Sedulius Scottus (‘the Irishman’)
His writings are numerous and include commentaries on classical Latin grammarians. They also include an exposition of Matthew's gospel and the Pauline epistles. Two bilingual Graeco-Latin copies of the psalter, and one each of the gospels and Pauline epistles, are among the manuscripts associated with the circle of Sedulius, which suggests a knowledge of Greek within the group. The copy of Priscian's ‘Institutiones grammaticae’, written within the circle of Sedulius, is heavily glossed in Old Irish and Latin, and is a monument of Old Irish glossography. The manuscripts associated with Sedulius and his circle are therefore of very great importance for the history of medieval Irish culture. The names of his fellow scholars include Fergus, Donngus, Dubthach (qv) son of Máel-tuile, Dúngal (qv), and Iohannes, who has been identified with the great John Scottus Eriugena (qv).
Sedulius is perhaps best known for the eighty-three poems he composed in a variety of classical Latin metres for his patrons, friends, and colleagues, which rank him as the most skilful poet of his day. His poetry can still be appreciated for its inventive freshness, delicacy of sentiment, and humour. Among the addressees are his patron, Hartgar of Liège, Bishop Hilduin of Cologne, Eberhard of Friaul, and Hatto of Fulda. He also wrote a treatise on kingship, ‘On Christian rulers’, dedicated to Louis II, son of Lothar, written in a mixture of verse and prose. It expresses a royalist view of kingship, whereby the monarch rules by divine right, with an absolute power over prelates and lay subjects alike. In addition, he compiled florilegia of miscellaneous citations on various topics from classical, Late Latin, and Hiberno-Latin sources, which testify to a considerable acquaintance with rare works of classical Latin authors, including Vegetius, Frontinus, and Valerius Maximus, and with other material, some of which is now lost.