The Name of the Rose

Abo is abbot of the unnamed Benedictine abbey in northern Italy. He asks William to discreetly investigate the murders before the arrival of the envoys from the pope and the Emperor, since he worries that the recent mysterious events will foster suspicion and undermine negotiations. Above all, he is obsessed with protecting the reputation of the abbey. William observes cynically that Abo would commit murder to ensure that the abbey remained respectable. Although at first Abo seems supportive of the investigation, he later becomes more secretive, and at the end of the novel, when William questions him about the unknown handwriting in the library catalogue, he asks him to stop this line of questioning, suggesting that preserving the appearance of order in they abbey may be more important to Abo than saving the lives of his monks. Abo dies when Jorge traps him inside the secret passageway to the finis Africae, where he suffocates.

Abo of Fossonova Quotes in The Name of the Rose

The The Name of the Rose quotes below are all either spoken by Abo of Fossonova or refer to Abo of Fossonova. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of The Name of the Rose published in 2014.
First Day Quotes

“Why,” he asked, “do you insist on speaking of criminal acts without referring to their diabolical cause?”

“Because reasoning about causes and effects is a very difficult thing, and I believe the only judge of that can be God. We are already hard put to establish a relationship between such an obvious effect as a charred tree and the lightning bolt that set fire to it, so to trace sometimes endless chains of causes and effects seems to me as foolish as trying to build a tower that will touch the sky.”

Related Characters: Abo of Fossonova (speaker), William of Baskerville
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
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[O]nly the librarian knows, from the collocation of the volume, from its degree of inaccessibility, what secrets, what truths or falsehoods, the volume contains. Only he decides how, when, and whether to give it to the monk who requests it; sometimes he first consults me. Because not all truths are for all ears, not all falsehoods can be recognized as such by a pious soul.

Related Characters: Abo of Fossonova (speaker), Malachi of Hildesheim
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sixth Day Quotes

The language of gems is multiform: each expresses several truths, according to the sense of the selected interpretation, according to the context in which they appear. And who decides what is the proper context? You know, my boy, for they have taught you: it is authority, the most reliable commentator of all and the most invested with prestige, and therefore with sanctity. Otherwise how to avoid the misunderstandings into which the Devil lures us?

Related Characters: Abo of Fossonova (speaker), Jorge of Burgos
Page Number: 479
Explanation and Analysis:
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“He wants me to leave tomorrow morning, does he? Very well, it’s his house; but by tomorrow morning I must know. I must.”

“You must? Who obliges you now?”

“No one ever obliges us to know, Adso. We must, that is all, even if we comprehend imperfectly.”

Related Characters: William of Baskerville (speaker), Abo of Fossonova
Related Symbols: The Forbidden Book
Page Number: 482
Explanation and Analysis:
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Abo of Fossonova Character Timeline in The Name of the Rose

The timeline below shows where the character Abo of Fossonova appears in The Name of the Rose. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
First Day
Judgement and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...the Aedificium is much older than the other buildings around it. They are greeted by Abo of Fossanova, the abbot. Abo thanks William for finding his horse, and asks him about... (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
Abo appears somewhat disturbed by William’s arguments. Nevertheless, he requests William’s expertise as a detective and... (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
...he is given the authority to move freely throughout the abbey and question everyone involved. Abo grants this permission, but insists that the library will remain off-limits. He explains that the... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Judgement and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Abo says that the librarian locks all the doors to the Aedificium at night. William asks... (full context)
Second Day
Religion and Politics Theme Icon
In the church, Abo shows off the vast wealth of the abbey—gold, silver, and jewels—which he believes brings the... (full context)
Religion and Politics Theme Icon
Abo and William discuss the political situation. Michael of Cesena, a Franciscan leader, has been summoned... (full context)
Religion and Politics Theme Icon
Judgement and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...that he can’t see how the actions of a single “madman” could disrupt the negotiations. Abo, however, confesses that the abbey is harboring some former Franciscan monks—including Remigio, the cellarer—who may... (full context)
Third Day
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
...quick to tamp down any unorthodox behavior. If William doesn’t solve the murders by tomorrow, Abo will have to turn the abbey over to Bernard’s control. (full context)
Fifth Day
Religion and Politics Theme Icon
...his example by renouncing property and political influence and returning to a state of poverty. Abo summarizes recent events, explaining that in 1322 Michael of Cesena proclaimed that Christ and his... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
Judgement and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...prepared to compromise on “everything except the principle of poverty.” William advises Ubertino to ask Abo for provisions and escape the abbey under cover of darkness, since Bernard seems to have... (full context)
Sixth Day
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Listening to the “Dies irae,” Adso has a vision. He sees Abo, Jorge, Bernard, other monks, and various Biblical figures arrayed for a feast. But the feast... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
William asks to speak with the abbot in his apartments. Abo reflects on the beauty of the abbey’s Aedificium and its perfect symbolic proportions, having three... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
Abo tells William that he is disappointed with his inability to solve the mystery.  William admits... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Abo is offended at the insinuation that he might be the murderer. He begins telling Adso... (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
William interrupts and demands to know why Abo has changed the subject instead of naming the murderer and explaining the nature of the... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
After leaving the abbot’s apartments, Adso suggests that Abo might either have already known everything, or he might not have not known until now,... (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
Adso suggests a third hypothesis: perhaps Abo wants to solve the murder on his own in order to prevent the faction of... (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
...making dinner) and Alinardo (who is not well). When these facts are pointed out to Abo, he becomes visibly irritated. One of the Italian monks mutinously mutters that Abo behaves like... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
After an hour, Abo still hasn’t returned, so he hadn’t gone inside simply to close the Aedificium: Adso suggests... (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
In the kitchen, William and Adso hear a muffled noise. William surmises that Abo tried to enter the finis Africae through a secret passageway and has been trapped inside.... (full context)
Seventh Day
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
...abbot, but Jorge says that he has cut the rope that opens the passage, and Abo has probably suffocated by now. (full context)
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
Religion and Politics Theme Icon
Jorge explains that he killed the abbot because Abo had asked him (spurred on by the Italian faction) to open the finis Africae and... (full context)
The Interpretation of Signs Theme Icon
Knowledge and Secrecy Theme Icon
...about the finis Africae. He brought the vision-inducing herbs from the infirmary every day, on Abo’s orders, which was why he was there in the first place. Jorge had ordered Malachi... (full context)