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PETER OF TARENTAISE O.P. (Pope Innocent V, d. 1276), Commentary on Book IV of the Sentences of Peter Lombard

In Latin, manuscript on parchment
Southern Italy, (Gaeta or Naples?), c. 1300-50

TM 351


ii paper + 90 + ii paper leaves, foliated in modern pencil at the fore-edge including a stub, foliated as f. 20, five very narrow stubs foliated as ff. 76-80, and two former end-leaves (collation: i14, ii12[-6, f. 20, stub remains)] iii-iv12, v-vii8, viii14 [-2 through 6, ff. 76-80, stubs remain], ix2[2, f. 90, lifted pastedown] one or more quires apparently lacking at the beginning), catchwords, frame(?)-ruled in pencil, 65 lines in two columns, written in dark brown ink primarily in semi-cursive gothic book-hand (most of a column written in a much larger and more formal gothic book-hand at f. 15, several different scripts appear at ff. 42-44 and elsewhere), between four verticals, horizontals not visible, (justification: 270 x 75-13-75 mm), ff. 89-90v typically with 60-65 lines in two columns written in brown ink in a round gothic book-hand (justification 295 x 85-12-85 mm.), no color is used, but some large initials have ornament in the ink of the main text. (Parchment of variable, sometimes mediocre quality, with natural flaws, some staining and worming, generally not affecting the text). Bound in 18th-century Italian half sheep and patterned paper over pasteboards, the spine lettered in gilt “XXVII / PET. DE / TARAN / SENTE / MS.” a note on a slip of paper with instructions to the binder is loosely inserted (scuffed). Dimensions 335 x 225 mm.

This manuscript survives as a rare example of a medieval palimpsest. It is written over three different, nearly contemporaneous manuscripts of which the text was scraped away, perhaps by a student who wished to save money. There is no modern critical edition of this particular Commentary on Peter Lombard’s fundamental university textbook, although it survives in many manuscripts mostly found in institutions. The Schoenberg Database lists only six manuscripts of the Commentary, and this is the only copy that has been sold since 1960.


1. The evidence of the script suggests the manuscript was copied in Italy in the first half of the fourteenth century; the endleaves are also Italian in origin, and probably contemporary with the main text. The manuscript is a palimpsest that is written on re-used parchments from as many as three thirteenth-century Italian manuscripts. Simple in script and devoid of decoration, the manuscript was perhaps copied by a student for his own use, since the Sentences were a basic text book for theology students. Given its provenance from the Dominican house at Gaeta, it may well have been written by a Dominican from that house, probably while studying at one of the Italian universities, perhaps Naples or at a Domincan center of studies.

2. From the Dominican convent of San Domenico at Gaeta, on the Mediterranean coast about 80 km north of Naples, suppressed in 1806: inscribed in the 15th century “Iste liber est conventus sancti dominici de gayeta ordinis predicatorum [followed by an erasure] / Et est petrus de tarentasia super quartum sententiarum”; (f. 1, lower margin). The author was Dominican, and it may be for this reason that Gaeta especially wanted a copy of this text. This manuscript was one of a group of eleven manuscripts, probably all from Gaeta, acquired by the Hispanic Society in the early twentieth century; another manuscript from this group, a manuscript with biblical principia by Peter Olivi and Collationes on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard, is also offered by www.textmanuscripts.com.

3. Inscribed in the 18th century with a shelfmark and title: “E.5. Petrus de Tarantasia O(rdo) Pred(icatorum) in 4o sentiarum(?) [...]” (f. 1; cf. ff. 89v, 90v, both upside-down) and “Foglie # 84 Segnato N AP” (back pastedown);

4. Perhaps in France by the 19th century: with a brief description in French loosely inserted.

5. The Hispanic Society of America, their manuscript B2566 (Faulhaber, pp. 43-4, 187); probably acquired in the early 20th century, perhaps in the belief that it is Spanish, and subsequently de-accessioned.


ff. 1-87v, Peter of Tarentaise (Pope Innocent V), Commentary on Book IV of the Sentences of Peter Lombard, text starting at Distinctio 8 (with marginal note “d. viii”): “Post sacramentum baptismi. Egit de sacramento baptismi & confirmacione. hic agit de sacramento eucharistie ...;” explicit “... ad quam vitam nos perducat. cui est honor et gloria in secula seculorum amen. Explicit quartus liber super sententias magistri Petri de Tharantasio. Deo gratias, deo gratis, deo gratias.” (see Friedrich Stegmüller, Repertorium Commentariorum in Sententias Petri Lombardi, 2 vols (Würzburg, 1947), I, pp. 333-38);

ff. 87v-88v, Chapter list (including Distinctiones 1-7), incipit “Distinctio primus. Samaritanus utrum verbum ...;” explicit “... An carencia visiones dei sit pena gravior quam gehenna. Expliciunt tituli quarti libri sententiarum deo gratias semper dicamus deo gratias.”

ff. 89-90v, Flyleaf and former pastedown, with part of an unidentified alphabetical index to a legal text, citing the Decretum, Decretales, and Liber Sextus, perhaps Martinus Polonus (Martin of Troppau), Margarita martiniana, parts of the index for words beginning with D and E, from “Dedicata” to “Dilapidator,” and from “Episcopus” to “[illegible],” incipit “Dedicata loca semel non possunt fieri habitacula secularia xix.q.iii. [i.e. Decretum c.19, q.3, c.4] Que semel. ....”

Antonio García y García, “Manoscritos jurídicos medievales de la Hispanic Society of America,” Revista Española de Derecho Canónico, 18 (1963), p. 548: a copy of this description is stuck to the back pastedown.

Peter Lombard wrote the Sentences in the mid-twelfth century. The text is a theological compilation of different sententia (opinions, or judgments) of the Church Fathers concerning difficult biblical passages. He arranged the work into four books according to subject matter, and then divided the books into individual quaestiones; in the late thirteenth century they were further divided into chapters, or distictiones. Book IV—covered by the present manuscript—concerns the sacraments and the Four Last Things (Death, Last Judgment, Hell, and Heaven). Often the authorities on a given question did not agree, and Peter tried to resolve the matter. The Sentences became the fundamental textbook for the study of theology, and this led numerous other authors to write commentaries on it.

His commentary on the Sentences survives in numerous manuscripts, some of which were copied from University peciae exemplars; see Stegmüller, 1947, nos. 690-694, volume I, pp. 333-38, listing about 120 manuscripts, and Kaeppeli,1970-, no. 3340, volume 3, p. 262-264, listing an additional forty-two manuscripts. Although some manuscripts include all four books of the Commentary, more often they include only one or sometimes two books. Manuscripts of the fourth book of the Commentary are quite common (see Martin, listed below, pp. 593).

The commentary was printed in the seventeenth century, but there is no modern critical edition of the text (see In IV librum Sententiarum commentaria ex manuscriptis bibliothecae tolosane conventus sancti Thomae Aquinatis iussu Thomae Turci et Joannis Baptistae de Marinis, Toulouse, 1649-52; facsimile reproduction, Ridgewood, New Jersey, 1964; and see Martin, listed below, on the need for a critical edition). Although it is likely that the first version of the commentary was composed during Peter’s years in Paris, 1257-1259, revisions were likely made during the years 1259-1264 (see Laurent, cited below, p. 361). Only six manuscripts of the Commentary are listed in the Schoenberg Database, and this is the only copy that has been sold since 1960.

The Martin of Troppau(?) leaves at the end of the manuscript were apparently a pastedown and flyleaf at the front of the volume until the date of the present binding. It may be more than coincidence—considering that the manuscript has a Dominican provenance—that, like Peter of Tarentaise, he was a Dominican. Martin of Troppau, also known as Martin Polonus, died after 1278 in Bologna. His most famous work is his chronicle, the Chronicon pontificum et imperatorum, but he also wrote an alphabetical work which circulated under a number of titles, including the Margarita decreti seu tabula (printed often, including Venice, 1483; see Hain 10834-52, and Kaeppeli, no. 2973, volume 3, pp. 115-118, listing more than 108 manuscripts). The leaves in this manuscript may belong to this work; they are certainly from the same type of text.

The most interesting feature of the manuscript is that it is a palimpsest. The parchment seems to be re-used from at least three other manuscripts, all of which appear to date from the thirteenth century and are Italian in origin. The first appears to be a glossed legal text, especially legible at ff. 21-22v, that had red initials and running-headers indicating that the leaves come from Books III, IIII, and V (ff. 1-50v). The second text is more completely erased and over-written, and therefore more difficult to read (ff. 51-74v). The third is only sporadically visible at ff. 83-87v. Careful study with a UV lamp or digital imaging enhancement may allow the three texts to be identified and read. Palimpsests of western medieval manuscripts are surprisingly rare.


Colish, Marcia. Peter Lombard, Leiden and New York, E.J. Brill, 1994.

Den Brincken, A.-D. “Martin von Troppau,” in Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein im späten Mittelalter, ed. Hans Patze, Sigmaringen, Thorbecke, 1987, pp. 155-193.

Faulhaber, Charles B. Medieval Manuscripts in the Library of The Hispanic Society of America: Religious, Legal, Scientific, Historical, and Literary Manuscripts, 2 vols, New York, The Hispanic Society of America, 1983.

Kaeppeli, Thomas. Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum medii aevi, Rome, Ad S. Sabinae, 1970- .

Laurent, M.-H. Le bienheureux Innocent V (Pierre de Tarentaise) et son temps, Studi e testi 129, Vatican City, 1947.

Martin, R. “Pour une édition critique des commentaire de Pierre de Tarentaise sur le livre des Sentences de Pierre Lombard,” in Miscellanea historica in honorem A. De Meyer, Receuil de travaux d’histoire et de philologie, 3 series, fasc. 22-23, Louvain and Brussels, 1946, pp. 590-602.

Peter Lombard. The Sentences, translated Giulio Silano, Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2007-2008.

Rosemann, Phillipp. The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard’s Sentences, Peterborough, Ontario and Orchard Park, New York, Broadview Press, 2007.

Simonin, H. D, “Les écrits de Pierre de Tarantaise,” in Gillet, M. S. Beatus Innocentius PP. V (Petrus de Tarantasia O. P.): studia et documenta, Rome, Ad S. Sabinae, 1943, discussing this work, pp. 163-213.

Stegmüller, Friedrich. Repertorium commentariorum in Sententias Petri Lombardi, 2 vols., Würzburg, 1947.

Online resources

“The Internet Guide to Master Peter Lombard”:

Kirsch, J.P., “Martin of Troppau.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1910;
retrieved April 25, 2009 from New Advent:

“Martin of Troppau,” in Kirchenlexikon:

Weber, N. “Pope Bl. Innocent V,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1910;
retrieved April 25, 2009 from New Advent: