in the higher art of a lioly life. The monastic seminaries were proverbially schools of good living as well as good learning, recte faciendi et bene dicendi, as Mabillon expresses it; and there was nothing that Lupus bad more at heart than the inculcation of this principle, that the cultivation of head and heart must go together. “We too often seek in study,' he writes his epistle to the monk Ebradus, 'nothing but ornament of style; few are found who desire to acquire by its means purity of manners, which is of far greater value. We are very much afraid of vices of language, and use every effort to correct them, but we regard with indifference the vices of the heart.' His favorite Cicero had before his time lif. ed a warning voice against the capital error of disjoining mental from moral culture, and in the Christian system of the earlier centuries they were never regarded apart.

Lupus was not too great a scholar to condescend to labor for beginners, and drew up, for the benefit of his pupils, an abridgment of Roman history, in which he proposes the characters of Trajan and Theodosius for the study of Christian princes. He was wont to boast of double descent from Alcuin, as being a pupil of Sigulf and Rabanus, both of them disciples of the great

His own favorite scholar Heiric, or Henry of Auxerre, indulged in a similar morsel of scholastic pride. He had studied under both Lupus and Haimo of Halberstadt, the former schoolfellow of Rabanus, at St. Martin of Tours. Haimo seems to have lectured for some time at Ferrières, and Heiric tells us in some not inelegant verses that it was the custom of the two peda

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »