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John the Deacon of Rome (Hymmonides)


Author of the vita of gregory the great; b. c. 824;d. before 882. Probably a monk of monte cassino, he belonged to the court of charles the bald for some time and subsequently (after 875) was a member of the entourage of Pope john viii (872882). At John's request he wrote the Vita Gregorii Magni [Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne 217 V., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 75:59242], which is considered the best biography written in the period. For this work he used Gregory's register, quoting it extensively, and these extracts are still important for the study of papal registers, particularly Gregory's. John is reputed to be the author of several other works, some of which are extant. He planned an extensive history of the Church for which his friend anasta sius the librarian translated fragments for the Greek writings of Nicephorus, george syncellus, and theophanes, but the plan was never realized. At the request of gauderich of velletri he began a Vita s. Clementis Romani, but this work is lost. He rewrote in verse the apochryphal Coena Cypriani (ed. A. Lapôtre), attributed to St. cyprian. John's authorship of the Epistola ad Senarium remains doubtful; however, his authorship of the Commentary of St. John Chrysostom on the Pentateuch is more probable. It is believed that he contributed to the account of Pope adrian ii in the liber pontificalis, and that he acted as papal secretary to john viii.

Bibliography: a. lapÔtre, "Le Souper de Jean Diacre," Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 21 (1901) 305385. m. manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, 3 v. (Munich 191131) 1:689695. g. arnaldi, "Giovanni Immonide e la cultura a Roma al tempo di Giovanni VIII," Bullettino dell'Istituto storico italiano per il medio evo e Archivio Muratoriano 68 (1956) 3389.

[j. j. muzas]

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