Chapter 1.25

< Vt veniēns Brittānian Augustīnus prīmō in īnsulā Tanātō rēgī Cantuāriōrum praedicārit, et sīc acceptā ab eō licentiā Cantiam praedicātūrus intrāverit.>

 [1] Rōborātus ergō cōnfirmātiōne beātī patris Gregōriī, Augustīnus cum famulīs Chrīstī, quī erant cum eō, rediit in opus verbī pervēnitque Brittaniam. [2] Erat eō tempore rex Aedilberct in Cantiā potentissimus, quī ad cōnfīnium usque Humbrae flūminis maximī, quō merīdiānī et septentriōnālēs Anglōrum populī dirimuntur, fīnēs imperiī tetenderat. [3] Est autem ad orientālem Cantiae plāgam Tanatos īnsula nōn modica, id est magnitūdinis iuxtā cōnsuētūdinem aestimātiōnis Anglōrum familiārum sexcentārum, quam ā continentī terrā sēcernit fluvius Vantsumu, quī est lātitūdinis circiter trium stadiōrum, et duōbus tantum in locīs est trānsmeābilis; utrumque enim caput prōtendit in mare. [4] In hāc ergō applicuit servus Dominī Augustīnus, et sociī eius, virī, ut ferunt, fermē XL. [5] Accēpērant autem, praecipiente beātō pāpā Gregōriō, dē gente Francōrum interpretēs; et mittēns ad Aedilberctum mandāvit sē vēnisse dē Romā ac nūntium ferre optimum, quī sibi obtemperantibus aeterna in caelīs gaudia et rēgnum sine fīne cum Deō vīvō et vērō futūrum sine ūllā dubietāte prōmitteret. [6] Quī, haec audiēns, manēre illōs in eā quam adierant īnsulā, et eīs necessāria ministrārī, dōnec vidēret quid eīs faceret, iussit. [7] Nam et anteā fāma ad eum Chrīstiānae religiōnis pervēnerat, utpote quī et uxōrem habēbat Chrīstiānam dē gente Francōrum regiā, vocābulō Bercta, quam eā condiciōne ā parentibus accēperat, ut rītum fideī ac religiōnis suae cum episcopō, quem eī adiūtōrem fideī dederant, nōmine Liudhardo, inviolātum servāre licentiam habēret.

[8] Post diēs ergō vēnit ad īnsulam rēx, et residēns sub dīvō iussit Augustīnum cum sociīs ad suum ibīdem advenīre colloquium. [9] Cāverat enim nē in aliquam domum ad sē introīrent, vetere ūsus auguriō, nē superventū suō, sīquid malificae artis habuissent, eum superandō dēciperent. [10] At illī nōn daemonicā sed dīvīnā virtūte praeditī veniēbant, crucem prō vēxillō ferentēs argenteam, et imāginem Dominī Saluātōris in tabulā dēpictam, laetāniāsque canentēs prō suā simul et eōrum, propter quōs et ad quōs vēnerant, salūte aeternā Dominō supplicābant. [11] Cumque ad iussiōnem rēgis residentēs verbum eī vītae ūnā cum omnibus quī aderant eius comitibus praedicārent, respondit ille dīcēns: ‘Pulchra sunt quidem verba et prōmissa quae adfertis; sed quia nova sunt et incerta, nōn hīs possum adsēnsum tribuere, relictīs eīs quae tantō tempore cum omnī Anglōrum gente servāvī. [12] Vērum quia dē longē hūc peregrīnī vēnistis et, ut ego mihi videor perspexisse, ea, quae vōs vēra et optima crēdēbātis, nōbīs quoque commūnicāre dēsīderāstis, nōlumus molestī esse vōbīs; quīn potius benignō vōs hospitiō recipere et, quae victuī sunt vestrō necessāria, ministrāre cūrāmus, nec prohibēmus quīn omnēs quōs potestis fideī vestrae religiōnis praedicandō sociētis.’ [13] Dedit ergō eīs mānsiōnem in cīvitāte Doruvernēnsī, quae imperiī suī tōtīus erat mētropolis, eīsque, ut prōmīserat, cum administrātiōne victūs temporālis licentiam quoque praedicandī nōn abstulit. [14] Fertur autem quia adpropinquantēs cīvitātī mōre suō cum cruce sānctā et imāgine magnī rēgis Dominī nostrī Iesu Chrīstī hanc laētāniam cōnsonā vōce modulārentur: ‘Dēprecāmur tē, Domine, in omnī misericordiā tuā, ut auferātur furor tuus et īra tua ā cīvitāte istā, et dē domō sānctā tuā, quoniam peccāvimus. Allēlūia.’

AUGUSTINE'S MISSION TO THE ENGLISH

St. Augustine of Canterbury was prior of the Abbey of St. Andrew in Rome when the Pope chose him for the mission to Kent. Known as “The Apostle of the English,” he was Archbishop of Canterbury from 597 until his death in 604. Augustine was sent from Rome in 595, and two years later arrived in Kent, which at the time was ruled by Æthelbehrt (reigned ca. 585–616). Æthelbehrt was married to Bertha, the daughter of the Christian Merovingian king Charibert I.

To see the beginning of this chapter in one of the oldest manuscripts of Bede (Cotton Tiberius A XIV), copied at Bede's own monastery of Jarrow in about 750, go to the British Library Online Gallery.

(1) Gregōriī: Pope Gregory the Great. See PASE Gregory 1.

cōnfirmātiōne: “by the support” (ablative of means).

Augustīnus: Not to be confused with the earlier St. Augustine of Hippo. See PASE Augustine 1.

opus verbī: the work of spreading the Gospel.

Britanniam: accusative of motion toward without preposition (see Reading Bede §A.2.1)

(2) rex Aedilberct: Æthelbehrt of Kent, the first Christian king of Kent (ca. 585–616). See HE 2.5 and PASE Æthelbehrt 3.

Cantia: Kent.

ad cōnfīnium usque: the more common word order would be usque ad cōnfīnium.

Humbrae flūminis: the River Humber

merīdiānī et septentriōnālēs Anglōrum: “the southern and northern Angles.” Anglōrum is a partitive genitive.

(3) ad orientālem Cantiae plagam: plaga (“region, area”) here could be translated “the coast,” and ad as “off.”

Tanatos: the island of Thanet (see map). Before Kent’s conversion to Christianity, Thanet was a center of the worship of Thunor (Thor). Thanet is no longer an island (see note below on fluvius Vantsumu).

insūla nōn modica: take in apposition to Tanatos (“Thanet, an island…”). An example of litotes.

magnitūdinis: genitive of measure (AG 345.b).

iuxtā: “according to” (+ accusative)

familiārum sexcentārum: genitive of measure, like magnitūdinis, which it limits: “of a size…of 600 hides.” familia = “the amount of land regarded as (capable of) supporting one household,” “a hide” (DMLBS, familia 8).

ā continentī terrā: “from the mainland”

fluvius Vantsumu: the River Wantsum, or the Wantsum Channel, which by the 16th century had entirely silted up.

latitūdinis circiter trium stadiōrum: genitives of measure. A stadium (“stade”) equals about 607 feet (or 185 meters); 3 stades would have been about half a kilometer, or a third of a mile.

tantum: “only”

utrumque … caput: “both ends” (i.e, the channel empties into the sea at both ends). Caput can be translated as the “mouth” of the river.

(4) in hāc: in hāc insulā

applicuit: applicō, here, means “put in at,” “land at” (LS, applico II).

(5) dē gente Francōrum interpretēs: Frankish interpreters. Augustine and his companions, coming from Rome, would have spoken Latin, and would have needed those who could translate from Latin to Frankish, which would have been spoken, or at least understood, at the Kentish court.

mittēns … mandāvit: Bede shifts from the plural subject of accēperunt (i.e., all the missionaries) to the singular subject of mandāvit (i.e., Augustine).

sē vēnisse … ferre: the accusative-infinitive of indirect discourse introduced by mandāvit, “he sent word that” (DMLBS, mandare 4).

dē Romā: not the simple ablative of place from which with the names of cities and towns (for the general rule, see AG 427.1)

nuntium: “news, message,” evidently masculine (> nuntius -ī, m.) instead of the more regular neuter noun, to judge by the following relative clause quī … promitteret which defines it (see LS, nuntius II.B.2). Nuntium optimum calls to mind the Greek εὐαγγέλιον, the “good news” of the Gospel.

quī … promitteret: the structure is: (nuntius) quī gaudia et regnum prōmitteret sibi obtemperantibus: “which promised joys and a kingdom to those who obey it.” The subjunctive is normal in a subordinate clause in indirect discourse (AG 592). It is also possible to take the antecedent of quī as Augustine himself, in which case the relative clause expresses the purpose of his coming from Rome (AG 531.2). In this reading, sibi refers to Augustine: “he sent word that he had come to promise eternal joy ... to those obeying him.” There is perhaps an echo here of Hebrews 5:9 (Vulgate), speaking of Christ’s role as a chief priest (pontifex): factus est omnibus optemperantibus sibi causa salūtis aeternae (“he was made a cause of eternal salvation for all those obeying him”).

aeterna … gaudia et rēgnum … futūrum: the objects of prōmitteret.

(6) Quī: Æthelberht

manēre illōs … iussit: accusative-infinitive construction after iūbeō (AG 563.a)

eīs necessāria ministrārī: also the accusative-infinitive construction after iūbeō. Necessāria is the neuter plural subject accusative: “essentials.” Eīs is the indirect object of ministrārī.

quid eīs faceret: indirect question after vidēret. Faciō with the ablative or dative is used in questions expressing difficulty or perplexity (“what would he do with them?”). (LS, facio I.B.11).

(7) Æthelberht’s wife Bertha was already a Christian. After an introductory clause, the structure of this long sentence is as follows: uxōrem habēbat Chrīstiānam … quam eā condiciōne accēperat, ut … licentiam habēret.

Nam et: = nam (or namque), “for.”

utpote qui: “as one might expect from someone who…”

Bercta: Bertha, the daughter of the Frankish King Charibert I. See PASE Bertha 1.

eā condicione … ut: “on the condition that…” introducing a clause of proviso (AG 528).

accēperat: the subject is Æthelberht.

ut … licentiam habēret: “that she might have the freedom”

quem eī adiūtōrem fideī dederant: the antecedent of quem is episcopō, refers to Bertha, and the subject of dederant is her parents (“they”). Adiūtōrem is in apposition to quem: “whom they had given as a guide….”

inviolātum servāre: “to keep inviolate.”

Liudhardo: see PASE, Liudhard. He is “also known from a small gold medallion bearing his name, part of the St. Martin’s treasure, preserved in Liverpool City Museum. That he was a bishop must indicate the previous existence of a Christian community to whom he would minister. The implication of Bede’s account is that he was dead by 597” (McClure and Collins, p. 371).

KING ÆTHELBERHT GRANTS AUGUSTINE PERMISSION TO ESTABLISH A MISSION IN KENT

Æthelbehrt provided Augustine with a dwelling (mānsiō, 13) in Canterbury, where Augustine established his episcopal see. Augustine was the first Archbishop of Canterbury, from 597 until his death in ca. 604.

(8) sub divō: literally, “under god,” this means “in the open air,” “outside” (LS, divum).

ad suum … colloquium: ad expresses purpose, “to talk with him.”

(9) Cāverat enim nē…: clause of fearing (AG 564)

auguriō: “superstition”

superventū suō: refers to the missionaries: “at their arrival on the scene.” Ablative of time when (AG 423).

malificae artis: Partitive genitive after the neuter indefinite pronoun (AG 346.a.3). In English, the “of” can be omitted (“if they had any…”). Æthelberht is afraid the missionaries will practice witchcraft upon him, and evidently the superstition is that witchcraft is more effective if practiced indoors.

superāndō dēciperent: Bede reverses causality here: he writes “they would deceive him by overcoming him” when we might expect “they would overcome him by deceiving him.”

(10) illī: the missionaries

imāginem … depictam: i.e., an icon

prō suā: with salūte aeternā (“for their eternal salvation, and at the same time that of those…”), in hyperbaton.

laetaniās: > laetania = lītania, litany, a form of supplicatory public prayer with fixed responses (DMLBS, litania).

(11) Cumque ... praedicārent: Rearrange the word order of the cum-clause as: cumque, residentēs ad iussiōnem rēgis, praedicṝent verbum vītae eī, ūnā cum omnibus comitibus eius, quī aderant. Ūnā cum = “along with.”

ad iūssiōnem rēgis: “at the king’s bidding.”

verbum eī vitae: is the indirect object of praedicārent; the phrase verbum vitae (“the word of life”) is found at Philippians 2:16 in St. Jerome’s Vulgate version of the New Testament.

comitibus: comes, in this context, refers to a gesith, a companion of an Anglo-Saxon king (the more familiar term is thegn, or thane).

praedicārent: praedicāre, in Christian Latin, means “to preach.”

adsēnsum tribuere: “to assent to,” “to give credence to” (+ dative)

relictīs eīs: ablative absolute

(12) peregrīnī: in apposition, “as pilgrims”

quia: goes with both vēnistis and desiderā(vi)stis: “because you have come….and because you have desired…”

ut … perspexisse: parenthetical (“as I seem to have discerned”)

ea: direct object of commūnicāre

nōbīs: indirect object of commūnicāre

commūnicāre: “to share”

quīn potius: “Yes, and furthermore…”

nec prōhibēmus quīn: “we will not keep you from…” (see AG 558 for quīn with verbs of prohibition).

sociētis: sociāre means to attach or “win over” something (in the accusative, omnēs) to something (in the dative, fideī).

praedicāndō: ablative of means (“by preaching”)

(13) in cīvitāte Doruvernēnsī: Doruvernum (Doruvernēnsis cīvitās) was the Roman name for Canterbury.

mētropolis: “chief city”

cum administrātiōne victūs temporālis: “with the provision of earthly sustenance” (i.e., he kept his promise to feed the missionaries).

licentiam … praedicāndī: “the freedom to preach”

(14) Fertur … quia: “it is said that.” Indirect discourse introduced with quia (see Reading Bede §A.6.3)

cōnsonā vōce modulārentur: “they sang in unison” (Garforth)

Dēprecāmur tē: the hymn was traditionally sung during Rogation Day processions. You can listen to the hymn being performed here.

istā: iste can express “dislike or contempt,” but can also simply refer to the “place, country, etc., where [the] writer is, or the nation to which he belongs” (DMLBS, iste 2a).

NOTE: Lemmatization of Anglo-Saxon Names
—: declined forms unattested
[ ]: nominative forms unattested (back-formed for purposes of lemmatization)
*: form unattested but hypothesized based on existing patterns


rōborō –āre –āvī –ātum: to make strong, strengthen, invigorate, confirm

cōnfirmātiō –ōnis f.: support

Grēgorius –ī m.: Gregory, the Great, pope, 590-604

Augustīnus –ī m.: Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury, 597-604x609; apostle of the English

famulus –ī m.: servant

Christus –ī m.: Christ

Britannia –ae f.: Britain

Aedilberct –ī m.: Æthelberht, First Christian king of Kent, 560 or c.585-616

Cantia –ae f.: a promontory of southeast England, now Kent

cōnfīnium –ī n.: a common boundary

Humbra –ae f.: the Humber

māximus –a –um: greatest; maxime: most, especially, very much

merīdiānus –a –um: southern

septentriōnālis –e: northern

Anglī –ōrum m.: the Angles, a Germanic tribe; the English

dirimō –ere –ēmī –ēmptus: to take asunder; to separate

orientālis –e: of the east, easterly

Cantia –ae f.: a promontory of southeast England, now Kent

plaga –ae f.: region, area; coast

Tanatos: Thanet, an island to the east of Kent

modicus modica modicum: moderate, modest, temperate

iūxtā: according to

aestimātiō aestimatiōnis f.: measurement

Anglī –ōrum m.: the Angles, a Germanic tribe; the English

sescentī –ae –a; sescentēsimus –a –um: 600; 600th

continēns –ntis f.: a mainland, continent

sēcernō sēcernere sēcrēvī sēcrētum: to separate

fluvius fluvi(ī) m.: river

Vantsumu: the Wantsum Channel, which formerly separated Thanet from Kent

lātitūdō lātitūdinis f.: breadth

circiter: about, approximately

stadium –iī n.: a running track

transmeābilis –e: passable, that can be crossed

prōtendō –ere –tendī –tēnsus or tentus: to stretch forth or out; extend

applicō applicāre applicāvī applicātus: to land (a ship)

dominus dominī m.: lord; Lord (of Jesus Christ)

Augustīnus –ī m.: Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury, 597-604x609; apostle of the English

socius –iī m.: companion

fermē: almost, nearly

quādrāginta; quādrāgesimus –a –um: 40; 40th

pāpa –ae or –ātis m.: a father, pope

Grēgorius –ī m.: Gregory, the Great, pope, 590-604

Francī –ōrum m.: the Franks, a Germanic confederacy on the Rhine

interpres –etis m./f.: an agent between parties; a mediator

Aedilberct –ī m.: Æthelberht, First Christian king of Kent, 560 or c.585-616

mandō mandāre mandāvī mandātus: to entrust

Rōma Rōmae f.: Rome

nūntium –ī n.: an announcement

optimus –a –um: best, excellent

obtemperō obtemperāre obtemperāvī obtemperātus: to obey, comply

vīvus –a –um: alive

futūrus –a –um: about to be; future

dubietās –ātis f.: doubt, uncertainty

necessārius –a –um: necessary, essential

ministrō ministrāre ministrāvī ministrātus: to attend, serve

anteā: before, formerly

Chrīstiānus –a –um: Christian

religiō religiōnis f.: religion

utpote: namely

Chrīstiānus –a –um: Christian

Francī –ōrum m.: the Franks, a Germanic confederacy on the Rhine

vocābulum –ī n.: a designation, name

Bercta –ae f.: Bertha, Queen of King Æthelberht 3 of Kent

rītus –ūs m.: farm of religious ceremonial; form

religiō religiōnis f.: religion

episcopus –ī m.: guardian, (eccl.) bishop

adiūtor –ōris m.: a helper

Liudhard –ī m.: Liudhard, Frankish bishop

inviolātus –a –um: unhurt, inviolate

licentia licentiae f.: licence

resīdō –ere –sīdere –sēdī: to sit down, sink down, shrink

dīvum –ī n.: the sky

Augustīnus –ī m.: Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury, 597-604x609; apostle of the English

socius –iī m.: ally, comrade

ibīdem: in the same place

colloquium colloquiī n.: conversation

aliquam: in some degree, somewhat, pretty, moderately, to a degree

intro–eō –īre –iī –itum: to enter

augurium argurī(ī) n.: prophecy

superveniō –īre –vēnī –ventu: to come over or upon; come unexpectedly; fall upon

sīquis or sīquī sīqua sīquid: if any (one)

maleficus –a –um: nefarious, criminal

dēcipiō dēcipere dēcēpī dēceptus: to deceive, cheat

daemonicus –a –um: belonging to an evil spirit, demoniac, devilish

dīvīnus –a –um: divine

praeditus –a –um: endowed with

crux crucis f.: cross

vexillum –ī n.: a military ensign, standard

argenteus –a –um: (made of) silver

dominus dominī m.: lord; Lord (of Jesus Christ)

salvātor –ōris m.: a saviour, preserver

tabula tabulae f.: board, plank

dē-pingō –pingere –pīnxī –pictum: to paint, draw

litanīa –ae f.: a litany

dominus dominī m.: lord; Lord (of Jesus Christ)

supplicō –supplicāre: to kneel down, beseech

cumque: whenever, always

iussiō –ōnis f.: an order, command

resīdō –ere –sīdere –sēdī: to sit down, sink down, shrink

praedicō –āre –āvī –ātum: to preach

prōmissum –ī n.: promise

incertus –a –um: uncertain

adsēnsus –ūs m.: an assenting; answering sound

tribuō tribuere tribuī tribūtus: to assign

Anglī –ōrum m.: the Angles, a Germanic tribe; the English

peregrinus –a –um: foreign; sub. m., pilgrim

perspiciō perspicere perspexī perspectus: to see through

optimus –a –um: best, excellent

commūnicō commūnicāre commūnicāvī commūnicātus: to communicate

molestus –a –um: troublesome, annoying

potius: rather, more

benīgnus –a –um: kind

hospitium hospiti(ī) n.: hospitality

vīctus vīctūs m.: food

necessārius –a –um: necessary, essential

ministrō ministrāre ministrāvī ministrātus: to attend, serve

religiō religiōnis f.: religion

praedicō –āre –āvī –ātum: to preach

sociō sociāre sociāvī sociātus: to make one a socius; to share

mānsiō –ōnis f.: a dwelling; house for clergy, a manse

Durovernum –ī n.: Canterbury, the principle episcopal see in the south of England

mētropolis –is f.: a mother-city, the chief city of a province

administrātiō –ōnis f.: aid, help, cooperation

vīctus vīctūs m.: food

temporālis –e: of or belonging to time, temporal

licentia licentiae f.: licence

praedicō –āre –āvī –ātum: to preach

appropinquō appropinquāre appropinquavī: to approach, draw near

crux crucis f.: cross

dominus dominī m.: lord; Lord (of Jesus Christ)

Iēsūs –ū m.: Jesus Christ

Christus –ī m.: Christ

litanīa –ae f.: a litany

cōnsonō cōnsonāre cōnsonuī: to sound at once or together; sound loudly; resound

modulor –ātus sum: to measure; regulate

dēprecor dēprecārī dēprecātus sum: to ward off (from one's self or others) by earnest prayer

dominus dominī m.: lord; Lord (of Jesus Christ)

misericordia misericordiae f.: pity, mercy

allēlūia: hallelujah, song of praise

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