Paul the Deacon
(Paulus Diaconus; also called Casinensis, Levita, and Warnefridi).
Historian, born at Friuli about 720; died 13 April, probably 799. He was a descendant of a noble Lombard family, and it is not unlikely that he was educated at the craft of King Rachis at Pavia, under the direction of Flavianus the grammarian. In 763 we find him at the court of Duke Archis at Benevento, after the collapse of the Lombard kingdom, a monk in the monastery of Monte Cassino, and in 782 in the suite of Charlemagne, from whom he obtained by means of an elegy the release of a brother taken prisoner in 776 in consequence of the Friuli insurrection. After 787 he was again at Monte Cassino, where in all probability he died. His first literary work, evidently while he was still at Benevento, and done at the request of the Duchess Adelperga, was the "Historia Romana", an amplified and extended version of the Roman history of Eutropius, whose work he continued independently in Books XI to XVI, up to the time of Justinian. This compilation, now of no value, but during the Middle Ages diffused in many manuscript editions and frequently consulted, was edited with the work of Eutropius by Droysen in "Mon. Germ. Hist.: Auct. antiq. II (1879), 4-2224. Furthermore, at the instance of Angilram, Bishop of Metz, he compiled a history of this bishops of Metz "Liber de episcopis Mettensibus, or Liber de ordine et numero episcoporum in civitate Mettensi, extending to 766, in which he gives a circumstantial account of the family and ancestors of Charlemagne, especially Arnulf (P.L., XCV, 699-722).
The most important historical work which has come down to us from his pen is the history of the Lombards, "Historia gentis Langobardorum. Libri VI", the best of the many editions of this work being that of Bethmann and Waitz in Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script. rerum Langobardarum, (1878), 45-187; school ed. (Hannover, 1878); Ger. tr. Abel (Berlin, 1849; 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1878); Faubert (Paris, 1603); It. tr. Viviani (Udine, 1826). Despite many defects, especially in the chronology, the unfinished work, embracing only the period between 568 and 744, is still of the highest importance, setting forth as it does in lucid style and simple diction the most important facts, and preserving for us many ancient myths and popular traditions replete with an enthusiastic interest in the changing fortunes of the Lombard people. That this work was in constant use until well into the fifteenth century is evident from the numerous manuscript copies, excerpts, and continuations extant. In addition to these historical works, Paulus also wrote a commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict , and a widely used collection of homilies entitled "Homiliarium", both of which have been preserved only in revised form. Several letters, epitaphs, and poems are still extant, and have been edited by Dümmler in "Mon. Germ. Hist.: Poetae lat. aevi Carolini", I, 1881.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online