i + 132 + i folios, complete (collation: i4+1 + ii12 + iii8+4 + iv10+2 + v12 + vi12 + vii12 + viii10+2 + ix10+2 + x12 + xi12 + xii4+3; leaves 19, 22, 28, 34, 37, 80, 87, 91, 100, 126, 127, 128 are singletons), missing at least one folio at the end, end leaves are parchment bifolia with one folio used as pastedown on boards, no catchwords, no signatures, written in a clear Gothic textualis with dark brown ink in a single column on 24-28 lines, faintly ruled in hard and lead point (justification c. 105/120 x 80 mm.), medieval repairs to paper on ff. 21, 25, 64, 73, and 85, one-line capitals using rubric highlights throughout, two- and three-line capitals alternate in red and blue, many with openwork decoration and with calligraphic rubric, brown and blue penwork highlights, at times descending into margins and developing into florals, ff. 49-50v include brown ink marginalia consisting of Arabic numerals in a later hand marking the component parts of the office, scribal erasures of texts found on f. 83v, capitals mark sentence endings, TWO HISTORIATED INITIALS executed in watercolor wash plus one added drawing, contemporary with the other illustration. Bound in sixteenth-century German tooled calf over wood boards, tooled decoration consists of acanthus leaves, soldiers (one with a sword, the other with an arqubus), thistles, and general vegetative motifs, two contemporary clasps, now broken, appear on the fore-edge. Dimensions 162 x 118 mm.
This fifteenth-century Sanctoral in an early German binding and with watercolor illustrations was undoubtedly used, and probably made, in a Dominican, most likely female, milieu; text and illustration together point to an origin in the Middle Rhine, perhaps Strasbourg or Mainz, and the textual content witnesses aspects of the evolution of the Dominican liturgy in the last half of the fifteenth century.
1. Made for use in a Dominican house, perhaps a nunnery, in the area of the Middle Rhine between Mainz, Strasbourg, and Metz, between c. 1460 and 1485. The saints in the Sanctoral include Saint Ursula (Cologne), Adelphius (Metz and Cologne), Servatius (Tongeren), Theonestus (Mainz and Worms), Gall (Germany and Switzerland), Rufus (Metz), and Lambert (Maastricht). The writing appears more Germanic than French and resembles the fraktur script characteristic of Mainz codices. The date can be fixed approximately on the basis of the feasts included and their levels according to changes in the Dominican liturgy (see below for a fuller discussion). The illustrations likewise suggest the work of a Middle Rhenish artist, perhaps a nun (see discussion below).
2. f. 1r has a nineteenth-century hand (dated 1850), transcribing information on the identity of the text and the acquisition of the book by Abbe Schurreuf.
Text for the Sanctoral, beginning with the principle Dominican male saints and followed by groupings of female saints the male ones: f. 2, Office of the translation of Saint Thomas Aquinas, January 28, incipit, “O quam felix mater ytalia noui solis enixa radium”; ff. 3-9r, Office of Saint Vincent Ferrer, April 5, incipit, “Diem novae laudis et gloriae laetum ducat cetus fidelium quo sublime decus hesperiae gratulante turba celestium”; ff. 9v-11v, Office of Saint Catherine of Siena, first Sunday of May, incipit, “Prestit katherina virgo felix religionis sanctimonia adeo”; ff. 11v-16v, Office of the Visitation of Mary, July 2, incipit, “Colletentur corda fidelium virgo matris concepto filio”; ff. 16v-19v, Office of Saint Anne, July 26, incipit, “O lampas mundi o lumen celi felix anna laude digna tu benedicta femina cuius plures omnibus nobis xpistum genuit…Deuoto corde et animo hymnum canamus domino hymnus beatae anne merita concelebrantes inclita”; ff. 19v-22v, Office of Saint Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins and martyrs, October 21, incipit, “Hec est dies celebris homnibus et angelis in qua sanctorum britonum xpisti tyrannum undena [sic] uirginum milia triumphali gaudio coronatur a domino”; ff. 22v-25v, Office of Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, November 19, incipit, “Letare germania claro felix germine”; ff.. 25v-30r, Office of the feast of Saint Adelphius of Metz, August 29, incipit, “Cuius terra pedum lotus est”; ff. 30r-34r, Office of Saint Bridget of Sweden, July 23, incipit, “Brigitta matris inclite festa iocunda festa iocunda suscipe gaudens mater ecclesia”; ff. 34r-36r, Office of the translation of Saint Bridget of Sweden, incipit, “Beata brigitta in regno swecie oriunda”;
ff. 36r-38r, Office of Saint Barbara, December 4, incipit, “Cordibus nostris quaesumus domine rorem tuae benedictionis”; ff. 38r-40r, Office of Saint Anthony of Egypt, January 17, incipit, “anthonius nobilius religiosis quam parentibus ab egypto oriundus fuit”;
ff. 40r-41r, Office of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, October 17, incipit, “Ignatius beati iohannis evangeliste discipulis et anthiocenus episcopus fuit”; ff. 41r-42v, Office of Saint Blaise, February 3, incipit, “Beatus blasius cum omni mansuetudine”; ff.. 42v-43r, Office of Saint Adalbert, April 23, incipit, “Erat in partibus bohemie uir nominee slawindus deo deuotus amator”; ff. 43rv, Office of Saint Servatus, May 13, incipit, “Beatus seruacius in quarto gradu in xpisto natus fuit in armenia ex patre et matre iudeis”; ff. 43v-45r, Office of Saint Martial of Limoges, June 30, incipit, “Predicante domino ihesu xpisto apud iudeam in tribu benyamin beatus marcialis adhoc puer adolescens quindecim annorum etatis”; f. 45rv, Office of Saint Albanus of Moguntia (Theonestus episcopus et martyres), October 30, incipit, “Praesta quaesumus omnipotens deus ut qui beati albani martiris tui”; ff. 45v-47v, Office of the ten thousand martyrs, June 22, incipit, “Deus qui uos admutandum passionis tue exemplum decem milium martirium”; ff. 47v-48v, Office of Saint Procopius of Bohemia, July 4, incipit, “Plenam in nobis eterne saluator tue uirtutis operare medelam ut qui raeclara beati procopii iusta veneramus”; ff. 49r-50v, Office of Saint Alexius Confessor, July 17, ncipit, “Deus qui beato alexio confessori tuo tribuisti”; ff. 50v-52r, Office of Saint Henry (Emperor), July 13, incipit, “Concede quaesumus opus deus ut beati heinrici confessoris tui nos ad regna celestia”; ff. 52r-54v, Office of Saint Ludovicus (King), incipit “Concede quaesumus opus deus…Beatus ludowicus quondam rex francorum illustris”; ff. 54v-56r, Office of Saint Wenceslaus, September 28; incipit, “Deus qui beati venceslai nobilitatem in meliore mutasti dignitatem”; ff. 56-58r, Office of Saint Gall. July 1, incipit,”Beatus gallus presbiter parentes habuit secundum deum religiosos”; ff. 58r-65v, Office of the feast and Octave of Corpus Christi, incipit, “Huius sacramenta figura praecessit”; ff. 65v-75r, Office of the feast and Octave of All Saints, incipit, “Quia hodie fratres karissimi sollempnia omnium sanctorum celebramus”; ff. ff. 75r-80v, Office of the feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, incipit, “Uisionem quam uidistis nemini dixeritis”; ff. 80v-85r, Office of the Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, September 15, incipit, “Tuam ipsius animam ait symeon ad mariam pertransibit gladius”; ff. 85r-88v, Office of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, November 21, incipit, “Fons ortorum redundans gratia mundam replens celi muneribus”; ff. 88v-93v, Office of the Conception of the Virgin Mary, December 8, incipit, “Ecce stirps da? est clara felix germinem que perduxit virginem ex regali semine”; ff. 93v-94r, ) Office of Saint Emerentiana, January 23, “Emerentiana virgo sanctissima collactanea beate agnetis”; ff. 94rv, Office of Saint Julian of Le Mans, January 27, “Beatus iulianus cenomanensis episcopus dicitur; ff. 94v-97r; Office of Saint Dorothea, February 6, “Gloriosa virgo et martyr dorothea et patre doro et matre thea progenita”; ff. 97rv, Office of Saint Scholastica, February 10, “Beata Scholastica uirgo sacratissima soror fuit sancti benedicti abbatis”; ff. 97v-98r, Office of Saint Albanus, March 1, "Beatus albinus abdegruensis episcopus nobilibus ortus parentibus in sua adolescencia sponte parentes deseruit"; ff. 9rv, Office of Saint Pudentiana, May 19, "Beata potenciana virgo illustrissimi glorius prudentis senatoris discipuli beati petrus"; ff. 98v-99r, Office of Saint Petronilla, May 31, "Petronella sanctissima filia fuit beati petri apostolic"; ff. 99rv, Office of Saint Medard, June 8, "Beatus medardus episcopus vermandiensis episcopus [sic]"; ff. 99v-100r) Office of Saints Vitus and Modestus, June 15, "Beatus vitus puer xii annorum in sicilia passus est martyrium"; ff. 100rv, Office of Saint Rufus, August 27, "Rufus patricie dignitatis apud capuam passus est"; ff. 100v-101v, Office of Saint Lambert of Maastricht, September 17, "Beatus lampertus nobilis germanie"; ff. 101v-102v, Office of Saint Leodegardius, October 2, "Beatus leodegarius dum virtutibus pollent"; ff. 102v-103r, Office of Saint Callistus I, October 14, "Calixtus papa nacione romanus patre demetrio"; ff. 103rv, Office of Saint Crispin and Crispinian, October 25, "Beati martires xpisti crispinus et crispinianus qui com beato quintino de roma in galiciam venerant"; ff. 103r-104v, Office of Saint Chrysogunus, November 24, "Beatus crisogonus nobilis germanie ut pote senatorum"; ff. 104v-105r, Office of Saint Agricola and Vitalis, November 27, "Vitalis et agricola martyres xpisti in ciuitate bononicum passi sunt";
ff. 105r-106v, Office of the octave of Saint John the Baptist, "Sancti iohannis cuius natiuitate cum evangelium legeretur"; ff. 106v-112r, Office of the octave of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, July 9, "Ex clamauit voce magna non tan clamosa quam de nota uel ideo voce magna"; ff. 112r-116v, Office of the feast and octave of Saint Dominic, August 5 and 12, "Fame per valida in universis hispanie partibus in gruente servus dei"; ff. 116v-117v, Office on the eve of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, August 14, "Cum venerabilis sixtus apostolice sedis sacerdotes fungeretur"; ff. 117v-119v, Office of the octave of Saint Lawrence, August 17, "Secundum est fraters ac deo placitum ut natalem beati laurencii euocione praecipua veneremus"; ff. 119v-124r, Office of the feast and octave of Saint Augustine of Hippo, August 28 and September 4, "Postmodum augustinus incurrit egritudinem validam"; ff. 124r-128v, Office of the octave of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, September 15, " Igitur omnis sanctos memoria beate virginis eo frequencius agitur";
ff. 128v-132r, Office of the feast and octave of Saint Martin of Tours, November 18, "Igitur Martinus inde progressus cum mediolanum praetereissem dyabolus"; ff. 132rv, Office of the octave of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, August 22, "Si queritur post ascensionem domini quid egerit beata virgo certum est."
The text is a Sanctoral, or “proper of saints,” containing only the feasts and offices celebrated during the period between January 14 and December 23 (omitting the feast days associated with the Christmas season, or the temporal). The proliferation of offices of the sanctoral was a general phenomenon in the fifteenth century. Compare its text to four fifteenth-century Dominican Breviaries now in the Huntington Library, San Marino CA (HM 1049, HM 1065, HM 1066, and HM 25771 http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/scriptorium/hehweb/toc.html).
The specifics of the liturgy in this Dominican Sanctoral help date the offices, and shows several interesting developments during the great reforms undertaken by the Order and the general councils during this period. Two of the three new feasts introduced by the Dominican General Council in 1423 appear in the manuscript: Santa Barbara and the feast of Ten Thousand Martyrs. At the same time, the feasts of Anthony of Egypt and the Eleven Thousand Virgins became totum duplex feasts. Also, Saints Lawrence and Martin each became a duplex with a solemn octave. All saints also received an octave (Bonniwell, Dominican Liturgy, 254). Later in the century, the feasts of Vincent Ferrer, Anne, the Transfiguration, Catherine of Siena, the Conception of the Virgin, Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo all became totum duplex feasts. Saints Blaise and Servatus were elevated to simplex, while octaves were accorded to Corpus Christi, the Assumption, Saint Dominic de Guzman, and All Saints. In 1455, Pope Callistus III canonized Saint Vincent Ferrer with a feast on April 5. The feast of the Transfiguration was adopted in 1456 at the request of Callistus III. The manuscript also includes Saint Catherine of Siena, who was canonized by Pius II in 1461. Furthermore, the Dominicans formally adopted the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1481, changing it to the feast of the Sanctification in 1484 as Thomist Dominicans refused to accept the word Conception. The order was bound by its constitutions to use the Thomistic interpretation of theology. However, the feast had already been practically universal in acceptance since the time of 1477, when Sixtus IV issued indulgences in conjunction with the feast. Given the inclusion of new feasts and their alterations, it is reasonable to date the manuscript to a period between 1461 and 1484, before the order insisted upon the use of the title of Sanctification for the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Note that the feasts for the female saints are grouped together preceding those of the male saints, a detail that also argues in favor of an origin in a woman’s cloister.
There are two historiated initials:
f. 1r, Saint Thomas Aquinas, holding a book as one of his attributes, flanked by two angels, initial “O” (45 x 50 mm: 10 lines), with red calligraphic penwork in the border;
f. 2r, Saint Vincent Ferrer healing a child, initial “D” (50 x 55 mm: 12 lines in length), with brown and blue penwork as border
f. 20r, pen and ink drawing of crowned virgin with spear in the fore-edge margin in light brown ink. This appears to be same artist as two painted initials.
The illustration confirms the Dominican use of the Sanctoral, featuring the two quintessential Dominican saints, Thomas Aquinas and Vincent Ferrer. The former joined the Dominican order against his family's wishes in 1243 and eventually became Doctor of the Church and patron saint of schools. His most famous work is the Summa Theologiae but here he is shown glorified by angels. The latter was a famous missionary who entered the Dominican order in 1367 and carried out apostolic work the rest of his life (died 1419). He was famous for working miracles and tending sick children, as is depicted here.
Curly yellow hair, painted red cheeks, short figures with large rounded heads, these are all characteristics of Middle Rhenish illustration from the middle of the fifteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth century. Compare for example, a manuscript Legend of Saint Clare Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Tennenbach 4, made perhaps in Strasbourg before 1492 (Memoire des siecles, p. 82) and a Life of Saint Augustine, also localized to Strasbourg, c. 1480 (now Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, MS germ. Qu. 1877; see Hamburger, 1997, fig. 78, p. 119). The naïve style, coupled with comparisons with these and other works, raises the possibility that the illustrations were made by and for the use of nuns. See also works by the Dominicans from Unterlinden (Colmar, II, nos. 151, 153).
Bonniwell, William. A History of the Dominican Liturgy 1215-1945, 2nd edition,New York: Joseph Wagner, 1945.
Early Dominicans: Selected Writings. In Classics in Western Spirituality, tr. Simon Tugwell. New York, Paulist Press, 1987.
Colmar, Musée d’Unterlinden, Les dominicaines d’Unterlinden, catalogue of an exhibition, Colmar, 2001 (esp. “L’enluminure dominicaine en Alsace autour de 1500,” pp. 112-119).
Hamburger, Jeffrey. Nuns as Artists. The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.
Hinnebusch, William. A History of the Dominican Order. Origins and Growth to 1500, 2 vols.,New York: Alba House, 1965.
Lawrence, C.H. The Friars. The Impact of the Early Mendicant Movement on Western Society, New York: Longman, 1994.
La Mémoire des siècles. 2000 ans d'écrits en Alsace, catalogue of an exhibition, Strasbourg, 1989.
On medieval female cloisters
On the Dominican liturgy