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Humbert of Silva Candida


Papal legate and adviser, canonist and publicist; b. Lorraine c. 1000; d. Rome, May 5, 1061. The events of his early years are unknown until 1015, when he entered moyenmoutier as a novice. His studies centered on law and theology, and he became concerned with the problem of the temporalspiritual relationship and with the east ern schism. Humbert also learned Greek, which later proved useful in the dispute between Rome and Constantinople, 105354. His career from c. 1035 to 1049 cannot be delineated exactly, but two things seem certain: he became associated with Bruno of Toul (later Pope Leo IX), and he began his career as a writer, initially as a hagiographer.

Humbert's main period of influence was from 1050 to 1061, covering the reigns of four popes. Late in 1049 Leo IX brought Humbert to Rome and first created him archbishop of Sicily and later cardinal bishop of Silva Candida. His opposition to ecclesiastical abuses, together with Leo's reforming zeal, made Humbert an ideal instrument of reform. Already in 1050 he had condemned the heresiarch Berengarius of Tours. Humbert's subsequent activities marked him a legate, a theologian of the school of St. Cyprian, and a strong proponent of Roman primacy (see primacy of the pope).

As a legate he went to Benevento in 1051 to recover that city for the papal patrimony; and in 1054, on the mission to Constantinople, Humbert's correspondence leaves no doubt that his was an intransigent attitude. He began by hoping to win the Greek Emperor and Church over to the papacy; he ended by excommunicating the Patriarch michael cerularius and alienating Greek sympathy. Meanwhile Leo IX had died, and the legates returned to Rome.

The cardinal continued as a papal adviser. He accompanied Victor II to Germany in 1056 and then went to Monte Cassino where he had his old colleague, Frederick of Lorraine, elected as abbot. Frederick presently became Pope Stephen IX (Aug. 5, 1057). This event promised an even greater degree of influence for Humbert. Stephen appointed him chancellor and librarian of the Roman Church, in which capacity he directed the papal chancery and helped to formulate policy. But Stephen died on March 29, 1058, and the papacy fell into schism.

Some historians, like A. Michel, have exaggerated Humbert's part in the subsequent pontificate of Nicholas II. Certainly he participated in formulating the Papal Election Decree (see popes, election of), in the NormannoPapal alliance (1059), and in measures against simony. But Humbert's was not the only voice. Late in 1060 Humbert visited Moyenmoutier and then returned to Rome, where he died and was buried in the Lateran.

The question of Humbert's influence is integrally related to the problem of the authenticity of writings attributed to him. His main work was the Libri tres adversus simoniacos (105458); but Michel and others have attributed to him such other works as the vitae of Saints, hidulf and Deodat of Moyenmoutier, Bruno's privileges, the Pseudo-Wido, works on the Greek Schism (105354), papal privileges (105161), the Vita Leonis IX, the Collection in 74 Titles (see canonical collec tions before gratian) and the 105960 synodal decrees at Rome. The authorship of these works can never be decisively proved, but certainly Humbert's ideology fits most of them. Moreover, Humbert's known works sufficiently indicate that he identified the problems and solutions commonly regarded as the gregorian reform, such as the separation of temporal and spiritual jurisdiction, and opposition to lay ownership of church property. At times Humbert's influence was disastrous, as in 1054. His theological extremism, rejecting the validity of heretical (and simoniacal) sacraments, brought him into unsuccessful conflict with peter damian. With Damian and Hildebrand (see gregory vii) he ranks as one of the great churchmen of the 11th century.

Bibliography: Texts of Pseudo-Wido and Libri tres adversus simoniacos, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (Berlin 1826) 1:57, 100253. Patrologia latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 143:9291218. For a discussion of works, see articles by haller, michel, pelster, tritz, ullmann, and krause, Studi gregoriani, ed. g. b. borino, 17 (Rome 19471960). a. michel, Humbert und Kerullarios, 2 v. (Paderborn 192430); "Die folgenschweren Ideen des Kardinals Humbert," Studi gregoriani, ed. g. b. borino, 1 (1947) 6592. j. j. ryan, "Cardinal Humbert De s. Romana ecclesia, " Mediaeval Studies, 20 (1958) 206238. j. gilchrist, "Cardinal Humbert of SilvaCandida (d. 1061)," Annuale Mediaevale, 3 (1962) 2942; "Humbert of Silva-Candida and the Political Concept of Ecclesia, " Journal of Religious History 2 (1962) 1328.

[j. gilchrist]

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