Era
Vol. 1: A seculo VI usque ad 803
Date
Between 776 and 780
Place
Regestum

Pope Adrian I writes to Charlemagne, the King of the Franks and the Lombards, beseeching him to direct Duke Marcarius of Friuli to help reinstate the Istrian bishop Maurice – whose eyes have been gouged out by “the most abominable Greeks” – to his bishopric.

Source
Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex 449: Codex epistolaris Carolinus; 9th-century copy (the only copy, autograph is lost), digitized and available online here (B).
Edition
Wilhelm Gundlach (ed.), “Codex Carolinus,” in Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini aevi I, Monumenta Germaniae historica, Eppistolae 3 (Berlin 1893), doc. n. 63, p. 590.
Transcription

Domino excellentissimo filio, Carolo regi Francorum et Langobardorum atque patricio Romanorum.

Hadrianus papa.

Credimus, quod iam vestrae a Deo protectae excellentiae auribus pervenisset de episcopo Mauricio Histriense: qualiter, dum eum fidelem beati Petri et nostrum cognovissent nefandissimi Greci, qui ibidem in praedicto territorio residebant Histriense, et dum per vestram excellentiam dispositus fuit pręnominatus Mauricius episcopus, ut pensiones Beati Petri, qui in superius nominato territorio reiacebant, exigeret et eas nobis dirigere debuisset, zelo ducti tam predicti Greci quamque de ipsis Histriensibus eius oculos eruerunt, proponentes ei, ut quasi ipsum territorium Histriense vestrae sublimi excellentiae tradere debuisset.

Propterea petimus a Deo protectam excellentiam vestram, amantissime fili et magne rex, ut iubeas dirigere Marcario duci praecipiendum, ut iam factum Mauricium episcopum, qui in visione vestrae excellentiae praesentatus est, ut eum in suo episcopio reverti faciatis pro vestrae animae mercede, eo quod ipse iam dictus episcopus ad nos properavit et nos eum iterum direximus ad Marcario duci Foroiuliense, ut, qualiter a vobis fuerit dispositus, ita peragere debeat.

Et hoc petimus excellentiam vestram: ut per vestrum congruum dispositum ipse adpraehendatur, prout salus populi, qui ibidem commoratur, proveniat.

Incolomem excellentiam vestram gratiam superna custodiat.

Selected Bibliography
Dorine van Espelo, “A Testimony of Carolingian Rule? The Codex epistolaris Carolinus, Its Historical Context, and the Meaning of imperium,” Early Medieval Europe 21/3 (2013): pp. 254–282.
Giuseppe Cuscito, “Anitche testimonianze cristiane a Cittanova d’Istria,” Atti del Centro di ricerche storiche Rovigno 19 (1989): pp. 57–73.
Miljenko Jurković, “Il ciborio di Novigrad (Cittanova d’Istria),” Hortus artium medievalium 1 (1995): pp. 143–151.
Miljenko Jurković and Ivan Basić, “Élites ecclesiastiche e renovatio: tradizioni tardoantiche nell’ arte di VIII e IX secolo in Istria,” in Ideologia e cultura artistica tra Adriatico e Mediterraneo orientale (IV–X secolo): Il ruolo dell’autorità ecclesiastica alla luce di nuovi scavi e ricerche, eds. Raffaella Farioli Campanati et al. (Bologna 2009), pp. 289–302.
Editor's Notes

The letter clearly demonstrates the growingly close relations between the Holy See and Charlemagne, the victor over the Lombards in Italy.

Istria was at the time of the writing of this letter still a region that was de iure under the potestas of the Eastern Roman Empire; hence the derogatory term “nefandissimi Greci” to refer to the pro-Eastern Empire factions in Istria.

Bishop Maurice was obviously of different political views and he supported the Frankish-Papal alliance that ultimately emerged victorious.

Identification of this “Istrian bishop Maurice” with the episcopal see of Novigrad is based on the late-8th-century ciborium that was discovered in Novigrad that features the following text:

HOC TIGMEN LVCEFLO ALMOQVE BAPTISTERIO DIGNO MARMORE [ERECTUM ?] MAVRICIVS EPISCOP[VS] O[BT]VLI D[E]O SUMMO E STVDIO DEVOTE PECTORE TOTO. BEATE IOHANIS V [...]ER[...]ERRE SE DELEARIS PLURA NOSTR[A CRIMINA ?] [...]SA SE COGNOSCAMV[S] IN QVID NOS [VEHAT ?] IN PARADISI VITALIS REGNA. (see picture below, the fragments are currently displayed in Novigrad, Muzej-Museo Lapidarium)

Shortly after the issuing of this letter (terminus ante quem 791, see the document here), Charlemagne indeed annexed Istria to his kingdom.

How to Cite
First citation: Josip Banic (ed.), Fontes Istrie medievalis, vol. 1: A secula VI usque ad 803, doc. 776_HPC, fontesistrie.eu/776_HPC (last access: date).
Subsequent citations: FIM, 1: doc. 776_HPC.
Image
Image Source and Info

The images of the manuscript were downloaded from the official webpages of Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.

The editor has subsequently marked the folios with two red arrows to signify the beginning and the ending of the letter that is hereby edited.

The detail of Maurice's ciborium, featuring the line MAVRICIVS EPISCOPVS, was downloaded from the official webpages of the Muzej-Museo Lapidarium in Novigrad.

The illustration of the fragments of the cibroium and its text is taken from Cuscito 1989: p. 71 (see the edition under the Selected Bibliography field).