Moralist and satirical poet of the twelfth century (flourished about 1184). Little is known of his life. There is not much probability in the opinion that he was born in England, and he was not a Benedictine monk. The only work that can be attributed to him with certainty has for its title the name of its hero "Archithrenius" (The Prince of Lamentations). It is a Latin poem in eight cantos. In a prose prologue the hero deplores the unmerited woes of men, beginning with his own, and announces that he is going to Nature to seek the remedy for them. He begins by entering the palace of Venus and describes the beauty of one of the members of the goddess's retinue (I). Thence he passes to the Land of Gorging, inhabited by the Belly-worshippers ( Ventricoloe ), and to the prevailing sensuality he opposes the sobriety of the "White Brothers" (II). He comes to Paris and delivers a pompous eulogy of that city, describing, in contrast, the wretchedness of the students -- a valuable piece of first-hand evidence in regard to the period when the University of Paris was laboriously developing itself (III). Archithrenius then visits the Mountain of Ambition, which is situated in Macedon, near Pella, the birthplace of Alexander, greatest of conquerors, and is crowned with the palaces of kings (IV). The Mountain of Presumption forms a pendant to this, and is inhabited mostly by ecclesiastics and monks. A eulogy of Henry II, King of England and Duke of Normandy, is here dragged in clumsily. But the hero discovers a gigantic monster, Cupidity, and the encounter calls forth a picture of the greediness of prelates. In another digression the hero contrives to relate the fabulous history of the Kings of Britain, in the main following Geoffrey of Monmouth (V). In the next canto we come to Thule, the abode of the philosophers and sages of ancient Greece, and they vie with each other in declaiming against vices (VI-VIII). Lastly, Archithrenius meets Nature on a flowery plain, surrounded by a brilliant throng of attendants. He falls at her feet. She begins with a complete course of cosmography and astronomy in five hundred lines, and ends by listening to the request of Archithrenius. For remedy, she prescribed for him marriage with a young girl whose physical beauty is minutely described. In the prologue this damsel was Moderation, but here there is nothing abstract about her, and Nature instructs her disciple in his conjugal duties (IX). These and other passages in the work exhibit a certain degree of sensuality. The imitation of the Latin poets is betrayed in the plagiarizing of whole verses at a time. John of Hauteville dedicated his work to Gautier de Coutances just when the latter had left the See of Lincoln for that of Rouen (1184). The poem had a great success. It was frequently copied and commented before being published in 1517, at Paris, by Jodocus Badius Ascencius. The latest edition is that of Th. Wright in "Latin Satirical Poets of the Twelfth Century" (Rolls Series, London, 1872).
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.
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