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§ 165. Smaragdus.


I. Smaragdus, abbas monasterii Sancti Michaelis Virdunensis: Opera omnia in Migne, Tom. CII. cols. 9–980: with Pitra’s notes, cols. 1111–1132. His Carmina are in Dümmler, Poetae Latini aevi Carolini, I. 605–619.

II. Hauréau: Singularités historiques et littéraires. Paris, 1861 (pp. 100 sqq.) H. Keil: De grammaticis quibusdam latinis infimae aetatis (Program) . Erlangen, 1868. Hist. Lit. de la France, IV. 439–447. Ceillier, XII. 254–257. Bähr, 362–364. Ebert, II. 108–12.


Of the early life of Smaragdus nothing is known. He joined the Benedictine order of monks, and after serving as principal of the convent school was elected about 805 abbot of the monastery on Mt. Castellion. Sometime later he moved his monks a few miles away and founded the monastery of St. Mihiel on the banks of the Meuse, in the diocese of Verdun. He was a man of learning and of practical activity. In consequence he was highly esteemed by the two monarchs under whom he lived, Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. The former employed him to write the letter to Pope Leo III. in which was communicated the decision of the council of Aix la Chapelle (809) respecting the adoption of the Filioque, and sent him to Rome with the commissioners to lay the matter before the pope. He acted as secretary, and drew up the protocol. Louis the Pious showed him equal consideration, richly endowed his monastery, and in 824 appointed him to act with Frotharius, bishop of Toul (813837) as arbitrator between Ismund, abbot of Milan, and his monks. Smaragdus died about 840.

His writings show diligence and piety, but no originality. His published works in prose are: (1) Collections of Comments on the Epistle and Gospel for each holy day in the year, 11931193    Collectiones in epistolas et evangelia de tempore. et de sanctis. Migne, CII. col 13-552. an uncritical but comprehensive compilation from numerous ecclesiastical writers, prepared for the use of preachers, and described by the author as a liber comitis. (2) The monk’s diadem, 11941194    Diadema monachorum, ibid. col. 593—690. a collection in one hundred chapters of ascetic rules and reflections concerning the principal duties and virtues of the monastic life. It is for the most part a compilation. The sources are the Collectiones patrum of Cassian and the writings of Gregory the Great. Smaragdus made it after his elevation to the abbotship and enjoined its daily evening reading upon his monks.11951195   98 “Et quia mos est monachorum. ut regulam beati Benedicii ad capitulum legant quotidie matutinum: volumus ut iste libellus ad eorum capitulum quotidie legatur vespertinum (col. 693). “ It proved to be a very popular work, was widely circulated during the Middle Age, and has been repeatedly published .11961196    Paris, 1532, 16 40; Antwerp, 1540; Bibliotheca Maxima, Lyons, 1677, Tom. XVI. pp. 1305-1342, and Migne, Patrol Lat., CI I., Paris, 1851. (3) Commentary upon the rule of St. Benedict 11971197    Commentaria in regulum Sancti Benedicti, Migne, CII. col. 689- 932. undertaken in aid of the monastic reforms instituted by the council of Aix la Chapelle (817). It is characterized by great strictness. (4) The Royal way11981198    Via regia, ibid. col 933-970. dedicated to Louis the Pious while king of Aquitania.11991199    So Ebert, l.c. p. III. it consists of thirty-two chapters of moral and spiritual counsels, which if faithfully followed will conduct an earthly king into the heavenly kingdom. The work is really only an adaptation of the Diadem to the wants of the secular life. (5) Acts of the Roman conference,12001200    Acta collationis Romanae Migne, CII. col. 971-976 the protocol already alluded to. (6) Epistle of Charles the Great to Leo the Pope upon the procession of the Holy Spirit,12011201    Epistola Caroli Magni ad Leonem Papam de processione Spiritus Sancti, Migne, XCVIII. col. 923-929. the letter mentioned above. (7) Epistle of Frotharius and Smaragdus to the Emperor Louis,12021202    Epistola Frotharii et Smaragdi ad Ludovicum Imperatorem, Migne, CVI. col, 865-866. the report of the arbitrators. (8) A larger grammar or a commentary upon Donatus.12031203    Grammatica major seu commentarius in Donatum. His earliest work, written at the request of his scholars, probably between 800 and 805. It is still unprinted, except a small portion.12041204    Mabillon, Vetera analectam, Nov. ed. (Paris, 1723) pp. 357, 358. There yet remain in MS. a Commentary on the Prophets, and a History of the Monastery of St. Michael 12051205    Cf. Mabillon, l.c. Smaragdus also wrote poetry. Besides a hymn to Christ,12061206    Ebert, l.c. p. 112. there have been preserved his metrical introductions to his Collections and Commentary on the rule of St. Benedict, of which the first has twenty-nine lines in hexameter, and the second thirty-seven distichs.



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