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LATINITATIS MEDII AEVI - Harvard University · PDF file 2018. 5. 7. · translation, repurposing, and misunderstanding 39 ested lexicographers9.The word furibum has appeared in dictionaries

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    A.-M. Turcan-Verkerk, B. Pottier, présidents F. Dolbeau, A. Dufour, A. Guerreau-Jalabert, J. Hamesse, D. R. Howlett,

    B. Munk Olsen, M. Rzepiela, Z. Silagiová, P. Smiraglia, P. Stotz, J.-Y. Tilliette, P. Tombeur, O. Weijers, A. Wellhausen


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  • Translation, repurposing, and misunderstanding from Egypt

    to Rome to Ravenna : φορεῖον - phorium - furibum*

    Minas was so ill that he could not even be carried in a furibum, « in which the sick are carried ». Instead, he had to lie supine on a bed, conveyed by sixteen men in shifts to the saint who would finally cure him 1. The saint was Barbatianus, who later impressed Peter Damian for humbly using medicines to conceal his own holiness 2. The source is the Vita Barbatiani (B.H.L. 972), an anonymous life composed probably in the tenth century, which recounted Barbatianus’ deeds in the Italy of Galla Placidia 3. This article is about the mysterious vehicle

    * I would like to thank Ned Schoolman for bringing my attention to the Vita Barbatiani, for sharing his photographs of relevant manuscripts, and for allowing me to read the draft of his book before its publication. I would also like to thank Michael McCormick, Gregor Kalas, Jake Ransohoff, Warren Pezé, and Julian Yolles for corrections and suggestions. 1 Vita Barbatiani (B.H.L. 972), c. 7, ed. Francesco Lanzoni, « Gli ‘Acta s. Barbatiani presbyteri et confessoris’ », Rivista di scienze storiche, 6, 1909, p. 644. Full quotation below. 2 Peter Damian, Sermo 65, c. 4, ed. Giovanni Lucchesi, Petri Damiani Sermones, Turnhout, 1983 (CCCM, 57), p. 391 : « Ea nisi fallor intentione ut (…) medicinale aliquid fuisse credatur, et dum reparata salus medicinae tribuitur, in aestimatione hominum sanctitatis eius opinio minu- atur ». On Barbatianus’ cult, see Giovanni Lucchesi and Maria Chiara Celletti, « Barbaziano », Bibliotheca Sanctorum, 2, Rome, 1962, col. 772-776 ; Alessandro Testi-Rasponi, « Barbatianus », Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, 6, Paris, 1932, col.  621-622 ; J. Baur, « Barbatianus », Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 1, Freiburg, 1957, col. 1238 ; Mariëtte Verho- even, The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna : Transformations and Memory, Turnhout, 2011, p. 80-85. For fuller discussion, see Edward Schoolman, Rediscovering Sainthood in Italy : Hagiography and the Late Antique Past in Medieval Ravenna, New York, 2016, esp. p. 77-138. 3 Francesco Lanzoni, « Gli ‘Acta s. Barbatiani’ », p. 635-658 (text), 712-734 (commentary), is the best edition, but see the review by Albert Poncelet in Analecta Bollandiana, 29, 1910, p. 166-168, at p. 167. The editio princeps is Benedetto Bacchini (ed.), Agnelli, qui et Andreas, Liber pontifi- calis, sive vitae pontificum ravennatum, 2 vol., Modena, 1708, vol.  2 (Appendix), p.  39-58, preceded by an Italian abrégé : Girolamo Fabri, Le sagre memorie di Ravenna antica, 2 vol., Venice, 1664, vol. 1, at p. 193-195. Bacchini’s edition was reprinted with revisions (in footnotes) by Ludovico Muratori (ed.), Rerum italicarum scriptores, Milan, 1723, vol. 2, p. 194-198. Jacques- Paul Migne (ed.), Patrologia Latina [hereafter PL], 106, Paris, 1864, col.  769-778, introduced Muratori’s emendations into the text (in square brackets). Peter Damian’s sermon is the terminus ante quem. Agnellus of Ravenna’s Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis (between 830 and 846),

  • 38 shane bobrycki

    in which Minas was too ill to be carried, the furibum. It argues that this hapax legomenon, although enshrined in dictionaries of medieval Latin, is a lexico- graphical myth. In so doing, it considers the broader question of how words and texts migrate from one material context to another, and explores the implica- tions of such cultural migrations for historians trying to reconstruct the life and language of the past.

    Traditionally, the Vita Barbatiani was dismissed as the tale of an « invented saint » 4. The life takes its stories nearly verbatim from older texts, above all, from the Latin Miracles of Cyrus and John (B.H.L. 2080), a partly late seventh- and partly late ninth-century Latin translation of the seventh-century Greek Miracles of Cyrus and John (B.H.G. 477-479i) of Sophronios of Jerusalem 5. That borrowing includes poor Minas, who was a sick man named « Mennas » (Μηνᾶς) in Egypt before he was one in Italy 6. Recently, however, Edward Schoolman has defended the Vita Barbatiani from accusations of mere plagia- rism, using the text to explore memorial culture and the construction of sanctity in early medieval Ravenna 7. The vita, Edward Schoolman argues, was a kind of « literary furta sacra », which inventively altered its sources to fit new needs 8.

    One byproduct of the text’s re-use of older materials is its unusual vocabu- lary. If the Vita Barbatiani has failed to impress historians, it has long inter-

    is often used as the terminus post quem, but Paolo Tomea, « L’agiografia dell’Italia Settentri- onale (950-1130) », in Guy Philippart (ed.), Hagiographies, Turnhout, 2001, vol. 3, p. 99-178, at p. 135, n. 86, notes that it is not clear that the Vita Barbatiani is based on Agnellus rather than the other way around. Alessandro Testi-Rasponi, « Barbatianus », col. 621, and J. Baur, « Barba- tianus », col. 1238, assign the text to the ninth century, without explanation. Francesco Lanzoni, « Gli ‘Acta s. Barbatiani’ », p.  719, 723, dates it to the tenth. The case for tenth-century dating is made convincingly by Edward Schoolman, Rediscovering Sainthood, p. 91-124. Cf. Edward Schoolman, « Engineered Holy Authority and the Tenth-Century Vita of St. Barbatianus of Ravenna », in Shari Boodts, Johan Leemans, and Brigitte Meijns (ed.), Shaping Authority : How Did a Person Become an Authority in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance ?, Turnhout, 2016, p. 251-280, at p. 253. 4 Mariëtte Verhoeven, Early Christian Monuments, p. 80. Cf. Deborah Deliyannis, Ravenna in Late Antiquity, Cambridge, 2010, p. 104 (« entirely derivative ») ; Alessandro Testi-Rasponi, « Barbatianus », col.  621 (« aucune valeur historique ») ; J. Baur, « Barbatianus », col.  1238 (« v. geringem hist. Wert ») ; Giovanni Lucchesi, « Barbaziano », col. 772 (« un romanzo agiografico »). 5 Sophronios, Miracula Cyri et Iohannis (B.H.G. 477-479i) [hereafter :