Michael Richter, Bobbio
in the Early Middle Ages: The abiding legacy of Columbanus, Four Courts
Every scholar who embarks on a study of the Old Irish language will, at
an early stage, encounter Old Irish glosses which provide the core material
of the language. The most important of these glosses come from Würzburg
(Wb), Milan (Ml) and St Gallen (Sg). The Milan glosses came to the Biblioteca
Ambrosiana from Bobbio during the Renaissance. While they originated in
Ireland, the fact that the manuscript containing them eventually came
to Bobbio is one of the symptoms of the Irish dimension of this monastery.
Bobbio, the last monastic foundation of Columbanus, who died shortly after
the settlement there, was founded by the cooperation of the Irishman Columbanus
and the Lombard king Agilulf in the Appennines c.100km south of Pavia
c.613. Within one generation it was the most important monastery in the
Lombard kingdom and was to remain the most important monastery in northern
Italy also under the Carolingians.
Professor Michael Richter looks at the monastery of Bobbio during a period
of around three centuries, from the foundation in the early seventh to
the time of a serious crisis in the early tenth century in his latest
volume Bobbio in the Early Middle Ages and highlights how the early development
of Bobbio cannot be called anything but spectacular and how the success
of this monastery must not be taken for granted.
Bobbio, as this study shows, was the Irish foundation in Western Europe
that survived longest. Within his new volume Professor Richter looks at:
The establishment of the monastery of Bobbio; The legacy of Columbanus;
The monastic scriptorium in the seventh century; The Carolingian century;
The physical appearance of the monastery; The economy of the monastery;
The monastic library in the ninth century; Abbot Agilulf (c.883-896);
Columbanus’s last journey and Manuscripts with Irish language material.
ISBN: 978-1-84682-103-5, PRICE: Euro 55.00, PUBLISHED: July 2008
Available via www.fourcourtspress.ie