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§ 171. Servatus Lupus.


I. Beatus Servatus Lupus: Opera, in Migne, Tom. CXIX. col. 423–694 (a reprint of the edition of Baluze. Paris, 1664, 2d ed. 1710). The Homilies and hymns given by Migne (col. 693–700) are spurious.

II. Notitia historica et bibliographica in Servatum Lupum by Baluze, in Migne, l.c. col. 423–6. Nicolas: Étude sur les lettres de Servai Loup, Clermont Ferrant, 1861; Franz Sprotte: Biographie des Abtes Servatus Lupus von Ferrières, Regensburg, 1880. Du Pin, VII. 169–73. Ceillier, XII. 500–514. Hist. Lit. de la France, V. 255–272. Bähr, 456–461. Ebert, II. 203–209. J. Bass Mullinger: The Schools of Charles the Great. London, 1877, pp. 158–170. For Lupus’ part in the different councils he attended, see Hefele: Conciliengeschichte, IV. passim.


Lupus, surnamed Servatus,13141314    Perhaps in memory of his recovery from some severe illness, as that which in the winter of 838-9 confined him for a time in the convent of St. Trend in the diocese of Liège was descended from a prominent family. He was born in Sens (70 miles S. E. of Paris) in the year 805 and educated in the neighboring Benedictine monastery of SS. Mary and Peter anciently called Bethlehem, at Ferrières, then under abbot Aldrich, who in 829 became archbishop of Sens, and died early in 836. He took monastic vows, was ordained a deacon and then taught in the convent-school until in 830 on advice of Aldrich he went to Fulda. Einhard, whose life of Charlemagne had already deeply impressed him,13151315    Lupus, Epist. I. (Migne, CXIX. col. 433). was then abbot of Seligenstadt, only a few miles away, but his son Wussin was being educated at Fulda, and it was on a visit that he made to see his son that Lupus first met him. With him and with the abbot of Fulda, the famous Rabanus Maurus, he entered into friendship. It was he who incited Rabanus to make his great compilation upon the Epistles of Paul;13161316    Baluze, in Migne, ibid. col. 425. and to him Einhard dedicated his now lost treatise De adoranda cruce.13171317    Migne, ibid col. 445. He pursued his studies at Fulda and also gave instruction until the spring of 836, when he returned to Ferrières.13181318    Although he thus lived six years in Germany he never obtained a mastery of German. Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchenlexicon s. v. Lupus. He then took priest’s orders and taught grammar and rhetoric in the abbey school. In 837 he was presented at the court of Louis the Pious, and by special request of the empress Judith appeared the next year (Sept. 22, 838).13191319    So Baluze, in Migne, CXIX col. 423. The favor showed him led him naturally to expect speedy preferment, but he was doomed to disappointment. In the winter of 838 and 839 he accompanied Odo, who had succeeded Aldrich, to Frankfort,13201320    It was upon this journey that Lupus fell sick. See fn. 864 p.735. where the emperor Louis spent January and February, 839. Louis died in 840 and was succeeded by Charles the Bald. In 842 Charles deposed Odo because of his connection with Lothair, and by request of the emperor the monks elected Lupus their abbot, Nov. 22, 842,13211321    So Baluze, ibid. col. 425. and the emperor confirmed the election. It was with difficulty that Odo was removed. The year 844 was an eventful one with Lupus. The monks of Ferrières were bound yearly to supply money and military service to Charles, and Lupus had to take the field in person.13221322    Pertz, Legg. I. 223 In this year he went against the rebellious Aquitanians. On June 14th he was taken prisoner by them in the battle of Angoulême, but released after a few days by intervention of Turpio, count of Angoulême, and on July 3d he was back again in Ferrières. Later on he was sent by Charles, with Prudentius, bishop of Troyes, to visit the monasteries of Burgundy, and at the close of the year he sat in the council of Verneuil, and drew up the canons.13231323   326 Hefele, IV. III. Pertz, Legg. I. 383. Can. XII. is directed against the king’s seizure on ecclesiastical property. His own special grievance was that Charles had rewarded the fidelity of a certain Count Odulf by allowing him the revenues of the cell or monastery of St. Judocus on the coast of Picardy (St. Josse sur mer), which had belonged to Alcuin, but was given to Ferrières by Louis the Pious, and the loss of which greatly crippled his already expensive monastery.13241324    Epist. 71, Migne, CXIX. col. 533. It was not, however, until 849 that the cell was restored. This is the more strange because Charles had a high regard for his learning and diplomatic skill, as is shown by his employment of Lupus in delicate public business. Thus in 847 Lupus sat in the peace congress at Utrecht between Lothair, Louis and Charles the Bald. In midsummer 849 Charles sent him to Leo IV. at Rome concerning the ecclesiastical encroachments of the Breton Duke Nominoi. In the spring of 853 he sat in the council of Soissons and took Hincmar’s side regarding the deposition of those priests whom Ebo had ordained, after his own deposition in 835. In the same year he attended the convocation of the diocese of Sens and there sided with Prudentius against Hincmar’s deliverances in the Gottschalk controversy. It is supposed that he was also at the council of Quiercy, 857, because his Admonitio13251325    It appears as Epist. 100 in Migne, ibid. col. 575. is written in the spirit of the deliberations of that council respecting the troubles of the times. In 858 he was sent on diplomatic business to Louis the German. But in the same year he was forced by the exigencies of the times to deposit the abbey’s valuables with the monks of St. Germain Auxerrois for safe keeping. In 861 Foleric of Troyes offered protection to his monastery. In 862 he was at Pistes, and drew up the sentence of the Council against Robert, archbishop of Mans. As after this date all trace of Lupus is lost, his death during that year is probable,

Servatus Lupus was one of the great scholars of the ninth century. But he gained knowledge under great difficulties, for the stress of circumstances drove him out of the seclusion he loved, and forced him to appear as a soldier, although he knew not how to fight, to write begging letters instead of pursuing his studies, and even to suffer imprisonment. Yet the love of learning which manifested itself in his childhood and increased with his years, notwithstanding the poor educational arrangements at Ferrières,13261326    Epist. 1, ibid. col. 433. became at length a master passion and dominated his thoughts.13271327    Epist. 35, ibid. col. 502. It mattered not how pressing was the business in hand, he would not let business drive study out of his mind. He set before him the costly and laborious project of collecting a library of the Latin classics, and applied to all who could assist him, even to the pope (Benedict III.). He was thankful for the loan of codices, so that by comparison he might make a good text. He was constantly at work upon the classics and gives abundant evidence of the culture which such study produces, in his “uncommon skill in the lucid exposition of a subject.”13281328    Neander, vol. iii. p. 482. Ebert has a good passage on this point (l.c. p. 205-206). Also Mullinger, p. 165 sqq.

His Works are very few. Perhaps the horrible confusion of the period hindered authorship, or like many another scholar he may have shrunk from the labor and the after criticism. In his collected works the first place is occupied by his

1. Letters,13291329    Epistolae, Migne, CXIX. col. 431-610. one hundred and thirty in number. They prove the high position he occupied, for his correspondents are the greatest ecclesiastics of his day, such as Raban Maur, Hincmar of Rheims, Einhard, Radbert, Ratramn and Gottschalk. His letters are interesting and instructive.13301330    “No other correspondence, for centuries, reveals such pleasant glimpses of a scholar’s life, or better illustrates the difficulties which attended ita pursuits.” Mullinger p. 166.

2. The Canons of Verneuil, 844.13311331    Canones concilii in Verno, Migne, l.c. col. 611-620. See above.

3. The Three Questions, in 852.13321332    Liber de tribus quaestionibus, ibid. col. 621-666. They relate to free will, the two-fold predestination, and whether Christ died for all men or only for the elect. It was his contribution to the Gottschalk controversy in answer to Charles the Bald’s request. In general he sides with Gottschalk, or rather follows Augustin. In tone and style the book is excellent.

4. Life of St. Maximinus, bishop of Treves.13331333    Vita Sancti Maximini, Episcopi Trevirensis, Migne, CXIX. col. 665-680. It is in fifteen chapters and was written in 839. It is only a working over of an older Vita, and the connection of Lupus with it is questionable.13341334    Cf. Baluze (Migne, l.c. col. 425) and Ebert, l.c. p. 208.

5. Life of St. Wigbert, in thirty chapters, written in 836 at the request of Bun, abbot of Hersfeld.13351335    Vita Sancti Wigberti, abbatis Fritzlariensis, Migne, l.c. 679-694. It tells the interesting story of how Wigbert came from England to Germany at the request of Boniface, how he became abbot of Fritzlar, where he died in 747, how he wrought miracles and how miracles attended the removal of his relics to Hersfeld and were performed at his tomb.



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