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les Enluminures

Antiphonary (Use of Lyons)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
France, Lyons, c. 1300 (or earlier, c. 1275-1300?)

TM 481

176 ff., preceded and followed by one paper flyleaf, with core of manuscript apparently complete, although likely missing a leaf in the collection of invitatories (Venite) at the end (collation: i6, ii9 [of 10, missing x, a cancelled blank], iii8 [of 10, missing ii and x, no text missing so likely also cancelled blanks], iv-x8, xi6, xii-xx8, xxi6, xxii5 [6-1, missing vi, cancelled], xxiii5 [of 6, missing vi]), written in a regular gothic rounded hand, in dark brown (almost black) ink, near-contemporary foliation in upper left-hand corners of verso of each leaf (in Roman numerals), confirmed by an unfortunate modern ink foliation, 4-line musical staves traced in red, with up to 12 staves per leaf (justification: 200 x 128 mm), music copied in square notation, some prickings still visible, some near-contemporary quire signatures (e.g. f. 67, inner margin), rubrics in red, some initials with calligraphic features, numerous initials in red or blue with opposing bleu or red filigree penwork, larger parti-colored initials in red and blue with red and blue filigree penwork extending in the margin (e.g. ff. 29v, 33v, 40v, 87v, 104, 107v, 111v, 123v, 145), small marginal drawing forming a letter “I” on fol. 144v, numerous marginal annotations and corrections (15th and 16th century hands). Bound in a later (late 17th/ 18th c.) brown calf binding over pasteboard, back sewn on 4 raised thongs (Spine and boards very worn, a few internal imperfections, with a few leaves torn and fixed (e.g. fol. 130). Dimensions: 190 x 268 mm.

This manuscript is one of only three extant antiphonaries for the use of Lyons. Dating from circa 1300, it situates itself as something between the two other known witnesses (both in the BM de Lyon, respectively 12th and 15th century) in a middle position in the evolution of the liturgy and music practiced in Lyons. Recorded in the Census of liturgical manuscripts for the diocese of Lyon (Amiet, 1998), it merits further study. This codex is precious for the elements it provides concerning the liturgy and music of the 14th century.


1. Copied in Lyons for local liturgical use. The script, decoration and music suggest a date of copy in the first quarter of the 14th century. The liturgy confirms use for Lyons, as per the responsaries for matins of the four Sundays of Advent (see text below). The importance of Saint-John-the-Baptist in the Sanctoral would suggest the manuscript was copied for (or at least related to) the “Primatiale” or Lyon Cathedral (Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon). The Cathedral was often referred to as “Primatiale” because in 1079 the Pope granted the Archbishop of Lyon the title of Primate of all Gauls (Primat des Gaules), with legal supremacy over all the principal archbishops of France. Solemnity and importance of Saint-John-the-Baptist is signified in the Sanctoral with a large decorated initial P introducing the responsary (fol. 111v).

2. A few ownership inscriptions, including on f. 58v: “Franciscus Faverjon,” repeated on the lower uncovered parchment pastedown. The names Faverjon is traced in a 16th-century hand. Another inscription is repeated twice on upper paper pastedown and first paper flyleaf: “Auchamps” or “Alichamps”? Also found are inscriptions in a cursive late 16th-c. hand (some difficult to decipher) in which the name “Petrus Giraud” can be made out (ff. 102v, 168v).

3. This manuscript comes with an important correspondence between one of the recent owners M. Georges Gendreau and a number of scholars. M. Gendreau was curator of the Bibliothèque de la ville de Fontainebleau, and most of the correspondence was delivered to his professional address. The main correspondents include are: an archivist from the Archbishopric of Paris, M. Hansjakob Becker, who worked on the origins of the Carthusian Breviary and hence had an interest in south-eastern French liturgy (Munich); M. Robert Amiet, professor in Lyons and author of the authoritative census and study of liturgical manuscripts from Lyons; Dom Jean Claire from the Abbaye de Solesmes (see Literature below). G. Gendreau states he saved the manuscript from a sure destruction from as bookbinder’s waste who was on the verge of selling it to a cigarette-box maker: “[...] et également en raison de sa provenance curieuse: je l’ai acheté chez un relieur (lequel l’avait trouvé dans un lot de livres venant de son prédécesseur) qui allait en céder les feuillets de parchemin à un artisan spécialisé dans la fabrication des boites à cigarettes!” [Letter of G. Gendreau to Hansjakob Becker, 5 Jan. 1964].


ff. 1-129v, Temporale and Sanctorale, intermixed (as is customary in Antiphonaries), incipit, “Rorate celi de super. Ecce dominus veniet...”; first responsary for matins of the first Sunday of Advent: “Aspiciebam...”; Temporale beginning with the first Sunday of Advent to Pentecost; Sanctorale contains only 13 celebrations, respectively: Agnes (fol. 37v), Agatha (fol. 42), Philip and James (fol. 102v), John the Baptist (fol. 110v), John and Paul (fol. 114), Peter (fol. 114v); Paul (fol. 117), Lawrence (fol. 120), Assumption of the Virgin (fol. 123); In decollatione sancti iohannis baptiste (fol. 124v); Michael (fol. 125), Cecilia (fol. 126v), Andrew (fol. 127v); Sanctorale ends with the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30.

ff. 129v-145, Common of the Saints, beginning with rubric, In natali apostolorum; incipit, “Tollite iugum meum...”; last rubric, In natali virginum a[ntiphona] (fol. 142); explicit, “[...] Diffusa est gratia...Preoccupemus faciem. Psalmus, Venite”;

ff. 145-160, Responsaries taken from Scripture for Sundays after Pentecost, rubric, Incipit responsaria libris regum. Invitatorium; incipit, “Preparate corda vestra domino...”;

ff. 160-166, Antiphons for Sundays for the liturgical year, rubric, Antiphone diebus dominicis circulum anni ad nocturnas a[ntiphona]; incipit, “Conserva me domine quoniam vite speravi...”;

ff. 166-170, Antiphons for Sundays after Pentecost, rubric, Dominica prima post octava penthecosten a[ntiphona]; incipit, “Factum est autem ut moreretur mendicus...”;

ff. 170-171, Dedication of the Church, rubric, In dedicatione ecclesie; incipit, “Preoccupemus faciem domini in confessione…”;

ff. 172-176v, Tones and antiphons for the invitatory Venite, nine replications of Psalm 94 (perhaps missing a last leaf): the invitatory is the opening chant of Matins also known as the Venite, the first word of the text Psalm 94 “Venite exultemus domino...” There were many tones for the Venite. Repertories of invitatories vary widely from house to house and according to the dioceses: for this reason they sometimes prove to be liturgical and musical features that can help to establish and distinguish specific rituals.

The main Choir Book for the Divine Office is the Antiphonal or Antiphonary. It is thus the counterpart of the Mass Gradual. As its name implies, the Antiphonal includes the antiphons and indeed its contents were originally limited to antiphons (the term “antiphonarius” referring to a book of chants first appeared in the 8th century). Most Antiphonaries, however incorporate the invitatories and responsaries as well and thus possess all of the Office chants, excepts for the hymns and psalms. Antiphonaries contain all the chants for the period from Advent to Eastertide grouped into Offices according to the liturgical calendar. The Office Antiphonal (like the Mass Gradual) is arranged according to Temporale, Sanctorale and Common of Saints, with Temporal and Sanctoral here intermingled, as is quite common (the chants of the Proper of the Saints (Sanctorale) are intermingled with those of the movable feasts of the Proper of the Time (Temporale)). This Antiphonary contains the chants only for Sundays and Major Feasts, to the exclusion of the chants for the weekly (ferial) Office cycle.

Usually antiphoners may be divided into two main classes, secular and monastic. The two are distinguished by the number of chants they contain for Matins, the Little Hours (Prime, Terce, Sext and None) and Vespers. Secular antiphoners were used by ordinary clergy, canons and friars of the 13th-century mendicant orders (Franciscans and Dominicans); they contain nine antiphons and nine responsories in groups of three for each of the three nocturns of Matins, a short responsory for the Little Hours and five psalms for Vespers. Monastic antiphoners (those used in monasteries, e.g. of the Benedictines, Cistercians and Carthusians) contain 12 antiphons and 12 responsories in groups of four for Matins, as well as another antiphon for the Old Testament canticles in the third nocturn of Matins. They contain no short responsories for the Little Hours and only four psalms for Vespers (see Huglo and Hiley, link specified below in “Online resources”).

This manuscript contains a secular Antiphonary copied for liturgical use in Lyons. There is a high probability that the manuscript was copied in Lyons, perhaps for the Cathedral, but this remains to be studied with comparison to other fourteenth-century manuscripts copied in and for use in Lyons. The internal liturgical elements that plead in favor of Lyons and more precisely for liturgical use in the Cathedral, are the following. The responsaries for Matins for the four Sundays of Advent all follow the responsaries proper to Lyons as published later in the Breviarium Lugdunense (1498). These responsaries are detailed in Amiet, 1998, p. 21-22, beginning Dominica I : I. Aspiciebam (this manuscript, fol. 1) / II. Audite verbum (this manuscript, fol. 1) / III. Obsecro te Domine (this manuscript, fol. 1v) / IV. Laetantur caeli (our manuscript, fol. 1v) / V. Ecce virgo (this manuscript, fol. 1v) ... and so forth. In addition, one notes the solemnity and importance in the Sanctoral of the antiphons and responsaries for Saint-John-the-Baptist (ff. 110v-113v), with the responsary on fol. 111v introduced by a large decorated initial P. In the Sanctoral, John-the-Baptist is the only saint to be given supplementary solemnity. A study of the liturgy proper to Lyon and its principal characteristics is given by R. Amiet in the Introduction of his 1998 census (Amiet, 1998, pp. 9-25).

The liturgical manuscripts for the diocese of Lyons have been well-studied first by Hansjakob Becker (who first related the codex to another Antiphonary for the use of Lyons, Lyon, BM, MS. 537 (458)) and after by R. Amiet, who published the results of his census in Les manuscrits liturgiques du diocèse de Lyon (Paris, 1998). The present manuscript is recorded in this census because Amiet had studied the codex when it was in Gendreau’s collection (see Provenance above for the extended correspondance between the two men, one scholar (Amiet), the other collector and curator Gendreau)). Amiet included the manuscript in his 1998 census in his section on Antiphonaries, as no. 1: “Antiphonaire dominical et festif, XIVe s.” (Amiet, 1998, p. 29). There are few extant antiphonaries for the use of Lyons: amongst the 12 codices listed in Amiet (1998), of which 8 pre-date 1500, there are only 3 manuscripts that are complete (the others are very fragmentary, sometimes only a leaf). Of the three extant manuscripts, there is indeed one Antiphonary from the twelfth century (Lyon, BM, MS 537 (458), ff. 109-151: Amiet, 1998, no. 2) and another datable in the fifteenth century (Lyon, BM, MSS PA 39 and 40; Amiet, 1998, no. 6). To these two manuscripts one might add Lyon, BM, MS 1789, an Antiphonary dated 1496, for the parish of Soucieu-en-Jarez, near Lyon (Amiet, 1998, no. 5). The present manuscript thus constitutes something of a middle version of the liturgy. It would benefit greatly from comparison with the only other two extant codices. This manuscript is important for the liturgy as applicable in Lyons, but especially for the noted music, poorly represented for the fourteenth century in public holdings. In his introduction to his 1998 census, Amiet reveals the scarcity of liturgical manuscripts for the important use of Lyons, stating that only 182 liturgical pre-1500 codices survive (all types confounded), and he estimates that nearly 97 % have disappeared or been destroyed (Amiet, 1998, p. 12). There is a microfilm of this manuscript in the Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon (microfilm 88).


Antiphonarium Romanum ad ritum Breviarii, ex decreto sacros[ancti] concilii Tridentini restituti Pii Quinti pontificis marimi jussu editi et Clementis VIII auctoritate recogniti, ea omnia continens, que tum ad divinum officium decantandum, cum ad religiosorum commodum, necessaria sunt..., Venice, 1614.

Amiet, R. Inventaire général des livres liturgiques du diocèse de Lyon, Paris, 1979, this manuscript listed p. 27.

Amiet, R. Les manuscrits liturgiques du diocèse de Lyon, Paris, 1998, this manuscript listed as no. 1, p. 29.

Beyssac, J. Abbayes et prieurés de l’ancienne France. Recueil historique des archevêchés, évêchés, abbayes et prieurés de France. Province ecclésiastique de Lyon. Archives de la France monastique, tome 37, Paris, 1933.

Buenner, D. L’ancien rite romain. Le rite lyonnais, Lyon, 1934.

Escudier, D. “Les manuscrits musicaux du Moyen Age (du IXe au XIIe siècle). Essai de typologie,” in Codicologica 3, 1980, pp. 34-35.

Gastoué, A. Musique et liturgie. Le graduel et l’antiphonaire romains, 1913.

Hesbert, R. J. Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex, Brussels, 1935.

Hugues, A. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: a Guide to their Organization and Terminology, Toronto, 1982.

Huglo, M. Les livres de chant liturgique, Turnhout, Brepols, 1988.

Moller, H. “Research on the Antiphonar. Problems and Perspectives,”Journal of the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society 10 (1987), pp. 1-14.

Palazzo, E. Le moyen age: des origines au XIIIe siècle, Paris, 1993

Plummer, J. Liturgical Manuscripts for the Mass and Divine Office, New York, 1964.

Online resources

On the Primatiale de Lyon, Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon

On Antiphoners, Michel Huglo and David Hiley

Initiation aux manuscrits liturgiques, Jean-Baptiste Lebigue (aut.), Paris-Orléans, IRHT [Aedilis]