|Archbishop of Canterbury|
|Term ended||30 July 734|
|Other post(s)||Abbot of Breedon-on-the-Hill|
|Consecration||10 June 731|
|Died||30 July 734|
|Feast day||30 July|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Eastern Orthodox Church
Tatwine[a] (c. 670–734) was the tenth Archbishop of Canterbury from 731 to 734. Prior to becoming archbishop, he was a monk and abbot of a Benedictine monastery. Besides his ecclesiastical career, Tatwine was a writer, and riddles he composed survive. Another work he composed was on the grammar of the Latin language, which was aimed at advanced students of that language. He was subsequently considered a saint.
Tatwine was a Mercian by birth. His epigraph at Canterbury stated that when he died he was in old age, so perhaps he was born around 670. He became a monk at the monastery at Breedon-on-the-Hill in the present-day County of Leicestershire, and then abbot of that house. Through the influence of King Æthelbald he was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury in 731 and was consecrated on 10 June 731. He was one of a number of Mercians who were appointed to Canterbury during the 730s and 740s. Apart from his consecration of the Bishops of Lindsey and Selsey in 733, Tatwine's period as archbishop appears to have been uneventful. He died in office on 30 July 734. Later considered a saint, his feast day is 30 July.
Bede's commentary on Tatwine calls him a "vir religione et Prudentia insignis, sacris quoque literis nobiliter instructus" (a man notable for his prudence, devotion and learning). These qualities were displayed in the two surviving manuscripts of his riddles and four of his Ars Gramattica Tatuini.
The Ars is one of only two surviving eighth-century Latin grammars from England. The grammar is a reworking of Donatus's Ars Minor with the addition of information drawn from other grammarians, such as Priscian and Consentius. It was not designed for a newcomer to the Latin language, but rather for more advanced students. It covers the eight parts of speech through illustrations drawn from classical scholars, although not directly but through other grammatical works. There are also some examples drawn from the Psalms. The work was completed before Tatwine became archbishop, and was used not only in England but also on the Continent.
It is almost certain that Tatwine was inspired to develop the culture of riddle-writing in early medieval England because he had read the Epistola ad Acircium by the West-Saxon scholar Aldhelm (d. 709), which combined studies of Latin grammar and metre with the presentation of one hundred hexametrical riddles. Frederick Tupper believed that Aldhelm's influence was minimal, but subsequent scholars have argued that Tatwine's riddles owed a substantial debt to those of Aldhelm.
Tatwine's riddles deal with such diverse topics as philosophy and charity, the five senses and the alphabet, and a book, and a pen, yet, according to Mercedes Salvador-Bello, these riddles are placed in a carefully structured sequence: 1–3 and 21–26 on theology (e.g. 2, faith, hope, and charity), 4–14 on objects associated with ecclesiastical life (e.g. 7, a bell), 15–20 on wonders and monsters (e.g. 16, prepositions with two cases), 27–39 on tools and related natural phenomena (e.g. 28, an anvil, and 33, fire), with a final piece on the sun's rays.
Tatwine's riddles survive in two manuscripts: the early 11th-century London, British Library, Royal 12.Cxxiii (fols. 121v–7r) and the mid-11th-century Cambridge, University Library, Gg.5.35 (fols. 374v–77v). In both manuscripts, they are written alongside the riddles of Eusebius: it seems clear that Eusebius (whose identity is uncertain) added sixty riddles to Tatwine's forty to take the collection up to one hundred.
Tatwine gives a sign in one of the riddles of the growing acceptance among scholars in the Christian west of the legitimacy of philosophy: "De philosophia: est felix mea qui poterit cognoscere iura" (Of Philosophy: happy is he who can know my laws). The riddles are formed in acrostics.
An example of Tatwine's work is enigma 11, on the needle:: 178
|Latin original||English translation|
Torrens me genuit fornax de uiscere flammae,
Brought forth in the fiery womb of a blazing furnace,
Tatwine's riddles are on the following topics.
|Number||Latin title||English translation|
|2||de spe, fide (et) caritate||hope, faith (and) charity|
|3||de historia et sensu et morali et allegoria||historical, spiritual, moral, and allegorical sense|
|9||de cruce Xristi||Christ's cross|
|13||de acu pictili||embroidery needle|
|15||de niue, grandine et glacie||snow, hail and ice|
|16||de pr(a)epositione utriusque casus||prepositions with two cases|
|19||de strabis oculis||squinting eyes|
|20||de lusco||the one-eyed|
|23||de trina morte||threefold death|
|26||de quinque sensibus||the five senses|
|27||de forcipe||a pair of tongs|
|30||de ense et uagina||sword and sheath|
|36||de uentilabro||winnowing fork|
|40||de radiis solis||rays of the sun|