Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 542 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LIBER PONTIFICALIS, or GESTA PONTIFICUM ROMANORUM (i.e. book of the popes), consists of the lives of the bishops of Rome from the time of St Peter to the death of Nicholas I. in 867. A supplement continues the series of lives almost to the close of the 9th century, and several other continuations were written later. During the 16th century there was some discussion about the authorship of the Liber, and for some time it was thought to be the work of an Italian monk, Anastasius Bibliothecarius (d. 886). It is now, however, practically certain that it was of composite authorship and that the earlier part of it was compiled about S30, three centuries before the time of Anastasius. This is the view taken by Louis Duchesne and proportion of the seamen employed on men-of-war and merchant ' substantially by G. Waitz and T. Mommsen, although these ships in these tropical waters. Many of the indigenous races scholars think that it was written about a century later. The of Liberia in the forest belt beyond 40 M. from the coast still practise cannibalism. In some of these forest tribes the women still go quite naked, but clothes of a Mahommedan type are fast spreading over the whole country. Some of the indigenous races are of very fine physique. In the Nidi country the women are generally taller than the men. No traces of a Pygmy race have as yet been discovered, nor any negroes of low physiognomy. Some of the Krumen are coarse and ugly, and this is the case with the Mende people; but as a rule the indigenes of Liberia are handsome, well-proportioned negroes, and some of the Mandingos have an almost European cast of feature. to deal mainly with philology, throws a wonderful light on the the present department of Lambayeque. The Western Cordillera relationships and history of the native tribes of Liberia. although large areas appear to be uninhabited forest, other parts are most densely populated, owing to the wonderful fertility of the soil. The native tribes belong more or less to the following divisions, commencing on the west, and proceeding eastwards: (I) Vai, Gbandi, Kpwesi, Mende, Buzi and Mandingo (the Vai, Mende and Mandingo are Mahommedans) ; all these tribes speak languages derived from a common stock. (2) In the densest forest region between the Alamo and the St Paul's river is the powerful Gora tribe of unknown linguistic affinities. (3) In the coast region between the St Paul's river and the Cavalla (and beyond) are the different tribes of Kru stock and language family—De, Basa, Gibi, Kru, Grebo, Putu, Sikora, &c. &c. The actual Kru tribe inhabits the coast between the river Cestos on the west and Grand Sesters on the east. It is known all over the Atlantic coasts of Africa, as it furnishes such a large was consecrated according to the Catalogus Liberianus on the 22nd of May. His first recorded act was, after a synod had been held at Rome, to write to Constantius, then in quarters at Arles (353-354), asking that a council might be called at Aquileia with reference to the affairs of Athanasius; but his messenger Vincentius of Capua was compelled by the emperor at a conciliabulum held in Arles to subscribe against his will a condemnation of the orthodox patriarch of Alexandria. In 355 Liberius was one of the few who, along with Eusebius of Vercelli, Dionysius of Milan and Lucifer of Cagliari, refused to sign the condemnation of Athanasius, which had anew been imposed at Milan by imperial command upon all the Western bishops; the consequence was his relegation to Beroea in Thrace, Felix II. (antipope) being consecrated his successor by three " catascopi baud episcopi," as Athanasius called them. At the end of an exile of more than two years he yielded so far as to subscribe a formula giving up the " homoousios," to abandon Athanasius, and to accept the communion of his adversaries—a serious mistake, with which he has justly been reproached. This sub-mission led the emperor to recall him from exile; but, as the Roman see was officially occupied by Felix, a year passed before Liberius was sent to Rome. It was the emperor's intention that Liberius should govern the Church jointly with Felix, but on the arrival of Liberius, Felix was expelled by the Roman people. Neither Liberius nor Felix took part in the council of Rimini (3J9). After the death of the emperor Constantius in 361, Liberius annulled the decrees of that assembly, but, with the concurrence of SS. Athanasius and Hilarius, retained the bishops who had signed and then withdrawn their adherence. In 366 Liberius gave a favourable reception to a deputation of the Eastern episcopate, and admitted into his communion the more moderate of the old Arian party. He died on the 24th of September 366. His biographers used to be perplexed by a letter purporting to be from Liberius, in the works of Hilary, in which he seems to- write, in 352, that he had excommunicated Athanasius at the instance of Liber contains much information about papal affairs in general, and about endowments, martyrdoms and the like, but a considerable part of it is obviously legendary. It assumes that the bishops of Rome exercised authority over the Christian Church from its earliest days. The Liber, which was used by Bede for his Hisloria Ecclesiastica, was first printed at Mainz in 1602. Among other editions is the one edited by T. Mommsen for the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Gesta Romanorum pontificum, Band i., but the best is the one by L. Duchesne, Le Liber pontificalis: texte, introduction, commentaire (Paris, 1884-1892). See also the same writer's Etude sur le Liber pontificalis (Paris, 1877); and the article by A. Brackmann in Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopadie, Band xi. (Leipzig, 1902).
End of Article: LIBER PONTIFICALIS, or GESTA PONTIFICUM ROMANORUM (i.e. book of the popes)

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