63 This letter was sent after the departure of Mellitus with the band of new missionaries from Rome to Britain (see Prolegomena, p. xxvi.), being intended to reach him while still in France. In the date given at the end there is evidently an error with regard to the day of the month. For several of the letters sent by Mellitus being dated 10 Kal. Jul. (i e. June 22), this, which was subsequent, cannot have been originally dated xv Kal. Jul. (i.e June 17). The Indiction is given correctly. Gregory had directed King Ethelbert (XI. 66) to destroy the heathen temples. He now sees reason to modify any such orders.
64 See above, Epp. XXXV., XXXVI., in this book, and I.34, note 8, there referred to.
65 If the marriage of the parents, Venantius and Italica, took place as connjectured in the note to I.34, in the eleventh Indiction (a.d. 592-3) and this letter was written in the fourth (a.d. 600-1), the daughters would not be more than seven or eight years of age. Still, even at this early age, their betrothal may have been contemplated with a view to their settlement in life. But Venantius may have married earlier than 592-3, soon after his return to a secular life, and so the girls may have been a little older. Neither, however, if our dates are right, could be more than ten years old.
67 Viz. John, bishop of Syracuse. See above, Ep. XXXVI.
68 On the meaning of this word, see XII., note 3.
2 Victor was Primate of Numidia. See IV. 34, note 4.
3 This subdeacon John appears to have bee at this time the pope's representative to Ravenna, the seat of the exarch of Italy.
4 The reference is to the conduits or aqueducts for supplying water to Rome, which it was the duty of the officer called "praefectus", who appears to have been at ths time resident at Ravenna, to keep in order.
5 Romanus had been appointed guardian (defensor) of the patrimony in Sicily. See IX. 18.
6 This was a case of a native of Sicily, who had been ascriptuss glebae, having been appointed a Defensor Ecclesiae. The purpose of the epistle is to guard against his supposing that such appointment exempted his children from the restrictions imposed by their birth.
7 Sed et superscribi terram eorum. The meaning may be that notices should be put on the land to which such defaulters were attached, declaring that such and such persons belonged to it and were boond to remain on it. Cf. V. 41, note 3, on the phrase titulos imponere.
9 For the custom in Africa with regard to the primacy, see I.74, note 9.
10 At this time primate of Numidia. See preceding epistle.