Rabanus Maurus, Magnentius

, a celebrated archbishop of Mentz, and one of the most learned divines in the ninth century, was born in the year 785 at Mentz, or rather at Fulda, and descended from one of the most noble families in that country. Mackenzie, however, has inserted him among his Scotch writers, but without much apparent authority. The parents of Rabanus sent him, at ten years old, to the monastery of Fulda, where he was instructed in learning and virtue, and afterwards studied underthe famous Alcuinus, at Tours. In this situation he made so rapid a progress, as to acquire great reputation from his writings at the age of thirty. On his return to Fulda he was chosen abbot there, and reconciled the emperor Louis le Débonnaire to his children. Rabanus wrote a letter of consolation to this prince when unjustly deposed, and published a tract on the respect due from children to their parents, and from subjects to their princes, which may be found in “Marca de Concordiâ,” published by Baluze. He succeeded Orgar, archbishop o Mentz, in the year 847, but was so much a bigot, as to procure the condemnation of Godeschalc. He died at his estate of Winsel, in the year 856, aged sixty-eight, after having bequeathed his library to the abbeys of Fulda and St. Alban’s, leaving a great number of works printed at Cologn, 1627, 6 vols. in 3 folio. The principal are, 1. “Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures,” the greatest part of which are mere extracts from the fathers, as was the usual method among commentators in his time. 2. A poem in honour of the holy cross, of which there is a neat edition printed at Augsburg, 1605, in folio; but the most rare is that printed at Phorcheim, in ædibus Thomæ Anselim, 1503, curiously ornamented. Of the frontispiece the first figure is that of Albinus, abbot of Fulda, who presents Rabanus to the pope, with a poetical piece entitled “Intercessio Albini;” Rabanus appears next, presenting his book to the pope, with a poetical piece, entitled “Commendatio Papæ,” Then follows a kind of dedication to the emperor | Louis le Débonnaire, who is delineated on this dedication holding a shield in one hand, and a cross in the other, his head surrounded with glory all the letters comprised in these ornamented lines, form a discourse foreign to the dedication. The poem is in the same style on each of the 28 pages of which it consists, are figures of the cross, stars, cherubim, seraphim, &c. The last represents a cross, with the author adoring it; the letters comprised in this cross form various pious exclamations. 3. A treatise on “the Instruction of the Clergy.” 4. A treatise on “the Ecclesiastical Calendar,” in which he points out the method of distinguishing the leap years, and marking the inductions. 5. A book “on the sight of God, purity of Jieart, and the manner of doing penance.” 6. A large work, entitled “De Universe, sive Etymologiarum Opus.” 7. “Homilies.” 8. “A Martyrology,” &c. But a treatise on “Vices and Virtues,” which is attributed to Rabanus Maurus, was written by Halitgarius bishop of Orleans. His treatise “against the Jews,” may be found in Martenne’s “Thesaurus;” and some other small tracts in the “Miscellanea” of Baluze, and Father Sirmond’s works. Rabanus was unquestionably one of the most learned men of his age, and his character in this respect has been highly extolled both by Dupin and Mosheim. 1


Dupin.Mosheim.—Morori.—Mackenzie’s Lives, vol. I, p. 81.