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les Enluminures

THOMAS AQUINAS, Compendium theologiae; HUGH OF ST. VICTOR, Adnotationes in psalmos; WERNER ROLEWINCK, Regimen rusticorum

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper and parchment, and printed text
Germany (Cologne?), c. 1475-1500

TM 359

i (parchment pastedown) + iv (unnumbered paper) + i (parchment, conjugate with pastedown) + 226 + iv (unnumbered paper; iv, a pastedown, glued over a parchment leaf), quires 1-14, ff. 1-168v, with the first and middle bifolia of parchment and the remaining leaves, paper, (watermarks obscured by text, but possibly a Letter P; cf. Piccard, Online Archive, 108131, Cologne 1478, 108132, Cologne, 1489 and 108143, Utrecht, 1481), quires 15-21, ff. 169-227, paper (watermark,, obscured but possibly similar to Piccard, Letter P, Online Archive 109069, Cologne 1484 ), reinforced with parchment strips in the middle of the quire, contemporary foliation in red roman numerals on the recto, middle top margin, ff. 1-36, and then in the top outer corner, incorrectly foliated, 1-227, with f. 176 followed immediately by f. 178, (collation, i-xiv12 xv8 [beginning f. 169] xvi8 [1, incorrectly foliated as f. 178] xvii-208 xxi10), part one: ff. 1-168v, quires 1-14, quire and leaf signatures with a letter designating the quire and an Arabic numeral, the leaf, often trimmed, or leaves only signed in Arabic numerals, no catchwords, apparently frame-ruled in lead or brown crayon, with full-length vertical bounding lines, and one horizontal rule, full across, at the top, but horizontal rules are clearly visible on ff. 123-131v, and 165v-168, prickings for bounding lines on many folios, top, bottom and outer margin (justification, 160-158 x 98-95 mm.), written below the top line in a skilled hybrida script by at least two scribes in thirty long lines, the second scribe beginning on f. 13, guide letters for the initials, majuscules carefully touched with red, red rubrics and folio numbers, bold two-line red initials, one four-line red initial infilled with purple pen leaves on a sky-blue ground with purple pen decoration extending from the initial; part 2, the printed book, ff. 169-227, quires 15-21, no quire or leaf signatures or catchwords, (justification, 142 x 83 mm.), 29 long lines, majuscules within text touched with red, red rubrics and folio numbers (which continue uninterrupted from part one), two-line red initials, f. 169, three-line red initials with decorative void spaces within the initial, in excellent condition, occasional foxing, and slight flaking of ink on parchment folios with no loss of legibility, preserved in its ORIGINAL BINDING: bound in brown calf over thick square wooden boards which extend beyond the book-block, panel-stamped in blind, the front and back covers are identical, with a stamp (measuring 67 x 82 mm.) repeated on both to form a rectangular compartment framed by double fillets with small floral stamps, the panel has three horizontal registers, the top divided into five compartments with a stag, a lion, a flower, a double-headed eagle, and another flower, the center register shows a banderole with a circular medallion of the Holy Face, lettered “Salve sancta facies n[os]tri redem[ptoris],”, the lower register has four compartments with a fleur-de-lys, the Annunciation with the Angel Gabriel to the left, and the Virgin Mary, and a rose (cf. Weale, Bookbinding and Rubbings, volume 2, p. 171, number 331, Brussels D1391-1887, attributed to the Brabant), rebacked, spine with four raised bands and head and tail bands, forming compartments decorated with small stamps separated by diagonal lines, five brass bosses upper and lower boards and brass catch-and clasp-closures with long twisted brass catches, probably nineteenth-century replacements, since impressions from earlier catches are visible, upper board, fastening back to front, in excellent condition, edges and spine are slightly scuffed, impressions on front and back covers slightly worn. Dimensions, 215 x 138 mm.

A very handsome fifteenth-century volume, most likely from Cologne, in a striking original panel-stamped binding. The volume includes Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium theologiae, a text which survives in numerous copies in institutional libraries, but which only rarely has been available for sale; the Schoenberg database lists only four other copies, all sold before 1912. The manuscript also includes a popular commentary on the Psalms by Hugh of St. Victor, and a contemporary printed text by Werner Rolewinck.


1.Both sections of this volume, manuscript (ff. 1-168) and printed (ff. 169-227v), were assembled together from the outset; the binding is original, and the entire volume bears original folio numbers that include both the manuscript and printed sections. Although the printed section of the volume does not include a colophon or other information about the printer, scholars have determined that it was printed in Cologne between 1471-1475, or around 1472. The script, decoration, and watermarks suggest that the manuscript portion is contemporary and that the entire volume was assembled soon after, in Cologne or in a neighboring region.

2. In England by the nineteenth century when it was sold three times: London, Evans, July 21, 1838, lot 1172 (Bishop Durham); London, Sotheby’s, March 24, 1851, lot 1420 (Andrews), and London, Sotheby’s, December 12, 1854, lot 5 (Pickering). Clipping from a Sotheby sale (?), pasted on the front flyleaf, f. i, with cataloguing notes in two hands in pencil and pen. Another hand speculates that the binding indicates the volume belonged to Henry VIII of England.

3. Belonged to George Dunn (1864-1912); his printed label, inside from cover: “From the library of George Dunn of Woolley Hall near Maidenhead,” and pencil notes on the binding and the printed text; Dunn was a noted collector, especially of incunabula; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 6 February 1914, lot 1662.

4. Armorial bookplate, inside front cover, of Noel de la Houssaye, perhaps the early twentieth-century author, Pierre-Noel de la Houssaye, author of L’Apparition d’Arsinoë, and other works.


Front parchment flyleav, verso, Subscripta continentur in hoc volumine, incipit, “Compendium theologie beati thome de aquino, folio 1, flores super psalterium, folio cxxxiii, liber de regimine rusticorum, folio clxix.”

ff. 1-123, Compendium theologie sancti thome de aquino. Que sit auctoris intentio, incipit, “Eterni patris verbum sua inmensitate uniuersa comprehedens … hoc esse possible ex evidenti exemplo. Multo enim difficilius fuit.”

f. 123, Concludes with an explanatory note written by the scribe in a formal script, incipit, “Non plus invenitur de isto opera. Nam sicut habetur communiter in registro librorum sancti doctoris Thome de Aquino ipse quia morte preventus est presentem librum non complevit sed inventus tamquam opus incompletum inter alios libros eius sic quod de spe modicum habetur et de caritate nichil.”

ff. 123v-129, Tabula libri precedentis sed nondum completi, incipit, “Que sit auctoris intentio, I, … Quo homo potest peruenire ad regnum dei, cxxii;” [ff. 129v-132v, blank].

Thomas Aquinas, Compendium theologiae, edited in Sancti Thomae de Aquino, Opera omnia iussu Leonis XIII P.M. editus, volume 42: Compendium theologiae, De articulis fidei et ecclesiae sacramentis, …, Rome, Editori di San Tommaso, 1979, pp. 83-205; see pp. 8-19 of this edition, listing eighty-three complete manuscripts, all in public collections, as well as manuscripts containing extracts and the previous printed editions; this manuscript is not included, and no manuscripts in the United States are listed.

ff. 133-164, prologue, Incipiunt flores psalterii, incipit, “Quosdam tibi psalmiste versiculos …,” text, Beatus vir qui non abiit in consiliio impiorum [Psalm 1:1], incipit, “Quamdiu anima per contemplationem deo adheret … non haberet [sic] iudicium deus.” Ff. 164-165v, Qui habitat in celis irridebit eos et dominus subsannabit eos [Psalm 2:4], incipit, Qui habitat in celis …[Psalm 2:4], Qui deum videre desiderat ubi videri potest … fiducialiter psallebat dicens, Qui habitat eos in celis irridebit eos et dominus subsannabit eos.” Ff. 166-167v, Incipit tabula flores psalterii, incipit, “Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum … Qui habitat in celis irridebit eos.” [ff. 168r-v, blank.]

Hugh of St. Victor, Adnotationes elucidatoriae in quosdam psalmos david, printed Migne, Patrologia latina, 177:589-634, Stegmüller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, no. 3810; Rudolf Goy, Die Überlieferung der Werke Hugos von St. Viktor : ein Beitrag zur Kommunikationsgeschichte des Mittelalters, Stuttgart, Hiersemann, 1976, pp. 58-63,, listing twenty-five manuscripts (none in the United States), not including this one.

This text is immediately followed by one chapter of Richard of St. Victor, Adnotationes in psalmos, printed Migne, Patrologia latina, 196:265-402, here 270D-272C; Stegmüller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, no 7326; Rudolf Goy, Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke Richards von St. Viktor im Mittelalter, Turnhout, Brepols, 2005, pp. 305-314, listing forty-four complete manuscripts (none in the United States; one fragment listed in Chicago). The table of chapters following these texts lists only chapter titles, without folio references.

ff. 169-227v, Incipit libellus de regimine rusticorum qui etiam/ valde vtil[is] est curates capellanis drossatis schul-/tetis ac aliis officiariis eisdem in utroque statu presi-/dentibus, incipit, Emisit dominus deus adam de p[ar]adios uoluptatis … et uerbo gr[ati]e eius q[ui] cu[m] deo patre et sp[irit]u s[an]c[to] viuit et regna p[er] infinita secula. Amen.

Werner Rolewinck, Regimen rusticorum [Cologne: Arnold Ther Hoernen, between February 1471 and 1475; about 1472]; Frederick Goff, Incunabula in American Libraries; a Third Census …, Millwood, N. Y., 1973, R292a; Copinger 13726; British Library, Incunabula Short Title Catalogue, lists copies in Paris, Berlin, Bonn, Cologne (3), Lemgo, Limburg, Mainz, Deventer, Utrecht, New York (New York Public Library) and Basel.

The manuscript includes works by three of the most illustrious theologians and writers of their day. Thomas Aquinas (1225/7-1274), the “Angelic Doctor,” has been called the greatest philosopher between Aristotle and Descartes–certainly his place as the preeminent medieval theologian will not be debated. The Compendium theologiae was his last work, left unfinished at his death. Dedicated to his beloved companion, Reginald of Piperno, it was intended to be a convenient summary of Christian Doctrine, “to keep always before your eyes,” as he says in the prologue. It was a popular text, surviving in at least eighty-three manuscripts. Book One discusses faith, summarizing many of the ideas he discussed in much greater length in his other works; only the beginning of Book Two on hope was completed, and the projected third book on love, or charity, was never written.

Hugh of St. Victor (c. 1096-1141) was one of the foremost theologians of his day. He was the leading teacher at the Abbey of St.-Victor, which was perhaps the most important Parisian schools of his day, and was renowned as both a teacher and writer, leaving numerous works, including the Didascalion, an introduction to divine and human knowledge, designed for his students, as well as numerous biblical commentaries, including this treatise on the Psalms. This treatise is not a systematic commentary on all of the Psalms, but rather consists of a series of remarks and explanations of varying length prompted by some of the Psalms. Interestingly, included at the end of this treatise is a chapter from the work of his student, Richard of St. Victor (c. 1159-1173), prior of St.-Victor in 1162, copied as if it was part of Hugh’s work–a detail that might make it possible to identify the exemplar.

Werner Rolewinck, or Rolevinck (1425-1502), although perhaps not as well known today, was equally illustrious in his own day; he was a Carthusian monk at the monastery of St. Barbara’s in Cologne, and a prolific writer. His most celebrated work was a universal chronicle, the Fasciculus temporum, which was one of the most frequently printed incunabula. The work in the present manuscript, the Regimen rusticorum, circulated much less widely, but was still printed five times, in Cologne and Louvain, between c. 1472-1487. In the prologue, Rolewinck mentions Thomas Aquinas’s treatise, De regimine principium (“On the government of rulers”), and states that it his intention instead to write a work “On the government of the common folk,” i.e., a Regimen rusticorum, which will collect the sayings of the holy fathers that will help people persevere in living a Christian life in this world, and lead them toward eternal salvation.

These three works included in this manuscript were always intended to form a single volume; the script and decoration are uniform, and the foliation encompasses not only the two manuscript texts but also the printed text with which the volume concludes. The texts, all in Latin, must have been intended for a learned audience, but not perhaps for an advanced student in theology. The manuscript is carefully written and corrected, with very few added comments or other notes. The little marginalia that does exist was added in very formal hands. Cologne in the fifteenth century had many religious establishments known for their book production and fine libraries. Werner Rolewinck’s own monastery of St.-Barbara’s was perhaps the most illustrious, but this manuscript includes no evidence of institutional ownership, despite the fact that it retains its original, handsome and quite substantial binding.


Chenu, Marie-Dominique. Toward Understanding Saint Thomas, translated by A. M. Landry and D. Hughes, Chicago, 1964.

Coulter, Dale M. Per visibilia ad invisibilia: Theological Method in Richard of St. Victor (d.1173), Turnhout, Brepols, 2006.

Goy, Rudolf. Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke Richards von St. Viktor im Mittelalter, Turnhout, Brepols, 2005.

Goy, Rudolf. Die Überlieferung der Werke Hugos von St. Viktor: ein Beitrag zur Kommunikationsgeschichte des Mittelalters, Stuttgart, Hiersemann, 1976.

Peterson, John. Aquinas : a New Introduction, Lanham, Md., University Press of America, 2008.

Thomas, Aquinas. Compendium of Theology, translated by Cyril Vollert. St. Louis, Mo., B. Herder, 1947; new edition, Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, Light of faith: the Compendium of theology by Thomas Aquinas, Manchester, N.H., Sophia Institute Press, 1993.

Sancti Thomae de Aquino. Opera omnia iussu Leonis XIII P.M. editus, volume 42: Compendium theologiae, De articulis fidei et ecclesiae sacramentis, …, Rome, Editori di San Tommaso, 1979

Weale, W. H. James, Bookbindings and Rubbings of Bindings in the National Art Library, South Kensington Museum, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1894-1898.

Weisheipl, James A. Thomas D'Aquino: His Life, Thought and Work, Washington, Catholic University of America Press, 1974

Online resources

Analecta Cartusiana (links to the 2006 editon of the New Carthusian Bibliography, “Werner Rolevinck, or Rolewinck,” 914-915:

British Library; Incunabula Short Title Catalogue

Digital Reproduction of Köln, USB, GBIV6246 (Werner Rolewinck, De regimen rusticorum):

Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, Piccard watermark collection:

Hugo von Sankt Viktor – Institut für Quellenkunde des Mittelalters

Kennedy, Daniel. "St. Thomas Aquinas." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912.
7 May 2009 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14663b.htm

Myers, Edward. "Hugh of St. Victor." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 7
May 2009 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07521c.htm

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas, Compendium theologiae, tr. Cyril Vollert, St. Louis, 1947

Thomas Instituut te Utrecht (including bibliography and links to his works):