Chapter 3.5

<Dē vītā Aidānī episcopī>

[1] Ab hāc ergō īnsulā, ab hōrum collēgiō monachōrum, ad prōvinciam Anglōrum īnstituendam in Chrīstō missus est Aedan, acceptō gradū episcopātūs. [2] Quō tempore eīdem monastēriō Segēnī abbās et presbyter praefuit. [3] Vnde inter alia vīvendī documenta salūberrimum abstinentiae vel continentiae clēricīs exemplum relīquit; cuius doctrīnam id maximē commendābat omnibus, quod nōn aliter quam vīvēbat cum suīs ipse docēbat. [4] Nihil enim huius mundī quaerere, nīl amāre cūrābat. [5] Cūncta quae sibi ā rēgibus vel dīvitibus saeculī dōnābantur, mox pauperibus quī occurrerent ērogāre gaudēbat. [6] Discurrēre per cūncta et urbāna et rūstica loca nōn equōrum dorsō sed pedum incessū vectus, nisi sī maior forte necessitās compulisset, solēbat; quātenus ubicumque aliquōs vel dīvitēs vel pauperēs incēdēns aspexisset, cōnfestim ad hōs dīvertēns vel ad fideī suscipiendae sacrāmentum, sī īnfidēlēs essent, invītāret vel, sī fidēlēs, in ipsā eōs fide cōnfortāret atque ad elēmosinās operumque bonōrum exsecūtiōnem et verbīs excitāret et factīs.

[7] In tantum autem vīta illīus ā nostrī temporis sēgnitiā distābat, ut omnēs quī cum eō incēdēbant, sīve adtōnsī seu lāicī, meditārī dēbērent, id est, aut legendīs scrīptūrīs aut psalmīs discendīs operam dare. [8] Hoc erat cotīdiānum opus illīus et omnium quī cum eō erant, ubicumque locōrum dēvēnissent. [9] Et sī forte ēvēnisset, quod tamen rārō ēvēnit, ut ad rēgis convīvium vocārētur, intrābat cum ūnō clēricō aut duōbus et, ubi paululum reficiēbātur, accelerāvit ōcius ad legendum cum suīs sīve ad ōrandum ēgredī. [10] Cuius exemplīs īnfōrmātī tempore illō religiōsī quīque virī ac fēminae cōnsuētūdinem fēcērunt per tōtum annum, exceptā remissiōne quīnquāgēsimae paschālis, quarta et sexta sabbatī ieiūnium ad nōnam usque hōram prōtēlāre. [11] Numquam dīvitibus honōris sīve timōris grātiā, sīquā delinquissent, reticēbat, sed asperā illōs invectiōne corrigēbat. [12] Nūllam potentibus saeculī pecūniam, exceptā sōlum ēscā, sīquōs hospitiō suscēpisset, umquam dare solēbat, sed ea potius, quae sibi ā dīvitibus dōnāria pecūniārum largiēbantur, vel in ūsūs pauperum, ut dīximus, dispergēbat, vel ad redemptiōnem eōrum, quī iniūstē fuerant vēnditī, dispēnsābat. [13] Dēnique multōs quōs pretiō datō redēmerat redēmtōs postmodum suōs discipulōs fēcit, atque ad sacerdōtālem usque gradum ērudiendō atque īnstituendō prōvēxit.

[14] Ferunt autem quia, cum dē prōvinciā Scottōrum rēx Osvald postulāsset antistitem quī sibi suaeque gentī verbum fideī ministrāret, missus fuerit prīmō alius austēriōris animī vir, quī cum aliquandiū gentī Anglōrum praedicāns nihil prōficeret nec libenter ā populō audīrētur, redierit patriam atque in conventū seniōrum rettulerit quia nīl prōdesse docendō gentī, ad quam missus erat, potuisset, eō quod essent hominēs indomābilēs et dūrae ac barbarae mentis. [15] At illī, ut perhibent, tractātum magnum in conciliō, quid esset agendum, habēre coepērunt, dēsīderantēs quidem gentī quam petēbantur salūtī esse, sed dē nōn receptō quem miserant praedicātōre dolentēs. [16] Tum ait Aedan (nam et ipse conciliō intererat) ad eum dē quō agēbātur sacerdōtem: ‘Vidētur mihi, frāter, quia dūrior iūstō indoctīs audītōribus fuistī, et nōn eīs iuxtā apostolicam disciplīnam prīmō lac doctrīnae molliōris porrēxistī, dōnec paulātim ēnūtrītī verbō Deī, ad capienda perfectiōra et ad facienda sublīmiōra Deī praecepta sufficerent.’ [17] Quō audītō omnium quī cōnsīdēbant ad ipsum ōra et oculī conversī, dīligenter quid dīceret discutiēbant, et ipsum esse dignum episcopātū, ipsum ad ērudiendōs incrēdulōs et indoctōs mittī dēbēre dēcernunt, quī grātiā discrētiōnis, quae virtūtum māter est, ante omnia probābātur inbūtus; sīcque illum ōrdinantēs ad praedicandum mīsērunt. [18] Quī ubi tempus accēpit, sīcut prius moderāmine discrētiōnis, ita postmodum et cēterīs virtūtibus ōrnātus appāruit.

AIDAN'S MINISTRY

After the death of Edwin and the departure of Paulinus, Northumbria reverted to paganism under Osric and Eanfrith (see 2.20). The second conversion of Northumbria took place under King Oswald, who invited Aidan to become the bishop of Lindisfarne. Virtually everything we know about Aidan comes from Bede's account. In this chapter, Bede emphasizes Aidan's virtues, especially his charity and discretion.

(1) hāc … īnsulā: i.e., Iona

ad prōvinciam…īnstituendam: gerundive expressing purpose.

(2) Segēnī: nominative. Ségéne mac Fiachnaí (d. 652), the fifth abbot of Iona Abbey (623–652).

(3) vīvendī documenta: “models of behavior” (see DMLBS, documentum 1).

clēricīs exemplum relīquit: “he set an example for the clergy”

cuius doctrīnam … docēbat: “the thing which most commended his instruction was that he was teaching (people to live) no differently that he himself lived with his own people.” Aidan practiced what he preached.

id … quod: id is the subject of commendābat, and is explained by quod: “this commended…, namely, that…”

(5) saeculī: “of the world” (“secular”)

mox: “at once”

(6) pedum incessū: pleonasm: “by the walking of his feet;” i.e., on foot

nisi sī: “except if,” “unless” (AG 525.3)

quātenus: “so that,” introducing the final (purpose) clauses (vel … invitāret, vel … cōnfortāret, atque … excitāret ….). See DMLBS, quatenus 3.b.

vel … vel: “[either] … or....” For ease of translation, the “either” can be omitted.

AIDAN'S VIRTUES

Bede is careful to show that Aidan, though Irish and mistaken about the timing of Easter, exhibits the Roman Catholic virtues of Gregory the Great. See Mayr-Harting 1972, 6.

(7) in tantum: “to such an extent”

sīve adtōnsī seu lāicī: “whether monks or laymen”

(8) ubicumque locōrum: “wherever”; locōrum is a partitive genitive with an adverb (AG 346.4), literally, “wherever of places.”

(9) ubi paululum reficiēbātur: “when he had eaten for a little while.” See DMLBS, reficere 5. In a temporal clause with ubi the perfect indicative would be more normal, in Bede as in Classical Latin (Druhan p. 168, AG 543).

accelerāvit ... ēgredī: accelerāre can take an infinitive ("hastened to leave").

(10) quīque: “each and every,” nom. pl. masc. and fem.

cōnsuētūdinem fēcērunt: “made it a custom”

quīnquāgēsimae paschālis: the quīnquāgēsima paschālis is Eastertide, the period of fifty days between Easter and Pentecost (DMLBS, quīnquāgēsimus)

quartā et sextā sabbatī: “on Wednesday and Friday”; literally, “on the fourth and sixth day of the Sabbath.” The seven days of the week were numbered from una [dies] sabbatī, “the first day of the Sabbath” (Sunday), to septima sabbatī, “the seventh day of the Sabbath” (Saturday).

ad nōnam usque hōram: = usque ad nōnam hōram, in the springtime this would be around 3:00 p.m., by our own reckoning.

prōtēlāre: “to prolong”

(11) dīvitibus: dative, indirect object of reticēbat: “he would never refrain from speaking to…”

honōris: “respect” (for the position of the wealthy)

sīquā: “if in some way”

(12) potentibus saeculī: “to powerful men of the world”

sīquōs: “if … any”

hospitiō suscēpisset: “had received with hospitality” (i.e., as guests)

ea: direct object of dispergēbat and dispēnsābat

ea … largiēbantur: “those gifts of money which were given to him by the rich.” The normally deponent largior is here passive.

vēnditī: i.e., into slavery. Slavery makes several other appearances in Bede, including Pope Gregory's encounter with English slaves in Rome (2.1), Wilfrid's freeing of 250 slaves (4.13), and the story of Imma (4.22). "Slave dealing seems to have been one of the earliest forms of continental trading in Anglo-Saxon times" (Colgrave-Mynors 1979, 404, n. 2).

THE DISCRETION OF ST. AIDAN

The importance of discrētiō (discretion or discernment) is stressed in Gregory the Great's Moralia in Job, in which it is the power of discretion that holds an individual's thoughts in check, and enables him to distinguish between sinful and virtuous thoughts and actions (Morals I.xxx.42). Gregory also discusses the importance of discretion to preachers in his Pastoral Care (Book III). As Bede himself tells us in 2.1, Gregory sets forth "with how much discrimination (discrētio) they should instruct different kinds of listeners." A preacher has to adapt his teaching to the life of his listener in order to have the best effect.

(14) Ferunt … quia: “they say that,” introducing indirect discourse with subjunctive.

sibi: refers to Oswald

missus fuerit: shifted pluperfect passive subjunctive, for missus sit

austēriōris animī: genitive of quality (AG 345)

patriam: accusative of place to which, like domum

rettulerit … quia: “related that,” introducing indirect discourse with subjunctive.

quia nīl … potuisset: re-order: quia nīl potuisset prōdesse docendō gentī ad quam missus erat.

docendō gentī: dative after prodesse: “to be of use for teaching…”

eō quod: “because”

durae … mentis: genitive of quality (AG 345)

(15) quid esset agendum: indirect question, introduced by the verb of speaking implied by tractātum habēre (“to have a discussion,” DMLBS, tractatus 3, i.e., to discuss).

dēsīderantēs … gentī quam petēbantur salūtī esse: “anxious to give that people (the English) the help that they (the monks at Iona) were being asked for.” gentī … salūtī is double dative (AG 382): “desiring it to be [for] a help for the people….” The antecedent of quam is salūtī.

dē nōn receptō … praedicātōre: after dolentēs: “grieving about the…” It’s probably easier here to translate as indirect discourse: “grieving that the preacher whom they had sent had not been received.” Or translate nōn receptō as “unwelcomed.”

(16) vidētur mihi … quia: “it seems to me that”

indoctīs audītōribus: dative with adjective dūrior (AG 384) “too harsh to…”

iuxtā: “according to”

prīmō: “first”

lac: direct object of porrēxistī

ēnūtrītī: nominative plural, appositive, agreeing with the subject

ad: with the gerundives, indicating purpose

(17) conversī: “having (been) turned” (nominative). The antecedent is ora et oculi, but the sentence continues as if omnēs were the grammatical subject.

quid dīceret: “what he was saying,” “his words” (indirect question)

ipsum esse … ipsum … debēre … dēcernunt: indirect discourse

epīcopātū: ablative of specification with dignum (AG 418.b)

grātiā: ablative after imbūtus (“imbued with”)

probābātur: “proved himself to be” (DMLBS, probāre 6).

(18) Quī ubi tempus accēpit: ubi is temporal (“when”); Colgrave-Mynors translate: “as time went on” (literally, “when he received time”).

et: “even,” “as well”

ōrnātus appāruit: “showed himself remarkable in” (+ abl.)

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


collēgium collēgi(i) n.: college, guild

monachus –ī m.: a monk

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

Christus –ī m.: Christ

Aedan — m. (accusative: Aedanum): Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne and saint, 635-651

episcopātus –ūs m.: bishopric

monastērium –ī n.: a monastery

Segeni — m.: Ségéne, Possibly abbot of Iona, fl. 640x642

abba (indecl.): father

presbyter –erī m.: a priest

praesum praeesse praefuī praefutūrus: to be before; be present

documentum –ī n.: a lesson, example

salūber salūbris salūbre: healthy

abstinentia –ae f.: abstinence

continentia –ae f.: a restraint

clēricus –ī m.: clergyman

doctrīna –ae f.: teaching, doctrine

maximē: most greatly

commendō commendāre commendāvī commendātus: to entrust

quod: the fact that

ērogō -āre -āvī -ātus: to expend

discurrō –ere –cucurrī –or currī –cursus: to run apart; to ride in different directions

urbānus –a –um: urban

rūsticus –a –um: rural

dorsum –ī n.: the back

incessus –ūs m.: walking

compellō compellere compulī compulsus: to drive

quatenus: how far

ubīcumque: wherever, whenever

incēdō incēdere incessī incessus: to go, happen

cōnfestim: immediately

dīvertō –ere –vertī –versus: to turn one’s self

sacrāmentum –ī n.: sacrament

īnfidēlis –e: unfaithful

invītō invītāre invītāvī invītātus: to invite

cōnfortō –confortāre: to strengthen much

eleēmosyna –ae f.: alms

exsecūtiō –ōnis f.: an accomplishing, performance

excitō excitāre excitāvī excitātus: to stir up, arouse

segnitia -ae f.: sluggishness

distō distāre distāvī distātus: to stand apart; be distant

incēdō incēdere incessī incessus: to go, happen

attondeō attondēre attondī attōnsum: to shave

lāicus –a –um: of or belonging to the people or laity

meditor meditārī meditātus sum: to think

scrīptūra –ae f.: Scripture

psalmus –ī m.: psalm

cottīdiānus –a –um: daily

ubīcumque: wherever, whenever

dēveniō –īre –vēnī –ventus: to come down; arrive at

ēveniō ēvenīre ēvēnī ēventus: to come out

ēveniō ēvenīre ēvēnī ēventus: to come out

clēricus –ī m.: clergyman

paululum: a little

reficiō reficere refēcī refectus: to repair

accelerō accelerāre accelerāvī accelerātus: to hasten

ōcior –ius: swifter

īnfōrmō īnfōrmāre īnfōrmāvī īnfōrmātus: to impart form to; mold

religiōsus –a –um: religious, reverent

remissiō remissiōnis f.: letting go release relaxation

quinquagesima: the period between Easter and Pentecost

paschālis –e: of or relating to Easter, paschal

Sabbatum –ī n.: Sabbath

ieiūnium –ī n.: a fast, hunger

nōnus –a –um: ninth

prōtēlō –āre –āvī –ātum: to prolong

sīquis or sīquī sīqua sīquid: if any (one)

dēlinquō –linquere –līquī –lictum: to fail, transgress, offend

reticeō –cēre –cui: to refrain from speaking, keep silent

aspera –ōrum n.: difficulties

invectiō –ōnis f.: reproach, invective

corrigō corrigere corrēxī corrēctus: to put right, reform

ēsca –ae f.: food

sīquis or sīquī sīqua sīquid: if any (one)

hospitium hospiti(ī) n.: hospitality

potius: rather, more

dōnārium –ī n.: altar

largior –ītus sum –dep.: to give largely; bestow

dispergō –ere –spersī –spersus: to sprinkle

redēmptiō –ōnis f.: a ransoming, redemption

iniūstē: unjustly

vendō vendere vendidī venditus: to sell

dispēnsō dispēnsāre: to spend, disburse, pay out

redimō –imere –ēmī –emptum: to buy back; buy out of slavery

redimō –imere –ēmī –emptum: to buy back; buy out of slavery

postmodum: afterwards

discipulus discipulī m.: male student

sacerdōtālis –e: priestly, sacerdotal

ērudiō –rudīre –rudiī –rudītum: to instruct, train; free from roughness

prōvehō –ere –vexī –vectus: to carry forward or forth; (pass.)

Scōtī –ōrum m.: Gaelic-speaking peoples of Ireland and later Scotland

Osuald –ī m.: Oswald, King of the Northumbrians, 634-642

postulō postulāre postulāvī postulātus: to demand

antistēs –itis m.: bishop

ministrō ministrāre ministrāvī ministrātus: to attend, serve

prīmō: at first

austērus –a –um : harsh, strict

aliquamdiū: for some time

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

praedicō –āre –āvī –ātum: to preach

prōficiō prōficere prōfēcī prōfectum: to advance

libenter: willingly

conventus conventūs m.: assembly

quod: the fact that

indomābilis –e: untamable

perhibeō –ēre –uī –itus: to hold persistently; maintain

tractātus –ūs m.: handling; management

concilium concilī(ī) n.: union; assembly

praedicātor –ōris m.: preacher

Aedan — m. (accusative: Aedanum): Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne and saint, 635-651

concilium concilī(ī) n.: union; assembly

iūstum –ī n.: justice, that which is fair

indoctus –a –um: untaught

audītor –ōris m.: hearer listener member of the audience

iūxtā: according to

apostolicus –a –um: apostolic, of an apostle or the apostles

prīmō: at first

lac –lactis n.: milk

doctrīna –ae f.: teaching, doctrine

porrigō porrigere porrēxī porrēctum: to stretch forth

paulātim: gradually

ēnūtriō ēnūtrīre: to bring up, to nourish, feed, support

perficiō perficere perfēcī perfectus: to complete, accomplish

sublīmus –a –um: lofty

sufficiō sufficere suffēcī suffectum: to suffuse

cōnsīdō cōnsīdere cōnsēdī cōnsessus: to sit down, settle

dīligēns: careful

discutiō –ere –cussī –cussus: to shake off

episcopātus –ūs m.: bishopric

ērudiō –rudīre –rudiī –rudītum: to instruct, train; free from roughness

incrēdulus –a –um: disbelieving, doubting; lacking Christian belief or faith

indoctus –a –um: untaught

discrētiō –ōnis f.: difference, distinction

imbuō or inbuō –ere –uī –ūtus: to wet, moisten

ōrdinō –ōrdināre: to set in order, regulate, appint, consecrate

praedicō –āre –āvī –ātum: to preach

moderamen: governance, restraint

discrētiō –ōnis f.: difference, distinction

postmodum: afterwards

ōrnō ōrnāre ōrnāvī ōrnātus: to equip, decorate

Text Read Aloud
article Nav
Previous