Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/320

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ALDFRITH 280 ALDHELM He had studied at Heidelberg, and was the author of several works. While Theobald 11 was abbot, one of his monks, P. Balduin Wurzer, taught at Ingol- etadt. Fatlier Stephan Wiest also became known later as a tlieologian. He taught at Ingolstadt, was rector of the Uni-ersity (1787-88), and six years later returned to Aldersbach, where he died in 1797. Verhrmdl- dea hitt. Vereins Jtir Niederhayem, , VIII, XII, XV; BRAUNMiiLLEB in Kirchenlei., I, 467^1)9. H. M. Brock. Aldfrith, a Northumbrian king, son of Iving Oswin; d. 14 December, 705. He succeeded his brotlier, Ecgfritli. William of Malmesbury says he received his education in Ireland, where he passed his early life, and imbibed there a love of learning and learned men. He was well versed in the Script- ures. Ilis taste for literature is shown by his part- ing with a large piece of land as payment for a copy of the " Cosmograplii". Adamnan, Abbot of Zona, on the occasion of his visit to England for the re- demption of some captives, presented liis book "De Locis Sanctis" to Aldfrith as a testimonial of the lung's appreciation of learning, and Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury, dedicated his work on "Metres" to him.. Aldfrith restored Northumbria, which had been nearly ruined by warfare in the preceding reign, to peace and prosperity. He recalled St. Wilfrid to liis Bishopric of Hexham, and later on to that of York, but afterwards became hostile to him. An effort at reconcihation, made some years later at the Council of ^tswinapath by Aldfrith, failed. The dissension between Aldfrith and Wilfrid was largely due to their respective advocacy of two difTerent schools of learnmg — the Roman and the Irish — and of administration, one favouring the Roman and the other the Irish party. Just before Iiis death, however, Aldfrith enjoined on liis successor the necessity of becoming reconciled with Wilfrid. Little is known of the results of Aldfrith's rule. William of Malmesbury says Northumbria was considerably restricted through victories of the Picts, and Bede dates the deterioration of ecclesias- tical administration in the kingdom from Aldfrith's death. Stubbs in Diet. Christ. Biog., I, 77: Hardiman, Irish Min- elrelsy, II, 372; Tanner, Bibl. Brit. Ilib. (1748), 35, 245. John J. a' Becket. Aldhelm, Saint, Abbot of Malmesbury and Bishop of Sherl)orne, Latin poet and ecclesiastical writer (c. 639-709). Aldlielm, also written Ealdhelm, Md- helm, Adelelmus, Althelmus, and Adelme, was a kiiLsman of Ine, King of Wc-ssex, and apparently received his early education at Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, under an Irish Christian teacher named Maildubh. It is curious that Malmesbury, in early documents, is styled both Maildulfsburgh and Eald- helm.sbyrig. so that it is disputed whether the present name is commemorative of Maildubh or Ealdlielm, or, by "contamination", possibly of both (Plummer's "Bede", II, 310). Aldhelm himself attributes his progress in letters to the famous Adrian, a native of Roman Africa, but formerly a monk of Monte Ca.ssino, who came to England in the train of Arch- bishoj) Theodore and was made Abbot of St. Au- gastine's, Canterbury. Seeing, however, that Theo- dore came to England only m C71, Aldhelm must then have been thirty or forty years of age. The Saxon scholar's turgid style and his partiality for Creek and extravagant terms liavo been traced with some probability to Adrian's influence (Hahn, "Bonifaz und Lul", p. 11). On returning to settle in .Malmesbury our Saint, probably already a monk, seems to have succeeded his former teacher Mail- dubh, both in the direction of the Malmesbury Sfliool, and also as Abbot of the Monastery; but Uh: exact dates given by some of the Saints bio- graphers cannot be trusted, since they depend upon charters of very doubtful authenticity. As abbot his life was most austere, and it is particularly re- corded of him that he was wont to recite the entire Psalter standing up to his neck in ice-cold water. Under his rule the Abbey of Malmesbury prospered greatly, other monasteries were founded from it, and a chapel (ecclesiola) . dedicated to St. Lawrence, built by Aldhehn in the village of Bradford-on-Avon, is standing to this day. (A. Freeman, "Academy", 1886, XXX, 154.) During the pontificate of Pope Sergius (687-701), the Saint visited Rome, and is said to have brought back from the Pope a privilege of exemption for his monastery. L'nfortunately, however, the document which in the twelfth century passed for the Bull of Pope Sergius is undoubtedly spurious. At the request of a synod, held in Wessex, Aldhelm wrote a letter to tlie Britons of Devon and Cornwall upon the Paschal question, by which many of them are said to have been brought back to unity. In the year 705 Hedda, Bishop of the West Saxons, died, and, his diocese being divided, the western portion was assigned to Aldhelm, who reluctantly became the first Bishop of Sherborne. His episco- pate was short in duration. Some of the slone-work of a church he built at Sherborne still remains. He died at Doulting (Somerset), in 709. His body was conveyed to IIalmesbury, a distance of fifty miles, and crosses were erected along the way at each halting place where his remains rested for the night. Many miracles were attributed to the Saint both before and after his death. His feast was on May the 25th, and in 857 King EthehTilf erected a magnificent silver shrine at Malmesbury in his honour. "Aldhelm was the first Englishman who cultivated classical learning with any success, and the first of whom any literary remains are preserved" (Stubbs). Both from Ireland and from the Continent men wrote to ask him questions on points of learning. His chief prose work is a treatise, "De laude vir- ginitatis" ("In praise of virginity"), preserved to us in a large number of manuscripts, some as early as the eighth century. This treatise, in imitation of Sedulius, Aldhelm afterwards versified. The metri- cal version is also still extant, and Ehwald has recently shown that it forms one piece with another poem, "De octo principalibus vitiis" ("On the eight deadly sins"). The prose treatise on virginity was dedicated to the Abbess and nuns of Barking, a community which seems to have included more than one of the Saint's own relatives. Besides the tractate on the Paschal controversy already men tioned, several other letters of Aldhelm are preserved. One of these, addressed to Acircius, i. e. Eald- fritli. King of Northumbria, is a work of importance on the laws of prosody. To illustrate the rules laid down, the WTiter incorporates in his treatise a large collection of metrical Latin riddles. A few shorter extant poems are interesting, like all Aldlielm's writings, for the light which they throw upon re- ligious thought in England at the close of the seventh century. We are struck by the writer's earnest devotion to the Mother of God. by the veneration paid to the saints, and notably to St. Peter, "the key-bearer", by the importance attached to the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and to prayer for the dead, and by the esteem in which he held the monastic profession. Aldhelm's vocabulary is very extrava- gant, and his style artificial and involved. His latinity might |)erhaps ajipear to more advantage if it were critically edited. An authoritative edition of his works is much needed. To this day, on ac- coimt of the misinterpretation of two lines which really refer to Our Blessed Lady, his poem on ir- ginity is still printed as if it were dedicated to a cer- tain Abbess Maxima. Aldhelm also composed poetry in his native tongue, but of this no specimen