Berchorius, Peter

, whose name we find disguised under Bercheure, Berchoire, Bercorius, Bercherius, &c. was born in the beginning of the fourteenth century, at St. Pierre-du-Chemin, near Mailiezais, in Poitou. He entered the order of the Beredictines, and became celebrated for his learning, and attached hi n self to cardinal Duprat, archbishop of Aix, whose advice was very useful to him in his writings. Among his other accomplishments, he is said to have been so well acquainted with his Bible, as to be able to quote texts and authorities on all subjects without any assistance but from memory. He died at Paris in 1362, prior of the monastery of St. Eloy, since occupied by the Barnabites, which has induced some biographers to think him a member of that order, but the Barnabites were not an order until a century after this period. Berchorius wrote several works which are lost those which remain are in 3 vols. fol. under the title of “Reductorium, Repertorium, et Dictionarium morale utriusque Testamenti, Strasburgh,” 1474; Nuremberg, 1499; and Cologne, 1631—1692. “Whoever,” says Warton, in his “History of Poetry,” “shall have the patience to turn over a few pages of this immense treasure of multifarious erudition, will be convinced beyond a doubt, from a general coincidence of the plan, manner, method, and execution, that the author of these volumes, and of theGesta Romanorum,“must be one and the same. The” Reductorium“contains all the stories and incidents in the Bible, reduced into allegories. The” Repertorium“is a dictionary of things, persons, and places all which are supposed to be mystical, and which are therefore explained in their moral or practical sense. The” Dictionarium Morale“is in two parts, and seems principally designed to be a moral repertory for students in theology.” Mr. Warton successfully pursues this argument in his” Dissertation on the Gesta Romanorum,“to which we refer the reader. He mentions also that Berchorius was author of a comment on a prosody called” Doctrinale metricum,“which was used as a schoolbook in France, till Despauter’s manual on that subject | appeared. Some biographers mention his” Tropologia,“his” Cosmographia,“and his” Breviarium“but the” Tropologia“is nothing more than his” Reductorium“on the Bible, and probably the” Breviarium“is the same. The” Cosmographia“seems to be the fourteenth book -of his” Repefforiom Moraie.“He is said by his biographers to have written other smaller pieces, which they have not named nor described. Among these, Mr. Warton thinks his” Gesta" is comprehended which we may conceive to have been thus undistinguished, either as having been neglected or proscribed by graver writers, or rather as having been probably disclaimed by its author, who saw it at length in the light of a juvenile performance, abounding in fantastic and unedifying narrations, which he judged unsuitable to his character, studies, and station. Besides the works above-mentioned, Berchorius translated Livy, by order of king John, of which there was a beautiful ms. in the library of the oratory of Troyes, and other copies, not less beautiful, are in the imperial library at Paris. This translation was published in 1514 1515, at Paris, 3 vols. fol. 1


Biog. Universelle.—Warton’s Hist. vol. III.—Dupin.Moreri.