« Auto da Fé Autpertus, Ambrosius Autun »

Autpertus, Ambrosius

AUTPERTUS, AMBROSIUS: Abbot of St. Vincent at Benevento; d. probably in 781, though the date 778 has generally been accepted. He is chiefly memorable for his comprehensive commentary on the Apocalypse, which also gives the most reliable information as to his life. The brief autobiography which terminates it states that he was born in the province of Gaul, and that he began and finished his commentary in the days of Pope Paul I (757-767), Desiderius, king of the Lombards, and Arichis II, duke of Benevento. In this work, for which he obtained the special protection of Stephen III (752-757) against the attacks of the ignorant, he follows the Fathers, especially Augustine and Jerome; his principal purpose is the attempt to discover the mystical sense of the apocalyptic imagery. He is as much attracted by the method of spiritual interpretation offered by the Donatist Ticonius as was his predecessor, the ” obscure” Primasius (q.v.), in working over this heretic in an orthodox sense; Ticonius’s seven rules [cf. DCB, iv, 1026], especially the sixth, de recapitulatione, governed the ecclesiastical exegesis of the time. But Autpertus added moral and devotional considerations of his own, and aimed at imitating the transparent clearness of Gregory the Great. The commentary as a whole made such an impression on Alcuin that in his own exposition of the Apocalypse he scarcely attempted to do more than make extracts from it. An uncritical eleventh century biography of Autpertus, contained in the Chronicon Vulturnense, mentions a number of other writings—commentaries on Leviticus, the Psalms, and the Song of Solomon, a treatise De conflictu vitiorum, homilies on the Gospels, and lives of the founder and first abbots of his monastery; these lives are poor in historical material, and are really an ideal picture of monastic life as a stimulus to the zeal of his fellow monks. Autpertus’s own rule as abbot did not last long. His election provoked a schism in the monastery; he was the choice of the Frankish monks, while one Potho was elected by the Lombards. The contest was referred to Charlemagne through an accusation of treason brought against Potho. The king asked Adrian I to decide, and both competitors were summoned to Rome; Autpertus died on the way, and Potho was acquitted. Both the letters written by Adrian to Charles on the subject are addressed ” nostro spiritali compatri” , which seems to fix their date after Adrian had baptized Charles’s youngest son in Rome (April 15, 781), and thus to place the death of Autpertus later than the date given by the Chronicon Vulturnense, July 19, 778. His works are in MPL, lxxxix.

J. Hausleiter.

Bibliography: C. U. J. Chevalier, Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen-àge, pp. 96-97, Paris, 1877; Histoire littéraire de France, iv, 141-161; J. C. F. Bähr, Geschichte der römischen Litteratur im karolingischen Zeitalter, pp. 191-192, 293-295, Carlsruhe, 1840; Hauck, KD, xi, 133, 138.

« Auto da Fé Autpertus, Ambrosius Autun »
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