Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/481

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.




the classics, must at least in some instances have 1m ic.kened hand-bells of larger size. See for example -Martial, "Epig.", xiv, 161, where the signal for the oj lining of the baths is made with a tintinnahulum alKi described as ens thermarum. None the less, the question whether anything corresponding in size to a church bell was known in pre-Christian times does not readily admit of an answer. We are not only ignorant of the dimensions but also of the shape of the KiiSuii' wliich was used for example to announce the opening of the pubhc markets (Cf. Strabo, Geogr., IV, xxi). We translate the word as bell, but it is possible that it would be more correctly rendered gong or cymbals. The officer who made the round of the sentries at night carried a kuiSuv (Thucyd., IV, cxxxv; .\ristoph., Aves, 842 sqq.), and it is difficult to believe that anything resembling an ordinary bell could have been used for a duty in which the avoidance of accidental noise must often have been of the highest importance.

In coming to the Christian period the same diffi- culty is encountered. A new set of terms is intro- duced, signum, campana, cheat, nola, which are all commonly translated "bell", and it is certain that at a later period these were all used to denote what were in the strict- est sense " church ■lis "of largesize. rill- first Christian writer who fre- iiucntly speaks of •lis {signa) is < irrgory of Tours (r.jSo). Weleam that they were struck or shaken, ai!;l we even find iiiriition of a cord '" iiig used fortius |i a rpose (Junem I II II m de quo sig- num commovetur, "De Vita Mar- tini", 1, xxviii), while as regards the use of these signa it appears that they rung before church services and that they roused the monks from their beds. Again, the word signum ap- pears in the almost contemporary "Life of St. Columban" (615), for when one of his monks was dying Columban is said to have assembled the community by ringing the bell (signo tacto omnes adesse imperavit, Krusch, "Scrip. Merov. ", IV, 85). Similar expressions, signo tacto, or cum exauditum fuerit signum, are used in Constitutions attributed to St. Caesarius of Aries (c. 513) and in the Rule of St. Benedict (c. 540). Moreover, if Dom Ferotin's view of the very early date of the Spanish ordinals which he has published (Monumenta Liturgica, V) could be safely accepted, it is possible that large bells were in common use in Spain at the same period. Still it must be remem- bered that signum primarily meant a signal and we must not be too hasty in attributing to it a specific instead of a generic meaning when first employed by Merovingian writers.

.\gain, the word campana, which even in the early Middle Ages undoubtedly meant a church bell and notliing else, occurs first, if ReifTerseheid's "Anec- dota Cassinensia" (p. 6) may be trusted, in South- em Italy (c. 515) in a letter of the deacon Ferrandus

Tower of Pisa

to Abbot Eugippius. It has been suggested from a Latin inscription connected with the -irval Brethren (C. I., L. VI, no. 2067) that it was pre\'iously used to mean some kind of brazen vessel. However no quite satisfactory examples of campana in church Latin seem to be forthcoming before the latter part of the seventh century, and it is then found in the North. It is used by Cummian at lona (c. 665) and by Bede in Northumbria (c. 710), and frequently elsewhere after that date. In Rome the "Liber Pontificahs" tells us that Pope Stephen II (752-757) erected a belfry with three bells (campance) at St. Peter's. It was probably this name whieh led Walafrid Strabo in the first half of the ninth century to make the assertion that bells were of Italian origin and that they came from Campania and more particularly from the town of Nola. Later writers went further and attributed the invention to St. PauUnus of Nola, but as St. Pauhnus himself in the minute description which he has left of his own church makes no mention of bells, this is extremely improbable.

The word clocca (Ft. cloche; Ger. Glocke; Eng. clock) is interesting because in this case it is definitely known what was meant by it. It was certainly Irish in origin and it occurs at an early date both in Latin and in the Irish form clog. Thus it is found in the Book of Armagh and is used by Adamnan in his life of St. Columbkill written c. 685. The Irish and Eng- lish missionaries no doubt imported it into Germany where it appears more than once in the Sacramentary of Gellone. It is plain that in primitive Celtic lands an extraordinary' importance was attached to bells. A very large number of ancient bells, more than sixty in all — the immense majority being Irish — are still in existence. Many of them are reputed to have belonged to Irish saints and partake of the character of relics. The most famous is that of St. Patrick, the clog-an-edachta or " bell-of-the-will " now preserved in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. There seems no serious reason to doubt that this was the bell which lay upon St. Patrick's breast and was taken from his tomb in the year 552. Like most of these bells it had an official and hereditary custodian (in this case named MulhoUand) in whose possession it remained, being handed down for centuries from father to son. Other similar early bells are those of St. Senan (c. 540) and St. Mura; there are several in Scotland ancl Wales, one at St. Gall in Switzerland, one known as the Saufang at Cologne, and another at Noyon in France. The evidence for the extraordinary venera- tion with which these bells were regarded in Celtic lands is overv\'helming. Even Giraldus Cambrensis notes in the twelfth century that upon them was taken the most solemn form of oath. They were also carried into battle, and though the earlier specimens- are nothing but rude cow-bells, wedge-shape in form and made of iron plate bent and roughly rivetted, still they were often enclosed at a later date in cases or " shrines " of the richest workmanship. The shrine of St. Patrick's bell bears an inscription of some length from which we learn that this beautiful specimen of the jeweller's craft must have been wrought about the year 1005. Historj' tends to repeat itself, and if we remember the important part played in the missionary work of St. Francis Xavier by the hand- bell with which he gathered round him the children, the idle, or the curious, we have probably a clue to the intimate association of these early Celtic bells with the work of Christianity. When in 1683 Father Maunoir, the great Breton missionary, had at last to re- linquish further expeditions, the bell which he handed on to his successor was regarded as a sort of investi- ture. It may be noted that the famous round towers of Ireland, which are now generally recognized to have been places of refuge against the inroads of the