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Walter Berschin  

From the Middle of the Eleven Century to the Latin Conquest of Constantinople

From: Greek Letters and the Latin Middle Ages.
From Jerome to Nicholas of Cusa.
Translated by Jerold C. Frakes.
Revised and expanded edition.
The Catholic University of America Press,  http://cuapress.cua.edu/


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2. Greek Studies North of the Alps

und weiz niht war zuo daz sol:

ich vernaeme kriechisch als wol.

[And Ι do not know what it means: Ι could as easily understand Gceek.]

Hartmann von Aue, Gregorius 1629 f.

It is an open question whether it was the official schism (1054,), the first crusade (1095) -in which the Greek Christians were often regarded as at least as foreign as the Moslems- or only the conquest of Constantinople by the Latins (1204) that opened the chasm that no attempts at reunification during the late Middle Ages and modern period have been able to bridge. The situation also differs in various geographical regions. Ιn eleventh- and early twelfth-century Italy, there is no break to be seen in the relationship with Constantinople. The hostile posture which the reform papacy took against Constantinople was by no means the authoritative standard of the great Italian cities, especially the maritime cities, and ultimately not even the Roman attitude was consistently hostile; Pope Eugene ΙΙΙ (1145-53) was a patron of literature on the cathedra Petri who was also particularly interested in Graecolatina. Thus the concept of a "Renaissance of the twelfth century" holds good for the translation literature of the twelfth century, which was primarily the work of Italians and which represents the third major Byzantine-Medieval Latin "batch" of transmitted texts (after the sixth and ninth centuries).  

The relationship between the emperors of East and West were also hardly disturbed. Of course there were continual entanglements in Italy due to the claims of both to dominion in the region; but since a common enemy appeared in the Normans, there were also common interests.6 Pope Leo ΙX brought about a coalition of Greeks and Latins; in the critical moment, however, the pope was left with no resources beyond the German troops whom he had himself recruited and who were soundly defeated by the Normans in 1053. Emperor Lothar sent Bishop Anselm of Havelberg to Constantinople in 1136 in order to form an alliance with Emperor John ΙΙ Comnenus (1118-43) against the Norman Roger of Sicily; the embassy became famous as an important event in intellectual and literary history, due to the disputation between the German bishop and Nicetas, metropolitan of Nicomedia. The first wife of Emperor Manuel I (1143-8o) was a relative of the first Hohenstaufen emperor, Conrad ΙΙΙ (Bertha of Sulzbach, Empress Eirene). Philip of Swabia married Irene, the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, in Augsburg on Pentecost 1197; she was called Maria in Germany, and Walther von der Vogelweide praised her as the "rose ane dorn, ein tube sunder gallen" ("rose without a thorn, a dove without rancor"). She died soon after Philip's murder (1208) and is buried in the Hohenstaufen monastery of Lorsch. Ιn spite of occasional changes in the coalition, the Eastern and Western empires formed alliances again and again. Greco-Latin relations of the twelfth century, especially at the time of Emperor Manuel Ι, may be summed up in the phrase "Byzanz kehrt nach Italien zurück" ("The Byzantine Empire returns to Italy," P. Lamma).

The lack of a Greco-Latin translation literature in the crusader states is remarkable. Jerusalem was a Latin city for almost a century (from 15 july 1099 to October 1187); the Latins held Acre, recaptured during the third crusade, for another hundred years (1191-1291), and for a time (1229-44) Emperor Frederick ΙΙ contractually safeguarded the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (if not other sites as well) for Westerners.

The knightly orders developed prodigious building projects in the Latin kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean coast. Ιn the Kingdom of Jerusalem, there was a school of manuscript illumination beside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; the Orient and Occident were probably most beautifully united in the "Riccardiana Psalter," from the last Latin period in Jerusalem, "the fascinating Teutonic interlude in the history of Outremer."7 Latin Jerusalem had also produced an important historian in William of Tyre, who could probably orient himself somewhat in Greek, but of whom one cannot say he had "a good knowledge of the Greek language."8 Ιn the Latin Kingdom of Antioch, there were some translators from Arabic at work, among whom were the important native of Pisa Stephan of Antioch in the twelfth and Philip of Tripoli in the thirteenth century.9 

Despite the strong presence of the Greek Church and liturgy in Syria and Palestine, it seems that there were no Greco-Latin translations there; only in the tituli of the church are Greek and Latin occasionally found together, as in the magnificent representation of the Word became visible (at the moment of the Annunciation) in a mosaic of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: between Μan and the archangel Gabriel, Jesus appears as a child, encircled by the words of the Annunciation in Greek and Latin, the "sacred languages" of the ancient Christian ecumene.10  

The situation in the crusader states here mirrors the intellectual life of the lands north of the Alps from which the crusaders primarily came. Almost all of the Carolingian monastic schools had declined. The Benedictine order was partially reorganized in new forms, such as the Cluniacs and Cistercians. Abbot Peter the Venerable of Cluny (1122-56) wrote a fine letter to Emperor John ΙΙ in order to recover a lost Cluniac base near Constantinople;11 Cluny did not make any great efforts to gain a footing in Greek -not even intellectually- in comparison with Peter the Venerable's commission of a Latin translation of the Koran from Arabic. Peter the Venerable was, however, not lacking in good will, openness to reconciliation, or tolerance for the Greek religious rites, all of which Bernard of Clairvaux did in fact lack to a great extent: for him, the preacher of the second crusade, the Greeks, heathens, and Jews were all alike.12  

Ιn the cathedral schools of the high Middle Ages, out of which the universities then grew, Greek played a remarkably unimportant role. The new translations from Greek executed during the high Middle Ages were to be sure, of great and often even decisive importance in the intellectual history of the West: not only Aristotle's Logica nova but also John of Damascus' De fide orthodoza, for instance, circulated with unprecedented speed and range. But this intellectual material was taken ready-made from the translators, in most cases Italians; it evoked no interest in the Greek original. North of the Alps, no one but Dionysius the Areopagite could entice one to study a Greek text. Ιn the twelfth century, the West found its own great model: Rome became the ancestor of the new culture, and Greece receded into the distance of antiquity:

Ce nos ont nostre livre apris
Qu'an Grece ot de chevalrie
Le premier los et de clergie.
Puis vint chevalrie a Rome

Et de la clergie la some,
Qui or est an France venue.

(Chrétien de Troyes, Cligès 28-33)

[Our books teach us that Greece had the first and greatest renown for chivalry and also for learning. Then chivalry came to Rome, and the sum of learning did likewise, which thereafter came to France.]

No more than a certain slight interest in the meaning of a few Greek expressions is found among the great theologians of the high Middle Ages. Gerhoh of Reichersberg explained the difference between ΛΑΤΡΕΙΑ and ΔΟΥΛΕΙΑ to Bishop Eberhard of Bamberg: "These Greek expressions, latria and dulia, differ, as we have learned from Fathers of the Church who knew Greek, in this manner, that the service owed only to God is latria, while dulia is the service which men perform for each other. ... They prove that this is so on the basis of the Greek manuscripts. For where our text of the Pauline epistles reads spiritu ferventes, Domino servientes, the Greek text has latreuontes [Rom. 12:11]. But where we read per caritatem servite invicem, the Greek manuscripts have duleuite [Gal. 5:13]. ...13 

Are the patres graecae linguae periti, whom Gerhoh would like to thank for his information here, to be identified with the northern Italian translators in Constantinople (of whom Gerhoh incidentally mentions Moses of Bergamo and Hugh Etherianus; cf. Classen, Gerhoh, pp.424 and 441), or is he referring to older authorities here, for instance, the commentary on Matthew by Christian of Stablo (see above, Chapter VIII, sec. 1; cf. the quotation from Galatians)?
It would be informative to follow via glossaries how Western scholarship groped its way toward the meaning of Greek theological terminology gloss by gloss. The way in which such a section of a glossary came together piece by piece is discernible in its composition. As an illustration of this point, one can take a passage from the "Glossarium Salomonis" (saec. IX), which was widely known in southern Germany and survives in printed form only in an incunabula (Augsburg, St. Ulrich and Afra 1475):

Latreusis· servitus

Latria· servitium vel servitus religionis, quae soli deo excibetur; grecum est
[from Aug. De civ. dei X 1]

Latria divinitati vel si expressius dicendum est deitati debitus cultus dicitur

Westerners had even more difficulty with dulia than latria. The "Glossarium Ansileubi,"finally compiled in Visigothic Spain, nevertheless did include duleusis; cf. W.M. Lindsay et al., eds., Glossaria latina (Paris 1926), I, 190. As noted above, Christian von Stablo made use of the quite uncommon terminological pair duleusis/latreusis. In the twelfth century the distinction between latria and dulia finally became common knowledge. Evidence is found not only in the quotation from Gerhoh, but also in a gloss from a still unpublished typological didactic poem (Inc. "Prima luce deum") in Heidelberg Sal. IX 15 (saec. XII), fol. 28r:

Duobus nominibus utuntur greci· ubi nos uno· quia quod nos dicimus seruitus dei· ipsi dicunt latria· quod nos humana seruitus· ipsi· dulia· Latria grece· latine dicitur seruitus dei· et inde ydolatria· seruitus idolorum· dulia· seruitus humana.

[The Greeks use two words where we use one, for when we say "service to God," they say latria; when we say "service to men," they say dulia. Greek latria is called "service to God" in Latin; thence "idolatry" is the service to idols and dulia service to men.]

The gloss shows that the distiction between ΔOUΛΕΙA and ΛAΤPΕΙA was already a part of the scholastic knowledge of the time.  

Research into the meanings of the concepts ΟΥCΙΑ. and YΠΟCTΑCIC proceeded with less success.14 Μany French scholars thought it best to eliminate Greek concepts from all discussions, since one could not come to terms with them anyway.15  

We know of only one of the famous teachers of the eleventh and twelfth centuries who continued to cultivate Greek studies in the old, Carolingian style. Odo, who was bishop of Cambrai when he died in 1113 and had taught in the cathedral school in Tournai,16 had a new large-format psalterium quadrupartitum with supplements designed and executed. It was considered the memorial to his work in the new abbey of St. Martin in Tournai, founded by Odo.

Paris, BN nouv. acq. lat. 2195 contains the psalterium quadrupartitum of Salomo ΙΙΙ, a 48-line format, with slight changes in the original arrangement: without the dedicatory poem, "Nongentis pariterque novem" but with the alphabetical table of the tres linguae sacrae (fol. 116v, with ЭЄ and, э– for Μ and N in the Greek alphabet!). Cf. L. Delisle, Mélanges de Paléographie et de Bibliographie (Paris 1880), pp. 150-54. When Abbot Odo became bishop of Cambrai in 1105, it was noted in chancery hand that the codex was his memorial (fol. 119r). A copy of the work is in Valenciennes, Bibliothèque Municipale 14 (old signatures are 7 and B. 1.37), saec. XΙΙ, from St. Amand; c£ J. Mangeart, Catalogue descriptif et raisonné des manuscrits de la bibliothèque de Valenciennes (Paris/Valenciennes 1860), no.7, pp. 13-15; Cagin, Te Deum, pp. 529ff.

The psalterium quadrupartitum of Odo of Tournai (Cambrai) was a decidedly retrospective undertaking in his day; it is hardly by accident that the work was produced within the confines of the monastery founded by Odo and not in the cathedral school in Tournai.17 Ιn the high Middle Ages, bilinguals of the Psalter and Gospels were copied only in very rare cases; such editions of the Acts of the Apostles and Pauline epistles were no longer to be found. This reduction of the spectrum of bilingual texts is all the more remarkable, since it does not correspond to the general development of writing in the period. After the ninth century, the twelfth is again a century of prodigious quantitative accomplishments in the scriptoria. Obviously there was a lack of interest in these old works, prepared for study and display, on the part of those working in the scriptoria and libraries. There were other occupations for the intellect -for example (in rapidly growing numbers), Aristotle. The veneration of the philosophus did not, to be sure, go so far as to spawn bilingual editions of his works, but there are Aristotle manuscripts which are comparable to the multicolumn manuscripts of the Psalter. Just as the various versions of the Psalter had been arranged in parallel columns in the earlier Middle Ages in order to render the sense of the psalmist's words more accessible, so it happened that in the late Middle Ages a Latin translation of Aristotle from Arabic was copied in a column parallel to a translation of the same text from Greek, in order to better grasp the philosopher's ideas, which had often been obscured in the translations.18 

The development of the old glossaries runs parallel to that of the bilinguals. Of course one can mention one of the more important figures of the twelfth century here as well-Wolfger of Prüfening, who passed on one more such glossary (Clm 13002). Wolfger was a monastic scholar, and it was in monasteries that his work survived. Ιn the cathedral schools, it was the newly developed discipline of lexicography which took the place of these old reference works. The first of these lexicographical works appeared around the middle of the eleventh century -the Elementarium doctrinae rudimentum of the Italian  Papias.  Famous works which appeared later are the Derivationes of Hugh of Pisa (1190/1200) and the Grecismus of Eberhard of Béthune (d. 1212). Both of these last-named works indicate even in their titles the etymological manner, soon to become a mania, of these lexicographers, who refer to alleged Greek words and roots without hesitation; and since plagiarism is in the nature of the lexical genre, a depressing lineage of progressively deteriorating "lexicographical Greek" runs through the late Middle Ages to the Humanistic period.19 Μany of the malicious words of the Humanists about the medieval use of Greek refer to these works. The first to be annoyed by this "Greek," and to draw the conclusion from his anger that he should learn grammatical Greek, was however -it must be said in honor of the "Middle Ages"- a man of the thirteenth century, Roger Bacon.