About

The series B Irish five pound note had a portrait of Johannes Scotus Eriugena (literally “John the Irishman, from Ireland”), a philosopher, neoplatonist, translator, and theologian of the ninth century AD. The descriptive names “Scotus” and “Eriugena” were applied to him at different periods of history – the Latin “Scottus” meant Irish in the Middle Ages, and “Eriugena” is a title he applied to himself at least once (was highly proficient in Greek).

According to William of Malmesbury, King Charles the Bald of France (his enthusiastic patron while abbot) asked at table:

Quid distat inter sottum et Scottum? “What separates a drunk from an Irishman?”

To which Eriugena replied: 

Mensa tantum – “Only a table.”

According to the philosopher Bertrand Russell, Eriugena was later stabbed to death by his monks with their quills, as revenge for forcing them to think.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: