Regino of Prüm

Regino of Prüm (Latin: Regino Prumiensis, German: Regino von Prüm; died 915) was a Benedictine churchman, who served as abbot of Prüm (892–99) and later of Saint Martin's at Trier, and chronicler, whose Chronicon is an important source for late Carolingian history.


According to the statements of a later era, Regino was the son of noble parents and was born at the stronghold of Altrip on the Rhine near Speyer at an unknown date. From his election as abbot and from his writings, it is evident that he had entered the Benedictine Order, probably at Prüm itself, and that he had been a diligent student. The rich and celebrated Imperial Abbey of Prüm suffered greatly during the 9th century from the marauding incursions of the Norsemen. It had been twice seized and ravaged, in 882 AD and 892 AD. After its second devastation by the Danes, the abbot Farabert resigned his office and Regino was elected his successor in 892 AD. His labours for the restoration of the devastated abbey were hampered by the struggle between contending parties in Lorraine.

In 899 AD Regino was driven from his office by Richarius, later Bishop of Liège, the brother of Count Gerhard and count Mattfried of Hainaut. Richarius was made abbot; Regino resigned the position and retired to Trier, where he was honourably received by Archbishop Ratbod and was appointed abbot of St Martin's, a house which he later reformed. He supported the archbishop in the latter's efforts to carry out ecclesiastical reforms in that troubled era, rebuilt the Abbey of St. Martin that had been laid waste by the Norsemen, accompanied the archbishop on visitations, and used his leisure for writing. Regino died at Trier in 915 AD and was buried in St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier, his tomb being discovered there in 1581.


Regino's works are edited in volume 132 of Migne's Patrologia Latina.

De harmonica institutione and Tonarius

Regino's earliest work was Epistola de harmonica institutione, a treatise on music which he wrote in the form of a letter to Archbishop Radbod. Its primary objective was to improve the liturgical singing in the churches of the diocese and probably to ensure Radbod's support for this. He also wrote the Tonarius, a collection of chants.[1]


Regino's most influential work is his Chronicon, a history of the world from the commencement of the Christian era to 906, especially the history of affairs in Lorraine and the neighbourhood. It was dedicated to Adalberon, bishop of Augsburg (†909).

The first book, which ends in the year 741 AD with the death of Charles Martel, consists mainly of extracts from Bede, Paulus Diaconus and other writers. Of the second book (741-906 AD), the first part is a long excerpt of the Royal Frankish Annals down to 813, the latter part - from 814 AD onwards - being original and valuable, although suffering from faulty chronology. If the author's own statement is to be believed, he has here relied chiefly upon tradition and hearsay for his information. The work was continued to 967 by a monk of Trier, possibly Adalbert, archbishop of Magdeburg.

Regino's chronicle is an important source on Bulgarian medieval history in that it is the only contemporary text hinting at the organisation of the Council of Preslav ("… [Boris I] gathered his entire empire and placed his younger son [Simeon I] as prince…").

Historians who made use of Regino's chronicle include Cosmas of Prague.[2]

The chronicle was first printed at Mainz in 1521.

De ecclesiasticis disciplinis

Regino also drew up, at the request of his friend and patron Radbod, Archbishop of Trier (d. 915), a collection of canons, Libri duo de synodalibus causis et disciplinis ecclesiasticis, dedicated to Hatto I, Archbishop of Mainz. It was a work on ecclesiastical discipline for use in ecclesiastical visitations. The work is divided into 434 sections. The title of the work in Migne's edition is Libellus DE ECCLESIASTICIS DISCIPLINIS ET RELIGIONE CHRISTIANA, COLLECTUS Ex jussu domini metropolitani Rathbodi Trevericae urbis episcopi, a Reginone quondam abbate Prumiensis monasterii, ex diversis sanctorum Patrum conciliis et decretis Romanorum pontificum. Substantial portions of this work were included in the Decretum Burchardi of 1012.

Section 364 (corresponding to Burchard 10.1) is the so-called Canon Episcopi (after its incipit Ut episcopi episcoporumque ministri omnibus viribus elaborare studeant) dealing with popular superstition.


  1. ed. Edmond de Coussemaker, Scriptores de musica medii aevi, II (Paris, 1867), 1-73.
  2. Marie Bláhová, "The Function of the Saints in Early Bohemian Historical Writing." In The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (ca 1000–1300), ed. Lars Boje Mortensen. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanums Forlag, 2006. p. 97.



Editions and translations

Further reading

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