Julian of Speyer
Often called JULIANUS TEUTONICUS.
A famous composer, poet, and historian of the thirteenth century, b. at Speyer, d. at Paris about 1250 (not in 1285, as is so often stated). He studied at the celebrated University of Paris, and was the musical director at the royal chapel during the reigns of Philip Augustus (1179-1223) and Louis VIII (1223-6) of France. When he resigned to become a member of the newly founded Order of St. Francis is not known. But it is certain that Julian accompanied Brother Simon Angelicus to his native land when the latter was made Provincial of Germany by the General Chapter of Assisi in 1227. It is probable that he was present at the translation of St. Francis at Assisi in May, 1230. Subsequently he again lived in Paris at the great convent of the Minorites, where he was choir-master as well as corrector mensae (in which capacity he superintended the reading in the refectory). He is renowned as a scholar, artist, and a saintly religious. Although, in the Middle Ages, Julian of Speyer was held in high repute as the composer and writer of rhymed offices, he was almost forgotten until the last decade. It is certain that he composed the rhymed Office (technically termed historia in the Middle Ages) of St. Francis of Assisi (written between 23 February, 1229, and 4 October 1235), as well as that of St. Anthony of Padua who was canonized on 30 May, 1232 (composed probably shortly after 1241).
Both these musical, as well as poetical, masterpieces are still used by the
Minorites. The acme of liturgical narrative poems, these works are equally
distinguished for the harmony, rhythm, and rhyme of the verses, and for their
sublime expressiveness as musical compositions. Of their kind they are unequaled.
Only a few sentences in the third nocturn (the antiphons) were written by Pope
Gregory IX and the cardinals; the remainder is all Julian's composition. Even
outside the Franciscan Order the rhythmic structure has been often copied, whole
verses being frequently taken (especially from the
Historia rhythmica of St.
Francis), and these plagiarisms set to Julian's melodies without any alteration.
It is not known how much of the poetical narrative of St. Dominic (d. 1221),
used on his feast by both Franciscans and Dominicans, belongs to Julian of
Speyer. Some portions at least of the Mass formula of Sts. Francis and Anthony
are undoubtedly the musical and poetical composition of Julian. Only in the last
decade was Julian recognized as the author of the
Legenda S. Francisci - partly
published in the
Acta SS., October, II, 548 sqq., and published in full in
Analecta Bollandiana, XXI (1902), 160-202-and of the
Vita ab auctore anonymo
of St Anthony of Padua, printed in the
Acta SS., June; II, 705 sqq.
D'ARAULES in Revue Franciscaine, XXIX (Bordeaux, 1899), 214 sqq., IDEM in Voix de St-Antoine (Paris, 1899), 167 sqq.; IDEM, La Vie de St-Antoine de Padoue par Jean Rigauld, O. F. M (Bordeaux and Brive, 1899); WEIS, Julian von Speier (d. 1285). Forschungen zur Franziscus- und Antoniuskritik, etc. (Munich; 1900); IDEM, Die Choräle Julians von Speier zu den Reimoffizien des Franciskus- und Antoniusfestes (Munich, 1901); D'ALENCON, De Legenda S. Francisci a Fr. Juliano de Spira conscripta (Rome, 1900); Anal. Bolland., XIX (Brussels, 1900), 321 40; XXI (1902), 148 202; FELDER, S. Francisci Ass. et S. Antonii Pat. Offlcia rhythmica. Die liturgischen Reimoffizien, auf die hhl. Franciscus und Antonius, gedichtet und componirt durch Fr. Julian von Speier (d. c. 1250) (Freiburg, 1901); OLIGER in the Archiv. Francisc. Hist., I (Quaracchi, 1908), 45-9.
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