Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/251

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the oldest of the papal registers, that of John VIII, and on the classical, Varro, Apuleius, and the greater part of the works of Tacitus. Nowhere else is the work of the monasteries as the preservers of ancient learning more manifest.

The home of Greek learning in Italy was likewise to be found in monasteries, in those Basilian foundations which had spread over Calabria and the Basilicata in the ninth and tenth centuries and now under Norman protection sent out new colonies like the abbey of San Salvatore at Messina. Enriched with lands and rents and feudal holdings, they also set themselves to the building up of libraries by copies and by manuscripts brought from the East; but so far as we can judge from the ancient catalogues and from the scattered fragments which survive their dispersion, these collections were almost entirely biblical and theological in character, including however splendid examples of calligraphy such as the text of the Gospels, written in silver letters on purple vellum and adorned with beautiful miniatures, which is still preserved in the cathedral of Rossano.

Meanwhile, and largely as a result of the constant relations between southern Italy and the Greek East, learning had spread beyond monastery walls and ecclesiastical subjects, and had begun to attract the attention of men from the north. An English scholar, Adelard of Bath, who visited the south at the beginning