See also:middle ages to other persons in authority . Under the
See also:Empire the word
See also:prior is found signifying " ancestor." In the early middle ages it was commonly applied to secular officials and magistrates, and it remained all though the middle ages as the title of certain officials in the
See also:Italian city states . Noteworthy among these were the famous priores artis at Florence . These were appointed
See also:governors )f the Florentine republic when the Companies of the Arts seized the
See also:government in 1282 . The
See also:term prior was most commonly used to denote the Sh1)eriors in a monastery, at first with an indefinite significance, but later, as monastic institutions crystallized, describing certain definite officials . In the
See also:Rule of St Benedict and other early rules the titles praepositus and praelatus (see PRELATE) are generally used, but prior is also found signifying in a general way the superiors and elders in a monastery . When used by St Benedict in the singular number it seems (according to the commentator Menard) to denote the
See also:abbot himself . At a later date in the
See also:order of St Benedict the title was applied to the
See also:monk next in authority to the abbot, though this usage was not adopted technically until the 13th century . In some monasteries several priors were to be found and generally at least two . Thus we find the terms prior, sub-prior, tertius prior, quartus prior, quint us prior . The first prior was sometimes called prior major, sometimes prior claustralis . Occasionally both titles are found in one
See also:house, the latter ranking below the former .
The first prior acted as
See also:vicar in all matters in the
See also:absence of the abbot, and was generally charged with the details of the discipline of the monastery . With the foundation of the order of
See also:Cluny in the loth century there appeared the conventual prior who ruled as
See also:head of a monastery, but was subject in some degree to the archiabbas of the
See also:mother-house of Cluny . The
See also:Regular Canons later gave this title of prior to the heads of their houses, as did also the
See also:Carthusians and the
See also:Dominicans . It was in houses of these orders that the sub-prior became a regular official . Among the Dominicans the head of a province is known as the " prior provincial." In the order of St
See also:John of Jerusalem (q.v.) a priory was a
See also:group of commanderies ruled by a "
See also:grand prior." The term prior was applied also in the middle ages in a very general manner . Thus there was the prior scholae or
See also:leader of the
See also:choir, prior scriniariorum, &c . See Du Cange, Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis, new edition by L . Favre (
See also:Niort, 1883, &c.) ;
See also:Smith and S . Cheetham, edd .
See also:Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (1875-1880) . (E .
PRINTING (from Lat. imprimere, O. Fr. empreindre)
MATTHEW PRIOR (1664-1721)
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