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204 [204]

King Alfrede. vniuers. of Oxford King Alfrede. Joan. Scotus.

dignitatem aspirare permittens. That is. MarginaliaNone permitted to haue any dignitie in the court, except he were learned.
Poly. lib. 6. cap. 1.
He exhorted and styrred his people to the studie of learning, some with giftes, some by iniuries, suffering no man to aspyre to any dignitie in the court, except he were learned. Moreouer an other storye thus sayth, speaking of his nobles: Optimates quoq̀ suos ad literaturam addiscendam in tantum prouocauit, vt ipsi filios suos, vel saltem si filios non haberent, seruos suos literis commendarent. That is. Also his nobles so much he did allure to þe embrasing of good letters, that they set all their sonnes to schole: or if they had no sonnes, yet their seruauntes they caused to be learned. Wherby the common prouerbe may be founde not so common, as true. Such as is the prince, such be the subiectes, &c. MarginaliaHis Psalter translated into english by K. Alfrede.He began moreouer to translate the Psalter into englishe, and had almost finished the same had not death preuented hym. Guliel. de Regib. Angl. In the prologe of the booke intituled Pastorale Greg. thus he writeth: declaring the cause why he was so earnest & diligent in translating good bookes frō latine into englishe, shewing þe cause therof, why he so did, as foloweth: Quòd ecclesiæ in quibus innumeræ priscæ bibliothecæ cōtinebantur, cum libris a Danis incensæ sint: quòdq̀ in tota insula studium literarum ita abolitū esset vt quisq̀ minus timeret capitis periculum, quam studiorum exercita adire. Quapropter se in hoc Anglis suis consulere, &c. That is. MarginaliaThe cause why the k. turned latine bokes into english.The cause was, for that innumerable auncient libraries which were kept in churches, were consumed with fire by the Danes: And that men had rather suffer perill of their life, then to followe the exercise of studies: And therfore he thought therby to prouide before for the people of the Englishe nation, &c.

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It is tolde of hym both in Polychron. Malmesb, Iornalensis, and other stories mo, wherof I haue no names: that he seing his countrey (namely westward) to be so desolate of scholes & learning, partly to profite himselfe, partly to furnishe hys countrey & subiectes with better knowledge, MarginaliaLearned men sent for, & placed about the kyng.first sent for Grimboldus a learned monke out of Fraunce to come into England. Also sent for an other learned man out frō the partes of Wales, whose name was Asserion, whom he made bishop of Shireborne. Item out of Mercia, he sent for Werefrithus, bishop of Wicetor: MarginaliaThe dialoges of Gregory translated.
Neotus an Abbot.
The scholes and vniuersitie of Oxford first begon by K. Alfrede.
The new colledge in Oxford.
to whom he put the dialoges of Gregorye to be translated. But chieflye he vsed the counsel of Neotus, who then was counted for an holy man, and abbot of a certaine monastery in Cornwalle. By the aduertisement of which Neotus, he sent for these learned men aboue recited: and also ordayned certaine scholes of diuerse artes, first at Oxford, and also fraunchesed the same with many great liberties. Guliel. Iornalens. Fabia. cap. 171. Wherof perhappes the schole, now called the New colledge (first thē begon of this Neotus) might take hys name: which (afterward peraduenture) the bishops of Winchester after a larger maner dyd reedifie, and inlarge with greater possessions.

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MarginaliaIoannes Scotus.Moreouer, among other learned men which were about king Alfrede: histories make mention of Iohānes Scotus (a godly diuine, and a learned Philosopher) but not that Scotus, which now we cal Duns. For þt Iohānes Scotus came after this, many yeres. This Iohannes is described to be of a sharp wyt, of great eloquēce, and well expert in the Greeke toung: pleasant and mery of nature and cōdicions, as appeareth by diuers his doinges and MarginaliaThe aunswer of Ioannes Scotus to the Frenche kyng.answers. Fyrst he comming to Fraunce out of his own country of Scotlande, by reason of the great tumultes of warre, was there worthelye intertayned: and for hys learning had in great estimatiō of Carolus Caluus the French king, whom he commonlye and familiarly vsed euer to haue about him, both at table, and in chamber. Vpon a tyme the king sitting at meate, and seing something (belike) in this Iohn Scot, which seemed not very courtly: cast forth a mery word, asking of him, what differēce ther was betwixt a Scot,and a Sot? Whereunto the Scot sitting ouer against the king, somwhat lower, replyed agayne sodaynly, rather then aduisedly (yet merely) saying: Mensa tantum, that is, the table onely: importing therby hymselfe to be the Scot, and so calling the king a Sot by craft. Which word how other princes would haue taken to stomake, I know not: but this Charles, for the great reuerēce he bare to his learning, turned it but to a laughter among his nobles, and so let it passe.

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An other tyme, the same king being at dinner, was serued with a certayne dish of fish: where in, were twoo great fishes, and a little one. After the king had taken therof his repast, setteth downe to Iohannes Scotus the foresayd fish, to distribute vnto the other 2. Clarkes sitting there wt him: which were two tall & mighty persōs, he himself being but a litle mā. Iohānes taketh the fish, of þe which the two great he taketh and carueth to hymselfe: the litle fish he reacheth to the other two. The king perceauing this his diuision thus made, reprehended the same. Then Iohannes, whose manner was euer to finde out some honest matter to delite the king, aunswered to him againe, prouing his diuision to stand iust and equall. For here (sayth he) be two great, and a litle, poynting to the two great fishes and himself: And likewise here agayne is a litle one and two great, pointyng to the litle fish, and two great persons. I pray you (saith he) what oddes is ther, or what distribution can be more equall? Whereat the king with his nobles, being much delighted, laughed merely. MarginaliaIoānes Scotus translated Hierarchiam Dionisii frō greeke to Latine.

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At the request of this Charles surnamed Bawld, the Frenche king, this Scotus translated the booke of Dionysius, intituled De Hierarchia, from Greeke into Latine, word for word, quo sit (as my author sayth) vt vix intelligatur latina litera, quum nobilitate magis Græca, quam positione construitur latina.

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MarginaliaThe booke of Ioānes Scotus called xxxThe same Iohannes Scotus moreouer compiled a booke of hys owne, geuing it a Greke title, xxx, that is, De naturæ diuisione. In which booke (as sayth my foresayd author) is contayned the resolution of manye profitable questions (but so) that hee is thought to follow the Greeke church, MarginaliaIoannes Scotus addicted more to the Greke church thē the latine.rather then the latine, and for the same was counted of some to be an hereticke: because in that booke som thinges therbe, which in all poyntes accorde not wyth the Romishe religion. Wherfore the Pope, writing to the sayd king Charles of this Scotus, complayneth, as in hys own woordes here followeth:

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MarginaliaIoan. Scotus accused of the pope for an heretike.Relatum est Apostolatui nostro, quod opus Dionysii Arreopagitæ quod de diuinis nominibus, et de cælestibus ordinibus Græco descripsit eloquio, quidam vir Ioannes (genere Scotus) nuper transtulit in latinū. Quod, iuxta morem ecclesiæ, nobis mitti, & nostro iudicio debuit approbari: præsertim quum idem Ioannes (licet multæ scientiæ esse prædicetur) olim non sane sapere in quibusdam frequēti rumore dicatur. &c. That is: Relation hath bene made vnto our Apostleship, that a certayne man called Ioannes a Scottish man, hath translated the booke of Dionysius the Areopagite: of the names of God, and of the heauēly orders, from Greeke into Latin. Which boke, according to the custome of the Churche, ought first to haue bene sent to vs, and to haue bene approued by our iudgement: namely seing the sayde Iohn (albeit he bee sayde to bee a man of greate learning and science) in time past hath bene noted by cōmon rumor, to haue ben a man, not of vpryght or sounde doctrine, in certayne poyntes. &c. For this cause the sayd Scotus, being constrayned to remoue from Fraunce, came into Englād, allured (as some testify) by the letters of Alured, or Alfrede, of whom he was with great fauour entertained, and conuersant a great space about the kyng: MarginaliaIoan. Scotus slayne of hys owne scholerstyll at lēgth (whether before or after the death of the king it is vncertayne he went to Malmesberye, where he taught

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