The doctrine of Felice da Urgel

The great work of Charlemagne is substantially connected with the podestà and the unity of the Church; the imperial crown rises next to the papal miter, the sword near the pastoral; the capitulars are a perfect confusion of civil law with ecclesiastical law. In the first centuries of the Frankish period, the universality of the Church is not a principle admitted everywhere; she owes her temporal splendor and her nature of secular sovereignty mainly to Charlemagne, his practices and his intimacy with [64]Adriano and Leone popes; whence then takes place a kind of re-establishment of those two podestàs of the pontificate and of the empire, one of which always tends to its unity in order to establish itself on that rock from which the Church must rise, all luxuriant with majesty and vigor; the other attends to ordering government and material society. Leo salutes the empire in Charlemagne, and the emperor protects this doubly threatened pontiff, and from the people of Rome and from the moral rebellion of heresy; mysterious agreement that did not last for only a time, but that the pontificate and the empire separated, and the natural conflict between the soldier and the cherico began again, which had already been since the birth of the double podestà of the popes. How to repress passions that boiled in the heart of the overbearing and brutal man,

The unity of the Church resulted from his doctrine; the popes possessed in themselves the authority of interpretation, and the councils applied it as a civil law. Heresy was a separation from fundamental doctrines, a kind of fragmentation of power; ingenuity does not stop, but always proceeds forward with a violent action that burns and devours, and rejects authority because it wants to command it; hence the love of examination is born, which in an ardent and physical imagination goes on and on, and this labor generates heresy. The Church had two great disturbances in those days, one brought to her by the iconoclasts, destroyers of images and statues, the other by Felix of Urgel, who interpreting the Nicene Creed in the strict sense,

The heresy of the iconoclasts, which was like a retaliation for barbarism, did not want the cult of images, and those rescued sectarians brutally tampered with the masterpieces of the arts, invoking the ancient aversion of Christians against idolatry and that populated Olympus. of Gods with beautiful forms of gold and ivory made out of Apelle scarpelli [69] and of Phidias; the cult of images, according to them, was nothing more than a renewal of idolatry. The greed of some of the Greek emperors also wanted to find images, materials of gold and silver, and rubies, and other precious stones to be handed over to the soldiers as spoils; Carlo Martello gave the fiefs and tables of the Church to his people, and the emperors of Byzantium distributed among them the golden ornaments of the reliquaries and altars. The small people, always believers and always [65]artist, who wants to give substance to his ideas, in what he loves and venerates, in God and in the celestial spirits, he was an ardent advocate of images, because on reading or hearing some devout legend, he was born the desire to see it all, and beautifully fashioned under the eyes, and he wanted to sculpt it, paint it in order to prostrate himself before him, though he had the love and the cult of beauty. The Third Nicene Council welcomed a middle doctrine that rested on good principles; According to it, one did not want to adore the images, and offer them the same prayers as to God, but they could, indeed had to be honored as representations of a pious thought, and a kind of marble legend. The Caroline books attributed to Charlemagne, and of which Alcuin was the author by chance, are also directed against the material adoration of images, and there it seems that the emperor also accepts, but in a limited sense, some of the maxims of the iconoclasts. Born in the middle of the forests, he had grown up in the idea of ​​a cult without images, and certainly he who landed in Saxony had the colossal idol of Irminsul, owed some repugnance to those marble saints, and to those paintings that they represented sacred history.

In his correspondence with the popes Hadrian and Leo, Charlemagne gradually changed his mind about his heretical opinion, promulgated by the Council of Frankfurt [70], and “if he wrote, there he says, against the Council of Nicaea, it was because he did not understand its meaning well.” In fact, this council did not otherwise enjoin the worship of the images in the manner of the ancient Greeks, and in conformity with the cult of the pagans for the gods of Olympus, nor to offer them sacrifices, as the Apollo of the Gentiles, or the Hercules of the strong limbs, or to the Venus of Paphos; mainò; the cult of the saints ought to be none other than the adoration of God himself, and the veneration of those who had practiced and strictly observed the precepts of Christianity; the saints were the servants of Christ, and were honored as his disciples, nor did they worship each other. These doctrines, expounded by Adriano in a beautiful defense of art, that is, of sculpture and painting, Charlemagne changed his Germanic views against the imaginings. The Caroline books thus became purposeless, and were discarded as an ancient doctrine which had fallen into disuse after the interpretation of the words of the Council of Nicaea. The cult of images prevailed in the Middle Ages because it was compatible with the genius of the people; the empty temples could well be adapted to the meditations of the philosophers, but the common people needed their Madonna in heavenly mantle, their Christ who looked at them firmly and kindly, the Eternal Father with a stern gaze, St. Peter walking on the water, Paul, the Apostle because it suited the genius of the people; the empty temples could well be adapted to the meditations of the philosophers, but the common people needed their Madonna in heavenly mantle, their Christ who looked at them firmly and kindly, the Eternal Father with a stern gaze, St. Peter walking on the water, Paul, the Apostle because it suited the genius of the people; the empty temples could well be adapted to the meditations of the philosophers, but the common people needed their Madonna in heavenly mantle, their Christ who looked at them firmly and kindly, the Eternal Father with a stern gaze, St. Peter walking on the water, Paul, the Apostle [66]of Greece, and he wanted to contemplate hell in the act of swallowing the reprobate, and heaven always open to the troubled and poor of this world. These images allured the faithful into churches, aroused in them feelings of devotion, and comforted the people with the aspect of a future of forgiveness for the just, and of terrible pains for the offender. This cult of images produced the beautiful paintings, and created the masterpieces of Italy, starting with the frescoes of the Campo Santo [71] , up to Michelangelo’s Last Judgment , in the Sistine Chapel.

While the heresy of the iconoclasts is fading and losing itself, the doctrines of Felice da Urgel arise almost at the same time, which doctrines were not, despite some writers, his original, but of Elipandus, bishop of Toledo, born under that same sun of Spain, which flared up several times the fantasies of the Visigoths, and were a breakdown and deterioration of the Aryan doctrines. In the midst of the Saracens of Spain, and in time it was necessary to liberate the country with Catholic force and unity, the appearance of this doctrine caused a great uprising and a fatal civil war; Felice da Urgel, he advocated the heresy, conceived in the terms below. The symbol of the Apostles said: “Christ the Son proceeds from the father as his flesh and blood.” Nor did Felice deny, like the Aryans, the divinity of Jesus Christ, but he said that he was only the son of God by adoption, a philosophical way of explaining the mystery of the Trinity which confuses the mind. Elipando, already old, austere of customs, Christian and bishop, wrote a great deal, nor did he forgive, with his sharp pen, anyone who would contend with him in doctrine. Felice, at the meeting, was young, of a gentle nature, caring, spotless, he attended the prayers with inscribed piety, and fasted with great rigor.

The two heresiarchs made, with their preaching, immeasurable progress in the southern provinces, where Arianism had already ruled the minds and hearts. But they found a most valiant opponent to their preaching in Pope Adrian, who wanted to preserve the unity of the Church in this conflict of doctrines and passions, and in the way that the iconoclasts had fought, he clarified himself against the heresy of Felix, the which was also condemned by the Narbonense council, to which the bishops of southern Gaul met. It was necessary to cross the contagion that was already spreading through all the cities and among the people of the countryside; and the most formidable adversary of heresy, the one who wounded her in the heart, was Charlemagne, who saw in it a reaction of the South against the North. [67]where he appeared with his severe frown, and with that burning eye that trembled the most spirited warriors. Felice introduced himself humbly, knelt before the emperor and the fathers, and awaited his sentence. “Happy, Charlemagne told him, do you portray what you have written?” Explain your doctrines. ” And Felix, all trembling, developed his doctrines on the Incarnation, which horrified them, since the history of the council reports “Very badly, said the emperor, but he goes to Rome to settle it with the pope.” Felice, in obedience, left for Rome, where, kneeling before Hadrian, he made his retraction in the church of San Pietro.

Elipando did not know how to acquire the merit of repentance, as he was stubborn old as he was, indeed he wrote several books to defend his doctrine; Charlemagne called a new council in Frankfurt, making more and more progress, which bore witness to the strengthening of heresy every day, came to us in person with bellicose apparatus, and once again heard his voice there. «Holy bishops, he said, for a year now that this terrible leaven of heresy is expanding more than ever, error has penetrated even into the most remote districts of our kingdom; so I believe it necessary to stir this bad plant from the root with a dogmatic censure. Indeed, the Council of Frankfurt declared that Felix’s doctrine was a sinister and diabolical inspiration. The preaching of this heresy brought great upheaval to the Church, and occupied the entire pontificate of Pope Adrian, that shrewd Roman who had to defend himself at the same time against the Greeks, the Lombards and the rapacious ambition of the Prince de ‘Franchi. All the heresies of the Middle Ages, not otherwise than in the early Church, still referred either to some philosophical school of the ancient world or to the syncretism of the Alexandrian school, perpetual conflict between ideas and principles that constantly divide the intellects: authority. , examination, unity, comminution. The forms alone change, but the ideas always remain the same, and the principles pass invariably through the centuries, only by taking on a new guise. Thus Felix of Urgel peritantly renewed the doctrines of Nestorius and the Arians,

The local organization of churches referred to two systems: 1.º to the metropolitan and suffragan, governed by archbishops and bishops, spiritual leaders of the whole province; 2. to the principal religious orders, most of whom wanted to escape episcopal jurisdiction. The contrast between these privileges and Charlemagne is continuous in the Middle Ages [68]it is in vain that his capitulars try to ordain them; the bishops strive to keep the abbeys subject to their authority, and the latter to escape from it with the privileges of the popes. These privileges were established by bulls and diplomas, which celebrated the greatness of the institution, but that when a pious foundation acquired the odor of holiness, and the relics drew entire populations to prostrate themselves before this or that martyr, the popes conceded immunity in competition to those monasteries, and of all the first was to free them from the jurisdiction of the bishops; and then all authority was concentrated in the abbot, and the miter and the abbatial cross were placed on a par with the miter and the episcopal cross. The abbeys of this way governed themselves, independent and subject only to their own rule; in this way the monasteries of San Dionigi and the pious solitudes of Sant’Omer and Fontenelle were dissolved, by papal bulls, from the jurisdiction of the bishops, while others, as to say San Martino di Tours and San Bertino, wanted the same privileges . Very great was the reputation and authority of the abbots, pious shepherds of those Benedictine colonies, almost always confided to the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was rewarded with the abbey of San Martino di Tours. Omer and Fontenelle were dissolved, by papal bulls, from the jurisdiction of the bishops, while others, as to say San Martino di Tours and San Bertino, wanted the same privileges. Very great was the reputation and authority of the abbots, pious shepherds of those Benedictine colonies, almost always confided to the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was rewarded with the abbey of San Martino di Tours. Omer and Fontenelle were dissolved, by papal bulls, from the jurisdiction of the bishops, while others, as to say San Martino di Tours and San Bertino, wanted the same privileges. Very great was the reputation and authority of the abbots, pious shepherds of those Benedictine colonies, almost always confided to the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was rewarded with the abbey of San Martino di Tours. as to say San Martino di Tours and San Bertino, they wanted the same privileges. Very great was the reputation and authority of the abbots, pious shepherds of those Benedictine colonies, almost always confided to the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was rewarded with the abbey of San Martino di Tours. as to say San Martino di Tours and San Bertino, they wanted the same privileges. Very great was the reputation and authority of the abbots, pious shepherds of those Benedictine colonies, almost always confided to the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was remunerated with the abbey of San Martino di Tours. almost always confide in the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was rewarded with the abbey of San Martino di Tours. almost always confide in the regiment of men of great knowledge, and very clear in literature. Alcuin, the luminary of the Carlinghi times, obtained almost at the same time the abbeys of Ferneres in the Gatinese, of San Lupo in Troyes, and the small monastery of San Josse in San Ponthieu; then later, in the highest of his merits, when he taught human letters in the palace of Charlemagne, he was remunerated with the abbey of San Martino di Tours.

If you take away a few abbots of warlike nature who accompanied the prince to war, a very high sanctity of customs and a great simplicity of life reigned in the monasteries; on which we can read the legend of Saint Benedict of Aniano who founded his pious religion in the middle of the desert, the life of Saint Adalardo, abbot of Corbia, a tender lover of letters, and collector of the richest library of monasteries in the Middle Ages ; their reputation in the Catholic world was immeasurable, and the episcopate itself often had to remove maxims and examples from these pious founders of religious orders. Two personages above all eminent had the episcopate: Theodolfo one, promoted to the bishop’s cathedral of Orleans, and one of the missi dominici more zealous as we enter the ninth century. This man had sufficient experience in the world, who was born a noble among the Lombards, was married to a girl named Gisela, whose widower he was then consecrated to the priesthood, and obtained the bishopric of Orleans. He was the political cherico, so to speak, of the reign of Charlemagne, a pontifical rather than episcopal period, but the podestà of the bishops did not grow out of all proportion except under Lodovico Pio; traditions want [69]also that Theodulf was one of the compilers of the capitulars. The other of these most eminent characters of the episcopate was Agobardo, who shone mainly under the aforementioned Lodovico, but who nevertheless belongs, for his youthful years, to the reign of Charlemagne. He was a very strong and wise man, and the Annals of Lyons place him among the most ardent bishops in favor of human culture. We will see it shortly on a larger field.

Studies were therefore concentrated in the monasteries, and everything took place under the protection of the abbeys, and in the silent solitude of the cloister. That even if in some of those rich monasteries the barking of dogs and the squeak of hawks, mixed with the clatter of weapons, we could still say, for the sake of truth, that most of those colonies were waiting to cultivate fields the sciences. Many were also reformed by Charlemagne, and the regular cherics, forced into monastic life, had to submit to the disciplines of the Rule of St. Benedict. The monasteries were in those times like secluded societies, with their laws and customs, their substances and servants; the Benedictine Annals we are brought before us by the admirable order of the great families of San Dionigi, San Marino, San Germano and Fontenelle, while the still standing remains of those solitudes can give us a clue of the shape of those monuments in the desert. The abbey was mostly built in the middle of a forest, uncultivated, gloomy, amid the howls of wolves, but that the cities did not inspire devout and melancholy thoughts, and the site was almost always at the foot of a hill, or on the shore of a riviera. There the whole colony put hand to work; cells stood up next to each other, without distinction, as a sign of brotherhood, then, shortly, a portion of the forest fell under the ax, and those industrious friars drew a small garden to sow legumes, nor the most proud and noble among them, the children of kings themselves, they disdained this cultivation of the verziere, and spent very sweet hours watching the marvels of God grow; each monk lived in community, but also had his own garden for his own relief; the cells arose one by one, like the beehives, made, says Agobard Archbishop of Lyons, to distil the apples of prayer and study; high walls therefore segregated the monastery from the world, and made it like a city of God, safe from passions. O noble and ancient abbeys of Corbia, Jumieges, Fontenelle, how your leftovers still bear witness to the piety of Batilde, your royal founder, of Batilde, who from a slave of Saxony was sublimated to the throne of the Franks! In these remains, more than elsewhere, the institution of monastic life is to be sought, since the humble refectory is still standing there, [70]of Scripture, or the legends of the Saints, in the way that kings read the deeds of the past to themselves, while the overflowing cup of San Greal wine was circling around!

In the middle of the cells stood the sacred chapel, which the monks adorned as the jewel of their solitude: some carved the gold of the blessed ark, the others formed the woods in the convent workshop, those who wove linen, and those who cut cassocks of bigello; the monastery was the model of the whole district, the center of industry and the arts; the methods, the various cultivations, the art of irrigating and developing the land, of fecundating the woods and deserts were taught there. Two things mainly awaited the grandiose institution of San Benedetto, the study and the tillage of the lands. The studio placed its room in the large libraries and schools pertaining to each monastery. – You see that young monk, with his forehead crowned with a few sparse black hair, all surrounded by ancient manuscripts and codices? He goes patiently copying them, miniaturizing them with gold, carmine, blue, and thus he spends the years of his life doing a very hard work, punctuating and correcting the texts well, reading and comparing Homer and Virgil, and the Psalms, an even more stupendous work. – For me I never put my eye or hand on any of these illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, without feeling deeply moved inside; a whole life was spent in this work; these paintings, now almost completely erased, were sketched by the patient hand of a poor father, with in front of him the powdered oriole pouring out the hours, and a death’s skull at the foot of the cross, looking at him with his empty eyes, and to say to him it seemed out of the ivory teeth of his mouth: and thus he spends the years of his life to complete a very hard work, to punctuate and correct the texts, to read and compare Homer and Virgil, and the Psalms, an even more stupendous work. – For me I never put my eye or hand on any of these illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, without feeling deeply moved inside; a whole life was spent in this work; these paintings, now almost completely erased, were sketched by the patient hand of a poor father, with in front of him the powdered oriole pouring out the hours, and a death’s skull at the foot of the cross, looking at him with his empty eyes, and to say to him it seemed out of the ivory teeth of his mouth: and thus he spends the years of his life to complete a very hard work, to punctuate and correct the texts, to read and compare Homer and Virgil, and the Psalms, an even more stupendous work. – For me I never put my eye or hand on any of these illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, without feeling deeply moved inside; a whole life was spent in this work; these paintings, now almost completely erased, were sketched by the patient hand of a poor father, with in front of him the powdered oriole pouring out the hours, and a death’s skull at the foot of the cross, looking at him with his empty eyes, and to say to him it seemed out of the ivory teeth of his mouth: and the Psalms, an even more stupendous work. – For me I never put my eye or hand on any of these illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, without feeling deeply moved inside; a whole life was spent in this work; these paintings, now almost completely erased, were sketched by the patient hand of a poor father, with in front of him the powdered oriole pouring out the hours, and a death’s skull at the foot of the cross, looking at him with his empty eyes, and to say to him it seemed out of the ivory teeth of his mouth: and the Psalms, an even more stupendous work. – For me I never put my eye or hand on any of these illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, without feeling deeply moved inside; a whole life was spent in this work; these paintings, now almost completely erased, were sketched by the patient hand of a poor father, with in front of him the powdered oriole pouring out the hours, and a death’s skull at the foot of the cross, looking at him with his empty eyes, and to say to him it seemed out of the ivory teeth of his mouth:

«As you are now, so I was; and which

Now I am so you will be. With compartment

Disío, of the world I followed the joys:

Now they are ashes and dust, and food for worms. [72] ”

How many dead things were raised in those solitudes! And how many passions died there, and how many painful stories of the human heart! A thousand affections meet us, under the dark and humid vaults of the Christian basilicas; those antiphons, that still song, those plaintive sounds of the organ, that contrast of harmony that passes from the harp of angels to the snarls of the damned, all this was creation, [71]and not without certain grandeur and magnificence, of that solitary and silent age. Those generations are gone; they did their duty, it is up to us now to do ours! after a century has died, others succeed to restart a never finished work, like the mass of Ission which always descends, and goes back to the place from which it started. In passing from one generation to the next one sees only ruins and destruction, a sad spectacle that speaks eloquently to the moved soul, as happens to you in the countryside of Rome, if you stumble over a column shaft covered with ivy, or in the ruins of ‘a temple next to the cypresses of Villa Adriana.

Monastic schools are always connected with the Rule of the religious orders of St. Benedict; there, instructions were given to the new cheriches, to the youth of the people, and to those monks who rose from the earth to fight morally against the people of sword and war. In these monastic schools gramatica was taught, the reading of sacred books, the traditions of Scripture, ancient works, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, valiant fathers of the Church who moved the world with their writings. These schools had risen in so much cry in the time of Charlemagne, who came from Saxony, England, Germany to San Martino di Tours, Jumieges, San Benedetto alla Loira, to teach under the masters who dictated to new cheriches , ev ‘ it was also a school of grave and severe singing for the Gallic rite, and for the Saxon, softer, or more sonorous, according to the Greek or Roman method. This monastic school for singing, very ancient as it was, proceeded from the early days of the Church; robust breasts were chosen to make them sing the torments of hell, or the lamentations of penitential psalms; and the innocent voices of childishness were gathered, in imitation of the choirs of the Levites in Jerusalem, to hear the hymns of the virgins of Zion and the praises of Jehovah; the office of the cantors in cathedrals is well suited to remember what esteem was made of the still ecclesiastical singing. Some slight rudiments of geometry, astronomy, and Latin prosody are added to these teachings, and a full concept will be made of

Benedict’s second precept was this: “Brothers, cultivate the land, work, plow.” And it was precisely from it that those great cultivations of forests and deserts proceeded. The Bollandists, those indefatigable recollectors of the ancient legends, have given us to know the intimate life of those founders of the monasteries, who retreated into horrid deserts between the bronchi and thorns, expanded their colonies in the South, under those burning suns, and they had to fight against the poisonous snake, the viper crouched under the stones, the troublesome salamander, and the asp [72]mortal, hidden among the flowering grass. In the north, on the other hand, those poor fathers had to defend themselves against the wolves that flowed across the plain in packs; against the terrible boar, and the very cunning fox who waged war on the chicken coop and the flock. Then those good religious contrasted, with invincible perseverance, against an ungrateful nature, broke the sterile boulder by force of marra, and leveled the uncultivated land, nor was it customary to choose the best soil, but such they did, and in shortly beautiful vineyards, artfully managed meadows and verzieri, followed those wild cliffs. Each monk was a gardener, and at the first touch of morning, each set to work; then he would return there after the prayers, never letting himself be discouraged by any impediment; everyone, as Brother Adalbert says, sweated until night, and when the land around the monastery was well cultivated, some family of colonists came to work with them, and to live under their laws. The servant who escaped from the overly inhuman butler of the feudal lord, took refuge in the monastery, under the protection of his immunities, in the shadow of the abbot’s pastoral, nor was it permissible for anyone to enter that holy asylum; the same scorn stopped fearfully on the threshold for fear of not having petrified his feet, but that a thousand legends told of who had put his hand in the good of others: such a man had done to kidnap a certain beam from a church, and his hands were stuck, for example, violent people who do not respect the possessions of others; another had been so bold as to break the seals of an ark with a profane hand, and behold, a sudden tremor had seized his limbs, with drool that came out of his mouth, and so, until the Saint himself had come to forgive him. Marvelous legends, which in those times of violence held back the hand of the strong and the brutal.

Oh how many souls torn by pain they sheltered in those solitudes of the desert! how many came to the monasteries to seek harbor after the storms of life! The servants there were almost all volunteers, so sweet was the regiment of God, nor did anyone try to afflict with beating their shoulders burdened with so much fatigue. The pastoral was a protecting rod, not a punishing one.

Then, shortly, villages arose next to the abbeys under their special jurisdiction, and they granted more or less large tracts of land to cultivate to the servants and settlers, without dense or level whatsoever. Each monastery possessed large estates, some originating from the gifts of kings or barons, and others from the monks’ own industry in tilling and cultivating the land. It will soon happen to me, with the analysis of the Irminone Poliptico, to narrate this whole innumerable family of monasteries, the cultivation of the lands, the number of servants who lived there, the difference between the colonists and the servants under slavery, the [73]different nature of the land, their revolving variety, their fruits, their gravity. The great family of the monks of San Germano, of San Martino di Tours, of Fulda, of Jumieges, of San Benedetto, spread colonies to the borders of Italy and the Pyrenees; the abbots were true sovereigns, but good and paternal, independent from the bishops; but as soon as they strayed from the Rule, the pope wrote to them to reenter the discipline, holy since monastic life is not with God, if not for humility and universal fraternity. And what was the monastery in fact under the Carolingians? nothing more than a great congregation of brothers all equal under an abbot, dictator, more often than not, elective, who thus reduces to reality those great principles of government: equality, fraternity, hierarchy, election,

The historian who wants to form a correct concept of this period of the Middle Ages must one by one examine the papers of the abbeys and those archives worn out by time; because there are all the affections, all the habits of life among that ancient society: there the note of baptism that launches a man into life, there of marriage that unites him to the woman, there of the inexorable death that to all and to all of it unfolds. In the cartolari there are also contracts for the sale of a servant, the emancipation of a slave, the donation of a field, the fruit set, the measure of the land, the rent. The chronicle tells us the general facts of history, the phenomena of nature, the whirlwind that soared the bell towers, the wind that made the bells ring, the wolves that came in large crowds to the plain; the chronicle collects the memories of the battles, military expeditions, customs, and customs of the knights; the pious legend tells us about the life of some poor shepherdess, brought by God to a great state to teach men the respect due to the virginal breast of the girl and to the chastity of the woman; the diploma and the certificate are like the report of this public life[73] . Read: here a pious lady, named Hildegard, or Berta, or Batilde, donates a tract of land to a monastery, with a level of money, in order to have propitiatory prayers in exchange after her death; there the leudo, the count, the king, tremendous potentates, remember the equality of the sepulcher and the death that comes, and seeming to hear the bell of the dead ringing, in the midst of their banished courts, they hurry to dictate in the paper: “We want Masses celebrated for the rest of our soul, and alms given to the poor.” And this alms item is found in almost all those scrolls.

[74]
In the age of vigor and life, impetus and violent passions: in the age of old age and decrepitude, weakness and repentance, and therefore the sprinkling of ash that those knights made, leaning on the hilt of the sword shaped in the shape of a cross . And we all see them, those brave paladins, in their marble figures, shattered by time or by the hand of men, because we have no respect in the world, and forgetful too much of its fathers the present generation has rummaged with sacrilegious hand until I enter the tombs. God forbid she is merited with equal measure!