THE LIFE OF ST. ILLTUD
Here begins the Life of Illtud, Abbot, November 6.
§ 1. Of the union of his parents and the birth of the boy.
Victorious Letavia (that is, Lesser Britannia, Brittany), a rich and successful province, powerful in arms, none greater in warlike fame, took its origin from its mother, Britannia. The daughter was taught by the mother; full success in war attends the daughter. British princes full of vigour, noble leaders, but formerly most noble heirs; afterwards being disinherited they lost their own, as aliens. Of these Bicanus was distinguished, a most famous soldier, illustrious by race and in military prowess. All his kindred were descended from conspicuous princes, but none was less of those who went before, for as the first were, so too was the last. Born so high and so famous from such, he must needs rejoice, because he came of most noble ancestors. He flourished and excelled in the service of his king, loved by king and queen, for they all magnified him, lavishing praises. So great a man of highest nobility desired to marry and to be succeeded by sons; he fulfilled his wish, marrying the daughter of Anblaud, king of Britannia, Rieingulid, called by this British name; when latinized it means regina pudica, modest queen. The most worthy name was bestowed in accordance with her desert, for before legal marriage she clung not to another attachment. Despising games, keeping to her chamber, she ever obeyed her mother’s behest. For whatever she said was apt, and in everything she did she acted advisedly, an excellent maiden, without reproach, marriageable, of ripe age, worthy of a husband. The people knew not of any more worthy of betrothal. Therefore messengers crossed the Gallic sea, they bring back the maiden, as a pearl precious and excelling in beauty, and her whom they brought back most lovely and most docile they entrust to the aforesaid prince in nuptial honour. These things being legally performed, as lawful wife she conceived, and after conception happily brought forth a son, as a fruit-bearing tree gives forth a most excellent blossom. In baptizing the boy and after the washing of regeneration the infant was named Iltutus, Illtud, to wit, ille, he, who is tutus, safe, from every fault. Blameless was he in the five stages of life, praised and beloved by all his fellow-citizens. His parents vowed to dedicate him to literature, and they dedicate him so vowed to be instructed in the seven arts. After instruction and after the knowledge taught was known to him, he laid aside the study of literature, applying himself to military training, not forgetting, however,through any negligence, anything which he had learnt. He was a man of such memory that once hearing an instruction of his master, he retained it in his heart ever after. To him were fully given the five keys, whereby he was wisely able to make known the unknown. None was more eloquent throughout Gaul than Illtud, the soldier, in discoursing philosophic eloquence.
Source: The Life of St. Illtud
- The Life of St. Illtud. 2016. The Life of St. Illtud. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/celtic/ctexts/illtud.html. [Accessed 06 November 2016].
- Image Wikimedia commons. 2016. File:St Illtyd in Holy Trinity Church, Abergavenny.jpg. [ONLINE] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/St_Illtyd_in_Holy_Trinity_Church%2C_Abergavenny.jpg. [Accessed 7 November 2016].