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§ 177. Anastasius.


I. Anastasius Bibliothecarius: Opera omnia in Migne, Tom. CXXVII.-CXXIX. col. 744.

II. The Prolegomena in Migne, CXXVII. Ceillier, XII. 712–718. Bähr, 261–271.


Anastasius, librarian of the Roman Church, hence surnamed the “Librarian,” to distinguish him from others of the same name, was abbot of the monastery of Sancta Maria trans Tiberim under Nicolas I. (858–867). He was sent in 869 to Constantinople as ambassador to arrange a marriage between the daughter of Louis II. and a son of Basil the Macedonian. While there the eighth oecumenical council was in session, and by his knowledge of Greek he was very useful to the Papal ambassador in attendance. He brought back with him the canons of the council and at the request of Hadrian II. translated them into Latin. He died, according to Baronius, in 886.

He has been identified by some (e.g. Fabricius14781478    Bib. Lat. med., Hamburg, 1734, I. 230. and Hergenröther14791479    Photius, II. 230-240. Wetzer u. Welte, 2d ed. 1. col. 788-792.) with the Cardinal presbyter Anastasius who was deposed and excommunicated in 850, anathematized in 853, but elected pope in 855 in opposition to Benedict III. whom he imprisoned. He was deposed in 856 and died in 879. Those who accept the statement are obliged to suppose that for some reason Nicolas and Louis II. condoned his fault and Hadrian II. continued him in favor. The name Anastasius is too common in Church history to render it necessary or safe to resort to such an improbable identification.

The fame of Anastasius rests upon his numerous translations from the Greek and his supposed connection with the Liber Pontificalis.14801480    Migne, CXXVII. col. 103-CXXVIII. His style is rude and semi-barbarous, but he brought to the knowledge of the Latins much information about the Greeks. He translated the canons of the sixth, seventh and eighth oecumenical councils;14811481    Migne, CXXIX. col. 27-512. Those of the sixth council are unprinted. the Chronology of Nicephorus;14821482    Idem. col. 511-554. the collection of documents in Greek for the history of Monotheletism which John the Deacon had made;14831483    Collecteana. Idem. col. 557-714. and the lives of several saints.14841484    Idem. col. 713-738. He also compiled and translated from Nicephorus, George Syncellus, and Theophanus Confessor a church history, which has been incorporated with the so-called Historia Miscella of Paulus Diaconus.

His original writings now extant consist of a valuable historical introduction to the translation of the canons of the Eighth Oecumenical Council, a preface to that of the Collectanea, three letters (two to Charles the Bald and one to archbishop Ado),14851485    Idem. col. 737-742. and probably the life of Pope Nicolas I.14861486    CXXVIII. col. 1357-1378. in the Liber Pontificalis.



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