1. Neo-Latin drama flourished in the German lands during the 16th and 17th centuries until the Thirty Year -War put an end to any such frivolity. Biblical dramas were popular, particularly tragicomedies about Susanna, Esther, Daniel, the prodigal son, and the like. NOTE 1 Our author, Friedrich Hermann Flayder, preferred to compose on secular subjects, choosing episodes from German legends (Imma Portatrix, Ludovicus Bigamus), popular novels (Argenis), or contemporary satire (Moria Rediviva). In doing so he was following his model, Nicodemus Frischlin, who had written plays on similar subjects (Hildegardis Magna, a German legend, and Priscianus Vapulans, a satire; no popular novel attracted his attention) in addition to his well-known Rebecca and Susanna. Of the many German Neo-Latin playwrights Johannes Reuchlin, Nicodemus Frischlin, and Flayder are best known. For a brief description of their works and a biography of Flayder, see the Introduction to his play Argenis in the Philological Museum.
2. One aspect of Neo-Latin drama of these centuries must always be kept in mind: it was presented, for the most part, in schools and universities, and its goal was to insure that the students gained a solid knowledge of and speaking ability in Latin. This was not a theoretical goal or simply the opinion of doctores umbratici, out-of-touch eggheads. A Swabian school ordinance of 1543 stated: Institutor intelliget hoc sibi solum efficiendum esse, ut pueri ad cognitionem linguae Latinae perveniant, “the instructor will realize that his one task is to insure that the boys attain a knowledge of the Latin language.” NOTE 2 This goal might be reached by regular performances of Latin plays. In 1529 the Strasbourg schoolmaster Otto Brunfels wrote in his Catechesis puerorum in fide, in literis et in moribus: NOTE 3
Quia autem crebris experimentis perdidicimus, ut in aliis rebus ita et dicendo exercitationem plurimum valere, tum praesertim ad audaciam parandam pro consuetudine nostra pudicas comoedias et tragoedias recitamus, idque in publico, ut non tam dicendi exercitati evaderent pueri, quam ut discant etiam coram plebe et in coetibus audacter loqui.
[“Moreover we have learned by frequent trials that in speaking, as in other matters, practice is most important. As a result we have the custom of presenting moral comedies and tragedies especially to develop confidence in speaking, particularly in public, so that the boys may not just become practiced in speaking, but they may also learn to speak confidently before the people and in meetings.”
4. The goals of presenting these plays can be summarized thus:
1. To impart a command of the Latin language with memory exercises for Latin vocabulary and idiom;
2. To give oratorical training and the confidence to speak before large audiences;
3. To encourage competition between students, teachers, and citizens;
4. To augment teachers’ salaries;
5. To augment the students’ understanding of the dramatic art.
An understanding of these goals is necessary for the appreciation of several qualities of Neo-Latin school drama: its extensive vocabulary and use of rare words; the lengthy lists of student-actors (everyone must participate); the imitation of Roman comic language in contexts which had contemporary relevance for the actors and audience (in our case, Germanic legend). The students’ contemporary world is always in the background. As an example, note the striking juxtaposition of conventional literary paganism (e.g oaths pro Juppiter) with genuine appeals to Christ as the Redemptor mundi, and the not infrequent insertion of passages in English, German, or French within the Latin text. NOTE 4 The declamatory nature of the dialog may in fact have had a utilitarian goal. For example, the judicial scene in Imma (V.vii ) may have given the students practice in addressing noblemen of higher rank and suitable phrasing to use when delivering their opinions in the real world.
5. The princely school at Meissen directed that the comedies of Plautus and Terence be produced yearly, and in this way accustomed the boys to speak elegant Latin. Likewise a school directive from Magdeburg specified that at least once per year the students shall present a Latin comedy to the school supervisors (Kommissär des Rates für Schulsachen) and a German comedy to the whole town council. The parents wanted to see what their children had learned. A valuable side effect of these productions was that any honorarium or any charge for admission would supplement the teachers’ meager salary. NOTE 5
6. Flayder’s first published play (1625) retells the old legend of Charlemagne's daughter Emma (originally Imma) and her love for Einhard (originally Eginhar, who is known to history as the biographer of Charlemagne. N Einhard [ca. 775 - 840 A. D.), born of a landowning family, received an excellent education and was a master of the Latin language. He is known today for his Vita Karoli Magni, one of the monuments of medieval Latin literature. Einhard became supervisor of public works under Charlemagne and secretary to his son and successor Louis the Pious. He was not Charlemagne's secretary, as portrayed in this play. His wife was indeed named Imma (she predeceased her husband in 835), but she was not a daughter of the king. The original version of the legend of Emma and Einhard is found in the Chronicum Laurishamense, the Lorscher Chronicle, a manuscript compiled in the 1170’s and recounting early medieval German history. The purpose of the story is to show how the convent of Michelenstat came to be added to the Lorscher monastery (Lorsch, in Hesse, is 10 km. east of Worms, near Mainz, in southwestern Germany), and is one of the many medieval forgeries or — perhaps a better term — imaginative reconstructions which justify or assert some ecclesiastical privilege. The most famous of these is the Donation of Constantine, but others include the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, documents now dated to ca. 850 supposedly issued by early popes and church councils that reinforced the power of bishops, and countless local documents dealing with local issues. NOTE 6 It has been estimated that nearly half of the surviving acts of Merovingian kings are forgeries, with similar figures for documents from the reign of Charlemagne. NOTE 7 The Chronicum Laurishamense is one of these imaginative reconstructions. A text and translation of the relevant section of the Chronicum can be found in the Appendix below. The main plot of Imma Portatrix follows the Chronicum in every detail.
7. The unusual relationship between Charlemagne and his seven daughters and the somewhat casual morality of the court perhaps gave rise to this legend. The king had seven daughters, none of whom was named Emma, none of whom ever married. The eldest, Hruodrud/Rotrud, educated by Alcuin in the palace school, was betrothed to the Byzantine emperor Constantine VI, but the marriage was called off. This is one element of our plot. She had a son Louis, later abbot of Saint-Denis, by Rorich/Rorgan, Count of Maine. Her sister Bertha had two children by the court official Angilbert. That one of these noble maidens would fall in love with a man in her father’s service is entirely believable and a good motif for a folktale, such as we have here. The story became attached to the Lorscher monastery and spread from there. In English literature it is best known from Longfellow’s poem “The Student’s Tale: Emma and Eginhard”, in his Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863). The lovers meet:
Home from her convent to the palace came
The lovely Princess Emma, whose sweet name,
Whispered by seneschal or sung by bard,
Had often touched the soul of Eginhard.
Other versions in prose, verse, and music occur in the major European languages. NOTE 8 Before Flayder, the story had appeared in Latin in Martin Crusius, Annales Suevici Part II, p. 19, where he calls Emma Eginhari baiulatrix, “Einhard’s portress” with the unique (to my knowledge) feminine form of baiulus/baiulator, “porter.” Justus Lipsius also mentions the story in his 1605 Monita et exempla politica II.xii.12 pp. 174f. Flayder quotes from this version (see the note on 2177ff.). In both of these earlier versions, the snow scene is prominent, but in Lipsius Charlemagne is torn between grief and laughter (cum dolore suo et risu) at what he sees, and later tells his counselors that he must inform them of a laughable and shameful matter (iocosum et foedum factum). Flayder omits the laughter. In a note appended to his play (p. 152 of the original 1625 edition) Flayder says that he knows of Crusius and Lipsius, but has followed the incomparable Marquard Freher’s version in his Origines Palatinae. Freher had simply copied the text of the Chronicum Laurishamense, which Flayder then used. NOTE 9
8. Rather than presenting a simple retelling of the legend, which could not have been a tragedy, since it ends with a marriage, but would not have made much of a comedy either, Flayder decided to follow Roman comic precedent and intersperse the main action (the declarations of undying love, the soliloquies about the difficulties of this particular affair, the escape through the snow, and Charlemagne’s reaction) with a sub-plot involving laughable lower-class characters, a cook and several peasants. In fact, the sub-plot is far more entertaining than the main plot, at least to the modern reader, and I suspect to the original audience as well. In addition the parallels between the main plot and the sub-plot shine an appropriate comic light on the tale of Emma and Einhard.
9. After a Prologue spoken by Venus, who in fact tells us very little, Act I.i shows Emma expressing her love for Einhard and her disdain for the Greek king to whom she has been betrothed. Scene I.ii brings both lovers on stage. Einhard tells Emma of a strange, prophetic dream which he has had. He suspects Emma of tricking him by false protestations of love, but Emma protests this slander. They say farewell, and in I.iii the chamberlain Friedrich appears, summoning Einhard to the king. The main plot continues at II.viii, when Emma explains her reasons for loving Einhard, even though he can boast no knightly exploit. She goes inside, and in III.i Charlemagne appears, directing Einhard to compose a letter to the Greek king in which he will ask that a definite day be set for Emma’s marriage. Of course Einhard agrees to do this, but in the next scene (III.ii) he laments the position in which he and Emma find themselves, both forced to act against their true wishes. After a few scenes of sub-plot, in III.v Einhard expatiates on Emma’s beauty and her superiority to other girls. He decides to visit her room that night (some kind of interlude or at least intermission occurred here: see the note on 1323.) In IV.i Charlemagne in a soliloquy complains of his insomnia, but declares that this insomnia has not interfered with the studies of which he is so proud. IV.ii is the famous snow scene. Early in the morning Einhard prepares to leave Emma’s room, but snow has fallen, snow which will expose his footprints. Emma solves the problem by carrying him over the palace courtyard to safety. Unfortunately her insomniac father has been watching from a high window and becomes enraged at this violation of decorum. He expresses his distress in IV.iii and orders Friedrich to summon his royal counselors. In IV.iv Einhard in a soliloquy tells us that love is a rose with thorns. He is worried about the danger. After a few scenes of sub-plot, in V.1 Friedrich tells us that he is weary from summoning all the counselors and digresses into a comic routine far more suited to a Roman than to a medieval setting (1629ff.). In V.ii Emma too laments the pains of love. She seems unaware of any danger. (Of course she is the king’s daughter.) After one last scene of sub-plot, in V.iv Emma and Einhard meet. Einhard tells her that her father knows all. They say farewell for the last time. In V.v Einhard plots to save himself by asking Charlemagne for an honorable discharge from his duties, so that he can leave the court. In V.vi he makes this request, and the king says he will think about it. In the very long V.vii Charlemagne reports the facts of the case to his counselors, and they advise him. In Einhard’s case, several opt for death, several for exile, and a few for clemency. They leave any decision about Emma to Charlemagne. Charlemagne decides to be merciful to both lovers. In V.viii he summons them, and after a few harsh words to make them sweat, he finally condemns them to marry each other, and bestows rich gifts on both.
10. The sub-plot involves several characters: the palace cook Antrax, the peasants Corydon and Menalcas, and Menalcas’ pregnant daughter Amaryllis. NOTE 10 In II.i Antrax is introduced. He is a typical Plautine cook, thieving, scurrilous, abusive to everyone, and violent when he can get away with it. He first appears abusing his subordinates, then departs for the forum and his girlfriend, telling us in a soliloquy that he plans never to marry. On the way he spots Corydon, who has come to town to sell his goose and some chickens. In II.ii Corydon complains that he is always cheated in town. Antrax promptly attempts to do just that, but Corydon escapes. A short time passes and in II.iv Menalcas enters and sees Corydon emerging from the palace, where he has just sold his birds for much less than he wanted. Menalcas overhears Corydon lamenting and abusing the palace staff. In II.v the two peasants greet each other. We find that Antrax has seduced Menalcas’ daughter Amaryllis, but now refuses to marry her. In II.vi Antrax enters and the two peasants try to persuade him to marry Amaryllis. He refuses, they attempt to beat him up, but Antrax calls to his cooks for help and they beat the two peasants. In II.vii the peasants decide to appeal to Einhard, who can either force Antrax to marry the girl or throw him in the dungeon. They go home planning to return the next day. In III.iii they return bringing Amaryllis with them. They approach Einhard and tell him the story. He summons Antrax. In III.iv they all abuse each other, with Antrax absolutely refusing to marry Amaryllis. Einhard orders him imprisoned. (The snow scene IV.ii follows, emphasizing the contrast between the pair who want to marry, but cannot, with the ill-matched pair who must marry, but really do not want to.) In IV.v, the next day, the peasants return gloating over Antrax’s suffering in jail. We learn that he has agreed to the marriage. In IV.vi Antrax enters complaining about his long night in jail. He begs pardon of Einhard and states that he will marry Amaryllis. Einhard exits. In IV.vii Antrax, the peasants, and Amaryllis all abuse each other: she is a meretrix, ‘slut’, and he is furcifer, “a jailbird“ (1580), and we see that they will live miserably ever after. Corydon and Menalcas go off to a bar to celebrate. In V.iii Corydon staggers back on stage and meets Emma. Not recognizing her, he thinks she is just the girl for his son, Doctor Jack, and proposes that she meet the son as soon as possible; a marriage will be inevitable. Emma recommends to him that like should marry like, that his son should marry a country girl. Corydon leaves unabashed. Thus the peasants’ affairs are satisfactorily resolved.
11. The plot and sub-plot are directly connected in three scenes: in III.iii when the peasants go to Einhard to solve their problem, in IV.vi, when he does solve it, and in V.iii, when Corydon approaches Emma to solicit her hand in marriage for his son. In these scenes both Einhard and Emma become involved in the peasants’ affairs, Einhard as an arbiter, Emma as a marriage counselor. Otherwise the connection between the two plots is simply the contrast of between the marriage of two nobles (romantic love, deep emotion, successful union) and a lower-class couple (relationship begins with a rape, rejection, a forced union of convenience). As is usual in Renaissance and early-modern comedies, the chief female character is the heroine of the piece. In comedies from every era there is a convention that the play ends happily, but we see a striking difference between the ancient and modern versions of the plot, "Guy meets girl and marries her." In ancient comedies the female love interest is often well in the background and plays a minor, passive role. In fact in several of Plautus' plays the female love interest never even appears on stage (Casina, Trinummus, Truculentus — in the last of these plays she is not even named). It is the conflict between the love-sick son and the hard-hearted father which is central to the ancient plot, not the relationship between lover and beloved. (In Casina, Mercator, and Asinaria the father and son are rivals for the same girl.) In contrast, early modern comedies in both Latin or the vernacular were supposed to end with a Christian marriage or reconciliation, that repairs a damaged marriage, and since a Christian marriage is supposed to be a union of equal souls, the lead female role was important and required fully developed characterization. Hence the gallery of memorable comic heroines in Shakespeare (Portia, Rosalind, Viola), who can be matched by the women in Neo-Latin plays like George Ruggle's Ignoramus or Nikodemus Frischlin's Hildegardis Magna. Indeed, such women are often more intelligent and dynamic than their male counterparts. At critical times in our play Einhard is clueless, as in the snow scene or when he fears that the king has learned all. He is far from a knightly character, which is partly why Emma loves him. She is stronger than he is mentally: she devises the escape from her room, she reassures him about her father (I.ii), although she later despairs (V.iv). She is stronger physically: she can carry him across the courtyard through the snow. In contrast Einhard frequently complains and occasionally falls into the conventional misogyny common in Roman and Neo-Latin literature: he suspects Emma of fickleness (226ff.), and he has a very low opinion of most young women, excepting Emma alone (III.v). The only decisive action he takes is to enter Emma's room (1309ff. ).
12. The structure and language of Imma Portatrix is borrowed from Renaissance ideas about Roman comedy. The five Acts divided into numbered scenes (each scene signals a change of onstage speakers, with no necessary discontinuity of time or place) reproduces the theories of Donatus (fourth century), which were followed when the plays of Plautus and Terence were first printed. Flayder’s language reproduces the archaic and colloquial features of the comic writers’ Latin: siem for sim, passive infinities in -ier (much loved by Flayder at the end of an iambic line), NOTE 11 old spellings like vorto for verto, interrogatives like satin’ (1650, vin’ (476), or nostin’ (639). Flayder has also plundered the lexicographers and poets for rare words: gutturnium (“vase”) and sororiantes (“swelling together”’) from Paulus-Festus, tressis (“worth three cents”) and aqualiculus (“belly”) from Persius, aeruscator (“circus performer”) from Aulus Gellius. These unusual words would tend to improve the student-actors’ Latin vocabulary and speaking skills, the immediate purpose of these plays. In addition Flayder borrowed liberally from specific scenes in Plautus (less often from Terence). I have identified many of these borrowings in the footnote on sources at the beginning of most scenes, but make no claim to have identified every one. It is clear that Flayder had a detailed, active knowledge of Roman comedy and the linguistic talent to adapt the ancient source to his contemporary requirements. I have also noted a few borrowings from Frischlin, but far more could be found with a thorough search.
13. The entire play takes place over two days in the courtyard of the palace, right outside the main door to the palace. We should assume that something resembling a palace facade is the backdrop, with a doorway into the palace, a doorway into the women’s quarters, and a high windowor balcony from which Charlemagne sees the two lovers. The season is obviously winter, although nothing indicates this other than the snowfall.
14. The meters of Plautus and Terence were not understood until Richard Bentley explicated the matter in the introductory essay to his edition of Terence (Cambridge, 1726) — if indeed they are even now. As a result many Neo-Latin playwrights simply wrote prose, breaking it into lines that take on the appearance of verse. However, the German Latinists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, through their intimate familiarity with the comic poets and Seneca's tragedies, both quite popular in the Renaissance, were able to compose verse which closely imitates some of the Latin comic meters. Indeed, both Nicodemus Frischlin and F. H. Flayder were so confident of their skills that they included in their printed texts labels for the three meters which they employed, the iambic senarius, the iambic octonarius, and the trochaic septenarius. Although unable to reproduce the full metrical variety of the two Roman authors who were, of course, working in their native language, Flayder certainly was aware of these meters and used them skilfully. Here are examples of each.
15. His primary meter is the iambic senarius, the most common meter for dialog in all his plays. The basic pattern consists of six iambic feet (˘ ˉ), but spondees (ˉ ˉ), anapests (˘ ˘ ˉ), tribrachs (˘˘˘), and dactyls (ˉ ˘ ˘) can be substituted in most feet. NOTE 12 Emma's first scene (88ff.) begins in this meter. The first line is Vĭdĕ sīs, | Rŏsī- | nă tū | mĕă, quō | cŭbī- | cŭlūm (note the false quantity in the first line: cubīculum instead of the correct cubĭculum, perhaps because of the alternative spelling cubīclum and the ictus on this syllable. As evidence that iambic is the meter most like everyday conversation (as noted by Aristotle, Poetics 1449a20), Flayder was able to convert a passage from Suetonius, Life of Augustus lxv from prose to iambic senarius ( at 2045 - 74).
16. Iambic senarii continue from the beginning of the play to 353, when Antrax the cook enters, abusing his underlings in what would have been an aria in the Plautine original. (I doubt that any parts were sung by the student actors at Tübingen.) The meter of this passage is labelled iambic octonarius, originally a sung meter (canticum). The basic pattern is eight iambic feet, with the same substitutions allowed as above:
Hēus vōs |rǎpāc- | ēs, vōs | praedō-| nēs, vōs | nēquām, | vōs pēr- | | dĭtī
After his aria Antrax reverts to iambic senarii (392), as indicated in the text. This senarius meter continues to 541, where Corydon begins to sing in iambic octonarius about his experiences in the palace. This octonarius meter continues to 778, when dialogue in senariis resumes.
17. The third meter used by Flayder was the trochaic septenarius, but only in V.i - vii. The pattern is seven trochaic feet (ˉ ˘) plus one syllable at the end. The same substitutions are allowed as above. In Plautus and Terence this meter of spirited dialog generally occurs towards the end of the play. The same is true here: these are the lines during which the lovers seem to be in mortal danger. Friedrich the Chamberlain introduces Act V:
Ǣdĕ- | pōl lās | sūs dē | viā sūm | fāctūs, | dūm pās |s(im) | aū- lĭ cōs.
In this line, Viā is one syllable in synizesis (the union of two vowels into one- long vowel) as in Pl. Curculio 281 and elsewhere; the -im in passim is elided.
18. The text presented here was first printed in 1625. The book is unusual in printing the names of the actors who had parts in the play, as if the book were a performance program. Flayder also included such a list in his Ludovicus Bigamus and Argenis. Perhaps these program notes encouraged the sale of the book to proud parents and friends. Not all the actors are listed, only the most noble — Flayder knew the source of his meal ticket. Imma Portatrix enjoyed a new edition in 1925 when Gustav Bebermeyer [1890 - 1975] published his Herman Flayders Ausgewählte Werke (Leipzig, 1925) which contains two plays, Imma and Ludovicus Bigamus, with introduction and notes. Two years later Bebermeyer published a study of three Neo-Latin writers connected with Tübingen, Heinrich Bebel, Nicodemus Frischlin, and Flayder. This book is addressed not to scholars, but to educated laymen who participated in the 450th anniversary celebrations in 1927 for the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. (Be aware that the line numbers in Bebermeyer’s text and in this Museum version do not correspond.) In 1928 Gunther Haupt, one of Bebermeyer’s students, wrote a Tübingen dissertation on Moria Rediviva, unfortunately without printing the text.
19. Simple typographical errors (nihi for mihi, bibis for bilis) have been corrected, usually without comment. Other changes are annotated. The usual spellings of Flayder’s Humanist Latin are retained: caeteram, coelum, charus, ocyus, pulcer, etc. You will see some inconsistency in spelling, perhaps due to the printers: inclyte and inclite, quicquam (usually), but also quidquam. The usual seventeenth century printers’ (and copiests’) confusion between the exclamation point and question mark is rife, sometimes questions are printed as declarative sentences !uestion marks and exclamation points are often confused (just as they are in contemporary handwritings), and in this edition any sentence beginning with quantus or quot will be marked as a question, even if it is an obvious exclamation.The 1625 printing concluded with about twenty pages of epigrams, Musae Serio-Iocosae sive Festiviores. These will be edited and translated separately, along with the epigrams from other sources.
An online facsimile of the manuscript can be found here.. The story of Emma and Einhard starts on page 6r. A transcription of the Latin text can also be found at the Würtzburg site. The following has been transcribed from Freher’s printed version, pp. 62f.
Qualiter vero cella Michelenstat sub hoc piissimo principe Carolo M. per venerabilem Einhardum Laureshamensi monasterio accesserit, prout a maioribus nostris memoriae traditum est, perstringamus. Est enim res tum cognitu et admiratione digna, tum quanta vel qualis olim imperialis excellentiae et erga subditos pietas, et erga devotos liberalitas, et erga suorum excessus clementia fuerit, evidens exemplum. Hic igitur Einhardus archicapellanus notariusque imp. Caroli, cum in aula regia laudabiliter serviens, diligeretur ab omnibus, a filia quoque ipsius imperatoris Imma nomine, regi Graecorum desponsata, amabatur ardentius. Aliquantum temporis fluxerat, et amor alternus cotidie inter ambos per augmenta crescebat. Utrosque enim timor retardavit, et offensio regia, ne tam gravia conveniendi inirent conamina. Sed amor improbus omnia vincit.
Denique cum idem vir egregius inremediabiliter amando aestuaret, auresque virginis per internuncium appellare nec praesumeret, novissime sumpta de semetipso fiducia, nocturno tempore latenter ad puellae tendebat habitaculum. Ibidemque pulsans clanculum, et intrare permissus, tanquam allocuturus iuvenculam de regali mandato, statim versa vice solus cum sola, secretis usus alloquiis, et datis amplexibus, cupito satisfecit amori. Interea cum iam appropinquante luce diei per silentia noctis, unde venerat, regredi vellet, de improviso nivem haud modicam decidisse cognovit; et ne per vestigia pedum virilium agnitus proderetur, foras exire timuit: ambosque pro conscientia facti, anxietas simul et formido intus remanere compulit.
Cumque nimia sollicitudine fluctuantes, quid facto opus esset, deliberarent; tandem elegantissima iuvencula, quam audacem faciebat amor, consilium dedit, ut ipsa quidem super se insidentem inclinata exciperet, eumque ad locum illius hospitio contiguum ante lucanum deportaret, ibique eo deposito, rursum per eandem vestigia cautius observata rediret. Eam noctem Imperator divino (ut creditur) nutu insomnem duxit, diluculoque consurgens, eminusque de aula prospiciens, intuitus est filiam suam sub praefato onere nutanti gressu vix incedere, et ad condictum locum deposita quam gestabat sarcina, celeri repedare recursu. Quibus multo intuitu perspectis, Imp. partim admiratione, partim dolore permotus, non tamen absque divina dispositione id fieri reputans, sese continuit, et visa interim silentio suppressit.
Interea Einhardus sibi conscius certusque rem nullo modo dominum suum Regem diu latere posse, tandem inter angustias reperto consilio Imperatorem aggreditur, flexis genibus missionem postulans, asserens tot et tantis servitiis suis condigna non rependi praemia. His auditis Rex dissimulato rei et eventu et exitu diu conticuit: dehinc eum certificans se postulationi eius quantocius responsurum, diem constituit; statimque consiliarios primosque sui regni et caeteros quosque sibi familiares passim evocatos convenire iussit.
Congregata itaque magnifica diversarum dignitatum frequentia, ita exorsus est: Imperatoriam inquiens maiestatem nimis iniuriatam esse et despectatam, in indigna filiae suae notariique sui copulatione, et exinde non mediocri sese agitari perturbatione. Quibus nimio stupore perculsis, et de rei novitate et magnitudine quibusdam adhuc ambigentibus, Rex innotuit eis evidentius, referens eis a primordio quid per semetipsum oculata fide cognoverit, consiliumque eorum atque sententiam expostulans super hoc. At illi inter se diversi diversa sentientes, in praesumptorem huius rei duras et varias dedere sententias, aliis sine exemplo puniendum, aliis exilio damnandum, aliis alio modo disperdendum (ut cuique impetus erat) adiudicantibus. Porro quidam ex eis tanto mitiores, quanto sapientiores, habita secum deliberatione quam intime Regem exorare, quatenus ipse rem per semetipsum examinare, et secundum divinitus ei collatam sapientiam diffinire dignaretur.
Verum ubi Rex singulorum circa se affectum ponderavit, et inter diversorum sententias, quod potissimum consilii sequeretur expendit, sic eos alloquutus est: “Non ignoratis,” inquit, “humanum genus variis subiectum esse casibus, et frequenter evenire, ut res nonnullae, quae contrariis initiis inchoantur, meliorem aliquando sortiantur exitum. Proinde non est desperandum, sed potius super hac re, quae et gravitate et novitate sui nostrum exuperat ingenium, divinae providentiae (quae nunquam in sui dispositione fallitur, quaeque etiam malis bene uti novit) pietas est exspectanda et expetenda. Quapropter tam tristis facti a notario meo non exigam poenas, per quas infamia filiae meae magis videbitur augeri quam minui. Unde dignius et laudabilius imperii nostri gloriae arbitramur congruere, ut data adolescentiae venia, legitimo eos matrimonio coniungam, et rei probrosae honestatis colorem superducam.”
Regis igitur audita sententia, fit incomparabile gaudium, magnitudoque animi eius ac mansuetudo summis effertur laudibus. Interim Einhardus iussus adesse ingreditur: quem Rex exopinato salutans, ita eum placido vultu alloquitur: “Iamdudum auribus nostris a vobis delata est querimonia, quod servitiis vestris regali munificentia hactenus non responderimus digne. Sed (ut verum fatear) maxime super hoc culpanda est vestra negligentia: quandoquidem licet sustineam tot et tanta negotia solus, tamen si quid voluntatis vestrae compertum haberem, servitia vestra digno fuissem prosecutus honore. Verum ne vos diutino sermone protraham, querimoniis vestris amplissima donatione satisfaciam, et ut vos etiam fidelem mihi ut prius et benevolum posthac sentiam, iuri vestro nuptum tradam meam filiam, vestram scilicet portatricem, quae quandoque alte succincta vestrae subvectioni satis se morigeram exhibuit.”
Protinus ad Regis edictum cum multo comitatu adducta est eius filia, quae roseo vultum perfusa rubore, tradita est per manus patris in manus praedicti Einhardi, cum dote plurima, praediorum quoque nonnullorum, cum innumeris aureis argenteisque donariis, aliique pretiosis suppellectilibus.
We will narrate briefly how the Michelenstat convent was attached to the Monastery at Lorsch by the venerable Einhard, during the reign of the most pious Charlemagne, as handed down by the memories of our fathers. This is an amazing story well worth hearing, which shows us an example of how much religious feeling there was on the part of His Imperial Excellency towards his subjects, how much generosity towards worshippers, and how great was his mercifulness towards the excesses of his own people. This Einhard was chief chaplain and secretary of Emperor Charlemagne, and was serving in the palace in a praiseworthy manner. He was esteemed by all, but was ardently loved by the Emperor’s daughter Emma, who had been betrothed to the Greek king. Some time passed, and day-by-day their mutual love grew greater and greater. Fear of offending the king hindered both of them from attempting the serious step of coming together in love. But their shameless love conquered all.
Eventually, since this otherwise excellent man was burning with quenchless love, and since he did not presume to address the maiden’s ears through an intermediary, he gathered the confidence so recently acquired and secretly, at night, went straight to the maiden’s room. There he stealthily knocked on the door and was admitted under the pretense that he was going to speak to the young woman about some royal command. Soon being alone with her, they spoke quietly to each other, embraced each other, and satisfied their longed-for desires. Soon, as the daylight approached through the silence of the night, he wished to return whence he had come, but saw that an unexpected heavy snow had fallen. He was afraid to go outdoors lest his presence be betrayed by the tracks of a man’s footprints. Anxiety and terror forced both to remain indoors, since both had a guilty conscience about what they had done.
Uncertain in their excessive anxiety what they should do, they deliberated, and finally the noble young woman, whom love had made bold, advised that she should bend down and take him sitting on her back, and that she should carry him before daybreak to a place near his apartment and deposit him there. Then she would return, watching carefully to step in the same footprints.
The emperor had passed a sleepless night (by divine guidance, as was then believed). At first light he arose and peered out of a high window of the palace. There he saw his daughter staggering under her burden and barely able to walk. He saw her lay down the package which she carried in the appointed place, and rapidly retrace her steps. Having stared at this for some time, the emperor was moved partly by amazement, partly by grief, but since he thought that this had happened not without some divine sanction, he restrained himself and kept silent for some time about what he had seen.
Meanwhile Einhard, aware of what they had done and certain that this could not be hidden from his Lord the King for long, after much worry he formed a plan. He approached the emperor on bended knee asking for leave to depart, asserting that the rewards for his long and difficult service were not sufficient. The king heard this and was silent for a time, concealing the facts and the outcome of this matter. Finally he declared that he would respond to Einhard’s request as soon as possible, and named a day. He immediately ordered his counselors, the chief men of his kingdom, and others of his entourage to assemble.
After a magnificent crowd of dignitaries of all types had assembled, he began thus, stating that his imperial majesty had been greatly injured and insulted by the inappropriate union of his daughter and his secretary and that he was seriously distressed by this. His audience was struck dumb by these words and were in much doubt because of the unique monstrousness of this affair. The king informed them of the details, telling them from the beginning what he had seen with his own eyes, and urged them to give their opinions and advice about the matter. They had many differing opinions and they gave various harsh opinions against one who had been so presumptuous, some judging that Einhard should be punished in an unprecedented way, others that he should be exiled, others that he should be eliminated in another way, just as the mood moved them. But some of them had a milder, and therefore wiser, opinion and after some deliberation, privately urged the king that he deign to examine the matter by himself and to decide it himself according to the wisdom that God had granted him.
When the king pondered the state of mind of each man around him and their varying opinions, he decided to pursue the most desirable plan and addressed them in this manner: “You are aware that the human race is subject to many vicissitudes and it often happens that some things which begin with unfavorable circumstances eventually have a successful conclusion. In view of this we must not despair, but—especially in this affair, which is beyond our grasp because of its serious and unique nature—it will be the duty of true religion to look to and seek help from Divine Providence, which never fails in its fulfillment and which well knows how to make good come from bad. As a result I will exact no penalty from my secretary for this sad affair, a penalty which may well appear to increase my daughter’s disgrace rather than lessen it. We believe that the following course is more suitable and more praiseworthy, and befits the glories of our empire: I pardon youthful indiscretions, I unite them in lawful matrimony, and I pull a veil of respectability over this shameful affair.”
After they heard the king’s judgment, they felt joy and they praised his magnanimity and his kindness to the skies. In the meantime Einhard was ordered to be present, and he entered. The king greeted him in a way contrary to his expectations and spoke with a pleasant demeanor as follows: “For some time your complaints have been communicated to me that we have not sufficiently remunerated your services with our royal generosity. But, to speak the truth, your carelessness is primarily responsible for this omission. Given that I am burdened with so many and such great duties, which must be done by myself, I still would have rewarded your services with the utmost generosity, if I had learned of your wishes in this matter. Nevertheless so as not to prolong this speech, I will satisfy your complaints with an ample reward: in order that I may feel that you are faithful to me (as you were before) and even more devoted to me, I hand over my daughter to be lawfully married to you, my daughter your portress, who once showed herself to be obedient to you as she carried you with her gown cinched up.” *
Immediately on the king’s order, his daughter was brought in with a great retinue. With her face full of blushes, she was given from her father’s hand to the hand of the aforesaid Einhard, with a large dowry of several estates, in addition to countless gold and silver pieces and other precious furnishings.
* - A conventional Latin phrase for “with great effort,“ although here it is probably also meant literally.
(The text goes on to say that the next Emperor, Louis the Pious, added the estates Michelenstat and Mulenheim (now called Seliginstat) to these previous donations. On his death, Einhard) willed the convent of Michelenstat to the monastery at Lorsch. The text then quotes his will.
NOTE 1 Flayder’s model Nicodemus Frischlin wrote well-received plays about Rebecca and Susanna. For a review of the topic, see Bradner.
NOTE 2 K. H. Kern, Schwäbische Schul-Ordnung (Kitzingen 1901) quoted in Schmidt., p. 7. This should not be taken too literally; the development of good morals was always a goal to which suitable Latin readings contributed.
NOTE 3 Brunfels, pp. 9f.
NOTE 4 English and French in George Ruggle’s Ignoramus, Italian and French in Nikodemus Frischlin’s Julius Redivivus, to cite just two examples. A German-Latin hybrid word appears in Imma Portatrix (642). This paragraph refers primarily to secular comedies like Flayder’s. Comedies based on Biblical stories pay little attention to Roman models, although their language is still that of Roman comedy.
NOTE 5 Meissen: Terentii und Plauti comoedias sollen sie die Knaben jährlich spielen lassen und solchergestalt auf das zierliche Lateinreden gewehnen (cited by Schmidt, p. 8). Magdeburg: Schmidt, p. 13. Honoraria (Verehrung) for the teacher (sometimes split with poor students) were often given, and admission was occasionally charged.
NOTE 6 A study of such forgeries in England in Hiatt.
NOTE 7 See Fuhrmann p. 532.
NOTE 9 Marquard Freher, Originum Palatinarum pars prima (1613) Appendix pp. 8 - 12 simply repeats what was in the same author’s Germanicarum Rerum Scriptores, pp. 62ff. (see the Appendix here).
NOTE 10 He is apparently identifiable as a cook (at 469), perhaps because he carries a knife. Anthrax (sic) is a cook in Plautus’ Aulularia; the other names occur in pastoral poetry, specifically Virgil’s Eclogues.Cooks are characters in Pl. Aulularia, Menaechmi, Miles Gloriosus, Pseudolus, and Truculentus. As is not uncommon in Neo-Latin comedy, the sub-plot is more Plautine in names, action, and language than is the main plot.
NOTE 11 One exception is at a caesura (1372), the same ratio as in Plautus.
NOTE 12 A thorough study of Plautus’ meter can be read in A. S. Gratwick’s edition of the Menaechmi (Cambridge U. K., 1993) 40 - 63. I find it baffling. To my knowledge, there is no study of the metrics of Neo-Latin drama. The introductions to any modern edition of Plautus and Terence will explain the metrical patterns which the Neo-Latin writers were imitating; I recommend Moseley and Hammond’s 1969 edition of Menaechmi.
The only comprehensive modern work on Flayder. Includes Imma Portatrix, Ludovicus Bigamus, and selected epigrams, but not Argenis or Moria Rediviva. Imma Portatrix occupies pp. 1 - 80.
— Tübingen Dichterhumanisten Bebel/Frischlin/Flayder (Hildesheim, Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1967.
The reprint of a 1927 original.
Crusius, Martin, Annales Suevici sive Chronica Rerum Gestarum... (Frankfurt, Ex Officina Typographica Nicolai Bassaei, 1595), facsimile available here.
Flayder, Fridericus Hermannus, Argenis Incomparabilis I. Barclai in Comoediam redacta et acta...(Tübingen,Typis Werlinianis, 1626), modern edition available here.
— Imma Portatrix: Comoedia nova et Consultoria. (Tübingen,Typis Theodorici Werlini Typofusoris, 1625), facsimile available here.
— Ludovicus Bigamus, Comoedia Nova et Festiva. (Tübingen, Theodorici Werlini, 1625), facsimile available, here.
— Moria Rediviva:, quae tamen nunquam fuit mortua., (Tübingen, Typis Werlinianis, 1627), facsimile available here.
Freher, Marquard, Germanicarum Rerum Scriptores Aliquot Insignes, Hactenus Incogniti…Tomus Unus (Frankfurt, Apud Heredes Andreae Wecheli, 1600, facsimiles available here. and elsewhere
Frischlin, Nicodemus, Iulius Redivivus Comoedia (Strasburg:, Apud Bernardum Iobinum, 1585)., facsimile available here.
Gratwick, A. S. (ed.), Plautus: Menaechmi. (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Haupt, Gunther, Friedrich Hermann Flayders Moria rediviva und Die bedeutendsten Vertreter des lateinischen Schuldramas im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, (Habilitationschrift Tübingen, Buchdruckerei der Tübingen Studentenhilfe, 1928).
Moseley, Nicholas and Mason Hammond (edd.), T. Macci Plauti Menaechmi, (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1968).
Schmidt, P. Expeditus O. F .M., Die Bühnenverhälnisse des deutschen Schuldramas und seiner volkstümliche Ableger in sechzehnten Jahrhundert. Inaugural-Dissertation, Munich 1902. (Berlin: Verlag von Alexander Duncker, 1903).