Philosophy and its background in the early medieval West


Philosophy and its background in the early medieval West
Philosophy and its background in the early medieval West Rosamond McKitterick and John Marenbon ‘Libraries, schools and the dissemination of texts’ is by Rosamond McKitterick; the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Philosophical themes’ are by John Marenbon. INTRODUCTION The period from 800 to 1100 is even more neglected by historians of medieval Western philosophy than the rest of the Middle Ages. The neglect has not, however, been total. Two figures—John Scottus Eriugena, who wrote between c. 850 and c. 870, and Anselm of Canterbury, whose writings date from 1060 to 1100—have long been picked out for special treatment. But Eriugena has most usually been regarded as a solitary genius closer to Greek late antiquity or even to nineteenth-century currents of thought than to his own time, whilst Anselm has been conveniently seen as the precursor of a twelfth-century intellectual awakening. In consequence, the attention received by these two thinkers has done little to stimulate interest in their contemporaries. Eriugena and Anselm are, indeed, the two outstanding philosophers of the time, and their thought is discussed in detail in the following chapter. But many of the problems they tackled and methods they used were common to their contemporaries. This chapter is designed to fill in some of this often forgotten background. The names of some of those besides Eriugena and Anselm who considered philosophical questions in the early Middle Ages are known: for instance, Alcuin (the Englishman who became one of Charlemagne’s main advisers in the 790s, and Alcuin’s pupils Candidus Wizo and Fredegisus of Tours); Ratramnus of Corbie and Gottschalk of Orbais (mid-ninth century); Remigius of Auxerre and Bovo of Corvey (late ninth and early tenth century); Abbo of Fleury, Notker of St Gall and Gerbert of Aurillac (end of tenth century); Berengar, Lanfranc and Peter Damian (eleventh century). Yet much of the material from which a history of philosophy during this time must be constructed is anonymous, and an important part of it consists, not of independent works or even free-standing commentaries, but of glosses written in the margins and between the lines of the manuscripts of ancient or late antique textbooks. Indeed, since a good deal of the philosophical activity of these centuries consisted, not in original speculation, but in absorbing the ideas of ancient texts, the best evidence for it is often not a particular piece of writing, but information as to which centres of learning possessed manuscripts of what philosophical and theological works at which times. For these reasons, the study of manuscripts and their transmission is fundamental to the history of early medieval philosophy. The next section, therefore, presents an expert’s summary of the state of knowledge in this area; it is followed by a brief survey of some of the outstanding philosophical themes of the period. LIBRARIES, SCHOOLS AND THE DISSEMINATION OF TEXTS Sometime before 814, Archbishop Leidrad of Lyons presented a comprehensive collection of philosophical treatises to his cathedral library. The manuscript, now in Rome, Casa dei padri maristi A. II. 1, is datable on palaeographical grounds to the late eighth or early ninth century. It contains Porphyry’s Isagoge, the Ten Categories (a paraphrase-cum-commentary of Aristotle’s Categories wrongly attributed to Augustine), pseudo-Apuleius Perihermenias and Boethius’ first commentary on Aristotle’s On Interpretation ([5.17] 83, [5.20] 417, [5.75] 52–3). It was written for Leidrad and is the oldest surviving collection of works on dialectic. Not only does it contain the ancient texts; it also includes Alcuin’s verses dedicating the Ten Categories to Charlemagne. In consequence, Bischoff linked this collection to the court library ([5.31] 157). Similarly, the Frankish royal court in the late eighth century and the cathedral library of Lyons are implicated in the transmission of Plato’s Timaeus (in the translation by Calcidius). Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 2164, for example, written in north-east France c. 800, can be connected with the group of classical manuscripts in the court library of Charlemagne ([5.32] 158 and [5.55] 89). Its textual twin Lyons 324 also contains the commentary on the Timaeus by Calcidius and may have reached Lyons by the same route as Bishop Leidrad’s philosophical and dialectical collection. That Lyons, famous for its participation in the antique book trade, a notable centre of learning in the seventh century and possessor of many fifth-, sixth- and seventh-century codices in its libraries, should play a role in the transmission of ancient philosophical texts is certainly credible.1 Charlemagne’s remarkable collection of rare classical texts, moreover, is usually identified as listed on spare leaves in a late eighthcentury grammatical collection, Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek Diez B.Sant. 66, emanating from the court circle. Such texts are now generally regarded as the fruit of an appeal for copies of remarkable or rare books sent out in about 780 ([5.32] 162–6, 154–6). In the case of the books associated with Leidrad, and with other classical texts linked with the court, the extant manuscripts are copies made from books sent to the Carolingian court, or, at a further remove, copies of the court transcriptions. Although not all surviving manuscripts of philosophical and dialectical works have court connections, it is certainly the case that it is from the Carolingian period that our earliest copies of most of the principal works survive. We have in fact very little with which to fill the gap between late antiquity and the Carolingian period as far as any classical texts are concerned. Certainly, knowledge of ancient philosophy was also transmitted through the medium of patristic and Christian writers such as Augustine, Maximus the Confessor and Marius Victorinus, of whose work copies survive from the fifth to eighth centuries in relative abundance. It is from Carolingian copies, however, that most witnesses to classical literature and learning descend ([5.22], [5.31]). Nevertheless, it would be unwise to assume that no study was made of, or interest shown in, such texts in Italy or Gaul between the sixth and the late eighth centuries. In the eighth and ninth centuries we see classical texts, including those concerned with logic and philosophy, that have gained a sufficient readership and attracted enough interest for a copy or copies to be made of them. A wider intellectual context must therefore be envisaged. We may surmise indeed that Carolingian manuscripts containing philosophical texts reflect not random survival but deliberate preservation. They are the outcome of choices made in the eighth and ninth centuries in relation to distinct intellectual preferences, even if the initial survival of an ancient text beyond the fifth century had an element of chance in it. Thus, as Marenbon has established, the difference in popularity between the Ten Categories and Aristotle’s Categories can be accounted for in that the former accords better with the intellectual preoccupations of thinkers in the ninth and tenth centuries ([5.75] and see also below, pp. 108–9). Even so, intellectual preferences and an apparent encouragement of this type of intellectual activity and branch of learning cannot be assumed to be the natural outcome of the Germanic groups establishing successor states within the old Roman empire. Why should philosophy and logic have become a focus of scholarly interest within early medieval Western Europe, especially in light of the prevailing scholarly preoccupations with Christian theology and exposition of the Bible? Before attempting to answer this question, let us survey the evidence, in terms of extant manuscript distribution, firstly, that philosophy texts were more widely available throughout the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries, and secondly, that philosophy was studied in the early medieval schools. In establishing the intellectual context for the study of philosophy in the early Middle Ages principal considerations are what texts were known and available, whether we can document the introduction of particular texts to a wider audience or region, and how ideas could be disseminated. Were particular centres noted for the study of philosophy and how did they come to be in such a position? The principal texts in question are: Plato’s Timaeus; Boethius’ On the Consolation of Philosophy, logical writings and the Latin translation of Aristotle’s Categories; the composite translation of the Categories with Boethius’ lemmata; the early medieval paraphrase of the Categories known as the Ten Categories; pseudo-Apuleius’s Perihermenias; Macrobius’ commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio; the Topics of Cicero. If the Lyons philosophical collection and the Lyons Timaeus highlight the recognizable role played by the Carolingian royal court in the dissemination of philosophical texts, other centres also played a role, apparently independently of the court. Analysis of the textual tradition of Latin versions of the Timaeus, for example, indicates a special role for Ferrières and Corbie for the translation by Cicero, and for Rheims and St Amand for Calcidius’s version (see [5.56]). Such specialization of book production in terms of types of text copied is an observable phenomenon of the Carolingian period, with classical literary texts concentrated in the Loire, Picardy and Lake Constance regions, mass books particularly associated with St Amand, Bibles and Gospel books of a distinctive format with Tours and a remarkable preoccupation with Augustinian theology at Carolingian Lyons (see [5.54]). The earliest manuscripts of Boethius’ translation of the Categories of Aristotle, whether complete or in fragmentary form, date from the late tenth and eleventh centuries.2 They were produced at such centres as Corbie, Fleury, St Gall, Echternach and St Vaast, and were presumably based on earlier exemplars, or, conceivably, one common ancestor. The date of these, whether sixth or ninth century, is a matter for speculation. Three ninth-century manuscripts of the composite translation are extant, apparently from regions as diverse as the Lake Constance area, Picardy and northern Italy. Such distribution suggests either originally widely-dispersed texts or else the consequence of specific contacts between individuals in these areas in the ninth century. The Ten Categories survives in no fewer than nineteen ninth- and tenthcentury manuscripts, many of them with extensive glosses ([5.75] 116– 38, 173–206). Auxerre is an important centre of production, as is Fleury, but there are examples also from St Gall and Corbie, from as far east as Freising and as far west as Wales, with some French and Italian representatives in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Examination of the manuscript transmission of other key texts reveals a similar pattern. Porphyry’s Isagoge in the translation by Marius Victorinus, for example, survives in fragments, now Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm 6403, written at Freising. In Boethius’ translation, on the other hand, it is to be found in many copies of ninth and tenth century date (including Clm 6403), often coinciding with the Ten Categories. It is found, moreover, in such dialectical collections as the Lyons corpus belonging to Leidrad ([5.75] 173). Marenbon, furthermore, has ascertained that Ratramnus of Corbie, John Scottus Eriugena, Heiric of Auxerre and Remigius of Auxerre knew the Ten Categories. Thus Auxerre again figures very prominently, as indeed it does in all branches of intellectual life in the Carolingian world, but representatives of the Isagoge and Ten Categories are to be found in other cultural centres within the Frankish kingdoms, north and east, some of which had connections with Auxerre (see [5.24]). Again a similar pattern emerges when the manuscript tradition of the Isagoge and logical collections and Boethius’ two commentaries on the Isagoge are considered. One ninth-century copy of the first commentary (in dialogue form) is extant in BN lat. 12958 of the late ninth or early tenth centuries used at Corbie, though not written there, in order to compile BN lat. 13955. The commentary survives in five tenth-century manuscripts whose origins indicate a wide dissemination of the text thereafter, though not necessarily emanating from Corbie itself (Aristoteles Latinus 1, 6–7, p. xxi). Pseudo-Apuleius’ Perihermenias, too, has a largely Frankish circulation in the early Middle Ages ([5.66]) while Auxerre plays a particularly important role in the transmission of Macrobius’ commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio ([5.22] 22– 32). BN lat. 6370, moreover, although from Tours, has corrections written in the hands of Heiric of Auxerre and Lupus of Ferrières. Other ninth-century manuscripts of Macrobius survive also from Tours, Fleury and Corbie with dissemination thereafter into southern Germany and southern Italy. Similarly, work on the ‘Leiden corpus’ of Cicero’s philosophical works has established that Corbie, Ferrières and possibly Rheims in the ninth century as well as Monte Cassino in the eleventh are implicated in the transmission of Cicero’s Topics (see [5.25], [5.27] and [5.22] 124–30). The textual links among the Carolingian copies of the various philosophical works studied in the early Middle Ages and between these and descendants of later date from elsewhere are sometimes strong, suggesting that individual contacts played a crucial role at some stage in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, if not earlier. Equally, it is remarkable, within the traditions of the texts, how many independent lines of transmission there are. Although the evidence indicates a group of centres in the early Middle Ages which concentrated much attention on those philosophical texts, there is enough surviving from elsewhere to suggest that study of philosophy was not confined to centres such as Auxerre, Fleury or Corbie but that there were pockets of interest scattered elsewhere, notably in southern Germany. Further, although some of the later centres evincing interest in these texts in the tenth and eleventh centuries are clearly connected with the older Carolingian centres, others are not, and may therefore be the earliest extant witnesses to a far more widespread interest in and study of philosophical texts in Western Europe in the early Middle Ages than the available evidence now permits us to reconstruct. We may have to envisage, moreover, a considerable survival of late antique exemplars. Traces of their existence can sometimes be deduced, as in the copy of Macrobius owned by Symmachus, whose subscription in his book is transmitted in no less than ten of the later copies. Other examples are the sixth-century geographical miscellany which travelled from Ravenna to Gaul and provided the exemplar for the copy (Vatican lat. 4929, fos 79v–159r) made in the circle of Lupus of Ferrières and Heiric of Auxerre; the ancient papyrus codex of Boethius’ commentary on the Topics of Cicero borrowed by Lupus of Ferrières from Tours, the late antique texts of Terence and the Aratea copied at Rheims and in Lotharingia in the ninth century such as BN lat. 7899 and Leiden Voss. lat. Q79, and the famous Virgil texts thought to have been possessed by St Denis and Lorsch in the Carolingian period.3 Certainly if one augments the core texts denned in this chapter with texts of related interest and content, as well as the evidence provided by library catalogues of the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries, the number of centres possessing them is very considerably enhanced. The royal court of the Carolingians, moreover, figures with some prominence (see [5.15] 1005, [5.18], [5.53]). The scriptoria of the monasteries and cathedrals were, therefore, obviously active in the provision of texts. From glosses and commentaries on philosophical texts dating from the ninth century onwards, moreover, it is clear that such provision was clearly related to, and supplied the needs of, libraries and schools (see [5.30], [5.38], [5.78]). Such specialized book production facilitated study and the intellectual activity of individuals, as is evident from the occasional indications we get of personal libraries, such as that of Gerward of Lorsch or the books added to the library of Murbach by Abbot Iskar (see [5.16], [5.21], [5.29]). Similarly the requirements of individuals or even institutions stimulated copying activity, in that the network of communications between the various centres established the canon of texts necessary for a particular library to possess as well as furnishing information about where exemplars of desired texts might be obtained (see [5.53]). The personal interests of Hadoardus of Corbie, Lupus of Ferrières and Murethach, Haymo, Heiric and Remigius of Auxerre determined to a very considerable degree the direction of study at the schools and within the groups of scholars with which they were associated.4 Other Carolingian masters elsewhere were as active. At Laon, Martin of Laon, as is evident from the number of school texts he annotated, taught script, Greek, law, history, grammar and computus. One of his most famous teaching compilations, Laon Bibliothèque Municipale 468, also used by his successors as masters of the school at Laon, Bernard and Adelelm, includes texts on the life of Virgil and commentaries on Virgil, on the liberal arts and ‘On philosophers, poets, the sibylls and magicians’. The overriding emphasis of two of Martin’s other teaching manuals, Laon Bibliothèque Municipale 444 and 464, is on grammar (see [5.36], [5.38] and more generally [5.44]). At Reichenau, among the many teachers there, one, Walafrid Strabo, reveals his interests to us in his personal compilation of texts (St Gall Stiftsbibliothek 878) (see [5.28]). It contains a rich miscellany of grammatical texts, short treatises on metrics and computus, Bede’s On the Nature of Things and works on time extracts from ecclesiastical histories and an excerpt from a letter by Seneca. If we compare this selection with the school texts listed at the end of the Reichenau library catalogue for 821, there is a similar emphasis on grammar and computus (see [5.18]). In very few Carolingian centres, notably Auxerre in the ninth and tenth centuries and Rheims in the tenth century, was philosophy in any sense formally part of the curriculum. Gerbert of Rheims, for example, is said to have taught Porphyry’s Isagoge in the translations of Marius Victorinus and Boethius, Aristotle’s Categories and On Interpretation and Cicero’s Topics as well as to have provided instruction in the arts of metrics, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy.5 In the tenth century at St Gall it was Notker III Labeo (950–1022) who was the first to translate philosophical texts from the Latin into German vernacular for the sake of his German-speaking pupils at the school of St Gall. According to a letter written to Hugh, bishop of Sitten, Notker translated Boethius, On the Consolation of Philosophy, the Categories and On Interpretation of Aristotle (translated from Boethius’ Latin version) and the first two books of Martianus Capella’s On the Marriage of Mercury and Philology as well as the Quicumque vult, the Psalter and the Book of Job. Notker III composed one treatise, On Music, in German and wrote a number of others in Latin, such as On the Art of Rhetoric, On the Parts of Logic, On Disputation and Computus, which were subsequently translated into German. Not all these have survived but among those that are extant are, in the literal translation they provide, invaluable indications of pedagogical methods in an early medieval school, with every assistance being offered to aid understanding of the text, guides to rhetorical figures and dialectical techniques and a wealth of miscellaneous general information about etymology, history, zoology and astronomy.6 There are, moreover, some fascinating witnesses to the dissemination of texts from Auxerre mentioned above: to these translations, notably of the On the Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius and Martianus Capella, were appended commentaries, some of which were based on, if not actually translations of, the expositions of Remigius of Auxerre. The combination of Notker’s texts, as with the range of topics addressed by Walafrid Strabo, Martin of Laon, Gerbert of Rheims and other Carolingian masters, is in fact typical of the different emphases within the school curriculum in the early Middle Ages. It is not feasible to think in terms of philosophy playing a separate role within the school curriciulum in the Carolingian period. Rather, elements of philosophy and the discipline of logic would develop out of the emphasis on the structure of language and grammar and be incorporated into the general teaching of the artes as the foundation for a deeper understanding of scripture and the teaching of the fathers (see [5.41], [5.46]). Thus Notker translated texts relating to all aspects of the trivium (grammar, dialectic and rhetoric), the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music) and to the Bible and liturgy. At other schools in France, Germany and Italy a similarly rich mixture within the school curriculum is to be observed. In the episcopal schools of Germany, such as those of Trier, Augsburg, Eichstätt and Utrecht, Würzburg, Regensburg, Cologne and Liège, and many more, the Carolingian school curriculum was taught, with only occasionally the instruction in philosophy being noted (see [5.39], [5.60]). Ohtrich of Magdeburg, for example, was noted as one of the famous philosophers of his day.7 Bruno of Cologne, instructed at Utrecht under Bishop Balderich, kept abreast with the newest developments in ‘history, rhetoric, poetry and philosophy’.8 Even at Auxerre, where philosophy is such a major part of the intellectual activity of its leading scholars, it is important to remember that this was also the centre which produced the Deeds of the Bishops of Auxerre, Miracula, homiliaries, biblical exegesis of lasting importance, and lives of saints. Nevertheless it would appear, in fact, that philosophy became a more dominant part of the school curriculum in the course of the tenth century, and became still more important in the schools of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, at least in France. In the later ninth and tenth centuries, moreover, there is a discernible increase in the importance of cathedral schools in both the West and the East Frankish kingdoms, notably, by way of example, at Rheims and Liège and the German episcopal schools mentioned above. The lines of institutional continuity between the cathedral and monastic schools of the East and West Frankish kingdoms in the ninth and tenth centuries to the schools of Paris in the twelfth century are clear [5.60]. It is no surprise that we find in the teaching of the schools of Laon, Chartres and Paris in the eleventh and twelfth century the same mixed curriculum, designed according to a similar structure, and methods of teaching which have their roots in the early Carolingian period. At Chartres, for example, it was possible to study medicine, geometry, computus, music and logic; a manuscript from Fulbert of Chartres’ time, Chartres Bibliothèque Municipale 100, was a compilation of familiar texts, namely, the Isagoge, the Categories, the Topics of Cicero and other related texts, including a poem by Fulbert on the difference between rhetoric and dialectic [5.60]. In the glossing methods employed by Anselm of Laon, of Peter Lombard, or Hugh of St Victor, the development of distinctive layout of text and gloss to accommodate these new developments, and in the philosophical discussion of such authors as Thierry of Chartres, we witness a similar blend of older curriculum and scholarly methods with a response to the new influences in learning and currents of thought, wonderfully elucidated long since by Southern ([5.63], [5.64]). No doubt this was due in part to the availability of a greater variety of classical texts, especially by Plato and Aristotle but to these should be added the work of the contemporary authors, discussed in the various chapters in this volume. The extant library catalogues of the twelfth century and the reconstruction of twelfth-century libraries such as those of Zwiefalten, demonstrate more clearly than any other sources the extent both of the Carolingian foundations of the school curriculum and their intellectual emphases and the innovations of the eleventh and twelfth centuries (see [5.17], [5.23]). Corbie’s library, for example, although including a large corpus of philosophical works, with many of Boethius’ works, a commentary on Martianus Capella by John Scottus Eriugena, the Timaeus, and the philosophical works of William of Conches, and the library of Cluny with its copies of the Isagoge, Martianus Capella, the Categories of Aristotle, Boethius’ commentary on Cicero’s Topics, Calcidius and many more, still contain an overwhelming preponderance of patristic texts and biblical exegesis. The primary focus of intellectual endeavour remained the Bible, but philosophy had a secure place in the intellectual activities of many of the leading scholars of Europe. That learning, including the study of philosophy, enjoyed such a prominent position within the life of the monasteries and cathedrals of Western Europe in the early Middle Ages is a phenomenon to which we have become accustomed, even though the preoccupation with scholarship within a monastic context might appear anomalous (see [5.44], [5.52] 19). The acceptance of intellectual endeavour as an essential part of a society’s activity and the primary focus of its culture is nevertheless a remarkable characteristic of early medieval culture and merits some discussion. Let us consider, therefore, the role of the royal court signalled at the beginning of this chapter in order to explore, first, the political dimensions of the promotion of education and learning and, second, the implications of patronage—royal, aristocratic, episcopal and monastic—not only in promoting education and the study of philosophy but also in helping to shape particular cultural imperatives that became an accepted part of a society. Within the Germanic kingdoms Lupus of Ferrières offers a clue, in that he laments, in a letter to Einhard, the passing of Charlemagne: within your memory there has been a revival of learning, thanks to the efforts of the illustrious emperor Charles to whom letters owe an everlasting debt of gratitude. Learning has indeed lifted up its head to some extent… In these days [c. 836] those who pursue an education are considered a burden to society…men have consequently shrunk from this endeavour, some because they do not receive a suitable reward for their knowledge, others because they fear an unworthy reputation.9 Lupus lauded the activities of Charlemagne’s grandson Charles the Bald and his support of scholarship in many of his other letters. Further, such authors as Notker Balbulus of St Gall testify to the extent to which the Carolingian rulers actively promoted scholarship.10 We may add to this the emphasis on correct texts of the Christian liturgy, canon law and the Bible, education and learning in Carolingian legislation and directives from the king to his abbots and bishops, such as the Admonitio Generalis of 789 and the De litteris colendis of c. 800.11 Although the main aim of such learning was a fuller understanding of the Christian faith, and the provision of an educated administrative class of clerics and lay magnates, sufficient latitude is provided to those responsible for carrying out the wishes of the ruler with respect to teaching and the provision of correct texts for all Christian learning to benefit. Certainly, the subsequent production and dissemination of all kinds of text, apparently in response to the ruler’s initiative, is well documented (see [5.54]). What should also be reckoned with is the personal interest of the rulers themselves in matters of higher learning and the degree to which they actively promoted scholarship, the liberal arts and philosophy by means of patronage. From the books associated with the Carolingian rulers it is apparent how they gathered together scribes and artists, not only to produce books which reflect the personal piety and private interests of the king but also as a strategy of royal piety and largesse (see [5.31], [5.32], [5.43], [5.53], [5.55]). As Lupus implies in the extract from his letter to Einhard quoted above, the king’s patronage held the promise of material reward. It is clear from the surviving evidence of scholarly activity associated with the court, and the dedications of many works to the king, that many sought such patronage. The essential material support for learning, in other words, was provided by secular rulers as well as by the Church to satisfy particular as well as general goals. The role of the king in creating the social imperatives that made an exercise of secular patronage in this particular sphere of activity so acceptable is all important. We are not observing merely the consequences of personal intellectual and aesthetic predilections. Certainly the presence of early Carolingian manuscripts with court connections, such as the Lyons dialectical collection or Plato’s Timaeus, seems to testify to the gathering of rare classical works, and suggests that there are deeper motives in royal patronage to be discerned. What is apparent above all is the sheer organization and determination behind the dissemination of particular texts to do with the Christian faith and learning, and the explicit association of this activity with the exercise of Christian kingship made by the rulers. Thus it is not simply that King Charles the Bald enjoyed his lessons with Walafrid Strabo and derived intellectual pleasure and stimulus from the presence of such scholars as Manno of St Ouen, Lupus of Ferrières or John Scottus Eriugena in his kingdom, or even at his court. Nor is it that scholars who enjoyed royal patronage were thereby able to pursue their intellectual activities; and many had considerable influence on succeeding generations of pupils and scholars. Among them were Alcuin of Tours, Hrabanus Maurus of Fulda and Mainz, John Scottus Eriugena, or Lupus, who was part of the dynamic intellectual milieu focused on Auxerre and Fleury in the mid-ninth century. What is essential is that intellectual activity was recognized to be a fundamental part of the spiritual and cultural goals of all Christians; the king as Christian ruler therefore had a duty to foster this as much as he enlarged the kingdom, promoted the administration of justice and the use of agreed weights and measures or guaranteed the stability and value of the coinage. The example of the high priority given to intellectual activity and culture set by rulers to future generations, moreover, is not to be underestimated. Of course, the Carolingians were not the first to exercise patronage in this way. Nevertheless, they were arguably the first to take such an effective interest in the correctness of the Christian texts in use in the churches, chapels and monasteries of their kingdoms, and the first whose patronage was more than an occasional interest in benefactions. The Carolingian rulers actually sustained groups of artists, scribes and craftsmen over a long period of time in order to create artefacts or carry out their particular cultural objectives (see [5.55]). It was an example, if not actually followed, then certainly emulated by other rulers, and by lay and ecclesiastical magnates. In Anglo-Saxon England, for example, Asser’s Life of King Alfred recounts the great interest the king took in learning and how he himself translated, as well as commissioning translations from others, many crucial texts, not least Boethius’ On the Consolation of Philosophy (see [5.34], [5.48]). Cnut is also attested as a patron of some stature (see [5.43], [5.51]). If in the tenth and eleventh centuries on the Continent the Carolingian, Capetian and Saxon kings of the West and East Franks were rather less active in the promotion of scholarship and patronage of learning, the baton fell above all to the bishops. The bishops of Liège, Trier and Hildesheim are cases in ponit. Liège was celebrated for its learning under Bishops Ebrachar and Notker but they were following a tradition established in the time of Bishop Hartgar, who acted as patron and offered a refuge to the Irish scholar Sedulius Scotus (see [5.42], [5.50]). Many manuscripts, ivories and some remarkable pieces of metalwork have been associated with Egbert, bishop of Trier from 977 to 993, and Bernward of Hildesheim, which were produced in ateliers both in their own dioceses and elsewhere (see [5.43]). Mayr- Harting has highlighted these bishops’ acknowledgement of their reflection of kingly rule, and the way in which they visibly manipulated, or commanded, spiritual power by commissioning book covers and reliquaries wrought in gold and studded with bright jewels, and manuscripts resplendent with fine painting, decorated initials and beautiful script (see [5.59] 57–97). The display of wealth that was one obvious outcome of the patronage of culture and learning was also a demonstration of power and might. It is of crucial importance for our understanding of the intellectual culture of the early Middle Ages to see that patronage operated so effectively and constructively in the cultural as well as in the political and military spheres. Indeed, these various activities were seen to interlock and to be many facets of one society. Thus social and political imperatives from the pinnacle of authority, displays of wealth and power, the enhancing of authority, and the incorporation of a further, cultural, dimension within the ideals of political and social leadership had repercussions for the particular cultural preoccupations and intellectual aspirations of early medieval society. Patronage played a crucial role in establishing such preoccupations within the intellectual horizons and educational traditions of Western Europe. We thus observe an essential interplay between political authority, economic resources and intellectual endeavour. PHILOSOPHICAL THEMES There were three main fields of philosophical activity in the early medieval period: the study of logic, the reading and reaction to ancient and late antique philosophical texts and the analytical discussion of problems about Christian doctrine. The manuscript background to the first two has been explored in the previous section; the following paragraphs offer a quick sketch of some of the main themes in each area. Logic The earliest evidence for medieval interest in and use of logical techniques is found in the Libri Carolini, the statement of the Western position on the worship of icons prepared at Charlemagne’s court c. 790, probably by Theodulf of Orleans. The longest logical passages here borrow material from Boethius and Apuleius on semantics and on the relations between the truth-values of differently quantified sentences (see [5.10] IV 28, pp. 216–21). It was Alcuin, who apparently established himself as Charlemagne’s leading intellectual in the 790s, who gave early medieval logic its twist towards metaphysical and theological concerns. In his De dialectica (‘On logic’), the first medieval logical textbook, Alcuin gives pride of place to the doctrine of the ten categories, as expounded in the Ten Categories, attributed at this time to Augustine. Aristotle’s discussion of the categories is less a piece of logic than an exercise in fundamental metaphysics, an analysis of the different types of entity (universal and particular substances, universal and particular accidents). Augustine had already put the doctrine to theological use in his On the Trinity, and Alcuin borrowed and emphasized this theme in his On the Faith of the Holy Trinity.12 The Ten Categories became the most eagerly studied logical textbook in the ninth and tenth centuries, and the question of whether God could be fitted into them, already raised by Alcuin, was taken up by his pupils and explored in depth by Eriugena (see [5.6]; cf. [5.75] 50–3, 72–86). The glosses to the Ten Categories, which vary from manuscript to manuscript, show a definite pattern of development. The late ninthcentury glossators tended to use the text as a springboard for Eriugenainspired metaphysical and theological comments, only loosely related to the logical subject-matter. Tenth- and eleventh-century glossators became less and less interested in such speculation and more concerned to reach an understanding of basic Aristotelian ideas such as the distinctions between substance and accident, and between univocal and equivocal words, or the nature of space and time.13 Gradually, a translation of Aristotle’s own text came to replace the pseudo- Augustinian paraphrase, giving scholars the chance to use Boethius’ commentary and, through it, to master the argument of the text and consider the difficult problems about the status of Aristotle’s discussion (is it about words, or things, or what?) which would concern twelfthcentury logicians.14 The Isagoge (‘Introduction’) by Porphyry, a short guide to the notions of genus, species, differentiating property (differentia), distinguishing characteristic (proprium) and accident, long regarded as an introduction to Aristotle’s Categories, was also known from the time of Alcuin. Glosses to the Isagoge—at least those so far investigated—draw heavily on Boethius’ commentaries.15 Porphyry’s famous allusion to the disputed status of universals, which became the focus for medieval debates from the twelfth century onwards, seemed to excite no controversy. One of the few early medieval writers to discuss universals, Ratramnus of Corbie, exponent of a somewhat inchoate conceptualism, turned, not to the Isagoge, but the first of Boethius’ commentaries on it and also to Boethius’ Theological Treatises.16 Aristotle’s On Interpretation, although known, was found forbiddingly difficult by most logicians until the eleventh century: glosses are rare and derivative (see [5.78] 101). But, by about 1000, Abbo of Fleury, Notker of St Gall and Gerbert of Aurillac included it within their teaching, and Abbo compiled his own introduction to syllogistic reasoning, drawing on Boethius’ textbooks.17 Aside from Anselm’s De grammatico, there is disappointingly little direct evidence for logical studies for most of the eleventh century itself.18 Material dating from 1100 or just before shows a sophistication in dealing with the Isagoge, Categories and On Interpretation, and a facility in handling syllogisms and topical inferences which cannot have been suddenly acquired; this is a surmise strongly supported by the confident use in doctrinal controversy and discussion of notions from both the Categories (as in the dispute between Lanfranc and Berengar) and On Interpretation (as in Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo and Peter Damian’s Letter on God’s Omnipotence).19 Reading Ancient Philosophy Although some early medieval writers criticized logic as a distraction from religious devotion, no one could claim that the ancient logical textbooks were themselves a challenge to the faith; and, indeed, in his Theological Treatises (much read and glossed in these centuries) Boethius had shown how logical techniques could be used against heresy in support of orthodox doctrine. By contrast, Latin texts of ancient philosophy posed what might seem as a direct challenge to Christian belief, by proposing a view at least in some respects incompatible with them. Yet it was not, in fact, any of the three main pagan philosophical books available from the ninth to the eleventh centuries that became the focus of controversy. Plato’s Timaeus (in Calcidius’ partial translation) was found too difficult for sustained discussion; the two introductory books of Martianus Capella, preceding the handbooks to the individual disciplines, were too obviously an allegory to cause problems; and Macrobius’ commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio tended to be looked on as a source of information about natural science, especially astronomy, to which further information of like nature should be appended by glossators. And so, strangely, it was in connection with the work of a Christian author that scholars from the ninth to the eleventh centuries considered most carefully how to react to ancient philosophy. After writing his logical translations, commentaries and translations, and his Theological Treatises, Boethius, in prison and awaiting execution, wrote his final work, On the Consolation of Philosophy. The Consolation not only avoids any explicit reference to Christian revelation. It also contains passages which present ancient Platonic ideas which, taken literally, are incompatible with Christianity. In particular, the ninth metrum (or verse passage) of Book III, a prayer incanted at the very climax of the argument, is an epitome of the Timaeus, and it refers both to the idea of reincarnation and to that of the World Soul. What should the Christian reader make of such passages?20 The most forthright reaction was that of Bovo (d. 916), a monk of Corvey, who recognized clearly that, although Boethius had written elsewhere on Christian doctrine, he was setting out here to present Platonic and not Christian teaching ([5.5]). Using Macrobius—he seems not to have known the Timaeus itself—he gives a clear explanation of the ideas behind the compressed phrases of Boethius’ poem. Although this approach had its followers, it was not the most common one. At much the same time as Bovo, Remigius of Auxerre had composed his commentary ([5.14]), not just to this metrum, but to the whole Consolation, drawing on earlier glosses (just as he would do in his extensive commentary on Martianus Capella) but developing them in his own way. His effort was to find an explicitly Christian meaning hidden in the apparently Platonic phrases of Boethius.21 About a hundred years later, Adalbold of Utrecht pursued a similar Christianizing line in his commentary on Book III, metrum 9 ([5.1]), although he allegorized less thoroughly than Remigius and ended with an unintendedly strange amalgam of orthodox Christianity and Platonic teaching.22 Twelfth-century scholars, especially William of Conches, would follow and sophisticate the approach pioneered by Remigius and Adalbold, applying it to genuinely pagan texts as well as to the Consolation.23 Problems Raised by Christian Doctrine From the twelfth century onwards, much of the best philosophical thinking took place in the context of theology, the systematic investigation of Christian doctrine which would be typified in the universities by the commentaries on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard. In the ninth to eleventh centuries, it is difficult to talk of ‘theology’ in this sense. But philosophical discussion still arose in connection with various types of writing concerned primarily with Christian doctrine: sermons and biblical exegesis were inclined to be unargumentative (though Eriugena’s are an exception), but other works about doctrine, stimulated by controversy or responding to particular questions, often contain interesting material for the historian of philosophy. One of the fiercest controversies in the ninth century was instigated by Gottschalk, a monk first of Fulda, then Reichenau, then Orbais.24 In a series of writings from the 830s onwards, Gottschalk championed the idea, which he claimed (with some justice) to be Augustine’s, that God’s predestination is dual: of the good to bliss and of the wicked to damnation. He found many well-educated supporters, but others in the Church feared that his teaching would discourage people from trying to act well by making them think that, regardless of anything they did, they were from eternity predestined to hell or to heaven. Two important churchmen—Hrabanus Maurus, archbishop of Mainz and prolific scriptural exegete and encyclopaedist, and Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims—wrote against Gottschalk; and they also commissioned an attack from a scholar attached to the court of the emperor, Charles the Bald; this would be John Scottus Eriugena’s first treatise, his On Predestination.25 Although Hrabanus’ and Hincmar’s pieces (not, however, John’s) amass patristic quotations, all three involve argument and analysis, and together they provide the earliest medieval attempt to explore notions such as free will, evil and punishment. All three writers challenged Gottschalk’s formula of dual predestination by saying that God predestines in one way alone—the good to salvation—but he foresees both the salvation of the good and the damnation of the wicked. Only those predestined to salvation can be saved, because for salvation God’s grace is needed. Yet God cannot be said to ‘predestine’ the wicked; rather, he fails to predestine them. Eriugena also adds the argument ([6.4] 62:27–65:123), based on the Platonic view that evil is not a thing but a deficiency, that God could not possibly predestine anyone to a wicked life or to eternal punishment because, as evils and therefore deficiencies, they have no cause. (This last is a particularly silly argument: the emptiness of my glass is just as clearly caused by my having drunk the wine as its fullness was caused by my having poured wine into it from the bottle!) So far all three writers have hardly distanced themselves more than verbally from Gottschalk, since on their view people will still be damned, whatever they do, if God fails to predestine them. Hrabanus and Hincmar are aware of this problem but try to dodge it, stressing God’s inscrutability or, in the case of Hincmar, suggesting that God withholds grace from those whose future misuse of their wills he has foreseen. Eriugena does not resolve the central issue: how can an individual human being be held responsible for the evil actions which, without the help of grace, he cannot but perform? Rather, he concentrates on relieving God of any responsibility for unjustly punishing those who are not responsible for their wickedness by an astonishingly bold move. He claims that God does not punish anybody ([6.4] 63:42–66:155). Sinners are punished (through ignorance, or through the knowledge that they lack beatitude, or through the frustration of their desire to become nothing at all), but not by God, who is merely the framer of just laws. There were various doctrinal controversies in the two following centuries which stimulated philosophical discussion, most notably the dispute in the mid-eleventh century between Lanfranc and Berengar over the eucharist.26 But even more interesting for the history of philosophy is a work written at much the same time (c. 1067), as part not of a public controversy but of a private debate. Peter Damian was unwilling to accept Jerome’s statement, put to him by a friend, that ‘whilst God can do all things, he cannot restore a virgin after she has lost her virginity’ and he wrote his Letter on Divine Omnipotence ([5.11]) to explain why not. Damian is known as an ascetic, contemptuous of pagan philosophy, and historians have often interpreted his rejection of Jerome’s position in this light: as an extreme manifestation of his anti-philosophical stance, according to which he claims that God can undo the past, making what has happened not have happened and thus violating the fundamental logical law of noncontradiction. On a careful reading, however, the argument of the letter is seen to be quite different.27 Damian contends that, by nature, it is impossible to restore her virginity to a virgin who has lost it. By this he means that there is no way of repairing the ruptured membrane. The only way, then, that by nature a non-virgin could become a virgin would be if the past were changed, so that her virginity never had been lost. But, Damian goes on, this—changing the past—is impossible absolutely, even for God and certainly by nature. Making a non-virgin into a virgin by repairing her virginity (not by changing the past) is possible, however, for God, though it is impossible by nature. Here, then, Damian seems to be distinguishing between the physically impossible, which is possible for God, and the logically impossible, which even for God is impossible. But, at one point ([5.11] 619A– 620C), he asks whether God could make it that Rome had never existed and answers that God could. He goes on to explain that, since God lives in an eternity which is timeless, to say that God could now make it that Rome never existed is equivalent to saying that God could have from the beginning shaped a providence which did not include the existence of Rome. Damian’s position is defensible, though when clarified it becomes less bold than it at first seems. He makes two arguable claims: (1) that God might have chosen a providence other than the one he has in fact chosen—a providence in which, for instance, Rome never existed; (2) that God’s choice of providences does not take place at any moment in time, but in timeless eternity. (1) would be accepted by most Christian thinkers; the meaningfulness of (2) can be queried, but the position has had many adherents, from Boethius’ time until now. Taken together, (1) and (2) lead to the conclusion that God could make it (tenseless) that Rome never existed. Since God exists timelessly, any verb which is applied to him is timeless: the apparently paradoxical ‘God is able to make it that Rome never existed’ is no different in meaning from the straightforward ‘God was able to make it that Rome never existed’. NOTES 1 See Cavallo [5.35], Kleberg [5.49] 44, Lowe [5.19] and cf. Eddius Stephanus, Life of Bishop Wilfrid, Cambridge, 1985, ch. 6. 2 See Minio-Paluello’s introduction to his edition of the Categories in Aristoteles Latinus (I, 1–5), Bruges and Paris, 1961, pp. xiv, xxiii, xxxii, xxxv. 3 See Reynolds [5.22] 225 and Bischoff [5.33]; for Lupus’s borrowing, see the edition of his letters by L.Levillain, Paris, 1964, pp. 214–15. 4 See Bischoff [5.27] (Hadoardus), Beeson [5.25] and Gariépy [5.40] (Lupus), and on Heiric see [5.24] as well as the editions of his Collectanea by R.Quadri, Fribourg, 1966, and of his excerpts from Valerius Maximus by D.Schullian, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 12 (1935): 155–84. 5 See Marenbon [5.75] and Richer’s History of France, ed. R.Latouche, Paris, 1967, II, p. 46. 6 See P.Piper, Die Schriften Notkers und seiner Schule, Freiburg and Tübingen, 1882–3, I, pp. 859–61 for Notker’s letter, and cf. J.Knight Bostock, A Handbook on Old High German, 2nd rev. edn, Oxford, 1976; see also below, Chapter 6, p. 132, for Notker. 7 Life of St Bernward, ch. 1 in H.Kallfelz (ed.) Lebensbeschreibungen einiger Bischöfe des 10.–12. Jahrhunderts, Darmstadt, 1973. 8 Ruotger, Life of Bruno, ch. 5, in H.Kallfelz (ed.) Lebensbeschreibungen einiger Bischöfe des 10.–12. Jahrhunderts, Darmstadt, 1973. 9 Translated in G.W.Regenos, The Letters of Lupus of Ferrières, The Hague, 1966. 10 Notker, Gesta Karoli, ed. H.Haefele, Berlin, 1959, 1.1. 11 Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Capitularia, ed. A.Boretius, Hanover, 1830, I, nos 22, 29, 30, 53, 79–81. 12 De dialectica is printed in [5.2] 101, cols 951–76 and On the Faith of the Holy Trinity at cols 13–54; see esp. col. 22; cf. Marenbon [5.75] 31 and the additions and corrections to this view in J.Marenbon, ‘Alcuin, the Council of Frankfort and the beginnings of medieval philosophy’, in Dos Frankfurter Konzil van 794, ed. R.Berndt, Mainz, 1997, II, 603–15. 13 [5.75] 116–38; for some additions and corrections, see Marenbon [5.78] 100. 14 See L.Minio-Paluello, ‘Note sull’Aristotele latino medioevale: xv—Dalle Categoriae Decem pseudo-Agostiniane (Temistiane) al testo vulgato aristotelico Boeziano’, Rivista di Filosofia Neoscolastica 54 (1962) 137–47, reprinted in Minio-Paluello [5.83] 448–58; and, for glosses and commentaries to Categories see Marenbon [5.78] 82–3, 100–1, 109–10 and 26–7. A paraphrase/commentary of the Isagoge and Categories from the early eleventh century has been edited by G.d’Onofrio: Excerpta Isagogarum et Categoriarum, Turnhout, 1995 (CC c.m. 120). See also Marenbon [7.67]. 15 The Isagoge glosses from one manuscript have been edited by C.Baeumker and B.von Walterhausen: Frühmittelalterlichn Glossen des angeblichen Jepa zur Isagoge des Porphyrius (BGPMA 24,1), Münster, 1924; for a list of glossed manuscripts and their relations, see Marenbon [5.78] 99. 16 See Ratramnus [5.12] for the text and cf. Marenbon [5.75] 67–70. 17 For bibliography and further discussion of Abbo, Notker and Gerbert, see below, Chapter 6. 18 For Anselm’s De grammatico, see below, Chapter 6. 19 Peter Damian’s Letter is discussed below, pp. 112–13; for the use of Aristotle here and by Anselm, see also Marenbon [5.79]. 20 For a survey of the influence of the Consolation, see Courcelle [5.68]; see also Troncarelli [5.82], [5.83]. 21 Useful extracts are printed in Remigius [5.14]; cf. Courcelle [5.68] 278–90, and Marenbon [5.76] 78–9. 22 See T.Gregory, Platonismo medievale: studi e ricerche (Istituto storico Italiano per 51 medioevo, studi storici 26–7), Rome, 1958, pp. 1–15. 23 See below, Chapter 7, pp. 172–3. 24 On Gottschalk, see esp. Jolivet [5.74]; on the predestination controversy, see Ganz [5.70] and Schrimpf [5.81]. For Gottschalk’s theological works, see [5.8]. 25 See also below, Chapter 6, p. 120 on the background and reaction to On Predestination. Hrabanus puts his views in letters to Bishop Noting of Verona (MPL 112, cols 1530–53) and to Count Eberhard of Friuli (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Epistolae Karolini Aevi III, pp. 481–7). Hincmar’s contribution before Eriugena entered the controversy was a letter to his parishioners, ed. W.Gundlach, ‘Zwei Schriften des Erzbischofs Hinkmar von Reims’, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 10 (1889):258–309. For a full account of Hincmar’s part in the controversy and his various writings connected with it, see J.Devisse, Hincmar, Archevêque de Reims, 845–882, Geneva, 1975–6, pp. 115–79. 26 This is well discussed in Holopainen [5.73] 44–118; cf. also Gibson [5.72]. 27 This is the reading proposed by Holopainen [5.73] 6–43. See also the discussion of the modal notions involved in this discussion in Knuuttila [1.21] 63–7. BIBLIOGRAPHY Original Language Editions 5.1 Adalbold of Utrecht, Commentary on Book III, metrum 9 of Boethius, On the Consolation of Philosophy, in Huygens [5.9]. 5.2 Alcuin, Works in MPL 100–1. 5.3 Anonymous glosses to Ten Categories, in Marenbon [5.75] 185–206. 5.4 Anonymous glosses to Boethius, Theological Treatises, in E.K.Rand, Johannes Scottus, Munich, 1906. 5.5 Bovo of Corvey, Commentary on Book III, metrum 9 of Boethius, On the Consolation of Philosophy, in Huygens [5.9]. 5.6 Candidus Wizo, Theological and philosophical passages, in Marenbon [5.75] 152–70. 5.7 Fredegisus of Tours, On the Substance of Nothing and on Shadows, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Epistolae, IV, pp. 552–5. 5.8 Gottschalk of Orbais, Oeuvres théologiques et grammaticales de Godescalc d’Orbais, ed. D.C.Lambot, Louvain, 1945. 5.9 Huygens, R.B.C. (ed.) ‘Mittelalterliche Kommentare zum O qui perpetua …’, Sacris Erudiri 6 (1954): 373–427. 5.10 Libri Carolini, ed. H.Bastgen, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Concilia II, Supplementum, Hanover and Leipzig, 1924. 5.11 Peter Damian, Letter on God’s Omnipotence, ed., with French translation, by A.Cantin (Sources chrétiennes 191), Paris, 1972. 5.12 Ratramnus of Corbie, Liber de anima, ed. D.C.Lambot, Namur and Lille, 1952. 5.13 Remigius of Auxerre, Commentary on Martianus Capella, ed. C.Lutz, Leiden, 1962–5. 5.14 Remigius of Auxerre, Commentary on Boethius, On the Consolation of Philosophy (extracts) in Appendix to E.T.Silk (ed.) Saeculi noni auctoris in Boetii consolationem philosophiae commentarius, Rome, 1935. Bibliographies, Catalogues and Handbooks A bibliography of the philosophical material is given in Marenbon [5.76] 164–91. Bibliographies for the various areas of cultural history from c. 780 to c. 900 are found in McKitterick [5.57]. 5.15 Becker, G. Catalogi bibliothecarum antiqui, Bonn, 1885. 5.16 Berschin, W. and Geith, K.E. ‘Die Bibliothekskataloge des Klosters Murbach aus dem IX. Jahrhundert’, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 83 (1972): 61–87. 5.17 Delisle, L. Le Cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Impériale/Nationale, Paris, 1868–81. 5.18 Lehmann, P. Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz, I, Die Diözesen Konstanz und Chur, Munich, 1918. 5.19 Lowe, E.A. Codices Lugdunenses antiquiores, Lyons, 1924. 5.20 ——Codices Latini antiquiores, IV, Oxford, 1957. 5.21 Milde, W. Der Bibliothekskataloge des Klosters Murbach aus dem 9. Jahrhundert. Ausgabe und Beziehungen zu Cassiodors ‘Institutiones’, Beiheft to Euphorion, Zeitschrift für Literaturgeschichte 4, Heidelberg, 1968. 5.22 Reynolds, L.D. (ed.) Texts and Transmissions: a Survey of the Latin Classics, Oxford, 1983. 5.23 von Borries-Schulten, S. Katalog der Illuminierten Handschriften der Württemburgischen Landesbibliothek Stuttgart, 2, Die Romanischen Handschriften, Part I, Provenienz Zwiefalten, Stuttgart, 1987. 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