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U. Aeneid Commentary of Mixed Type

U. Aeneid Commentary of Mixed Type

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the commentary antedates its use in instruction. Until further information is

discovered, the commentary should probably be considered fourteenth century and anonymous.

In its content this particular commentary on the sixth book of Virgil’s

Aeneid combines materials and features from the late-antique commentary by

Servius (see above, IV.B) with those found in medieval interpretations such as

the one ascribed to (pseudo-)Bernardus Silvestris (see above, IV.Q). The

Servian tendencies focus on what could be called the ‘‘nuts and bolts,’’ which

include special features of the grammar and diction, information on myths and

religious practices, and explanation of historical context and antiquarian aspects. More typical of the commentary attributed to Bernardus is a proclivity

for interpreting the Aeneid allegorically as a commentary on the spiritual development of a man—and most of the time the governing spirit is a Christian

one. Among other sources upon which the commentator draws, one that

merits mention is the biographical tradition: at one point the commentator

tells of the dream of her son’s future success that Virgil’s mother is supposed to

have had while pregnant with him.

The author of this commentary o√ers a threefold reading of Aeneas’s descent to the underworld. The three types of reading are the historical or fabulous, the scientific, and the philosophical. These are distinct from the four

kinds of descent to the underworld—natural, sinful, virtuous, and necromantic—that the commentator identifies in his introduction and that he mentions

sporadically later on. By historia the commentator seems to have in mind the

essential elements of the narrative as well as basic items of vocabulary, etymology, grammar, prosody, and rhetoric. Although the commentator groups together historia and fabula, the latter actually di√ers, since it pertains to myth.

By philosophia the commentator means not so much philosophy in a broad

sense as morality, ethics, and religion. The equation and conflation of the three

help to explain why he refers to the descent variously as virtuous, theological,

and philosophical. Taken together, these aspects of his interpretation seem to

have been most important to the commentator. (JZ)



1. Opening of Book 6

(Text: An ‘‘Aeneid’’ Commentary of Mixed Type: The Glosses in MSS Harley 4946

and Ambrosianus G111 inf., ed. J. W. Jones Jr., Studies and Texts 126 [Toronto,

1996], 97–102)

‘‘Sic fatur lacrimans’’ [Aeneid 6.1]. Continencia huius sexti voluminis

tanta est: in principio eius continetur preparacio descensus Enee ad inferos;

in medio descensus ipse; in fine regressus ab inferis. Sed quia de locis inferorum triplex fuit apud philosophos sentencia, que unaqueque fuerit di774



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camus. Fuerunt ergo quidam qui dixerunt sublunarem regionem esse locum

inferorum propter eius mutaciones; ibi enim modo calor, modo frigus, modo

lux, modo obscuritas est et quia nichil est ea inferius. Alii quidquid est sub

firmamento locum inferorum esse dicebant quia inferius dicitur ab infra, sed

quidquid est sub firmamento subest alicui, ipsum vero nullis subiacet.

Unde invenimus quandam partem vocari Eliseos Campos qui est locus piorum propter istam partem que est super lunam ubi nulla est commutacio.

Aliam partem Tartarum dicunt, scilicet locum penarum, propter illam partem que subest lune. Tercii dicebant humanum corpus esse locum inferorum; dum enim anima est in corpore, detinetur quasi sub fedo et tenebroso

carcere. Ita possumus de locis inferorum diversas diversorum sentencias

assignare.

Sed quicumque sit locus inferorum notandum est quod quatuor modis fit

descensus ad inferos. Est enim naturalis descensus, est viciosus, est virtuosus, est nigromanticus. Naturalis descensus ad inferos est secundum philosophos quando anima a compari stella, natura cooperante, per planetas

descendit et coniungitur corpori. Voluerunt enim phylosophi a prima hora

nascentis mundi simul omnes animas creatas esse et deinde Deum super

unamquamque animam singulas stellas posuisse localiter, non eternaliter et

inde tempore convenienti et determinato iuxta divinam disposicionem per

planetas ad corpora descendere. Viciosus descensus est quando aliquis descendit ad cognicionem temporalium et illis irretitus numquam revertitur

ad suum creatorem. Virtuosus descensus est quando aliquis ad cognicionem

rerum temporalium descendit et cognita natura temporalium et earum mutabilitate ad creatorem suum revertitur. Unde invenimus in auctoribus quosdam descendisse ad inferos et non revertisse, ut Theseum et Pirithoum, quia

inhonesta causa descenderunt, scilicet ut raperent uxorem Plutonis Proserpinam quia illi qui ad fervorem luxurie et viciorum immundiciam descendunt vix aut numquam possunt se retrahere et hic est viciosus descensus.

Quosdam invenimus descendisse et revertisse, ut Herculem et Eneam, quia

honesta causa descenderunt. Hercules ut inde monstra raperet sicut Cerberum descendit; Eneas vero ut videret patrem suum quod est opus pietatis

et caritatis quia qui bona intencione ad temporalia descendunt liberius exeunt. Nigromanticus descensus est quando aliquis per sacrificium descendit

ad colloquium demonum vel animarum.

Sed cum sint ut diximus quatuor descensus ad inferos, de duobus tantum in hoc volumine mencionem facit, scilicet de virtuoso et nigromantico.

Eneas enim accipitur in hoc loco sub tipo sapientis qui ut videat patrem

Anchisem ad inferos descendit et Eneas dicitur Grece ennoyas, id est, totus

in mente. Anchises vero unus pater celsa inhabitans interpretatur quod est

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ipse creator quia cum ceteri patres transeant nec perpetuo perdurent, creator

manet immutabilis et eternus. Sed ut sapiens melius creatorem agnoscat, ad

cognicionem temporalium descendit ut per magis cognita minus cognitorum habeatur noticia. Sed tamen hoc facit prius sepulto Palinuro quia Palinurus quasi palon noros, id est, errabunda sonat visio. Palon Grece, errabundus Latine, unde palantes, id est, vagantes, noros visio vel videre.

Palinurum ergo sepelivit Eneas priusquam patrem videret quia nullus nisi

errabunda visione postposita et fervore luxurie et amore terrenorum ad cognicionem patris potest venire. Descendit autem ductu Sibille. Sibilla enim

quasi zeibole, id est, divinum consilium, dicitur quod est humana racio.

Zeos enim lingua quorundam Grecorum sonat deus, bule consilium. Inde

Sibilla quasi zeibula. Sed Eneas ductu Sibille descendit ad inferos. Sibilla

descendit ad inferos; quicumque enim ad temporalium cognicionem descendit, ad hoc eum divinum consilium, id est, humana racio, perducit et hic

ad virtuosum descensum respicit.

De nigromantico vero facit mencionem ubi dicit Sibilla Misenum prius

esse sacrificandum quam ad inferos veniat quia in rei veritate Eneas istum

occidit et demonibus sacrificavit. Unde eciam de laude eius multa apponuntur quia demones in sacrificiis unum de melioribus postulant. Sed hic queritur quare huic posito in loco sapientis huiusmodi descensum asscribat

eciam cum sapienti descendere ad inferos non contingat nisi raro. Ad hoc

respondendum est quod sacrificium demonum apud antiquos inhonestum

fuit reputatum. Virgilius vero nigromanticus fuisse dicitur. Nactus ergo occasionem ut sua sciencia pateret de nigromantico descensu interposuit.

Et notandum quia volumen istud triplici subiacet lectioni. Est enim fabulosa lectio, philosophica et historialis et hoc habemus a Macrobio [Somnium

Scipionis 1.9.8] qui inducit unum versum de hoc sexto dicens Virgilium nec

poeticum figmentum deseruisse nec philosophicam veritatem. Nec tamen

hec ubique simul requirenda sunt; quedam enim tantum ut poeta, quedam

ut historiographus, quedam ut philosophus ponit et quandoque istorum

trium simul tenet ordinem et quando hoc, quando illud exequitur. Legendo

exponemus. Peccant ergo qui ubique fabulam, ubique historiam, ubique

philosophiam volunt assignare. In hoc ergo volumine hec exempla dicenda

sunt:

[1] ‘‘Sic fatur’’: quidam volunt hos versus primos esse de precedenti volumine qui pendent ex supradictis. Sed Servius [on Aeneid 6, in Thilo-Hagen,

2:1] contra eos est dicens quia fuit mos antiquorum et fere ubique Virgilii

a preposicionibus vel coniunctionibus volumina incipere. Item Homerus

quem iste imitatur ab eisdem verbis et eodem modo incepit sextum volumen. ‘‘Lacrimans’’: ad historiam quia socium quem diligebat amiserat vel

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lacrimatur Eneas quia etsi sapientem racio moneat ut terrena spernat et

studium et amorem celestibus gaudens impendat, tamen aut vix aut numquam hoc potest facere sine magna carnis compunctione et gemitu quia

naturaliter intendit voluptatibus defluere. ‘‘Classi,’’ post conquestionem

scilicet uni navi quam regebat. Una navis potest dici classis a calon quod est

lignum vel ‘‘Classi,’’ illi toti navium collectioni quia immisit dominus et

servi immiserunt. Hic nichil nisi historia. [2] ‘‘Tandem’’ non ad tempus quia

parum interfuit quousque veniret ad Ytaliam sed ‘‘tandem’’ ad desiderium

respicit, id est, post multa desideria. ‘‘Allabitur’’: celeriter venit ut ‘‘labere,

virgo, polo’’ [Aeneid 11.588: labere, nympha, polo] et hoc iuxta preceptum

Heleni et persuasionem patris. Et merito descendit ad civitatem Cumas in

qua erat Sibilla ut per eam ad inferos descendat quia sine racione humana

que nobis manifestat divinam voluntatem nequimus perfectam cognicionem de rebus temporalibus habere. ‘‘Euboycis horis Cumarum,’’ quia Euboyca regio est in Asia cuius civitas est Calchis de qua venientes quidam

hanc civitatem constituerunt quam dixerunt Cumas vel a spuma maris quasi

spumas vel ab eventu quodam quia dum applicarent viderunt ibi pregnantem mulierem; cumene enim Grece, pregnans dicitur Latine. [3] ‘‘Obvertunt proras pelago’’ ut adhuc naute solent facere quia prora firmior est pars

navis et ideo illisiones fluctuum potest sustinere et ideo sic inverterunt proras vel applicuerunt terre a pelago. [5] ‘‘Pretexunt,’’ id est, pretegunt. [6]

‘‘Semina flamme’’: fisicam tangit quia, ut dicunt philosophi, in silice essencialiter non est plus ignis quam in hoc ligno vel in alio corpore, sed non

casualiter; ex collisione enim duorum corporum que sunt sicce nature generatur impetus, ex impetu calor, ex calore aer ignescit et in scintillam transit. [8] ‘‘Flumina’’: vel ad sacrificandum quod futurum erat vel quia viva

aqua lustrari more antiquorum post aliquod infortunium deberet ut a perturbacione mortis Palinuri. Et nota quod cum servilia officia sociis Enee

asscribat, Enee ut principi et philosopho asscribit doctrinam et studium et

hoc est [9] ‘‘At pius Eneas’’ agnomen. ‘‘Arces’’: arces vocat templum Apollinis quia sapiencia in altis habitat. [10] ‘‘Sibille’’: adiectum est nomen proprium. Sed legitur quandam Sibillam in tempore Tarquini fuisse et ei libros

vendidisse; unde oritur questio an una et eadem fuerit Sibilla hic quam vidit

Eneas et illa que tunc vixit. Respondeo: quondam tot fuerunt Sibille ut in

sequentibus audietis; quelibet enim sapientes dicebantur Sibille, id est,

sapientes. ‘‘Horrende,’’ id est, venerande, vel quia multa mala futura prenunciabant ad historiam vel quia caro racionem divinam et eius precepta

reformidat. [11] ‘‘Antrum’’: antrum vocat sapienciam; ut enim in antro latent

abscondita, ita nulli totum innotuit sapiencia. ‘‘Mentem et animum’’: quidam pro eodem accipiunt mentem et animum et tunc inculcacio vel est peryU. AENEID COMMENTARY OF MIXED TYPE



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sologia, unius dictionis superflua posicio. Alii dicunt quod una et eadem

substancia dicitur mens et spiritus, animus et anima, sed spiritus dicitur

sine omni corpore, anima ab officio animandi, mens quia discernit, animus

quia appetit et desiderat. Sic ergo distinguunt. [12] ‘‘Delius vates’’ inspirat

mentem et animum Sibille, id est humane racioni, quia homo ex sapiencia

contrahit discernere bonum a malo et appetere. ‘‘Apperitque futura,’’ quia

homo ex sapiencia cognoscit quedam multociens futura per preterita. [13]

‘‘Lucos Trivie’’: Trivia dicitur Luna propter tres potestates. Est enim Proserpina in inferis a proserpendo quia proserpendo ab inferiori emisperio vadit

quoad superius ascendit. Dicitur Dyana in silvis quia in herbis et arboribus

humor lune dominatur; Luna in celo quia inde lucet. ‘‘Aurea’’: per aurea

tecta sapienciam intelligite quia ut aurum precellit omnia metalla, sic sapiencia res omnes. Et nota quod lucos vocat inferiora, scilicet aquam, aerem,

terram, sed illos lucos subit Eneas quia sapiens per illorum cognicionem ad

creatoris cognicionem descendit, vel Sibilla, id est humana racio, ducit Eneam per lucos Trivie, id est per sublunarem regionem quia humana racio

supra lunam non ascendit.



‘‘Thus he cries weeping.’’ The contents of this book 6 are extensive. It

contains in the beginning the preparation for the descent of Aeneas to the

underworld, in the middle the descent itself, and in the end the return from the

underworld. But because among philosophers there were three opinions on

the location of the underworld, let us discuss what each of them was. There

were then certain philosophers who said that the location of the underworld is

the sublunary region because of the changes in it, for sometimes it is hot,

sometimes cold, sometimes light, sometimes dark, and because nothing is

lower than it. Others said that whatever is below the firmament is the location

of the underworld, since it is called inferius (lower), from infra (below); but

whatever is below the firmament is beneath something, but it lies below

nothing else. From this we discover that a particular part is called the Elysian

fields, which is the location of the pious, on account of that part which is above

the moon where nothing changes. They call the other part Tartarus, namely,

the place of punishments, on account of that part which is below the moon.

The third group said that the human body is the location of the underworld,

for while the soul is in the body, it is detained just as if within a foul and

shadowy prison. Thus we are able to indicate the various opinions of various

philosophers on the location of the underworld.

But whatever the location of the underworld may be, it should be noted

that there are four manners of descent into the underworld. There is natural

descent, sinful descent, virtuous descent, and magical descent. According to

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philosophers, natural descent into the underworld is when the soul, with the

assistance of nature, descends from a companion star by way of the planets and

is conjoined with the body. For philosophers held that from the first hour

of the world’s creation all souls were created simultaneously, that then God

placed the stars one by one over each soul spatially and not eternally, and that

thereafter at an appropriate time determined by divine order they descend by

way of the planets to the bodies. Sinful descent is when someone descends in

order to learn of temporal matters and, ensnared by them, never returns to his

creator. Virtuous descent is when someone descends in order to learn about

temporal matters and, having learned the nature and transience of temporal

matters, returns to his creator. Whence we discover in the authorities that

some descended to the underworld and did not return, such as Theseus and

Pirithous, since they descended for dishonest reasons, namely, so that they

could seize Proserpina, the wife of Pluto, because those who descend for the

heat of lechery and the filth of corruption are scarcely ever or even never able to

drag themselves back, and that is corrupt descent. We discover that some

others descended and returned, such as Hercules and Aeneas, since they descended for honorable reasons. Hercules descended so that he might seize

from there monsters like Cerberus, and Aeneas so that he might see his father, which is a work of piety and charity, since those who descend with

good intentions for temporal matters leave more freely. Magical descent is

when someone descends by means of a sacrifice for conversation with demons

or souls.

But although, as we said, there are four descents into the underworld, he

makes mention in this book about only two, namely, the virtuous and the

magical. For Aeneas is received in this place as the type of the wise man who

descends to the underworld to see his father Anchises, and Aeneas is called in

Greek ennoyas, that is, entirely in the mind. In fact Anchises is interpreted as the

one father living on high, because he is the creator himself, seeing that although

other fathers pass away and do not endure perpetually, the creator remains

eternal and unchanging. But so that the wise man may better recognize the

creator, he descends in order to learn of temporal matters so that knowledge of

matters less understood may be possessed through matters more understood.

But he does this when Palinurus has been buried first, since Palinurus is like

palon noros, that is, it means ‘‘wandering vision.’’ Palon in Greek is ‘‘wandering’’

in Latin, whence palantes, that is, ‘‘those who wander about’’; noros is ‘‘vision’’

or ‘‘to see.’’ Therefore, Aeneas buried Palinurus before he saw his father, since

no one is able to come to an understanding of the father except when wandering

vision, the heat of lechery, and the love of worldly things have been held of less

account. Moreover, he descended with the Sibyl’s guidance. For the Sibyl is so

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called as if zeibole, that is, ‘‘divine counsel,’’ which is human reason. For Zeos in

the tongue of certain Greeks means God, bule, ‘‘counsel.’’ Therefore the Sibyl is

like zeibula [divine counsel]. But Aeneas descends to the underworld by the

Sibyl’s guidance. The Sibyl descends to the underworld, for whoever descends

to understand temporal matters is led to it [the descent] by divine counsel, that

is, human reason, and he looks back upon virtuous descent.

In fact, he mentions magical descent when the Sibyl says that Misenus must

be sacrificed before [Aeneas] comes to the underworld, because in the truth of

the matter Aeneas killed him and sacrificed to demons. For this reason also

many things in praise of him are set forth because demons demand for sacrifices one of the superior ones. But here it is asked why he should ascribe a

descent of this type to him put in place of a wise man, since it happens only

rarely that even a wise man descends to the underworld. To this it should be

answered that demonic sacrifice was considered dishonorable among the ancients. Virgil is said to have been a magician. Therefore, having obtained the

opportunity to display his own knowledge, he made an interjection about

magical descent.

It should also be noted that this book is subject to three di√erent readings.

For there are mythical, philosophical, and historical readings, which we know

from Macrobius, who cites a verse from this sixth book saying that Virgil

departed neither from poetical invention nor from the truth of a philosopher.

These three readings, nevertheless, are not to be found in all places at the same

time. For certain elements he includes just as a poet, others as a writer of

history, and others as a philosopher; and at some points he maintains the

arrangement of all three at the same time, and develops now this one, now

that. I will demonstrate this in the course of reading. Those people err, therefore, who wish to treat the text in all places as only myth, history, or philosophy. In this book the following examples are to be noted:

[1] ‘‘Thus he cries’’: some want these first verses, as if dependent on the

previous lines, to belong to the previous book. But Servius is opposed to

them, stating that this was the manner of the ancients and that almost everywhere the books of Virgil begin with prepositions or conjunctions. Likewise

Homer, whom our author imitates, began his sixth book in the same fashion

and with the very same words. ‘‘Weeping’’: in accordance with the narrative,

[he weeps] because he had lost the companion whom he loved; alternatively,

Aeneas weeps because even if reason should warn a wise man to reject worldly

things and to devote his attention and his love to heavenly things in joy, yet

hardly ever, or indeed never, can he do this without great repentance of the

flesh and without lamentation, since by nature he aims to abandon himself to

pleasures. ‘‘The fleet’’: That is, after his mourning [he launches] the one ship

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that is under his control. One ship can be called a fleet from calon, which is

‘‘wood.’’ Alternatively, ‘‘the fleet’’ refers to that whole group of ships, which

both the master and his servants launched. This is nothing if not historical [or

literal]. [2] ‘‘At length’’: ‘‘at last’’ does not relate to time, in that he was to

arrive in Italy shortly, but ‘‘at last’’ relates to his desire, that is, after much

longing. ‘‘Glides up’’: He comes quickly, as in ‘‘swoop down from heaven,

nymph,’’ and this according to the order of Helenus and the advice of his

father. And with good cause he comes down to the city of Cumae, where the

Sibyl was, so that through her agency he might descend into the underworld,

since without human reason, which makes manifest to us the divine purpose,

we cannot have a complete understanding of the things of this world. ‘‘The

Euboean shores of Cumae’’: since Euboea is a region in Asia whose chief city is

Chalchis, and certain migrants from there established this city, which they

called Cumae, either because of the spray of the sea, as in spumas (foam), or

because it chanced that they saw a pregnant woman there while they were

coming to land; for the Greek cumene is equivalent to the Latin word for

‘‘pregnant.’’ [The commentator’s first etymology may assume a knowledge of

the Italian schiuma (foam, froth), which derives from the Germanic sk¯ums

with the influence of the Latin spuma.] [3] ‘‘They turn the prows seaward’’: as

sailors are still accustomed to do, because the prow is the stronger part of the

ship, and so it can sustain blows from the waves, and for that reason they

turned about the prows or brought them from the ocean onto land. [5]

‘‘Fringe’’: that is, they cover [the beach]. [6] ‘‘Seeds of flame’’: he deals here

with physics, since, as philosophers say, there is no more fire in the physical

essence of flint than there is in wood or in any other substance; but this is not

the case under certain conditions. For, from the friction of these two substances, which are dry in nature, force is created, heat is derived from force,

and from heat air is inflamed and changes into a spark. [8] ‘‘Streams’’: this was

either for a future sacrifice or because, according to the custom of the ancients,

a purification with fresh water was necessary after any misfortune like the

distress occasioned by the death of Palinurus. Note also that when he assigns

servile tasks to the companions of Aeneas, he assigns both knowledge and

study to Aeneas, as both prince and philosopher, and because of this he has the

honorific [9] pius Aeneas. ‘‘The heights’’: he refers to the temple of Apollo as

‘‘the heights’’ because wisdom dwells on high. [10] ‘‘Of the Sibyl’’: the proper

name has been added. Yet it is read that there was a certain Sibyl in the time of

Tarquin who sold him her books. From this arises the question whether it was

one and the same Sibyl whom Aeneas saw and who lived in the time of

Tarquin. My response is that once there were as many Sibyls as you will hear of

in what follows; for any wise women were called Sibyls, that is, ‘‘wise ones.’’

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‘‘The dread’’: that is, ‘‘to be revered,’’ either because, in a narrative interpretation, she foretold many evils to come, or because the flesh fears divine reason

and its commands. [11] ‘‘A cave’’: he calls wisdom a cave; for like things that

lie hidden away in caves, wisdom has been fully revealed to no one. ‘‘Mind and

soul’’: some take mind and soul as the same thing, and thus there is either

repetition or wordiness, which is the redundant application of the same word.

Others say that mind and spirit, as well as soul and life force, are one and the

same substance, which is called spirit when it is without body, soul in its

capacity for providing life [to the body], mind in its capacity to discern, and

soul when it seeks and desires something. These, then, are the distinctions

made. [12] ‘‘The Delian seer’’ breathes mind and soul into the Sibyl, that is,

into human reason, since out of wisdom man develops to separate good from

evil and to seek [the one over the other]. ‘‘And reveals the future’’: because

often man, through wisdom, recognizes from past occurrences certain things

that will happen in the future. [13] ‘‘The groves of Trivia’’: the Moon is called

Trivia because of her three properties. She is called Proserpina in the underworld from her quality of proserpendo [creeping forth], since, creeping up from

the lower half of the world, she comes forth until she rises to the upper region.

She is called Diana in the woods because the moisture of the moon exercises

sovereignty amid grass and trees. She is called Luna in the heavens, because she

lucet [shines forth] from there. ‘‘Golden’’: by ‘‘golden roofs’’ understand ‘‘wisdom,’’ because just as gold excels other metals, so does wisdom surpass all

other things. Note also that he designates as ‘‘groves’’ elements of the lower

world, which is to say, water, air, and earth; but Aeneas passes beneath those

groves just as a wise man, through a recognition of these things, descends to

the recognition of his creator, or as the Sibyl, that is, human reason, leads

Aeneas through the groves of Trivia, that is, through the sublunary region,

since human reason does not mount above the moon. (DJ, JL, revised by JZ)



2. Orpheus and Eurydice

(Text: An ‘‘Aeneid’’ Commentary of Mixed Type. The Glosses in MSS Harley 4946

and Ambrosianus G111 inf., ed. J. W. Jones Jr., Studies and Texts 126 [Toronto,

1996], 119–21)

[119] ‘‘Si potuit . . . Orpheus’’: argumentum a minori, quasi dicat, ‘‘Si

potuit, possum quia prevaleo illi.’’ Legitur in fabulis Euridicen Orpheum

habuisse uxorem. Hanc adamavit Aristeus. Quem fugiens calcato serpente

translata est ad inferos. Quam tamen Orpheus lege accepta extraxit. Huius

fabule duas invenimus exposiciones. Designat enim artem musicam. Sic

due sunt partes artis musice, una que consistit in vocum modulacione et



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dicitur arismetica, alia que consistit in proporcionali tantum vocum cognicione. Unde per Orpheum qui dicitur quasi oreaphone, id est, vox optima

speciem que est in vocum modulacione intelligimus; per Euridicem illam

speciem musice que est in proporcionali tantum vocum cognicione. Euridice

enim dicitur quasi profunda iudicacio quia etsi garcionibus scire contingat

vocum modulacionem, tamen perfectorum est scire vocum proporcionalitatem. Dicitur autem Euridice coniunx Orphei quia in hoc coniuncta sunt

quod hec et illa sunt species musice. Sed Euridicen amat Aristeus quia

sapiens magis amat hanc speciem musice quam aliam. Ares virtus vel optimum dicitur; inde Aristeus, id est, virtuosus. Sed cadit Euridice ad inferos

quia multis latet hec sciencia et a paucis, quia vix a sapientibus, cognoscitur

et hoc calcato serpente quia omnem humanam astuciam superat serpens.

Hanc requirit Orpheus quia qui scit vocum modulacionem cicius descendit

ad proporcionalitatum cognicionem, sed perdidit Euridicen cum respexit

quia putat se acquisisse illam cum non perfecte cognoscat.

Alio modo exponitur hec fabula. Dicunt enim Orpheum Apollinis et Calliopes filium fuisse et citharam qua arbores trahebat, fluvios sistebat, feras

leniebat habuisse. Huic erat Euridice uxor que dum per prata vagaretur ab

Aristeo pastore amata est dumque eum fugeret calcato serpente et veneno

recepto mortua est. Quo dolore promotus Orpheus ut coniugem extraheret ad

inferos descendit; at uxorem tali condicione ne respiceret retro eam recepit.

Per Orpheum ergo habemus sapientem et eloquentem; unde Orpheus quasi

oreaphone dicitur, id est, bona vox, scilicet filius Apollinis et Calliopes, quia

isti duo vocem disertam efficiunt. Habet citharam, id est, oracionem, quia

pigros ad honestum aliquod opus incitat, instabiles ad constanciam invitat,

truculentos mitigat, et ideo dictus est saxa attrahere, fluvios sistere, feras

lenire. Huic Euridice, id est, anima vel naturalis concupiscencia, nupsit, id

est, naturaliter coniuncta fuit. Nemo enim absque anima vel naturali concupiscencia invenitur. Unde in poematibus legitur genium quendam deum

humane nature esse qui cum homine nascitur et moritur. Unde Oracius:

‘‘Genius . . . deus humane nature [Horace: naturae deus humanae], mortalis

in unum quodque caput’’ [Epistles 2.2.187–89]. Quem intelligimus esse concupiscenciam que in humana natura dominatur et Euridice, id est, bonus

appetitus, ei adiungitur. Data est enim ad operandum bonum. Hec deambulat per prata, id est, errat per terras que modo virent et statim arescunt. Et

sicut flos feni, sic omnis gloria mundi [1 Peter 1.24]. Dum per hec errat Euridice modo hoc, modo illud admirando, adamatur ab Aristeo. Aristeus interpretatur virtus divina, Ares virtus; unde Ariopagus villa virtutis. Theos enim

deus dicitur. Divina autem virtus dicitur deus quem in se homo iustus habet.



U. AENEID COMMENTARY OF MIXED TYPE



783



Huic pastoris officium asscribitur quia virtutis est officium greges, id est,

cogitacionum, actionum, sermonum multitudines, custodire. Vult Aristeus

Euridicen sibi coniu[n]gere, id est, concupiscenciam sibi virtus unire, ut

scilicet concupiscencia solum bonum querat, malum autem abhorreat. Euridice Aristeum fugiens in prato serpentem calcat, id est, in hac temporali

terrenaque vita temporale bonum tangit. Serpens dicitur bonum temporale

quia in inferiora serpit et cum pulchrum videatur nocivum est. Veneno serpentis, id est, delectacione temporalium, ad inferos trahitur, id est, ad terrena

relictis celestibus penitus reducitur. Uxoris sue morte promotus Orpheus ad

inferos vadit, id est, ad temporalium cognicionem descendit, ut visa eorum

fragilitate concupiscenciam inde trahat. Umbrarum dominos mulcet, id est,

terrenorum possessores bonorum. Tandem postquam diu cantavit, id est,

sapienciam suam et eloquenciam suam diu ibi exercuit, uxorem recepit, id

est, concupiscenciam a terrenis extraxit, hac lege quod eam perdat si retro

respiciat, id est, si se iterum ad temporalia reflectat.



[119] Si potuit . . . Orpheus: an argument deriving from a lesser example, as

if he should say: ‘‘If he could do it, I can, too, since I am superior to him.’’ One

reads in tales that Orpheus had a wife named Eurydice. Aristaeus fell in love

with her. Fleeing him, Eurydice stepped on a serpent and was carried down to

the underworld. Although the law had been obeyed, Orpheus nevertheless

rescued her. We find two expositions of this story. For Orpheus represents the

craft of music. Thus there are two parts of the art of music, one that consists in

the inflection of voices and is called ‘‘arithmetic,’’ and the other that consists in

knowledge about proportions only of voices. For this reason we understand

by Orpheus, who is so named in a manner of speaking oreaphone, that is, ‘‘best

voice,’’ the sort of music that is in the inflection of voices; by Eurydice, we

understand that type of music that is in knowledge about proportions only of

voices. For Eurydice is so named in a manner of speaking ‘‘profound judgment,’’ since, even if it should happen that boys know the inflection of voices,

nonetheless it is characteristic of mature men to know the proportionality of

voices. Moreover, Eurydice is called the wife of Orpheus because they are

joined in this, as the former and the latter are types of music. But Aristaeus

loves Eurydice, since the wise man loves the latter type of music more than the

former. Ares means ‘‘virtue’’ or ‘‘the best.’’ From it derives Aristaeus, that is to

say, ‘‘virtuous.’’ But Eurydice falls to the underworld because this knowledge

lies hidden to many and is understood by few, scarcely even by the wise, even

when this serpent has been stepped on, since the serpent overcomes all human

cleverness. Orpheus searches for her because one who knows the inflection of

voices descends faster to knowledge of proportions, but he loses Eurydice

784



I V. C O M M E N T A R Y T R A D I T I O N



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