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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/485

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BELLS


423


BELLS


that wliile the earUer bells often show a very ornate style of character, known as "crowned Lombardic", those of the fifteenth and late fourteenth century ap- proximate to the ordinary Gothic or "black letter" type.

As regards the inscriptions themselves, both pur-

Eort and wording are infinitely varied. Some are arbarous in sjmtax and metre, others have evi- dently been submitted to some sort of scholarly revision. That the practice of naming bells began, as stated by Baronius, with the dedication of a bell to St. John the Baptist by Pope John XIII in 969 rests on unsatisfactory evidence, but most existing medieval bells preserve some indication of the name by which they were called. A very large number were in one way or other dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and most of these were probably used either for the Angelus or at the Marj' Mass. The inscrip- tions varj' indefinitely. One of the commonest was

Protege prece pia quos convoco sancta Maria or what is metrically a little more correct:

Ora mente pia pro nobis Virgo Maria. In Germany a very favourite inscription for Mary bells was:

Maria vocor. O rex gloriae veni cum pace. This almost certainly was meant as a reference to the Incarnation, for in many cases this legend was joined with the words: " Et homo factus est". Such


Bell of St. Peteb's. Kome

bells were probably used for the Angelus. Bells in honour of St. Peter were also very common. In England we find many such inscriptions as

Petrus atl stemse ducat nos pascua vitie or again:

Nomen Petri fero qui claviger exstat in sevo. Inscriptions to the saints, notably to St. Gabriel for the Angelus, were numerous. Thus, to take an Eng- lish example, we have at Shapwick, Dorset, I Kateryne, Goddes derlyng, to thee Mari shal I

synge. Among French bells allusion to protection against the powers of darkness was frequent, and many bells were called Sauveterre. Thus we have: "Jhs autem transiens per medium illorum ibat. Salva


terre m'^tais nomm^e ". Or again we often find only: "Xtus vincit; Xtus regnat; Xtus imperat". Later inscriptions were often chronographic. Thus in a bell of 1659 we have:

Rupta bis ante fui nunc Integra reddita cantem

Magno Ignl LIqVefaCta Deo reparata benlgno

— capitals in second line giving date MDCLVIIII.

The following inscriptions are on the principal bell

of St. Peter's Basihca, Rome (shown in illustration):

On the upper part :

H-In nomine Domini Matris, Petrique Paulique, Accipe devotum, parvum licet, accipe munus Quod tibi Christe datum Petri Paulique triumphum -l-Explicat, et nostram petit populique saluteni Ipsorum pietate dari meritisque refundi. Et Verbum caro factum est.

-f-Anno milleno trecenteno cum quinquageno Additis et tribus, Septembris mense, colatur. Ponderat et mille decies septiesque librarum.

-I-Campanam hanc longo usu confractam non plus quam quatuordecim mille libras pendere com- pertum est; Benedictus XIV addito usque ad viginti mille libras metallo, conflari et denuo refici iussit, anno reparatae salutis MDCCXLVII.

-I-Eandem septimo vix exacto lustro, rimis actis inutilem, uno plus et viginti millibus pondo metalli repertam, Pius Sextus, Pont. Max. non mediocri metallo superaddito ad idem ponderis conflari fun- dique mandavit, anno Domini MDCCLXXXV, Pont. XI.

Aloysius eques Valadier construxit.

For the credit of eighteenth century scholarship, it seems desirable to explain that only the latter part of this inscription belongs to the pontificate of Pius VI. The earlier portion with its metrical ir- regularities is simply a copy of what was read upon the great bell of St. Peter's at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Probably the metal came from the bell originally cast by Leo IV in 850, or even earlier, under Pope Stephen II. Then, when the campanile was burned down in 1303, Boniface VIII had a new bell made with the inscription which stands first in the above series. Only fifty years after- wards the tower was struck by lightning, and a new great bell was founded (colatur, cf. the P'rench couler) in September, 1353. Then Benedict XIV had the bell recast in larger size in 1747, and when this cracked (rimis actis), the metal was once more used by Aloysius Valadier to make the present beautiful bell under Pius VI in 1785. (See Cancellieri, De Secretariis, Rome, 1786, III, 1357, and IV, 1995 sqq.)

In point of size any very great development of medieval bells was probably checked by the mechani- cal difficulty of ringing them. At Canterbury, for example, we hear of as many as twenty-four men being required to ring one bell, while sixty-three men were needed for the whole peal of five (Ellacombe, 443). In the eleventh century a bell given by King Robert to the church at Orleans was thought to be of remarkable size, but it weighed little over a ton. The "Cantabona" bell of Blessed Azehn at Hildc- sheim (eleventh century) is said to have weighed about four tons, a Rouen bell of 1501 sixteen tons, and the still existing "Maria Gloriosa" of Erfurt Cathedral, cast in 1497, weighs thirteen tons. Of modern bells consecrated with the rites of the Catho- lic Church, the largest is that of Cologne Cathedral, which was made out of captured French cannon, and weighs nearly twenty-seven tons. That in the church of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre weighs over eighteen, and others at Vienna and Rouen about seventeen. In the Catholic cathedral of Montreal is a bell of thirteen and one-half tons. The very beautiful bell of St. Peter's, Rome, weighs about nine tons. The gigantic bells cast in Russia, China,