Centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo



A survey of the Vitae allegedly translated from Latin into Slavonic in Bohemia in the tenth and eleventh centuries


Francis J. Thomson


Atti dell’ 8° Congresso internazionale di studi sull’alto medioevo (Spoleto, 3-6 novembre 1981), 1983, 331-358



Scans in .pdf format (9.0 Mb)


- St. George  333

- St. Stephen  334

- St. Benedict  336

- St. Apollinaris  339

- St. Vitus  340

- St. Anastasia of Rome  345

- Conclusion  347



In 1900 A. Sobolevsky claimed largely on the basis of lexical evidence that a considerable number of Slavonic translations had been made from Latin in Moravia in the ninth century (1). This claim was widely rejected by reviewers since such Moravisms are found in works undoubtedly translated in Bulgaria and hence are either not Moravisms or else they are evidence of Moravians working elsewhere (2). in 1903 Sobolevsky published the Slavonic vitae of SS. Vitus, Apollinaris of Ravenna, Benedict and Anastasia of Rome, which he considered had, despite Graecisms in the terminology, been translated from Latin (3), although in view of the criticism of his earlier view that the translations had been made in Moravia in the ninth century



(1) A. Sobolevsky, Tserkovno-slavyanskiye teksty moravskogo proiskhozhdeniya, in Russky filologichesky věstnik XLIII (1900), pp. 153-217.


(2) See the reviews by

·       G. Il’insky in Izvestiya otdeleniya russkogo yazyka i slovesnosti Imperatorskoy Akademii Nauk (hereafter I.O.R.Y.), V, 4 (1900), pp. 1383-1386;

·       F. Pastrnek in Listy filologické XXVIII (1901), pp. 63-66;

·       V. Jagić in Archiv für slavische Philologie XXIV (1902), pp. 263-268.


This negative view has been held by many subsequent scholars, e.g.

·       Florovsky, Chekhi i vostochnyye slavyane. Ocherki po istorii cheshsko-russkikh otnosheniy (X-XVIII vv.), vol. I, Prague 1935, pp. 111-112;

·       N. Gudzy, Literatura Kiyevskoy Rust i drevneyshiye inoslavyanskiye literatury, in Issledovaniya po slavyanskomu literaturovedeniyu i fol’kloristike. Doklady sovetskikh uchenykh na IV Mezhdunarodnom s’yezde slavistov, Moscow 1960. Offprint Moscow 1958, pp. 12-15.


It is not the purpose of this article to make a linguistic examination of alleged lexical Moravisms or Bohemisms, suffice it to say that their »identification« is fraught with dangers, cfr. R. Večerka, Zur Periodisierung des Altkirchenslavischen, in Annales Instituti Slavici XI (1976) pp. 92-121, especially 105-106.



·       Sobolevsky, Mucheniye svyatogo Vita ϋ drevnem tserkovno-slavyanskom perevode, in I.O.R.Y. VIII, I (1903), pp. 278-296;

·       Idem, Mucheniye svyatogo Apollinariya Ravenskogo po russkomu spisku XVI veka, in I.O.R.Y., VIII, 2 (1903), pp. 103-120;

·       Idem, Zhitiye prepodobnogo Benedikta Nursiyskogo po serbskomu spisku XIV veka, in I.O.R.Y. VIII, 2 (1903), pp. 121-137;

·       Idem, Mucheniye svyatykh Anastasii Rimlyanki i Khrisogona po russkomu spisku XVI veka, in I.O.R.Y. VIII, 4 (1903), pp. 320-327.





he in the following year revised this view and ascribed them to tenth century Bohemia (4). In 1905 Sobolevsky published the Slavonic vita of Pope Stephen I of Rome (5), which, on the basis of common vocabulary with similar Graecisms, he considered to have been translated from Latin by the same person as the other four vitae (6), which was also the case (7) with a Slavonic vita of St. George published some twenty five years previously by A. Veselovsky (8).


That these six vitae were translated from Latin has been widely accepted but their Bohemian origin, accepted by some (9), has been questioned by others (10) and the possibility of a Croatian or Aquileian origin has been mooted (11). This uncertainty surrounding the origin of their translation was recently highlighted by their inclusion in An Anthology of Church Slavonic Texts of Western (Czech) Origin, whose editor, F. Mareš, expresses reserves about their Bohemian origin (12). It is thus not without interest to study the relation of these translations to their originals.



(4) A. Sobolevsky, Zhitiya svyatykh v drevnem perevode na tserkovnoslavyansky s latinskogo yazyka, St. Petersburg 1904, pp. iii-iv. This is a joint offprint of the vitae together with an introduction.

(5) A. Sobolevsky, Mucheniye papy Stefana po russkornu spisku XV veka, in I.O.R.Y. X, I (1905), PP. 105-135.

(6) Ibid., pp. 112-113.            (7) Ibid., pp. 114-115.

(8) A. Veselovsky, Razyskaniya v oblasti russkihh dukhovnykh stihhov, vol. II, in Sbornik otdeleniya russkogo yazyka i slovesnosti Imperatorskoy Akademii Nauk (hereafter S.O.R.Y. XXI, 2 (1880), pp. 163-172.

(9) For instance by R. Jakobson, The Kernel of Comparative Slavic Studies, in Harvard Slavic Studies I (1952), pp. 1-71, cfr. pp. 43-44. Some textbooks also repeat it, e.g. Istoriya russkoy literatury, ed. P. Lebedev-Polyansky, vol. I, Leningrad 1941, p. 100.

(10) For instance by R.Večerka, Problematika stsl. písemnictví v přemyslovských Čechách, in Slavia XXXIX, 2 (1970), pp. 221-237, cfr. p. 235; also Idem, Periodisierung, op. cit., p. 109.

(11) Thus D. Tschižewskij, Vergleichende Geschichte der slavischen Literaturen, vol. I, Berlin 1968 (Sammlung Göschen, MCCXXII), p. 52.


(12) F. Mareš, An Anthology of Church Slavonic Texts of Western (Czech) Origin, Munich 1979 (Slavische Propyläen, CXXVII), p. 10:


«There are texts whose Czech CS origin in quite uncertain and has to be either proved or disproved by future investigation. This is especially the case with some legends published or treated by Sobolevsky: St. Anastasia, St. George, St. Apollinary (sic), St. Stephan I (sic)... In any case, nearly all these texts are assuredly of Western - if not Czech - origin, i.e. they derive from a territory where Latin models were in use».





 St. George


This vita was first published in 1863 from the 16th century Russian codex, no. 421 in the Synodal collection (13). The earliest traced codex is a 14th century Serbian manuscript, no. 195 in the Khludov collection (14), which was the text published by Veselovsky in 1880 (15) and reprinted by Mareš (16). In view of the resemblance of the contents to those of several Greek vitae Veselovsky concluded that it was a translation of an untraced Greek vita (17). However, Sobolevsky’s view that it is a translation from Latin has been echoed by several scholars (18). Mareš, although he had denied that is a translation from Latin (19), included it in his Anthology suggesting that the motive for the translation was the fact that one of the two main churches of the ducal castle in Prague was dedicated to St. George (20).


The vita is in fact a translation of a Greek vita (21).



(13) N. Tikhonravov, Pamyatniki otrechennoy russkoy literatury, vol. II, Moscow 1863, pp. 100-111. This collection is now in the State History Museum, Moscow. The codex number is not 321, as Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 169, gives, but 421, cfr. A. Gorsky and N. Nevostruyev, Opisaniye slavyanskikh rukopisey Moskovskoy Sinodal’noy biblioteki, vol. II, 3, Moscow 1862, pp. 667, 673-674.


(14) On which cfr. A. Popov, Opisaniye rukopisey i katalog knig tserkovnoy pechati biblioteki A. I. Khludova, Moscow 1872, pp. 384-419. The vita is on ff. 327r-332v, cfr. p. 406. This collection is now in the State History Museum, Moscow.

(15) See note 8.

(16) Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 169-178. Part of the vita in a later, much revised version was published from a defective 18th century Ukrainian MS by I. Franko, Apokrify i legendy z ukrains’kykh rukopysiv, vol. V, 1, Lemberg 1910, pp. 81-85.

(17) Veselovsky, Razyskaniya, op. cit., p. 36.


(18) For instance F. Dvornik, Byzantine Missions among the Slavs. SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius, New Brunswick 1970, p. 222; Idem, Les Bénédictins et la christianisation de la Russie, in 1054-1954. L’Eglise et les églises. Neuf siècles de douloureuse séparation entre l’Orient et l’Occident. Etudes et travaux offerts à Dom Lambert Beauduin, vol. I, Chevetogne 1954, pp. 323-349, cfr. p. 324-325.


(19) F. Mareš, Prolozní legenda o svátém Vítu, in Slovo XXIII (1973), pp. 97-113, cfr. 97.


(20) Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 15. The church, established in c. 915, was Bohemia’s principal church until the foundation of the see of Prague in 973. On the church cfr. A. Merhauptová, Basilika sv. Jiří na Pražském hradě, Prague 1966.


(21) Classified by K. Krumbacher, Der heilige Georg in der griechischen Überlieferung, in Abhandlungen der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-philologische und historische Klasse XXV, 3 (1911), pp. 155-161 as «das Athener Excerpt des Volksbuches». It is no. 670 in F. Halkin, Bibliotheca hagiographica graeca, 3 vols., Brussels 1957 (Subsidia hagiographica VIII a). (Hereafter B.H.G.). One of the reasons for the failure to recognize it hitherto is perhaps the fact that all of the editors fail to distinguish between the preceding verse and the actual text. The stichos is: Nenavidei ispr’va . . . blagyje věry, then begins the text: V to ubo vrěme car’ bě eter’ rodom’ ot Persidy....





Only one codex of this vita, which is a compilation based on earlier Greek legends with few new elements (22), has been traced, viz. a 16th century panegyricon, codex Atheniensis no. 343 (23). A comparison of the Greek and Slavonic texts reveals that the translation follows the original closely with only minor differences (24), which at least in part may be due to variants in the Greek codex used for the translation. There is clearly no reason to ascribe the translation of this Greek vita to Bohemia (25).



 St. Stephen


The earliest codex traced with this vita is a 15th century Russian menologium for August, no. 232 in the Undol’sky collection (26).



(22) Viz. B.H.G. nos. 670 a, 675, 679; cfr. Krumbacher, Georg, op. cit., pp. 158-159.


(23) On this codex cfr. A. Ehrhard, Überlieferung und Bestand der hagiographischen und homiletischen Literatur der griechischen Kirche Von den Anfängen bis zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts, pt. 1, vol. II, Leipzig 1938 (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur LI), pp. 63-64. In spite of its late date the codex contains premetaphrastan texts. Excerpts from the vita, which is on ff. 86v-96v, are published by Krumbacher, Georg, op. cit., pp. 160-161.


(24) In the Greek the Persian emperor is Dadian, in the Slavonic Diocletian (!); in the Greek George is killed at the ninth hour, in the Slavonic the sixth. The Slavonic has occasional details not in the Greek, e.g. George is buried at Diospolis, while the Greek has a few details not in the Slavonic, e.g. the author of the vita, unnamed in Slavonic, is Πασικράτιος obviously an orthographical error. In B.H.G., no. 672 it is Πασικράτης, in B.H.G., no. 670b Παγκράτιος, cfr. Krumbacher, Georg, op. cit., pp. 51 and 16. A comparison of the texts also resolves earlier conjectures, e.g. Veselovsky, Razyskaniya, op. cit., p. 163, suggested that Persaraluvii should read Persarmenii, which is correct, cfr. Περσαρμενίας ; the name Trankvilin», which Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Stefana, op. cit., p. 114, considered evidence of a translation from Latin since the Greek is Τρανκυλλῖνος is in fact a corruption of Στραγκυλῖνος; končai službu svoju is not, as Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 177 n. aa, suggests, a rendering of perlice officium tuum, but of πλήρωσόν σου τὴν οἰκονομίαν.


(25) The sole Bohemism adduced by Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 174 n.U, is milovati in the sense « to love »: ἀντέχομαί σου ὡς τέκνου ἰδίου — miluju te jako čedo moe. This is clearly not sufficient evidence and assumes that milovati could not have that meaning in other Slav regions at the time of the translation.


(26) On which cfr. V. Undol’sky, Slavyano-russkiye rukopisi V. M. Undol’skogo opisannyye samim sostavitelem i byvshem vladel’tsem sobraniya, s No. 1-go po 579-y. S prilozheniyem ocherka sobraniya rukopisey V. M. Undol’skogo v polnom sostave, Moscow 1870, pp. 198-201. The vita is on ff. 7r-19r. This collection is now in the Lenin State Library, Moscow.


Other codices traced are of the 16th century, e.g. the Great Macarian menologium, cfr. Iosif, Podrobnoye oglavleniye velikikh chetiikh miney vserossiyskogo mitropolita Makariya, khranyashchikhsya v Moskovskoy Patriarshey (nyne Sinodal’noy) biblioteke, vol. II, Moscow 1892, p. 398; codex no. 680 of the Trinity Sergius collection, cfr. Ilary and Arseny, Opisaniye slavyanskikh rukopisey biblioteki Svyato~T roitskoy Sergiyevoy Lavry, vol. III, in Chteniya v Imperatorskom Obshchestve istorii i drevnostey rossiyskikh (hereafter Ch. I. O. I.) CIX (1879), p. 38.





Although the description of this codex by V. Undol’sky, published posthumously in 1870, indicated that this vita with the incepit: V” vremena Valeriana i Galina zlověr’nuju ipatu had been translated from a Greek text with the incepit: Κατὰ τοὺς καιρούς Οὐαλεριανοῦ, of which a Latin version had been published in the Acta Sanctorum (27), when Sobolevsky published the vita from this codex (28) he argued that it was a translation of the Latin version since it contained many translation errors which could only be explained by reference to the Latin and subsequent scholars have referred to the cult of St. Stephen in Bohemia as a reason for its translation (29).


In fact the Greek vita (30) is a translation of the Latin version and a comparison of both with the Slavonic clearly reveals that the Slavonic follows the Greek



(27) Acta Sanctorum, (hereafter A.SS.) August vol. I, Paris 1867, pp. 139-144. This Latin vita is catalogued as no. 7845 in Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 vols., Brussels 1899-1901. (Hereafter B.H.L.).


(28) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Stefana, op. cit., pp. 118-135. This edition was reprinted by Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 192-207.


(29) Thus Jakobson, Kernel, op. cit., p. 44, mentions the fact that the Benedictine monastery founded at Hradisch in 1078 was dedicated to St. Stephen, while Dvornik, Bénédictins, op. cit., p. 339, and Missions, op. cit., p. 220, adds to this the fact that an altar at the first Benedictine monastery in Bohemia, founded at Břevnov in 992, was dedicated to him. However, Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 15, sees no obvious reason for the translation.


(30) B.H.G., no. 1669. Edited by B. Latyshev, Neizdannyye grecheskiye agiograficheskiye teksty, in Zapiski Imperatorskoy Akademii nauk po istoriko-arkheologicheskomu otdeleniyu XII, ii (1974), pp. 76-92. A late Latin translation of this Greek vita, the latter erroneously ascribed to Symeon Metaphrastes, is to be found in J. Migne, Patrologia graeca (hereafter P.G.), vol. CXV, Paris 1899, coll. 513-524. The Greek codices go back to the 10th century, by which time there was already a revised redaction in existence, cfr. Latyshev, Teksty, op. cit., pp. XXVII-XXXIV.





and hence repeats the errors of the Greek translation (31). Again, there is no reason to ascribe the translation of this Greek vita to Bohemia.


 St. Benedict


The sole traced codex with this vita is the 14th century Serbian codex no. 90 in the Hilferding collection (32) from which it was edited by Sobolevsky (33) who pointed out firstly that it is an abridged and revised version of book ii of Gregory the Great’s Dialogi de vita et miraculis patrum Italicorum (34) but secondly that it is not a translation of Pope Zacharias’ Greek translation of book ii (35), and concluded that despite Graecisms in the terminology it must have been translated from an untraced Latin revision of book ii by the same person who translated Gregory’s Homiliae XL in evangelia in Moravia in the 9th century (36). Although this theory of a Moravian origin has not received support, several scholars have ascribed the translation



(31) To give but a few examples:

            a) the Greek translator muddled mori and morari: Facultates Olympii domini tui prodere non moreris Τὰς ύπάρξεις Ὀλυμπίου τοῦ κυρίου σου προσάγαγέ μοι, ἵνα μὴ ἀποθανης, cfr. Iměnie Olumpia gospoda svoego prinesi, da ne umreši.

            b) hymnis redditis Deo εἰωθεισῶν ἐκκομιδῶν ἀποδοθεισῶν τῷ Θεῷ, cfr. ekkomidu predanom Bogu

            c) the Greek translator muddled ibidem and idem: ordinavit ibidem beatus Stephanus ἐχειροτόνησεν ὁ αὐτὸς μακαριώτατος Στέφανος, cfr. svęti sam" blažennyi Stefan"

            d) in some readings the Slavonic follows the revised Greek redaction: in aeternum incendium εἰς τὴν αἰώνιαν ἐκπύρωσιν, revised redaction: εἰς τὴν αἰώνιαν κόλασιν, cfr. v večnoe osuženie


This invalidates Mareš’s suggestion, Anthology, op. cit., p. 203 n. FF, that the Slav translator read iudicium for incendium.


The Slavonic follows the Greek in its minor glosses, e.g. praefecto Sapricio: Σαπρικίῳ τῷ τῆς πόλεως ἐπάρχῳ cfr. Saprikievi gradskomu eparhu


(32) Now in the State Public Library, Leningrad. The collection has not as yet been described in detail. The vita is on ff. 172v-184v.

(33) Sobolevsky, Zhitiye... Benedikta, op. cit., pp. 123-137; this edition is reprinted by Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 150-162. The incepit is Běaše ubo muž’ dobroroden’ v” d’ni cěsarja Totilja.

(34) B.H.L., no. 1102. Edited in J. Migne, Patrologia latina (hereafter P.L.), vol. LXVI, Paris 1847, coll. 125-204.

(35) B.H.G., no. 273. Edited P.L. ibidem.

(36) Sobolevsky, Teksty, op. cit., pp. 160-161, and Zhitiye.... Benedikta, op. cit., pp. 121-122.





to Bohemia in the 10th or 11th century (37), the reason for the translation being that the Benedictines were active in Bohemia at that time (38).


While there can be no doubt that the Slavonic follows the Latin original more closely than the Greek translation, there are passages which are closer to the Greek (39) or which reflect both Latin and Greek (40), so that Sobolevsky’s assumption that it was translated from an untraced Latin revision of book ii of the Dialogi is unwarranted. In theory it is possible that the translator himself is responsible for this version (41),



(37) Thus K. Haderka in Lexicon linguae palaeoslovenicae (hereafter L.L.P.), vol. 1, Prague 1966, p. LXIX; G. Dufner, Die Dialoge Gregors des Grossen im Wandel der Zeiten und Sprachen, Padua 1968 (Miscellanea erudita XIX), p. 41; Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 150; Večerka, Periodisierung, op. cit., p. 108; A. Naumow, Šwięty Benedykt w piśmiennictwie cerkiewnoslowiańskim, in Znak XXXII, 318 (1980), pp. 1643-1647, cfr. p. 1644, is more cautious leaving the exact date open.


(38) Thus Jakobson, Kernel, op. cit., pp. 43-44; Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 15; D. Tschižewskij, Kirchenslavische Literatur bei den Westslaven, in Annales Instituti Slavici 1,4 (1968), pp. 13-28, cfr. p. 22.

The Benedictine monastery at Sázava founded in c. 1032 is sometimes claimed to be the place where it was translated, e.g. J. Kadlec, Das Vermächtnis der Slavenapostel Cyrill und Method im böhmischen Mittelalter, in Annales Instituti Slavici 1,4 (1968), pp. 103-137, cfr. 117, as is the monastery at Břevnov, e.g. V. Chaloupecky, Slovanská bohoslužba v Čechách, in Vestnik České Akademie věd a uměni v Praze LIX (1950), pp. 65-80, cfr. p. 78; Dvornik, Missions, op. cit., p. 220, suggests Sázava or Břevnov, while A. Rogov, E. Bláhová and A. Konzal, Staroslověnské legendy českého původu. Nejstarší kapitoly z dějin cesko-ruských kulturních vztahů, Prague 1976, p. 19, merely say a Benedictine monastery. All of this is pure surmise without a shred of evidence.


(39) For example:

            a) in orationem dedissent (ed. P.L., op. cit., col. 142) εἰς προσευχὴν δεδώκασι γόνυ κλίναντες (ibid., col. 141) poklonše kolěna ν’ molitvu predaše (ed. Mareš, op. cit., p. 153)

            b) in orationem (ed. P.L., op. cit., col. 128) ἐν τῇ πρὸς θεὸν δεὴσει (ibid., col. 127) molitvu k’ Bogu (ed. Mareš, op. cit., p. 151)

            c) a labore (ed. P.L., op. cit., col. 130) τοῦ κόπου τῆς θεοφίλου ἐκείνης ὑπηρεσίας (ibid., col. 129) ot truda šego žitěiskago (ed. Mareš, op. cit., p. 152)


(40) For example: ad ecclesiam recessit (ed. P.L., op. cit., col. 130); ἀνεχώρησε δοξάζων τὸν θεόν (ibid., col. 129); otide k’svoei cerkvi slave Boga (ed. Mareš, op. cit., p. 152).


The more critical editions of the Dialogi do not offer alternative Latin readings corresponding to the Slavonic, cf. U. Moricca, Gregorii Magni dialogi, libri IV, Rome 1924, and A. de Vogüé and P. Antin, Grégoire le Grand. Dialogues, vol. II, Paris 1979, (Sources chrétiennes CCLX).


(41) This is claimed by Dufner, Dialoge, op. cit., p. 41 and G. Kappel, Die slavische Vituslegende und ihr lateinisches Original, in Wiener slavistisches Jahrbuch XX (1974), pp. 73-85, cfr. p. 73.





but even so the complicated relations between the Slavonic on the one hand and the Greek and Latin on the other remain unexplained. The issue is further complicated by the existence of two early Slavonic translations of the entire Dialogi, but as neither has been edited the question of a possible link between the vita and one of these cannot be resolved (42).


A West Slav origin of the translation is unsupported by linguistic evidence as there are no indisputable Bohemisms, let alone Moravisms, in the text. The reflection of the Greek version in the translation together with the survival of the latter solely in a Serbian manuscript would rather suggest a South Slav origin (43).



(42) Sobolevsky’s, Zhitiye... Benedikta, op. cit., p. 121, claim that the translator of the allegedly Moravian version of the Dialogi (viz. Mareš A, Birkfellner II) may have known the vita of St. Benedict is based solely on two lexical items and clearly unsubstantiated, as well as on the implicit and unproven assumption that the vita is earlier than the Dialogi translation. G. Birkfellner, Das römische Paterikon. Studien zur serbischen, bulgarischen und russischen Überlieferung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen mit einer Textedition, vol. I, Vienna 1979 (Schriften der Balkankommission, Linguistische Abteilung XXVII), p. 31, rightly points out that the questions whether one of the two translations of the Dialogi may be ascribed to Moravia and which of the two is the earlier can only be answered when the texts have been critically edited. This applies a fortiori to possible links with the vita of Benedict.


(43) Sobolevsky, Zhitiye.... Benedikta, op. cit., p. 122, claims that the vita was well known in early times since some early kalendars spell the saint’s name with a B, as in the vita, and not with the usual V, e.g. the late 12th century West Bulgarian Ochrida epistolary, cfr. the edition by S. Kul’bakin, Okhridskaya rukopis’ apostola kontsa XII veka, Sofia 1907 (Bâlgarski starini III), p. 127. However, this kalendar, whose information is repeated in later codices, reveals clear traces of Latin influence, cfr. Sergy (Spassky), Polny mesyatseslov Vostoka, vol. I, Vladimir 1901, pp. 125-127. The sole known portrait of Benedict in early Russian frescoes, viz. in those of the church of the monastery of the Transfiguration at Nereditsy dating from 1199, also spells his name with B, but these frescoes too reveal Western influences, cfr. M. Mur’yanov, K kul’turnym vzaimosvyazyam Rusi i Zapada v XII veke, in Ricerche slavistiche XIV (1966), pp. 29-41, cfr. p. 33 and illustration no. 4. Per se a veneration of Benedict does not reveal a Western influence since he was venerated in the Byzantine church, cfr. H. Delehaye, Synaxarium ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae e codice Sirmondiano nunc Berolinensi, Brussels 1902 (Propylaeum ad Acta Sanctorum Novembris), coll. 535-536, and see note 93 below. His name is found in many of the earliest Slavonic kalendars, such as the late 10th or early 11th century Macedonian Assemani evangeliary and the 11th century Russian Ostromir evangeliary, cfr. J. Martinov, Annus ecclesiasticus graeco-slavicus, Brussels 1863, p. 89.





 St. Apollinaris


The codices containing this vita are all Russian, the earliest being of the mid 16th century, viz. no. 912 in the Pogodin collection (44). When Sobolevsky published the vita in 1903 (45), he pointed out that it corresponds to the Latin passio (46) and his ascription of the translation to Bohemia has been accepted by some scholars (47), although it has not remained unchallenged (48). A Greek translation of the Latin passio has been traced (49), but the sole codex to contain it (50) has a version in which the Latin original has been considerably revised. This revision is deliberate and not the result of a misunderstanding of the Latin (51) and thus it is uncertain whether a later scribe revised an earlier translation which adhered more closely to the Latin text, so that the presence of Graecisms in the Slavonic translation (52) cannot be dismissed as



(44) Now in the State Public Library, Leningrad. The collection has not been described in detail. The incepit is: Vo d’ni Klavdię cěsarę prišedšu ot Antiohiě.


(45) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Apollinariya, op. cit., pp. 106-118. He used the 1594 Russian menologium codex no. F I 686 of the State Public Library, Leningrad. This edition was reprinted by Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 178-191. It is also in the Great Macarian menologium. Cfr. Iosif, Oglavleniye, op. cit., p. 324.


(46) Viz. B.H.L., no. 623, ed. A.SS., July vol. V, Paris 1868, pp. 344-350.


(47) Both Jakobson, Kernel, op. cit. p. 44, and Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 15, refer to the fact that St. Apollinaris was the patron of Bořivoy II (died in 1124) to whom the establishment of the collegiate church of St. Apollinaris at Sadská in the early 12th century is due. This fact is an irrelevance in view of its late date.


(48) Rogov, Legendy, op. cit., pp. 18-19, considers it unproven.


(49) Viz. B.H.G., no. 2038.


(50) Viz. a 1308 Italo-Greek menologium, codex Messanensis no. 29, on which cfr. H. Delahaye, Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum graecorum monasterii Sancti Sahatoris, nunc bibliothecae Universitatis Messanensis, in Analecta Bollandiana XXIII (1904), pp. 19-75, cfr. pp. 30-40, the passio is on ff. 134r-138v, cfr. p. 37. On this codex see also Ehrhard, Überlieferung, op. cit., vol. III, pt. I, Leipzig 1943 (Texte und Untersuchungen op. cit. Lil, i), pp. 446-450. Since the Greek has not been published, I must express my gratitude to the Bollandist Fathers who with their habitual kindness made a photocopy of the text available to me.


(51) It takes the form of many minor alterations such as Petrus apostolus - Πέτρος ὁ κορυφαῖος τῶν ἀποστόλων; centurio - δεσμοφύλαξ; vicus — νοσοκομεῖον etc. In each case the Slavonic follows the Latin, viz. Petr” apostol”, sotnik”, ves’.


(52) For instance: Demosthenes - Δημοσθένης, cfr. Dimosten”; tribunus - τριβοῦνος, cfr. trivun”; Calocerus - Καλώκερος, cfr. Kaloger”; patricius - πατρίκιος, cfr. patrik”, (in one case petrec’, cfr. Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 190. In this instance too the Greek codex, f. 138r, has πατρίκιος).





«without significance » (53). Even if it is accepted that the translation was made from Latin, there is insufficient linguistic evidence to ascribe it to Bohemia (54).



 St. Vitus


This vita was published from the earliest traced codex, the late 12th - early 13th century Russian Dormition florilegium, no. 1063 in the Synodal collection (55) by Sobolevsky in 1903 (56), who in spite of Graecisms considered that it had been translated from Latin, although he remarked upon the considerable variations from the Latin text (57). In fact the Latin vita he cited as the original (58) is not the correct one and the Latin vita corresponding to the Slavonic was published only in 1973 by L. Matějka (59). In 1948 J. Vašica referred to the textual similarity between this Slavonic vita and that found in the fragments of a 14th century Glagolitic breviary discovered in St. Thomas’ Augustinian monastery, Prague,



(53) Thus Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Apollinariya, op. cit., p. 105.


However, it must be admitted that such Graecisms can be explained in ways other than by the use of a Greek text; thus lexical items may reflect the translator’s acquaintance with other Slavonic texts. On this question cfr. I. Páclová, K otázce vlivu řečtiny na csl. památky s latinskou předlohou, in Studia balkanica bohemo-slovaca, Brünn 1970, pp. 213-218.


(54) The examples quoted by Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 178-191, are inconclusive, e.g. raba in the sense of girl is not merely a reflection of Old Czech and Moravian dialects, cfr. L.L.P., op. cit., fasc. XXXIII, Prague 1979, p. 539, no more is n” in the sense of than, cfr. ibid. fasc. XXI, Prague 1971, p. 447.


(55) Now in the State History Museum, Moscow. There is a vast literature devoted to the codex; much of that prior to 1971 is given in the introduction to the edition of the codex by S. Kotkov (ed.) Uspensky sbornik X1I-XIII vekov, Moscow 1971, cfr. pp. 3-7.


(56) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Vita, op. cit., pp. 282-294. In Kotkov, Sbornik, op. cit. it is on pp. 220-229. Sobolevsky’s edition with a few emendations is reproduced by Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 136-145, while a photocopy of Sobolevsky’s edition is to be found in L. Matějka, Dvije crkvenoslavenske legende o svetom Vidu, in Slavia XIII (1973), pp. 73-96, cfr. facs. 3-15. The vita is also in the Great Macarian menologium, cfr. Iosif, Oglavleniye, op. cit., pp. 227-228. The incepit is: V” vrěmena Dioklitijana i Antonija z”lověr’nyima cěsarema. Czech translations of the Slavonic are to be found in J. Vašica, Umučeni sv. Víta, in Na úsvitu křest’anství, Prague 1947, pp. 87-95 and Rogov, Legendy, op. cit., pp. 324-334.


(57) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Vita, op. cit., pp. 279-281.


(58) Viz. B.H.L., no. 8711; ed. A.SS., June vol. III, Paris 1867, pp. 499-504.


(59) Viz. B.H.L., no. 8712; ed. Matějka, Legende, op. cit., facs. 16-21. There are many codices with the vita and numerous variants are found. The 13th century Magnum legendarium Austriacum, codex Vindobonensis no. 336, which contains a text very close to the Slavonic, though not identical, was edited by Kappel, Vituslegende, op. cit., pp. 75-83.





by J. Vajs in 1901 (60), who considered that the vita in the fragments had been translated from Latin by the Croat monks who went to the Emaus monastery founded in Prague by Emperor Charles IV in 1346 for the Slavonic rite (61). However, Vašica considered that the textual similarity of the two vitae showed that both had the same Slavonic archetype, of which the Glagolitic version was an abridgment (62), an opinion shared by some subsequent scholars (63). This would mean that the Cyrillic version (64) had survived in Bohemia until the mid 14th century and was then used by the Croat monks when they adapted their breviary to local traditions, in itself an implausible hypothesis (65).


Some Latin breviaries dating from the late 12th century on have an abridgment of the Latin vita and a comparison of the two Latin versions with the two Slavonic ones reveals that the textual similarities between the two Slavonic vitae are not due to any direct interrelation but to the fact that they are separate translations of the two Latin texts which are interrelated, thus the Glagolitic version is a 14th century translation of the Latin abridgment and the Cyrillic is an earlier translation of the full



(60) J. Vašica, Staroslovanská legenda o sv. Vítu, in Slovanské studie. Sbírka statí, věnovaných prelatu univ. profesoru Dr. Josefu Vajsovi k učtení jeho životního díla. Ed. J. Kurz et al., Prague 1948, pp. 159-163. The vita in the Prague fragments was published with a Latin translation by J. Vajs, Hlaholský zlomek nalezený v Augustiniánském kláštere v Praze, in Časopis Musea Království českého LXXV (1901), pp. 21-35. This edition has been reprinted by Matějka, Legende, op. cit., pp. 81-82 and Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 145-150. The fragments are now in the National Museum, Prague, no. I Dc 1/14, cfr. J. Vašica and J. Vajs, Soupis staroslovanských rukopisů Národního Musea v Praze, Prague 1957, pp. 416-417. A Czech translation of this vita is to be found in Rogov, Legendy, op. cit., pp. 352-354.


(61) Vajs, Zlomek, op. cit. There is a vast literature on the Emaus monastery, cfr. inter alia Kadlec, Vermächtnis, op. cit., pp. 128-131. Croat Glagolitic breviaries also contain a vita of Vitus but it is different version translated from Latin in the 13th century, cfr. L. Matějka, St. Veit, der Patron Böhmens, im ältesten kirchenslavischen Schrifttum, in Annales Instituti Slavici VIII (1974), pp. 42-47, cfr. 48-49, and Idem, Legende, op. cit., pp. 83-85 and pp. 86-90 where there is a convenient edition of the Croat version.


(62) Vašica, Legende, op. cit., pp. 159-163.


(63) For instance, Jakobson, Kernel, op. cit., p. 43; Matějka, Legende, op. cit., pp. 76-77 ; Rogov, Legendy, op. cit., pp. 318-320.


(64) The terms «Glagolitic version» and «Cyrillic version» are merely used for convenience.


(65) Even Matějka, Veit, op. cit., p. 49, admits that it is «völlig hypothetisch».





Latin vita (66). There are some Graecisms in the Cyrillic version but these can be explained as reflecting the translator’s acquaintance with other texts (67) and no Greek translation of this Latin vita is known. The translation, moreover, contains several obvious Latinisms (68) so that there can be little doubt that it was translated from Latin.



(66) A juxtaposition of the relevant passages of the four texts is to be found in Matějka, Legende, op. cit., pp. 81-84. To give but one example:

            Full Latin: Plangite mecum, quia video unicum filium meum perire.

            Cyrillic: Placètesę s” mnoju, im’že jedinočadyi syn” moi vižju pogybajušt.


            Latin abridgment: Plangite, amici mei, una mecum, quia video perire filium meum unicum.

            Glagolitic: Plačete se s’ mnoju, priěteli moi, ěko edinočedi sin’ moi pred’ očima moima viždju gibnušt’.


Moreover, if the Cyrillic and Glagolitic were directly related they would share common errors, which is not the case, e.g. the omission of a phrase in the Cyrillic:

            Latin (both): Sanctus Vitus dixit, Ego non pereo, si

            Cyrillic: ašte.

            Glagolitic: Vit že reče, Ne pogibnu, ašte.


The omission in the Cyrillic is a result of haplography as the word preceding «Sanctus» in the full Latin version is «perire» (in the Latin abridgment it is «unicum»).


Neither does the Glagolitic repeat the mistranslations of the Cyrillic e.g. diversis - Cyr. div’nyimi, Glag. mnogimi; custos - Cyr. spasitel’, Glag. služitel’. Such mistakes in the Cyrillic cannot be due to later copyists distorting the Cyrillic version’s text as Matějka, Legende, op. cit., pp. 77, 84-85, attempts to argue. Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., p. 135, has expressed doubts about a direct relation between the two Slavonic vitae.


(67) To give a few examples:

            a) Jovem - Dija. Clearly the alteration of Juppiter into Zeus is a Graecism but the god appears in other contexts including the Bible, cfr. L.L.P., op. cit., vol. I, p. 671.

            b) cimbalis - kumbaly, again a common loanword, cfr. L.L.P., op. cit., fasc. XVI, Prague 1967, p. 99.

            c) cilicio - v” kilik”. Κιλίκιον is not a common loanword but is found in other texts, cfr. I. Sreznevsky, Materialy dlya slovarya drevnerusskogo yazyka po pis’mennym parnyatnikam, St. Petersburg 1893, col. 1208.

See also note 53 above.


(68) To give a few examples:

            a) gratias ago tibi - hvalu ti tvorju

            b) quid facturus es - č’to děja jesi

            c) the reflection of the Latin accusative singular in: Jovem, Arfam, Herculem, Junonem et Minervám - Unobema, Aruvama, Er’kulě i Miner’vam”.


However, some of the alleged Latinisms cannot be accepted as evidence since they could equally be explained by Greek e.g.

            a) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Vita, op. cit., p. 180, refers to the double accusative in: si... Hristos" mę nauči, a rendering of: ista... Christus me docuit. However, Kappel, Vituslegende, op. cit., p. 84, correctly points out that διδάσκειν also takes a double accusative.

            b) Sobolevsky, ibid. p. 281, points to the mistranslation of palma in the sense of palm of victory in: ad illam palmam pervenire - k” togo rucě iti, but Kappel, ibid p. 74, again rightly says that this mistake could come from a Greek translator.

            c) patris tui - otcę svoego, which Kappel, ibid. p. 84, takes to be a misreading of tui as sui. However, not merely could this have been a Greek translator’s mistake, it could also be a later Slav copyist’s misreading of tvoego as svoego.





However, this still leaves the place and the date of the translation unresolved. Sobolevsky’s idea of Moravia in the ninth century has received little support (69), most scholars preferring Bohemia in the tenth (70) or eleventh (71) century. The reason adduced for the translation is that the second of the two main churches of the ducal castle in Prague was dedicated to St. Vitus (72), whose cult, it is sometimes alleged (73), was unknown in the Greek church and must thus have come to the Slavs, Orthodox as well as Catholic, from the West.


This latter assertion is erroneous as there are no less than four Greek vitae of St. Vitus,



(69) Mareš, Legenda, op. cit., p. 107, tentatively accepts it, although he wonders whether it was translated in Bulgaria by Moravian exiles.


(70) Thus Vašica, Legende, op. cit.; K. Haderka in L.L.P., op. cit., vol. I, p. LXIX; Kadler, Vermächtnis, op. cit., p. 107; Dvornik, Missions, op. cit., p. 222; Rogov, Legendy, op. cit., p. 320; R. Jakobson, Some Russian Echoes of the (sic) Czech Hagiography, in Annuaire de l’Institut de philologie et d’histoire orientales et slaves VII (1939-1944), pp. 155-180, cfr. p. 175.


(71) Thus M. Weingart, Československý tip cirkevnej slovančiny, Pressburg 1949, p. 67, who also claims the translation was done at Sázava, for which there is absolutely no evidence. Matějka, Legende, op. cit., p. 93, cautiously states ninth or tenth century, as does Večerka, Periodisierung, op. cit., p. 108.


(72) Thus Jakobson, Kernel, op. cit., p. 43 and idem, Echoes, op. cit., p. 175; Mareš, Legenda, op. cit., p. 106 and idem, Anthology, op. cit., p. 15; Tschižewskij, Literatur, op. cit., p. 22. The church was built in 926 by Wencelas, who had intended to dedicate it to St. Emmeran. The change to St. Vitus, patron saint of Saxony, reflects the fact that in 929 Bohemia became a German fief. The Church was dedicated in 930 and a part of the relics of St. Vitus, viz. an arm, was obtained from Corvey. In 973 it became the cathedral of the new see of Prague. In fact the cult of St. Vitus in Moravia has been traced back to the late ninth, early tenth century when a church at Altstadt was dedicated to him, cfr. V. Hruby, Staré Město: Velkomoravský Velehrad, Prague 1965, pp. 191-195. See also V. Ryneš, K počátkům úcty so. Víta v českých zemích, in Slavia XXXV (1966), pp. 592-593.


(73) Thus A. Sobolevsky, Materialy i issledovaniya o oblasti slavyanskoy filologii i arkheologii, in S.O.R.Y. LXXXVIII, 3 (1910), p. 37; Matějka, Veit, op. cit., p. 44; Mareš, Legenda, op. cit., p. 107.





three in codices going back to the eleventh century (74). His cult spread to Byzantum via the Italo-Greeks and his feast is found in some synaxaria (75). His cult was also well known to the Slavs from the time of their conversion onwards and his feastday is listed in many early Slav kalendars, the earliest being the late tenth or early eleventh century Macedonian Assemani evangeliary (76), so that there is nothing a priori improbable in a vita being translated for the South Slavs. Clearly Croatia would be a possible place for a translation from Latin (77) but the language of the translation contains neither Croatisms nor Bohemisms (78). Thus, unless it is assumed that a knowledge of Latin was unknown among the Orthodox South Slavs there is no reason to ascribe the translation to any other region.



(74) Viz. B.H.G., nos. 1876a,b and c. The earliest codex with no. 1876 is the same MS of 1308 which has the vita of Apollinaris, viz. codex Messanensis no. 29, cfr. Ehrhard, Überlieferung, op. cit., vol. Ill, pt. 1, p. 446, and note 50 above.


(75) Cfr. Delehaye, Synaxarium, op. cit., coll. 751-752.

Links between Italy and Bulgaria are well attested in the ninth to thirteenth centuries, cfr.

·       Dujčev, La Bulgaria medioevale fra Bizanzio e Roma. Relazioni della Bulgaria con Bizanzio e con l’Italia, in Felix Ravenna XLVI (1968), pp. 67-97;

·       Idem, I Rapporti fra la Calabria e la Bulgaria nel medioevo, in Atti del IV Congresso storico Calabrese, Naples 1969, pp. 235-250;

·       Idem, Riflessi della religiosità italo-greca nel mondo slavo ortodosso, in Italia sacra XX (1973), pp. 181-212.


At least one Italo-Greek work was translated in Bulgaria at an early time, probably the tenth century, viz. an abridgment of the typicon of John of Pantelleria which has been edited by I. Mansvetov, Tserkovny tipik (ustav) - yego obrazovaniye i sud ba υ grecheskoy i russkoy tserkvi, Moscow 1885, pp. 441-445, and by I. Dujčev, Il Tipico del monastero di S. Giovanni nell’isola di Pantelleria, in Bollettino della Badia greca di Grottaferrata XXV (1971), pp. 1-17» cfr. pp. 5-12.


Naturally the vita of Italo-Greek saints such as Pancratius of Taormina, Gregory of Agrigento and Leo of Catania were also translated. The relations between the Italo-Greek monks and Byzantium were not halted by the schism of 1054, cfr. A. Pertusi, Rapporti tra il monachesimo italo-greco ed il monachesimo bizantino nelť alto Medio Evo, in Italia Sacra XXI (1972), pp. 473-520.


(76) Cfr. the edition by J. Vajs and J. Kurz, Evangeliař Assemanův. Kodex Vatikánský vol. II, Prague 1955, p. 298. Other early kalendars include the 11th century Russian Ostromir and Archangel evangeliaries, cfr. Martinov, Annus, op. cit., p. 153, and Matějka, Veit, op. cit., p. 44.


(77) Tschižewsky, Literatur, op. cit., pp. 22-23, wonders if it was done for the Croats of Aquileia.


(78) As Mareš, Legenda, op. cit., p. 106, admits.





 St. Anastasia of Rome (79)


This vita was published in 1903 by Sobolevsky from the 16th century Russian codex, no. II.364 in the Tolstoy collection (80) and four years later it was published in the edition of the Great Macarian menologium (81). Because of Latinisms in the text Sobolevsky considered that it had been translated from Latin although he could not trace the original (82) and it was not until 1971 that G. Kappel published a Latin Passio S. Chrysogoni martyris to which the Slavonic corresponds (83). This Latin vita is in fact an abridged version of a longer Latin vita (84), of which latter vita a Greek translation was made in 824 (85).



(79) There are two Anastasias of Rome known in hagiography, the one in question being the widow, whose feast falls in December (in the East the 22nd, in the West the 25th), not the virgin, whose feast falls in October (in the East the 12th or 29th, in the West the 28th). The two are in fact to be identified as the same person, cfr. P. Devos, Sainte Anastasie la vierge et la source de sa Passion, in Analecta Bollandiana LXXX (1962), pp. 32-51.


(80) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Anastasii, op. cit., pp. 323-326. The MS is now no. Q.I. 320 in the State Public Library, Leningrad, on it cfr. K. Kalaydovich and P. Stroyev, Obstoyatel’noye opisaniye slavyano-rossiyskikh rukopisey, khranyashchikhsya v Moskve v biblioteke taynogo sovetnika, senatora, Dvora Yego Imperatorskogo Velichestva deystvitel’nogo kammergera i kavalera Fedora Andreyevicha Tolstova, Moscow 1825, pp. 498-503, cfr. p. 500. The vita is on ff. 159v-163r. This edition has been reprinted by G. Kappel, Die kirchenslavische Anastasienlegende, in Slavica XL (1971), pp. 9-19, cfr. pp. 11-18, and Mareš, Anthology, op. cit., pp. 163-168.


(81) Velikiye Minei Cheiii sobrannyye vserossiyskim mitropolitom Makariyem. Dekabr’ dni 18-23, Moscow 1907, coll. 1656-1660. No codices prior to the 16th century have been traced. Kappel, Anastasienlegende, op. cit., p. 9, claims that it is in a 14th century Serbian codex, no. 195 in the Khludov collection. However, the description of the codex gives as the entry on ff. 113r-118r: Mučenije svetyje mučenice Anastasie i Feodoti, with the incepit: V’ oni dni car’stvujuštu Dioklitijanu neč’styvomu byst’ gonjenije hristijanom’, cfr. Popov, Opisaniye, op. cit., p. 386.


Not only is this incepit different to that of the vita published by Sobolevsky, viz.: V” vremena Dioklitiana nečestivago cěsarę gonenie byst hristian’sko, but in the latter Theodota is not mentioned (although she is in the longer Latin vita, of which Sobolevsky’s vita is an abridgment, cfr. below). Until the vita in the Khludov codex has been studied no definite conclusion may be reached, but from the data available it would appear that the Khludov codex contains a different vita.


(82) Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Anastasii, op. cit., pp. 321-322.


(83) Kappel, Anastasienlegende, op. cit., pp. 11-17. It is B.H.L., no. 1796.


(84) Viz. B.H.L., no. 1795; ed. H. Delehaye, Etude sur le légendier romain. Les saints de novembre et de décembre, Brussels 1936 (Subsidia hagiographica XXIII), pp. 221-249.


(85) Viz. B.H.G., no. 81-81a; ed. F. Halkin, Légendes grecques de “Martyrs romains", Brussels 1973 (Subsidia hagiographica LV), pp. 89-131.





The Slavonic vita has wrongly been identified as a translation of a Greek vita of the other Anastasia of Rome, the virgin (86), but there can be no doubt that it is a translation of the abridged Latin vita of Anastasia of Rome, the widow. Not only has no Greek translation of this been traced, but the Slavonic contains undeniable Latinisms which can scarcely reflect an untraced Greek translation (87) The Slavonic varies from Kappel’s printed text but since the latter is based on a single codex (88), this again does not indicate an untraced Greek version.


Once again the Bohemian origin of the translation has been accepted by some scholars (89), but in view of the absence of Bohemisms it is hardly surprising that this should have been questioned by others (90). The cult of St. Anastasia, who was martyred at Sirmium, was wide spread



(86) Viz. no. 762; ed. Delehaye, Etude, op. cit., pp. 250-258. Undol’sky, Rukopisi, op. cit., p. 195, and A. Gorsky and K. Nevostruyev, Opisaniye Velikikh Chet’iikh Miney Makariya mitropolita Vserossiyskogo, in Ch.I.O.I. CXXXVI (1886), p. 93, both refer to J. Fabricius, Bibliotheca graeca, sive Notitia scriptorum veterum graecorum, quorumque monumenta integra aut fragmenta edita extant tum plerorumque e MSS ac deperditis ab auctore recognita. Ed. G. Harles, vol. X, Hamburg 1807, p. 109. Here Fabricius lists a “vita Anastasiae romanae viduae” by an “auctor incertus” with the incepit: Κατᾶ τοὺς καιροὺς Διοκλητιανοῦ, which at first sight would appear to coincide with the Slavonic incepit: V” vremena Dioklitiana nečestivago cěsarę gonenie byst hristian’sko, but in fact this Greek incepit is that of no. 76z to which the Slavonic vita does not correspond.


(87) The classical example is the word “anus” which has been left untranslated:

            (longer Latin: anus quaedam inventa est christiana)

            Latin abridgment: anus quaedam christiana inveniebatur

            Slavonic: anos” že etera hristiana obrětesę


(cfr. Greek translation of the longer Latin vita: γραῦς τις εὑρέθη χριστιανή).


Sobolevsky, Mucheniye... Anastasii, op. cit., p. 322, found only one Graecism, viz. Publius - Puplii, cfr. Πούπλιος. However, the name appears twice in Acts, viz. XXVIII, 7-8, in Slavonic Poplii, cf. L.L.P., op. cit., fasc. XXVII, Prague 1974, pp. 169-170, so the change of b to p need not be considered a true Graecism.


(88) Viz. 12th century codex in the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana Mediolanensis, no. E 84c, on which cfr. F. Van Ortroy, Catalogus codicum latinorum bibliothecae Ambrosianae Mediolanensis, in Analecta Bollandiana XI (1892), pp. 205-368, cfr. pp. 307-320.


(89) For instance Jakobson, Kernel, op. cit., p. 44, who considers that the reason for the translation was that Anastasia was martyred at Sirmium, of which see Methodius was appointed archbishop by Pope Hadrian II in late 869, or early 870. This argument is, however, untenable since the vita belongs to the later cycle of legends about Anastasia in which Sirmium is not mentioned.


(90) E.g. Rogov, Legendy, op. cit., pp. 18-19.





in Dalmatia (91) and clearly known to the Orthodox South Slavs (92), so that the sole reason for ascribing the translation to Bohemia is again the assumption that a knowledge of Latin was unknown among the Orthodox South Slavs.





Two of the six vitae allegedly translated from Latin into Slavonic in Bohemia were definitely translated from Greek, viz. those of SS. George and Stephen. Another reflects Greek readings as well as Latin, viz. that of St. Benedict. Two vitae, viz. those of SS. Vitus and Anastasia, were translated from Latin and that of St. Apollinaris probably so. However, the translations contain no indisputable linguistic evidence which points to Bohemia (or for that matter Moravia) as the place where the vitae were translated, so that the main reason for the Bohemian theory is the very fact that they were translated from Latin, which assumes a priori that there were no literate South Slavs with a knowledge of Latin. This was clearly not the case for the Croats and Dalmatians but since there are equally no indisputable Croatisms in the language, nor are any of the vitae found in a Croat Glagolitic codex, the translations can hardly have been done in the regions they inhabited.


There would appear to be no valid reason for denying a knowledge of Latin in the places where almost all translations into Slavonic were made, viz. Bulgaria and Athos. On Athos the Benedictine monastery of S. Maria of the Amalfitans, founded c. 985-990, existed throughout the eleventh and twelfth centuries (93), the schism of 1054 making little difference



(91) Cfr. Dvornik, Bénédictins, op. cit., p. 325.


(92) Her feast is found in many early Slavonic kalendars, cfr. Martinov, Annus, op. cit., pp. 313-315.


(93) Cfr. A. Pertusi, Monasteri e monad italiani all’Athos nell’alto medioevo, in Le Millénaire du Mont Athos, 963-1963. Etudes et mélanges, vol. I, Chevetogne 1963, pp. 215-251. Traces of the rule of St. Benedict are found in the Hypotyposis of Athanasius the Athonite, founder of the Grand Laura on Athos in 963, cfr. H. Beck, Die Benediktinerregel auf dem Athos, in Byzantinische Zeitschrift XLIV (1951), pp. 21-26, and J. Leroy, S. Athanase l’Athonite et la règle de S. Benoît, in Revue d’ascétique et de mystique XXIX (1953), pp. 108-122. The origins of the Bulgarian monastery on Athos, Zographou, are shrouded in mystery but it existed by the end of the tenth century, cfr. I. Dujčev, Le Mont Athos et les Slaves au moyen âge, in Le Millénaire du Mont Athos, 963-1963. Etudes et mélanges, vol. II, Chevetogne 1963, pp. 121-143, cfr. pp. 127-128. The Russians were in the monastery of Xylourgou in the first half of the twelfth century and possibly even earlier, cfr. I. Smolitsch, Le Mont Athos et la Russie, in Millénaire, op. cit., vol. I, pp. 279-318.





to the situation (94), while Latin could not have been an unknown tongue in Bulgaria in the ninth century. Although Bulgaria’s period of submission to Roman jurisdiction was brief, viz. 866-870, it saw Western missionaries in the country and clearly Pope Nicholas I’s correspondence with Bulgaria, especially his Responsa ad consulta Bulgarorum, would require interpreters. At least some of the Moravian exiles who sought refuge in Bulgaria after Methodius’ death in 885 must have known Latin (95). At all events the theory of Bohemia as a centre where translations were being made from Latin into Slavonic in the tenth and eleventh centuries cannot be substantiated by reference to these six vitae.


Francis J. Thomson



(94) Even less were the relations between the Italo-Greeks and the patriarchate of Constantinople affected by the schism, as the travels of Bartholomew of Simeri, founder of the monastery of S. Maria del Patire at Rossano, in the Byzantine empire, including Athos, in the early twelfth century reveal, cfr. M. Scaduto, Il monachismo basiliano nella Sicilia medievale, Rome 1947, pp. 165-180, and see above note 75.


(95) One of the Moravian missionaries, Gorazd, was ucen” že dobrě v” latinskyja knigy, cfr. the vita of St. Methodius, c. XVII, ed. F. Grivec and F. Tomšič, Constantinus et Methodius Thessalonicences. Fontes, Agram 1960 (Radovi Staroslavenskog Instituta IV), p. 165. Unfortunately nothing is known of his fate after 885 and all speculations are purely hypothetical, e.g. Dvornik, Missions, op. cit., p. 198, or Z. Dittrich, Christianity in Great-Moravia, Groningen 1962 (Bijdragen van het Institut voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis der Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht XXXIII), pp. 306-307.


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