Profana

1200px-San_Vincenzo_al_Volturno
Abbazia di San Vincenzo al Volturno

This is part 1 of 3.

Cum nefanda gens Agarenorum ceteras terrarum partes depraedantes, incendentes ac subvertentes consumerent, tandem profana turba impiorum, cuius manus sunt contra omnes, necdum humano sanguine satiata, omnibus bestiis atrociores, ad pretiosi Martyris Vincentii sacrum coenobium furibunda procedit. moris tunc erat monachorum utriusque cenobii Beatissimi Vincentii, et Sanctissimi Benedicti caritatis gratia se invicem sedule visitare. cum igitur die quadam ad praedictum coenobium fratres quidam monasterii Casinensis de more abissent, et de suo ad invicem ordine loquerentur, repente illuc Saugdan saevissimus cum suis satellitibus supervenit. cuius monachi rumore comperto, qui advenerant ad castellum ipsius monasterii proximum, maturato cursu, nimis licet pavidi, incolumes tamen aufugerunt. quod ubi a Dei servis auditum est in monasterio, ilico omnem ecclesiae thesaurum absconderunt. ipsi vero non timore territi, sed constantes atque intrepidi, invicem se cohortantes, paucis tantum relictis senioribus aetate et vita venerabilibus ad ecclesiae munimina, reliqui omnes cum subiectis sibi famulis in obviam procedunt venientibus ethnicis.
(John the Monk, Chronicon Vulturnense 1.362-363 Federici)

When the evil race of the Agarenes* had wasted other parts of these lands through plunder, fire, and destruction, at length this profane crowd of unbelievers, whose hands are against all, than whom no beast is more fierce, and who were not yet satiated with human blood, turned their fury against the monastery of the holy martyr Vincenzo. It was then the custom for the monks of both the monasteries of the most blessed Vincenzo and the most blessed Benedict through the grace of charity to visit each other regularly. When therefore some brothers of the monastery of Cassino were going one day to the aforesaid monastery, as was customary, and speaking to one another about their observance, suddenly the most savage Sawdan and his minions appeared. The monks heard a rumor of this, and went with the utmost haste to the castellum close to the monastery; although they were greatly afraid, they were able to flee in safety. When the servants of God in the monastery heard this news, they hid all the treasures of the church in that very spot. They themselves were not stupefied by fear, but constant and intrepid, and encouraging each other. They left a few of the elders, venerable in age and way of life, to take shelter in the church, while the remainder, with the servants subject to them, went to meet the arrival of the foreigners.

* A biblical name for Arabs—”the descendants of Hagar.”
** Sawdan had been the emir of Bari during the period when this port was in Muslim hands, 843-70. He was probably dead by 881, so the chronicler was in error. His name was included since he was known to be the leading figure in the attacks on southern Italy at this period.

(tr. Graham Loud, with his notes)

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