Ralph the Bald (ca.1025):
Early Appearances of Heresy, c. 970
VILGARD AT RAVENNA, AND OTHER DISTURBANCES
At that time also, mischief not unlike the above appeared at Ravenna. A certain man
named Vilgard occupied himself with more eagerness than constancy in literary studies, for
it was always the Italian habit to pursue these to the neglect of the other arts. Then one
night when, puffed up with pride in the knowledge of his art, he had begun to reveal
itimself to be more stupid than wise, demons in the likeness of the poets Vergil, Horace,
and Juvenal appeared to him, pretending thanks for the loving study which he devoted to
the contents of their books and for serving as their happy herald to posterity. They
promised him, moreover, that he would soon share their renown. Corrupted by these devilish
deceptions, he began pompously to teach many things contrary to holy faith and made the
assertion that the words of the poets deserved belief in all instances. But he was at last
discovered to be a heretic and was condemned by Peter, archbishop of that city.
Many others holding this noxious doctrine were discovered throughout Italy, and they
too died by sword and pyre. Indeed, at this same period some went forth from the island of
Sardinia--which usually teems with this sort of folk--to infect the people of Spain, but
they were exterminated by the Catholics. This accords with the prophecy of the apostle
John, in which he said that Satan would be released when a thousand years has passed. Of
this we shall treat more fully in a third book.
From the net. Uncertain of print source. If you know, send the info!
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© Paul Halsall, August 1998