Abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Admont in Styria, b. 1250; d. May 12, 1331
Engelbert, Abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Admont in Styria, b. of noble parents at Volkersdorf in Styria, c. 1250; d. May 12, 1331. He entered the monastery of Admont about 1267. Four years later he was sent to Prague to study grammar and logic. After devoting himself for two years to these studies he spent nine years at the University of Padua studying philosophy and theology. In 1297 he was elected Abbot of Admont, and after ruling thirty years he resigned this dignity when he was almost eighty years old, in order to spend the remainder of his life in prayer and study. Engelbert was one of the most learned men of his times, and there was scarcely any branch of knowledge to which his versatile pen did not contribute its share. His literary productions include works on moral and dogmatic theology, philosophy, history, political science, Holy Scripture, the natural sciences, pedagogy, and music. The Benedictine, Bernard Pez, mentions thirty-eight works, many of which he published partly in his “Thesaurus anecdotorum novissimus” (Augsburg, 1721), partly in his “Bibliotheca ascetica antiquo-nova” (Ratisbon, 1723-5). The best known of Engelbert’s works is his historicopolitical treatise “De ortu, progressu et fine Romani imperii”, which was written during the reign of Henry VII (1308-1313). It puts forth the following political principles: a ruler must be a learned man; his sole aim must be the welfare of his subjects; an unjust ruler may be justly deposed; emperor and pope are, each in his sphere, independent rulers; the Holy Roman Empire is a Christian continuation of the pagan empire of ancient Rome; there should be only one supreme temporal ruler, the emperor, to whom all other temporal rulers should be subject. He bewails the gradual decline of both imperial and papal authority, prophesies the early coming of Antichrist and with it the ruin of the Holy Roman Empire and a wholesale desertion of the Holy See. The work was published repeatedly, first according to the revision of Cluten (Offenbach, 1610); finally it was reedited by Schott and printed in the Supplement to the “Bibliotheca Patrum” (Cologne, 1622) and in “Maxima Bibliotheca veterum Patrum” (Lyons, 1677). Following are the most important of the other works of Engelbert which have been printed: “De gratiis et virtutibus beatae et gloriosae semper V. Mariae” (Pez, “Thesaurus”, I, pt. 1, 503-762); “De libero arbitrio” (ib., IV, pt. 2, 121-147); “De causa, longaevitatis hominum ante diluvium” (ib., I, pt. 1, 437-502); “De providentiae Dei” (Pez, Bibliotheca ascetica, VI, 51-150); “De statu defunctorum” (ib., IX, 113-195); “Speculum virtutis pro Alberto et Ottone Austriae ducibus” (ib., III, entire); “Super passionem secundum Matthaeum” (ib., VII, 67-112); “De regimine principum”, a work on political science, containing sound suggestions on education in general, edited by Hufnagel (Ratisbon, 1725); “De summo bono hominis in hac vita”, “Dialogus concupiscentiae et rationis”, “Utrum sapienti competat ducere uxorem” (the last three valuable works on ethics were edited by John Conrad Pez in “Opuscula philosophica celeberrimi Engelberti”, Ratisbon, 1725); “De musicae tractatus”, a very interesting treatise on music, illustrating the great difficulties with which teachers of music were beset in consequence of the complicated system of the hexachord with its solmization and mutation. The treatise was inserted by Gerbert in his “Scriptores ecclesiastici de musicae sacrae” (St. Blasien, 1784, anastatic reprint, Graz, 1905), II, 287 sqq.