Sources and translations

This blog provides our draft translation of Carolingian texts, mostly linked to Hincmar of Rheims or the divorce of Lothar II and Theutberga.


The texts translated are as follows:

Page references are given in square brackets in the translation. All these translations are works in progress and have not been checked for errors or readability. Readers are strongly advised to check the Latin text themselves.


Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Preface II

[p 108] For about Christ the apostle Peter testifies that there is no other name given to men under heaven, in which we must be saved. And just as all, whom the ark did not contain, perished in the flood, thus no-one can be saved who does not remain in the unity of holy church with right faith and good works.
But also shown by this spiritual reason, it is not a little case that is brought forward (?) about so great a dignity of a very eminent name, and such people, so that the kings of the earth and all the people, princes and all the judges of the land, young men and maidens, old men and young ought to apply their mind to this case. And truth of judgement and priestly concord and care about royal gentleness and patience and love ought to be applied towards its honour. Whence it is written: the honour of the king loves judgement and justice strengthens his throne and again justice and judgement are the preparation of your seat. And although there are other virtues, without which one cannot reach the eternal kingdom, yet a tyrant can be made without these three, which we have proposed, but no-one can profitably obtain and earthly throne. That is without gentleness, since the gentle will inherit the earth; without patience, since patience is better than a strong man and he who dominates his mind than a capturer of cities and in patience you will possess your souls; without true love, about which is said, You who love the Lord hate evil, since he who loves iniquity hates his soul. And again in the Psalms it is written: Aim, proceed fortunately and rule because of truth and gentleness and justice, since he will keep truth following gentleness with justice, so that neither will he abandon zeal of righteousness in weight of gentleness nor on the other hand will weight of gentleness disturb zeal of righteousness. Since as Wisdom says, the king who sits in the throne of judgement dispels all evil from his view, and again, the king who judges the poor in truth, his throne will be strengthened forever.
However from (?) priestly concord and the part of discrimination (?) it is said to the Lord: Your mercy is before my eyes and I delight in your truth. I have not sat with the council of vanity and I will not enter with those bearing iniquitous things. I have hated the church of the malignant and I will not sit with the impious. I will wash my hands among the innocent and I will place them around your altar, O Lord, so that I may hear the voice of your praise and recount all your marvels. But, at St Gregory says: I see others, who obtain the secret offices of accusing through the position of mastership (?), because they admitted they saw (?) something illicit, and yet since they fear to offend the favour of whatever power they do not presume to accuse. Whoever that person is, what else is he doing except seeing a wolf coming and fleeing? He flees, because he is silent; he is silent since, with eternal grace despised, he loved temporal glory more and he absconded before the face of the powerful man into the hiding places of his silence, and just like the public prosecutions (?), thus secretly he gave a place to fear. It is well said about such: They love the glory of men more than God. Therefore such a person is whoever, if these things are judged strictly and public prosecution is absent and yet he denies Christ by being silent. [end p 108]

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Interrogatio 13

And tell us in the sixth chapter, if this king, after he heard these things about his aforementioned wife and had suspended carnal business with her, had perhaps committed adultery with a concubine, and this came to the notice of many people, then by what medicinal judgement should it be healed? And if it happens to come about that a man obliges himself by oath to try to do something which is illicit, should he fulfil his oath so that he does not commit perjury, or should he not do what he wrongly swore to do, so that he does not usher in a crime? And whether it is true, as many men say, that there are women who by their evildoing are able to provoke inreconcilable hatred between man and wife, and to sow an ineffable love between a man and woman. [So that] a man is unable to engage in marital commerce with his wife, yet is able to sleep with other women; but that by the same evil doing, the power of sleeping with someone and of love, formerly enjoyed, can be restored by the art of witches. And tell us what is the reason for which God allows such things, it is said, to happen in legitimate marriage. And if such male sorcerers or female witches should be found, what should be done about them?

Thursday, 18 January 2007

De Divortio Preface

(p 107)To the glorious lord kings and our venerable fellow bishops and all those placed in the bosom of the catholic church, Hincmar, by name but not merit Bishop of Rheims and servant of the people of God, together with my lord colleagues and brothers, venerable bishops of the diocese of Rheims [?]

The holy Roman church, as the mother and teacher, nurse and instructress of all churches, is to be consulted about all things ducious and obscure and her healthful admonitions are to be kept. This should be done particularly by those who live in those regions in which divine grace, through her preaching, has given birth to all in faith and nourished them with Catholic milk, whom it preordained to eternal life. Since [?], just as the blessed Innocent wrote to Decentius Bishop of Gubbio, it is clear that in all Italy, Gaul, Spain, Africa and Sicily, the islands and interiors [?], there were no churches instituted except those that the venerable Peter or his successor bishops founded. Therefore it is necessary that they follow what the Roman church keeps, from which church without doubt they received their origin, lest when they favour foreign assertions, the head of the institutions seems to be lost. But also since blessed Celestine, bishop of the same first see said to Venerius and the other Gallican bishops that the universal church was struck by whatever novelty and writing to Nestor of Constantinople decreed that all ought to know what is happening, since the case of all is being affected, the voice of our humility speaks to all. Since, although this is a matter of a king and queen, namely man and wife, who according to holy authority are now not two but one flesh, the case of all is generally affected, since marriage is called by the holy apostle a great sacrament in Christ and the church, in which the salvation of all is believed to consist. [end of p 107]