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les Enluminures

RICARDUS DE MEDIAVILLA [RICHARD OF MIDDLETON], In quartum Sententiarum Petri Lombardi commentaries [Commentary on Peter Lombard’s Fourth Book of the Sentences]

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Italy, likely Lombardy, c. 1400-50, with additions after c. 1475

TM 236


257 ff. + 28 ff. unnumbered [in all 285 ff.], contemporary foliation in red in upper right hand corner, first 20 folios cut shorter than remainder of manuscript [without any loss of text], text complete except 3 ff. of contemporary indices missing after the core text, mostly in quires of 10 (collation: i-xxiii10, xxiv7(10-3, missing 3 ff. of index), xxv-xxvi10, xxvii8 (10-2, with last 2 ff. cancelled)), written in a highly abridged gothic cursive script (two different hands, ff. 1-257 and ff. 258-285), text on two columns (justification 175 x 115 mm.), ruled in plummet, quire signatures, some catchwords, headings in red, rubrics in red (thematic table placed at end), some passages underlined in red ink, paragraph marks in red and blue, initials alternately in red and blue, single opening initial in burnished gold on a parti-colored ground of green and blue highlighted with white tracery, some contemporary marginal corrections, some notabilia in red. Modern rigid vellum binding, smooth spine with title in red and blue: “Mediavilla / Dog. Codex / In Sententias / Msr. Mmbr” (strip of parchment cut out from last folio, with small loss of text; some staining to the odd pages). Dimensions 255 x 180 mm.

Originally copied probably in a northern Italian Franciscan milieu in the first half of the fifteenth century, the manuscript was updated by an unrecorded scribe later in the century with an index added in the scriptorium of the newly founded Franciscan convent of Santa Croce in Boscaglia di Como. The index was perhaps directly copied from one of the contemporary incunable editions. There is no modern critical edition and only three recorded manuscripts in North American collections.


1. Script and decoration all suggest an Italian origin for this manuscript, secured by a contemporary or near contemporary colophon copied at the end of the thematic table, revealing the name of an unrecorded scribe (not in Bouveret). This colophon reads: 'Ego iohannes andreas de capelis civis cumanus precibus fratris nicholay de laude ordinis minorum de observantia habitatoris de presenti in conventu sancta crucis ext. et prope muros cumanos scripsi et me superscripsi signumque meum apposui. [signed] YHANCAPR.' [As asked by brother Nicolay de Laude, I--Johannes Andreas de Capelis, inhabitant of the city of Como, member of the Order of the Friars Minor of the Observance, presently living in the convent of Santa Croce outside the walls of Como--copied (this thematic table) and annotated/revised [the text?], and I have apposed my signature]. The scribe signs his name in a notarial fashion, not a common practice amongst religious scribes. The colophon seems to apply only to the thematic table added at the end of the work. The unrecorded scribe is a Franciscan monk of the Observant House of Saint Cross (Santa Croce in Boscaglia di Como, Province of Como, founded by Bernardino de Siena in 1432; see Moorman, 1983, p. 144; on the monastery, see P. Sevesi, S. Croce in Boscaglia di Como, Como, 1927). There is an unpublished Italian thesis by Sangalli, 1993-1994, that could provide useful comparative information on the scriptorium of Santa Croce in Boscaglia di Como.


ff. 1-257, Ricardus de Mediavilla, [In quartum Sententiarum Petri Lombardi commentarius], incipit [Distinctio I], “Innova signa et immuta mirabilia. Glorifica manum et brachium dextrum. Excita furorem et effunde iram – Hec verba scripta sunt Ecc. 36 […] Samaritanus…”; explicit [Distinctio L], “[…] paratus essem humiliter ordine fratrum minorum“, followed by: Explicit quartus liber super sententias editus a fratre Richardo de Media Villa de ordine fratrum minorum; beginning of index of distinctions, interrupted as last three folios are missing;

ff. 258-285, Added alphabetical thematic table, with long rubric: Incipit tabula secondum ordinem alphabeti omnium que in hoc quarto Richardi super sententias traduntur procedens per distinctions articulos et questiones […] Abbas; incipit thematic table: “An abbas possint excommunicare subditos suos potestate ordinantia obedire 18. ar. 4. q. 1”; explicit thematic table: “[…] erat di. xlix. ar. v. q. 4”; colophon placed at the end of thematic table: “Ego iohannes andreas de capelis civis cumanus precibus fratris nicholay de laude ordinis minorum de observantia habitatoris de presenti in conventu sancta crucis ext. et prope muros cumanos scripsi et me superscripsi signumque meum apposui. YHANCAPR.” This index is not included in the Venice, C. Arnold, c. 1475 edition of Richard of Middleton’s Commentary on Book IV, but is placed at the beginning of the Venice, Denis de Bologna [Bertochus], 1489 edition. The same thematic alphabetical tabula will be systematically included in all subsequent editions, including the complete 1507-1509 edition of the commentaries on all four books.

This manuscript contains Book IV of Richard of Middleton’s Commentary on the great 'Summa' of medieval theology, the Sentences of Peter Lombard. The Commentary is complete in four separate books. H. Denifle, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis (Paris, 1881, vol. II, p. 109, no. 642), reproduces a document dated 1304 that provides the number of pecia for each of the four books and specifies the respective tax to be paid for each of the four books that circulated independently.

Sometimes referred to as the “doctor solidus,” Richard of Middleton or Ricardus de Mediavilla (c. 1249-1307) was an English Franciscan friar of noble Norman origin, having studied in Paris under William de la Mare and Matthew of Aquasparta. He also was heavily involved with debates with Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaines, and Giles of Rome. Richard was for a while lector at the Naples studium generale (where he also was the “magister et socius” of the young Louis of Anjou). His theological works advocate central Franciscan elements, such as the doctrine of the plurality of forms, yet he abandoned the Bonaventurian notion of special divine illumination to certify the human understanding of universal concepts. Both Richard’s Commentary on the Sentences and his Quodlibeta enjoyed a wide circulation during the late medieval period. His Commentary on the Sentences in four books has been preserved in numerous manuscripts from all over Europe, each book often isolated from one another: for example, Oxford, Merton College, MS 98 contains Book I; Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, MS 926 contains Book II; Bordeaux, Bibl. mun., MS 156 contains the complete Book IV with its 50 distinctions.

The Commentary on the Sentences was initially professed but not transcribed between 1282-1284 and was finally put in writing some ten years after, c. 1294 (see Hocedez [1926], “La date du Commentaire des Sentences,”pp. 49-55). The present Book IV was printed separately a number of times (Venice, C. Arnold, c. 1475, Hain-Copinger, no. 10984; again in Venice, D. Bertochus, 1489, Hain-Copinger, no. 10986; Venice, B. Locatellus, 1499, Hain-Copinger, no. 10987); and soon after again in Venice, the complete four books were printed between 1507-1509 by Lazaro Soardi). There is no modern critical edition.

For a list of the manuscripts containing one or more of the four books of Richard’s commentary see Hocedez (1926, pp. 14-15) with additions by Stegmüller (1937, no. 4, p. 88-89), the latter recording some 43 manuscripts in European libraries and some 37 copies (one or more of the four books) in Italian collections (with some 80 manuscripts in Europe altogether). There are three manuscripts recorded in American collections which are: Washington D.C., The Holy Name College (De Ricci, p. 483); Baltimore, Walter Art Gallery (De Ricci, p. 820); Wellesley College, Pearsons Plimpton Collection (De Ricci, p. 1075).


Amann, E. ”Richard de Mediavilla,” in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, Paris, Letouzey, 1937, vol. XIII, col. 2669-2675.

Glorieux, P. Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIIIe siècle, Paris, Vrin, 1933, vol. I, no. 324.

Hocedez, E. Richard de Middleton. Sa vie, ses oeuvres, sa doctrine, Louvain, 1925.

Moorman, J. Medieval Franciscan Houses, New York, 1983.

Mosconi, A. and S. Lorenzi. “I conventi francescani nel territorio comasco. Storia-Religione-Arte,“ in Como: Società Storica Comense, 1983, pp. 167-283.

Ricardus de Mediavilla. Sacratissimi Theologie (vel doctoris eximii) Richardi de Media Villa, ordinis seraphici, In primum Sententiarum…[Authorati doctoris Ricardi de Mediavilla. Sacri ordinis Seraphici Francisci in quartum Sententiarum resolute questiones. Necnon textus fidelissime interpretations nunc in lucem prodeuntes. Cum gratia et privilegio], Impressum Venetiis per Venetiis per Lazarum Soardum, 1507-1509.

Rovi, A. “Chiese e conventi francescani a Como: S. Francesco, S. Croce e S. Donato,” in Il francescanesimo in Lombardia. Storia e arte, Milano, Silvana Editoriale, 1983, pp. 297-318.

Sangalli, A. Frammenti dal Fondo manoscritto della Biblioteca di S. Croce in Boscaglia di Como, 1993-1994 [unpublished thesis], [Centro Studi Nicolo Rusca, Inventario: 19339/SV]

Stegmüller, F. Repertorium initiorum plurimorum in “Sententias” Petri Lombardi commentariorum, Freiburg, Herder, 1937.

Online resources

On Ricardus de Mediavilla

On Peter Lombard’s life and works