JACOBUS: The Latin form of James (q.v.); see also JACOB.
JACOBUS DE VARAGINE, GIACOMO DA VARAZZE, JACOPO DA VARAZZE (often called Jacob, or James, of Viraggio) : Archbishop of Genoa; b. at Casanuova in Varazze (on the coast, 18 m. s.w. of Genoa) c.1228 (or 1230); d. in Genoa July 16 (?), 1298. He entered the Dominican order in 1244, probably studied at Cologne, Paris, and Bologna, became prior at Genoa (or Asti) about 1258, was provincial prior for Lombardy 1267-76, 1281-86, and archbishop of Genoa 1292-98. He fulfilled several quasi-diplomatic missions and as archbishop exercised feudal authority over San Remo and governed certain churches in the Levant. As archbishop he promoted efforts for the reform of the clergy, intervened successfully to promote peace between Guelph and Ghibelline, and transferred the government of San Remo to the civil authority. He was beatified by Pius VII. in 1816, and is popularly reverenced in Liguria as the promoter of peace.
Jacobus is best known for his writings, especially the "Golden Legend," which was possibly the most popular book of the Middle Ages. This work, known also as "Lives of the Saints" and as Historia Lombardica, consists of readings from the lives of the saints for the festivals of the church year. It was probably written before 1260, and was very early translated into at least French, German, English (by William Caxton, 1484?), Italian, and Dutch. Within about fifty years after the invention of printing more than 100 editions of original and translations had been printed. Besides the "Golden Legend" Jacobus wrote several series of sermons "On the Saints," "On the Blessed Virgin," etc., only less popular than the Legend, and also known as "Golden" on account of their popularity. His "Chronicle of Genoa" is a somewhat heterogeneous mass, but not without some historical value. He is alleged also to have made the first translation of the Bible into Italian and there are reasons for supposing that he wrote the "Game of Chess," which, like the "Golden Legend," is best known in English under the name of Caxton. Several other hitherto disputed or lost writings, an "Art of Preaching," a "Summary of Vices and Virtues," Sermones in visitationibus religiosoram, etc., have recently been discovered or established as his.
For editions of the works of Jacobus consult:
Potthast, Wegweiser, pp, 634-35. An incomplete
text of the Chronicle is in Muratori, Scriptores, ix. 5-56;
the most convenient text of the Sermons is that of Antwerp,
1712, in 6 vols.; the standard edition of the Golden
Legend is by J. G. T. Graesse, Leipsic, 1846, new ed.,
Wratislaw, 1890; the Eng. transl. of the Golden Legend
by Caxton, with introduction and notes by Eales, was
published London, 1888, and a sumptuous edition, ed.
W. Morris and F. S. Ellis, 3 vols., ib. 1892. The prefaces
to the many editions and translations contain biographical
and bibliographical material. The standard monographs
are: P. Anfossi, Memorie istoriche appartenenti alla vita del
. . . Jacopo da Voragine, Genoa; G. Spotorno, Notizie
storico-critico del . . . Giacomo da Varazze, Genoa, 1823;
and V. M. Palazza, Vita del . . . Giacomo da Varazze,
Genoa, 1867. Consult also M. Waresquiel, Le Bienheuerux
Jacques de Voragine, Paris, 1902; J. C. Broussole, Préface
à la Légend dorsée, Paris, 1907. The Princeton Theological
Review for April, 1903, contains an article on the Golden
Legend, and for July, 1904, one on "Voragine as a preacher,"
Consult farther: J. Quétif and J. Echard, Scriptores
ordinis praedicatorum, i. 454-459, ii. 818, Paris, 1719-21;
ASB, Jan., i., pp. xix.-xx.; KL, vi. 1178-82.
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