The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals and Isidore Mercator.The Author (§ 6).Sources and Treatment (§ 2).
Manuscripts (§ 1).History of the Collection (§ 7).Time and Place of Origin (§ 3).
Contents and Description (§ 2).The Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis.Motive, Tendency, and Authorship (§ 4).
Sources and Method (§ 3).The Capitula Angilramni.History and Relation to other Forgeries (§ 5).
Time and Place of Origin (§ 4).Benedict Levita.Certain General Considerations.
Motives, Animus, Tendency (§ 5).Contents and Description (§ 1).

The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals are certain fictitious letters ascribed to early popes, from Clement to Gregory the Great, incorporated in a ninth-century collection of canons purporting to have been made by "Isidore Mercator." Three other lawbooks of the same time and place are closely connected with these false decretals and are necessarily treated with them, viz.: the Pseudo-Isidorian recension of the Spanish collection of canons; the Capitula Angilramni; and the capitularies of Benedict Levita. The name "Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals" has been in use since the awakening of criticism in the sixteenth century, and Bernhard Eduard Simson in 1886 gave the fitting designation "Pseudo-Isidorian Forgeries" to the whole series. In the present article the collection of "Isidore Mercator" is referred to as the Pseudo-Isidoriana, its author (or authors; see V., below) as the Pseudo-Isidore. The Hispana is the Spanish collection of canons, the Hispana Gallica the form of it current in Gaul in the early Middle Ages (see II., below); the Dionysio-Hadriana is the edition of the collections of Dionysius Exiguus presented to Charlemagne by Pope Adrian I. in 774; the Quesnelliana is the collection published by Paschasius Quesnel (Ad S. Leonis Magni opera ii. appendix, Paris, 1675; see also CANON LAW, II, 3, §§ 1, 3; 4, § 2).

I. The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals and Isidore Mercator:

1. Manuscripts.

Seventy-five manuscripts of the Pseudo-Isidoriana are known, which differ widely one from another. They fall into five classes designated as A1, A2, A/B, B, and C. Class A1 doubtless represents the oldest recension, although some scholars have maintained the priority of A2; its earliest manuscripts belong to the ninth century, and its codices contain, as a rule, the complete collection in three parts. Class A2 is a recension but little later than A1, from which it differs by omitting entirely the second part of the complete work (the Councils; see 2, below) and all of the Decretals after the first letters of Damasus (d. 384); most of the manuscripts of this class are characterized by a clumsy chapter-division of the Decretals. Class A/B, of which no manuscript earlier than the eleventh century is known, represents a combination of the form A1 with the Hispana of Autun (the Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis; see II, below) and with the original Hispana; the text of the Decretals conforms more closely with the latter, while for the Councils a manuscript of the Augustodunensis has apparently been worked over in clumsy fashion and approximated to the Pseudo-Isidoriana. Class B, represented by five manuscripts dating from the middle of the twelfth century to the thir-


teenth, and class C, of which the oldest manuscript belongs to the twelfth century, are recensions of A/B and B, showing transpositions, additions, and omissions.

2. Contents and Description

The Pseudo-Isidore took as the basis of his work the Hispana Gallca Augustodunensis (see II., below), thus lessening the danger of detection, as collections of canons were commonly made by adding new matter to old, and his forgeries were less evident when incorporated with genuine material. As represented in manuscripts of the class Al, the work consists of a preface and three parts. The order of arrangement is historical, as in the Augustodunensis. The following table gives the contents in detail, with the character or source of the sections. The numbers in parentheses are dates, the page references are to Hinschius' edition; P = the Pseudo-Isidore; H, HG, HGA = the Hispana, Hispana Gallica, Hispana Gadlica Augustodunensis; DH = the Dionysio-Hadriana; Q = the Quesnelliana

Preface, pp. 17-20; by P.
  1. Decretals from Clement to Melchiades (d. 314), pp. 20-247.
    1. Introductory, pp. 20-30.
      1. Letter from Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, to Damasus (388-384) asking for copies of decisions of all popes from Peter to Damasus, with the reply of the latter, pp. 20-21; forgeries by P.
      2. Ordo de celebrando concilio, pp. 22-24; genuine, from HG.
      3. Table of contents to parts i. and ii., pp. 25-26; nos. 1-32 by P, nos. 33-78 genuine, from HG.
      4. Fifty "Apostolic Canons" (also in HGA from DH) and a brief letter from Jerome to Damasus, pp. 26-30; both forgeries earlier than P; for the former, see APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS AND CANONS, §§ 1, 4.
    2. Sixty decretals representing all popes (thirty in number) from Clement to Melchiades, pp. 30-247; all forgeries, most of them by P, the few which he has borrowed (e.g., the two letters of Clement which open the series) interpolated by him. The Liber pontificalis was used as a historical guide and furnished some of the subject-matter.
  2. Councils, pp. 247-444.
    1. Introductory, pp. 247, 257.
      1. De primitiva ecclesia et synodo Nicæna, pp. 247-249; pseudo-Isidorian.
      2. The "Donation of Constantine" (q.v.), pp. 249-254; forgery earlier than P.
      3. Quo tempore actum sit Nicænum conciliurn, p. 254; from HG.
      4. Epistola vel præfatio Nicæni concilii, pp. 254-257; composed in the fifth century, from Q.
      5. Alia præfatio ejusdem concilii metrice composita, p. 257; in HGA from DH.
    2. Canons of fifty-four synods—Greek to Chalcedon, 451 (including the canons of Sardica, forged probably in the fifth century), African, Gallic to the Third Arles, 524, and Spanish to the Thirteenth Toledo, 683, pp. 258-444; for the most part genuine = part i. of HG with some interpolations and additions.
  3. Decretals from Silvester (314-335) to Gregory II. (715-731), pp. 444-754.
    1. Introductory, pp. 444-448.
      1. A brief preface, p. 444; from H.
      2. Table of contents to part iii. pp. 445-448; from no. 26 based on the table of HGA.
    2. Decretals of thirty-three popes from Silvester to Gregory II., pp.449-754; in general = part ii. of HGA. Compared with H, fourteen apocryphal and seven genuine insertions are found, viz.: Apocryphal: (1) pp. 449-451, the so-called "Constitution of Silvester," a forgery of the early sixth century, worked over by P; (2) pp. 451-498, twelve Pseudo-Isidorian forgeries from Marcus (336) to Liberius (352-366); (3) pp. 498-499, letter from Damasus to Jerome and Jerome's answer, forgeries, Pseudo-Isidorian and earlier than P respectively; (4) pp. 501-508, letter of Archbishop Stephen and three African councils to Damasus and answer, Pseudo-Isidorian (in HGA); (5) pp. 509-515, Damasus De vana superstitione chorepiscoporum vitanda, pseudo-Isidorian (in HGA); (6) pp. 519-520, Damasus, Ad episcopos per Italiam constitutos, Pseudo-Isidorian; (7) pp. 525-527, two letters of Anastasius, by P; (8) pp. 561-565, letter of Sixtus III., by P; (9) pp. 628-629, decretal of Leo I., De privilegio chorepiscoporum, and Silverius' Damnatio Vigilii, earlier than P (the tract Cum de ordinationibus, pp. 822-825, is from HGA, worked over by P); (10) pp. 675-884, acts of the fifth and sixth synods under Symmachus, by P; (11) pp. 894-709, two letters of John I. two of Felix IV., one each of Boniface II., John II., and Agapetus I., and two of Silverius, Pseudo-Isidorian; (12) p. 712, a seventh chapter added to the letter of Vigilius to Profuturus; (13) pp. 712-732, one letter each of Pelagius I., John III., and Benedict I., and three of Pelagius II., by P; (14) pp. 747-753, letter of Felix, bishop of Messina, to Gregory I. and answer, found only in one manuscript of the class A2 and in those of class C, uncertain whether earlier or later than P, but in his manner and showing his tendencies. Genuine: (1) pp. 516-519, two decretals of Damasus, from the Historia tripartita of Cassiodorus; (2) pp. 533-544, seven writings of Innocent I., from Q; (3) pp. 565-580, fifteen writings of Leo I., from Q; (4) pp. 637-649, four letters of Gelasius I., from Q and DH; (5) pp. 657-664, the first three of the synods of Symmachus, from DH; the Liber apologeticus of Ennodius (d. 521) is inserted here (pp. 664-675) with a characteristic interpolation (p. 685), and, further, two letters of the same Ennodius, ascribed to Symmachus (pp. 684-686); (6) pp. 735-747, four letters of Gregory I., one from the Collectio Pauli, three from uncertain sources; (7) pp. 753-754, Gregory II.'s Roman synod of 721, from DH (in HGA).1

    The falsity of the Pseudo-Isidore's fabrications is now admitted, being proved by incontestable internal evidence (e.g., anachronisms like the use of the Vulgate and the Breviarium Alaricianum—composed in 506—in the decretals of the older popes), by investigations concerning the sources


    and method of the fabricator (see 3, below), and by the fact that Pseudo-Isidorian letters were unknown before 852.

    3. Sources and Method.

    The fabrications of the Pseudo-Isidore are not expressed in his own language, but consist of sentences, phrases, and words taken from older writings, genuine and apocryphal, set together into a mosaic of about 10,000 and pieces. The excerpts are freely altered and are sometimes given a sense directly opposite to the original, but by his method the Pseudo-Isidore sought to give to his ninth-century product the stamp of antiquity. The labor involved was enormous; and the search for the sources of the Pseudo-Isidore's excerpts (begun by David Blondel, 1628; continued by Hermann Knust, 1832, and Paul Hinschius, 1863; an additional source disclosed by the publication of the Irish collection of canons in 1874) has shown a reading on his part which is astonishing in its breadth and extent. He may have used abridgments and collections—such as florilegia or anthologies from the Bible, the Fathers, etc.—but, even so, he must be reckoned among the most learned men of the ninth century. The following are some of the sources drawn upon: (1) the Bible, extensively (Vulgate text, but with noteworthy variations); (2) the acts of forty-five or fifty synods and councils; (3) the decretals of twenty popes, mostly of the fifth and sixth centuries, none of the ninth; (4) Roman law (the extracts are sometimes attributed to the Council of Nicæa or the Apostles); (5) the Germanic Lex Wisigothorum; (6) the capitularies of Frankish kings, sparingly; (7) the Pœnitentiale Theodori and the Martenianum; (8) more than thirty Church Fathers and other writers, and letters of bishops and private individuals; (9) the "Donation of Constantine," the Liber pontificalis, the rules of Benedict and Chrodegang, etc.

    4. Time and Place of Origin.

    Thus far the results of investigation have been definite and are generally accepted. The field of controversy is now entered with the questions of the date and place of origin of the collection. The recension A2 (perhaps A1) was used by Hinemar of Reims in his Capitula presbyteris of Nov. 1, 852, unless the passage is a later interpolation, as is maintained (without good reason) by some scholars. It is certainly cited in the Admonitio (by Hincmar) of the capitulary of Quiercy, Feb.14, 857. One of these dates, then—Nov. 1, 852, or Feb. 14, 857—is the terminus ante quem of the publication of the collection, and its completion may be set a few months earlier. It is more difficult to fix the terminus post quem; but Benedict's capitularies were completed after Apr. 21, 847 (see IV., § 3, below); and when his fourth addition (admitted to be the latest part of his work) was written, the false decretals were not yet completed (see IV., §§ 3, 5, below). The autumn of 847 is perhaps the earliest date, and, all things considered, about 850 or 851 is the most probable date for the completion of the collection. How long a time was spent in its preparation can only be conjectured; but a cautious judgment will hardly set the birth-year of the Pseudo-Isidorian idea earlier than 846 (see 5 and 6, below).

    Concerning the place, it may be asserted with confidence that the Pseudo-Isidoriana originated in the Frankish realm. Earlier investigators believed in Mainz, but this hypothesis is now rejected, and later scholars, almost without exception, turn to the west; West-Frankish conditions about 847 are the necessary background of the Pseudo-Isidorian picture (see 5 and 6, below). In 1886 Bernhard Eduard Simson came forward as a vigorous supporter of Le Mans as the more specific place of origin, basing his hypothesis upon a comparison with two writings which are known to have originated in Le Mans (the Gesta domni Aldrici Cenomannicæ urbis episcopi, ed. R. Charles and L. Froger, Mamers, 1889; and the Actus pontificum Cenomannis in urbe degentium, ed. G. Busson and A. Ledru in the Archives historiques du Maine, ii., Le Mans, 1901), and maintaining that they resembled all the Pseudo-Isidorian forgeries, in language and style, showed the same bias and tendency, and used the same sources. Later investigations have not been favorable to the hypothesis of Le Mans, and it is now discarded. Julius Weizsäcker first suggested Reims, and Hinschius followed with acute and convincing arguments. The province of Reims (the archdiocese, not the diocese) is now regarded as having most in its favor and least to militate against it (see 6, below).

    5. Motives, Animus, Tendency.

    The Pseudo-Isidore himself declares (in the first sentence of his preface) that his aim was to "collect the canons, unite them in one volume, and make one of many"—a laudable endeavor, but not a justification of forgeries and falsifications. He added some genuine matter to his basis (see 2, above) and so far may deserve the praise of an honest compiler, even though the genuine additions may have been intended to hide the false. At all events, it is clear that it was not his purpose to produce a complete exposition of church discipline; many topics—the conferring of benefices, tithes, simony, monastic matters, some parts of the marriage law, etc.—he did not even touch upon. His main object was to emancipate the episcopacy, not only from the secular power, but also from the excessive influence of the metropolitans and the provincial synods; incidentally, as a means to this end, the chorepiscopi were to be suppressed, and the papal power was to be exalted. The Pseudo-Isidore's attitude and activity find their explanation only in the general conditions of the West-Frankish Church at the middle of the ninth century; and when these are understood, he appears in his true light, not one aiming to serve the ambition of any individual or to advance himself, but as the representative and spokesman of a party. The harmonious cooperation between Church and State under Charlemagne had given way under his successors to an antagonism between the secular and spiritual authorities. Disturbed conditions resulted from the civil wars under Louis the Pious and his sons. The bishops suffered in consequence and found themselves compelled to seek protection from the civil power, where they were exposed to


    false accusations prompted by avarice, while the imperial synods, before which they were tried, were political and partizan. Between 818 and 835 several bishops were deposed, and others through fear fled from their sees. A reform party arose and at various synods (Paris, 829; Aachen, 836; Meaux-Paris, 845-846) sought in vain to remedy the intolerable conditions by an appeal to the old canons. At the Diet of Épernay (June, 846) the insolence of the predatory nobility and its disregard of just demands made at the Synod of Meaux passed the limit of endurance in the estimation of the reform party. Redress by secular legislation was hopeless after the division of the Empire in 843, and in their need the reformers grasped at falsification as a last resort. The (false) capitularies of Benedict had already sought to promote their cause by misuse of the authority of the great Charlemagne, and now the Pseudo-Isidore attempted to cast the highest ecclesiastical authority in the scale of reform. From his point of view the Gallic Church had to choose between two evils—either to secure unity and strength by submission (with proper restrictions) to the pope, or to be involved in the downfall of the Carolingians; and he chose the former as the lesser. Perhaps, also, by his fictitious ancient law he hoped to convert the obstinate nobility and proud metropolitans, and animate cowardly synods. At any rate he made the venture in spite of the fact that he must have known it was dangerous and would probably be futile.

    The Pseudo-Isidore's regard for the bishops appears in the hyperboles he uses about them ("in the bishops you should venerate God, and love them as your own souls"; "you (bishops) are given us as gods by God"). A charge may not be brought against a bishop by a layman or an inferior cleric. The accuser must prove himself not heretical, excommunicated, of bad reputation, neither a freedman nor a slave, not on bad terms with the accused, not actuated by hatred or avarice, and much more of the same sort. The accused, on the other hand, need take no notice of a charge unless in full possession of his property, income, and authority, the so-called exceptio spolii, and it is made the business of the court to restore these if they have been impaired. If a charge comes to trial, both accuser and accused must be present, but the latter can not be compelled to attend. The accuser must prove his charge by witnesses, each of whom must himself be legally qualified to become an accuser, and seventy-two witnesses are necessary to condemn a bishop. The accused has the right of appeal to the primate or the pope at any stage of the proceedings. If by any chance the case goes against the bishop, the verdict is not valid until confirmed by the pope. A similar attempt is made to tie the hands of metropolitans and provincial synods. The Pseudo-Isidorian primacy is nothing more than an empty name. The synod is made wholly dependent on the pope. The papal power is exalted, but solely as a means to the end desired, viz.: to protect the bishops against the political and ecclesiastical parties of West Franconia and make them supreme. What a weapon he was putting into the hands of the popes to use against the bishops when occasion arose, the Pseudo-Isidore seems not to have realized. He looked upon the chorepiscopi (see CHOREPISCOPUS) as rivals of the bishops, who diminished the influence of zealous diocesans, and so discharged the duties of neglectful prelates that sees might maliciously be declared vacant. He would, accordingly, eliminate them entirely. His attitude toward the civil power may be judged from what has already been said. He aims to keep church property in the hands of the bishops, takes from the king the right to call a synod without the consent of the pope (with the object of preventing the trial of a bishop), and forbids the accusation or condemnation of a bishop in a civil court. He even extends the episcopal jurisdiction to secular cases ("every one oppressed may appeal to the judgment of priests "), although this is his only incursion into the secular sphere. Political rule he does not claim either for the bishops or the pope, and secular legislation as such he does not touch, leaving worldly matters to the worldly power and its laws.

    6. The Author

    "Isidore Mercator" is evidently a pseudonym, the first part chosen to imply that the collection emanated from Isidore of Seville (as was actually believed in the ninth century and later), the second part from the cognomen of a fifth-century writer, Marius Mercator (q.v.). All attempts to identify Isidore have failed, the best of them being mere guesses. Benedict Levita and Otgar, archbishop of Mainz in 826-847, were tenable suppositions only so long as Mainz was believed to be the place of origin (see 4, above). Besides, "Benedict Levita" is itself a pseudonym (see IV., § 4, below). Wenilo, archbishop of Sens (840-865), and Servatus Lupus, abbot of Ferrières (d. after 862), have also been supposed, though without sufficient reason, to have written the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals; while Leodald, deacon of Le Mans, or Bishop Aldrich and his canons are advocated by those who hold to the hypothesis of Le Mans (see 4, above). Three names are connected with Reims—Ebo, Wulfad, and Rothad. Ebo (q.v.), archbishop of Reims after 816, was despoiled of his estates by the emperor, confined in Fulda, and deposed at a synod at Diedenhofen Mar., 835, on the ground of a written confession. The Pseudo-Isidore's exceptio spolii (see 5, above) manifestly fits Ebo's case, as does also his fiction ascribed to Alexander I. declaring writings invalid if "extorted by fear, fraud, or force" (the phrase quoted is used by Ebo in his Apologeticum of 842). In Aug., 840, Ebo was uncanonically reinstated by Lothair. Again a decretal ascribed to Julius (p. 471 [11. 7 sqq.], ed. Hinschius) seems inspired by Ebo, as it makes his restoration regular. In 841 Charles the Bald drove Ebo from Reims, and in 844 or 845 Louis the German made him bishop of Hildesheim, where he remained till his death (Mar. 20, 851), cherishing the hope of restoration to Reims. The Pseudo-Isidore seems to aim at making the restoration easier when he declares (p. 152 and elsewhere) that, in case of an expelled bishop, a translation may be made at any time and without the synodal decree required by law. It is thus evident that Ebo had an interest in the forgeries; but though it is known that scruples against falsifying did not deter him from seeking to advance his cause by that dubious method, there is no satisfactory evidence to show that he wrote the Pseudo-Isidoriana or that he directly instigated its composition. The case is the same with Wulfad and Rothad; either may have written the work or had a hand in it; there is no proof that either did. Wulfad was canon of Reims, deposed in 853, then abbot of St. Medard in Soissons. He was a leader of Ebo's party, a man of learning and culture, highly esteemed by Charles the Bald. Rothad was bishop of Soissons from 832 or 833. Both men were powerful opponents of Hincmar.

    To sum up: It is not known who wrote the Pseudo-Isidoriana. There is, however, a strong probability that it emanated from the aggressive new-church


    party in the province of Reims, consolidated by events into a faction bitterly hostile to Hincmar. After his restoration Ebo ordained a number of clerics at Reims in 840 and 841. They were not molested at first after he was expelled, but in 845 Hincmar suspended them (see HINCMAR OF REIMS), and they were in constant fear of having their ordination declared invalid. They thus had a personal interest in establishing the invalidity of Ebo's deposition and the validity of his restoration. Their suspension rendered it impossible for them to perform their ordinary duties; and the painfully uncertain situation in which they found themselves furnished the incentive to employ their involuntary leisure in an attempt to secure relief by forging documents. For the division of the work among members of the group, see V., below.

    7. History of the Collection.

    It was in West Franconia (and in the province of Reims) that the completed and published work first appeared. The earliest known citations are Hincmar's of 852 (or 857; see § 4, above). In Hincmar's contests with his suffragans, Rothad of Soissons and Hincmar of Laon, the false decretals were the decisive factor—in the former case, with help from the pope, in favor of the suffragan, in the latter case against the recalcitrant subordinate. There is some reason to believe that Hincmar discerned the true character of the documents; he was learned enough to do so, but he seems to have deprecated the controversy that must follow, if he spoke out boldly; and, moreover, he was not unwilling, on occasion, to use the decretals for his own purposes and to beat his enemies with their own weapons. It is probable that Rothad carried the decretals to Rome in 864 and laid them before Pope Nicholas I. The first sure intimations that Nicholas knew of them appear in his Christmas address of that year and in a letter of Jan., 865, to the Frankish bishops, both utterances being in regard to Rothad's contest with Hincmar. Adrian II., in 871, quotes a decretal of the Pseudo-Anterus, and a synodal address of 869, probably composed by Adrian himself, has more than thirty citations from the Pseudo-Isidore's collection; it is noteworthy as the first extensive use of the false decretals in favor of the claims of the Roman see. In the reform movements of the eleventh century their full possibilities and effect were disclosed. In Germany the first citations are in the acts of synods at Worms (868), Cologne (887), Metz (893), Tribur (895), and—at greater length—Hohenaltheim (916). At Gerstungen (1085) both the Gregorian and the imperial parties appealed to the false decretals; and an utterance of the papal legate (who afterward became Pope Urban II.) and the Saxon bishops concerning them is noteworthy for its doubting and contemptuous tone. They were introduced into England by Lanfranc. Spain they reached only as embodied in the later collections of canons. It was these collections which did most for their acceptance and dissemination. The oldest which embodies Pseudo-Isidorian material (A2) is the Collectio Anselmo dedicata, made, probably in Milan, between 883 and 897. Others followed (see CANON LAW, II., 5, § 1), and a collection made in Italy under Leo IX. about 1050 is little more than a compendium of the Pseudo-Isidoriana (250 of its 315 chapters are from the forgery). When it was admitted to Gratian's Decretum, its acceptance became absolute.

    With the possible exception of Hincmar and the guarded expression of the Synod of Gerstungen, no one raised his voice against the forgeries till the fifteenth century. Then Heinrich Kalteisen of Coblenz, Nicholas of Cusa, and Juan Torquemada challenged the decretals of Clement and Anacletus. In the next century suspicion extended as far as Siricius (Erasmus; two editors of the Corpus juris canonici, Charles Du Moulin, 1554, and Antoine Le Conte, 1556; Georgius Cassander, 1564). The "Magdeburg Centuries" (1559) and David Blondel (1628) brought the full and incontestable proof. For the history of criticism since then, see the bibliography.

    II. The Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis:

    As already stated (I., § 2, above), the Pseudo-Isidore took as the basis of his work the so-called Hispana Gallica Augustodunensis or manuscript of Autun. In the early Middle Ages the Spanish collection of canons (Collectio canonum Hispana, MPL, lxxxiv.; see CANON LAW, II., 4, § 2) was current in Gaul in a very corrupt text (the Hispana Gallica; represented by Cod. Vindobon., 411 sæc. IX. ex.), many of its readings being quite unintelligible. The Augustodunensis (represented by only two manuscripts—both unedited—Cod. Vat. 1341 sæc. XI. ex. and Cod. Berol. Hamilton 132 sæc. IX.) presents this text with numerous changes, some of them attempts at emendation which improve the grammar and make sense—though they increase the deviation from the genuine Hispana and often change the meaning—but others very striking substitutions and additions. These changes are based in part on genuine sources (the Dionysio-Hadriana and Hibernensis), in part are pure inventions which show the aims, prejudices, and tendencies of the Pseudo-Isidore. The entire scheme for protecting bishops against charges and deposition (see I., § 5, above) is already thought out. The additions (noted above, I., § 2) are made up by the Pseudo-Isidore's compilatory method (see I., § 3, above). The date of the recension must fall between 845 and 848, most probably about 847. Thus all data indicate that the Augustodunensis was produced by the Pseudo-Isidore himself. It may be considered as paving the way for the Pseudo-Isidoriana in double manner—a preliminary exercise in falsification by the forger (or forgers) and a means of preparing the public later to receive the more ambitious attempt.

    III. The Capitula Angilramni:

    This is a short collection of seventy-one brief chapters, most of them relating to charges against clerics, especially bishops, and thus treating of the Pseudo-Isidore's chief theme. It is now generally agreed that they are forgeries, that neither Angilram, bishop of Metz, nor Pope Adrian I. (772-795), whose names are connected with them (see ANGILRAM), had anything to do with them, and that they are closely connected with the Pseudo-Isidoriana. They are usually added as an appendix to manuscripts of the latter of the complete form (A1). Probably they were


    prepared independently of the Pseudo-Isidoriana and were used as one of its sources. Most of them appear there in the decretals of Julius and Felix II. as promulgated by the Council of Nicæa. The relation to Benedict's capitularies is uncertain; each work seems to have used the other, and the question of priority can not be determined. Since they were used by Benedict, they must at least have been begun before 848, and their use by the Pseudo-Isidore shows they were completed before 851. More definite determination of authorship and place of composition is impossible. The chapters are first mentioned by Hincmar in 870 with an implied doubt of their genuineness.

    IV. Benedict Levita:

    1. Contents and Description.

    At about the same time as the Pseudo-Isidoriana there appeared what purported to be a supplement to the collection of capitularies of Ansegis of Fontanella (see ANSEGIS, 1) made by "Benedict Levita" at the request of the late Archbishop Otgar of Mainz, chiefly from material preserved in the Mainz archives. The author declares that he has made no changes in the text of his sources and, like the Pseudo-Isidore, urges others to continue his work. The arrangementt of Benedict's collection is patterned closely after that of Ansegis. Like Ansegis, he begins with a metrical preface (seven distichs), followed by a prose preface (stating the origin, contents, and plan of the collection). Then comes a eulogy in verse (thirty-eight distichs) of the Carolingians from Pepin and Carloman to the sons of Louis the Pious. Three books (numbered v.-vii. in continuation of Ansegis i.-iv.) and four additions follow. The manuscripts differ little in text, but very much in extent, some containing only single books or mere fragments. Benedict's work often appears with Ansegis, but never with the Pseudo-Isidore or Angilram. The three introductory sections are to be considered a part of the original work, not a later addition. The chapters of the three books and additions iii.-iv (1,721 in all) are strung together without logical or historical order. References to authorities are seldom given, and repetitions are numerous (in book iii. more than 100 chapters, in addition iv. more than 90). All this was probably intentional, to hide the falsifications, although Ansegis seldom cites authorities, and Benedict says the repetitions are due to lack of time to sift the sources carefully. Addition i (found in only a few manuscripts) is the Capitulare monasticum of Aachen of July 10, 817 (MGH, Cap., i. 1883, 343-349); the preface calls it the conclusion of book iii., and it appears in some manuscripts with this book. Addition ii. is chaps. xxxv.-lxii. of the Episcoporum ad Hludowicum imperatorem relatio of Aug., 829 (MGH., Cap., ii., 1890, 39-51); according to the preface it was found later and inserted. Most of the capitularies of addition iii. are false. Addition iv. contains 170 excerpts from a larger number of sources and shows more resemblance to the Pseudo-Isidore; the title attributes the collection to Charlemagne.

    2. Sources and Treatment.

    The preface says that the collection includes capitularies of Pepin, Charlemagne, and Louis the Pious which were omitted by Angesis; only three passages of book i. are from other sources (the first three documents, from the letters of Boniface of Mainz; chap. ii. 1-53, from the Pentateuch; chap. iii. 1-122, from the Dionysio-Hadriana, said to have been prepared at the command of Charlemagne by Bishop Paulinus, Alcuin, and others). As a matter of fact, only about one-quarter of Benedict's capitularies are genuine, and many of these are interpolated. His forgeries are seldom pure inventions; most of them are genuine ecclesiastical documents (or excerpts from such) transformed (with no slight skill in imitating the legal style) into Frankish laws and freely altered. The Pseudo-Isidore's compilatory method is seldom followed. The "archives of Mainz" are purely imaginary (see § 3, below). For Benedict's use of Angilram, see III., above; for the relation of his work to the Pseudo-Isidoriana, see § 5, below. In general Benedict's sources, both immediate and ultimate, are the same as the Pseudo-Isidore's (see I., §§ 2 and 3, above). While, however, he fails to quote many documents from which the Pseudo-Isidore drew, he uses the acts of about thirty councils and the Breviatio canonum of Fulgentius Ferrandus, none of which were employed by the Pseudo-Isidore; he quotes Roman law more extensively and from a larger number of documents; besides the Lex Wisigothorum he makes excerpts from an ecclesiastical recension of the Bavarian law; and he uses the first and second capitularies of Theodulf of Orléans.

    3. Time and Place of Origin.

    The metrical preface fixes the terminus post quem of the completion of the work at Apr. 21, 847 (the date of Otgar's death). The terminus ante quem lies between 848 and 850. Addition iv. is relatively the latest part of the work (see § 5, below). The place of composition was certainly not Mainz, as was long believed on Benedict's own testimony, especially as the author's attitude toward the chorepiscopi and secularization does not fit East-Frankish conditions; and Rabanus, archbishop of Mainz in 847-856, knew nothing of the collection said to have been made in his metropolitan city by direction of his predecessor. Moreover, the alleged Mainz Levite appears to have known so little of the city that he located it on the wrong side of the Rhine. The animus and prejudices of the work, and the fact that it was first and most used in West Franconia, point to its origin there; and the close relations between Benedict and the Pseudo-Isidore (see § 5, below) indicate the archbishopric of Reims. If Benedict had never been in Mainz, of course his "archives of Mainz" are a fiction.

    4. Motive, Tendency, and Authorship.

    Benedict is far more comprehensive than the Pseudo-Isidore in the subjects he handles, and he even encroaches on the domain of purely secular legislation. His genuine material may have been included with the hope, secondarily, that something might be done to remedy abuses by calling attention to the actual law. Primarily, however, his genuine matter was only a framework for his inventions, and it is the latter which reveal his main motive. The Pseudo-Isidore's chief ideas recur, though sometimes in less developed form, so that


    Benedict's work bears the mark of an earlier and preparatory effort of the Pseudo-Isidorian circle, incited by the same conditions and environment (see § 5, below). It is not possible to identify the author more definitely, and it has long been recognized that "Benedict the Levite" is a pseudonym. Unlike "Isidore Mercator," it appears to have no reference to any actual personage; hence it is inadmissible to speak of the "Pseudo-Benedict." The additions (especially iv.) have been thought to be by another hand (see § 5, below); but there seems to be no convincing argument to establish a change of authorship.

    Like the Pseudo-Isidore, Benedict sets all sorts of restrictions in the way of charges against clerics, especially bishops, and makes a verdict against a bishop on actual trial almost impossible; he grants the exceptio spolii, but somewhat less developed. Provincial synods and metropolitans are subordinated to the pope. The activity of the chorepiscopi is restricted and their complete suppression is demanded, although here again Benedict does not go so far as the Pseudo-Isidore. Predatory secularisation is attacked with vehemence, and the reformer seeks to augment ecclesiastical revenues by arbitrarily increasing the taxes. In the realm of marriage law he violently opposed consanguineous unions. Secular jurisdiction over the clergy is annulled, but bishops are allowed to interfere in suits between laymen; worldly laws contrary to spiritual are invalid, and the king who infringes the canons or tolerates their infringement is subject to anathema; the emperor may undertake nothing contrary to the mandata divina. Here Benedict was confronted by a dilemma; the aim of his falsifications was to establish certain rights of the clergy on the authority of secular laws, and he had made them inapplicable. He accordingly set up the theory that laws of the State concerning the Church become valid only when they receive ecclesiastical approval; and by direct statement and inference he tried to convey the impression that the capitularies of his collection had been given papal or synodal confirmation.

    5. History and Relation to other Forgeries.

    Benedict's collection is first cited in the capitulary of Quiercy of Feb. 14, 857 (MGH., Cap., ii., 1890, 290). Thenceforth it appears in synodal acts (Quiercy, 858, etc.), in laws (capitularies of 860, 862, 864, etc.), in literature (Hincmar and others), and in collections of canons (from Herard, archbishop of Tours, 858, to Gratian) on a par with Ansegis. Its influence was greater in West than in East Franconia or in Italy, and can not be compared with that of the Pseudo-Isidoriana. Pierre Pithou, in his edition of 1588, first declared that many of Benedict's capitularies are false, and while his opinion did not find general acceptance, nearly all modern scholars believe Benedict's collection to be a conscious attempt to deceive. The Augustodunensis was one of Benedict's sources (cf., e.g., i. 401, iii. 109, 391). For his relation to Angilram, see III., above. His relation to the Pseudo-Isidoriana can not be dismissed with so few words. That at least the three books and additions (i., ii., iii.) preceded the Pseudo-Isidoriana seems indicated by the development evident in the latter (see § 4, above). The Pseudo-Isidoriana, therefore, can not have been one of Benedict's sources, though the capitularies of the latter may have been used by the Pseudo-Isidore, and the internal evidence of both works accords with the assumption here implied, even though some scholars assume common sources for the two collections. Addition iv. is peculiar in that it cites certain false decretals which are not found in the Pseudo-Isidoriana or which, if found there, are attributed to different popes; apparently the final revision of the forgeries had not been made in 848. The relation of addition iv. to the Pseudo-Isidoriana (and to Angilram) needs further investigation.

    V. Certain General Considerations:

    The close relations between all the forgeries have led many to believe that "Isidore Mercator" and "Benedict Levita" were one and the same, or (the latter being thought to be an actual personage; see IV., § 4, above) that "Isidore" was Benedict. Against this hypothesis are (1) the differences between Benedict and Isidore in certain tendencies (see IV., § 4, above) and in skill of workmanship (the latter showing much greater aptitude in fitting his forgeries into their genuine framework), and (2) the doubt whether one man could have done the enormous amount of work involved in so short a time. Because of this doubt many later investigators have assumed a group of collaborators, all working in common on the four forgeries under the guidance of a leading spirit who furnished the ideas, or less compactly organized, the Pseudo-Isidore and Benedict, for example, working in comparative independence on the parts assigned to them under instructions which secured the harmonious execution of the general plan and meeting for consultation from time to time as the work proceeded. However this may have been, it is no longer possible to explain the resemblance merely by assuming the use of common sources and similarity in point of view and feelings on the part of the authors, or that one copied from another's work without personal communication.

    Certain Roman Catholic scholars plead for a mild judgment of the Pseudo-Isidoriana on the ground that their aim and accomplishment was not innovation in canon law, but merely to give to the law as it was the authority of antiquity. Objections may be alleged against this point of view, but at the same time the effect of the forgeries on the development of the law must not be overestimated. Only when the Pseudo-Isidorian ideas accorded with the spirit of the time and had external support did they prove of practical moment. If they augmented the papal power, they were not the only or the chief factor which produced that result. The attempts to exalt the bishops, to free the Church from lay domination, and to make all synods dependent on the pope proved abortive; the primacy constructed by the Pseudo-Isidore had no influence on the Church constitution. The right of appeal to the pope, however, was established (see APPEALS TO THE POPE); the metropolitanate received a blow from which it never recovered; the chorepiscopi were suppressed in West Franconia; and the exceptio spolii became a part of canon and civil law.

    (E. SECKEL.)

    BIBLIOGRAPHY: The early ed. is in J. Merlin, Tomus primus quatuor conciliorum generalium, 2 vols., Paris, 1524 and Cologne, 1530, reprinted with prolegomena in MPL, cxxx.; a later ed. is P. Hinschius. Decretales Pseudo-Isidionaniœ et capitula Angilramni, Leipsic, 1863 (critical, from the oldest and best MSS.). Consult: F. Knust, De fontibus e


    consilio Pseudo-Isidorianf eolzectionis, Göttingen, 1832; F. C. von Savigny, Geschichte des römischen Rechts im Mitlelalter, ii. 99-106, 478-479, 2d ed., Heidelberg, 1834; MGH, Leg., ed. H. Knust, ii. 2 (1837), 19-39; J. O. Ellendorf, Die Karolinger and die Hierarchie ihrer Zeit, ii. 130-192, Essen, 1838; A. Möhler, in Gesammelte Sehriften, ed. Döllinger, i. 283-347, Regensburg, 1839; H. Wasserschleben, Beitrage zur Geschichte der falschen Decretalen, Breslau, 1844; A. F. Gförer, Untersuchung fibber Alter, Ursprung, Zweck der Decretalen des falschen Isidorus, Freiburg, 1848; W. B. Wenek, Das frankische Reich nach dem Vertrage von Verdun, pp. 382-424, Leipsic, 1851; J. Weizsacker, in ZHT, xxviii (1858), 327-430; idem, in Historiache Zeitschrift, iii (1860), 42-96; C. von Noorden, Hinkmar Embischof von Rheims, Bonn, 1863; J. J. I. von Döllinger, Der Papst and das Concil, Leipsic, 1869, Eng. transl., The Pope and the Council, Edinburgh, new ed., 1873; H. C. Lea, Studies in Church Hist., pp. 43-102, Philadelphia, 1869; F. Maassen, Geschiehte der Quellen and der Literatur des canonischen Rechts im Abendlande, Vol. i., pp. xxxi. sqq., 556 sqq., 710-716, 780 sqq., Gratz, 1870; idem, in NA, xviii (1892), 294-302; Thaner, in the Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Academy, lxxxix (1878), 601-632; Lapötre, Hadrien II. et les fausses décréales, in Revue des questions historiques, xxvii (1880), 371-431; C. H. Föste, Die Reception Pseudo-Isidors unter Nikolaus I. and Hadrian II., Leipsic, 1881; F. Rocquain, La Papauté au moyen-âgs, Paris, 1881; B. Jungmann, Dissertationes selectæ, iii. 256-320, Regensburg, 1882; H. Schrörs, Hinkmar, Erzbischof von Rheims, passim, Freiburg, 1884; A. Tardif, Hist. des sources du droit canonique, pp. 132158, Paris, 1887; E. Dummler, Geschichte des ostfränkischen Reichs, i. 231-238, vols. ii.-iii. passim, Leipsic, 1887-1888; P. Fournier, De l'origine des fausses décrétales, St. Dizier, 1889; J. Havet, Œuvres, i. 103 sqq., 271 sqq., 331 sqq., Paris, 1896; Hampel, in NA, xxiii (1897), 180-195; G. C. Lee, Hincmar, in Papers of the American Society of Church History, viii (1897), 229-260; Werminghoff, in NA, xxv (1900), 361-378; idem, in ADB, xlviii. 242-248; Seckel, in NA, xxvi (1900), 37-72; Marenier, De valsche Decretalen, Leeuwen, 1901; F. Lot, Études sur Ie règne de Hugues Capet, pp. 361-375, Paris, 1903; A. Hauck, Der Gedanke der Papatlichen Weltherrschaft bis auf Bonifaz VIII., pp. 3-7, 12 sqq., 17 sqq., Leipsic, 1904; the works on ecclesiastical law (Kirchenrecht) by G. Phillips, iv. §§ 173-176, ed. of Regensburg, 1851; J. F. von Schulte, Giessen, 1860; A. L. Richter, ed. Dove, §§ 26, 36-39, 43, 53, Leipsic, 1867; F. Walter, §§ 95-99, 14th ed., Bonn, 1871; J. B. SIgmuller, Freiburg, 1900-04; and E. Friedberg, pp. 46-47, 121-124, 281, Leipsic, 1903; Schaff, Christian Church, iv. 266-273; Neander, Christian Church, iii. 346 sqq., Milman, Latin Christianity, iii. 58-66, v. 398; Hauck, KD, ii. 522-533; KL, x. 600-824; Rettberg, KD, vol. i.; DCA, i. 539-540.

1 Hinschius' edition of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals also contains the following documents which are not included by the author of the present article among either the genuine or the spurious portions: decretal of Damasus to Paulinus on the condemnation of certain heretics (pp. 499-501); three decretals of Siricius (pp. 520-525); four letters of Innocent I. (pp. 527-533); eighteen more letters of the same pope (pp. 544-553); two decretals of Zosimus (pp. 553-554); three decretals of Boniface I., and a reply from Honorius (pp. 554-556); three decretals of Celestine I. (pp. 556-561); thirty-six decrotals of Leo I. with a rescript of Flavian, bishop of Constantinople, and a letter of Ravennius (pp. 580-627); another decretal of Leo I. (pp. 629-639); three decretals of Hilary (pp. 630-632); one decretal of Simplicius and a letter of Acatius, bishop of Constantinople (pp. 632-633); three decretals of Felix III. (pp. 633-635); Gelasius, De recipiendis et non recipiendis libris (pp. 635-637); two decretals of Gelasius (pp. 650-654); a letter of Anastasius II. to the Emperor Anastasius (pp. 654-657); a letter of Symmachus (p. 657); a decretal of Hormisdas and replies (pp. 686-694); decretal of Vigilius to Profuturus (pp. 710-712); and three decretals of Gregory the Great (pp. 732-735).


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