To-day is Saint Anselm's day. Nine hundred years ago, to-day, he left the earthly life. He is apelled: d'Aosta, à Bec, of Canterbury, depending on the language used, and the nation claiming. He was born in Aosta (Piedmont Italy) and went on to Bec (Norman France) and became a benedictine monk, scholar and philosopher. Now, in the year Anselmo reached Christ's age, William conquered England, and Anselm was prior at Bec, the prevous prior, Lanfranc became the archbishop of Canterbury in 1070. Lanfanc was succeeded by Anselm. William (II) Rufus was an overreaching, immoderate king, and interfered with church affairs. For four years the see was left vacant as William Rufus collected and robbed what was available. Anselm succeeded his old teacher, and inherited his problems. With a new king, Henry I, a slightly better go went forth, although Anselm would still find exile. The conflict between mitre and crown would continue in England for centuries, until the faith was completely forbidden. Now, neither Canterbury nor the crown mean much of anything, outside of pomp and ceremony.
Anselmo, during his time at Bec, was in the center of the intellectual world. Anselm is considered a founder of scholasticism. In philosophy and theology, he is the most important betwixt Augustine and Aquinas. In Cur Deus Homo, he writes on the theology of the Atonement. In the Proslogium, he gives two versions of, what Kant later calls, the ontological proof of God, which in the simplest manner can be reduced to: God exists by definition, because that which you understand to be, as what God would be, is an idea that could not be invented in your mind, by your mind.
Augustine said, "Crede, ut intelligas". Believe that you may understand.
Anselmo said, "Credo, ut intelligam". I believe that I may understand.
Christian faith was at the center of philosophy and understanding.
To-day, is also the birthday of the city of Rome.