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ON SOME OF THE SOURCES FOR THE HISTORY OF CONSTANTINE
(See Bibliography I. 4a)
I. FOR Constantine the Philosopher the most trustworthy witness we have is his contemporary Anastasius, the librarian, who wrote the later biographies in the Liber Pontificalis and translated the chronicle of Theophanes. Anastasius had not only the advantage of knowing Greek, but he was personally acquainted with Constantine. Unfortunately the three texts of Anastasius which we possess tell us nothing of his work as an apostle to the Slavs. Before 1892 only two brief notices by this writer, relating to Constantine, were known, namely, (1) Praef. 6, where he records Constantine's opposition to Photius concerning the doctrine of the two souls; and (2) a letter to Charles the Bald (875 A.D.), where he mentions that "Constantinus philosophus vir magnus et apostolicae vitae praeceptor" knew the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite by heart, and used to recommend them as an armoury against all heresies; further, that Constantine came to Rome in the pontificate of Hadrian and restored the body of St. Clement to his see.
(3) In 1892 a more important document, a letter of Anastasius to Gauderic, bishop of Velletri, was published by J. Friedrich in the SB. of the Bavarian Academy, Hist. kl., 1892. The original is in a fourteenth-century MS. (cod. 205) of the library of Alcobaza at Lisbon, and a copy made by Heine (ob. 1848) passed with other papers into the hands of Döllinger, in whose possession it remained, apparently unexplored, till it was edited by Friedrich after his death.
The subject of this letter is St. Clement, to whom the Church of Velletri was dedicated. Gauderic, since the recovery of the relics, was interested in promoting the cult of the saint, to whom he built an oratory in Rome, spending all his wealth on the work. He committed to a deacon named Johannes the task of writing the saint's biography; and in addition to the Latin material
(diversorum Latinorum volumina) he desired to make use of any Greek sources that might be available, and for this purpose had applied to Anastasius asking him to translate into Latin any such documents. Anastasius, in response, translated two works of Constantine relating to the discovery of the relics; namely, a brief history of the discovery (brevis historia, storiola), and a rhetorical Aóyos (sermo declamatorius). The letter preserved at Lisbon is the covering letter. Anastasius mentions that Constantine also composed a hymn celebrating St. Clement, but he refrained from translating it as he could not reproduce the metre and harmony of the original.
But he also records the story of Constantine's discovery of the relics near Cherson, which he derived from Metrophanes, bishop of Smyrna, who had been banished to Cherson as an opponent of Photius, and had heard a legend current there as to the circumstances of the discovery. Anastasius was in Constantinople at the time of the Eighth Council, and had questioned Metrophanes (curiose sciscitantibus) on the matter.
The biography of Clement was completed, and Gauderic dedicated it to Pope John VIII. In the letter of dedication (A.S. March 9, t. ii. 15) he explains its arrangement in three Books, and we learn that Book 3 contained the story of C.'s exile and martyrdom and "reversionis eius ad propriam sedem miracula.”
Now we possess a document entitled Vita cum translatione S. Clementis, which its Bollandist editor, Henschen, considered to be that portion of Gauderic's Book 3 which dealt with the discovery and translation of the relics (A.S., ib.). The letter of Anastasius to Gauderic has been taken to confirm Henschen's conjecture; and it certainly proves a close connexion between this document and Gauderic's work. The nature and extent of this connexion are debatable.
The Translatio, which is reprinted in the works of Ginzel, Bil'basov, Goetz, and Pastrnek, is often called the Legenda Italica. It may be described as a Life of Constantine, but its interest in Constantine is due to his connexion with the relics of St. Clement. His missions to the Khazars and the Moravians are subordinated to the Clement-motif, and are only introduced to supply the necessary setting and explanations.
Now in cc. 2 and 3 of the Translatio we find that the communications of Anastasius to Gauderic have been utilised; the occurrence of the same expressions puts this beyond all doubt. We must, therefore, infer that the Biography written by Gauderic (or, more strictly, by Johannes) was a source of the Transl., if the Transl. is not a part of it. Different views have been maintained. Jagić has contended that the whole Transl. could not have been included in the Biography, but only the episode of the discovery
of the relics and their translation to Rome; the rest is irrelevant to St. Clement. Friedrich designated cc. 2-5 and 7-9 (excepting some sentences in 2 and 9) as the parts of the Transl. which belong to the work of Gauderic. Goetz argued that cc. 1-9 are, as they stand, Gauderic's account of the Translation, admitting only that cc. 10-12 are a legendary addition. Nachtigall agrees with Goetz for the most part, but (with Jagić) thinks that c. 7 is not part of Gauderic's work. And there are other views. The simplest explanation may be that the Translatio was written, if not by Methodius, by one of his pupils, and that part of Gauderic's work was incorporated with little change.
That Constantine brought the alleged relics of Clement from Cherson to Constantinople there is no doubt, but the story of the discovery has the stamp of a legend. Moreover, the bishop George mentioned in Transl. 3 seems to have lived in the reign of Nicephorus I., long before Constantine's visit, and there is another story that the relics were discovered then (see Franko, 231 sqq.).
II. The Slavonic Vita Constantini and Vita Methodii have been much discussed as to their authorship and place of origin. Brückner thinks that the V.C. was written, and the V.M. inspired, by Methodius himself, and consequently that they originated in Moravia. Voronov contended that they were both composed in Bulgaria by the same author, a Bulgarian Slav, who wrote in Greek (our texts being translations) about A.D. 925. He made out a more plausible case for a Greek original in the case of V.C. than of V.M. The Bulgarian origin of V.C. was accepted by Jagić, and has been strongly supported by Snopek. It may specially be noted that the argumentation against Paulician doctrine (c. 15) would have been irrelevant in Moravia (though Brückner thinks otherwise); it was much to the purpose in Bulgaria.
One thing is clear, that the Lives have a pronounced tendency and object to vindicate the Slavonic liturgy. On this all competent critics, including Brückner and Snopek, writing from different points of view, are agreed. The aim is "die Schaffung der slavischen Liturgie als ein gottgefälliges und rechtgläubiges Werk darzustellen" (Brückner, 208). And we must obviously connect the Lives, so far as this tendency is concerned, with the short treatise written by the monk Chrabr (in the reign of Simeon) concerning the invention of the Slavonic (i.e. Glagolitic) script. Snopek, indeed, contends that Chrabr was the author of the two Lives, also and even (taking a hint from Vondrák) identifies him with Clement, the pupil of Methodius, who became archbishop of Bulgaria (ob. A.D. 916).
It emerges, so far as I can judge, from the voluminous discussions that the Lives were written in Bulgaria (the V.C. certainly, and perhaps in Greek) for the purpose of defending the
liturgy against the Greeks, by disciples of Methodius, who utilised facts which they had learned from him. The Lives were also intended to serve theological instruction; to teach the Bulgarians methods of apologetic and controversy (against Jews, Saracens, and the Latin Church). We cannot regard as historical the disputations (in V.C.) with John the ex-Patriarch or with the Mohammadans; and the arguments against the Jews and Khazars are the work of the biographer. Brückner dwells on what he calls schematism in the missions to the Mohammadans, the Khazars, and the Moravians; in each case Constantine is represented as being sent by the Emperor. The Mohammadan episode is unhistorical, the others are historical; but the part assigned to the Byzantine government is probably a misrepresentation of fact.
But incidental bits of information, not necessary to the writer's pragmatical purposes, are trustworthy with some reservations. We may accept the statement about the parentage of the apostles, the patronage accorded to Constantine by the logothete (Theoktistos), his appointment as librarian of the Patriarch. His friendship with Photius is known from Anastasius. If he was appointed librarian by Photius, the date could not be earlier than 859, and it would follow that, if the order of events in V.C. is correct, the visit to the Khazars could hardly have been earlier than 860. But we can hardly accept the statement that he was educated with the son of Theophilus, for he was at least ten years older than Michael III.1
1 Leger (Cyrille et Méthode, 58) suggests that Constantine, the Emperor's son who died in childhood, may be
meant. But his death occurred far too early to suit the dates implied by the narrative in V.C.
1. Date of the Second Magyar Migration (to Atelkuzu) WESTBERG has put forward a new view as to the date of the migration of the Hungarians to Atelkuzu (in K anal. ii. 49-51) which he places c. A.D. 825. His argument is based on a passage in Constantine, De adm. imp. 175, relating to the four sons and four grandsons of Arpad. The descent may conveniently be represented in a table.
When Constantine was writing (A.D. 950-952), Phalitzis was the Hungarian king (ròv vvvì äpxovra), Tebeles was dead, and his son Termatzus was adult and had recently visited Constantinople on an embassy (ὁ ἀρτίως ἀνελθὼν φίλος mistranslated by Westberg, as by most others).1 Westberg infers that Tebeles died not later than 945, and that the surviving grandsons of Arpad, Phalitzis and Taxis,2 were advanced in years. Reckoning thirty years to a generation, he goes on to place the death of Tarkatzus about 915, that of Arpad c. 885, that of Salmutzes c. 855. At the time of the elevation of Arpad, Salmutzes was alive and considered (by Lebedias) capable of ruling the Magyar nation. Therefore the election of Arpad must belong to the second quarter of the ninth century, not later than A.D. 850. But the migration to Atelkuzu occurred not long before Arpad's election (De adm. imp. 16914); so
1 I have pointed this out in B.Z. xv. 562.
2 I assume that Taxis and Tasês are the same. Pecz, however, has conjectured that Tasês was a son of Liuntis or Levente,
who, he thinks, was the eldest son of Arpad (B.Z. vi. 587-588). But the passage implies that Tasês has been already mentioned, and the identification with Taxis seems inevitable.