Roger of Torre Maggiore

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Roger of Torre Maggore
Archbishop of Split
Cathedral of Split1.jpg
Province Split
Diocese Archdiocese of Split
See Archbishop of Split
Appointed 1249
Term ended 14 April 1266
Predecessor Ugrin
Other posts Archdeacon of Oradea
Archdeacon of Sopron
Canon in Zagreb
Orders
Ordination unknown
Consecration unknown
by unknown
Personal details
Birth name Roger
Born c. 1205
Torre Maggiore, Apulia
Died 14 April 1266
Split, Dalmatia
Buried Cathedral of Saint Domnius, Split, Dalmatia

Roger of Torre Maggiore or Master Roger (1205 in Torre Maggiore – April 14, 1266 in Split) was a prelate of Italian origin active in the Kingdom of Hungary in the middle of the 13th century. He was archbishop of Split in Dalmatia from 1249 until his death. His Epistle to the Sorrowful Lament upon the Destruction of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Tatars is an important source of the Mongol invasion of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1241 and 1242.

Early life[edit]

According to archdeacon Thomas of Split, Roger was "from a town called Turris Cepia in the region of Benevento",[1] that has been identified with Torre Maggiore in Apulia in Italy.[2] He arrived in the Kingdom of Hungary in the retinue of Cardinal Giacomo di Pecorari, a papal legate sent to King Andrew II of Hungary in 1232.[2] Although he received the prebend of a chaplainship, and later of the archedeacon in the cathedral chapter[3] of the Diocese of Oradea in the kingdom, he were in the company of Cardinal Giacomo in Italy between 1236 and 1239.[2]

Sorrowful Lament[edit]

Master Roger appeared to have stayed in Oradea when the town was captured by the Mongols who had invaded the kingdom from the east.[2] He fled from the town, "ran away into the forest and hid there as long as"[4] he could.[3] Next Master Roger arrived in Cenad, but it had also been devasteted by the invaders.[3] However, he was soon captured by the Mongols, and he only managed to escape when the invaders were withdrawing from Hungary in 1242.[2]

We climbed a tall tree and surveyed the land destroyed by the Tatars that they had not wasted when they first came. What pain! We began to walk across the waste and abandoned land that they had destroyed while retreating. Church towers were our way signs from one place to another and the road they marked for us was rough. The roads and paths had vanished; grass and thorn bushes had taken over. Leeks, purslane, onions and garlic, left in the gardens of the peasants, were, when they could be found, brought to me as the choicest delicacies; the others made do with mallow, houseleek and cowbane roots. We filled our hungry stomach with these and the spirit of life was revived in our drained bodies.

—His Epistle[5]

He went to Rome where he received the post of archdeacon of Sopron in the western part of the Kingdom of Hungary, because Oradea had completely been destroyed by the Mongols.[2] He took over his new post in the town in 1243, and set about recording his experiences under the Mongol invasion to a letter written to Cardinal Giacomo.[2] His letter provides a "dramatic description of the events" (Florin Curta) leading to the destruction of the kingdom.[3] Following the death of Cardinal Giacomo in 1244, Master Roger was employed by Cardinal John of Toledo.[6] When he accompanied his new master to the First Council of Lyon in 1245, he was already a canon in the diocese of Zagreb.[7]

Archbishop of Split[edit]

Master Roger was appointed archbishop of Split by Pope Innocent IV after the death of Archbishop Ugrin who had died on April 30, 1249.[7] However, both the canons of the cathedral chapter and the locals would have preferred a Dominican monk named John.[7] Finally, King Béla IV of Hungary, the supreme lord of the town approved the appointment of Roger, who arrived in his seat in February, 1250.[7]

He passed through the region of Pannonia, entered Hungary, and then proceeded to the court of King Béla bearing a letter of recommendation from the pope. There he explained the details of the events through which he had been appointed to take charge of the church of Split. His Royal Majesty, in fact, was not all pleased with what had been decided regarding him, and he was quite angry that Roger had been appointed without his knowledge and consent. But he hid his indignation and let the archbishop proceed in peace to his see.

—Archdeacon Thomas of Split: History of the Bishops of Salona and Split[8]

During his more than fifteen years of archbishopric, he was time to time involved in conflicts both with his flock and with the monarch.[7] In his last years, Archbishop Roger suffered from gout that also paralyzed him.[7] He was buried in the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.[7]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Archdeacon Thomas of Split: History of the Bishops of Salona and Split (ch. 46.), p. 359.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Introduction to Master Roger's Epistle (2010), p. xliii.
  3. ^ a b c d Curta 2006, p. 410.
  4. ^ Master Roger's Epistle (ch. 34.), p. 199.
  5. ^ Master Roger's Epistle (ch. 40), p. 223.
  6. ^ Introduction to Master Roger's Epistle (2010), p. xliii-xliv.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Introduction to Master Roger's Epistle (2010), p. xliv.
  8. ^ Archdeacon Thomas of Split: History of the Bishops of Salona and Split (ch. 46), p. 361.

References[edit]

  • Archdeacon Thomas of Split: History of the Bishops of Salona and Split (Edited, translated and annotated by Damir Karbić, Mirjana Matijević Sokol, and James Ross Sweeney) (2006). CEU Press. ISBN 978-963-7326-59-2.
  • Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-89452-4.
  • Master Roger's Epistle to the Sorrowful Lament upon the Destruction of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Tatars (Translated and Annotated by János M. Bak and Martyn Rady) (2010). In: Rady, Martyn; Veszprémy, László; Bak, János M. (2010); Anonymus and Master Roger; CEU Press; ISBN 978-9639776951.