Albricus / Albericus / Albricius
La sua biografia è alquanto scarna. Studiò a Cambridge e Oxford, diventando un eccellente filosofo e medico. Forse il vero nome era Alexander Neckam, nato a St. Albans nel 1157 e morto nel 1217.
Sotto lo pseudonimo di Albricus scrisse il Liber Ymaginum Deorum o De deorum imaginibus, che forse è la stessa opera pubblicata dalla biblioteca Gallica sotto il titolo di Allegoriae poeticae: seu de veritate ac expositione poeticarum fabularum libri quatuor Alberico londonensi authore (Paris, Joannis de Marnef, 1520).
molto interessanti sono presenti in
e meritano di essere riprodotti integralmente.
scrive è una certa Yatima.
a strange short article of Joannis Opsopoeus at
are some excerpts:
quote] "An old Chronicle from the Austin Friars at York [now in
the collection of the Earl of Arundel, 6 fol. 135v] informs us that
Alexander Neckam was born in September A.D. 1157 at Sanctus Albanus [St.
Albans] on the same day as Richard [Coeur-de-Lion] was born at
Windeshore [Windsor], and that Alexander's mother Hodierna ["She
of Today"] suckled Alexander at her left breast and Richard at
her right. Alexander was educated in the abbey school at S. Albanus
and later at the University of Paris, where he had become a professor
by 1180. He returned to England in 1186 and later became a professor
at Oxford, where he lectured on the Song of Songs to anyone who had a
mature mind and sublime intelligence [maturi pectoris & sublimis
under the name Albricus (or Albericus, suggesting whiteness)
Londoniensis [of London], he described all the gods in the book called
Liber Ymaginum Deorum [Book of the Images of the Gods - codex Vat.
3413]. This book was based on the Pythagorean Doctrines of Ambrosius
Theodosius Macrobius [c. 400 CE], a Hellene [i.e., Pagan] who wrote
about Vergilius and the Saturnalia, and of Martianus Capella [fl.
410-30 CE]. In his account of the gods he also relied on manuscripts
from Servius [c. 400 CE] and Donatus [mid 4th cent.], who both knew
many things about Vergilius. [Servius'commentary on the first six
books of the Aeneid survives, as does Donatus' Life of Vergilius. Also
extant are Macrobius' Commentary on the Dream of Scipio and Martianus'
Marriage of Mercury and Philology.] Based on these ancient books he
attempted to set down the true meanings of the Images he described. In
this way Albricus brought the Olympians back to Europe, and made
possible the Renaissance. When the star exploded and burned for six
months [the supernova of 1181], the Sardae Sagae [Wise Women of
Sardinia] took Albricus to their subterranean temple and initiated him
into the fuller meaning of the Secret Images [Imagines Arcanae]. [The
Sagae are, presumably, the Gianae and the temple in question is their
images were also used to hide the teachings of the followers of Peter
Waldo (the Waldenses), the "Poor Men of Lyons," for the
barbe, their preachers, began to preach after A.D. 1176, when Albricus
was in Paris. Already in A.D. 1179 Pope Alexander III had forbidden
the preaching of the Waldenses, and in A.D. 1184 the corrupt Pope
Lucius III declared the Poor Men to be heretics because they advocated
the simple life of the country dwellers [pagani].
Petrarca [Petrarch, 1304-74], who wrote the Trionfi, knew the Images
of Albricus, and even saw the Sardinian cave, which he described
[Africa, Canto III, 140-262] as the Hall of King Syphax (but he hid
its location by placing it in Numidia). These descriptions were
collected into a little book about the Images of the gods [i.e. the
Libellus de Imaginibus Deorum, c. 1400], which was also put under the
Parrasio Michele of Ferrara [d. 1456] put together these Images, and
they were later used by Pope Pius II and Cardinals Bessarion and
Nicholas of Cusa at the council in Mantua (Vergilius' birthplace) that
lasted from June A.D. 1459 to January A.D. 1460, but the cards were
not well received by them, for they were considered Heretical or even
Pagan. In later times this series of images were called the Tarocchi
del Mantegna [Tarot of Mantegna], after the Paduan painter Andrea
della Mantegna [1431-1506], or the Carte di Baldini [Cards of Baldini],
after Baccio Baldini [fl. 1460-85], for these artists also illustrated
the Trumps [Triumphi]. Ludovico Lazzarelli made them into a book, De
Gentilium Deorum Imaginibus [On the Images of the Gods of the Gentiles,
c. 1471 CE, codex Vat. Urb. 716]." [end quote]
That Albricus invented the Renaissance regarding his humanist interest
in the gods, which he described in the Book of the Images of the Gods
- codex Vat. 3413 in the late 12th century.
That he was introduced in the subterranean pre-historic Sardinian
temple Ta Rat' and initiated into the fuller meaning of the Secret
Images displaced there – seemingly being the role-model for the
Tarot trumps as such!
That the Waldenses used the same images for their secret teachings.
That Petrarca for his Trionfi knew the Images of Albricus, and even
saw the Sardinian cave, which he described [Africa, Canto III,
That the images of God are the basis for the Mantegna Tarot, when
Parrasio Michele of Farrara put together these Images, and they were
later used by Pope Pius II and Cardinals Bessarion and Nicholas of
Cusa at the council in Mantua.
replica Ross a Yatima:
can't judge his biographical knowledge of Albricus, but I think he has
made up the temple of Ta Rat' and the stories associated with it (although,
given Opsopaus' learning, there must be a kernel of truth to it).
the texts and the references there, he has followed very closely the
order of the information given by Seznec in "Survival of the
Pagan Gods" (I have a 1993 French edition, where this discussion
of Albricus and his influence on Petrarch is given on pp. 200-210).
Seznec's work remains the fundamental study - everybody should have it.
Seznec's article on this subject from the "Dictionary of the History of Ideas" is on the internet
has this to say about Albricus, about half way down the page (volume
3, p. 289 if you have the printed edition) –
special interest in this group is a Liber imaginum deorum, whose
author, “Albricus,” has been identified with the Mythographus
Tertius, who might be Alexander Neckham (1157-1217); after all sorts
of vicissitudes, it is abridged into a Libellus de imaginibus deorum,
and illustrated, at last, around 1420. To sum up, both the
“plastic” and the “literary” traditions result, by the end of
the medieval period, in a very mixed Olympus. Whether a Hellenistic
model was distorted by an Arabic copyist—ignorant, of course, of
mythology; or whether Juno or Jupiter was painstakingly fabricated by
a conscientious miniaturist from a mosaic of descriptive texts—the
outcome is always a set of barbaric figures.
These metamorphoses, however, are highly instructive: they
reveal the unexpected channels and circuitous routes through which
antique culture was transmitted; they also provide the key to puzzling
problems of late medieval and early Renaissance art. The reliefs in
Giotto's campanile, the capitals in the Ducal Palace in Venice, the
frescoes in the Cappella degli Spagnuoli, become fully intelligible
only by reference to Arabic or Babylonian inspirations. As for the
Libellus, which was designed as a handbook for artists, it is the
source of a whole series of French, Flemish, and Italian miniatures,
sculptures, and tapestries. It will serve, even beyond the fifteenth
century, as a pictorial code of mythology."
notes the Mantegna images that bear similarity to the medieval
mythographic tradition. He also notes that one scholar claimed that
the council of Mantua had something to do with it, but that this
speculation is unsubstantiated. I'll see if I can find it. I remember
it was a German article.
to sum up, Opsopaus' "Prefatio ad lectorem" is a fictional
use of a lot of factual data, and some reasonable guesses. The 22
images of the Ta Rat' are, however, unattested elsewhere to my
knowledge. I assume he has made up this story. All of which is
entirely legitimate, in the world of magic.