Paul the Deacon (c. 720s – 13 April 799 AD), also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefridus, Barnefridus, Winfridus and sometimes suffixed Cassinensis (i.e. "of Monte Cassino"), was a Benedictine monk, scribe, and historian of the Lombards.
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs.
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the town of Cassino and 520 m (1,706.04 ft) altitude. Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the first house of the Benedictine Order, having been established by Benedict of Nursia himself around 529. It was for the community of Monte Cassino that the Rule of Saint Benedict was composed.
A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist, especially one who made copies of manuscripts before the invention of automatic printing.
An ancestor named Leupichis entered Italy in 568, in the train of Alboin, King of the Lombards. He there received lands at or near Forum Julii (Cividale del Friuli). During an invasion, the Avars swept off the five sons of this warrior into Pannonia, but one, his namesake, returned to Italy and restored the ruined fortunes of his house. The grandson of the younger Leupichis was Warnefrid, who by his wife Theodelinda became the father of Paul.Paulus was his monastic name; he was born Winfrid, son of Warnefrid.
Alboin was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572. He had a lasting effect on Italy and the Pannonian Basin; in the former his invasion marked the beginning of centuries of Lombard rule, and in the latter his defeat of the Gepids and his departure from Pannonia ended the dominance there of the Germanic peoples.
Cividale del Friuli is a town and comune in the Province of Udine, part of the North-Italian Friuli-Venezia Giulia regione. The town 135 metres (443 ft) above sea-level in the foothills of the eastern Alps, 15 kilometres (9 mi) by rail from the city of Udine and close to the Slovenian border. It is situated on the river Natisone, which forms a picturesque ravine here. Formerly an important regional power, it is today a quiet, small town that attracts tourists thanks to its medieval center.
The Pannonian Avars were an alliance of several groups of Eurasian nomads of unknown origins.
Born between 720 and 735 in the Duchy of Friuli to this possibly noble Lombard family, Paul received an exceptionally good education, probably at the court of the Lombard king Ratchis in Pavia, learning from a teacher named Flavian the rudiments of Greek. It is probable that he was secretary to the Lombard king Desiderius, a successor of Ratchis; it is certain that this king's daughter Adelperga was his pupil. After Adelperga had married Arichis II, duke of Benevento, Paul at her request wrote his continuation of Eutropius.
The Duchy of Friuli was a Lombard duchy in present-day Friuli, the first to be established after the conquest of the Italian peninsula in 568. It was one of the largest domains in Langobardia Major and an important buffer between the Lombard kingdom and the Slavs, Avars, and the Byzantine Empire. The original chief city in the province was Roman Aquileia, but the Lombard capital of Friuli was Forum Julii, modern Cividale.
Ratchis was the Duke of Friuli (739–744) and King of the Lombards (744–749). His father was Duke Pemmo. His Roman wife was Tassia. He ruled in peace until he besieged Perugia for reasons unknown. Pope Zachary convinced him to lift the siege, and he abdicated and entered the abbey of Montecassino with his family. After the death of Aistulf in 756, he tried once again to reign over the Lombards, but he was defeated by Desiderius and retired to a cloister.
Pavia is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, 35 kilometres south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It has a population of c. 73,000. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards from 572 to 774.
It is certain that he lived at the court of Benevento, possibly taking refuge when Pavia was taken by Charlemagne in 774; but his residence there may be much more probably dated to several years before that event. Soon he entered a monastery on Lake Como, and before 782 he had become a resident at the great Benedictine house of Monte Cassino, where he made the acquaintance of Charlemagne. About 776 his brother Arichis had been carried as a prisoner to Francia, and when five years later the Frankish king visited Rome, Paul successfully wrote to him on behalf of the captive.
The Duchy of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in the Italian peninsula, centered on Benevento, a city in Southern Italy. Being cut off from the rest of the Lombard possessions by the papal Duchy of Rome, Benevento was practically independent from the start. Only during the reigns of Grimoald, King of the Lombards and the kings from Liutprand on was the duchy closely tied to the kingdom. After the fall of the kingdom, however, alone of Lombard territories it remained as a rump state, and maintained its de facto independence for nearly three hundred years, though it was divided after 849.
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.
The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with later Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Western Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.
His literary achievements attracted the notice of Charlemagne, and Paul became a potent factor in the Carolingian Renaissance. In 787 he returned to Italy and to Monte Cassino, where he died on 13 April in one of the years between 796 and 799. His surname Diaconus, shows that he took orders as a deacon; and some think he was a monk before the fall of the Lombard kingdom.
The Carolingian Renaissance was the first of three medieval renaissances, a period of cultural activity in the Carolingian Empire. It occurred from the late 8th century to the 9th century, which took inspiration from the Christian Roman Empire of the fourth century. During this period, there was an increase of literature, writing, the arts, architecture, jurisprudence, liturgical reforms, and scriptural studies.
A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.
Paul's extant works are edited in Patrologia Latina vol. 95 (1861).The chief work of Paul is his Historia Langobardorum . This incomplete history in six books was written after 787 and at any rate no later than 795/96, maybe at Monte Cassino. It covers the story of the Lombards from their legendary origins in the north in 'Scadinavia' and their subsequent migrations, notably to Italy in 568/9 to the death of King Liutprand in 744, and contains much information about the Eastern Roman empire, the Franks, and others. The story is told from the point of view of a Lombard and is especially valuable for the relations between the Franks and the Lombards. It begins:
The Patrologia Latina is an enormous collection of the writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers published by Jacques-Paul Migne between 1841 and 1855, with indices published between 1862 and 1865. It is also known as the Latin series as it formed one half of Migne's Patrologiae Cursus Completus, the other part being the Patrologia Graeco-Latina of patristic and medieval Greek works with their medieval Latin translations.
The region of the north, in proportion as it is removed from the heat of the sun and is chilled with snow and frost, is so much the more healthful to the bodies of men and fitted for the propagation of nations, just as, on the other hand, every southern region, the nearer it is to the heat of the sun, the more it abounds in diseases and is less fitted for the bringing up of the human race.
Among his sources, Paul used the document called the Origo gentis Langobardorum , the Liber pontificalis , the lost history of Secundus of Trent, and the lost annals of Benevento; he made a free use of Bede, Gregory of Tours and Isidore of Seville.
Related to the History of the Langobards which starts historically with their invasion of Italy in 568-69 is Paul's Historia Romana, a continuation of the Breviarium of Eutropius which covers the period from 364 to 553. This was compiled between 766 and 771, at Benevento. The story runs that Paul advised Adelperga to read Eutropius. She did so, but complained that this Pagan writer said nothing about ecclesiastical affairs and stopped with the accession of the emperor Valens in 364; consequently Paul interwove extracts from the Scriptures, from the ecclesiastical historians and from other sources with Eutropius, and added six books, thus bringing the history down to 553. This work has value for its early historical presentation of the end of the Roman Empire in Western Europe, although it was very popular during the Middle Ages. It has been edited by H Droysen and published in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Auctores antiquissimi, Band ii. (1879) as well as by A. Crivellucci, in Fonti per la storia d' Italia, n. 51 (1914).
Paul wrote at the request of Angilram, bishop of Metz (d. 791), a history of the bishops of Metz to 766, the first work of its kind north of the Alps, translated in English in 2013 as Liber de episcopis Mettensibus. He also wrote many letters, verses and epitaphs, including those of Duke/Prince Arichis II of Benevento and of many members of the Carolingian family. Some of the letters are published with the Historia Langobardorum in the Monumenta; the poems and epitaphs edited by Ernst Dümmler will be found in the Poetae latini aevi carolini, Band i. (Berlin, 1881). Fresh material having come to light, a new edition of the poems (Die Gedichte des Paulus Diaconus) has been edited by Karl Neff (Munich, 1908), who denies, however, the attribution to Paul of the most famous poem in the collection, the Ut queant laxis , a hymn to St. John the Baptist, which Guido of Arezzo fitted to a melody which had previously been used for Horace's Ode 4.11. From the initial syllables of the first verses of the resultant setting he then took the names of the first notes of the musical scale. Paul also wrote an epitome, which has survived, of Sextus Pompeius Festus' De verborum significatu . It was dedicated to Charlemagne.
While in Francia, Paul was requested by Charlemagne to compile a collection of homilies. He executed this after his return to Monte Cassino, and it was largely used in the Frankish churches. A life of Pope Gregory the Great has also been attributed to him,and he is credited with a Latin translation of the Greek Life of Saint Mary the Egyptian .
The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.
Desiderius was a king of the Lombard Kingdom of northern Italy, ruling from 756 to 774. He is chiefly known for his connection to Charlemagne, who married his daughter and conquered his realm.
Anselm, the Duke of Forum Julii in the northeastern part of Lombard Italy, left the world at the height of his secular career, and in 750 built a monastery at Fanano, a place given to him by Aistulf, King of the Lombards, who had married Anselm's sister Gisaltruda. Two years later he built the monastery of Nonantula, a short distance northeast of Modena, which Aistulf endowed. Anselm went to Rome, where Pope Stephen III invested him with the habit of Saint Benedict, gave him some relics of Saint Sylvester and appointed him Abbot of Nonantula. Anselm founded many hospices where the poor and the sick were sheltered and cared for by monks.
The History of the Lombards or the History of the Langobards is the chief work by Paul the Deacon, written in the late 8th century. This incomplete history in six books was written after 787 and at any rate no later than 796, maybe at Montecassino.
Arechis II was a Duke of Benevento, in Southern Italy. He sought to expand the Beneventos' influence into areas of Italy that were still under Byzantine control, but he also had to defend against Charlemagne, who had conquered northern Italy.
Erchempert was a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of Monte Cassino in the south of Italy in the final quarter of the ninth century. He chronicled a history of the Lombard Principality of Benevento, in the Langobardia Minor, giving an especially vivid account of the violence in southern Langobardia. Beginning with Duke Arechis II (758-787) and the Carolingian conquest of Benevento, his history, titled the Historia Langobardorum Beneventanorum degentium, stops abruptly in the winter of 888-889. Just one medieval manuscript of this text survives, from the early fourteenth century.
Garibald was the young son of Grimoald I of Benevento, king of the Lombards, and Theodota, daughter of Aripert I. After his father's death in 671, he reigned briefly for three months until the numerous adherents of Perctarit, his uncle, who had been exiled by Grimoald nine years earlier, beseeched their candidate to return and elected him, deposing the young king. He was the last Arian king in Europe.
Gisulf I was the duke of Benevento from 689, when his brother Grimoald II died. His father was Romuald I. His mother was Theodrada, daughter of Duke Lupus of Friuli, and she exercised the regency for him for the first years of his reign.
Langobardia Minor was the name that, in early Middle Ages, was given to the Lombard dominion in central-southern Italy, corresponding to the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. After the conquest of the Lombard kingdom by Charlemagne in 774 it remained under Lombard control.
Ansa or Ansia belonged to an aristocratic family of Brescia and was the wife of Desiderius (756-774), King of the Lombards. The Latin name does not imply a Romano-Italic origin, as Romans and Lombards in the eighth century tended to take either German or Latin names. She was probably a Lombard, the daughter of Verissimo and sister of King Hildeprand, Arechis, and Donnolo, and niece of King Liutprand.
The Kingdom of the Lombards also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy, was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. The king was traditionally elected by the highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed. The kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy.
Garibald I was Duke of Bavaria from 555 until 591. He was the head of the Agilolfings, and the ancestor of the Bavarian dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of the Lombards.
Wechtar, a Lombard from Vicenza, was the Duke of Friuli from 666 to 678. He took control of Friuli at the command of King Grimoald following the rebellion of Lupus and Arnefrit and the invasion of the Avars. According to Paul the Deacon, he was a mild and fair ruler.
Adelperga was a Lombard noblewoman. She was the third of four daughters of Desiderius, King of the Lombards, and his wife Ansa. Her elder sister Desiderata was a wife of Charlemagne.
Cunimund was the last king of the Gepids, falling in the Lombard–Gepid War (567) against the Lombards and Pannonian Avars.
Among the Lombards, the duke or dux was the man who acted as political and military commander of a set of "military families", irrespective of any territorial appropriation.
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