Berowulf

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Berowulf or Berowelf (died 26 September 800)[1] was the bishop of Würzburg from 768 or 769 until his death.[2] Since the 11th century, his name has appeared as Bernwelf. It may also be spelled Berowolf, Bernwulf or Bernulf. Berowulf's predecessor, Megingoz, retired in 768.

Life[edit]

The first reference to Berowulf as bishop comes from April 769. Prior to his election he was a monk from the local monastery of Sankt Andreas.[1] As bishop, he introduced the rule of Chrodegang to replace that of Boniface.[2] He had a close relationship with Charlemagne (reigned 768–814), who charged him with the evangelisation of the Slavs in the upper Main region.[1]

In 779 he was commissioned to establish a new missionary diocese, the bishopric of Paderborn, in the east.[1] The first two bishops of that see, Hathumar and Badurad, were sent to Würzburg Cathedral to be educated at the school Berowulf had established.[2] He also grew the scriptorium, and the first catalogue of books in the cathedral library dates from his episcopate. The main part of the list was written in an Anglo-Saxon hand around 800. A later addition, in a German hand, notes five books which had been lent to Holzkirchen and Fulda Abbey. In all, it contains thirty-five books.[3] It was compiled after 787—since the manuscript fly-leaf contains a copy in the same hand of Charlemagne's letter De litteris colendis of that year—but probably before 800.[4]

In October 788, Berowulf brought the relics of Saint Kilian to the cathedral which now bears the saint's name.[1] In 787, he tried unsuccessfully to assert episcopal control over Fulda.[1] His successor in Würzburg was the obscure Liuttrit (800–803).[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Engel 1955, p. 146.
  2. ^ a b c d McKitterick 1983, p. 204.
  3. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 204. The list appears on folio 236r of the manuscript Laud misc. 126 in the Bodleian Library..
  4. ^ Lowe 1928, p. 12.

Sources[edit]

  • Engel, Wilhelm (1955). "Berowelf". Neue Deutsche Biographie. 2. p. 146. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  • Lowe, Elias Avery (1928). "An Eighth-Century List of Books in a Bodleian MS. from Würzburg and Its Probable Relation to the Laudian Acts". Speculum. 3 (1): 3–15. doi:10.2307/2848117. 
  • McKitterick, Rosamond (1983). The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751–987. London: Longman.