- Agnelli Ravennatis: Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis
Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis has been working on a re-edition of Agnellus' ninth-century history of the bishops of Ravenna for more than fifteen years and has already published a translation of it (Agnellus of Ravenna, The book of pontiffs of the church of Ravenna [Washington, D.C., 2004]); in this new book she gives us the Latin text in the prestigious "Corpus Christianorum" series. The bulk of Agnellus has a fairly straightforward manuscript tradition, based on two manuscripts, one fifteenth century and one sixteenth; only two of the bishops' lives, Severus and Peter Chrysologus (fourth-and fifth-century bishops respectively), have a more complex textual tradition. The text was completely edited by Holder-Egger for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in 1878 (and incompletely edited by Testi-Rasponi for the never-as-satisfactory Rerum Italicarum Scriptores series in 1924); it is not among the early medieval texts that desperately need a new edition. But Deliyannis has produced a greatly improved version of Holder-Egger's text, thanks above all to her careful work on the manuscripts for the lives of Severus and Peter, which has allowed her to second-guess her earliest manuscript in ways that Holder-Egger could not. She amends its grammar and orthography consistently; but we found it very helpful, and anyway, her extremely full textual apparatus (with notes and text citations at the end) makes it easy to tell what she has done. This edition is presently definitive and may remain so as long as Holder-Egger's did.
Deliyannis's introduction, in English, comes down firmly, and helpfully, for a date for Agnellus's composition in the 830s–840s, and she can date individual sections more tightly than that (pp. 11–19). She then discusses Agnellus's [End Page 330] sources, which were quite extensive and even included documents (a list is supplied on pp. 47–48), and, famously, inscriptions in churches and buildings (hardly discussed in the introduction,however). Then in forty dense and carefully argued pages she describes the manuscripts and defends her editorial procedures. Two appendices follow, one on episcopal datings and one listing Agnellus' references to churches and other buildings in Ravenna. This is a fairly stern introduction. For more on Ravenna itself, readers will have to turn to the Storia di Ravenna, edited by Antonio Carile (2 vols.,Venice, 1992); for more on Agnellus, to J.M.Pizarro, Writing Ravenna (Ann Arbor, MI, 1995),and to Deliyannis's own translation. Agnellus is a very strange author, with an unusually arcane vocabulary and a set of unique political and historical positions; it cannot be said that he is fully understood yet. But with this edition, we have the raw material for such a study, and we can be very grateful for it. [End Page 331]