Vol. 1: A seculo VI usque ad 803
During the episcopate of Maximian, the bishop of Ravenna (4th of October 546-22nd of February 556/7); traditionally, but wrongly, dated to 21st of February 547.

Maximian, the bishop of Ravenna, endows the monastery of St. Andrew and the church of St. Mary in Pula.

The original charter is lost; the text of the donation is known from a much later copy (made on the 4th of December, 1657, in the form of a narrative) that existed in the Archive in Pula and which was consulted by De Rubeis (cf. Previous Editions); this 17th-century copy, however, features only a partial transcription of the donation charter and it is nowadays lost; thus, the text of the charter is thus only known from De Rubeis’ transcription of the 1657 partial copy.
Previous Editions
Bernardo Maria De Rubeis, Monumenta Ecclesiae Aquileiensis commentatio historico-chronologico-critico illustrata (Venice 1748), cols. 192–94 (partial transcription of the 1657 transcript).
Pietro Kandler (ed.), Codice diplomatico istriano, 2nd ed. (Trieste 1986), pp. 58-59, doc. 21 (an attempt at a reconstructive edition based entirely on De Rubeis' partial transcription).
FIM Edition
Adapted replica of De Rubeis’ edition of the nowadays lost 1657 transcript (parts in italics signal the narrative written by the public notary, the parts in regular font the lines of the charter).

A dì 4. decembre 1657 in Pola.


Santo Massimiano patriarca di Ravenna fu di Pola, di cui nella cancellaria episcopale si trova una donazione fatta d’alcuni beni alla chiesa della Madonna di Canneto, la qual donazione fu stipulata in Pola sotto il consolato di Basilio: e ciò concorda col Baronio, che anno Domini 546 a dì 21 febbraio fa menzione di esso santo.

La donazione è sottoscritta dal medesimo santo Massimiano in questa forma:

Servus Christi Maximianus, per gratiam Dei episcopus sanctae ecclesiae catholicae Ravennatis inclitae urbis et cetera.

E poi confermata dal patriarca d’Aquileia, da Trugifero2 vescovo di Trieste, Germano vescovo di Bologna, Isacio vescovo di Pola e Theodoro vescovo di Brescia. La sottoscrizione del patriarca di Aquileia è tale:

Macedonius episcopus sanctae catholicae Aquileiensis ecclesiae, rogatus de praesenti a domino fratre meo beatissimo viro Maximiano patriarcha sanctae ecclesiae Ravennatis, qui mei praesentia subscripsit huic donationi ab eodem factae monasterio beati Andreae apostoli, vel basilicae sanctae Mariae vel eisdem locis deservientibus, ipso praesente testis subscripsi, statuens una cum fratribus meis episcopis et cetera.

E’ notabile in questa antichissima scrittura che i suddetti patriarchi per umiltà si chiamano vescovi, e dagli altri son nominati col proprio titolo.


Belle sono le parole, quasi nel fine della donazione, indicanti l’ubbidienza alla Santa Romana Chiesa, madre e universal maestra, videlicet:

Contra quam donationem meam, optimo maturoque perfectam consilio, nunquam me successoresque meos ituros esse polliceor, obtestans divinam misericordiam et apostolicae sedis reverentiam salutemque principis Romanum gubernatis imperium, et cetera.

Io, Geronimo Querengo, cancelliero episcopale e per la veneta autorità nodaro publico di Pola, fui presente al ritrovamento de’ suddetti corpi santi; e attesto, aver fatto copiare le scritture nella presente registrate da loro originali, co’quali concordano. In fidem et cetera.
Quanto all’historie et erudizioni, avendo cosi dettato monsignor reverendissimo vicario Bartiroma, mi rimetto.

Nos Aloysius Marcello Dei et apostolice sedis gratia episcopus Polensis. Universis et cetera fidem facimus et attestamur suprascriptum dominum Hieronymum Querengum esse talem qualem se facit; eiusque scripturis et subscriptionibus hic et ubique semper adhibitam fuisse et in praesenti adhiberi fidem. In quorum et cetera.

Datum Polae in nostro episcopali palati die 6 decembris 1657. Aloysius episcopus Polensis.

Critical apparatus

1) om. De Rubeis.
2) Scribal error for Frugiferius, the bishop of Trieste featured in several 6th-century inscriptions. Cf. Inscriptiones Italiae, vol. X/3: Histria septemtrionalis (Rome 1936), n. 168; vol. X/4: Tergeste (Rome 1951), nos. 295-296.
3) om. De Rubeis.

Selected Bibliography
Miloš Fon, "Istrska cerkev od Justinijanove obsodbe Treh poglavij do izbruha shizme," Zgodovinski časopis 63/1-2 (2009): pp. 81-82.
Editor's Notes

This is all that nowadays remains of the donation charter that had been discovered and partially transcribed in 1657 in Pula. Based on this text, Kandler came up with his highly imaginative reconstructive edition, methodologically so flawed (he, for example, changed the "Theodoro vescovo di Brescia" mentioned by Geronimo Querengo into "Theodoro Petinensi" as in the completely imaginary bishop of Pićan) that it should not be used in any historical analysis of 6th-century Church.

The critics of the authenticity of the donation charter often point out the discrepancy in the dating elements: the charter being purportedly issued on the 21st of February 546, but Maximian becoming the bishop of Ravenna only on the 4th of October, 546 (see the source here). This criticism does not stand.

Namely, the text hereby edited - and this is the only text that remains of this charter - makes no mention of the date of the issuing of this charter other than stating that it was issued "sotto il consolato di Basilio", that is, in the years after the consulship of Basilius the younger, which fit the timeframe of Maximian's years as the bishop of Ravenna (546-556/7).

The date "IX. Kalendas martii anno DXLVI sub consulato Basilii" is entirely fictional: it was first made up by Johann Ludwig Schönleben in his Carniola antiqua et nova sive annales sacro-profani inclyti Ducatus Carniolae, vol. 1, pars 2 (Ljubljana 1680), p. 304. where he wrote:

"Sanctus Maximianus Ravennas Episcopus patria Polensis Ecclesiae beatae virginis in Caneto diaecesis Polensis in Istria fundos quosdam donat 9 Cal. martii anno 546. Subscribunt donationi Macedonius patriarcha Aquileiensis, Trugiferus episcopus Tergestinus, Germanus Bononiensis, Isaacius Polensis, Theodorus Brixinensis, ut habet relatio Aloysii Marcelli Polensis episcopi anno 1658 edita."

The dating "9 Cal. martii anno 546" was turned into "IX Cal. martii anno DXLVI" by De Rubeis who rightly criticized Schönleben for his erroneous reporting and dating of the donation charter:

"Alius est Schönlebenii lapsus dum scribit datum diploma fuisse IX. Cal. martii anno DXLVI. Minus recte fortasse Italica verba Libelli intellexit, quibus Baronius Maximiani memoriam celebrare dicitur die 21 februarii anno Domini DXLVI. Ait scilicet Baronius in Martyrologio in notis ad eadem diem: ‘Consecratus his est episcopus sub consulatu Basilii quinto, anno Domini DXLVI’." (De Rubeis, cited above, col. 193).

Therefore, the dating of the charter simply stems from Schönleben's erroneous reading of the document hereby edited, just as De Rubeis pointed out back in 1748. Why the subsequent generations of historians decided to disregard De Rubeis' observations will remain a mystery, but Kandler's edition certainly did not help.

Once the dating element is removed from the equation, there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the donation charter in question. Moreover, bishop Frugiferus of Trieste, transcribed erroneously as Trugiferus, is attested as the bishop of Trieste in the 6th-century (cf. note 2 in the critical apparatus).

Finally, the sanctio of the charter, luckily reported verbatim by Geronimo Querengo, fits the mid-6th century formularies. Cf. the following sanctio:

Contra quem donationem nullo tempore nullaque ratione me posteros successoresque meos venturos esse polliceor, invocato tremendi diem iudicii et salutem invictissimi principis obstestans Romanum gubernantis imperium.

This sanctio comes from a document, preserved in original, issued in Ravenna on the 4th of April, 553 (Tjäder, Die nichtliterarischen Papyri, doc. 13). Compared to the sanctio of Maximian's donation:

Contra quam donationem meam, optimo maturoque perfectam consilio, nunquam [loco nullo tempore nullaque ratione] me [posteros] successoresque meos ituros [recte: venturos] esse polliceor, [invocato tremendi diem iudicii et salutem invictissimi principi] ob[s]testans divinam misericordiam et apostolicae sedis reverentiam salutemque principis Romanum gubernantis Imperium.

The parts optimo maturoque perfectam consilio and, especially, divinam misericordiam et apostolicae sedis reverentiam are unique to this charter, but the latter addition at least can be explained as added in the context of the Schism of the Three Chapters.

In conclusion, there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the donation charter of Maximian, but the document cannot be dated more precisely; only as "issued during the years of Maximian as the bishop of Ravenna". Moreover, the document does not attest to any sort of "founding" of these religious institutions or edifices, simply of endowing them with unspecified goods.

How to Cite
First citation: Josip Banic (ed.), Fontes Istrie medievalis, vol. 1: A seculo VI usque ad 803, doc. 547_MD, (last access: date).
Subsequent citations: FIM, 1: doc. 547_MD.