Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous chapter]
Book IV
Note B

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

2nd edition
Oxford University Press

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next chapter]
Book IV
Note C

Book 4 (continued)

Vol. III
Chapter V

The Rugian War


Sources: —

Except for two short entries in Cuspiniani Anonymus and the Chronicle of Cassiodorus, and a paragraph in Paulus Diaconus (eighth century), this chapter is entirely founded on the very valuable and nearly contemporary 'Life of Saint Severinus,' by Eugippius. This Life, which was written in the year 511 by the second abbot of the Monastery of Saint Severinus, gives us, with of course the usual ecclesiastical glorification of the monastic hero, some most interesting pictures of life in the provinces of the Empire immediately after the incursion of the barbarians. Would that we had an Eugippius to tell us with similar minuteness how it fared with the Britons of Verulamium or Eboracum during their conflicts with the Teutonic invaders!

I quote from the elaborate edition of Hermann Sauppe, published in the first volume of the 'Auctores Antiquissimi' in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Berlin, 1877).

'The Emperor stirred up against Odoacer the nation of the Rugians.' To understand the meaning of this statement, and to complete our knowledge, scanty at the best, concerning this war, 486‑488 which occupied the attention of Odovacar during three years of his short reign, we must turn back to the life of the saintly hermit of Noricum, Severinus.1

Misery of Noricum. The picture of the long-continued and hopeless misery  p156 of a people which the biographer of the Saint draws for us is very depressing. Those lands between the Danube and the Noric Alps which now form one of the most thoroughly enjoyable portions of 'the playground of Europe,' the valleys round the Gross Glockner, the Salzkammer‑gut, Salzburg with its castle rock and its noble amphitheatre of hills, Lorch with its stately monastery, Linz with its busy industries, all the fair domains of the old Archduchy of Austria down even to Vienna itself, were then in that most cruel of all positions, neither definitely subjected by the barbarian nor efficaciously protected against him, but wasted by his plundering bands at their will, though still calling themselves Roman, and possibly maintaining some faint show of official connection with Italy and the Empire. The Thuringians on the north-west and the Alamanni on the west appeared alternately under the walls of Passau,​2 and seldom departed without carrying some of its wretched inhabitants into captivity. The latter nation of marauders pushed their ravages sometimes as far inland as to Noreia,​3 in the very heart of Noricum. The Ostrogoths from Pannonia levied contributions in the valley of the Drave;​4 and the Suevic Hunimund, the enemy of the Ostrogoths, marching across the unhappy province to meet his foes, sacked the city of Boiotrum,​5 which he surprised while the inhabitants were busy over their harvest, and shed the blood of priests in the baptistery of the basilica.6

 p157  Kingdom of the Rugians. In the midst of this anarchy, the only semblance of firm and settled government seems to have been offered by the powerful monarchy of the Rugians, who occupied a compact territory north of the Danube corresponding to the eastern half of Bohemia, the west of Moravia, and a part of Lower Austria. And such order as they did preserve was probably but the reservation to themselves of an exclusive right to levy contributions on the Roman provincials. 'I cannot bear,' said the Rugian king Feletheus to Severinus, 'that this people, for whom thou art interceding, should be laid waste by the cruel depredations of the Alamanni and the Thuringians, or slain by the sword or carried into slavery, when there are near to us tributary towns in which they ought to be settled.' And this was the motive for bringing a great army of Rugians against the city of Lauriacum,​7 in which were assembled the trembling fugitives who had escaped from the other barbaric invasions. Nor could all the exhortations of the Saint, though they seem to have prevented actual bloodshed, change the barbarian's purpose of removing the Provincials (who are always spoken of by the once mighty name of Romans) out of their city of refuge and dispersing them among various towns in his own dominions, where 'they lived in benevolent companion­ship with the Rugians;' the benevolent companion­ship, doubtless of the lamb with the wolf.

Activity of Saint Severinus. So long as he lived, no doubt Saint Severinus did much to soften, in individual cases, the hardships of this harassed and weary existence. In his monastery  p158 at Faviana​8 he collected great magazines of food and stores of clothing, from which he used to relieve the hunger and nakedness of the captives or refugees who travelled along the great Danubian road. But though his heart was full of pity for his brethren, his presence was not always welcomed by them. The stormy petrel of Noricum, he was constantly appearing at some still undemolished Roman settlement and prophesying to the inhabitants, 'The time of this castellum is come. In two days, or in three days, the barbarians who have devastated so many cities will appear before your walls.' The practical counsel of the Saint was generally contained in one of two words. It was either 'Fast' or 'Fly.' Himself an anchorite who practised the austerest forms of self-discipline, never eating before sunset except on feast-days, and allowing himself only one meal a week in Lent, yet ever preserving, even under the stress of this abstinence, a cheerful and unruffled countenance, he loved to accompany his message of coming woe by an exhortation to the provincials to disarm the anger of the Lord by fasting and prayer.​9 This counsel was not always acceptable.

 p159  At Innstadt,​10 for example, when the priests asked for relics for their church, and the merchants that leave might be obtained for them to trade with the Rugians, and when the Saint replied, 'It is of no use; the time is come for this town, like so many other castella, to be desolated,' a certain presbyter, filled with the spirit of the devil, cried out, 'Oh, go away, holy man! and that speedily, that we may have a little rest from fastings and watchings.' The Saint wept, for he knew that open scurrility is the evidence of secret sins; and then he prophesied of the woe that should come upon them, and of the human blood that should be shed in that very baptistery in which they were standing. All which came true almost immediately after he had departed. Hunimund drew near to the city and took it, and the scurrilous priest was slain in that very basilica, to which he had fled for refuge.11

He generally dissuaded from resistance. Once or twice the Saint lifted up his voice for war, and promised victory; but as a rule, if he did not recommend the spiritual weapons of fasting and prayer, he counselled the inhabitants to withdraw before the barbarian forces. Thus he vainly urged the people of Joviacum (a town about twenty miles below Passau) to escape before the Herulian invasion, which he foreboded, should come upon them. The citizens of Quintana,​12 who had already fled once, to Passau, were exhorted to flee again, to Lauriacum;​13 and the few disobedient ones were massacred by the Thuringians. But always, during the last and dreariest years of his life, when the barbarian darkness seemed gathering most hopelessly over the doomed provincials, the Saint  p160 foretold that the Romans should be delivered from their enemies, and led up out of Noricum, as Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. 'And then,' said he, 'as Joseph asked his brethren, so do I beg of you, that ye carry my bones up hence. For these places, now so crowded with cultivators, shall be reduced into so mighty a solitude that the enemy, hunting for gold, shall break open even the sepulchres of the dead.'

Mystery as to origin of Severinus. Severinus preserved the mystery as to his origin and parentage till the end, unimparted even to his nearest friends. His pure Latin speech showed that there was no admixture of the barbarian in his blood,​14 and it was generally believed that he had spent some time as a hermit in the East before he suddenly appeared in the towns of the Danubian Noricum. He would sometimes casually allude to the cities of the East, and to immense journeyings which he had in past times performed there. But he did not permit himself to be questioned as to his past history. Near the close of his life, an Italian priest of noble birth and weighty character, Primenius by name, fled to Noricum, fearing to be involved in the fate of Orestes, of whom he had been the confidential adviser and friend. After many days had passed in friendly intercourse between them, Primenius one day hazarded the enquiry, 'Holy master, from what province first sprang that light which God had deigned to bestow on us in thee?' The man of God turned aside the question with a joke: 'If you think I am a runaway slave, get  p161 ready the ransom, that you may offer it on my behalf when I am claimed.' Then, more seriously, he discoursed on the unimportance of race or birthplace in comparison with that Divine call which, he earnestly asserted, had led him to those regions to succour his perishing brethren.

Courtesies between him and Odovacar. The young recruit whom Severinus had blessed on his journey to Italy, and to whom he had prophesied the splendid future which lay before him, beyond the Alpine horizon, was not unmindful of that early augury. King Odovacar sent to the Saint a friendly letter, promising him the fulfilment of any petition which he might choose to make. On this invitation Severinus asked for the forgiveness of a certain exile named Ambrose, and the King joyfully acceded to the request. On another occasion several noble persons were speaking about the King in the Saint's presence, and 'according to custom,' says the biographer, 'were praising him with man's flattery.' We note the presence of these 'many noble persons' of Noricum, Roman citizens no doubt, in the Saint's cell, and their high praises of the barbarian ruler of Italy, as interesting signs of the times, even if their panegyrics were, as the biographer hints, somewhat conventional and insincere. The Saint enquired, 'Who was the king thus greatly lauded?' They replied, 'Odoacer.' He answered, 'Odoacer who shall be safe between thirteen and fourteen years,'​15 predicting thus with accuracy the duration of the new king's unquestioned supremacy in Italy.

 p162  Flaccitheus king of the Rugians, 430‑460 (?). But the chief relations of the hermit of Noricum were naturally with the Rugian kings, and through his biography we gain an insight into the inner life of one of these new barbaric royalties, of which we should otherwise know nothing.​16 Flaccitheus, king of the Rugians (perhaps from about 430 to 460), was greatly alarmed at the vast multitude of Goths, apparently full of enmity against him, who were settled on his border in Lower Pannonia. Asking the advice of the holy man, whom he consulted like a heavenly oracle, he told him in much perturbation that he had requested from the Gothic princes​17 a safe-conduct into Italy, and that the refusal of this request filled him with alarm as to their intentions. Severinus replied, 'If we were united by the bond of the One Catholic Faith I would gladly give thee advice concerning the life to come. But since thy enquiry relates only to the present life, I will tell thee that thou needest not be disquieted by the multitude of these Goths, since they will shortly depart and leave thee in safety. Live a peaceful life;  p163 do not undergo the curse laid upon him "who maketh flesh his arm": lay no snares for others, while taking heed of those laid for thyself: so shalt thou meet thine end peacefully in thy bed.'

The divine oracle soothed the anxious King, who went away greatly comforted. Soon afterwards, however, a crowd of barbarian, probably Gothic, marauders carried off a number of the Rugians, whose King again came to the Saint for counsel. By divine revelation Severinus warned him not to follow the robbers, to beware of crossing the river, and to avoid the snares which in three several places his enemies had laid for him. 'Soon shall a faithful messenger arrive who shall assure thee of the truth of all these sayings.' And in fact, very shortly afterwards, two Rugian captives, who had escaped from the dwellings of the enemy, arrived at the King's court and confirmed the Saint's predictions in every particular. The devices of the enemies of the Rugian king being thus frustrated, his affairs went on prospering, and in due time Flaccitheus died in rest and tranquillity.

His successor, Feletheus or Feva, 460487. To him succeeded his son Feletheus or Feva, who at first followed his father's example, and was guided in all things by the counsels of the holy hermit. But before long the influence of his wife, the cruel and guilty Giso, began to assert itself, always in opposition to the healthful spirit of divine grace. This woman (evidently an Arian), among her other infamous actions, even sought to re‑baptize certain Catholics, but was obliged to desist when her husband, out of reverence for Saint Severinus, forbade the sacrilegious deed.18  p164 This queen was wont to cause certain of the 'Romans' (that is, provincials) to be carried across the Danube and there kept in bitter bondage. This had she once done with some of the inhabitants of Faviana, whom, when carried captive, she condemned to slavery of the most degrading kind. Severinus, grieving for his neighbours, sent messengers entreating her to restore them to their homes. But she, flaming out in violent wrath, returned a message of angry contempt to the hermit: 'Go, oh slave of God! skulk into your cell to pray, and let me issue such orders concerning my slaves as I think fit.' The Saint, when he received this answer, said, 'I trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, who will make her do of necessity that which her evil will refuses to do at my request.'

The Goldsmiths and the Prince. That very day the judgment of God came upon the arrogant queen. There were certain barbarian goldsmiths who were kept close prisoners in the palace and obliged to work all day at ornaments for the royal family. The little prince Frederic, son of Feletheus and Giso, out of childish curiosity (and perhaps attracted by the glitter of the gold) ventured in amongst these men. The workmen at once caught up a sword, and held it to the child's throat. 'No one,' said they, 'shall now enter this room unless our lives and our liberty are assured to us by oath. If this be refused we will first kill the child and then ourselves, for we are made desperate by the misery of this dungeon.' The cruel and wicked queen at once perceived that the vengeance of God had come upon her for her  p165 insults to the holy man. She sent horsemen to implore his pardon, and restored to their homes the Roman captives for whom he had that day interceded. The goldsmiths received a sworn assurance of safety, upon which they let the child go, and were themselves dismissed in peace. The revered servant of Christ recognised the good hand of his God in this interposition, which had actually accomplished more than he asked for, since not only the Roman captives but the oppressed gold-workers had obtained their freedom. The queen and her husband hastened to his cell, exhibited the son whom they acknowledged themselves to have received back from the very gates of death through his intercession, and promised obedience to all his commands in future.19

Soldiers on the Limes. One instance of the prescience of the Saint may be noticed here, because it incidentally throws some light on the condition of the soldiers who guarded the boundaries of the Empire. What happened to the legions on the Danubian limes may easily have occurred also to those stationed per lineam valli in our own island. 'At the time,' says Eugippius, 'when the Roman Empire still held together, the soldiers of many towns were supported by public pay for the better guardian­ship of the limes.'​20 This obscure sentence perhaps means that local troops were drafted off to the limes, and there received, as was natural, imperial pay and equipments. 'When this custom ceased, the squadrons (turmae) of cavalry were obliterated; but  p166 the Batavian legion (stationed at Passau) lasted as long as the limes itself stood. From this legion certain soldiers had gone forth to Italy to bear to their comrades their last pay, and these men had been slain on the march by the barbarians, no one knowing thereof.​21 On a certain day, while Severinus was reading in his cell, suddenly he closed the codex and began to weep and sigh. Then he told the by‑standers to run quickly to the river's brink, which, as he affirmed, was in that very hour stained with human gore. And immediately word was brought that the bodies of the aforesaid soldiers had just been swept on shore by the force of the stream.'

Death of Severinus, 482 (?). At length the time drew near for the Saint to die. Of the very day of his death, as of so many of the events which had made his life memorable, it was believed that he had an intimation from Heaven. Not long before it arrived he sent for the king and queen of the Rugians. 'Giso,' said he to the queen, 'dost thou love this man' (pointing to the king) 'or silver and gold best?' 'My husband better than all wealth,' said she. 'Then,' he said, 'cease to oppress the innocent, lest their affliction be the cause of the scattering of your power: for thou dost often pervert the mildness of the king. Hitherto God has prospered your kingdom. Henceforward you will see –––––' The royal couple took leave of him and departed.

Next stood Ferderuchus by his bed‑side — Ferderuchus  p167 the king's brother, who had received from Feletheus a present of the few Roman towns remaining on the Danube, Faviana among them. Severinus spoke of his own immediate departure, and besought the prince not to draw down upon himself the Divine wrath, by touching the stores collected during the Saint's lifetime for the poor and the captives. Ferderuchus eagerly disclaimed the intention imputed to him, and professed a desire to follow the pious footsteps of his father Flaccitheus. But Severinus replied, 'On the very first opportunity thou wilt violate this my cell and wilt be punished for it in a manner which I do not desire.' Ferderuchus repeated his protestations of obedience and departed. The Saint knew his covetous nature better, perchance, than he did himself. The end followed speedily. 8 Jan. 482 (?) At midnight Severinus called his monks to him, exhorted them to persevere according to their vocation, kissed each one of them, made the sign of the cross, and died, while they were reciting around him the 150th Psalm. Faithlessness of Ferderuchus. Scarcely was his worn body laid in the slight shell which the brethren had prepared for it, mindful of his prophecy concerning their speedy migration southwards, when Ferderuchus, 'poor and impious, and made ever more ruthless by his barbarous advice,' bore down upon the monastery, determined to carry off the stores of raiment collected there for the use of the poor. When these were swept away he proceeded to take the sacred vessels from the altar. His steward​22 did not dare to execute this part of his master's commands himself, but deputed the work to a soldier named  p168 Avitianus, whose unwilling sacrilege was punished by an immediate attack of St. Vitus's dance. Alarmed and penitent, the soldier turned monk, and ended his days in solitude on a distant island. Meanwhile the covetous Ferderuchus, unmindful of the dying Saint's exhortations and of his own promises, continued to ransack the monastery, and finally carried off everything except the bare walls, which he could not convey across the Danube to his own land.​23 But vengeance soon overtook him; for before a month had elapsed, His death. being slain by Frederic his brother's son (the boy who once wandered into the workshop of the goldsmiths, now grown up to manhood), he lost both booty and life.

Odovacar avenges Ferderuchus. These events occurred in the early part of 482, and they are connected — but precisely how connected it is impossible to say — with the war which Odovacar, five years later, waged against the Rugians. The biographer of Severinus, after describing the defeat of Ferderuchus by his nephew and the death of the former, says, 'For which cause king Odovacar made war upon the Rugians.' But as the sacrilegious inroad of Ferderuchus seems to have followed close upon the death of the Saint, which certainly happened in 482, and is expressly stated to have been followed in its turn by the expedition of Frederic, and as Odovacar's Rugian war did not break out before the end of 486 (being in fact assigned by two chroniclers​24 to the year 487), it is clear that the death of Ferderuchus was not  p169 immediately avenged by the Italian king. Possibly (but this is a mere conjecture) some brotherhood in arms may have connected Odovacar and Ferderuchus in old days, when the former was still an adventurer in Noricum, and he may have been bound by Teutonic notions of honour to avenge, sooner or later, the death of his comrade. Possibly the increased sufferings of the provincials at the hands of the Rugians, after the death of Saint Severinus, may have called upon a king, who now in some sort represented the majesty of Rome, to redress their wrongs.​25 At any rate, in these elements of strife, and in the fact that between the Alps and the Danube no other barbarian power existed which could vie with the monarchy of Feletheus, we find some explanation of the sentence in which John of Antioch informed us that 'the Emperor Zeno stirred up against Odoacer the nation of the Rugians.'

Invasion of 487. The events of the war are soon told. Possibly the Rugians made some movement against Odovacar in 486. It is certain that in 487 he returned the blow, invaded their territory, put the young general Frederic to flight, and carried Feletheus (or Feva) 'and his wicked wife' prisoners to Ravenna.26

Invasion of 488. Afterwards, probably in the following year, Odovacar was informed that Frederic had returned to his own land, upon which he sent his brother Onoulf with  p170 a large army against him. Frederic was again forced to flee, and betook himself to Theodoric the Amal, who was then dwelling at Novae (probably the place which is now the Bulgarian town of Sistova), on the Lower Danube.27

Emigration of provincials from Noricum, 488, After this conquest of Rugiland (so Paulus Diaconus informs us that the country of the Rugians was called)​28 the emigration of Roman provincials into Italy took place, as foretold by Severinus. Onoulf ordered it; Pierius, Count of the Domestics (who received from Odovacar the deed of gift mentioned in the last chapter), superintended the doing of it. taking the body of Severinus. A certain aged priest named Lucillus, to whom Severinus had predicted his decease, and who had then replied, 'Surely I shall go before thee,' was still living, and directed the removal of his remains, which, mindful of the Saint's injunction, the emigrants were set upon carrying up out of the land of bondage. They went at evening, chanting psalms, to the Saint's resting-place. The usual mediaeval marvels of the charnel-house followed, — the body found undecaying, though unembalmed, after six years' entombment, even the hair and the beard still untouched, a sweet odour filling all the neighbourhood of the tomb. The body, with its cerements unchanged, was placed in a chest, which had been prepared some time before in anticipation of the removal, set upon a waggon (carpentum), and drawn by horses over the mountainous passes which separate Noricum from Italy. In the sad procession which followed the relics of the Saint  p171 walked all the Roman inhabitants of Noricum, leaving the ruined towns by the Danube for the new homes allotted to each of them in Italy.29

The Monks invited to the Lucullanum; After long journeyings, the body of the Saint reached a village (castellum) called Mons Feletis (possibly Felitto in Campania, about fifteen miles east of Paestum),​a and there it abode during at least four of the troublous years that followed,​30 healing the sick, giving speech to the dumb, and working the usual wonders that attested the genuineness of a Saint's relics in the fifth century. But, after a time, a devout and illustrious widow named Barbaria,​b who had known the Saint by report during his life, whose husband had often corresponded with him, and who now greatly venerated his memory, finding that his body, though brought with all honour to Italy, yet lacked a permanent resting-place, sent to Marcian the presbyter and the congregation of monks which had gathered round the sacred relics, inviting them to lay their precious deposit within her domain. The Pope, Gelasius, gave his consent. All the dwellers in Naples poured forth to receive in reverence the body of the Saint, and it was duly laid, according to her invitation, 'in the Lucullan Castle,' where a monastery was founded, presided over, first by Marcian and then by Eugippius, the biographer to whom we owe these  p172 details. The usual miracles were wrought by the sacred bones. A blind man was restored to sight. The chief of the Neapolitan choir was cured of a most stubborn head-ache by leaning his forehead against the dead man's bier. Demons were cast out, and innumerable other miracles of bodily and mental healing perpetuated the fame of Saint Severinus of Noricum till the fear of the Saracen marauders caused tomb and monastery to be transported to the safer asylum of Naples.

possibly by the mother of Augustulus. But who was the illustrious lady who invited the monks to settle on her land? and what is the Lucullan Castle where Severinus was laid? It is impossible to prove, but we may venture a conjecture that this widow Barbaria, evidently a lady of high rank, is none other than the mother of Romulus Augustulus. She too sprang from Noricum, her husband Orestes had doubtless often corresponded with Severinus concerning the affairs of the provincials in that country. Yet they might well have known the Saint by fame only, not by personal intercourse, since, about the same time that Severinus suddenly appeared by the banks of the Danube (shortly after the death of Attila), Orestes, accompanied doubtless by his wife, must have left his native country, Pannonia, and come to seek his fortune in Italy. These, however, are but slight coincidences; but when it is remembered that it was to 'the Lucullan Castle' that Augustulus was consigned by the barbarian conqueror, our conjecture rises many degrees in probability. It is true that nothing is said as to his being accompanied by his mother, but this companion­ship, in itself probable, is rendered yet more so by a letter written by command of Theodoric to  p173 Romulus and his mother,​31 which we find in the official correspondence of Cassiodorus.

Position of the Lucullanum (Castel dell' Ovo). As for the Lucullanum (whose site was left somewhat doubtful when it was previously mentioned in this history),​32 it seems to be agreed by the best antiquaries of Naples that it corresponds, as nearly as the alteration of the coast-line will permit, with the Castel dell' Ovo, that remarkable island or peninsula which juts out from the shore of modern Naples between the Chiaja and the Military Harbour. Perhaps some of the mainland in the modern quarter of Santa Lucia, lying westward of the present Royal Palace, went to make up the pleasure-grounds and to form the fishponds of the luxurious conqueror of Mithridates, that Lucullanum which was the gilded prison of the last Roman Emperor of Rome.33

The Author's Notes:

1 See vol. II p514.

2 Batava Castra.

3 Neumarkt in Styria.

4 From Teurnia, now S. Peter im Holz, about forty miles east of Lienz.

5 Innstadt, near Passau.

6 Eugippius, Vita S. Severini, xxvii, xxxi, xxv, xvii, xxii; Jordanes, De Reb. Get. cap. liii.

7 Lorch on the Danube.

8 Faviana used to be universally identified with Vienna; but it is now generally put a good deal higher up the river. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, III.687) fixes it at Mauer, about half‑way between Vienna and Lorch.

9 An instance in which these counsels of perfection were perhaps inopportunely tendered is recorded in the 26th chapter. A leper had come from Milan, attracted by the fame of the Saint. Severinus cured him of his leprosy by fasting and prayer, and counselled him to return home. The grateful suppliant begged to be allowed to remain near the holy man, who exhorted him to abide in prayer with frequent fastings. 'Fortified by these heavenly remedies he was, within the space of two months, freed from the fetters of this mortal life.'

10 Boiotrum.

11 c. xxiv.

12 Osterhofen, between Passau and Ratisbon.

13 Lorch.

14 'Loquela tamen ipsius manifestabat hominem omnino latinum, quem constat prius ad quandam orientis solitudinem fervore perfectioris vitae fuisse profectum atque inde post ad Norici Ripensis oppida;' Epistola Eugippii, 10.

15 'Respondentibus "Odoacrem," "Odoacer" inquit "qui integer inter tredecim et quattuordecim annos?" videlicet integritatem ejus regni significans;' cap. xxxii.

16 We obtain from Eugippius the following

Genealogy of the Rugian Kings.

17 'A Gothorum principibus.' Evidently alluding to the triple royalty of Walamir, Theudemir, and Widemir.

18 'Hunc conjux feralis et noxia, nomine Giso, semper a clementiae remediis retrahebat. Haec ergo, inter cetera iniquitatis suae contagia etiam rebaptizare quosdam est conata Catholicos, sed ob sancti reverentiam Severini non consentiente viro, a sacrilega quantocius intentione defecit' (cap. viii).

19 Cap. viii.

20 'Per id tempus, quo Romanum constabat imperium, multorum milites oppidorum pro custodia limitis publicis stipendiis alebantur' (cap. xx).

21 'Qua consuetudine desinente simul militares turmae sunt deletae, cum limite Batavino utcunque numero perdurante (?) ex quo perrexerant quidam ad Italiam extremum stipendium commilitonibus allaturi, quos in itinere peremptos a barbaris nullus agnoverat.' These sentences are interesting but difficult.

22 'Villicus.'

23 'Ferderuchus autem immemor contestationis et praesagii sancti viri abrasis omnibus monasterii rebus, parietes tantum, quos Danuvio non potuit transferre, dimisit' (cap. xliv).

24 Cuspiniani Anon. and Cassiodorus.

25 I can hardly, however, attribute so much force to this motive as Pallmann (II.403) does: since it seems improbable that Zeno should have sided with the Rugians if Odovacar was simply championing the 'Romans.'

26 Cuspiniani Anonymus, sub anno 487. He calls the king Fennanius: but one editor reads Feunanus, another Febanus. Cassiodori Chronicon. Eugippius, Vita Severini, xliv.

27 Eugippius, Vita Severini, cap. xliv.

28 De Gestis Langobardorum, I.19.

29 'Linteaminibus igitur immutatis in loculo multo ante jam tempore praeparato funus includitur, carpento trahentibus equis impositum mox evehitur, cunctis nobiscum provincialibus idem iter agentibus, qui oppidis super ripam Danuvii derelictis per diversas Italiae regiones varias suae peregrinationis sortiti sunt sedes' (cap. xliv).

30 The next removal was under the pontificate of Pope Gelasius, which did not commence till 492.

31 Cassiodor. Variarum, III.35.

32 Vol. II p523.

33 For this identification of the Castel dell' Ovo with the Lucullanum I may refer to J. Beloch's careful treatise on Campanian topography, Campanien (Berlin, 1879). He says (p81):º 'The island of Megaris came, later on, into the possession of Lucullus, and formed the nucleus of his far‑famed Neapolitan villa. It is the "insula clarissimi adolescentis Luculli" whither Cicero came with Brutus after the murder of Caesar (Phil. X.4.8). . . . The Villa, however, of course did not limit itself to the narrow space of the island, but spread over the neighbouring mainland as far as the rocks of Chiatamone and the neighbourhood of the Palazzo Reale and Castel Nuovo. After the time of the Normans the island came to be known as the Castel dell' Ovo."

Thayer's Notes:

a Although Felitto is near the Castel dell' Ovo where the saint's body would soon be transferred, this identification of Mons Feletis seems unlikely to me. At only 275 m above sea-level and with somewhat higher hills not far away, Felitto hardly rates being called a "mountain", and has never been called "Mons" or "Monte". The more likely candidate to me, springing immediately to mind, is a place that was until the 9c called Mons Feretri: now called San Leo, it is the local capital of an area at the edges of the Marche and Emilia-Romagna still called Montefeltro. Its striking situation amply justifies the title of mountain:

[image ALT: A striking photograph of a spur of bare rock about 1 kilometer long, at a very nearly constant 30° incline to the landscape of gently rolling green hills around it: rising from the viewer's left, it has a few coniferous trees on the top of its lower portion, which are interrupted by a small stone village with a rectangular stone tower, then the climb resumes to the top, where a stone fortress crowns the spur, of about the same size as that entire village. It is a view of the town and rocca (castle) of San Leo in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.]

Felitto has also seemed unlikely to others; here for example is what we find in Martyrologium Romanum, Tabulae Ecclesiasticae Geographicis Tabulis et Notis historicis explicatae, Lutetiae Parisiorum, 1679), p124, "Apud Noricos", my italics:

Ian. 8. S. Severini Abbatis, qui apud eam gentem Evangelium propagavit, & Noricorum dictus est Apostolus. Eius corpus ad Lucullanum prope Neapolim divinitus delatum, inde postea ad Monasterium S. Severini translatum est. Decessit anno salutis 482 in Astare urbe: hinc anno salutis 488 corpus eius in Italiam ad Montem Feletem adsportatum,º inde anno circiter 494. Lucullanum deportatum, tandem anno Domini 910 Neapolim translatum, in Monasterio S. Severini collocatum est.

Jan. 8. [The feast of] St. Severinus Abbot, who preached the Gospel to this people and is called the Apostle of the Noricans. His body was removed to the shrine of the Lucullanum near Naples, and from there was later translated to the Monastery of St. Severinus. He died in the year of our salvation 482 in the city of Astaris: from there in 488 his body was taken away to Italy to the Mons Feletis, and from there in about the year 494 carried away to the Lucullanum, and at last in the year of Our Lord 910 having been translated to Naples, was placed in the Monastery of St. Severinus.

Astaris, urbs Norici, vulgo Steyr, ad Anisum, vulgo Ens fluvium, ab Aniso urbe Ens duobus Leucis Germanicis, Meridiem versus.

Astaris, a city of Noricum, commonly [i.e., known today as] Steyr, near the Anisus river, commonly the Ens, the city being distant from the Anisus (Ens) two German Leagues towards the South.

Mons Feletis, dubium esse fatetur Bollandus, an de Feltria in Venetorum & Carnorum finibus, Episcopali antiqui nominis ad Plavim fluvium, sermo ibi sit, an de oppido S. Leonis, olim Mons Feretratus aut Feretrus dicto in Umbria, inter Marrecchiam & Concham fluvios, an de Fileto Marrucinorum vico.

Mons Feletis, Bollandus states there is doubt as to whether Feltria at the confines of the Veneti and the Carni, is meant, or the fortress of S. Leo in Umbria [San Leo is put in Umbria, correctly, because the ancient region is meant, by no means identical with the modern region], formerly called Mons Feretratus or Feretrus, between the Marrecchia and the Concha rivers, or the village of Fileto [in the country] of the Marrucini.

(my translation)

Note also Giuseppe de Blasiis, Racconti di Storia Napoletana (Naples, 1908), pp94 f., note, which puts the saint's body in Montefeltro with no comment, as do other scholars. It seems clear to me that the emigrants on their southward route from Noricum that would eventually take them to Naples, stopped for a while at San Leo.

b The name is so printed in Sauppe's edition of Eugippius, ch. 46, with no variant reading in the apparatus.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 29 Nov 20