|Short Name:||Jacopone, da Todi|
|Full Name:||Jacopone, da Todi, 1230-1306|
Jacobus de Benedictis, commonly known as Jacopone, was born at Todi in Umbria, early in the 13th century, his proper name being Jacopone di Benedetti. He was descended from a noble family, and for some time led a secular life. Some remarkable circumstances which attended the violent death of his wife, led him to withdraw himself from the world, and to enter the Order of St. Francis, in which he remained as a lay brother till his death, at an advanced age, in 1306. His zeal led him to attack the religious abuses of the day. This brought him into conflict with Pope Boniface VIII., the result being imprisonment for long periods. His poetical pieces were written, some in Italian, and some in Latin, the most famous of the latter being "Cur mundus militat sub vana gloria" (possibly by Walter Mapes), and the "Stabat Mater dolorosa." Archbishop Trench says of him:—
“An earnest humourist, he carried the being a fool for Christ into every-day life. The things which with this intent he did, some morally striking enough, others mere extravagances and pieces of gross spiritual buffoonery—wisdom and folly, such as we often find, side by side, in the saints of the Roman Calendar—are largely reported by Wadding, the historian of the Franciscan Order, and by Lisco, in a separate monograph on the Stabat Mater, Berlin, 1843, p. 23. These often leave one in doubt whether he was indeed perfectly sound in his mind, or only a Christian Brutus, feigning folly, that he might impress his wisdom the more deeply, and utter it with more freedom." Sacred Latin Poetry, 3rd ed., 1874, p. 268.
Sketches of the life and writings of Jacopone, drawn entirely from the original sources (Trench), have been published as follows:—
(1) By Mohnike, Studien Stralsund, 1825, vol. i. pp. 335-406; (2) by Ozanam, Les Poétes Franciscains en Italie au Treizieme Siecle, Paris. In addition there are articles in the Biographie Universelle; Macmillan’s Magazine, Aug., 1873; and the Encyclopedia Britannica , 9th ed.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
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