§ 130. The Worship of Mary.


Literature: The Works of the Schoolmen, especially, Damiani: de bono suffragiorum et variis miraculis, praesertim B. Virginis, Migne, 145. 559 sqq., 586 sqq., etc.—Anselm: Orationes et meditationes, de conceptu virginis, Migne, vol. 158.—Guibert of Nogent: de laudibus S. Mariae, Migne, 166. 537–579.—Honorius of Autun: Sigillum b. Mariae, Migne, 172. 495–518.—Bernard: de laudibus virginis matris, Migne, 183. 55 sqq., 70 sqq., 415 sqq., etc.—P. Lombardus: Sent., III. 3 sqq. Hugo de St. Victor: de Mariae virginitate, Migne, 176. 857–875, etc.—Alb. Magnus: de laudibus b. Mariae virginis, Borgnet’s ed., 36. 1–841.—Bonaventura: In Sent., III. 3, Peltier’s ed., IV. 53 sqq., 105 sqq., 202 sqq., etc.; de corona b. Mariae V., Speculum b. M. V., Laus b. M. V., Psalterium minus et majus b. M. V., etc., all in Peltier’s ed., XIV. 179–293.—Th. Aquinas: Summa, III. 27–35, Migne, IV. 245–319.—Analecta Hymnica medii aevi, ed. by G. M. Dreves, 49 Parts, Leipz., 1886–1906.—Popular writers as Caesar of Heisterbach, De Bourbon, Thomas à. Chantimpré, and De Voragine: Legenda aurea, Englished by William Caxton, Kelmscott Press ed., 1892; Temple classics ed., 7 vols.

F. Margott: D. Mariologie d. hl. Th. v. Aquino, Freiburg, 1878.—B. Häusler: de Mariae plenitudine gratiae secundum S. Bernardum, Freiburg, 1901.—H. von Eicken: Gesch. und System d. mittelalt. Weltanschauung, Stuttg., 1887, p. 476 sqq.—K. Benrath: Zur Gesch. der Marienverehrung, Gotha, 1886.—The Histt. of Doctr. of Schwane, pp. 413–428, Harnack, II. 568–562, Seeberg, Sheldon, etc.—Schaff: Creeds of Christendom, I. 108–128. The artt. in Wetzer-Welte, Empfängniss, IV. 454–474, Maria, Marienlegenden, Marienfeste, vol. VIII., Ave Maria, Rosenkranz, and the art. Maria, by Zöckler in Herzog.—Mrs. Jamieson: Legends of the Monastic Orders.—Baring-Gould: Lives of the Saints, Curious Myths of the M. Ages.—Butler: Legends of the Saints.


Ave coeleste lilium, Ave rosa speciosa

Ave mater humilium, Superis imperiosa,

Deitatis triclinium; hac in valle lacrymarum

Da robur, fer auxilium, O excrusatrix culparum.

Bonaventura, Laus Beatae Virginis Mariae.2007


The worship of the Virgin Mary entered into the very soul of mediaeval piety and reached its height in the doctrine of her immaculate conception. Solemn theologians in their dogmatic treatises, ardent hymn-writers and minnesingers, zealous preachers and popular prose-writers unite in dilating upon her purity and graces on earth and her beauty and intercessory power in heaven. In her devotion, chivalry and religion united. A pious gallantry invested her with all the charms of womanhood also the highest beatitude of the heavenly estate. The austerities of the convent were softened by the recollection of her advocacy and tender guardianship, and monks, who otherwise shrank from the company of women, dwelt upon the marital tie which bound them to her. To them her miraculous help was being continually extended to counteract the ills brought by Satan. The Schoolmen, in their treatment of the immaculate conception, used over and over again delicate terms2008 which in conversation the pure to-day do not employ.

Monastic orders were dedicated to Mary, such as the Carthusian, Cistercian, and Carmelite, as were also some of the most imposing churches of Christendom, as the cathedrals at Milan and Notre Dame, in Paris.

The titles given to Mary were far more numerous than the titles given to Christ and every one of them is extra-biblical except the word "virgin."  An exuberant fancy allegorized references to her out of all sorts of texts, never dreamed of by their writers. She was found referred to in almost every figurative expression of the Old Testament which could be applied to a pure, human being. To all the Schoolmen, Mary is the mother of God, the queen of heaven, the clement queen, the queen of the world, the empress of the world, the mediatrix, the queen of the ages, the queen of angels, men and demons,2009 the model of all virtues, and Damiani even calls her is the mother of the eternal emperor."2010

Monks, theologians, and poets strain the Latin language to express their admiration of her beauty and benignity, her chastity and heavenly glory. Her motherhood and virginity are alike subjects of eulogy. The conception of physical grace, as expressed when the older Notker of St. Gall called her "the most beautiful of all virgins," filled the thought of the Schoolmen and the peasant. Albertus Magnus devotes a whole chapter of more than thirty pages of two columns each to the praise of her corporal beauty. In his exposition of Canticles 1:15, "Behold thou art fair, my love," he comments upon the beauty of her hair, her shoulders, her lips, her nose, her feet, and other parts of her body. Bonaventura’s hymns in her praise abound in tropical expressions, such as "she is more ruddy than the rose and whiter than the lily." Wernher of Tegernsee about 1178 sang:2011


Her face was so virtuous, her eyes so Bright,

Her manner so pure, that, among all women,

None could with her compare.


In a remarkable passage, Bernard represents her in the celestial places drawing attention to herself by her form and beauty so that she attracted the King himself to desire her.2012  Dante, a century and more later, enjoying paradise in the company of Bernard, thus represented the vision of Mary: —


I saw the virgin smile, whose rapture shot

Joy through the eyes of all that blessed throng:

And even did the words that I possess

Equal imagination, I should not

Dare, the attempt her faintest charms to express.

Paradiso, Canto XXXI.


The Canticles was regarded as an inspired anthology of Mary’s excellences of body and soul. Damiani represents God as inflamed with love for her and singing its lines in her praise. She was the golden bed on which God, weary in His labor for men and angels, lay down for repose. The later interpretation was that the book is a bridal song for the nuptials between the Holy Spirit and the Virgin. Bernard’s homilies on this portion of Scripture are the most famous collection of the Middle Ages. Alanus ab Insulis, who calls Mary the "tabernacle of God, the palace of the celestial King," says that it refers to the Church, but in an especial and most spiritual way to the glorious virgin.2013  Writer after writer, preacher after preacher, took up this favorite portion of the Old Testament. An abbess represented the Virgin as singing to the Spirit:2014 "My beloved is mine and I am his. He will tarry between my breasts." The Holy Spirit responded, "Thy breasts are sweeter than honey."

To Mary was given a place of dignity equal or superior to Christ as the friend of the sinful and unfortunate and the guide of souls to heaven. Damiani called her "the door of heaven," the window of paradise. Anselm spoke of her as "the vestibule of universal propitiation, the cause of universal reconciliation, the vase and temple of life and salvation for the world."2015  A favorite expression was "the tree of life"—lignum vitae — based upon Prov. iii:8. Albertus Magnus, in the large volume he devotes to Mary’s virtues, gives no less than forty reasons why she should be worshipped, authority being found for each one in a text of Scripture. The first reason was that the Son of God honors Mary. This accords with the fifth commandment, and Christ himself said of his mother, "I will glorify the house of my glory," Isa. lx:7; house, according to the Schoolman, being intended to mean Mary. The Bible teems with open and concealed references to her. Albertus ascribed to her thirty-five virtues, on all of which he elaborates at length, such as humility, sincerity, benignity, omnipotence, and modesty. He finds eighty-one biblical names indicative of her functions and graces. Twelve of these are taken from things in the heavens. She is a sun, a moon, a light, a cloud, a horizon, an aurora. Eight are taken from things terrestrial. Mary is a field, a mountain, a hill, a stone. Twenty-one are represented by things pertaining to water. She is a river, a fountain, a lake, a fish-pond, a cistern, a torrent, a shell. Thirty-one are taken from biblical figures. Mary is an ark, a chair, a house, a bed, a nest, a furnace, a library. Nine are taken from military and married life. Mary is a castle, a tower, a wall. It may be interesting to know how Mary fulfilled the office of a library. In her, said the ingenious Schoolman, were found all the books of the Old Testament, of all of which she had plenary knowledge as is shown in the words of her song which run, "as was spoken by our fathers."  She also had plenary knowledge of the Gospels as is evident from Luke ii:19: "Mary kept all these sayings in her heart."  But especially do Mary’s qualities lie concealed under the figure of the garden employed so frequently in the Song of Solomon. To the elaboration of this comparison Albertus devotes two hundred and forty pages, introducing it with the words, "a garden shut up is my sister, my bride " Cant. iv:12.2016

Bonaventura equals Albertus in ransacking the heavens and the earth and the waters for figures to express Mary’s glories and there is a tender chord of mysticism running through his expositions which is adapted to move all hearts and to carry the reader, not on his guard, away from the simple biblical statements. The devout Franciscan frequently returns to this theme and makes Mary the subject of his verse and sermons.2017  He exhausts the vocabulary for words in her praise. She is prefigured in Jacob’s ladder, Noah’s ark, the brazen serpent, Aaron’s rod, the star of Balaam, the pot of manna, Gideon’s horn, and other objects of Hebrew history. To each of these his Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary devotes poetic treatment extending in cases to more than one hundred lines and carrying the reader away by their affluence of imagination and the sweetness of the rhythm.

Imitating the Book of Psalms, Bonaventura wrote two psalteries, each consisting of one hundred and fifty parts. Each part of the Minor Psaltery consists of four lines, its opening lines being "Hail Virgin, tree of life; Hail Virgin, door of liberty; Hail Virgin, dear to God; Hail Virgin, light of the world; Hail Virgin, harbor of life; Hail Virgin, most beautiful." In the Greater Psaltery, Bonaventura paraphrases the one hundred and fifty psalms and introduces into each one Mary’s name and her attributes, revelling in ascriptions of her preeminence over men and angels. Here are several selections, but no selection can give any adequate idea of the liberty taken with Scripture. The first Psalm is made to run, "Blessed is the man who loves thee, O Virgin Mary. Thy grace will comfort his soul." The Twenty-third runs, "The Lord directs me, O Virgin mother of God—genetrix dei — because thou hast turned towards me His loving countenance." The first verse of Psalm 121 reads, "I have lifted up my eyes to thee, O Mother of Christ, from whom solace comes to all flesh."

Tender as are Bernard’s descriptions of Christ and his work, he nevertheless assigns to Mary the place of mediator between the soul and the Saviour. In Mary there is nothing severe, nothing to be dreaded. She is tender to all, offering milk and wool. If you are terrified at the thunders of the Father, go to Jesus, and if you fear to go to Jesus, then run to Mary. Besought by the sinner, she shows her breasts and bosom to the Son, as the Son showed his wounds to the Father. Let her not depart from thine heart. Following her, you will not go astray; beseeching her, you will not despair; thinking of her, you will not err.2018

So also Bonaventura pronounces Mary the mediator between us and Christ.2019  As God is the lord of revenge—Dominus ultionum,— he says in his Greater Psaltery, so Mary is the mother of compassion. She presents the requests of mortals to the Second Person of the Trinity, softening his wrath and winning favors which otherwise would not be secured.

Anselm, whom we are inclined to think of as a sober theologian above his fellows, was no less firm as an advocate of Mary’s mediatorial powers. Prayer after prayer does he offer to her, all aflame with devotion. "Help me by thy death and by thine assumption into heaven," he prays. "Come to my aid," he cries, "and intercede for me, O mother of God, to thy sweet Son, for me a sinner."2020

The veneration for Mary found a no less remarkable expression in the poetry of the Middle Ages. The vast collection, Analecta hymnica, published by Dreves and up to this time filling fifteen volumes, gives hundreds and thousands of sacred songs dwelling upon the merits and glories of the Virgin. The plaintive and tender key in which they are written is adapted to move the hardest heart, even though they are full of descriptions which have nothing in the Scriptures to justify them. Here are two verses taken at random from the thousands:—


Ave Maria, Angelorum dia                 Coeli rectrix, Virgo Maria

Ave maris stella, Lucens miseris        Deitatis cella, Porta principis.2021


Hail, Mary, Mother of God, Ruler of heaven, O Virgin Mary ... Hail, Star of the Sea, Lighting the wretched Cell of the Deity, Gate of the king.

 Where the thinkers and singers of the age were so ardent in their worship of Mary, what could be expected from the mass of monks and from the people!  A few citations will suffice to show the implicit faith placed in Mary’s intercession and her power to work miracles.

Peter Damiani tells of a woman who, after being dead a year, appeared in one of the churches of Rome and related how she and many others had been delivered from purgatory by Mary in answer to their prayers. He also tells how she had a good beating given a bishop for deposing a cleric who had been careful never to pass her image without saluting it.2022

Caesar of Heisterbach abounds in stories of the gracious offices Mary performed inside the convent and outside of it. She frequently was seen going about the monastic spaces, even while the monks were in bed. On such occasions her beauty was always noted. Now and then she turned and gave a severe look to a careless monk, not lying in bed in the approved way. Of one such case the narrator says he did not know whether the severity was due to the offender’s having laid aside his girdle or having taken off his sandals. Mary stood by to receive the souls of dying monks, gave them seats at her feet in heaven, sometimes helped sleepy friars out by taking up their prayers when they began to doze, sometimes in her journeys through the choir aroused the drowsy, sometimes stretched out her arm from her altar and boxed the ears of dull worshippers, and sometimes gave the staff to favored monks before they were chosen abbots. She sometimes undid a former act, as when she saw to it that Dietrich was deposed whom she had aided in being elected to the archbishopric of Cologne.2023

To pious Knights, according to Caesar of Heisterbach, Mary was scarcely less gracious than she was to the inmates of the convent. She even took the place of contestants in the tournament. Thus it was in the case of Walter of Birbach who was listed and failed to get to the tournament field at the appointed hour for tarrying in a chapel in the worship of Mary. But the spectators were not aware of his absence. The tournament began, was contested to a close, and, as it was thought, Walter gained the day. But as it happened, Mary herself had taken the Knight’s place and fought in his stead, and, when the Knight arrived, he was amazed to find every one speaking in praise of the victory he had won.2024  Thomas of Chantimpré2025 tells of a robber whose head was cut off and rolled down the valley. He called out to the Virgin to be allowed to confess. A priest, passing by, ordered the head joined to the body. Then the robber confessed to the priest and told him that, as a young man, he had fasted in honor of the Virgin every Wednesday and Saturday under the promise that she would give him opportunity to make confession before passing into the next world.

All these collections of tales set forth how Mary often met the devil and took upon herself to soundly rebuke and punish him. According to Jacob of Voragine2026 a husband, in return for riches, promised the devil his wife. On their way to the spot, where she was to be delivered up, the wife, suspecting some dark deed, turned aside to a chapel and implored Mary’s aid. Mary put the worshipper to sleep and herself mercifully took the wife’s place at the husband’s side and rode with him, he not noticing the change. When they met the devil, the "mother of God" after some sound words of reprimand sent him back howling to hell.

Mary’s compassion and her ability to move her austere Son are brought out in the Miracle Plays. In the play of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, the foolish virgins, after having in vain besought God for mercy, turned to the Virgin with these words:—


Since God our suit hath now denied

We Mary pray, the gentle maid,

The Mother of Compassion,

To pity our great agony

And for us, sinners poor, to pray

Mercy from her beloved Son.2027


The Church never officially put its stamp of commendation upon the popular belief that the Son is austere. Nevertheless, even down to the very eve of the Reformation, the belief prevailed that Christ’s austerity had to be appeased by Mary’s compassion.

The Virgin Birth of Christ.—The literary criticism of the Bible of recent years was as much undreamed of in this period of the Middle Ages as were steamboats or telephones. Schoolman and priest seem never to have doubted when they repeated the article of the Creed, "Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."  Homily and theological treatise lingered over the words of Isa. vii:14: "Behold a virgin shall conceive," and over the words of the angelic annunciation: "Hail, thou that art highly favored. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women .... The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee."  They discussed the conception and virginal birth in every possible aspect, as to the part the Holy Spirit had in the event and the part of Mary herself. Here are some of the questions propounded by Thomas Aquinas: Was there true matrimony between Joseph and Mary?  Was it necessary that the angel should appear in bodily form?  Was Christ’s flesh taken from Adam or from David?  Was it formed from the purest bloods of Mary?  Was the Holy Spirit the primary agent in the conception of Christ?  Was Christ’s body animated with a soul at the instant of conception?

None of the Schoolmen goes more thoroughly than Hugo of St. Victor into the question of the part played by the Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus. He was at pains to show that, while the Spirit influenced the Virgin in conception, he was not the father of Jesus. The Spirit did not impart to Mary seed from his own substance, but by his power and love developed substance in her through the agency of her own flesh.2028

According to Anselm, God can make a human being in four ways, by the co-operation of a man and woman; without either as in the case of Adam; with the sole co-operation of the man as in the case of Eve; or from a woman without a man. Having produced men in the first three ways, it was most fitting God should resort to the fourth method in the case of Jesus. In another work he compares God’s creation of the first man from clay and the second man from a woman without the co-operation of a man.2029

Thomas Aquinas is very elaborate in his treatment of Mary’s virginity. "As a virgin she conceived, as a virgin gave birth, and she remains a virgin forevermore."  The assumption that she had other children derogates from her sanctity, for, as the mother of God, she would have been most ungrateful if she had not been content with such a Son. And it would have been highest presumption for Joseph to have polluted her who had received the annunciation of the angel. He taught that, in the conception of Christ’s body, the whole Trinity was active and Mary is to be called "rightly, truly, and piously, genetrix Dei," the mother of God.2030

The mediaeval estimate of Mary found its loftiest expression in the doctrine of the immaculate conception, the doctrine that Mary herself was conceived without sin. The Schoolmen were agreed that she was exempt from all actual transgression. They separated on the question whether she was conceived without sin and so was immaculate from the instant of conception or whether she was also tainted with original sin from which, however, she was delivered while she was yet in her mother’s womb. The latter view was taken by Anselm, Hugo of St. Victor, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and even Bonaventura.2031  The view that she was conceived without sin and thus was never tainted with original sin was advocated by Duns Scotus, who, however, did not go further than to assert for it probability. Bernard, writing to the church of Lyons, condemned it for having introduced the festival of the immaculate conception, which he said lacked the approval of the Church, of reason and tradition. If Mary was conceived without sin, then why might not sinless conception be affirmed of Mary’s parents and grandparents and her ancestors to remotest antiquity. However, Bernard expressed his willingness to yield if the Church should appoint a festival of the immaculate conception.203

Bonaventura gave three reasons against the doctrine exempting Mary from original sin; namely, from common consent, from reason, and from prudence.2033  According to the first she suffered with the rest of mankind sorrows, which must have been the punishment of her own guilt inherited from Adam. According to the second, the conception of the body precedes its animation, the word "animation" being used by the Schoolmen for the first association of the soul with the body. In the conception of the body there is always concupiscence. The third argument relied upon the Fathers who agreed that Christ was the only being on earth exempt from sin. Bonaventura did not fix the time when Mary was made immaculate except to say, that it probably occurred soon after her conception and at that moment passion or flame of sin — fomes peccati — was extinguished.

Thomas Aquinas emphatically took this position and declared it was sufficient to confess that the blessed virgin committed no actual sin, either mortal or venial. "Thou art all fair, my love, and no spot is in thee," Cant. iv:7.2034

Nowhere else is Duns Scotus more subtle and sophistical than in his argument for Mary’s spotless conception whereby she was untainted by hereditary sin, and no doctrine has become more closely attached with his name. This argument is a chain of conjectures. Mary’s sinless conception, he said, was only a matter of probability, but at the same time seeming and congruous. The threefold argument is as follows: 1. God’s grace would be enhanced by releasing one individual from all taint of original sin from the very beginning. 2. By conferring this benefit Christ would bind Mary to himself by the strongest ties. 3. The vacancy left in heaven by the fallen angels could be best filled by her, if she were preserved immaculate from the beginning. As the second Adam was preserved immaculate, so it was fitting the second Eve should be. Duns’ conclusion was expressed in these words: "If the thing does not contradict the Church and the Scriptures, its reality seems probable, because it is more excellent to affirm of Mary that she was not conceived in sin."2035

The warm controversy between the Thomists and Scotists over the immaculate conception has been referred to in another place. Saints also joined in it. St. Brigitta of Sweden learned through a vision that Mary was conceived immaculate. On the other hand the Dominican, St. Catherine of Siena, prophesied Mary had not been sanctified till the third hour after her conception. The synod of Paris, 1387, decided in favor of the Scotist position, but Sixtus IV., 1483, threatened with excommunication either party denouncing the other. Finally, Duns Scotus triumphed, and in 1854, Pius IX. made it a dogma of the Church that Mary in the very instant of her conception was kept immune from all stain of original sin.2036

The festival of the immaculate conception, observed Dec. 8, was taken up by the Franciscans at their general chapter, held in Pisa, 1263, and its celebration made obligatory in their churches.

One more possible glorification of Mary, the humble mother of our Lord, has not yet been turned into dogma by the Roman Church, her assumption into heaven, her body not having seen corruption. This is held as a pious opinion and preachers like St. Bernard, Honorius of Autun, Gottfried of Admont, and Werner of St. Blasius preached sermon after sermon on Mary’s assumption. The belief is based upon the story, told by Juvenal of Jerusalem to the emperor Marcian at the council of Chalcedon, 451, that three days after Mary’s burial in Jerusalem, her coffin but not her body was found by the Apostles. Juvenal afterwards sent the coffin to the emperor.2037  Even Augustine had shunned to believe that the body of the mother of our Lord saw corruption. The festival of the Assumption was celebrated in Rome as early as the middle of the eleventh century.2038  The synod of Toulouse, 1229, included the festival among the other church festivals at the side of Christmas and Easter. Thomas Aquinas spoke of it as being tolerated by the Church, not commanded.

The Ave Maria, "Hail Mary, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" made up of the words of the angelic salutation and the words of Elizabeth, Luke i:28, 42, was used as a prayer in the time of Peter Damiani,2039 and was specially expounded by Bonaventura and Thomas Aquinas. The petitionary clause, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of death" appears in the sixteenth century and was introduced into the Roman breviary 1568.2040  The so-called Ave, or Angelus, bell was ordered rung by John XXII. (d. 1334) three times a day. When it peals, the woman in the home and the workman in the field are expected to bow their heads in prayer to Mary.

In few respects are the worship and teaching of the Middle Ages so different from those of the Protestant churches as in the claims made for Mary and the regard paid to her. If we are to judge by the utterances and example of Pius IX. and Leo XIII., the mediaeval cult still goes on in the Roman communion. And more recently Pius X. shows that he follows his predecessors closely. In his encyclical of Jan. 15, 1907, addressed to the French bishops, he says, "In full confidence that the Virgin Immaculate, daughter of our Father, mother of the Word, spouse of the Holy Ghost, will obtain for you from the most holy and adorable Trinity better days, we give you our Apostolic Benediction."  It was the misfortune of the mediaeval theologians to fall heir to the eulogies passed upon Mary by Jerome and other early Fathers of the early Church and the veneration in which she was held. They blindly followed having inherited also the allegorical mode of interpretation from the past. In part they were actuated by a sincere purpose to exalt the glory and divinity of Christ when they ascribed to Mary exemption from sin. On the other hand it was a Pagan, though chivalric, superstition to exalt her to a position of a goddess who stands between Christ and the sinner and mitigates by her intercession the austerity which marks his attitude towards them. This was the response the mediaeval Church gave to the exclamation of St. Bernard, "Who is this virgin so worthy of honor as to be saluted by the angel and so lowly as to have been espoused to a carpenter?"2041  The tenderest piety of the Middle Ages went out to her and is expressed in such hymns as the Mater dolorosa and the companion piece, Mater speciosa. But this piety, while it no doubt contributed to the exaltation of womanhood, also involved a relaxation of penitence, for in the worship of Mary tears of sympathy are substituted for resolutions of repentance.


 § 131. The Worship of Relics.


Literature: See Lit., p. 268 sq. Guibert of Nogent, d. 1124: de pignoribus sanctorum, Migne, vol. 156, 607–679.—Guntherus: Hist. Constantinopol., Migne, vol. 212.—Peter the Venerable: de miraculis, Migne, vol. 189.—Caesar of Heisterbach, Jacob of Voragine, Salimbene, etc.—P. Vignon: The Shroud of Christ, Engl. trans., N. Y., 1903.


The worship of relics was based by Thomas Aquinas upon the regard nature prompts us to pay to the bodies of our deceased friends and the things they held most sacred. The bodies of the saints are to be reverenced because they were in a special manner the temples of the Holy Ghost. The worship to be paid to them is the lowest form of worship, dulia. Hyperdulia, a higher form of worship, is to be rendered to the true cross on which Christ hung. In this case the worship is rendered not to the wood but to him who hung upon the cross. Latreia, the highest form of worship, belongs to God alone.2042  Following the seventh oecumenical council, the Schoolmen denied that when adoration is paid to images, say the image of Peter, worship is given to the image itself. It is rendered to the prototype, or that for which the image stands.2043

In the earlier years of the Middle Ages, Italy was the most prolific source of relics. With the opening of the Crusades the eyes of the Church were turned to the East, and the search of relic-hunters was abundantly rewarded. With open-mouthed credulity the West received the holy objects which Crusaders allowed to be imposed upon them. The rich mine opened up at the sack of Constantinople has already been referred to. Theft was sanctified which recovered a fragment from a saint’s body or belongings. The monk, Gunther, does not hesitate to enumerate the articles which the abbot, Martin, and his accomplices stole from the reliquary in one of the churches of the Byzantine city. Salimbene2044 mentions a present made to him from one of the churches of Ravenna of the bones of Elisha, all except the head, which had been stolen by the Austin friars.

The Holy Lance was disclosed at a critical moment in the siege of Antioch. The Holy Grail was found in Caesarea in 1101. The bones of the three kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Belthazar, reputed to have been the magi who presented their gifts at the manger, were removed from Milan to Cologne, where they still repose. In the same city of Cologne were found, in 1156, the remains of Ursula and the virgin martyrs, put to death by the Huns, the genuineness of the discovery being attested by a vision to Elizabeth of Schönau. Among the endless number of objects transmitted to Western Europe from the East were Noah’s beard, the horns of Moses, the stone on which Jacob slept at Bethel, the branch from which Absalom hung, our Lord’s foreskin, his navel cord, his coat, tears he shed at the grave of Lazarus, milk from Mary’s breasts, the table on which the Last Supper was eaten, the stone of Christ’s sepulchre, Paul’s stake in the flesh, a tooth belonging to St. Lawrence. Christ’s tooth, which the monks of St. Medard professed to have in their possession, was attacked by Guibert of Nogent on the ground that when Christ rose from the dead he was in possession of all the parts of his body. He also attacked the genuineness of the umbilical cord.2045  The prioress of Fretelsheim claimed to be in possession of two relics of the ass which bore Christ to Jerusalem.

The holy coat, the blood of Christ, and his cross have perhaps played the largest part in the literature of relics. Christ’s holy coat is claimed by Treves and Argenteuil as well as other localities. It was the seamless garment—tunica inconsutilis — woven by Mary, which grew as Christ grew was worn on the cross.2046  A notice in the Gesta Trevirorum (1105–1124) carries it back to the empress Helena who is said to have taken it to Treves. In the time of Frederick Barbarossa it was one of the glories of the city. On the eve of the Reformation it was solemnly shown to Maximilian I. and assembled German princes. At different dates, vast bodies of pilgrims have gone to look at it; the largest number in 1891, when 1,925,130 people passed through the cathedral for this purpose. Many miracles were believed to have been performed.2047

The arrival of some of Christ’s blood in England, Oct. 13, 1247, was solemnized by royalty and furnishes one of the strange and picturesque religious scenes of English mediaeval history. The detailed description of Matthew Paris speaks of it as "a holy benefit from heaven."2048  Its genuineness was vouched for by the Masters of the Templars and the Hospitallers, and by the seals of the patriarch of Jerusalem, and the archbishops and other prelates of the Holy Land. After fasting and keeping watch the night before, the king, Henry III., accompanied by the priests of London in full canonicals and with tapers burning, carried the vase containing the holy liquid from St. Paul’s to Westminster, and made a circuit of the church, the palace, and the king’s own apartments. The king proceeded on foot, holding the sacred vessel above his head. The bishop of Norwich preached a sermon on the occasion and, at a later date, Robert Grosseteste preached another in which he defended the genuineness of the relic, giving a memorable exhibition of scholastic ingenuity.2049

The true cross was found more than once and fragments of it were numerous, so numerous that the fiction had to be invented that the true cross had the singular property of multiplying itself indefinitely. A choice must be made between the stories. The first Crusaders beheld the cross in Jerusalem. Richard I., during the Third Crusade, was directed to a piece of it by an aged man, the abbot of St. Elie, who had buried it in the ground and refused to deliver it up to Saladin, even though that prince put him in bonds to force him to do so. Richard and the army kissed it with pious devotion.2050  Among the objects which the abbot, Martin, secured in Constantinople were a piece of the true cross and a drop of the Lord’s blood. The true cross, however, was still entire, and in 1241 it reached Paris. It had originally been bought by the Venetians from the king of Jerusalem for £20,000 and was purchased from the Emperor Baldwin by Louis IX. The relic was received with great ceremony and carried into the French capital by the king, with feet and head bare, and accompanied by his mother, Blanche, the queen, the king’s brothers, and a great concourse of nobles and clergy.2051  The crown of thorns was carried in the same procession. At a later time these relics were placed in the new and beautiful chapel which Louis built, a supposed holy coat of Christ, the iron head of the lance which pierced his side, and the sponge offered to him on the cross, together with other relics.

The English chronicler’s enthusiasm for this event seems not to have been in the least dampened by the fact that the English abbey of Bromholm also possessed the true cross. It reached England in 1247, through a monk who had found it among the effects of the Emperor Baldwin, after he had fallen in battle. The monk appeared at the convent door with his two children, and carrying the sacred relic under his cloak. Heed was given to his story and he was taken in. Miracles at once began to be performed, even to the cleansing of lepers and the raising of the dead.2052

Some idea of the popular estimate of the value of relics may be had from the story which Caesar of Heisterbach relates of a certain Bernard who belonged to Caesar’s convent.2053  Bernard was in the habit of carrying about with him a box containing the relics of St. Peter and St. Paul. Happening to give way to sensual thoughts, the two saints gave him a punch in the side. On Bernard’s assuming a proper mental state, the thumping stopped, but as soon as he renewed the unseemly thoughts the thumping began again. Bernard took the hint and finally desisted altogether. Caesar had the satisfaction of knowing that when Bernard had these experiences, he was not yet a monk.

The resentment of relics at being mistreated frequently came within the range of Caesar’s experience. One of St. Nicolas’ teeth, kept at Brauweiler, on one occasion jumped out of the glass box which contained it, to show the saint’s disgust at the irreverence of the people who were looking at it. Another case was of the relics of two virgins which had been hid in time of war and were left behind when other relics were restored to the reliquary. They were not willing to be neglected and struck so hard against the chest which held them that the noise was heard all through the convent, and continued to be heard till they were released.2054

An organized traffic in relics was carried on by unscrupulous venders who imposed them upon the credulity of the pious. The Fourth Lateran sought to put a stop to it by forbidding the veneration of novelties without the papal sanction. According to Guibert of Nogent,2055 the worshipper who made the mistake of associating spurious relics with a saint whom he wished to worship, did not thereby lose any benefit that might accrue from such worship. All the saints, he said, are one body in Christ (John 17:22), and in worshipping one reverence is done to the whole corporation.

The devil, on occasion, had a hand in attesting the genuineness of relics. By his courtesy a nail in the reliquiary of Cologne, of whose origin no one knew anything, was discovered to be nothing less than one of the nails of the cross.2056  Such kind services, no doubt, were rare. The court-preacher of Weimar, Irenaeus, 1566–1570, visiting Treves in company with the Duchess of Weimar, found one of the devil’s claws in one of the churches. The story ran, that at the erection of a new altar, the devil was more than usually enraged, and kicked so hard against the altar that he left a claw sticking in the wood.2057

The attitude of the Protestant churches to relics was expressed by Luther in his Larger Catechism when he said, "es ist alles tot Ding das niemand heiligen kann."  They are lifeless, dead things, that can make no man holy.


 § 132. The Sermon.


Literature: A. Nebe: Charakterbilder d. bedeutendsten Kanzelredner, Vol. I. Origen to Tauler, 1879. —J. M. Neale: Med. Preachers, Lond., 1853, new ed., 1873. —J. A. Broadus: The Hist. of Preaching, N. Y., 1876. A bare sketch.—H. Hering: Gesch. d. Predigt. (pp. 55–68), Berlin, 1905. —E. C. Dargan: Hist. of Preaching, from 70 to 1570, N. Y., 1906.

For the French Pulpit: *Lecoy de la Marche: La chaire franc. au moyen âge speciallement au XIIIe siècle, Paris, 1868, new ed., 1886.—L. Bourgain: La chaire franc. au XIIme siècle d’après les Mss., Paris, 1879. —J. von Walter: D. ersten Wanderprediger Frankreichs, 2 parts, Leip., 1903, 1906.

For the German Pulpit: W. Wackernagel: Altdeutsche Predigten und Gebete, Basel, 1876.—*R Cruel: Gesch. d. Deutschen Predigt im MtA., Detmold, 1879.—*A. Linsenmayer (Rom. Cath.): Gesch. der Predigt in Deutschland von Karl dem Grossen bis zum Ausgange d. 14ten Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1886.—Hauck: Kirchengesch.—Collections of med. Ger. sermons.—H. Leyser: Deutsche Predigten d. 13ten und 14ten Jahrhunderts, 1838.—K. Roth: Deutsche Predigten des XlI. und XIII. Jahrhunderts, 1839.—F. E. Grieshaber: Deutsche Predigt. d. XIII. Jahrhunderts, 2 vols. Stuttg., 1844.—*A. E. Schönbach: Altdeutsche Predigten, 3 vols. Graz, 1886–1891; Studien zur Gesch. d. Altdeutschen Predigt. (on Berthold of Regensburg), 3 parts, Vienna, 1904–1906. —A. Franz: Drei Minoritenprediger aus d. XIII. u. XIV. Jahrh., Freib., 1907.

For the English Pulpit: R. Morris: Old Engl. Homilies of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, 2 vols. Lond., 1868–1873.—See T. F. Crane: Introd. to the Exempla of Jacob de Vitry, Folklore Soc., Lond., 1890.—Richardson: Voragine as a Preacher, Presb. Rev., July, 1904.


Although the office of the preacher in the Middle Ages was overshadowed by the function of the priest, the art of preaching was not altogether neglected. The twelfth and the thirteenth centuries have each contributed at least one pulpit orator of the first magnitude: St. Bernard, whom we think of as the preacher in the convent and the preacher of the Crusades, and Berthold of Regensburg, the Whitefield of his age, who moved vast popular assemblies with practical discourses.

Two movements aroused the dormant energies of the pulpit: the Crusades, in the twelfth century, and the rise of the Mendicant orders in the thirteenth century. The example of the heretical sects preaching on the street and the roadside also acted as a powerful spur upon the established Church.

Ambrose had pronounced the bishop’s chief function to be preaching. The nearest approach made to that definition by a formal pronouncement of these centuries is found in the tenth canon of the Fourth Lateran. After emphasizing the paramount necessity of knowing the Word of God, the council commended the practice whereby bishops, in case of their incapacity, appointed apt men to take their place in preaching. Pope Innocent III. himself preached, and fifty-eight of his sermons are preserved.2058  The references to preaching in the acts of councils are rare. Now and then we hear an admonition from a writer on homiletics or a preacher in favor of frequent preaching. So Honorius of Autun, in an address to priests, declared that, if they lived a good life and did not publicly teach or preach, they were like the "watchmen without knowledge" and as dumb dogs (Isa. 56:9), and, if they preached and lived ill, they were as blind leaders of the blind.2059  Etienne de Bourbon speaks with commendation of a novice of the Dominican order who, on being urged to go into another order, replied: "I do not read that Jesus Christ was either a black or a white monk, but that he was a poor preacher. I will follow in his steps."

It is impossible to determine with precision the frequency with which sermons were preached in parishes. Probably one-half of the priests in Germany in the twelfth century did not preach.2060  The synod of Treves, 1227, forbade illiterate priests preaching. A sermon in England was a rarity before the arrival of the friars. A parson might have held a benefice fifty years without ever having preached a sermon. There were few pulpits in those days in English churches.2061

In the thirteenth century a notable change took place, through the example of the friars. They were preachers and went among the people. Vast audiences gathered in the fields and streets to listen to an occasional popular orator, like Anthony of Padua and Berthold of Regensburg. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the Franciscans received formal permission from Clement V., "to preach on the streets the Word of God."

Nor was the preaching confined to men in orders. Laymen among the heretics and also among the orthodox groups and the Flagellants exercised their gifts.2062  Innocent III., in his letter to the bishop of Metz, 1199, and Gregory IX., 1235, condemned the unauthorized preaching of laymen. There were also boy preachers in those days.2063

The vernacular was used at the side of the Latin.2064  Samson, abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, preached in English, and Grosseteste in the later years of his life followed his example. Bishop Hermann of Prague, d. 1122, preached in Bohemian.2065  Of Berthold’s sermons which are preserved, five hundred are in Latin and seventy-one in German.

Congregations were affected much as congregations are to-day. Caesar of Heisterbach, who himself was a preacher, tells of a congregation that went to sleep and snored during a sermon. The preacher, suddenly turning from the line of his discourse, exclaimed: "Hear, my brethren, I will tell you something new and strange. There was once a king called Artus."  The sleepers awoke and the preacher continued, "See, brethren, when I spoke about God, you slept, but when I began to tell a trivial story, you pricked up your ears to hear."2066  Caesar was himself present on this occasion.

The accounts of contemporaries leave no room to doubt that extraordinary impressions were made upon great audiences.2067  The sermons that have come down to us are almost invariably based upon a text or paragraph of Scripture and are full of biblical instruction, doctrinal inference, and moral application. It was well understood that the personality of the preacher has much to do with the effectiveness of a discourse. Although the people along the Rhine did not understand the language of St. Bernard, they were moved to the very depths by his sermons. When his language was interpreted, they lost their power.

Four treatises have come down to us from this period on homiletics and the pulpit, by Guibert of Nogent, Alanus ab Insulis, Humbert de Romanis, and Hugo de St. Cher.2068  Their counsels do not vary much from the counsels given by writers on these subjects to-day. Guibert, in his What Order a Sermon should Follow,2069 insists upon the priest keeping up his studies, preparing his sermons with prayer, and cultivating the habit of turning everything he sees into a symbol of religious truth. He sets forth the different motives by which preachers were actuated, from a desire of display by ventriloquism to an honest purpose to instruct and make plain the Scriptures.

In his Art of Preaching,2070 Alanus counsels preachers to court the good-will of their audiences by cultivating humility of manner and by setting forth useful instruction. He must so impress them that they will think not of who is talking, but of what is being talked about. He advises the use of quotations from Gentile authors, following Paul’s example. After giving other counsels, Alanus in forty-seven chapters presents illustrations of the treatment of different themes, such as the contempt of the world, luxury, gluttony, godly sorrow, joy, patience, faith. He then furnishes specimens of exhortations to different classes of hearers: princes, lawyers, monks, the married, widows, virgins, the somnolent.

Humbert de Romanis, general of the order of the Dominicans, d. 1277, in a much more elaborate work,2071 pronounced preaching the most excellent of a monk’s occupations and set it above the liturgical service which, being in Latin, the people did not understand. Preaching is even better than the mass, for Christ celebrated the mass only once, but was constantly engaged in preaching. He urged the necessity of study, and counselled high thought rather than graceful and well-turned sentences, comparing the former to food and the latter to the dishes on which it is served.

To these homiletical rules and hints must be added the notices scattered through the sermons of preachers like Honorius of Autun and Caesar of Heisterbach. Caesar said,2072 a sermon should be like a net, made up of texts of Scripture; and like an arrow, sharp to pierce the hearts of the hearers; straight, that is, without any false doctrine; and feathered, that is, easy to be understood. The bow is the Word of God.

Among the prominent preachers from 1050 to 1200, whose sermons have been preserved, were Peter Damiani, d. 1072, Ivo of Chartres, d. 1116, Hildebert of Tours, d. 1133, Abaelard d. 1142, St. Bernard, d. 1153, and Maurice, archbishop of Paris, d. 1196. Of the eloquence of Arnold of Brescia, Norbert, the founder of the Premonstrant order, and Fulke of Neuilly, the fiery preacher of the Fourth Crusade, no specimens are preserved. Another class of preachers were the itinerant preachers, some of whom were commissioned by popes, as were Robert of Abrissel and Bernard of Thiron who went about clad in coarse garments and with flowing beards, preaching to large concourses of people. They preached repentance and sharply rebuked the clergy for their worldliness, themselves wept and brought their hearers to tears.

Bernard enjoys the reputation of being, up to his time, the most brilliant luminary of the pulpit after the days of Gregory the Great. Luther held his sermons in high regard and called him "the golden preacher"—der gueldene Prediger. Among the preachers of France he is placed at the side of Bourdaloue and Bossuet. He has left more than two hundred and fifty discourses on special texts and themes in addition to the eighty-six homilies on the Song of Solomon.2073

The subjects of the former range from the five pebbles which David picked up from the brook to the most solemn mysteries of Christ’s life and work. The sermons were not written out, but delivered from notes or improvised after meditation in the convent garden. For moral earnestness, flights of imagination, pious soliloquy, and passionate devotion to religious themes, they have a place in the first rank of pulpit productions. "The constant shadow of things eternal is over them all," said Dr. Storrs, himself one of the loftiest figures in the American pulpit of the last century. One of the leading authorities on his life, Deutsch, has said that Bernard combined in himself all the qualities of a great preacher, a vivid apprehension of the grace of God, a profound desire to help his hearers, a thorough knowledge of the human heart, familiarity with the Scriptures, opulence of thought, and a faculty of magnetic description.2074

Fulke of Neuilly, pastor in Neuilly near Paris, was a man of different mould from Bernard, but, like him, his eloquence is associated with the Crusades.2075  He was a born orator. His sermons on repentance in Notre Dame and on the streets of Paris were accompanied with remarkable demonstrations, the people throwing themselves on the ground, weeping and scourging themselves. Usurers "whom the devil alone was able to make, "fallen women, and other offenders turned from their evil ways. Called forth by Innocent III. to proclaim the Fourth Crusade, Fulke influenced, as he himself estimated, no less than two million to take the cross. He did not live to hear of the capture of Constantinople, to which event unintentionally he made so large a contribution.

The great preachers of the thirteenth century were the product of the mendicant orders or, like Grosseteste, sympathized with their aims and methods. The Schoolmen who belonged to these orders seem all to have been preachers, and their sermons, or collations, delivered in the convents, many of which are preserved, received the highest praise from contemporaries, but partook of the scholastic method. Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventura were preachers, Bonaventura2076 being a great preacher. Albertus’ thirty-two sermons on the eucharist, based upon Proverbs 9:5, constitute one of the first series of discourses of the Middle Ages.

To the mendicant orders belonged also the eminent popular preachers, Anthony of Padua, John of Vicenza, and Berthold of Regensburg. Anthony of Padua, 1195–1231, born at Lisbon, entered the Franciscan order and made Northern Italy the scene of his labors. He differed from Francis in being a well-schooled man. He joined himself to the conventual party, at whose head stood Elias of Cortona. Like Francis he was a lover of nature and preached to the fishes. He preached in the fields and the open squares. As many as thirty thousand are reported to have flocked to hear him. He denied having the power of working miracles, but legend has associated miracles with his touch and his tomb. The fragments of his sermons, which are preserved, are mere sketches and, like Whitefield’s printed discourses, give no clew to the power of the preacher. Anthony was canonized the year after his death by Gregory IX. His remains were deposited, in 1263, in the church in Padua reared to his memory. Bonaventura was present. The body was found to have wholly dissolved except the tongue.2077

Berthold of Regensburg, d. 1272, had for his teacher David of Augsburg, d. 127l, also a preacher of renown. A member of the Franciscan order, Berthold itinerated from Thuringia to Bohemia, and from Spires to the upper Rhine regions as far as the Swiss canton of the Grisons. He was familiarly known as rusticanus, "the field preacher."  According to contemporaries, he was listened to by sixty thousand at a time. His sermons were taken down by others and, to correct mistakes, he was obliged to edit an edition with his own hand.2078

This celebrated preacher’s style is exceedingly pictorial. He drew illustrations from the stars and the fields, the forests and the waters. The most secret motives of the heart seemed to he open before him. Cruel, the historian of the mediaeval German pulpit, gives as the three elements of his power: his popular speech easily understood by the laity, his personality which he never hid behind a quoted authority, and his burning love for God and man. He preached unsparingly against the vices of his age: usury, avarice, unchastity, drunkenness, the dance, and the tournament, and everything adapted to destroy the sanctity of the home.

He urged as motives the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. But especially did he appeal to the fear of perdition and its torments. If your whole body, he said, was glowing iron and the whole world on fire, yet are the pains of the lost many times greater, and when the soul is reunited with the body in hell, then it will be as passing from dew to a burning mountain. The sermons are enlivened by vivacious dialogues in which the devil is a leading figure. Berthold demanded penitence as well as works of penance. But he was a child of his time, was hard on heretics, and did not oppose any of the accepted dogmas.

A considerable number of sermons, many of them anonymous, are preserved from the mediaeval pulpit of Germany, where preaching seemed to be most in vogue.2079  Among the preachers were Gottfried, abbot of Admont, d. 1165, Honorius of Autun, d. 1152, and Werner of St. Blasius in the Black Forest, d. 1126. Gottfried’s sermons, of which about two hundred are preserved, occupy more than a thousand columns in Migne (174. 21–1133), and are as full of exegetical and edifying material as any other discourses of the Middle Ages.

Honorius and Werner both prepared homiliaria, or collections of sermons which were meant to be a homiletical arsenal for preachers. Honorius’ collection, the Mirror of the Church—Speculurn ecclesiae2080 — is made up of his own discourses, most of the texts being taken from the Psalms. The sermons are arranged under thirty-six Sundays or festival days, with as many as three or four sermons under a single head. In one of them he addresses himself to one class after another, calling them by name. One of the interesting things about these model discourses is the homiletical hints that are thrown in here and there. The following two show that it was necessary, even in those good old times, to adapt the length of the sermon to the patience of the hearers. "You may finish here if you choose, or if time permits, you may add the following things."  "For the sake of brevity you must sometimes shorten this sermon and at other times you may prolong it."

Werner’s collection, the Deflorationes sanctorum patrum, or Flowers from the Fathers, fills more than five hundred columns in Migne (151. 734–1294), and joins, with discourses from patristic times, other sermons, some of them probably by Werner himself. Thirteen are taken from Honorius of Autun. It would be interesting, if there were space, to give specimens of the sermonic literature contained in these collections.

Of the pulpit in England there is not much to be said. It had no preachers equal in fame to the preachers of Germany and Italy. The chief source of our information are the two volumes of Old English Homilies by Morris, which contain an English translation at the side of the Saxon original. The names of the preachers are lost. The sermons are brief expositions of texts of Scripture, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and on Mary and the Apostles, and are adapted to the wants and temptations of everyday life. In a sermon on the Creed2081 the general statement of the introduction is such as might be made by a wise preacher to-day: "Three things there are that each man must have who will lead a Christian life, a right belief, baptism, and a fair life, for he is not fully a Christian who is wanting in any of these."  One of the sermons quaintly treats of the traps set by the devil in four pits: play, and the trap idleness; drink, and the trap wrongdoing; the market, and the trap cheating; and the Church, and the trap pride. In the last trap the clergy are ensnared as when the priest neglects to perform the service or to speak what he ought to, or sings so as to catch the ears of women.2082

A general conclusion to be drawn from the sermons of this period of the Middle Ages is that human passions and the tendency to shirk religious duties or to substitute the appearance for the reality were about the same as they are to-day. Another conclusion is that the modes of appeal employed were about the same as the earnest preacher employs in this age, except that in those days much more emphasis was laid upon the pains of future punishment.


 § 133. Hymns and Sacred Poetry.


Latin Hymns: H. A. Daniel: Thesaurus Hymnol., 5 vols. Halle and Leipzig, 1855–1856. —F, J. Mone: Latein. Hymnen d. Mittelalters, 3 vols. Freib., 1853–1855. —R. C. Trench: Sacr. Lat. Poetry with Notes, Lond., 1849, 3d ed., 1874. —G. A. Königsfeld: Latein. Hymnen und Gesänge d. MtA., 2 vols. Bonn, 1847–1863 with transll.—J. M. Neale: Med. Hymns and Sequences, Lond., 1851, 3d ed., 1867; Hymns chiefly Med. on the Joys and Glories of Paradise, Lond., 1862, 4th ed., by S. G. Hatherley, 1882.—W. J. Loftie: Lat. Hymns, 3 vols. Lond., 1873–1877.—F. W. E. Roth: Lat. Hymnen d. MtA., Augsb., 1888.—*G. M. Dreves and C. Blume: Analecta hymnica medii aevi, Leipz., 1886–1906, 49 parts in 16 vols.—U. Chevalier: Repertorium hymnol. Cat. des chants, hymnes, proses, sequences, tropes, etc., 2 vols. Louvaine, 1892–1897; Poésie liturg. du moyen âge, Paris, 1893.—S. G. Pirmont: Les hymnes du Bréviare rom., 3 vols. Paris, 1874–1884.—Ed. Caswall: Lyra Catholica (197 transll.), Lond., 1849.—R. Mant: Anc. Hymns from the Rom. Brev., new ed., Lond., 1871.—F. A. March: Lat. Hymns with Engl. Notes, N. Y., 1874.—D. T. Morgan: Hymns and other Poems of the Lat. Ch., Oxf., 1880.—W. H. Frere: The Winchester Tropar from MSS. of the 10th and 11th centt., Lond., 1894. —H. Mills: The Hymn of Hildebert and the Ode of Xavier, with Engl. transll., Auburn, 1844.—W. C. Prime: The Seven Great Hymns of the Med. Ch., N. Y., 1865. —E. C. Benedict: The Hymn of Hildebert and other Med. Hymns, with transll., N. Y., 1867, 2d ed., 1869. —A. Coles: Dies Irae and other Lat. Poems, N. Y., 1868. —D. S. Wrangham: The Liturg. Poetry of Adam de St. Victor, with Engl. transll., 3 vols. Lond., 1881.—Ozanam: Les Poètes Franciscains en Italie au XIIIe siècle, Paris, 1852, 3d ed. 1869.—L. Gautier: Oeuvres poet. d’ Adam de St. Victor, Paris, 1858, 2d ed., 1887; Hist. de la poésie liturg. au moyen âge. Paris, 1886.—P. Schaff: Christ in Song, a Collection of Hymns, Engl. and trans. with notes, N. Y. and Lond., 1869. —Schaff and Gilman: Libr. of Rel. Poetry, N. Y., 1881.—Schaff: Lit. and Poetry, N. Y., 1890. Contains essays of St. Bernard as a Hymnist, the Dies irae, Stabat mater, etc.—S. W. Duffield: Lat. Hymn Writers and their Hymns, N. Y., 1889.

For German Hymns, etc.: C. E. P. Wackernagel: D. Deutsche Kirchenlied von d. ältesten Zeit bis zum 1600, 5 vols. Leip., 1864–1877.—Ed. E. Koch: Gesch. des Kirchenlieds und Kirchengesangs, 2 vols. 1847, 3d ed., by Lauxmann, 8 vols. 1866–1876.—Artt., Hymnus and Kirchenlied in Wetzer-Welte, VI. 519–551, VII. 600–606; Kirchenlied, in Herzog, by Drews, X. 409–419, and Lat. and Ger. Hymnody in Julian’s Dicty. of hymnology.


Note. The collection of Latin hymns by Dreves and Blume, members of the Society of Jesus, is a monument of persevering industry and scholarship. It is with few exceptions made up of hitherto unpublished poems. The collection is meant to be exhaustive and one is fairly amazed at the extent of mediaeval sacred poetry. There are about seven hundred pages and an average of eleven hundred poems to each volume. Monasteries and breviaries of every locality in Western Europe were searched for hymnological treasures. In cases, an entire number, or Heft (for the volumes have appeared in numbers), is given up to the poems of a single convent, as No. Vll., pp. 282, to the proses of St. Martial in Limoges. No. XL. contains sequences taken from English MSS., such as the missals of Salisbury, York, Canterbury, and Winchester, and is edited by H. M. Bannister, 1902. Among the more curious parts is No. XXVII., pp. 287, containing the religious poems of the Mozarabic, or Gothic liturgy. If Dreves adds a printed edition of the mediaeval Latin poetry found in Mone, Daniel, and other standard collections, his collection will supersede all the collections of his predecessors.


The mediaeval sermon is, at best, the object of curious search by an occasional student. It is otherwise with some of the mediaeval hymns. They shine in the cluster of the great hymns of all the ages. They have entered into the worship of all the churches of the West and continue to exercise a sanctifying mission. They are not adapted to the adherents of one confession or age alone, but to Christian believers of every age.

The Latin sacred poems of the Middle Ages, of which thousands have been preserved, were written, for the most part, in the shadow of cloistral walls, notably St. Gall, St. Martial in Limoges, Cluny, Clairvaux, and St. Victor near Paris. Few of them passed into public use in the church service, or were rendered by the voice. They served the purpose of devotional reading. The rhyme is universal after 1150.

These poems include liturgical proses, hymns, sequences, tropes, psalteries, and rhymed prayers to the rosary, called rosaria. The psalteries, psalteria rhythmica, in imitation of the Psalms, are divided into one hundred and fifty parts, and are addressed to the Trinity, to Jesus and to Mary, the larger number of them to Mary.2083  Sequence, a word first applied to a melody, came also to be used for a sacred poem. Notker of St. Gall was the first to adapt such poems to sequences or melodies.2084  The tropes were verses interpolated into the offices of the liturgy, and were joined on to the Gloria, the Hosanna, and other parts. They started in France and were most popular there and in England.2085

The authorship of the Latin mediaeval poetry belongs chiefly to France and Germany. England produced only a limited number of religious poems, and no one of the first rank. The best is Archbishop Peckham’s (d. 1292) rhymed office to the Trinity, from which three hymns were taken.2086  One verse of the poem runs:—


Adesto, sancta trinitas

Par splendor, una deitas,

Qui exstas rerum omnium

Sine fine principium.


Come near, O holy Trinity,

In splender equal, in deity one

Of all things that exist

The beginning, and without end.


The number of mediaeval hymns in German is also large. The custom of blending German and Latin lines in the same hymn was also very common, especially in the next period. The number of Saxon hymns, that is hymns produced in England, was very limited.2087

Although the liturgical service was chanted by the priests, singing was also in vogue among the people, especially in Northern Italy and in Germany. The Flagellants sang. Gerhoh of Reichersberg (d. 1169) said that all the people poured forth praises to the Saviour in hymns.2088  At the battle of Tusculum, 1168, the army sang,


Christ der du geboren bist.


St. Bernard, when he left Germany, spoke of missing the German songs of his companions. At popular religious services the people also to some extent joined in song. The songs were called Leisen and Berthold of Regensburg was accustomed, at the close of his sermons, to call upon the congregation to sing.2089  He complained of heretics drawing away children by their songs. Honorius of Autun gives directions for the people to join in the singing, such as the following: "Now lift high your voices," or "Lift up your song, Let us praise the Son of God."

As compared with the hymns of the Ambrosian group and of Prudentius, the mediaeval sacred poems are lacking in their strong and triumphant tone. They are written in the minor key, and give expression to the softer feelings of the heart, and its fears and forebodings. They linger at the cross and over the mystery of the Lord’s Supper, passionately supplicate the intercession of Mary or dwell on her perfections, and also depict the awful solemnities of the judgment and the entrancing glories of paradise. Where we are unable to follow the poet in his theology, we cannot help but be moved by his soft cadences and the tenderness of his devotion.

Among the poets of the earlier part of the period are Peter Damiani, some of whose hymns were received into the Breviaries,2090 Anselm of Canterbury, and Hildebert, archbishop of Tours (d. 1134). Some of Hildebert’s lines were used by Longfellow in his "Golden Legend."  Abaelard also wrote hymns, one of which, on the creation, was translated by Trench.2091

Bernard of Clairvaux, according to Abaelard’s pupil, Berengar, cultivated poetic composition from his youth.2092  Five longer religious poems are ascribed to him.2093  From the Rhythmic Song on the name of Christ—Jubilus rhythmicus de nomine Jesu — the Roman Breviary has drawn three hymns, which are used on the festival of the name of Christ. They are:—


Jesus, the very thought of thee.

Jesus, King most wonderful.

O Jesus, thou the beauty art.


Jesu, dulcis memoria.

Jesu, rex admirabilis.

Jesus, decus angelicum.


The first of these hymns has been called by Dr. Philip Schaff, "the sweetest and most evangelical hymn of the Middle Ages."

The free version of some of the verses by Ray Palmer is the most popular form of Bernard’s poem as used in the American churches.


Jesus, thou Joy of loving hearts,

Thou Fount of life, thou Light of men,

From the best bliss that earth imparts

We turn unfilled to thee again.


The poem to the Members of Christ’s body on the Cross—Rhythmica oratio ad unum quodlibet membrorum Christi patientis — is a series of devotional poems addressed to the crucified Saviour’s feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and face. From the poem addressed to our Lord’s face—Salve caput cruentatum — John Gerhardt, 1656, took his


O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden.


O sacred head, now wounded,

With grief and shame weighed down.


Much as Bernard influenced his own age in other ways, he continues to influence our own effectively and chiefly by his hymns.

Bernard of Cluny, d. about 1150, has an enduring name as the author of the most beautiful and widely sung hymn on heaven, "Jerusalem the Golden."  He was an inmate of the convent of Cluny when Peter the Venerable was its abbot, 1122–1156. From his probable place of birth, Morlaix, Brittany, he is sometimes called Bernard of Morlaix. Of his career nothing is known. He lives in his poem, "The Contempt of the World"—de contemptu mundi — from which the hymns are taken which go by his name.2094  It contains nearly three thousand lines, and was dedicated to Peter the Venerable. At the side of its glowing descriptions of heaven, which are repetitions, it contains a satire on the follies of the age and the greed of the Roman court.2095  It is written in dactylic hexameters, with leonine and tailed rhyme, and is difficult of translation.

The most prolific of the mediaeval Latin poets is Adam of St. Victor, d. about 1180. He was one of the men who made the convent of St. Victor famous. He wrote in the departments of exegesis and psychology, but it is as a poet he has enduring fame. Gautier, Neale and Trench have agreed in pronouncing him the "foremost among the sacred Latin poets of the Middle Ages"; but none of his hymns are equal to Bernard’s hymns,2096 the Stabat mater, or Dies irae. Many of Adam’s poems are addressed to Mary and the saints, including Thomas à Becket. A deep vein of piety runs through them all.2097

Hymns of a high order and full of devotion we owe to the two eminent theologians, Bonaventura and Thomas Aquinas. Of Bonaventura’s sacred poems the one which has gone into many collections of hymns begins, —


Recordare sanctae crucis

qui perfectam viam ducis.


Jesus, holy Cross, and dying.


Three of Thomas Aquinas’ hymns have found a place in the Roman Breviary. For six hundred years two of these have formed a part of the ritual of Corpus Christi: namely, —


Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium,


Sing, my tongue, the mystery telling,




Lauda, Zion, salvatorem.


Zion, to thy Saviour singing.2098


In both of these fine poems, the doctrine of transubstantiation finds full expression.

No other two hymns of ancient or mediaeval times have received so much attention as the Dies irae and the Stabat mater. They were the product of the extraordinary religious fervor which marked the Franciscan order in its earlier period, and have never been excelled, the one by its solemn grandeur, and the other by its tender and moving pathos.

Thomas of Celano, the author of Dies irae,2099 was born about 1200, at Celano, near Naples, and became one of the earliest companions of Francis d’Assisi. In 1221 he accompanied Caesar of Spires to Germany, and a few years later was made guardian, custos of the Franciscan convents of Worms, Spires, Mainz, and Cologne. Returning to Assisi, he wrote, by commission of Gregory IX., his first Life of St. Francis, and later, by command of the general of his order, he wrote the second Life.


The Dies irae opens with the lines, —


Dies irae, dies illa

solvet saeclum in favilla,

teste David cum sibylla.


In the most familiar of the versions, Sir Walter Scott freely reproduced the first lines thus:—


That day of wrath, that dreadful day,

When heaven and earth shall pass away,

What power shall be the sinner’s stay?

How shall he meet that dreadful day?


This solemn poem depicts the dissolution of the world and the trembling fear of the sinner as he looks forward to the awful scene of the last day and appeals for mercy. It has been characterized by Dr. Philip Schaff,2100 "as the acknowledged masterpiece of Latin Church poetry and the greatest judgment hymn of all ages."  The poet is the single actor. He realizes the coming judgment of the world, he hears the trumpet of the archangel through the open sepulchre, he expresses this sense of guilt and dismay, and ends with a prayer for the same mercy which the Saviour showed to Mary Magdalene and to the thief on the cross. The stanzas sound like the peals of an organ; now crashing like a clap of thunder, now stealing softly and tremulously like a whisper through the vacant cathedral spaces. The first words are taken from Zephaniah 1:15. Like the Fathers and Michael Angelo and the painters of the Renaissance, the author unites the prediction of the heathen Sibyl with the prophecies of the Old Testament.

The hymn is used on All Souls Day, Nov. 2. Mozart introduced it into his requiem mass. It has been translated more frequently than any other Latin poem.2101  Walter Scott introduced it into the Lay of the Last Minstrel, and Goethe made Gretchen tremble in dismay on hearing it in the cathedral.

The most tender hymn of the Middle Ages is the Stabat mater dolorosa. The first verse runs:—


  Stabat mater dolorosa

juxta crucem lachrymosa

dum pendebat filius;

cujus animam gementem

contristatam ac dolentem

pertransivit gladius.


  At the cross her station keeping,

Stood the mournful mother weeping,

Close to Jesus to the last;

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,

All His bitter anguish bearing,

Now at length the sword had passed. 2102


This hymn occupies the leading place among the many mediaeval hymns devoted to Mary and, in spite of its mariolatry, it appeals to the deepest emotions of the human heart. Its passion has been transfused into the compositions of Palestrina, Astorga, Pergolesi, Haydn, Bellini, Rossini, and other musical composers.

The poem depicts the agony of Mary at the sight of her dying Son. The first line is taken from John 19:25. The poet prays to Mary to be joined with her in her sorrow and to be defended by her on the day of judgment and taken into glory. The hymn passed into all the missals and was sung by the Flagellants in Italy at the close of the fourteenth century.2103

Jacopone da Todi, the author of these hymns, called also Jacobus de Benedictis (d. 1306), was converted from a wild career by the sudden death of his wife through the falling of a gallery in a theatre. He gave up the law, both degrees of which he had received from Bologna, and was admitted to the Franciscan order.2104  He abandoned himself to the extreme of ascetic austerity, appearing at one time in the public square walking on all fours and harnessed like a horse. He wrote a number of poems in the vulgar tongue, exposing the vices of his age and arraigning Boniface VIII. for avarice. He espoused the cause of the Colonna against that pope. Boniface had him thrown into prison and the story went that when the pope asked him, when he expected to get out, Jacopone replied, "when you get in."  Not until Boniface’s death, in 1303, was the poet released. He spent his last years in the convent of Collazone. His comfort in his last hours was his own hymn, Giesu nostra fidanza — Jesus our trust and confidence.


 § 134. The Religious Drama.


Literature: W. Hone: Anc. Mysteries, Lond., 1823.—W. Marriott: Col. Of Engl. Miracle Plays, Basel, 1838.—J. P. Collier: Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry, 2 vols. Lond. 1831; new ed., 1879.—Th. Wright: Engl. Mysteries, Lond., 1838. —F. J. Mone: Altdeutsche Schauspiele, Quedlinb., 1841; D. Schauspiel d. MtA., 2 vols., Karlsr., 1846.—*Karl Hase: D. geistliche Schauspiel, Leip. 1858, Engl. transl. by A. W. Jackson, Lond. 1880.—E. de Coussemaker: Drames liturg du moyen âge, Paris, 1861. —E. Wilken: Gesch. D. Geistl. Spiele In Deutschland, Götting., 2d ed., 1879.—A. W. Ward: Hist. of Engl. Dram. Lit., Lond., 1875.—G. Milchsack: D. Oster Und Passionsspiele, Wolfenbüttel, 1880.—*A. W. Pollard: Engl. Miracle Plays, Moralities and Interludes with Introd. and Notes, Lond., 1890, 4th ed., 1904.—C. Davidson: Studies in the Engl. Mystery Plays, 1892, printed for Yale Univ.—W. Creizenach: Gesch. des neueren Dramas, 3 vols. Halle, 1893–1903.—Heinzel: Beschreibung des geistl. Schauspiels im Deutschen MtA., Leip., 1898.—O’Connor: Sacred Scenes and Mysteries, Lond., 1899.—*E. K. Chambers: The Mediaeval Stage, 2 vols. Oxf., 1903. —Art. in Nineteenth Century, June, 1906, Festum stultorum by Mrs. V. Hemming.—J. S. Tunison: Dram. Traditions of the Dark Ages, Cincinnati, 1907. See the large list of works in Chambers, I. xiii-xlii.


An important aid to popular religion was furnished by the sacred drama which was fostered by the clergy and at first performed in churches, or the church precincts. It was in some measure a mediaeval substitute for the sermon and the Sunday-school. The old Roman drama received hard blows from the Christian Fathers, beginning with Tertullian, and from synods which condemned the vocation of the actor as inconsistent with a Christian profession. In part as a result of this opposition, and in part on account of the realistic obscenity to which it degenerated, the Roman stage was abandoned. According to the two codes of German law, the Sachsenspiegel and the Schwabenspiegel, actors had no legal rights.2105  But the dramatic instinct was not dead and after a lapse of time it showed itself again in Western Europe.

The mediaeval drama was an independent growth, a product of the convent and priesthood, and was closely associated with the public religious services. Its history includes two periods, roughly divided by the latter half of the thirteenth century. In the earlier period, the representations were largely under the control of the clergy. Priests were the actors and the intent was exclusively religious. In the later period, the elements of pantomime and burlesque were freely introduced and priests ceased to be the controlling factors. The modern drama begins in the sixteenth century, the age of Shakespeare.

The names given to the mediaeval representations were ludi, plays, mysteries, miracle-plays, and moralities. The term "morality" is used for plays which introduced the virtues and vices, personified, and carrying on dialogues teaching wholesome lessons of daily prudence and religion. The term "mystery" comes from the word ministerium, meaning a sacred office.2106  The earlier period of religious dramatization was also the age of itinerant singers and jesters who went about on their mission of entertainment and instruction. Such were the troubadours of Provence and Northern Italy, and the joculatores and jougleurs of France who sang descriptive songs—chansons de geste. The minnesingers of Germany and the English minstrels belong to the same general group. How far these two movements influenced each other, it is difficult to say,—the one starting from the convent and having a strictly religious intent, the other from the people and having for its purpose amusement.

The mediaeval drama had its first literary expression in the six short plays of Hroswitha, a nun belonging to the Saxon convent of Gandersheim, who died about 980. They were written in imitation of Terence and glorify martyrdom and celibate chastity. One of them represents a Roman governor making approaches to Christian virgins whom he had shut up in the scullery of his palace. Happily he was struck with madness and embraced the pots and kettles and covered with soot and dirt, was unceremoniously hustled about by the devil. It is not known whether these plays were acted out or not.2107

Hroswitha was an isolated personality and the mediaeval play had its origin not with her, but in the liturgical ritual for the festivals of Easter, Good Friday, and Christmas. To make the impression of the service more vivid than the reading or chanting of the text could do, dramatic features were introduced which were at first little more than the simplest tableaux vivants. They can be traced beyond the eleventh century and have their ancestry in the tropes or poetical interpolations inserted into the liturgy for popular effect.2108

The first dramatic action was associated with the services on Good Friday and Easter. On Good Friday the cross was hid in a cloth or in a recess in the walls, or in a wooden enclosure, specially put together. Such recesses in the walls, called "sepulchres," are still found in Northwold, Navenby, and other English churches. On Easter day the crucifix was taken out from its place of concealment with solemn ritual. In Davis’ Ancient Rites of Durham is the following description:2109


"Within the church of Durham upon Good Friday there was a marvellous solemn service in which two of the ancient monks took a goodly large crucifix all of gold of the picture of our Saviour Christ, nailed upon the cross .... The service being ended, the said two monks carried the cross to the Sepulchre with great reverence (which Sepulchre was set up that morning on the north side of the quire, nigh unto the high altar before the service time) and there did lay it within the said Sepulchre with great devotion."


To this simple ceremony, adapted to impress the popular imagination, were soon added other realistic elements, such as the appearance of the angels and the women at the sepulchre, the race between Peter and John, and the conversation between Mary and the gardener. Dialogues made up of biblical language were introduced, one of the earliest of which is the conversation between the women and the angels:—


Whom seek ye in the sepulchre, worshippers of Christ?

Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, O heavenly denizens.


Quam quaeritis in sepulchro, Christocolae?

Jesum Nazarenum, crucifixum, O coelicolae.


On Christmas the dramatic action included the angels, the Magi, and other actors, and a real cradle or manger. Priests in the garb of shepherds, as they approached the stable, were met with the question,—


Whom seek ye in the stable, O shepherds, say?

Quem quaeritis in praesepe, pastores, dicite?


To which they replied,


The Saviour, Christ the Lord, the infant wound in swaddling clothes.


From such beginnings, the field was easily extended so as to include all Scriptural subjects, from Adam’s fall to the last judgment.

The first notice of a miracle play in England is the play of St. Katherine, presented by the schoolboys of Dunstable abbey, soon after the year 1100.2110  William Fitz-Stephen, writing about 1180, contrasted the religious plays performed in his day in London with the stage of pagan Rome.

An ambitious German play of the thirteenth century represents Augustine seated in front of a church, Isaiah, Daniel, and other prophets at his right hand, and at his left the High Priest and Jews. Isaiah uttered his prophecy of the Messiah. The Sibyl pointed to the star. Aaron entered with the budding rod. Balaam and the ass then take their turn. An angel blocks the way. The ass speaks. Balaam recites his prediction of the star of Jacob. The prophetic announcements being made, the high priest appeared with much circumstance, and a discussion followed between him on the one side and the prophets and Augustine on the other. Another act followed and the angel announced the Saviour’s birth. The child was born. The three kings and the shepherds come on the scene. The journey to Egypt followed and Egypt’s king met the holy family. Herod is eaten by worms. And so the play went on till anti-Christ made his appearance. Here we have a long advance upon the simple dramatic ceremonies of the century before, and at the same time the germ of the elaborate drama which was to follow. The materials, however, are all religious.

The dramatic instinct was not satisfied with a serious treatment of biblical themes. It demanded the introduction of the burlesque and farcical. These elements were furnished by Judas, the Jews, and the devil, who were made the butts of ridicule. Judas was paid in bad coin. The devil acted a double part. He tempts Eve by his flatteries, he holds the glass before Mary Magdalene while she makes her toilet before going out to dance with every comer, wheels the unfortunate into hell on a wheelbarrow, and receives the lost with mock ceremony into his realm. But he is as frequently represented as the stupid bungler. He was the mediaeval clown, the dupe of devices excelling his own in shrewdness. He sallied out from the stage, frightening little boys and followed with laughter and jibes by the older onlookers. His mishaps were the subject of infinite merriment.

The association of plays with the church was not received with universal approbation. Gerhoh of Reichersperg opposed them as a desecration. Innocent III. in 1210, if he did not condemn them altogether, condemned their abuse.2111  The synod of Treves, 1227, and other synods forbade priests holding "theatrical plays" in the church buildings. Caesar of Heisterbach represents the rigoristic feeling when, hearing from a priest of a stage that was struck by lightning and twenty men burned to death, declared the burning was a proper punishment for the friends of frivolity and that it was a wonder the priest, who was present, escaped.2112

By the end of the thirteenth century, the plays were no longer acted in the churches, but were transferred to the public squares and other open spaces. Gilds and companies of actors took them up and acting again began to be a recognized vocation. The religious element, however, was retained, and religious and moral subjects continued to be the basis of all the plays. Even after they began to be acted on the public squares, the plays, like a modern political gathering, were introduced with prayers and the Veni creator spiritus was chanted. Among the earlier societies, which made it their business to present them, was the confraternity of the Gonfalone. In its chapel, St. Maria della Pieta in the Colosseum, plays were given perhaps as early as 1250. In Passion week the roof of the chapel was turned into a stage and the passion was acted.2113  The first company of play actors in Paris was called confrèrie de la passion, the brotherhood of the passion."

The Feasts of the Fools and the Ass.—In these strange festivals, which go back to the eleventh century, full vent was given by the clergy to the love of the burlesque. At first, they were intended to give relief to the otherwise serious occupation of the clergyman and, while they parodied religious institutions, they were not intended to be sacrilegious, but to afford innocent amusement. Later, the observance took on extravagant forms and received universal condemnation. But, already in this period, the celebration in the churches and cathedrals was accompanied with revels which called forth the severe rebuke of Bishop Grosseteste2114 and two centuries later of John Huss. Both festivals were celebrated at Christmas tide and the early days of January. The descriptions are confusing, and it is difficult to get a perfectly clear conception of either festival.

On the Feast of the Fools,—festum stultorum,2115 — the deacons and subdeacons elected a boy as bishop or pope and in drollery allowed him episcopal functions. Prescriptions for the boy-bishop’s dress are found in the annals of St. Paul and York and Lincoln cathedrals, and included a white mitre and a staff. The ceremony was observed at Eton. The festival, however, was most popular in France. The boy-prelate rode on an ass at the head of a procession to the church amid the ringing of bells and the jangle of musical instruments. There he dismounted, was clad in bishop’s vestments, and seated on a platform. A banquet and religious services followed, and in turn dancing and other merriment. The ceremonies differed in localities and a number of rituals have come down to us.

In the feast of the Ass, —festum asinorum, —the beast that Balaam rode was the chief dramatis persona. The skin of the original animal formed a valuable possession of a convent in Verona. The aim was to give dramatic representation to biblical truth and perhaps to do honor to the venerable and long-suffering beast which from time immemorial has carried man and other burdens. At Rouen the celebration took place on Christmas day. Moses, Aaron, John the Baptist, the Sibyl, Virgil, the children who were thrown into the furnace, and other ancient characters appeared. Balaam, wearing spurs and seated on an ass, was the centre of attraction. A fire was started in the middle of the church around which stood six Jews and Gentiles. The prophets, one by one, made addresses attempting to convert them. The ass spoke when his way was barred by the angel, and Balaam uttered his prophecy of the star. The ass was then placed near the altar and a cope thrown over him. High mass followed.

At Beauvais the festival was celebrated on the anniversary of the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt, Jan. 14. The ass, bearing "a most beautiful maiden" with a child in her arms, was led into the church and stood before the altar during the performance of mass. At the close of the ritual, the priest instead of repeating the customary formula of dismissal, ite, missa est, made three sounds like the braying of an ass,—sacerdos tres hinhannabit, —and the people responded three times, hinham.

The improprieties and revels which became connected with these celebrations were adapted to bring religion into disrepute and called forth the rebukes of Innocent III. and Innocent IV., the latter mentioning a boy-bishop by name and condemning the travesty upon serious subjects. In 1444 the theological faculty of Paris spoke of grave and damnable scandals connected with the celebrations, such as the singing of comic songs the men being dressed in women’s attire and the eating of fat cakes at the altar. Councils, as late as 1584, joined in condemning them. At the close of Henry VIII,’s reign and at Cranmer’s suggestion the festivals were forbidden in England.


 § 135. The Flagellants.


Literature: The Chronicles of Salimbene, Villani, etc.: Gerson: Contra sectam flagellantium, 1417, Du Pin’s ed., Antwerp, 1706. Gerson’s letter to Ferrer and his address to the council of Constance concerning the Flagellants are given by Van der Hardt: Constant. concilium, Frankf., 1700, III. 92–104.—J. Boileau: Hist. Flagel., Paris, 1700, new ed., 1770.—*E. G. Förstemann: D. christl. Geisslergesellschaften, Halle, 1828.—W. M. Cooper: Flagellation and the Flagellants, A Hist. of the Rod in all Countries, Lond., 1877; new ed., 1896.—Fredericq, in Corpus doc. inquis., etc. gives reports of their trials in Holland, I. 190 sqq., etc.—*F. Neukirch: D. Leben d. P. Damiani, Gött., 1875.—Lea: Hist. of Inq., I. 72 sqq., II. 381 sqq.—Artt. Geissler and Geisselung in Wetzer-Welte by Knöpfler, IV. 1532 sqq. and in Herzog by Haupt, VI. 432 sqq. For the older lit., see Förstemann, pp. 291–325.


A genuine indication of popular interest in religion within orthodox circles was the strange movement represented by the Flagellants. Gregorovius has gone so far as to pronounce their appearance "one of the most striking phenomena of the Middle Ages."2116  Although they started within the Church and are not to be classed with the mediaeval sectaries, the Flagellants in a later age came to be regarded with suspicion, were formally condemned by the council of Constance, and were even the object of ecclesiastical prosecution. They appeared first in 1259, then in 1333, 1349, 1399, and last at the time the council of Constance was sitting. The most notable appearance was in 1349, at the time the Black Death was raging in Europe.

The movement had no compact organization, as is shown from its spasmodic character. It grew out of discontent with the Church and a longing for true penitence and amendment of life. The prophecies of Joachim, who set 1260 as the time for the appearance of anti-christ, probably had something to do with stirring up unrest; perhaps also the famine in Italy, of 1258, which was followed by a strange physical malady, characterized by numbness of the bodily organs. Salimbene reports that the bells were left untolled for funerals, lest the sick should be terrified. The enthusiasm took the form of processions, scourgings, and some novel and strange ceremonies. It was a species of evangelism, and attempted a campaign against physical and other sins, as the Crusades did against the Saracens of the East. It sought to make popular the discipline of flagellation, which was practised in the convent, and to secure penitential results, such as the monk was supposed to reach.

The most notable adept of this conventual flagellation was Dominicus Loricatus (d. 1060), who got his name from the iron coat he wore next to his skin. He accompanied the repetition of every psalm with a hundred strokes with a lash on his naked back. Three thousand strokes were equivalent to a year’s penance. But Loricatus beat all records and accomplished the exercise of the entire Psalter no less than twenty times in six days, the equivalent of a hundred years of penance. Peter Damiani, to whom we are indebted for our account, relates that the zealous ascetic, after saying nine Psalters in a single day, accompanying them with the required number of lashes, went to his cell to make sure the count was right. Then removing his iron jacket and taking a scourge in each hand, he kept on repeating the Psalter the whole night through till he had finished it the twelfth time and was well into the thirteenth when he stopped.

What is your body, exclaimed Damiani, who contented himself with prescribing forty psalms a day for his monks,—"what is your body?  Is it not carrion, a mass of corruption, dust, and ashes, and what thanks will the worms give for taking good care of it?"2117

Under the appeals of preachers like Fulke of Neuilly and Anthony of Padua, there were abnormal physical manifestations, and hearers set to work flagellating themselves.

The flagellant outbreak of 1259 started at Perugia and spread like an epidemic. All classes, young and old, were seized. With bodies bared to the waist, carrying crosses and banners and singing hymns, newly composed and old, they marched to and fro in the streets, scourging themselves. Priests and monks joined the ranks of the penitents. Remarkable scenes of moral reform took place. Usurers gave up their ill-gotten gains; murderers confessed, and, with swords pointed to their throats, offered themselves up to justice; enemies were reconciled. And as the chatty chronicler, Salimbene, goes on to say, if any would not scourge himself, he was held to be a limb of Satan. And what is more, such persons were soon overtaken with sickness or premature death.2118 Twenty thousand marched from Modena to Bologna. At Reggio, Parma, and other cities, the chief officials joined them. But all were not so favorable, and the Cremona authorities and Manfred forbade their entering their territories.

The ardor cooled off quickly in Italy, but it spread beyond the Alps. Twelve hundred Flagellants appeared in Strassburg and the impulse was felt as far as Poland and Bohemia. The German penitents continued their penance thirty-three days in memory of the number of the years of Christ’s life. They chastised themselves and also sang hymns. Here also the enthusiasm subsided as suddenly as it was enkindled. The repetitions of the movement belong to the next period.


 § 136. Demonology and the Dark Arts.


Literature: Anselm: de casu diaboli, Migne, 158. 326–362.—P. Lombardus: Sent., II. 7 sqq.—Alb. Magnus: In Sent., Borgnet’s ed., XXVII. etc.—Th. Aquinas: Summa, I. 51 sqq., II. 94–96, Migne, I. 893 sqq., II. 718 sqq., etc. Popular statements, e.g. P. Damiani, Migne, 144, 145. Peter the Venerable: de mirac., Migne, 189. 850–954. —John of Salisbury: Polycraticus, Migne, 199. 405 sqq.—Walter Map—Caesar of Heisterbach: Dial. mirac. Strange’s ed., 2 vols. Bonn, 1851, especially bk. V.—Thos. A Chantimprè: Bonum universale de apibus, Germ. Reprod. by A. Kaufmann, Col. 1899.—Jac. De Voragine: Golden Legend, Temple Class. ed. —Etienne de Bourbon, especially Part IV.—*T. Wright: Narrative of Sorcery and Magic, 2 vols. Lond., 1851.—*G. Roskoff: Gesch. des Teufels, 2 vols. Leipzig, 1869.—*W. G. Soldau: Gesch. der Hexenprocesse, Stuttg., 1843; new ed., by Heppe, 2 vols. Stuttg., 1880.—*Lea: Hist. of the Inquis., III. 379–550.—Lecky: Hist. of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, chap. 1.—Döllinger-Friedrich: D. Papstthum, Munich, 1892.—A. D. White: Hist. of the Warfare of Science and Theol. in Christendom, 2 vols. N. Y., 1898.—*Joseph Hansen : Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hexenprocess im Mittelalter und die Entstehung der grossen Hexenverfolgung, Munich, 1900; *Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung im MtA., Leip., 1901.—Graf von Hoensbroech: D. Papstthum in seiner sozialkulturellen Wirksamkeit, Leipzig, 2 vols. 1900; 4th ed., 1901, vol. I. 207–380. For special lit. on Witchcraft, 1300–1500, see next volume.


At no point do the belief and experience of our own age differ so widely from the Middle Ages as in the activity of the devil and the realm of evil spirits. The subject has already been touched upon under monasticism and the future state, but no history of the period would be complete which did not give it separate treatment. For the belief that the satanic kingdom is let loose upon mankind was more influential than the spirit of monasticism, or than the spirit which carried on the Crusades.

The credulity of monk and people and the theology of the Schoolmen peopled the earth and air with evil spirits. The writings of popular authors teem with tales of their personal appearances and malignant agency, and the scholastic definitions are nowhere more precise and careful than in the department of satanology. After centuries of Christian culture, a panic seized upon Europe in the first half of the thirteenth century about the fell agency of such spirits, a panic which continued powerfully to influence opinion far beyond the time of the Reformation. The persecution to which it led, was one of the most merciless forms of cruelty ever practised. The pursuit and execution of witches constitute a special chapter in the history, but it is not fully opened till the fifteenth century. Here belong the popular and scholastic conceptions of the devil and his agency before the witch-craze set in.

The sources from which the Middle Ages derived their ideas of the demonic world were the systems of classical antiquity, the Norse mythology, and the Bible as interpreted by Augustine and Gregory the Great. In its wildest fancies on the subject, the mediaeval theology was only following these two greater authorities.

The general term for the dark arts, that is, the arts which were supposed to be under the control of satanic agency, was maleficium, a term inherited from the Romans. The special names were magic, sorcery, necromancy, divination, and witchcraft. Astrology, after some hesitation, was included in the same list.2119

I. The Popular Belief.—The popular belief is set forth by such writers as Peter Damiani, Peter the Venerable, Caesar of Heisterbach, Jacob of Voragine, Thomas of Chantimpré, Etienne de Bourbon, and the French writers of poetry. Even the English writers, Walter Map and John of Salisbury, both travelled men and, as we would say, men of the world from whom we might have expected other things, accepted, with slight modification, the popular views. Map treats Ceres, Bacchus, Pan, the satyr, the dryads, and the fauns as demons, and John discusses in six chapters the pestiferous familiarity of demons and men—pestifera familiaritas daemonum et hominum.2120

Peter Damiani, the contemporary of Hildebrand, could tell of troops of devils he had seen in the air with his own eyes, and in all sorts of shapes.

Caesar of Heisterbach furnishes a storehouse of tales which to him were as much realities as reports of the Dark Continent by Stanley or Speke would be to us. This genial writer represents an old monk setting at rest the doubts of a novice by assuring him that he himself had seen the devil in the forms of a Moor, an ox, a dog, a toad, an ape, a pig, and even in the garbs of a nun and a prior. Peter the Venerable likewise speaks of Satan as taking on the form of a bear.2121  He also assumed the forms of a black horse, rooks, and other creatures. French poetry and the popular imagination invested him with horns, claws, and tail.2122

The devil made his appearance at all hours of the day and night, in the time of health, and at the hour of death. The monk was no more exempt from his personal solicitations while engaged at his devotions than at other times. One of the places where the evil spirits took particular delight in playing tricks was in the choir when the monastics were met for matins and other services. Here they would vex the devout by blowing out the lights, turning to a wrong leaf, or confusing the tune.2123

On one occasion Herman of Marienstadt saw three who passed so near to him that he might easily have touched them, had he so desired. He noted that they did not touch the floor and that one of them had the face of a woman, veiled. Sometimes a troop appeared and threw one part of the choir into discord, and when the other part took up the chant, the demons hastened over to its side and threw it into the same confusion, so that the two wings of the choir shouted hoarsely and discordantly one to the other.2124

On another occasion Herman, then become abbot, a monastic whom Caesar calls a man of marked piety, saw the devil in the form of a Moor sitting on one of the windows of the church. He looked as if he had just emerged from hell-fire, but soon took his flight. When Herman was praying to be delivered from such visions, the devil seizing his last opportunity appeared to the abbot as a bright eye as big as a fist, and as if to say, "Look straight at me once more for this is the last time."  Nevertheless, the abbot saw the devil again and this time at the sepulture of Countess Aleidis of Freusberg. While the lady’s body was lying in its shroud, the devil appeared, peering into all corners as if he was looking for something he had lost.

It was a bad symptom of the monkish imagination that when the devil was seen in convents, it was often in the form of a woman and a naked woman at that. Sometimes monks got sick from seeing him and could neither eat, drink, nor sleep for days. Sometimes they lost their minds from the same cause and died insane. At times, however, vigilant nuns were able to box his ears.2125  A demon entered the ear of a woman when her husband said to her, "Go to the devil."  Children were known to drink the devil in their milk as did one child of four who remained possessed for thirty years. The devil, as might have been expected, was fond of dice and, as in the case of a certain knight, Thieme, after playing with him all night carried him through the roof so that,—according to the testimony of the man’s son, he was never seen again.2126  Bernard, by his own statement, cast out demons, as did Norbert and most of the other mediaeval saints. Norbert’s biographer reports that the devil struck some of the Premonstrants with his tail. At other times he imparted to would-be monks an unusual gift to preach and explain the Bible, and the Premonstrants were about to receive some of this class into their order when the trick was revealed. On one occasion, when Norbert was about to cast out a demon from a boy, the demon took the shape of a pea and sat upon the boy’s tongue and then impudently set to work asserting that he would not evacuate his dwelling-place. "You are a liar," said the ecclesiastic, "and have been a liar from the beginning."  That truth the devil could not gainsay and so he came out and disappeared but not without leaving ill odors behind and the child sick.2127

The devil, however, to the discomfiture of the wicked often told the truth. Thus it happened in Norbert’s experience at Maestricht, that when he was about to heal a man possessed and a great crowd was gathered, the demon started to tell on bystanders tales of their adultery and other sins, which had not been covered by confession. No wonder the crowd quickly broke up and took to its heels.2128  The devil prayed the Lord’s Prayer but with mistakes so that he was easily detected.2129  Once his identity was discovered, it was no difficult thing to get rid of him. The sign of the cross, spitting, and saying the Ave Maria were sufficient to drive him away.2130  Peter the Venerable gives many cases showing how the crucifix, the host, and holy water protected monks, insidiously attacked by "the children of malediction" and the old enemy of souls"—antiquus hostis. Sometimes resort was had to sprinkling the room and all its furniture with holy water,—a sort of disinfecting process—and the imps would disappear.

De Voragine tells how St. Lupe, as he was praying one night, felt great thirst. He knew it was due to the devil and asked for water. When it was brought, he clapped a lid on the vessel, "shutting the devil up quick."  The prisoner howled all night, unable to get out.2131

Salimbene gives a droll case of a peasant into whom the devil entered, making him talk Latin. But the peasant tripped in his Latin so that "our Lector laughed at his mistakes."  The demon spoke up, "I can speak Latin well enough, but the tongue of this boor is so thick that I make sorry work wielding it."2132  Luther’s easy explanation of mice, fleas, and other pests as the devil’s creations, is called up by the following statement: A certain Cistercian, Richalmus, of the thirteenth century, in a book on the devil’s wiles, said, "It seems incredible but it is true, it is not fleas and lice which bite us but what we think is their bites are the pricks of demons. For those little insects do not live off our blood, but from perspiration, and we often feel such pricks when there are no fleas."2133

These incidents may be brought to a close by the following interesting conversation reported by Caesar of Heisterbach as having been carried on by two evil spirits who had possessed two women who got into a quarrel. "Oh, if we had only not gone over to Lucifer," said one, "and been cast out of heaven!"  The other replied, "Hold your peace, your repentance comes too late, you couldn’t get back if you would."  "If there were only a column of iron," answered the first, "though it were furnished with the sharpest knives and saws, I would be willing to climb up and down it till the last judgment day, if I could only thereby make my way back to glory."

These stories are records of what were believed to be real occurrences. The denizens of the lower world were everywhere present in visible and invisible form to vex and torment saint and sinner in body and soul. No voice is heard protesting against the belief. It is refreshing, however, to have at least one case of scepticism. Thus Vincent de Beauvais tells of a woman who assured her priest that she and other women were under the influence of witchcraft and had one night succeeded in getting into the priest’s bedchamber through the keyhole. After in vain trying to persuade her that she was laboring under a delusion, the priest locked the door and putting the key into his pocket, gave her a good drubbing with a stick, exclaiming, "Get out through the keyhole now, if you can."

II. The Theological Statement.—The wildest popular conceptions of the agency of evil spirits are confirmed by the theological definitions of Peter the Lombard, Albertus Magnus, Bonaventura, Thomas Aquinas, and other Schoolmen. According to the mediaeval theology, the devil is at the head of a realm of demons who are divided into prelacies and hierarchies like the good angels.

The region into which the devil and his angels were cast down was the tenebrous air. There, in the pits of darkness, he and his followers are preserved until the day of final judgment. Their full degree of torment will not be meted out to them till then. In the meantime, they are permitted to trouble and torment men.2134  For this view such passages as Matt. 8:29 and Luke 8:31 are quoted.

Albertus Magnus, who, of all the Schoolmen, might speak on such a subject with precision, fixed the exact location of the aery realm. Following the philosophers, as he said, he defined three zones in the superterrestrial spaces: the higher, lower, and the middle zone.2135  The higher zone is light and tranquil, constituted of thin air and very hot. Its light is great in proportion to the propinquity of that sphere to the stars and because the rays of the sun permeate it for a longer time. The lower zone, enveloping and touching the solid earth, is made bright by the powerful reflection of the sun’s rays. The intermediate zone is exceedingly cold and dark. Here the tempests are bred and the hail and snows generated. This is the habitation of the evil spirits, and there they move the clouds, start the thunders, and set a-going other natural terrors to frighten and hurt men. The exact distance of that sphere from the earth the philosophers measure, but Albertus does not choose to determine the measurement.

In defining the mental power and the influence of evil spirits, Thomas Aquinas and the other Schoolmen follow Augustine closely, although in elaboration they go beyond him. The demons did not lose their intellectual keenness by their fall.2136  This keenness and long experience give them power to foretell the future. If astronomers, said Albertus Magnus, foresee future events by the natal constellations, much more may demons through their shrewdness in observation and watching the stars. Their predictions, however, differ from the predictions of the prophets by being the product of the light of nature. The prophets received a divine revelation.

The miracles which the evil spirits perform are, for the most part, juggleries.2137  Thomas Aquinas, however, asserts for these works a genuine supernatural quality. They are at times real works, as when the magicians, by the help of the devil, made frogs in Egypt; or as in the case of Job’s children upon whom fire came down from heaven. They are not able to create out of nothing, but they have the power to accelerate the development of germs and hidden potencies, to destroy harvests, influence the weather, and produce sickness and death.

The special influence which they exercise over human beings in sorcery and witchcraft they exercise by virtue of a compact entered into between them and men and women, Isa. 28:18: "We have made a covenant with death, and with sheol are we in agreement."  The most fiendish and frequent of these operations is to disturb the harmony of the married relation. Men they make impotent; women sterile. The earlier fiction of the succubus and the incubus, inherited from pagan mythology and adopted by Augustine, was fully accepted in the Middle Ages. This was the shocking belief that demons cohabit with men, the succubus, and lie with women, the incubus. The Schoolmen go so far as to affirm that, though the demons have no direct offspring, yet after lying with men they suddenly transform themselves and communicate the seed they have received to women.2138

This view which the Schoolmen formulated was common belief. The story of Merlin, the son of an incubus and a nun, was a popular one in the Middle Ages.2139  Guibert of Nogent states that his father and mother for three years were prevented from exercising the rights of wedlock until the incubus was driven off by a good angel. Matthew Paris reports the case of a child which went for the offspring of an incubus.2140  The Huns were popularly believed to be the offspring of demons and offcast Gothic women.2141  Eleanor, wife of Louis VII. and then of Henry II. of England, so report went, was likewise the child of a demon.2142  Caesar of Heisterbach gives many stories of the cohabitation of demons with priests and women.2143

This malign activity upon the marital relation was made by Thomas Aquinas a proper ground of divorce.2144  The transport of men and women through the air is also vouched for by this theologian, and as far back as the twelfth century the Patarenes were accused of practices, as by Walter Map, which were at a later period associated with witches. They held their meetings or synagogues behind closed doors and after the lights were put out the devil descended in the shape of a cat, holding on to a rope. Scenes of indiscriminate lust followed. Map was even willing to believe that the heretics kissed the cat under the tail.2145

The mind of Europe did not become seriously exercised on the subject of demonic possession until after heresy made its appearance and the measures to blot it out were in an advanced stage. The Fourth Lateran did not mention the dark arts, and its failure to do so can only be explained on the ground that the mind of Christendom was not yet aroused. It was not long, however, before violent incursions of the powers of darkness, as they were supposed to be, rudely awakened the Church, and from the time of Gregory IX. the agency of evil spirits and heresy were closely associated. In one of his deliverances against the Stedinger, this pope vouched for the belief that heretics consulted witches, held communion with demons, and indulged in orgies with them and the devil who, as he said, met with them in the forms of a great toad and black cat. Were the stars in heaven and the elements to combine for the destruction of such people without reference to their age or sex, it would be an inadequate punishment.2146

After 1250 the persecution of heretics for doctrinal error diminishes and the trials for sorcery, witchcraft, and other demonic iniquity become frequent.2147  In big bull, ad exstirpanda, 1252, Innocent IV. called upon princes to treat heretics as though they were sorcerers, and in 1258 Alexander IV. spoke of sorcerers as savoring of heresy.2148  Before this, magic and sorcery had come exclusively under the jurisdiction of the state.

At this juncture came the indorsement of Thomas Aquinas and his great theological contemporaries. There was nothing left for the ecclesiastical and civil authorities to do but to ferret out sorcerers, witches, and all who had habitual secret dealings with the devil. A craze seized upon the Church to clear the Christian world of imaginary armies of evil spirits, demonizing men and especially women. Pope after pope issued orders not to spare those who were in league with the devil, but to put them to torture and cast them into the flames.2149  The earliest trials for sorcery by the Inquisition were held in Southern France about 1250, and the oldest Interrogatories of the Inquisition on the subject date twenty-five years later.2150  These prosecutions reached their height in the fifteenth century, and the papal fulminations found their ultimate expression in the bull of Innocent VIII. against witches, 1484.

Men like Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon were popularly charged with being wizards. Bacon, enlightened beyond his age, pronounced some of the popular beliefs delusions, but, far from denying the reality of sorcery and magic, he tried to explain the efficacy of spells and charms by their being made at seasons when the heavens were propitious.


 § 137. The Age passing Judgment upon Itself.


The preceding pages have shown the remarkable character of the events and movements, the men and ideas which fill the centuries from Hildebrand’s entrance into Rome with Leo IX., 1049, to the abdication of the simple-minded Coelestin, 1294. The present generation regards the events of the last half-century as most extraordinary. The same judgment was passed by Matthew Paris upon the half-century of which he was a spectator, 1200–1250. Useful inventions and discoveries, such as we associate with the second half of the nineteenth century, there were few or none in the thirteenth century, and yet those times were full of occurrences and measures which excited the deepest interest and the speculation of men. The retrospect of the fifty years, which the clearheaded English monk sums up in his Chronicles, furnishes one of the most instructive pieces of mediaeval literature.

Here is what Matthew Paris says: There occurred in this time extraordinary and strange events, the like of which had never been seen before nor were found in any of the writings of the Fathers. The Tartars ravaged countries inhabited by Christians. Damietta was twice taken and retaken, Jerusalem twice desolated by the Infidel. St. Louis was captured with his brothers in the East. Wales passed under the domination of England. Frederick, the Wonder of the World, had lived his career. The Crusades had given to a great host a glorious death. As for natural wonders, an eclipse of the sun had occurred twice in three years, earthquakes had shaken England several times, and there had been a destructive rise of the sea such as had never been seen before. One night immense numbers of stars fell from the heavens, a reason for which could not be found in the Book of Meteors, except that Christ’s threat was impending when he said, "There shall be signs in the heavens."

Among things distinctively religious, the chronicler notes that an English cardinal was suffocated in his palace, as was supposed, for having his eye on the tiara. The figure of Christ appeared in the sky in Germany and was plainly seen by every one. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Hildegard flourished. The ordeal of fire and water was abolished. Seville, Cordova, and other parts of Spain were rescued from the Moors. The orders of the Minorites and the Preachers arose, startling the world by their devotion and disgusting it by their sudden decline. Some of the blood of Christ and a stone, bearing his footprints, arrived in England.

Such are some of the occurrences which seemed wonderful to the racy English historian. If he had read over the leaves of his Chronicles as we do, how many other events he might have singled out,—from the appearance of the elephant, a gift of the king of France to the king of England, which, as he says, was the first ever seen in England and the appearance of the sea-monster thrown up in Norwich,2151 to his instructive accounts of the doings of popes and emperors, and the chafings of the English people under papal injustice.

Life was by no means a humdrum, monotonous existence to the people who lived in the age of the Crusades and Innocent III. On the contrary it was full of surprises and attractive movements, from every turn of the papacy and empire, to the expeditions of the Crusaders and the travels of Marco Polo and Rubruquis.

A historical period is measured by the judgment passed upon it by its contemporaries and by the judgment of succeeding generations. What did the period from 1050 to 1294 offer that seemed notable to those who were living then and what contribution did it make to the progress and well-being of mankind?  The first of these questions can be answered by the generation which then lived; the second, best by the generations which have come since.

It is the persuasion of a school of mediaeval enthusiasts that this period was a golden age of faith and morals and tenable systems of belief, an age when the laws of God were obeyed as they have not been since, an age when proper attention was given to the things of religion, an age of high ideals and spiritual repose. Is this judgment justified or is the older Protestant view the right one that the Middle Ages handed down nothing distinctive—which has been of permanent value; but, on the contrary, many of the superstitions and false doctrines now prevailing in the Church are an inheritance from the Middle Ages, and it would have been better if the Church had passed directly from the patristic age and skipped the mediaeval.2152

Neither judgment is right. A more just opinion is beginning to prevail, and upon a modification of the extreme views of Protestants and Roman Catholics on the subject depends to a considerable extent the closer fellowship between the ecclesiastical communions of the West. Much chaff will be found there mixed with the wheat. On the other hand, in this mediaeval period were also sown the seeds of religious ideas and institutions which are now in their period of bloom or awaiting the time of full fruitage.

The achievement of absolute power by the papacy, magnificent as it was, represents an ideal utterly at fault, whether we consider the teaching of Scripture or the prevailing judgment of the present time. Ambition, pride, avarice, were mingled in popes with a sincere belief that the Roman see inherited from the Apostle plenitude of authority in all realms. Europe, more enlightened, cannot accept such a claim and the moral degeneracy and spiritual incompetency of the popes, in the period following this, were an experimental proof that the theory was wrong.

As for the priesthood and hierarchy, evidence enough has been adduced to show that ordination did not insure devotion to office and personal purity. Dante’s hell contains more than one pontiff of this period. The nearer we approach Rome, the more numerous the scandals are. The term "the Romans" was synonymous with unscrupulous greed. Gregory X. in 1274 declared that "the prelates were the ruin of Christendom."  Frederick II., though pronounced a poor churchman, was a keen observer and no doubt indicated a widespread discontent with the lives the clergy were leading when he declared that, if they would change their mode of living, the world might again see miracles as in the days of old.2153

The distinctively mediaeval ideal of a religious life has little attraction to-day. The seclusion of the monastery presents a striking contrast to the active career demanded of a Christian profession in this age. The example of St. Bernard and his praise of monasticism, as the praise of other writers, are so weighty that one cannot deny that the best men saw in monastic solitude the highest advantage. Monastic institutions had a most useful part to play as a leavening force in the wild and unsettled society of that time. But the discipline and ardor of monastic orders quickly passed away, in spite of the devotion of Francis d’Assisi and other monastic founders. Simplicity yielded to luxury, and spiritual devotion to sloth and pride. It was the ardent Franciscan, Bonaventura, who instances the vices which had crept into his order and Jacques de Vitry, cardinal-bishop, d. 1240, who said that a girl’s virtue was safe under no Rule except the Cistercian. What can be said of the ideal of human life as it is set forth in the tale of St. Brandon, not to speak of innumerable similar tales told by Jacob de Voragine, archbishop of Genoa, d. 1298!  What shall be thought of the example of the Blessed St. Angela of Foligno, admired and praised by so many Franciscan writers, who on her "conversion" prayed to be relieved of the impediments of obedience to husband, respect to mother and the care of children and rejoiced to have her request granted by their deaths!

If we desire priestly rule, there was enough of it to satisfy any one. But with the rule of the priesthood came the loss of individual freedom and the right of the soul to determine its own destiny in the sight of the Creator. De Voragine2154 speaks of Thomas à Becket, by great abstinence making his body lean and his soul fat. He had a right to do as he pleased. But it was the same prelate who expressed the hierarchical pride of the age when he exclaimed to an English king that priests are the fathers and masters of kings. The laity, according to Caesar of Heisterbach, as already quoted, were compared to the night, the clergy to the day, The preacher Werner of St. Blasius called the peasants the feet whose toil was appointed to maintain the more worthy parts of the body,—bishops, priests, and monks.2155  The thinkers of this period had no vision of the Reformation.

The Middle Ages have been praised as a period of religious contentment and freedom from sectarian strife. The very contrary was the case. The strife between the friars and the secular clergy and, in cases, within the monastic orders themselves equals in bitterness any strife that has been maintained between branches of the Protestant Church. It was a question not whether there was religious unrest but, from the days of Arnold of Brescia on, how the established Church might crush out heretical revolt. There was also religious doubt among the monks, and there were women who denied that Eve had been tempted by an apple, as Caesar of Heisterbach assures us.

The superstitions which prevailed were largely inherited from preceding ages. The worship of Mary clouded the merits of Christ. What can be said when Thomas of Chantimpré, d. about 1263, relates in all seriousness that a robber, whose head had been cut off, kept calling upon the Virgin, as the body rolled down a hill, until the parts were put together by a priest. The criminal then told how, as a boy, he had devoted Saturdays and Wednesdays to Mary and she had promised he should not die till opportunity was given him to make confession. So he made confession and died again, and, as the reader is left to believe, went into the other world rejoicing.

The gruesome tales of demoniacal presence and influence indicate a condition of mind from which we do well to be thankful we are delivered. John of St. Giles, the admirable English Dominican, used to say, as he retired to his cell in the evening, "Now I await my martyrdom," meaning the buffetings of the devil. The awful story of how Ludwig the Iron, 1100–1172, was welcomed to hell and shown all its compartments and then pitched mercilessly into quenchless flames is no worse than the visions of Dante, but too revolting in the apparent callousness of it to the suffering of others not to call forth a shudder to-day.2156

Such representations, however, do not warrant the conclusion that human charity was dead. St. Francis and Hugh of Lincoln kissed the hands of lepers. The Knights of St. Lazarus were intrusted by Louis IX. with the care of this class of sufferers. Houses for lepers were established in England by Lanfranc, Mathilda, queen of Henry, King Stephen at Burton, and others. Mathilda washed their feet, believing that, in so doing, she was washing the feet of Christ.2157  The oldest of the military orders and the Teutonic Knights, as well as other orders, were organized to care for the sick and distressed.

On the other hand the period sets, in some respects, an example of great devotion, and has handed down to us the universities and the cathedrals, some of the most tender hymns and imposing theological systems which, if they cannot be accepted in important particulars, are yet remarkable constructions of thought and piety. And, above all, it has handed down to us a group of notable men who may well serve as a stimulus to all generations which are interested in the extension of Christ’s kingdom.

But in the judgment of these very men, the period was not an ideal one either in morals or faith. If we go to preachers, like Berthold of Regensburg, we find evidence of the prevalence of vice and irreligion among all classes. If we go to popes and Schoolmen, we hear bitter complaints of the evils of the age and of human lot which would fit in with the most pessimistic philosophy of our times. Innocent III., in his Disdain of the World,—De contemptu mundi,—poured out a lamentation, lugubrious enough for the most desolate and forsaken. Anselm dilates under the same title, and Hugo of St. Victor2158 carries on the plaint in his Vanity of the World—De vanitate mundi. Walter Map wrote on the world’s misery—de mundi miseria, declaring that the world was near its destruction, that justice was exiled from society and the worship of Christ was coming to an end.


Exulat justitia, cessat Christi cultus.


The most famous of the longer poems of the period repeats Innocent’s title, and its author, Bernard of Cluny, is most severe upon the corruption in church and society. The poem starts in the minor key.


The last times, the worst times are here, watch.

Behold the Judge, supreme, is at hand with His wrath.

He is here, He is here. He will terminate the evils. He will reward the just.


Hora novissima, tempora pessima sunt, vigilemus

Ecce minaciter, imminet arbiter ille supremus.

Imminet, imminet, et mala terminet, aequa coronet.


The greater Bernard of Clairvaux exclaimed, "Oh! that I might, before dying, see the Church of God led back to the ideal of her early days. Then the nets were cast, not to catch gold and silver, but to save souls. The perilous times are not impending. They are here. Violence prevails on the earth."2159  The Englishman, Adam Marsh, writing to Grosseteste, spoke of "these most damnable times," his diebus damnatissimis.2160  Edmund of Abingdon, archbishop of Canterbury, dying in exile at Potigny, exclaimed, "I have lived too long, for I see all things going to ruin; Lord God receive my soul."2161  Roger Bacon found rottenness and decay everywhere, and he agreed with other moralists of his day, in making the clergy chiefly responsible for the prevailing corruption. The whole clergy, he says, "is given to pride, avarice, and self-indulgence. Where clergymen are gathered together, as at Paris and Oxford, their quarrels and strife, and their vices are a scandal to laymen."2162

With a similar lament Hildebrand, at the opening of the period, took up the duties of the papacy.

The prophet Joachim looked for a new dispensation as the only relief.

The real greatness of this period lies not in its relative moral and religious perfection, as compared with our own, but in a certain imposing grandeur of conception and of faith, as shown in the Crusades, the cathedrals, the Scholastic systems, and even the mistaken ideal of papal supremacy. Its institutions were not in a settled condition, and its religious life was not characterized by repose. A tremendous struggle was going on. The surface was troubled, and there was a mighty undercurrent of restlessness. It would be an ungracious and a foolish thing for this generation, the heir of twice as many centuries of Christian schooling as were the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to boast as though Christian charity and morality and devotion to high aims had waited until now to manifest themselves. The Middle Ages, from 1050 to 1300, offer a spectacle of stirring devotion to religious aims in thought and conduct.



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. The material has been carefully compared and corrected according to the Eerdmans reproduction of the 1907 edition by Charles Scribner's sons, with emendations by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

2007  Peltier’s ed., XIV. 181. A free translation runs, "Hail, heavenly lily, Hail most graceful rose, Hail mother of the lowly, Reigning on high, Couch of deity; Give to us in this valley of tears strength, Lend aid O thou palliator of sins."

2008  2 sinus, bosom; pectus, breast; viscera bowels; ubera, breasts; uterus, etc.

2009  Bonaventura, Speculum, III. Peltier’s ed., XIV. 240.

2010  Migne, 145. 566

2011  Ir antlutze war so tugentliche, Ir ougen also kunchliche, Ir gebaerde also reine, Das sich ze ir glichte deheine, Under allen den frouen, quoted by von Eicken, p. 477.

2012  The word used is concupiscentia, the usual word for lust. Migne, 183. 62.

2013  Specialissime et spiritualissime. Migne, 210. 53.

2014  See von Eicken, p. 481. In a song to Mary written by the Dominican, Eberhard of Saxony, in the thirteenth century, occur the lines:—

Got in sinem hohen trone hat begehrt diner schone

Da er wil, o wiber Krone mit gelüste dich ansehen.

"God on His throne desired thy beauty and wanted, O crown of womanhood, to look on thee with passion."

2015  Orationes, LII., Migne, 158. 954.

2016  De laud. Mariae, Borgnet’s ed., XXXVI. 600-840.

2017  These works may not all be genuine. They belong, at least, to Bonaventura’s age.

2018  De assump., Migne, 183. 430; De nativ. Mariae, Migne, 183. 441; Supermissus III., Migne, 183. 70

2019  In Sent., III. 1, 2, Peltier’s ed., IV. 63.

2020  Orat., LVIII, LX. Migne, 158. 964, 966.

2021  Dreves, Analecta, I. 48 sqq.

2022  De variis mirac., Migne, 145. 586 sq.; De bono suffr., Migne, 145. 564

2023  Dial., VII. 13, 19, XI. 12, VII. 12, 39, 40, 51, etc.

2024  Dial., VII. 38.

2025  II. 264.

2026  The Assumption of Mary. Temple Classics, IV. 249.

2027  Hase, Miracle Plays, 31.

2028  De Mariae virg., Migne, 173. 872. Bernard even uses the word "impregnate," impregnare to indicate the Spirit’s influence. Migne, 183. 59.

2029  Cur Deus homo, II. 8; De concept. virg., Migne, 158. 445.

2030  Summa III. 28, 1, etc., Migne, IV. 258, 262, 294, 298, etc.

2031  In Sent., III. 5, IV. 3, 1, PeItier’s ed., IV. 53 sqq., V. 59.

2032  Ep., 174, Migne, 332-336.

2033  Sententia communior, rationabilior et securior. Peltier’s ed., IV. 67.

2034  Summa, III. 27, 4, Migne, IV. 252.

2035  Si auctoritati eccles. vel scripturae non repugnet videtur probabile quod excellentius est attribuere Mariae videlicet quod non sit inoriginali peccato concepta. Sent., III. 3 Paris ed., XIV. 165. See Seeberg, p. 247 sq., and Schwane, p. 424 sqq.

2036  Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, II. 211.

2037  Addis and Arnold, Cath. Dict., 6th ed., commend the tradition as inherently probable as no relics of Mary’s body have ever been found.

2038  Damiani, De Mirac., Migne, 146. 586.

2039  De bono suffr. Migne, 145. 564.

2040  According to Caesar of Heisterbach, the Ave Maria took the place of sugar and honey in the mouths of nuns who repeated it on their knees daily fifty times and it tasted like honey. A priest who tried it found, after six weeks, that his spittle had turned to honey. Sermons, as quoted by Cruel, Gesch. d. Deutschen Predigt, p. 284.

2041  De laude virginis. Migne, 183. 58.

2042  Th. Aq., Summa, III. 25, 6, Migne, IV. 240 sq.; Bonavent., Peltier’s ed., IV. 206 sq., VIII. 196. Thornas accords a single brief chapter to relics and quotes Augustine but not Scripture in favor of their vvorship.

2043  Bonavent., III. 27, 2, Peltier’s ed., IV. 619.

2044  Coulton’s ed., p 253.

2045  De pignoribus. Migne, 156. 649 sqq.

2046  Among the legends of its discovery is the following: Herod gave the coat to a Jew because the drops of blood would not come out. The Jew threw it into the sea. A whale swallowed it. Orendel, son of the king of Treves, on his way to Jerusalem caught the fish and rescued the garment. It is described as five feet one inch long, and of the color of a sponge.

2047  See Wetzer-Welte, Der hl. Rock, X. 1229 sqq.

2048  Luard’s ed., IV. 641-643.

2049  Luard, Vl. 138-144. See Stevenson’s Grosseteste, p. 263.

2050  De Vinsauf, Chronicle of Richard’s Crusade, LIV.

2051  Luard’s M. Paris, IV. 90 sq.; De Voragine, VII. 210.

2052  Luard’s ed., III. 30 sq.

2053  Dial., VIII 67, Strange’s ed., II. 138.

2054  Dial., VIII. 68, 85.

2055  Migne, 156. 627.

2056  Hauck, IV. 74.

2057  Treves, Cologne, and Aachen were distinguished by the number of their reliquiary possessions. Gelenius, a Cologne priest, in his de admiranda sacra et civili magnitudine Coloniae, 1645, enumerated a great number of relics to be found In Cologne, such as pieces of the true cross, the manger, some of the earth on which Mary stood when she received the angelic announcement, one of John the Baptist’s teeth, a piece of his garment, hairs from the head of Bartholomew, and remains of the children of Bethlehem. As recently as Nov. 30, 1898, the archbishop of Cologne announced that one of St. Andrew’s arms would be shown after having lain in repose for one hundred years. It was found in a chest with other relics which had been packed away during the French Revolution.

2058  See Hurter’s judgment of Innocent as a preacher, II. 729 sqq.

2059  Spec. eccles., Migne, 172. 862.

2060  Cruel, pp. 210, 262.

2061  Jessopp, Coming of the Friars, p. 86.

2062  Linsenmayer, p. 125 sqq.

2063  Salimbene, Coulton’s ed., p. 305.

2064  Hurter, IV. 507; Cruel, p. 217.

2065  His homiliarium was ed. by Hecht, 1863,

2066  Dial., IV. 36.

2067  Dargan, p. 229, says that "probably the largest audiences ever gathered to hear preaching" were gathered in the thirteenth century.

2068  Speculum ecclesiae, Lyons, 1554.

2069  Quo ordine sermo fieri debeat, Migne, 157. 20-34.

2070  Summa de arte praedicatoria, Migne, 210. 111-198.

2071  De eruditione praedicatorum.

2072  Quoted by Cruel, p. 249.

2073  See Vacandard, S. Bernard, I. 474 sqq., and Storrs, St. Bernard, pp. 355-427, Migne, 183. 73-747, 784-1105.

2074  Art. Bernard, in Herzog, II. 634.

2075  A. Charasson, Un curé plébéien au XIIe siècle Foulques, curé de Veuilly, Paris, 1905.

2076  Peltier’s ed., XIII. 1-636, etc. For Thomas’ sermons, see Bourin, La prédication en France et les sermons de Thomas, Paris, 1882. Vaughan is fulsome in praise of Thomas as a preacher. Life, etc., I. 459 sq., II. 104 sqq., 112-117.

2077  The writer in Wetzer-Welte, I. 995, declarcs that the tongue remains whole to this day. See Lempp, Leben d. hl. Antonius v. Padua.

2078  The works and collections of Berthold’s sermons are numerous. Cruel, pp. 307-322; Linsenmayer, pp. 333-354; E. Bernhardt, Bruder Berthold von Regensb., etc., Erf., 1905. Ed. of his sermons by Kling, Berlin, 1824; Pfeiffer, Vienna, 1862; J. Strobel, 2 vols. Vienna, 1880; Gobel, 2 vols. Schaffh., 1850; 4th ed., Regensb., 1905; alsoPredigten a. d. Sonn und Festtagen, 2 vols. 1884; G. Jacob, D. Iatein. Reden d. Berthold, etc., Regensb., 1880.

2079  See Cruel, 146-208; Linsenmayer, 191-320.

2080  Migne, vol. 172. See Rocholl, in Herzog, VIII. 327-331; Endres, Honor. August., Leip., 1903. Honorius called himself Augustoduniensis, but it is doubtful whether Autun or Strassburg is meant.

2081  Old Engl. Hom., II. 14.

2082  II, 209 sqq.

2083  In No. XXXV., 254-270, Dreves gives two psalteries, ascribed to Anselm.

2084  Anal. Hymn., XLVII. 11 sq.

2085  Blume has collected hundreds of tropes in Anal. Hymn. They extended from two or three to as many as fifty lines. Gautier was the first to call the attention of modern students to this forgotten form of med. poetry.

2086  They are found in prose renderings in the Primer of Sarum of about 1400 (ed. by Maskell, Mon. ritualia, Vol. III.). Daniel gives all three, I. 276, etc. Dreves gives the adesto and thefesti laudes, No. IV., 14, and calls the former, "a hymn in the strict sense of the word." See No. XXIII., 5, 6, where Dreves pronounces Peckham as, beyond dispute, their author.

2087  Two addressed to Mary and one to God are given by Morris, Old Engl. Hom., II. 255 sqq.

2088  Hauck, IV. 60.

2089  Linsenmayer, Deutsche Predigt, pp. 70, 132.

2090  Migne, 145. 930 sqq. See Libr. of Rel. Poetry, pp. 897, 880.

2091  Cousin gave 97 of these poems in his ed. of Abaelard, 1849.

2092  Apol. pro Abaelardo, Migne, 178. 1857.

2093  See Herold, Bernhard’s Hymnen, in Herzog, II. 649. The text of the hymns is found in Migne, 184. 1307 sqq., and in part in Schaff, Lit. and Poetry, etc. Mabillon, whose edition Migne reproduced, casts doubt upon the genuineness of all but two of these poems, and Vacandard (Vie de S. Bern., II. 103) and Haureau (Les poèms attribués à S. Bern., Paris, 1890) upon all of them. But they are ascribed to Bernard by the oldest tradition and no one can be found so likely to be their author as Bernard, Herold advocates the Bernardian authorship.

2094  Ninety-six lines of the original were made known to English readers by Trench. Neale’s transl. is given in the Libr. of Rel. Poetry, pp. 981-985; a prose transl. of the whole poem by Dr. S. M. Jackson, in Am. Journ. of Theol., 1906. See note in Schaff’s Christ in Song, Lond. ed., pp. 511 sq.

2095  For this reason Flacius Illyricus printed the poem entire in his collection of poems on the corruption of the Church,—Varia doctorum piorumque virorum de corrupto eccles. statu poemata, Basel, 1557. I have a copy of this rare volume.

2096  Deutsch, art. Adam de S. Victor, Herzog, I. 164, Migne, vol. 196, gives 36 of Adam’s poems. Gautier, in 1858, found 106 in the Louvre library, whither they had been removed at the destruction of St. Victor during the Revolution. He regards 45 as genuine.

2097  Wrangham has given translations of all of Adam’s hymns. March gives eight poems in the original. Some of these have gone into English Hymnals. See Julian, p. 15.

2098  Julian, pp. 662 sqq., 878 sqq. Also Christ in Song, Engl. ed., pp. 467 sqq. Daniel gives five of Thomas’ hymns, I. 251-256, II. 97.

2099  The first mention of his authorship is in the liber conformitatum, about 1380. The oldest MS. is a Dominican missal in the Bodleian of the same date.

2100  Lit. and Poetry pp. 135-186.

2101  Julian, pp. 299 sqq., gives a list of 133 versions, 19 of which are used in hymn books. The London Athenaeum, July 26, 1890, gave a still larger list of 87 British and 92 American translations. The first English version is that of Joshua Sylvester, 1621, and one of the best, that of W. J. Irons, 1848.

2102  Caswall’s transl. Dr. Schaff gives a number of versions. Lit. and Poetry, pp. 187-218.

2103  The companion hymn, Stabat mater speciosa, "Stands the fair mother," ascribed to the same author, was discovered in 1852. See Lit. and Poetry, pp. 219-230.

2104  See Julian, pp. 1080-1084, the art. Jacopone, by Lauxmann-Lempp, in Herzog, VIII. 516-519, and the references to Wadding there given. The Florentine ed. of his works, 1490, contains 100 Italian poems; the Venetian ed. of 1614, 211.

2105  Eicken, p 674

2106  Not from mysterium. The early French word was misterre. The term "mystery" was not used in England. The terms in use were plays, miracles, and miracle-plays.

2107  The text is given by Migne, 137. 975-1062, together with some poems attributed to Hroswitha, one of which, "The Fall and Conversion of St. Theophilus," has often been regarded as the original of the tale of Faust.

2108  See Blume, Tropen d. Missale in Analecta hymn., XLVII. 7.

2109  Chambers II. 310.

2110  Pollard, p. xix. M. Paris calls it a "miracle,"—quem miracula vulgariter appellamus.

2111  The meaning of Innocent’s brief is disputed. It may have reference only to the Feast of Fools. The text is in the Decretals, III. 1, 12, Friedberg’s ed., II. 452.

2112  Dial., X. 28, Strange’s ed., II. 238,

2113  Gregorovius, Hist. of the City of Rome, VI. 712.

2114  Luard’s ed., pp. 118, 161. On these festivals, see Eselsfest, in Herzog, V. 497 sq., and Feste, in Wetzer-Welte, IV. 1398-1407; Chambers, I. 274-372.

2115  Called also festum hypodiaconorum, feast of the deacons, etc.

2116  Hist. of City of Rome, V. 333. They were called flagellarii, flagellantes, crucifratres, verberantes, cruciferi, acephali, or independents, from the charge that they had broken with the heretics.

2117  Migne, 144. 1017. Damiani says of Loricatus, lorica ferrea vestitur ad carnem, Migne, 145. 747. He compared the body to a timbrel which is to be struck in praise to God.

2118  Coulton, From St. Francis to Dante, pp. 192 sq.

2119  Alex. of Hales distinguished eight sorts of demonic agency through human instrumentalities, mantic, sortilegium, maleficium, augurium, prestigium, mathesis or astrology, ariolatio, and the interpretation of dreams.

2120  De nug. curalium, Wright’s ed., II. 14; Polycrat., Bk. I. VIII.–XIII. Migne, 199. 404 sqq.

2121  De mir., Migne, 189. 883.

2122  The Roman de la Rose, 1280, is an exception and makes light of tail and horns, and the belief that women are transported through the air at night.

2123  Dial., V. 53, etc., Strange’s ed., I. 336.

2124  Dial., V. 5, Strange’s ed., I. 287 sqq.

2125  Dial., III. 11, V. 28, 45, Strange’s ed., I. 123, 311, 330.

2126  Dial., V. 11, 26, 34.

2127  Vita Norb., XIII.

2128  Vita Norb., XIV.

2129  Dial., III. 6.

2130  Dial., III. 6, 7, 13, 14, VII, 25, etc.

2131  Temple ed., V. 88.

2132  Coulton, From St. Francis, etc., p. 298.

2133  Lib. revelationum de insidiis et versutiis daemonum, quoted by Cruel, Deutsche Predigt, p. 268.

2134  Daemones in hoc aere caliginoso sunt ad nostrum exercitium. Th. Aq., Summa, I. 64, 4. So also P. Lomb., II. 7, 6.

2135  Zonas, interstitia. In sent., II. 6, 5, Borgnet’s ed., XXVII. 132.

2136  Aquinas’ treatment is found in his Summa, I. 51 sqq., II. 94-96, Migne, I. 893 sqq., II. 718 sqq.; P. Lombard, Sent., II. 7 sqq.

2137  Praestigia is the word used by Alb. Magnus, John of Salisbury, etc.

2138  This is stated at length by Thomas Aquinas, Summa, I. 51, 3, idem daemon qui est succubus ad virum fit incubus ad mulierem. For other quotations to the same effect from Bonaventura, Duns Scotus, etc., see Hansen, p. 186. Albertus Magnus, Borgnet’s ed., XXVII. 175, speaks of immense cats appearing at these assignations, but the passage is too foul to be repeated. This Schoolman went so far as to say that demons preserved human seed in vessels. As an instance of ultramontane honesty, Hoensbroech, D. Papstthum, I. 222, cites the Dominican Schneider who, in his German translation of Thomas Aquinas, omits altogether the passage, part of which has just been quoted, though he makes the introductory assertion that the translation contains the "entire text."

2139  Merlin, the "prophet of Britain" as Caesar of Heisterbach calls him, Dial., III. 12, Strange’s ed., 1. 124. The nun was seduced on a night when she happened to retire without making the sign of the cross. It was thought by some that anti-christ would be engendered in this way.

2140  an., 1249. The child in six months had a full set of teeth and was of the stature of a boy of 17, the mother wasted away and died.

2141  Dial., V. 12.

2142  See quotation in Kaufmann’s Caesar of Heisterbach, II. 80.

2143  Sometimes demons took the place of loose women with whom priests had made assignations, Dial., III. 10. Caesar tells of a woman who had committed whoredom with a demon for seven years and, while confessing her sin to the priest, fell dead.

2144  He gives a full chapter to the subject. In Sent., IV. 34, 1.

2145  Wright’s ed., p. 61. plurimi sub cauda, plerique pudenda.

2146  A translation of the bull dated June, 1233, Potthast, I. no. 9230, is given by Hoensbroech, I. 215 sqq.

2147  Hansen dates the new treatment of sorcery by the Church with 1230 and carries the period on to 1430, when he dates the period of witchcraft and its punishment by the Church.

2148  Hansen, Quellen, p. 1.

2149  Hansen gives a number of such bulls and quotes an author who speaks of 103 papal bulls directed against sorcery, a number Hansen doubts. Quellen, p. 1.

2150  Hansen, Quellen, pp. 43 sqq., gives it under the title forma et modus interrogandi augures et ydolatras, and assigns it to 1270, Gesch., p. 243. Douais places it a little earlier. A portion of Bernard Gui’s Practica inquisitionis (1320) is an interrogatory of practisers of the occult arts, interrog. ad sortileges et divinos ei invocatores daemonum. See Douais’ ed., Paris, 1886.

2151  Luard’s ed., V. 448 sq.

2152  For a terse description of the social, religious, and moral condition of mediaeval England and the prevalence of disease, see Jessopp, Coming of the Friars, p. 111, etc.

2153  M. Paris, Luard’s ed., IV. 538 sq.

2154  Legenda, Temple Classics ed., II. 189.

2155  Migne, 157. 1047,

2156  Heisterbach, Dial., XII. 2, Strange’s ed., II. 316.

2157  See Creighton in Traill, I. 368 sq., and Geo. Pernet, Leprosy, in Quart. Rev., 1903, pp. 384 sqq.

2158  Migne, 158. 705 sqq., 176. 703-739.

2159  Ep., 238, to Eugenius, Migne, 182. 430. De consid. I. 10.

2160  Mon. Franc., Ep. XXVI. p. 116

2161  Creighton, Hist. Lectures, p. 132

2162  Brewer’s ed., pp. 399 sqq.