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Article

James W. McKinnon

(b Spain, 769; d Lyons, 840). Frankish ecclesiastic. He came as a youth to Gaul, taking up residence in the monastery of St Polycarp near Narbonne. He was ordained in 804 and named bishop of Lyons in 816, where he remained for the rest of his life, except for a period of exile in Italy during the years 835–8 because he had sided with the sons of the emperor Louis the Pious against their father; his temporary replacement as administrator of Lyons was his rival Amalarius.

Agobard was a vigorous controversialist of conservative bent. He was outspoken in his opposition to Frankish folk religious practices, to trial by ordeal, to royal interference in church affairs and to Jewish influence at court. In the liturgical realm he was against the employment of images in worship, the use of non-biblical texts and the allegorical interpretation of the liturgy, the two latter positions being directly contrary to those of Amalarius. After his reinstatement as archbishop of Lyons in 838, he and his deacon Florus sought to undo the liturgical innovations of Amalarius, particularly by revising his Office antiphoner. The principal change was the replacement of non-biblical texts. The opposition of Agobard to non-biblical texts may account for the longstanding absence of hymns and tropes in the liturgy of Lyons....

Article

Alcman  

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

[Alkman]

(fl c. 630 bce). Greek lyric poet. He was possibly a native of Sardis in Lydia. Alcman spent his entire professional life in Sparta. This city was then startlingly different from the grim barracks state that it had been and would again become: its citizens cultivated art, poetry, music, and dance with intensity and brilliance. The poet himself commented on this: ‘To play well upon the lyre weighs evenly with the steel’, that is, military valour (Edmonds, frag.62).

As the trainer of a choir of girls who sang and danced at Spartan religious festivals, Alcman wrote maiden-songs (see Partheneia), which brought him particular fame. Extensive portions of one of these have survived (PLouvre E3320); the lines recreate with great immediacy the half-humorous, half-impassioned rivalry of his young choristers. For solo performance he composed proöimia, preludes to the recitation of Homeric poetry (see Terpander...

Article

Ambrose  

James W. McKinnon

(b Trier, c340; d Milan, 397). Saint, bishop and Doctor of the Church. He was the son of the Roman prefect of Gaul, and embarked upon a successful political career, being named consular governor of Liguria and Aemilia in about 370. While yet unbaptized he was elected Bishop of Milan by popular acclaim on 7 December 374. Together with Augustine and Jerome he is acknowledged as one of the three great Latin Church Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries. He was primarily a public figure, however, unlike Augustine, the philosopher, or Jerome, the scholar; he consolidated the position of the Church against the powerful Arian heresy and the counter-attacks of paganism.

Tradition has assigned him a musical significance exceeding that of any other early Christian leader. This purported achievement can be summarized under four headings: (1) the co-authorship with Augustine of the Te Deum; (2) an involvement in the composition and organization of the Milanese or Ambrosian chant comparable to that formerly attributed to ...

Article

James W. McKinnon and Joseph Dyer

[Aurelius Augustinus]

(b Thagaste, Nov 13, 354; d Hippo, Aug 28, 430). Saint, churchman, and scholar. He was perhaps the most influential figure in the history of Christian thought, rivalled only by Thomas Aquinas and possibly Origen. Born in North Africa to a pagan father and Christian mother, the sainted Monica, he studied rhetoric in Carthage where he lost his boyhood Christian faith. In 373 his reading of Cicero's Hortensius inspired him to pursue the life of a philosopher, which he experienced first as a devotee of Manicheism. He served as professor of liberal arts for several years in his native Thagaste, moving in 383 to Rome and then in 384 to Milan, as professor of rhetoric. In Milan he came under the influence of the Christian neoplatonist Simplicianus and St Ambrose. He was led gradually through Neoplatonism to Christianity and, after a period of retreat at Cassiciacum, was baptized on Easter Eve of ...

Article

Dimitri Conomos

[Bardesanes]

(b Edessa [now Urfa], July 11, 154; d Edessa, 222). Syrian hymnographer, astrologer and philosopher. Born into a pagan priestly family, he was educated by a pagan priest but baptized as a Christian, and in 179 he was ordained deacon and priest. Later denounced as a heretic and excommunicated (c216), he fled to Armenia and there taught a kind of astrological fatalism. Bardaisan has been erroneously regarded as a leader of the oriental school of gnosticism founded by Valentinus. His theology, which in fact combined Christian doctrine with astrological and philosophical speculation, is known from the works of later Christian writers such as Eusebius and Ephrem Syrus, who strongly denounced it, and from Bardaisan’s own Dialogue with Antonius concerning Destiny (or Book of the Laws of the Lands), which is the oldest surviving document in Syriac.

Bardaisan wrote many hymns (madrāshe) in Syriac, which his disciples translated into Greek. They included 150 psalms in pentasyllabic metre, reportedly modelled on those of David, through which he popularized his heretical doctrines (Bardaisan’s son Harmonius is said to have written the tunes). The stanzas of the ...

Article

James W. McKinnon

(b Nursia [now Norcia], Umbria, c480; d Monte Cassino, after 546). Italian saint and monk. His Rule became the norm for Western Christian monasticism. The only source of information concerning Benedict’s life is book 2 of Pope Gregory’s Dialogues (c594). Gregory was primarily interested in Benedict’s miracles, and although he outlined the main events of Benedict’s life he did not assign dates to them. The sole date of any certainty is that of the visit of the Ostrogothic King Totila to him near Monte Cassino, probably in 546; all others rest on speculation.

Benedict was born into a ‘good family’ (Gregory’s ‘liberiori genere’). As a youth he was sent to Rome to pursue his studies (‘liberalibus litterarum studiis’), but after a time, distressed by the worldliness of that city, he left it and settled near Sublacum (now Subiaco) for three years, living the austere life of a hermit in a cave on the craggy cliffs of the Anio valley. As his fame spread, he was asked by a group of lax monks to undertake a reform of their monastery at Vicovaro. This venture was unsuccessful, and he then began to organize his growing band of disciples into a cluster of small monastic communities according to the Eastern model....

Article

Alexander Lingas

[Bereketēs, Petros; Byzantios, ho Melōdos, Glykys, Tzelepēs, Kouspazoglou]

(b Constantinople, ?1665; d ?1725). Romaic (Greek) composer and cantor. Though undoubtedly influenced by the works of Panagiotes, Germanos and Balasios, he appears never to have been directly associated with the patriarchal court that nurtured his older colleagues. His own substantial contributions to their continuing renewal of Byzantine chanting were made instead from the Constantinopolitan parish church of St Constantine (in the district of Hypsomatheia), where Bereketes held successively the offices of reader, domestikos, and prōtopsaltēs.

Among the traditional repertories, Bereketes virtually ignored the stichērarion and heirmologion recently ‘beautified’ by Panagiotes, Germanos, and Balasios in order to focus his compositional skills on the more structurally malleable chants of the Papadikē. He also brought the newer paraliturgical genre of the kalophonic heirmos to its highest point with the composition of 45 heirmoi for use in monastic refectories or during the distribution of antidoron (blessed bread) at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Cultivating what Chatzigiakoumis and Stathis have described as a comparatively popular style of liturgical music, he occasionally composed works incorporating elements of the Arabo-Persian tradition of Ottoman secular music. Among his chants for Orthros are settings of the first and second ...

Article

James Grier

(b c965; d Limoges, April 26, 1025). French monk and cantor. He served at the abbey of Saint Martial in Limoges. Roger, who was the paternal uncle of Adémar de Chabannes, is known to have become cantor at the abbey after 1010 (see J. Grier, ‘Roger de Chabannes (d....

Article

James W. McKinnon

(b Antioch, c347 ce; d Komana, Pontus, Sept 14, 407ce). Saint, churchman and preacher. He was born to a wealthy Christian family at Antioch where he was thoroughly schooled in rhetoric. After a period of severe asceticism, living as a hermit in the wilderness, he returned to Antioch to take up an ecclesiastical career. In 386 he was ordained a priest and assigned to preach in the cathedral; during the following years he preached most of the eloquent homilies that earned him the sobriquet Chrysostom, meaning ‘golden mouth’. In 398 ce he reluctantly agreed to be patriarch of Constantinople. In that position his outspoken moralism was a reproach to both clergy and court; he was exiled in 404 to Cucusus in Armenia and again in 407 to the remote Pontus on the Black Sea, where he died from the rigours of the journey.

The richly anecdotal style of his many surviving sermons offers a wealth of musical reference. On numerous occasions he voiced vivid denunciations of the musical excesses of secular society, most notably the musical instruments, dancing and lewd songs observed at weddings. On the other hand, in his commentary on Psalm xli he wrote a long and enthusiastic encomium of Christian psalmody. Of greatest value perhaps are his remarks about the liturgy and ecclesiastical song of his time, which make it possible to reconstruct the broad outlines of the eucharistic pro-anaphora and the ‘cathedral’ and monastic Offices of late 4th-century Antioch; they tell, moreover, of the singing of numerous specific psalms and hymns at these services....

Article

Enrica Follieri

[Andrew Hierosolymites; Andrew of Jerusalem]

(b Damascus, c660; d Mytilene, c740). Byzantine hymnographer. He was first a monk at Jerusalem and later a deacon at Constantinople; in 711/12 he became Archbishop of Crete and from that time lived at Gortina.

His homilies (more than 50, of which half remain unpublished) and hymns were probably written when he was Archbishop of Crete. He was particularly famous as a writer of hymns, although the tradition that attributes to him the invention of the Kanōn has now been discredited, since his kanōnes (several dozen in number) show that the genre was already fully developed. His works in this genre are remarkable for the originality of their metric and musical form and for their length. The most famous is the Great Kanōn, a penitential hymn of 250 stanzas, which is still sung during Lent. Andrew’s hymns have been listed by Tomadakēs (pp.206–9); some may be found in the Greek liturgical books (mēnaia, triōdion and pentēkostarion)....

Article

Enrica Follieri

[John Chrysorrhoas, John of Damascus ]

(b Damascus, c675; d St Sabas, nr Jerusalem, c749). Saint, Byzantine hymnographer and anti-iconoclast theologian. He was born into a rich Christian family; his father, Sergius, held an important position at the court of the Caliphs, and John, who had received a good literary and philosophical education, apparently held the same post after his father's death. Later he became a monk in the famous monastery of St Sabas. He was ordained priest by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and became his theological adviser. The most important of John's writings, The Source of Knowledge, was dedicated to Kosmas, Bishop of Maiuma (Kosmas). Late hagiographical writers supplied further biographical details, mostly legendary; these include the tradition that Kosmas was John's foster-brother, brought up and educated with him at Damascus. John was buried in the monastery of St Sabas; his body was later transferred to Constantinople.

John Damascene was renowned at Constantinople as the author of liturgical hymns: his biographers praised his ...

Article

David  

James W. McKinnon

(fl c1010–961 bce). Founder, king and charismatic ruler of the united kingdom of Israel. He occupies a central position in Jewish and Christian musical tradition.

The story of David is told in the books of Samuel, dating from nearly contemporary sources, and 1 Chronicles, from the 4th century bce, containing material of somewhat lesser reliability. He was obviously a man of special talent. Born the youngest son of Jesse (Yishai), a sheep herder from Bethlehem, he acquired, by a combination of prowess at arms, vision, opportunism and force of personality, the kingship of Judah upon the death of Saul, united it to the northern provinces of Israel, established his court at Jerusalem and conquered the neighbouring rivals of Israel within an area stretching from the frontier of Mesopotamia to Egypt. His political achievement, which showed signs of disintegration in his later life, was never again equalled in ancient Israel. Thus he became the ideal of Jewish kingship and was also closely related to the Messianic ideal. These ideals carried over into Christianity so that a medieval ruler like Charlemagne was referred to as the ‘novus David’, and Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Christians accepted as the Messiah, was, according to the Gospels, the ‘son of David’ of the ‘tree of Jesse’....

Article

Egeria  

James W. McKinnon

[Aetheria, Etheria, Eucheria]

(fl late 4th century ce). Pilgrim nun of Spain or Gaul. Her diary, containing a detailed description of ancient Jerusalem liturgy, survives in a single 11th-century manuscript copy, which was discovered at Arezzo by G.F. Gamurrini in 1884. He attributed the work to one St Silvia, sister of the Roman prefect, Rufinus – hence its earlier title ‘Peregrinatio Silviae’ – but it is now thought to be by a Spanish or Gallican nun, Egeria (the preferred spelling), mentioned by the 7th-century abbot Valerius. From references in the text to contemporary persons and events, liturgical historians have come to date the time of Egeria's pilgrimage to between 381 and 384.

The diary begins with remarks about Egeria's visits to eastern ecclesiastical centres such as Mount Sinai, Alexandria and Constantinople, but the bulk of the text consists in a description of the liturgy at Jerusalem. First the daily and weekly Offices are depicted in great detail, providing our best knowledge of the composite monastic and ‘cathedral’ Offices of the late 4th century. There follows, after a break in the manuscript, an account of special services throughout the liturgical year, beginning with the Epiphany and including the feast of the Presentation, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and its octave and Pentecost and its octave. The document breaks off during a description of the octave of ...

Article

Alexander Lingas

[Germanos Neōn Patrōn]

(b Tyrnavo, Thessaly, ?1625; d ?Wallachia, 1685). Romaic (Greek) composer, cantor, and hymnographer. He studied Byzantine chant in Constantinople under the patriarchal prōtopsaltēs Panagiotes. Some time before 1665 he was elevated to the episcopacy, possibly at the instigation of Patriarch Dionysios III (a fellow native of Thessaly), becoming Metropolitan of New Patras (now Ypati). He appears to have resigned from the see before 1683 and subsequently travelled to Wallachia.

Musically active from at least the early 1660s, Germanos is known to have produced five autographs: two copies of his edition of the Stichērarion, a Mathēmatarion in two volumes, and an anthology of the Papadikē. An abundance of grammatical and spelling errors in these manuscripts suggest that he had received little more than a rudimentary general education, but he was nevertheless highly respected as a musician, teaching the composers Balasios and Kosmas Makedonos as well as the Wallachian prōtopsaltēs...

Article

Lawrence Gushee

revised by Michael McGrade

[Gottschalk von Limburg, Godescalcus Lintpurgensis]

(fl 1071–98). Priest and writer of sequences. He is perhaps best remembered for his notarial work in the chancery of Emperor Henry IV, whom he served from 1071 to 1084. During his service at the court he drafted a series of epistles that defended the king's right of episcopal investiture; these letters formed the core of a propaganda campaign waged against Pope Gregory VII, who sought to curb lay participation in the administration of the Church. Aspects of Gottschalk's political allegiance can be detected in one of his compositions, the sequence Celi enarrant, on the Division of the Apostles.

He was appointed provost of the church of St Servatins in Maastricht by 1087 and held the same post at the Church of Our Lady, Aachen, by 1098. He retired to the abbey of Klingenmünster, where he composed an Office (now lost) and two essays in honour of Irenaeus and Abundius, the patron saints of the neighbouring monastery of Limburg-an-der-Hardt. An oversight led Dreves to believe that Gottschalk was a monk there rather than at Klingenmünster (see Erdmann and Gladiss). A 13th-century necrology (...

Article

(b Clermont-Ferrand, ?538; d Tours, 594). Frankish historian and bishop of Tours. Valuable evidence for the chant of the contemporary Gallican liturgy is to be found in his works (ed. in MGH, Scriptores rerum merowingicarum, i, 1885/R; for the Decem libri historiarum see also O.M. Dalton, ed. and trans.: ...

Article

James W. McKinnon

[Gregory I]

(b Rome, c540; d Rome, March 12, 604). Saint, pope and Doctor of the Church. Born to a prominent Roman family, Gregory was named prefect of the city in about 570. In 575 he turned his family home into a monastery, and embarked upon a life of spirituality and asceticism. In 579 he was sent to Constantinople as papal representative at the Byzantine court, remaining there until about 586; during his stay he lived with monks from his own Roman monastery, having failed, apparently, to learn Greek. He was elected pope by popular acclaim after Pelagius II died in the severe epidemic of 589–90 that followed upon the overflowing of the Tiber.

Rome was in a dire state when Gregory assumed office, having suffered through more than half a century of war, famine, plague and siege. In spite of his poor health Gregory acted with great energy and resolve: he saw to the care of the sick and the feeding of the poor; he reorganized the civil administration of the city, restored the water supply and even supervised the preparation of defence against the Lombards. His enterprise did much to establish the medieval concept of a centrally important papacy, and he was an important founder of the Middle Ages in a second respect: his highly influential writings, with their pastoral, mystical and ascetical bent, functioned as a bridge between patristic and medieval literature....

Article

Article

James W. McKinnon

[Elisagarus]

(b 8th century; d after 837). Churchman and liturgist. Born a Goth in Septimania, he is first documented in 808 as chancellor to Louis the Pious, who had been placed on the throne of Aquitania by his father Charlemagne. When Louis became emperor after the death of Charlemagne in 814, he brought Helisachar to Aachen with him to continue in the role of chancellor. He served in that capacity until about 817, remaining in close contact with the court of Louis for the rest of his career except for a period of disfavour from 830 to 833. Though a canon and not a monk, he was named abbot of St Aubin, Angers, and also of Saint Riquier (822–37).

Louis took an active interest in ecclesiastical matters including the liturgy, and Helisachar, along with his better-known associate Benedict of Aniane (d 821), served him as adviser in that regard. Helisachar was the author of a preface and supplement to Alcuin's epistolary, and the author of a letter (written probably at Angers between 819 and 822) to Archbishop Nibridius of Narbonne, in which he described his composition of an Office antiphoner. Like ...

Article

Lawrence Gushee

revised by James W. McKinnon

[Hilarius Pictavensis]

(b Poitiers, c315; d Poitiers, c367). Latin theologian, scriptural exegete and hymn writer. Hilary, thought to be of distinguished family and education, was converted to Christianity in his early manhood and was made bishop of Poitiers around 350. Between 356 and 361 he was in exile in Asia Minor at the order of Emperor Constantius II as a result of his opposition to Arianism. Some scholars suggest that the Syriac hymnody of the time (most notably that of Ephrem Syrus) may have inspired him to write his own hymns, thus turning one of the heretics’ own propaganda weapons against them. Although there is early testimony (by St Jerome and Isidore of Seville) to the existence of an entire Liber hymnorum of indeterminate size, only three hymns, none of them wholly complete, now survive. These poems, Ante saecula qui manes, Fefellit saevam and Adae carnis gloriosa...