373 ff., preceded by a single paper flyleaf, apparently complete although a blank leaf is missing between ff. 339-340 (collation: i-viii12, ix13 (14-1) [last folio of quire cancelled], x18, xi14, xii11 (12-1) [missing last blank folio of quire], xiii-xxii12, xxiii10 (12-2) [missing last 2 blank folios of quire], xxiv11 (12-1) [missing first blank folio of quire], xxv-xxvii12, xviii11 (12-1) [missing one blank folio in quire], xxix10, xxx12, xxxi12 (with last 2 folios blank, last folio pasted on pastedown)), on paper, with a number of different watermarks such as Briquet, “Tête de boeuf sommée d’une fleur portée par un trait,” no. 14757: Munich, 1434; Briquet, of the type “Tête de boeuf surmontée d’un trait étoilé,” no. 14645: Würzburg, 1420-1424; Briquet, “Tête humaine,” no. 15600: Ratisbonne, 1411-1423, written in a variety of cursive hands by a many different hands, in brown ink, text most often in two columns, ruled in ink (justification 227 x 155 mm.), initials in bright red, other initials also in red with ornamental ajouré designs, 1 larger parti-colored initial in red and brown with ajouré designs (f. 283), some capitals touched in red, references to authorities underlined in red, paragraph marks in red, numerous stylized manicula pointing to passages in text (see especially ff. 77-149), numerous contemporary marginal annotations throughout, some contemporary corrections in brown or black ink [such as “Avicenna” to replace “Aphicenna” (f. 331v)]. Nineteenth-century half-binding of tan calf over pasteboards, covered in flower-patterned paper, back sewn on 5 thongs, double gilt filets in compartments, titlepiece gilt in second compartment, date gilt in last compartment (Binding scuffed, upper compartment of spine defective, occasional worming never affecting text). Dimensions 320 x 220 mm.
Theological, spiritual, and exegetical florilegium perhaps destined for mendicant preachers. Partially dated, the manuscript was probably copied in a monastic context in Southern Germany, and it presents two principal texts to be used as reference tools or exegetical aids. The second text, a biblical dictionary, is extremely rare (3 manuscripts) and remains unedited. This manuscript offers a good example of the role played by such miscellanies in late medieval intellectual history, as well as the variety and complementary nature of the texts they contained.
1. Script and watermarks suggest a place of origin in Southern Germany, perhaps Bavaria. One of the texts in this florilegium is signed and dated by the scribe, with the date 1415 (initially 1414, but the Roman numeral .iiii. was ex-punctuated): “[…] per me H. Wynen[sis] ( ?) de K. etc. sub anno domini .Mo CCCCVo  in vigilia sancti Johannis Baptiste” (f. 347). The name of the place is provided only by the initial “K,” and is not further explicated. There is a date “1456” probably penned in by a later fifteenth-century reader added after a marginal annotation, beginning “Nota quod ancilla proprie dicitur serva…” (f. 333), repeated in the upper margin of f. 373. Occasional words in German added in the margins confirm the presence of the manuscript in a Germanic milieu (f. 349v).
ff. 1-149, Thomas de Hibernia [Thomas of Ireland], Manipulus florum
, incipit Prologue, “Abiit in agrum et collegit…” (Prologue published Rouse, 1979, pp. 236-238); explicit, “[…] parentes o. Explicit etc. Explicit manipulus florum inceptus a magistro Johanne Galence ordinis fratrum minorum et […] completes a magistro Thoma Hybernico quondam socio de Serbona. Amen”;
As his name indicates, Thomas of Hibernia likely originated from Ireland, became a fellow of the Sorbonne by 1295, with his years at the Sorbonne ending before 1306, the date of the publication of the Manipulus florum
, in which he is referred to as “quondam socius” (former fellow of the Sorbonne). Thomas compiled his Manipulus
from Sorbonne books and presented the college with a copy, now Paris, BnF, MS lat. 15985 (the present commentary is largely indebted to the information provided by Rouse, 1979, see Literature below).
The thirteenth century saw the multiplication of reference devices and study aids, such as Thomas of Ireland’s Manipulus florum
, an alphabetically-arranged topical compendium of auctoritates
largely designed for use in writing sermons [flores
being the Latin term for anthology, which combined with the verb legere
]. It is the first alphabetically-organized collection of auctoritates patrum
, containing some 6000 extracts from the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, along with some excerpts from “acceptable” ancients. The quotations were organized under a variety of topics (266 topics!) for easy thematic reference. The Manipulus
suvives in a large number of copies (approximately 180 surviving manuscripts, catalogued in Rouse, 1979) and underwent 47 printings between 1483 (first edition in Piacenza, Jacobus de Tyela [Hain, no. 8542]) and 1887. In the early fourteenth century, the work was first published through the common pecia
system of Parisian stationers.
The present early fifteenth-century copy of the Manipulus florum
presents many of the characteristics of copies of this reference tool, including the clever reference system that uses combinations of letters of the alphabet, here copied in the margins and stroked in red, allowing internal cross-references from one topic to another (as certain quotations fit sometimes under, one, two, or three topics): “In theory, then, a reader of the Manipulus
will find collected in one place all the extracts relating primarily to a given topic, and cross-references to all others that are relevant” (Rouse, 1979, p. 120). The manuscript includes at the end of the work a table of the alphabetically-ordered topics, from “Abstinencia” to “Christus.”
In short: “The Manipulus florum
was intended by Thomas of Ireland for the use of preachers; and evidence indicates that preachers did make extensive use of it for the writings of sermons. But in practice the utility of a reference tool is defined not by the intent of its creator but by the demands of its users. Thus the Manipulus
was of service to anyone whose profession involved composition – theological, literary, legal or other. Its influence extended from 1306 to the end of the Middle Ages and beyond…” (Rouse, 1979, p. 229). The users of such an alphabetical reference tool–and they were numerous–had at their disposal a mine of authorities, ready to be inserted and commented on (see Rouse, 1979, chapter “Use and Influence of the Manipulus Florum
,” pp. 188-229). Nighman (2005) argues that the Manipulus
was intended as an anthology to be used by university students for self-formation, rather than as a resource for sermon composition, as argued by the Rouses.
ff. 149v-150, Alphabetical list of topics covered in the Manipulus florum
, incipit, “Abstinencia / Abusio…“ ; explicit, “[…] Christianus / Christus”);
ff. 150v-152v, blank;
ff. 153-278, Vocabularium bibliae morale
or Dictionarium biblicum
, incipit, “Absconsa sapientia thesaurus invisus…” (see F. Stegmüller, n° 11737, who quotes 3 manuscripts: Wolfenbüttel, 3303; Braunschweig, Stadtbibliothek, 117; Krakau, Staatsbibliothek, 1205); the work is evidently anonymous and unedited;
ff. 278v-281, blank;
f. 281v, Added notes on a single folio, with exorcisation rites and formulae, incipit: “Sacerdo primo interrogatus nomina singulorum infancium….Exorzimus salis…”;
ff. 282-282v, blank;
ff. 283-347, Augustinus de Ancona, Tractatus super Missus est
, incipit, “Quatuor michi timorem ac tremorem faciunt loqui…”; explicit, “[…] Orate pro scriptore cum magna diligentia. Et sic est finis […] confessionalis per me H. Wynen[sis] ( ?) de K. etc. sub anno domini .Mo CCCCVo  in vigilia sancti Johannis Baptiste”;
Augustinus of Ancona or Augustinus Triumphus (1243-1328) was an Augustinian Hermit, discussed in Glorieux (1933), n° 409 i), where 6 manuscripts and a Lyon, 1506 edition of this work are recorded. The Tractatus super Missus est
was first printed in Lyon, S. Glockengiesser, 1484 (see Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques
, tome V, 1931, col. 487-489). There is no modern critical edition of this work.
ff. 347-351, [Pseudo-Augustinus], Speculum peccatoris
, incipit, “Quoniam karissimi in via huius seculi fugientes sumus…” ; explicit, “[…] Amen explicit speculum peccatoris” (published in PL 40, 983-992);
Preserved in numerous manuscripts, the Speculum peccatoris
now figures amongst the apocryphal works of Augustine, although long considered authentic. Inspired by the De modo orandi
of Hughes of Saint-Victor, the work offers thoughts on individual eschatology and death of sinners. The work is listed amongst the “Apocryphes attribués à saint Augustin,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique
, 1937, tome I, col. 1134, no. 17).
f. 351v, blank;
ff. 352-357, [Moralitas super Jermiam
(?)] [Sermons (?)], incipit, “A, a, a domine deus ecce nescio loqui quia puer ego sum. Jeremie .i. Et ideo add[…] (?) sapientiam confugio qui linguas infancium facit disertas …”; explicit, “[…] Item dominus noster Jhesus Cristus nobis concedat qui sive fine vivit et regnat in secula. Amen. Amen. Amen”;
ff. 357v-361, [Anonymous] Solutiones contrariorum Bibliae
, incipit, “Ego non judico quemquam / Dictative / Omne iudicium pater dedit filio…” (F. Stegmüller, no. 9090);
ff. 361v-363, Nikolaus von Dinkelsbühl or Hermannus de Schildesche (or de Westfalia), Tractatus de septem horis canonicis
, incipit, “[S]epties in die laudem dixi… Quamuis enim Deus semper omni tempore a nobis sit laudandus... ”; explicit, “[…] et qui devote septem horas coctidie deo persolvit vitam eternam habebit…Explicit hoc totum infinitudine (?)“;
Authorship of the present work is not yet clearly determined. The work is recorded as dubious in A. Madre, Nikolaus von Dinkelsbühl, Leben und Schriften
, Band XL Heft 4, Münster, 1965, p. 331, but also in A. Zumkeller (1966) n° 384, under the name Hermannus de Schildesche, although his authorship equally remains dubious. The work is also sometimes attributed to Henricus de Bitterfeld, in particular in München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm. 5338 (ff. 207-210v). A proper confrontation of all manuscripts could allow for a better identification.
f. 363v, blank;
ff. 364-365, Hymn, Planctus ecclesie
, heading, Incipit planctus ecclesiae secundum statum modernorum filiorum et non peregrinorum eius editus a quodam sacerdote; incipit, “Rogo corde pertractetur / Hoc breve compendium / Quale mihi comitetur / Maxime dispendium…“ (recorded in U. Chevalier, 1912, IV, no. 40546) ;
ff. 365v-370, Guillelmus de Ockham, De praedestinatione et de praescientia Dei et de futuris contingentibus
, incipit, “Circa materiam de praedestinatione et sciencia est advertendum…“ ; explicit, “[…] quasi stat tota difficultas in ista materia […] sufficiant“ (published in P. Boehner, The Tractatus de praedestinatione et de praescientia Dei et de futura contingentibus of William Ockham
, Franciscan Institute Publications, no. 2, New-York, 1945);
In this tract, Ockham provides a logical consideration of the theological problems of predestination and the foreknowledge of God in regard to future contingent facts. The published edition is based on eight manuscripts and the incunable edition of Bologna, 1496 (Boehner (1945), pp. IX-X).
ff. 370v-373, [Bernardinus Senensis], Speculum peccatorum de contemptu mundi
, incipit, “Videte quomodo caute ambuletis…Apostolus Paulus, conscius consiliorum Dei…“ (published in Opera omnia sancti Bernardini Senensis…labore R. P. Joannis de La Haye…
, Lyon, 1650, tome III, pp. 474-477 ; discussed in Pacetti, 1945, pp. 60-61);
This treatise is largely made up of quotes from Bernard, Augustine, Gregory, Jerome, and Anselm. Pacetti includes the present treatise amongst the works considered dubious (“Opere latine dubbie e spurie”) and refers to only 14 known manuscripts, of which only 4 actually name Bernardinus of Siena as the author or compiler. According to Pacetti, the true author was likely German, as almost all extant manuscripts are of Germanic origin (Pacetti, 1945, p. 61). The work was first printed in Cologne, J. Koelhff der Altere, c. 1490.
Of enormous popularity and considerable controversy in his own day, Bernardino is considered the “Apostle of Italy,” an epithet that calls attention not only to his activity as a preacher but his reform of the Friars Minor.
Whereas scholars have studied the changing phenomena of literary anthologies, or collected works, during the later Middle Ages, they have not focused similarly on their religious counterparts, miscellanies composed of often-diverse theological, spiritual, and exegetical compendia like the present manuscript. Why are certain texts written and bound together? Do such manuscripts then serve as exemplars for other comparable anthologies of the same texts? Or is each manuscript entirely unique? Are such anthologies more common in monastic communities, and if so in what regions or for what orders? Or, are they equally made for and used in university milieu? These are the kinds of questions that the study of the present manuscript, especially in comparison to others of its genre, could help answer, and the answers would begin to tell us a great deal about the use of miscellanies in the intellectual and religious life of the later Middle Ages.
For the time being, what we can say about the present miscellany is that the core of it combines two entirely complementary texts that could readily have served a preacher of the mendicant order. The first text, the Manipulus Florum
provided a wealth of quotations from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church and other “acceptable” sources, while the second text, a still-unidentified biblical dictionary, provided a comparably complete set of extracts from the Bible. Both works are organized alphabetically. It is easy, therefore, to imagine the use of this manuscript to construct sermons, as the reader could move back and forth between the Church Fathers and the Bible in alphabetical fashion on specific themes, abstinence (abstinencia
), abuse (abusio
(sloth), etc. The existence of multiple biblical dictionaries or distinctions from the thirteenth century onward remains a puzzle; why does the present manuscript not include one of the more common varieties, William of Brito, or Nicolas Biard, or even the Mammotrectus
, for example, instead of the anonymous and rare version it contains?
Chevalier, Ulysse. Repertorium hymnologicum. Catalogue des chants, hymnes, proses, séquences, tropes en usage dans l'Eglise latine depuis les origines jusqu'a nos jours, Tome IV, Louvain, 1912.
Glorieux, Palémon. Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIII siècle, Paris 1933, vol. II.
Moss, A. Les recueils de lieux communs. Méthode pour apprendre à penser à la Renaissance. Genève, Droz, 2000.
Nighman, Chris L. “Commonplaces on preaching among commonplaces for preaching? The topic Predicacio in Thomas of Ireland's Manipulus florum,” Medieval Sermon Studies 49 (2005), 37-57.
Pacetti, D. “Gli scritti di San Bernardino da Siena,” in S. Bernardino da Siena. Saggi e ricerche pubblicati nel quinto centenario della morte (1444-1944), Pubblicazioni dell’Università Cattolica del S. Cuore, Nuova Serie, vol. 4, 1945, pp. 25-138.
Rouse, R. and M. Rouse. Preachers, Florilegia and Sermons: Studies on the Manipulus florum of Thomas of Ireland, Toronto, Pontifical Institute, 1979.
Stegmüller, F. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, Madrid, 1950-1980.
Zumkeller, A. Manuskripte von Werken der Autoren des Augustiner-Eremitenordens in mitteleuropäischen Bibliotheken, Würzburg, 1966.
An electronic searchable edition of the Manipulus florum: