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tions), the moon's orbit (c 17) and its importance for the calendar, to which are added many explanations about the moon and also about its relation to the tides (c 29), again the equinoxes and solstices, the unequal lengths of the days, the seasons 5 of the year, natural years, the intercalary day, the nineteenyears' cycle and its division, the reckoning after Christ's birth (c 47), indictions, epacts, the cycle of the moon, the determination of Easter; all which matters are taught at once with great theoretical thoroughness, and with all regard to the practo tical application of these instructions. Beda also, as he says c 65, appended to the work a table for Easter from AD 532, 'when Dionysius began the first cycle', to A D 1063.
After the completion of this theoretical part follows in c 66 CHRONICON sive de sex HVIVS SAECVLI AETATIBvs. As the 15 very title indicates, Beda has divided his chronicle according to the ages of the world, following indeed Isidore's example— from whom he has also borrowed some passages word for word-but principally keeping in view Augustine himself, the proper author, as we have seen, of that division; the 20 justification for which accordingly Beda in his introduction takes, even verbatim, from the ciuitas dei. Hence as compared with Isidore, if we neglect borrowed details, Beda appears altogether original. Much rather is Augustine his guide, Eusebius-Jerome his principal source, both of whom also he 25 often cites. Following Augustine's authority Beda reckons the years of the world according to the Hebrew original of the O T, not according to the LXX, as Isidore. Not seldom too Beda gives much more than the latter, even entire sections: thus in the beginning of the fifth age the series of Nebu30 chadnezzar's successors and that of the Persian kings from Cyrus to Darius, whereas Isidore only begins with Darius ; so too for the Roman emperors, whose regnal years he gives
uidetur aliarum gentium annalem obseruantiam dicere et meae reticere)
19 [224-6 ciu dei xv seq XVI 43 XXII 30. Ebert p 565 speaks
of the two chronicles of Isidore, that in orig lib v and the separate work.]
25 cd xv 13 referred to by Beda.
EBERT'S ACCOUNT OF BEDA.
as well as the years of the world, Beda is much more complete than his predecessor. Britain, as is only fair, is especially noticed, and particularly in the last decads; thus we find here also mention of Theodore's mission and of the pilgrimages of the Angles to Rome. Subjoined to this chronicle in the 5 treatise 'de temporum ratione' are four more chapters, where the author briefly discusses the 'remainder of the sixth age of the world', the times of the Lord's advent and of Antichrist, the last doomsday, the seventh and eighth ages. In particular he here (c 67) controverts the opinion, that the various reckon- 10 ings of the years of the world-according to the Hebrew original or the LXX-could in any way affect the determination of the last day, which as a divine secret eluded all calculation. The assertion, that after the lapse of 6000 years this temporal scene is at an end, because the millenniums of the world's duration 15 correspond to the six days of creation, is erroneous; the days of creation refer rather to the ages of the world, which by no means comprise each 1000 years precisely, some being longer, some shorter. The two surest tokens however of the approaching judgement are the conversion of the Jews and the 20 reign of Antichrist (c 69). The seventh age of the world is that of the eternal sabbath, the eighth that of the blessed resurrection. The ages of the world correspond likewise to Christ's passion week, and are mystically signified thereby.
With Beda's chronological studies is connected a tract, 25 which also became of importance for the middle ages: his
2 As interesting for the legend of Pilate I single out for remark, that in the beginning of the 6th age (VI 301-2 Giles) the banishment of Herod's son, Archelaus, to Vienne, and the suicide of Pilate are recorded. [See note.]
5 VI 326, 331 Giles, see too 311. 19 The occasion of this discussion is evidently this. After the publication of the sketch 'de temporibus' (where, in the abbreviated chronicle, the same reckoning of
the years appears without any
CHRONOLOGY, MARTYROLOGY, POEMS.
MARTYROLOGIVM, DE NATALICIIS SANCTORVM DIEBVS, as Wattenbach says, 'the ground work of all later revisions' itself however naturally founded on earlier, especially Roman, martyrologies. In this calendar of martyrs, in which however 5 even Beda could not yet fill every day, the tortures are related at great length for a calendar, and we have often real cause for amazement, how so learned, and indeed enlightened, a man as Beda, not merely credulously accepted the most absurd and loathsome exaggerations, but has also repeated them with a Io certain relish; read eg the sufferings of St Pachomius (14) May). This seems to me noticeable with reference to the arts of design and the later drama of the middle ages.
On these writings, relating to history and historical science, rests Beda's great influence on the literature and culture of the 15 middle ages; these also display in the most brilliant light his genius and learning. These prose writings throw his poems entirely into the background. True, he wrote much in verse; he cites himself, in the catalogue of his works, beside the poem DE MIRACVLIS S CVTHBERTI, also an entire LIBER HYMNORVM 20 DIVERSO METRO SIVE RHYTHMO and a LIBER EPIGRAMMATVM HEROICO METRO SIVE ELEGIACO, but both are lost, and of the few separate hymns and epigrams ascribed to him, scarcely one or two can claim a slight likelihood of authenticity. We may reasonably infer that the two collections deserved the doom 25 of oblivion, since not even so famous a name could rescue them. Still in any case literary history must deplore the loss of the hymnbook, if only because according to the title communicated by Beda himself, metrical and rhythmical hymns of one and the same author-which is very remarkable-were united. A hymn
4 See the earliest known in Mommsen über den Chronographen von 354 (Abhandl d sächs Ges d Wiss phil hist Kl 1 631 seq cf 581).
That these recitals however are no later accretions but Beda's original, appears from the terms in which he cites the martyrology
in the catalogue of his works non solum qua die, uerum quo genere certaminis mundum uicerint.
29 That siue in the title stands for et, a common usage at that time, is shewn not only by the distinction of metrum and rhythmus in Beda's metrical treatise described below,
EBERT'S ACCOUNT OF BEDA.
of Beda however incorporated in the church history (IV 20) still remains to us; a hymnus uirginitatis, as he terms it, in praise of queen Etheldrida, who became a nun and afterwards abbess; it is in distichs, where we find the trick of epanalepsis, already employed by Sedulius. Beda specially celebrates the miracle, 5 that on the opening of Etheldrida's coffin after 16 years, both the corpse and the clothing were found intact, which passed for a special evidence of sanctity. The verses indeed are without elevation, but also without bombast, in a diction neither mean nor barbarous. Of the hymns in Ambrosian metre 10 ascribed to Beda PRIMO DEVS CAELI GLOBVM seems best entitled to bear his name. Here we find, as regards the subjectmatter, a parallel drawn (just as in c 10 and the closing chapters of the de temporum ratione) between the six ages of the world and the days of creation on the one hand, and the passion- 15 week on the other: as regards the form, epanalepsis in the first main division of the poem, where in each pair of four-line strophes a day is paralleled with an age of the world; the first verse of the first strophe being always made the last of the second. The same epanalepsis, which here, when confined to 20 strophes on such subjects, has a certain meaning, is found also with no such significance in a hymn on the holy innocents' day, which, probably on this very account, has been attributed to Beda. The poem on St Cuthbert's miracles we have already considered with regard to the subject-matter; with re- 25 spect to its form, the poetical style, free from bombast, at times even quite elegant, and also the often harmonious hexameter,
but also by the title of the 'liber epigrammatum'.
5 Above 363 [in the 'elegia', 55 distichs sometimes called 'collatio ueteris et noui testamenti'. As a specimen Ebert gives 7-8 sola fuit mulier, patuit qua ianua leto: et qua uita redit, sola fuit mulier.]
12 In Mone hymni lat medii aeui Freib in Br 1853 I 1-4. cf Alcuin ep 234 Jaffé.
24 The poems (strangely printed in Giles 1 54 sqq under the title 'hymni') 'de ratione temporum', ' de cele- 30 britate quattuor temporum', 'de uariis computi regulis', are later versifications of portions of Beda's larger chronological work, which it is an absurdity to ascribe to 35 Beda himself. I must revert to them in the sequel of this work.
27 Alliteration too is but seldom employed in an offensive way.
POEMS, RHETORIC, PROSODY.
afford a fresh proof of Beda's rare accomplishments, however little they may betray of poetic genius.
The theory also both of poetry and of prose gave occupation to Beda's pen: thus he composed a tract on orthography, 5 a book DE SCHEMATIS ET TROPIS SACRAE SCRIPTVRAE, in which he defines these rhetorical figures one by one and illustrates them by examples from the bible, which even in respect of such modes of expression surpasses all other books: a tract DE ARTE METRICA (to which the last named is appended). This 10 is far more interesting than the other two; for though in great part a mere extract from earlier metricists, especially Victorinus, it yet furnishes many details important for literary history, partly by the citations from christian writers of latin verse, partly by the conception (which became in some cases authori15 tative for after times) of individual points, though indeed this was by no means peculiar to Beda personally. In regard to the conception it is specially to be remarked, that Beda, as already hinted, considers the iambic dimeter of the Ambrosian hymns as a tetrameter and so calls it (c 21), so that he regards 20 the verses of the iambic four-line strophe merely as uersiculi (in him hemistichs), of which two go to make a uersus. The four-line strophe of the trochaic hymns (derived from the distich of the tetrameter trochaicus) has evidently misled him to this conception.
8 In this view Beda follows Cassiodorus cited above 482 [in his commentary on the psalms, eg 3, 23]. It is remarkable that he so entirely identifies the vulgate 30 with the original, as to borrow from it examples even of homoeoteleuton.
13 See above 116 n. [Beda de arte metrica c 17 cites as example 35 of phalaecian metre the first 15 verses from the canticum of the 'exodus' ascribed to Iuvencus (spicileg solesm I 187) without naming him as author, though elsewhere 40 in his citations he does name his
authorities, eg Iuvencus himself c3 in a citation from the 'hist euangelica'. The verses of the canticum however are simply introduced by the words huius (metri) exemplum', which may warrant the inference, that even Beda in his day did not know the author. For the rest the quotation offers some noticeable readings.]
24 So only can we explain the remarkable passage also which is cited above 171 n 2 [de arte metr c 11 hymnos uero quos choris alternantibus canere oportet, necesse est singulis uersibus ad burum esse