Candidus Wizo

ca. 782 A.D.

( Wizo, Candidus )

A relationship of the name Wizelin (Vicelin) with the name Wizo is indicated in several sources. » » The Historical Research Center clearly makes this statement:

The German surname Witzel is of patronymic origin, deriving from the name of the father of the original bearer. In this instance, the surname Witzel derives from the personal name Wizo, ... a pet form of personal names deriving ... from ... Old High German ... (The Historical Research Center).»

One such name bearer is Candidus Wizo. His story opens an investigation into a relationship between the Saxons of Germany and the Anglo-Saxons of England.

Candidus, name given to the Anglo-Saxon Wizo by Alcuin, whose scholar he was and with whom he went in 782 to Gaul. At the palace school he was tutor to Gisla, the sister, and Rodtruda, the daughter of Charlemagne. When Alcuin went to Tours (796), Candidus was his successor as master of the palace school. Alcuin's esteem for Candidus is shown by his dedicating his commentary on Ecclesiastes to his friends Onias, Fredegisus, and Candidus. (The Catholic Encyclopedia). »

Alcuin was a great intellectual leader in his time. He distiquished himself while serving as director of the well established Cathedral School at York. He devoted himself to the rigors of religious instruction, enriched the school’s impressive library and attracted many students, who in turn also made large contributions to the advancement of Christian scholarship.

Some of Alcuin’s students showed a particular interest in logic and the philosophy of language, ... The English monk Candidus (Wizo), who became head of Charlemagne’s palace school when Alcuin departed for Tours, wrote some short notes investigating logical puzzles having to do with the Trinity. He compiled a record of such inquiries by members of Alcuin’s circle, which range from mere excerpts of Patristic authors to apparently original investigations into questions such as the location of the soul in space, whether truth is something physical, and even an attempt to prove the existence of God; these short notes betray familiarity not only with Augustine but also with the old logic, and a commendable enterprise in applying their knowledge to theological issues. (King). »

It was Alcuin who gave Wizo the name of Candidus. In Latin, Candidus means ‘bright, shining, white’. He is among many with the name Candidus, so history distinquishes him as Candidus Wizo.

... Epistola ad Candidum, id est Wizonem.

Wizo became known by the Latin name of Candidus ... (Cook).

Several of Candidus Wizo's writings have survived. Clearly he was quite accomplished in his own right, adding to the great reputation of the learning centers established in England.

Anglo-Saxon Manuscript

A less well-known Englishman, yet "one of the most distinguished thinkers of the court circle", is Candidus (Wizo or Hwitto). He had been working with bishop Hygbald of Lindisfarne before joining Alcuin at the Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) palace school in the year 793. From 798 he was working as a teacher in Salzburg under bishop Am; after several diplomatic missions to Rome he became a permanent member of the imperial court in 801 and represented Alcuin's interests, who had meanwhile become abbot of Tours. To Candidus are ascribed the so-called Dicta Candidi presbyteri, a group of twelve short texts, intermingled in the earliest textual witness ... with excerpts from the writings of Augustine and Claudianus Mamertinus. The most interesting of these short texts, known as Quo argumento colligendum sit Deum esse, contains the earliest attempt to prove the existence of God in the Middle Ages, based on Saint Augustine and Cicero's De natura deorum.

A volume probably from Tours ... contains more texts by both Alcuin (his Expositio in ecclesiasten) and Candidus, namely his Epistula, Num Christus corporeis oculis Deum videre potuerit and De passione Domini. (Sauer).


'12.12.: Vicelin'. Namenstage im Dezember. Last retrieved on October 1, 2006: »

'Candidus'. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Last retrieved on October 1, 2006: »

Cook, Albert S. Germans in England in the Eighth Century. Modern Language Notes, Vol. 4, No. 8. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. December, 1889. pp. 238-239. »

King, Peter. 'Philosophy in the Latin Christian West: 750–1050'. Blackwell Companions to Philosophy #24: A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages. Malden: Blackwell. 2003. pp. 32–35. Last retrieved on October 1, 2006: »

Löwe, Heinz. 'Zur Geschichte Wizos'. Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters. 6. 1943. pp.363-373.

Sauer, Hans. ed. Anglo-Saxon Heritage in Munich: Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, scribes and authors from the collections of the Bavarian State Library in Munich. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Verlagsgruppe, 2005. Last retrieved on October 1, 2006: »

Senger, Basilius. 2000 Vornamen: Ihe Deutung und ihre Patrone mit dem Heiligenkalender. Dülmer: Laumann-Verlag, 1985. p.183. »

'Vicelin'. Kalender: Dezember. Last retrieved on October 1, 2006:

Witzel. The Historical Research Center. 2004. » Last retrieved on October 2, 2006: »



HomeSite MenuContact