Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 88
Braulio, bishop of Saragossa (Iberian Peninsula) replies to an offensive letter of Tajo, presbyter in Saragossa, not later than in AD 631/632.
Letter 11
Domno meo Taio presbitero Braulio. Salo mentis quateris et procellosis tempestatibus inpatientie iactaris, ita ut eq<u>um sit dicere, 'modice patientie, quare turbaris?'. Adque utinam ita moberes, uta ad humilitatem confugeres et non ad conuicia et ad contumelias te conuerteres. Nam crede pro certo, coram Deo enim loquor, me causa iocus et non tui uituperii, quod etiam ipsa facetiositate facile est posse uidere, de illo asino in litteris meis conscribsisse in quo te ascendere ortaui. Tu e contra, uelut gragulus Isopius, superbia tumidus in camelo me iussisti ascendere et caput cabere ne in fores eclesie inpingerem. Minus quidem prudenter sed nec satis eliganter sta profudisti, deterius quidem ceteris premissis, nesciens quia caput nostrum, quod est Cristus, non inpingit in fores eclesie, fore in sinagoga Satane. Et ideo non nobis uidetur contumelia in uerbo set in sensu nec nescientiam usquequaque culpamus set animum tuum humiliorem esse uolumus, nam uirum humilem patientia ostendti iniurie, que quanta in te sit hac didici occasione.
Braulio continues his acrimonious respond quoting Virgil, Ovid and Terence. Eventually, he expresses his will to reconcile with Taio.
(ed. Riesco Terrero 1975: 82)
Letter 11
Braulio to my lord, the priest Tajo. Your thoughts are so agitated and you are so tossed by the stormy blasts of impatience that it is fair to say: „O thou of little patience, why art thou disturbed?” I wish you were equally moved to take refuge in humility, rather than to turn abuse and harsh words. For you may be quite sure, I say it with God as my witness, that, when I wrote about that donkey in my letter and told you to climb onto it, I was joking and not intending to censure you, which should be easy to understand from my facetious tone. You, on the contrary, became indignant, like Aesop’s jackdaw, and told me to go climb on the camel and to watch out not to bang my head on the church doors. This you poured out without much elegance, with less wisdom, and more evil purpose than on previous occasions, not realizing that our Head, which is Christ, does not hurl Himself against the doors of the church, though He may agains 'the synagogue of Satan'. The shame herein seems to us to lie not in the words but in the sentiment; we do not at all blame your ignorance, but we wish your attitude were more humble, for it is patient endurance of criticism which shows a man’s humility, and how much of that you have can be learned in the present situation.
Braulio continues his acrimonious response quoting Virgil, Ovid and Terence. Eventually, he expresses his will to be reconciled with Taio.
(trans. Barlowe 1969: 30-31)


The nature of the conflict between Bishop (or still Archdeacon) Braulio and Presbyter Taio is not entirely clear. We can assume that Braulio wrote a letter in which he chastised Taio for a lack of humility and for bad temper. He used a phrase "Go climb on a donkey". Taio replied "Go climb on a camel", maybe alluding to the custom of humilitating opponents (as known from the Fredegar's relation about the death of Brunhild in Chronica, c. 96).

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Saragossa

About the source:

Author: Braulio of Saragossa
Title: Letters, Epistularium
Origin: Saragossa (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Braulio`s letter 11 to Tajo is a part of the collection of letters, the so-called Epistularium, of Braulio of Saragossa. The first part of the collection is the group of letters to and from Isidore of Seville. Then the letters are organized more or less chronologically. The position of the letter 11 in the corpus suggests that it is of rather early date. C. Lynch (1938: 61) supposed that it was written before Braulio`s elevation to the see of Barcelona, because the salutation does not indicate that Braulio is already a bishop. J. Madoz (1941: 55-56), on the other hand, dates it to the first year of Braulio`s episcopate AD 631/632.
Riesco Terrero, Luis ed. Epistolario de san Braulio. Annales de la Universidad Hispalense. Serie Filosofía y Letras, v. 31. Sevilla, 1975.
C.W. Barlowe, Iberian Fathers, v. 2, Braulio of Saragossa, Fructuosus of Braga, Washington D. C. 1969.
C.H. Lynch, Saint Braulio, bishop of Saragossa (631-651) his life and writings, Washington, D.C 1938 (see also Spanish translation revised by P. Galindo: C.H. Lynch, P. Galindo, San Braulio, obispo de Zaragoza: (631-651). Su vida y sus obras, Madrid 1950)
J. Madoz, Epistolario de San Braulio de Zaragoza: ed. crít. según el cód. 22 del Archivo capitular de León, Madrid 1941


Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Titles of respect
Disrespected by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Deacon
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER88,