TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

HEINRICH VON FRIEMAR (the Elder), Sermones de sanctis (fragment)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Germany, c. 1400-1450

TM 451

7 folios on coarse paper, with pronounced laid lines (watermark obscured by text, possibly some form of the letter P?), modern foliation in pencil, top, outer corner recto (collation: one quire of fourteen leaves), no catchwords or leaf and quire signatures, frame ruled in ink, with the horizontal rules full across, and with full-length vertical bounding lines, prickings, bottom margin, (justification 214 x 164-160 mm.), copied below the top line in a cursive gothic script in two columns of fifty-two to forty-eight lines; textual divisions indicated by red triangles, some majuscules stroked with red, red rubrics, one- to two-line red initials, five-line red initial, f. 1, with red infilling; some soiling and worm holes, bottom and inner margin (no loss of text), f. 13, outer margin damaged, with small loss of text in the upper corner, f. 14, most of the outer half of the leaf is missing, with loss of the second column of text. Bound in nineteenth-century pasteboard covered in speckled paper; vellum spine. Dimensions 287 x 215 mm.

This manuscript includes fifteen sermons on the feasts of various saints by the distinguished Augustinian theologian, Heinrich von Friemar. No critical edition exists, and a modern study of these sermons is certainly called for, given Heinrich’s importance and their popularity in the later Middle Ages. This is an unrecorded manuscript (not listed Schneyer). Only two copies of these sermons are listed in the United States (one formerly at the Berkshire Athenaeum sold at Sotheby’s in 1998 is the only recent sale recorded in the Schoenberg Database).


1. Based on the evidence of the script, the manuscript was copied in Germany in the first half of the fifteenth century. It now consists of a single quire, and ends imperfectly, so it was certainly once part of a longer manuscript. The opening folio does begin with a larger, decorated initial, so this may always have been the beginning of this section of the text.

2. Marks from modern owners include: inside front cover, in pencil: 5834, with green dot; inside back cover, in pencil, 3NQ7S; front cover, paper label with “1592,” in ink.


f. 1rv, Sermo de santo Bartholomeo, incipit, “Percusserunt me et vulnerauerunt me tullerunt pallium meum custodes murorum …, Can. v [Canticles 5:7]. Verba proposita possunt exponi de passione gloriosi apostoli beati bartholomeo …”;

Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:666, no. 377.

ff. 1v-3v, incipit, “Secundo eadem verba possunt exponi de anima devota fervide affectuantis presentiam sui sponsi …”;

Sermon for the feast of St. Bartholomew; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:666, no. 378.

ff. 3v-4, Sermo de exaltacione sancta crucis, incipit, “In baculo meo transsiui Jordanem …, Gen. xxiv [Gen. 32:10]. Verba proposita ad litteram inducit Jacob patriarcha pro cantico …”;

Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:667, no. 391.

f. 4rv, incipit “Exaltari oportet filium hominis, Jo. xii [John 12:34],” Verbum propositum ad honorem et exaltationem sanctae crucis …”;

Sermon for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:667, no. 392.

ff. 4v-5v, incipit, “Secundo sacramentum nostre redemptionis ostenditur optimum ex necessitate …”;

Sermon for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:668, no. 393.

ff. 5v-6v, Sermo de sancto Mauricio cum sociis, incipit, “Sancti per fidem vicerunt regna operati sunt iustitiam, heb. xi [Hebrews 11:33]. In uerbis proposits beatus mauricius et sui socii commendantur …”;

Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:668, no. 397.

ff. 6v-7, incipit, “Secundo commendantur a laudabili iustitie operatione …”;

Sermon for the feast of St. Maurice; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:668, no. 398.

ff. 7-8, incipit, “Tertio commendantur a celestium premiorum adeptione …”;

Sermon for the feast of St. Maurice; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:668, no. 399.

ff. 8-9, Sermo xi milia virginum, incipit, “Agnus qui in medio throni est reget eos et deducet eos ad fontes vite [Apoc. 7:17]. Vito aquarum et vii verba proposita conuenientur assumuntur pro laude …”;

Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:669, no. 411.

ff. 9-10, incipit, “Uiso quomodo iste uirgines sancta per uerbum diuinum …”;

Sermon for the feast of the 11,000 Virgins; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:669, no. 412.

ff. 10-11, Sermo symonis et iude, incipit, “Ego uos elegi ut eatis et fructum afferantis [John 15:16]. In uerbis propositis innuntur tria beneficia istis appostolis [sic] …”;

Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:669, no. 413.

ff. 11-12, incipit, “Secundus priuilegium istis apostolis collatum fuit ipsorum progressio virtualis …”;

Sermon for the feast of Simon and Jude; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:669, no. 414.

ff. 12-13, incipit, “Tertium priuilegium est istis beatis apostolis collatum fuit …”;

Sermon for the feast of Simon and Jude; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:669, no. 415.

f. 13rv, Sermo de sancta //, incipit, “Quesivi eam sponsam [mihi assumere] et amator factus sum forme illius sap. viii [Wisdom 8:2]. In uerbis premissis beata cecilia commendatur a duobus propter que …”;

Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:670, no. 425.

f. 13v-14v, incipit, “Secundo beata cecilia commendatur a uirginitate speciosa … //”;

Sermon for the feast of St. Cecilia; Schneyer, Repertorium, 2:669, no. 426.

f. 14v, [text in column a is now mostly missing; column b] incipit, “Plantaverat autem dominus dici possimus paradisum …// [ends imperfectly].

Both texts appear to be sermons, now fragmentary, for a feast of the Virgin Mary.

This manuscript includes fifteen sermons from Heinrich von Friemar’s Sermones de sanctis. Schneyer’s Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones, volume 2, pp. 658-672 (listed below), lists thirty-nine manuscripts of these sermons, with an additional sixteen which contain only a few sermons; our manuscript is not listed. See also Zumkeller, 1966, pp. 159-161, no. 333, indicating more completely the differences between the various manuscripts and the printed text. Almost all of the surviving manuscripts are still in Germany in public collections (Schneyer lists two copies in the United States, Minneapolis, Emerson G. Wulling, MS 2, now Phyllis Goodhart Gordon and John Dozier Gordon, New York, MS 62, see C. U. Faye and W. H. Bond, Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, New York, 1962, p. 400; and a manuscript in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Berkshire Athenaeum, which was sold at Sotheby’s in 1998).

No modern edition exists of the Sermones de sanctis; they were printed at Hagenau in 1513 as Opus sermonum exactissimorum de sanctis. Given Heinrich von Friemar’s importance in late medieval thought, a modern edition and thorough study of these sermons is surely warranted.

Heinrich von Friemar the Elder (Henricus de Frimaria, Henricus de Vrimaria, Henry of Friemar, or Henricus de Alemania) was born in the middle of the thirteenth century, c. 1245, at Friemar near Gotha in Thuringia. At an early age he entered the Order of the Hermits of St. Augustine. He studied theology in Paris and taught there until 1318. Throughout his life, he served his order in a number of prominent positions, including serving as the Provincial of all of Germany, c. 1290-99, and 1315-18. His later career was spent as regent master at Erfurt, where he died c. 1345. His numerous writings establish him as an important late medieval thinker, mystic, and preacher. (It should be noted that there are at least four Augustinians known as Heinrich von Friemar, two of whom were authors; the Heinrich we are speaking of here is Heinrich von Friemar the Elder).

His works were extremely popular during the late Middle Ages, and survive in over six hundred manuscripts in Latin, German and Dutch. De quattuor instinctibus Divino, Angelico, Diabolico, et Humano (“About the four instincts – divine, angelic, diabolic and human”), an original discussion of the discernment of spirits, survives in over one hundred and fifty Latin manuscripts, as well as in eighteen Dutch and German versions. His De decem preceptis (“About the Ten Commandments”) was a popular commentary on the Ten Commandments. He also wrote, De celebratione Missae (“About the celebration of Mass”), a detailed ascetical and mystical commentary on the Mass that was intended for clergy. He was the author of numerous additional works, including an account of the origins of the Augustinian hermits, Tractatus de origine et progressu ordinis fratrum eremitarum S. Augustini.

The roots of the Hermits of St. Augustine (now known as the Augustinian Friars) go back to a number eremitical groups in Italy in the twelfth century, but the Order adopted a mendicant lifestyle in the thirteenth century. After the approval of their constitutions by Pope Alexander IV in 1256, the Order grew quickly and founded many houses throughout Europe, including many in Germany. Throughout the later Middle Ages, they were known for their learning.


Schneyer, Johannes Baptist. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1150-1350, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 43, Münster, 1969-80.

Stroick, Clemens. Heinrich von Friemar; Leben, Werke, philosophisch-theologische Stellung in der Scholastik, Freiburg, Herder, 1954.

Zumkeller, A. Manuskripte von Werken der Autoren des Augustiner-Eremitenordens in mitteleuropäischen Bibliotheken, Würzburg, 1966.

Online resources

Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm, “Heinrich von Friemar” (Biographisch-bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon)

Zumkeller, A., “Heinrich v. Friemar der Ältere,” in Lexikon des Mittelalters, Stuttgart: Metzler, [1977]-1999, vol. 4, col. 2091, in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopaedias - Lexikon des Mittelalters Online

The Augustinian Hermits
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07281a.htm (Catholic Encyclopedia, “Hermits of St. Augustine)

Order of St. Augustine

With an extensive History of the Order

and a biography of Henry of Friemar

Associazione Storico-culturale S. Agostino

Including, Henry of Friemar, De origine et progressu ordinis fratrum eremitarum S. Augustini, ed. P. Eustatio Esteban: