1 Ariulph was the Lombard Duke of Spoletum, one of the principal cities in Italy occupied by the Lombards. For further reference to him cf. II. 29, 30, 46; IX. 98. He was at this time preparing, and suspected by Gregory of such intention, for an attack on Rome. Cf. Prologom. Velox (to whom this letter is addressed), and Maurilius and Vitalian (alluded to in it, are addressed in Epp. 29, 30), were Roman Generals (magistri militum) in command of imperial forces: but where they were is not apparent. From an allusion to Suana (or Soana) as within reach of the last two they may be supposed to have been somewhere in Tuscia.
3 Clero, nobilibus, ordini et plebi. Ordo seems to denote persons of official or other rank, above the commonalty, but below, the nobility. In some cases the corresponding address is to clero, ordini et plebi (as in I. 81; V. 26); in others to clero et nobilibus only. All such expressions shew that the election of bishops rested with the members, laity as well as clergy, of each church, though the bishop of Rome, wherever his jurisdiction extended reserved to himself the power of approving or disallowing the election. In the election at Naples, referred to in this Epistle, there appears to have been a difficulty in arriving at an unanimous choice. Other Epistles referring to the case are II. 9, 10, 15, 26; III 35. From the last of these it appears how it was eveentually settled. See especially note 6 under II. 9.
5 Maximianus had been a monk, and for a time abbot, in Gregory's monastery of St. Andrew at Rome, had accompanied him to Constantinople, and been recommended by him soon after his own accession, and elected Bishop of Syracuse (Joan. Diac. Vit. S. Greg. ii. 11, 12). He was highly esteemed by Gregory, and mentioned in His Dialogues as having been miraculously delivered from shipwreck on his return from Constantinople to Rome (Dialog. iii. 36. Cf. Hom. 34 in Evang.).His appointment now as delegate of the Roman See in Sicily would relieve Peter the subdeacon of his temporary jurisdiction over the ecclesiastics there. Maximianus died in November,a.d.594. See V. 17, 22. It is to be observed that the general authority now given to Maximianus was granted to him personally, and not permanently to the See of Syracuse.
6 He was bishop of Nepe, which as well as Naples, was in the urbicarien province of Rome. The filling up of the See of Naples appears to have been a cause of great anxiety to Gregory, probably because of the party feeling prevailing in the city. In his first letter to the Neapolitans (supra, Ep. 6), he had contemplated the speedy election of a new bishop in the usual way; but it appears from this Epistle that he had seen reason to defer such election, sending meanwhile Paulus of Nepe to administer the See. Some at least in Naples appear to have wished this Paulus to be elected soon after his arrival among them; but this Gregory would not allow till he could see better how things were going. Such provisional arrangement continued, it seems, for more than a year, another bishop having been commissioned to supply Paul's place in his own Church of Nepe against the Easter festival (II. 26). That Gregory's fear of opposition to Paul were justified appears from the subsequent mention of a violent attack made on him by a party opposed to him at Naples (III. 1). He meanwhile, not liking his position, had already been anxious to return to his own see (II. 15), but had not been allowed. When he went at last, it seems that an election had taken place, but had proved futile from the person chosen having refused to be ordained (III. 15). Eventually the election had taken place, by Gregory's direction, not at Naples, but at Rome (III. 35), one Fortunatus being chosen (III. 61). The whole history of the case illustrates the troubles incident to popular election of bishops at that time, especially in great cities.
12 Salona was the metropolis of the province of Dalmatia in the diocese of Illyricum Occidentale, and Natalis, in virtue of his occupancy of the See, the Ecclesiastical Metropolitan of the province. For Gregory's subsequent dealings with this bishop see II. 19, 20, 52; III. 8, 32. For the occassion of this Epistle, see I. 19, note 5.
13 This Antoninus was rector patrimonii in Dalmatia (see III. 22), and, though but a subdeacon, appears to have had the same kind of jurisdiction over the clergy given him in the pope's name even in ecclesiastical matters as had been committed Peter the subdeacon in Sicily. (See I. 1.)
14 This Malchus was a bishop in Dalmatia (cf. Lib. 1. Ep. 38, 'Ad Malchum episcopum Dalmatia,") and appears to have been in charge of some part of the patrimony there, for his administration of which he had been called to account, and was therefore summoned to Rome to clear himself. He died there suddenly after his case had been heard, and judgment had been given against him, Gregory being calumniosly accused of having caused his death. His case is referred to II. 20, 46; III. 22, 47; IV. 47.
15 This Epistle, as appears from the following, one was on the occasion of the election of John to the See of Justiniana Prima in Eastern Illyricum which, though annexed by the Emperor Cratian (379) to the Eastern Empire, had remained under the spiritual control of the Roman See. Accordingly Pope Damasus had assigned to the bishop of Thessalonica vicariate jurisdiction under Rome over the new proefecture: and this arrangement had continued to the time of Pope Vigilius, when the Emperor Justinian assigned to Achrida, called by him Justiniana Prima, Metropolitan jurisdiction over the five provinces of the Dacian civil diocese with the two Pannonias in the diocese of Illyricum Occidentale (Justin. Novel. cxxxi. c. iii.) Hence Justiniana Prima became the seat thenceforth of the ecclesiastical Vicariate also. The election to the See, being a metropolitan one, appears to have been made in this instance by the suffragan bishops with the concurrence of the Emperor; after which the Bishop of Rome was applied to for confirmation. In the case before us it was readily given, the pallium sent, and the vicariate jurisdiction renewed. A case will appear below in which such confirmation was refused, but dispensed with by the Emperor, who supported the elected bishop against the Pope. See III. 47, note 1.
17 Xenia. The term denotes, among other kinds of presents, such as were voluntarily offered to superiors, as by the people of a province to proconsuls. Those here referred to were such as it was the custom for bishops to send to the Pope after their ordination or from time to time. We find other instances of Gregory deprecating such presents. "The temporal Xenia which you have sent us, though we are in no need of such, we have nevertheless accepted with due charity.". (VI. 64, Ad Dominicam episcopum Carthaginensem.) The word is used also for presents of all kinds. Cf. e.g. the letter to Ethelbert (Xl. 66).
20 Other letters addressed to this patrician lady are IV. 46: VIII. 22: XI. 44: XIII. 22. She appears to have been a widow, no husband being alluded to, who had migrated with her family from Rome to Constantinople (cf. VIII. 2, and XIII. 22). She is spoken of in subsequent letters as a person of slender frame and weak health, and subject to gout. Her family, to whom greetings are always sent, being her children either by birth or marriage, were Appio and Eusebia, Eudoxius and Gregoria, the former, and perhaps the latter also, being a married couple. Strategius also, a son of Appio and Eusebia, apparently a child, has afterwards greetings sent to him. They had daughters also, whose names are not given.
30 Presbyterium. The term, as here used, means apparently a pecuniary allowance to presbyters. Cf. V. 33, Ad Gauaentiam Episcopum; "Fraternitatem tuam proesentibus hortamur affatibus ut clericis Capuanoe Ecclesioe quartam in presbyterium eorum de hoc quod ante dictoe ecclesioe singulis annis accesserit juxta antiquam consuetudinem distribuere secundum personarum studeat qualitatem, quatenus aliquod stipendiorum habentes solatium, ministerium officiumque suum circa eamdem ecclesiam devotiore mente provocentur impendere."