Peter Hibernicus (DNB00)

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PETER Hibernicus, de Hibernia or de Isernia (fl. 1224), jurisconsult, was probably of Irish birth. He became a subject of the emperor Frederick II, who sent him in 1224 to teach law in the newly established university of Naples (Lib. iii. Ep. 11, of Petri de Vineis Epistolæ, ed. 1566). Peter de Hibernia taught Thomas de Hibernia, a learned Franciscan [see under Thomas], and Thomas Aquinas before 1243 was taught physical science at Naples by Master Peter de Hibernia (Acta Sanctorum, March 1, p. 660). In some manuscripts of the emperor Frederick's letter appointing the professor of law at Naples his initial appears as B or R, and his surname as de Isernia. It is probable that the jurisconsult is identical with a Master Peter de Isernia, to whom another letter in De Vineis's collection is addressed (Lib. iii. Ep. 10). The second letter is generally (Huillard-Bréholles, Hist. Diplom. Frederici Secundi, ii. 449) ascribed to the pen of Frederick II, and dated, like the first, June 1224. Ficker (Böhmer, Regesta Imperii V, No. 1537) is, however, of opinion that the second letter was written by Conrad IV in 1252, as the writer speaks not of founding but of restoring a university at Naples. The writer states that he has heard good reports of Peter's character, and remembers the faithful services rendered by Peter to his father. He invites Peter to give lectures in Naples, in return for a payment of a certain number of ounces of gold; the number varies in the manuscripts. Another letter in a Berlin manuscript of De Vineis's collection (Lib. iv. Ep. 8) is addressed to scholars, and laments the death of Master Peter de Hibernia, a grammarian. But De Vineis's printed edition of 1566 adds to the obscurity in which Peter's career is involved by substituting in this letter the name of Bernhard in one passage and Master G. in another for that of Peter. Peter de Hibernia, the tutor of Thomas Aquinas, was buried in the convent of Aquila, in the province of Abruzzo Molie (Wadding, Ann. Min. iv. 321, ad an. 1270). According to Tanner, Peter de Hibernia wrote theological works.

[Tanner's Bibliotheca; Tiraboschi's Storia della Letteratura Italiana, IV. i. 48, 125–6, ii. 286; Petri de Vineis Epistolæ, ed. 1566 and 1609.]

M. B.