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Julian of Speyer


Known also as Julianus Teutonicus, early Franciscan poet, liturgist and musician; d. Paris c. 1250. As a youth he left his home of Speyer, the imperial city in the upper Rhine valley, for the new University of Paris to study music. Before long he was promoted to magister cantus (master of song) at the court of the French king. In Paris sometime after 1227 he joined the brothers of Saint Francis of Assisi in their new center of studies. For over 20 years he served the student brothers of the Franciscan Order at the "Grand Couvent des Cordeliers." His task was to oversee the proper singing of the Divine Office and to correct mistakes in public reading during the liturgy, meals, and other community gatherings. Trained in the rhythmic tradition he composed two Offices with musical notation for francis of assisi and anthony of padua. The former, dating from c. 123132, was later included in the Ordinal of haymo of haversham and became widely used throughout the Latin Church until the liturgical reform of Pius V in the 16th century. Much of the textual composition of the Office is drawn from thomas of celano's Life of St. Francis, but it further develops the significance of the stigmata. Shortly after the composition of these two versions of the Divine Office, Julian wrote two lives, Life of St. Francis and Life of St. Anthony. The former likewise draws from the work of the same title composed earlier by Thomas of Celano. Julian's life about the saint from Assisi is much shorter and, as it was written for the formational needs of his younger brothers in Paris, it is more pastoral and practical, intimately connected with the liturgical themes of the Divine Office for Francis of Assisi.

Bibliography: r. armstrong, w. hellmann, w. short, eds., "Divine Office of St. Francis," in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, v. 1 (New York 1999), 311360; "Life of St. Francis," ibid., 363420; bibliography. j. miskuly, "Julian of Speyer: Life of St. Francis," Franciscan Studies 49 (1989), 93117. j. strayer, ed., "Rhymed Offices," in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, v. 10 (New York 1988), 366377.

[j. a. w. hellmann]

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