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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

De Magistro qui legit in aere et in aqua


Desiring a respite from the goings on of work and the affairs of our beloved "Hail Mary Tech" (AMSL), I was perusing Beeson's A Primer of Medieval Latin this evening and I came across a delightful little story. It is taken from the sermons of James of Vitry, Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum (d.1240). James had spent a great deal of time in the Holy Land (9 years), was an advisor to the pope, and an exceptional preacher of his day. Often at the end of his sermons, he would insert an entertaining little story for the edification of his listeners. I found this little story--from one of his sermons--very clever and entertaining. It occurred to me that human nature doesn't change. I suspect that he had a number of parishioners, not unlike today, who were likely falling asleep at the substance of his sermon; so he threw in a little joke at the end. I post it here in Latin, because that is the tongue in which it was written, but also because it is rather simple Latin and I encourage all you "good Romans" to dust of your Latin dictionaries and enjoy a bit of your Christian heritage!


Audivi quod rex Franciae valde commotus fuerat et iratus contra praecipuum magistrum Petrum Baalardum (Abelard), qui Parisius legebat, et prohibuit ei ne de cetero legeret in terra sua. Ipse vero ascendit super arborem praeminentem prope civitatem Parisiensem, et omnes scholares Parisienses secuti sunt eum audientes sub arbore magistri sui lectiones. Cum autem rex quadam die de palatiosuo videret multitudinem scholarium sub arbore residentium, quaesivit quid hoc esset, et dictum est ei quod clerici erant, qui magistrum Petrum audiebant. Ille vero valde iratus fecit magistrum ad se venire et dixit ei: "Quomodo ita audax fuisiti quod contra prohibitionem mean in terra mea legisti?" Cui ille: "Domine, non legi post prohibitionem vestram in terra vestra, verum tamen legi in aere." Tunc rex inhibuit ei ne in terra sua vel in aere suo doceret. At ille intravit in naviculam et de navicula docebat turbas discipulorum. Cumque rex quadam die videret scholares in ripa fluminis residentes, quaesivit quid hoc esset, et dictum est ei quod magister Petrus in loco illo scolas regebat, et cum magna indignatione fecit eum vocari et dixit ei: "Nonne tibi inhibueram ne legeres in terra mea vel in aere?" Et illo respondente: "Nec in terra tua nec in aere legi, sed in aqua tua," rex subridens et mansuetudinem iram convertans ait: "Vicisti me; de cetero, ubicumque volueris, tam in terra mea, quam in aere vel in aqua lege."

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