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GUIDO DE MONTE ROCHEN, Manipulus curatorum; HENRICUS SUSO, Horologium Sapientiae

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper. Southern Germany or Austria, c. 1460-1480

TM 542

i (modern paper) + 215 + i (modern paper) folios on paper, with parchment reinforcement strips in the center of each quire, watermarks, Bull’s head, with eyes, above rod of one line ending in a flower, beneath, vertical lines, two fesses and a triangle, similar types, Online Piccard: 66419, Rattenberg 1465; 66199, Heilbronn, 1465; 66311, Brescia, 1466; 66298, Innsbruck, 1472; 66205, Ansbach, 1466; 66112-3, Pappenheim, 1478; 66111, Weisenberg, 1479, etc., partial contemporary foliation in roman numerals, top margin between the two columns in black ink, i-xxv (beginning on f. 2), modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, incomplete, with one leaf from the last quire and at least one additional quire now missing (collation, i-xvii12 xviii12 [-12, following f. 215, with loss of text]), horizontal catchwords very bottom inside margin, boxed in red (a few trimmed), no signatures, frame ruled in ink or lead with the horizontal rules full across, and with single full-length vertical bounding lines inside, outside and between the columns, prickings top and bottom margins (justification, 215-213 x 145-140 mm.), written in two columns of thirty-five to thirty-three lines in a skilled formal hybrida script, some guide notes for the rubricator remain, very bottom margin in a small cursive script, for example, ff. 11v, 12, majuscules in text stroked in red, red rubrics and paragraph marks, ff. 3v-16v, five- to two-line blue, green or red initials, imperfectly alternating, with red and green, or red, or blue and red, or brown, pen decoration, thereafter, five- to two-line red initials, usually undecorated, but occasionally with brown pen decoration, eight decorative cadel initials with humorous faces, ink drawing of a bishop, and three pen and ink sketches (listed below), f. 2, six-line parted red and blue initial, infilled in bluish-green and red, with red, blue and bluish–green acanthus extending from the initials, with willowy green leaves and blue dots, boxed decoratively in red pen with pen work extensions, overall in excellent condition, most folios pristine, minor stains outer margin ff. 74-84, some foxing, repairs to ff. 1 (outer margin), 2 (bottom margin), 213 (top margin), and 214 (top and middle), f. 215, extensive repairs, with some loss of text. Nineteenth-century half bound, marbled paper covers, leather spine with three raised bands, in good condition, some wear especially at the edges and hinges, spine cracked and damaged at the bottom. Dimensions, 310 x 213 mm.

This is a handsome, large-format copy of two extremely popular and influential late medieval texts. From a modern perspective, it is striking to see these two texts copied together; the first is a practical manual of pastoral theology, aimed especially at parish priests, while the second is an important mystical and contemplative text. Carefully organized and written by an expert scribe, this manuscript includes three charming pen and ink drawings, and wonderful cadels with faces.


1. The evidence of the script, decoration and the watermark suggests that this manuscript was copied in Southern Germany or Austria, c. 1460-80. The watermark
was widespread, but circulated between these dates. The exuberant and attractive decorated initials at the beginning of the manuscript are probably unique to this decorator rather than indicating general regional practices (presumably these initials are the reason a previous description suggested an origin in Bruges, see Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch collections, Online Resources). On f. 124, at the end of the authorial colophon, the scribe has written “L. S.,” presumably his initials.

2. The lack of any added marginalia in this manuscript is notable; the marginal letters (D S) in the Horologium indicating speakers were copied by the main script. The text was, however, carefully corrected; see f. 7v, passage boxed in red, crossed out, and marked “Falsum”; f. 45, scribe dotted underneath the error (or corrector), then rubricator crossed it out; f. 30v, three lines boxed in red and crossed out.

3. On f. 1, top margin, s. XVIII-XIX, “B Halae.”

4. Sold by Hartung and Hartung, November 3, 1992, lot 16 to Ritman (their pencil annotations, inside front cover).

5. Belonged to Joost R. Ritman (b. 1941), Amsterdam, the Dutch businessman and distinguished collector of art and books, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica MS 199; bookplate, inside front cover, pencil annotations, inside back cover; briefly described in Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections as BPH 199 (see Online Resources).

6. Front flyleaf, f. i, erased pencil note (presumably from a modern dealer or owner)


ff. 1-124, [Table of Contents] incipit, “In isto libello sunt tres particule. Et prima continet inse septem tractatus. Tractatus primus prime partis de sacramentis in generali …, Explicit tabula; f. 2, incipit, “Reverendo in christo patri ac domino domino Raymundo diuina prouidentia sancte sedis valentie episcopo … Scriptum Turoli Anno domini millesimo Trecentesimo Tricesimo tercio etc.”; f. 2v, Incipit prologus, incipit, “Quoniam secundum quod dicit propheta malachias …”; f. 3, Incipit libellus qui dicitur manipulus curatorum qui habet tres partes, incipit, “Dividitur ergo presens opusculum in tres partes …”; f. 3v, Capitulum primum de institutione sacramentorum, incipit, “Sciendum ergo quod omnia sacramentum … corrigat et pro me peccatore ad deum preces fundat, etc. [initials of the scribe] L. <or I?> S.” [Ends mid col. b, f. 124; ff. 124v-132v, blank].

Gudio de Monte Rochen (Guido de Monte Rocherii, de Monte Rocherio, de Monte Roterio), Manipulus curatorum, or The Handbook for Curates; a very popular text, it survives in more than 250 manuscripts (Santiago-Otero, 1980 and 1986; Guardiola, 1988, Bloomfield, 1979, no. 5019); and over 122 editions between c. 1468-1501, making it the eleventh most printed title in that period (Milway, 2000, p. 117; Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke 11716-11834). There is a modern translation, with introduction, by Thayer and Lualdi, 2001, but there is no modern critical edition of the Latin text. See also Stegmüller, 1947, no. 277.

ff. 133-215v, Incipit prologus libri qui intitulatur horologium spaiencie, incipit, “Sentire de domino in bonitate et in simplicitate cordis querite … omnibus deum diligentibus communicari precepit.” Explicit prologus huius operis; f. 135v, incipit, “Materia huius primi libri est cristi passio pretiosissima …”; f. 136, Qualiter quidam electi et divina gratia preventi ad deum mirabiliter trahuntur. Et specialiter quomodo quidam iuvenis fuerit tractus, incipit, “Hanc amaui et exquisiui a iuuentute … cum gaudio perducantur. Amen”; f. 192, De prima materia secondi libri, incipit, “De diuersitate admiranda doctrinarum atque discipulorum, i …”; f. 192v, De diuersitate sequitur, incipit, “Sapiencia omnium antiquorum …,” [f. 215], Infomatio qualiter sint premissa trahenda ad sermones et collationes, incipit, “Thesuarus desiderabilis in ore prudentis erit … Sit qualibet deuotus in omni aduersitatis//

Henricus de Suso, Horologium sapientiae, here ending in Book Two, chapter six (ed. p. 586, line one) [lacking pp. 586-605 of the edition, with the remainder of chapter 6, and chapters 7 and 8) (on ff. 192rv, the table of contents for book two, includes the usual eight chapters, although they are here numbered one through nine because the rubric was numbered as chapter one in error). Critical edition by Künzle, 1977, who lists 233 extant manuscripts, not including this manuscript, as well as a further eighty-eight, now lost, and 150 including extracts of various lengths (pp. 105-214, 229-49); the text was first printed in Cologne in 1480, and in nine additional editions before 1540; see also Bloomfield, 1979, no. 5416, and Kaeppeli, 1970-, no. 1852. Modern English translation by Colledge, 1994, as Wisdom’s Watch Upon the Hours.


The pen-and-ink decorations found throughout the manuscript add considerably to its charm. There is a bust of a bishop drawn between the two columns on f. 48v, alongside a passage discussing bishops, a vase drawn inside the initial on f. 90, and two careful depictions of a long-beaked bird, on f. 25v, accompanied by a vine and a baby bird, and on f. 79v, the same bird, here carrying a very large fish. The scribe was also accomplished, and added his own decorative touches, including decorative elaborations in the last line of text found on f. 28, bottom line, a leaf, with touches of red, f. 28v, decorative balls, and f. 90, acanthus, and cadel initials with humorous faces in profile on ff. 43v, 48, 50v, 62v, 68v, 71, f. 80v.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this manuscript for modern scholars is the conjunction of two texts that seem quite different. The Manipulus curatorum is a practical, pastoral manual; as its author states, “I wanted this little book to be called Handbook for Curates, because priests, especially curates, ought to have this little book in their hands, so that they may see the things which ought to be done ....” The Horologium sapientiae, in contrast, is a mystical, devotional text that aims to inspire new fervor and closeness to God in its readers. Both were extremely popular and survive in large numbers of manuscripts. Despite this, the Schoenberg Database records only seven manuscripts of the Manipulus curatorum, including this one, sold since 1970 (some in multiple transactions); the Horologium sapientiae, has been available on the market even less frequently.

The Manipulus curatorum was written by Guido of Monte Rochen in 1330 in Teruel Spain (many manuscripts, including this one, record the date as 1333). Little is known about the author of this work. Recent research, however, suggests that Guido was likely born in Teruel, where he served as an ecclesiastical judge in a court case in 1338 and as a witness in 1339; since he signed his name “magister,” we know he was an ecclesiastical official and teacher, and the extensive sources he cites in the work suggest he studied either theology or canon law, or both, at a University (Guardiolo, 1988; Thayer and Lualdi, 2011, pp. xiv-xvi).

The Manipulus curatorum, which is dedicated to Ramond of Gaston, bishop of Valencia (1312-48), is a solid introduction to the sacraments, aspects of canon law, and methods of confession and penance. It is divided into three parts; the first part discusses the sacraments, with the exception of penance. The Eucharist holds the central place in this discussion, much of which is dedicated to preparing the priest for the celebration of the mass. The second part discusses penance in great detail, including the importance of contrition, confession, and satisfaction of sins, with a very long section on the types of questions that a confessor should ask the penitent. The third part is a short instructional summary of the symbols of the Church, the Pater Noster, and the Ten Commandments.

Throughout his treatise Guido de Monte Rogen shows his vast knowledge of sources, beginning with the Bible, and including canon law, the Church Fathers, and medieval and scholastic theologians. The numerous manuscripts and early printed editions testify to the works popularity, and Bishop Jean de Montaigu of Chartres (1391-1406) and Archbishop Pedro de Urrea of Tarragona (1445-1489) adopted the treatise as the standard manual for priests in their dioceses, the latter requiring each priest to purchase their own copy.

The Horologium sapientiae is dedicated to Hugo de Vaucemain, allowing us to date the prologue between 1331 and 1341, probably c. 1334, while Hugo served as master general of the Dominicans; the work was probably completed a few years earlier, c. 1330. Throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries it was a tremendously popular text, surviving in hundreds of manuscripts in Latin and in translations in French, Dutch, and English, as well as in other languages. The largest numbers of copies with a known provenance are from Benedictine abbeys – it was especially popular at reformed abbeys of the Bursfeld Congregation; similarly we find copies at Augustinian houses, including houses associated with the Windesheim Congregation, as well as among the Carthusians, and Dominicans (Künzle, pp. 215-219), and it was a text that was especially treasured among men and women associated with the Devotio moderna.

Henricus Suso (c.1295-1366), or Heinrich Seuse, was a German mystic and Dominican friar, honored with the titles “Prince of mystic theologians” and “Angelic mystic.” Following his early studies at the Dominican Convent in Constance, he studied at the Dominican studium generale in Cologne, where he came under the influence of Meister Eckhart, whose writings he was later to defend against charges of heresy. Suso experienced visions of God from a young age, and his writings which explore the mystical experience remain his most important legacy; during his lifetime, he was also known as a popular preacher. At first harshly ascetic, he gradually emphasized detachment rather than mortification as central in the Christian discipline. His mysticism was expressed in terms of the contemporary literary romantic cult of the minnesingers (explaining his epithet, “Sweet Suso”). He was beatified in 1831. In addition to sermons and letters, his most important works are those that are known as the Exemplar Seuses – an autobiography, Das Büchlein der Wahrheit (“ Little Book of the Truth”), and Das Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit (“The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom”) --, and the Horologium sapientiae (“The Clock of Wisdom”).

The Horologium sapientiae is written as a dialogue between Wisdom (Sapientia) and her disciple, the author, and is thus in part a semi-autobiographical account for laymen and novices of Suso’s own mystical experiences. The text tells of his devotion to Wisdom (Christ, the Bride in the Song of Songs, and other manifestations of the Divine) in a manner that echoes a knight’s devotion to his lady, with love guiding all of his actions, and with their betrothal his aim. The clock of the title reflects the guidance exercised by Wisdom on her disciple (Ford, 1990, vol. 2, p. 367), and is also an emblem of the soul and body, which require supervision and regulation to function properly. In the course of the work, Suso also incorporated criticisms of the faults and weaknesses of the Church and the universities in his day. The text is divided into twenty-four chapters, and focuses on guiding the reader towards marriage to Wisdom and thus union with God. Wisdom begins the book with chapters encouraging the disciple to study and imitate the Passion, and in the word of one scholar, the Passion narrative “overshadows the entire text” (Monks, 1990, p. 31). This emphasis on the Passion helps to explain its popularity in circles associated with the Devotio moderna.


Bihlmeyer, Karl, ed. Heinrich Seuse. Deutsche Schriften, Stuttgart, 1907.

Bloomfield, Morton. Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100-1500 A.D., Cambridge, Massachusetts, Medieval Academy of America, 1979.

Guardiolo, Conrado. “Los primeros datos documentales sobre Guido de Monte Roquerio autor del ‘Manipulus curatorum’,” Hispania 48 (1988), pp. 797-826.

Hamburger, Jeffrey. “Medieval Self-Fashioning: Authorship, Authority, and Autobiography in Suso’s Exemplar,” in The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany, New York, 1988.

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

Michaud-Quantin, Pierre. “Guy de Montrocher,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, Paris, G. Beauchesne, 1932-1995, vol. 6, cols. 1303-1304.

Milway, Michael. “Forgotten Bestsellers from the Dawn of the Reformation,” in Continuity and Change: the Harvest of Late Medieval and Reformation History. Essays Presented to Heiko A. Oberman on his 70th Birthday, eds. by Robert J. Bast and Andrew C. Gow, Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2000, pp. 113-142.

Monks, Peter Rolfe. The Brussels Horloge de Sapience: Iconography and Text of Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale, MS IV 111, Litterae textuales, Leiden, Brill, 1990.

Santiago-Otero, Horacio. “Guido de Monte Roquerio: manuscritos de sus obras en las Staatsbibliotheck de Munich,” Revista española de teologia 30 (1970), pp. 391-405.

Santiago-Otero, Horacio. “Gudio de Monte Roterio y el ‘Manipulus curatorum’,” in Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Salamanca, 21-25 September 1976, eds. Stephan Kuttner and Kenneth Pennington, Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1980, pp. 259-265.

Santiago-Otero, Horacio. “Guido de Monte Roterio. Nuevos manuscritos del ‘Manipulus curatorum’,” in Homenaje a Pedro Sáinz Rodríguez, Bd. 1: Repertorios, textos y comentarios, Publicaciones de la Fundación Universitaria Española, Monografías 44, Madrid, 1986, pp. 15–20, repr. Otero, Manuscritos de autores medievales hispanos, Medievalia et Humanistica 3, Madrid, 1987, pp. 61–66.

Spencer, Eleanor. “L’Horloge de Sapience, Bruxelles, Bibliothèque Royale, MS IV.111,” Scriptorium 17 (1963), pp. 277-299.

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

Suso, Henricus. Wisdom’s Watch Upon the Hours, tr. Edmund Colledge, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America Press, 1994.

Suso, Henricus. Heinrich Seuses Horologium sapientiae erste kritische Ausgagbe, ed., Pius Künzle, Freiburg/Schweiz, Universitätsverlag, 1977.

Thayer, Anne T., trans., with introduction by Thayer and Katharine J. Lualdi. Guido of Monte Rochen, A Handbook for Curates: a Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry, Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America Press, 2011.

Tobin, Frank, ed. and tr. Henry Suso: the Exemplar, with two German sermons, ed. and tr. Frank Tobin, New York, Paulist Press, 1989.

Online resources

Watermarks, Piccard Online

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections (Amsterdam, BPH MS 199)

Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Suso (short biography and selected works)

Manipulus curatorum (digital reproduction of Basel 1517 edition)

Guido de Monte Rochen, Gesamtkatalogue der Wiegendrucke, Overview of fifteenth-century editons, with bibliography