All that we know for sure is that some twenty years of Constantine's life were spent as a monk in Monte Cassino, where he devoted his time mainly to the writing of his books. One bond of union there was. Each of the works, as soon as completed, was sent off to the Pope as long as he lived.
After some time spent in saying little or doing less, Lady Middleton sat down to Cassino, and as Marianne was not in spirits for moving about, she and Elinor luckily succeeding to chairs, placed themselves at no great distance from the table.
When he was five years of age his father, a noble of very high rank, sent him to Monte Cassino with the hope that he would become a Benedictine monk, and ultimately abbot of that famous monastery, with the control of its vast revenues and patronage. Here he remained seven years, until the convent was taken and sacked by the soldiers of the Emperor Frederic in his war with the Pope.
He has also executed the tomb that Pope Clement caused to be made for Piero de' Medici at Monte Cassino, besides many other works, of which no mention is here made because the said Francesco is still alive.
Events came to the aid of this wise conduct. Five years after the death of Charles Martel, in 746 in fact, Carloman, already weary of the burden of power, and seized with a fit of religious zeal, abdicated his share of sovereignty, left his dominions to his brother Pépin, had himself shorn by the hands of Pope Zachary, and withdrew into Italy to the monastery of Monte Cassino.
There is a very noble quality of green sappy and gemmy like some of Titian's or Giorgione's in the stuffs they use. Their build and carriage are worthy of goddesses. Rain falls heavily, persistently. We must ride on donkeys, in waterproofs, to Monte Cassino. Mountain and valley, oak wood and ilex grove, lentisk thicket and winding river-bed, are drowned alike in soft-descending, soaking rain.
He urged, moreover, that the monastic life should not be judged by a few isolated instances; and on the way to Rome he proposed that Odo, by way of seeing the other side of the question, should visit the ancient foundation of the Benedictines on Monte Cassino.
The English pilgrim reached the monastery of Monte Cassino, just ten years after his first setting out on his travels; but his time of rest had not yet come, as he was appointed to a bishopric in Franconia by Pope Gregory III. He was forty-one years of age when he was made bishop, and he lived forty years afterwards. In 938 he was canonized by Leo VII.
Hence reforms were attempted; and the Cluniacs and Cistercians and other orders arose, modelled after the original institution on Monte Cassino. These were only branches of the Benedictines. Their vows and habits and duties were the same.
Manuscripts of this Latin version, dating from the ninth and tenth centuries of our era, have survived in the actual places in which they were written, at Monte Cassino in Southern Italy and at Einsiedeln in Switzerland, and in 991 the book of Aphorisms was well known and closely studied at the Cathedral school of Chartres.