AGNELLUS, (called also Andrew): The historian of the Church of Raven; b. in that city early in the ninth century [some authorities say in 805, of a rich and noble family]; the year of his death is unknown. He entered the clerical state very early, and became abbot of the monasteries of St. Mary ad Blachernas and St. Bartholomew, both in Ravenna. He was ordained priest by Archbishop Petronacius (817-835). His reputation for learning induced his brother clergy to ask him to write the history of the local church, and he began his Liber pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis before 838, and finished it after 846. It follows the model of the Roman Liber pontificalis, giving a series of biographies of the bishops of Ravenna, beginning with Apollinaris, said to have been a disciple of St. Peter and to have died as a martyr July 23, 75 (or 78), in whose memory the Basilica in Classe at Ravenna was dedicated in the year 549. The last bishop mentioned is George, whose death falls apparently in 846. The characteristics of the work are its strong tendency to the expression of local patriotism, and the interest which it shows in buildings, monuments, and other works of art. It is one of the earliest historical works to make an extensive use of architectural monuments as sources. Agnellus had little command of written documents; he availed himself of oral tradition wherever possible, and supplied its deficiencies by a well-meaning imagination.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: His history, edited by O. Ho1der-Egger, is in MGH, Script. rer. Lang., 1878, pp. 265-391, also in the continuation to 1296 by an unknown writer and to 1410 by Paul Scordilli, in MPL, cvi. 429-840; A. Ebert, Allgemeine Geschichte der Litteratur des Mittelalters, ii. 374-377, Leipsic. 1880.