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HAIMO OF AUXERRE, Expositio in epistolas Pauli

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
France, Paris, c. 1460-1480 (before 1481) and c. 1500

TM 908
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ii + 193 folios on parchment, complete (collation: i9 [8+1, with i a singleton], ii-xxiv8), foliated in Roman numerals throughout “ii-clxxx” [omitting first and last two leaves], foliation followed here, the bifolios 107/110 and 108/109 transposed in binding, informal vertical catchwords in cursive script, written in dark brown ink in a lettre bâtarde, two columns of 34 lines (justification: 178 x 130 mm), capitals touched in yellow, running titles, chapter numbers and marginal references in red, many guide words still visible in ink, list of contents with two-line initials and paragraph marks in red, some line-endings in red and blue, numerous small initials in alternate red and blue, 10 large decorated initials, 5- to 9-lines in height, in blue or red overlaid with liquid or liquid gold and infilled with foliage and flowers in liquid gold or silver, all on contrasting blue or red grounds with gold or silver penwork (ff. 1v, 21v, 45v, 68v, 77v, 81, 92, 100, 102v and 108v), 11 larger decorated initials, 10-lines in height, in blue or dark-pink overlaid with white penwork in geometric designs, infilled with sprays of foliage in blue and white terminating in orange and brown ivy leaves, all on burnished gold grounds (ff. 1, 21, 45v, 60v, 68v, 77v, 81, 92, 100, 102v, 107v), large two-compartment miniature set in a liquid gold architectural frame (f. 1), half-page in height, miniature and text framed in full border decoration of colored acanthus leaves, sprays of colored flowers and fruit, ivy leaves in burnished gold, enclosing in bas-de-page the arms of Jean Budé, bar of burnished gold with red and blue framing the text on three sides, some slight cockling and a few skilled repairs to tiny holes in the last few leaves, smudging to initial on fol. 60v, a bit of oxidization of silver in initials and coat of arms, else in outstanding condition.  Bound in late eighteenth-century straight-grained red morocco, covers gilt-tooled, spine in six compartments and richly gilt, binding attributed to Bozerian, placed in a fitted red slipcase with gilt-tooled spine.  Dimensions 278 x 193 mm.

Still in need of a revised critical edition, this manuscript contains a copy of the most notable of the exegetical commentaries by Haimo of Auxerre, a key figure of the Carolingian Renaissance. Beautifully illuminated, the manuscript boasts an illustrious provenance having belonged to or even originally been commissioned by Jean II Budé, father to the famous humanist-bibliophile Guillaume Budé. The miniature added at a slightly later date (some 20 or 30 years after) must have been painted in Troyes, where the Budé family had strong ties.


1.This manuscript was copied in the 1460s or 1470s based on the existing decorative elements (initials and full border on the opening leaf). It must have remained unfinished and received its frontispiece (and arms?) at a later date, most likely some twenty to thirty years after, to judge from the style of the illuminated miniature which bears comparisons with a group of manuscripts painted by a painter active at the end of the fifteenth and the turn of the sixteenth century, probably associated with Troyes (see Illustration below).  It belonged to Jean II Budé (1430-1502), royal courtier, “audiencier de France,” father to the foremost French humanist Guillaume Budé (1468-1540).  His owner’s inscription is found on f. 190, partially effaced with the date reinforced in pencil; in most of his manuscripts, Jean Budé was careful to give a date of acquisition in his manuscripts, here 1481 (see Omont, 1885, p. 101: “Les manuscrits de Jean Budé paraissent avoir été acquis par lui vers les années 1481-1488. A la fin de plusieurs de ses livres il a pris soin en effet de mettre une note de possession, exactement signée et datée de sa main….”).  One can just make out the beginning of the inscription, f. 190: “Hunc librum scribere fecit Johannes Bude…” (f. 190).  The present manuscript was most likely commissioned for Jean Budé and bears his arms in the lower bas-de-page on f. 1 (d’argent, au chevron de gueules accompagné de trois grappes de raisin pourpres, deux en chef, une en pointe) [see Section below].

2. Nicolas Thoynard of Orléans, most probably the seigneur de Villamblain (1629-1706), antiquary, numismatist and scientist, his inscription on parchment endleaf at front of text. He studied and eventually settled in Paris, where he maintained close relationships with the book collector Emeric Bigot and the royal librarian Jacques Dupuy, as well as active correspondence with a number of learned scholars and collectors.  He was actively involved in exegetical and antiquarian research concerning the Scriptures, which certainly accounts for his interest in the present commentaries on the Pauline Epistles.  Upon his death his books were bequeathed either to the Bibliothèque du Roi or to M. Loger, procureur-general of d’Aguesseau (see Cuissard, 1902).

3. Joseph Barrois (c. 1785-1855) and acquired from him as part of a group of 702 manuscripts by Lord Ashburnam in 1849 (Eighth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Appendix, Part III, 1881, no. 28, p. 73).

4. Bertram Ashburnham, 4th Earl of Ashburnham (1797-1878), his sale in London, Sotheby’s, 10-14 June 1901, lot 259, sold to Belin.

5. Sold at Sotheby’s, 9 December 1909, lot 404.

6. William Foyle, Beeleigh Abbey (1885-1963), his bookplate; bought from Kundig, Geneva, June 23, 1948, Catalogue no. 95, lot 25; his sale in London, Christie’s, 11 July 2000, lot 24, sold to Kraus.

7. H. P. Kraus, his sale at Sotheby’s (The Inventory of H. P. Kraus), New York, 4-5 December 2003, lot 306.


ff. II-IIv, List of contents running through the liturgical year with the folio numbers of the appropriate lessons, rubric, Tabula contentorum in hoc volumine;

ff. 1-21, Haimo of Auxerre, Commentary on Galatians, incipit, “Primo querendum est in exordio huius epistole unde sint galathe … et per plateas tractus,” Explicit expositio in epistola ad galathas. Incipit expositio haymonis in epistola pauli apostoli ad ephesios;

ff. 21-45v, Commentary on Ephesians, incipit, “Ephesus est civitas asie et grecie … elices in secula seculorum manebunt,” Explicit exposito [sic] haymonis in epistola ad ephesios. Incipit expositio haymonis in epistola pauli apostoli ad philippenses;

ff. 45v-60, Commentary on Philippians,  incipit, “Philippenses sunt macedones … in mente manebit et in corpora,” Explicit expositio epistole ad philipenses. Incipit expositio haymonis in epistola pauli apostoli ad colosenses;

ff. 60v-68v, Commentary on Colossians, incipit, “Misterium quod absconditum fuit… maneat semper vobiscum,” Explicit expositio epistole ad colosenses. Incipit expositio haymonis in epistola prima pauli apostoli ad thessalonicenses;

ff. 68v-77, Commentary on I Thessalonians, incipit, “Macedonia provincia est grecorum… de premio recte conversentur,” Explicit expositio epistole primie ad thessalonicenses. Incipit expositio haymonis in secundi epistola pauli apostoli ad thessalonicenses;

ff. 77v-81, Commentary on II Thessalonians, incipit, “Thessalonicenses accipientes priorem…  cum omnibus vobis. Amen,” Explicit expositio epistole secunde ad thessalonicenses. Incipit expositio epistole prime ad timotheum;

English translation in S. R. Cartwright and K. L. Hughes, Second Thessalonians. Two Early Medieval Apocalyptic Commentaries. Haimo of Auxerre, Expositio in Epistolam II ad Thessalonicenses, Kalamazoo, 2001, pp. 21-33 (based on the Migne, Patrologia Latina edition). The editors stress that 2 Thessalonians is arguably the most significant theological source for the development of the doctrine of the Antichrist. 

ff. 81-91v, Commentary on I Timothy, incipit, “Timotheus filius fuit mulieris … hactenus dixi,” Explicit expositio epistole primie ad timotheum. Incipit secunde;

ff. 92-100, Commentary on II Timothy, incipit, “Secundam epistolam timotheo scribit ... que hactenus scripsi,” Explicit expositio epistole secunde ad timotheum. Incipit expositio epistole ad titum”;

ff. 100-102, Commentary on Titus, incipit, “Transiens apostolus a creta insula … et ihesu christo salvatore nostro, ” Explicit expositio epistole ad titum. Incipit ad philemonem”;

ff. 102v-107v, Commentary on Philemon, incipit, “Beato apostolo predicatione … dominus unus spriritus est,” Expositio epistole ad philemonem explicit. Incipit expositio haymonis in I. epistola pauli apostoli ad hebreos;

ff. 107v-190, Commentary on Hebrews, incipit, “In primordiis huius epistole dicendum est que causa … pertinigere mereamur. Amen,” Explicit expositio haymonis in epistolis pauli apostoli [followed by partially effaced inscription, see Provenance above]”;

This manuscript contains the commentary on the Epistles of Paul by Haimo of Auxerre, with a systematic working through of all the Pauline Epistles, with the exception of Romans and 1-2 Corinthians, present in the Patrologia Latina edition, but absent here. The contemporary foliation, the opening frontispiece illumination, and the absence of any reference in the list of contents all suggest that the commentary on Romans and Corinthians was not planned in this manuscript. There is an unsatisfactory edition of Haimo’s Commentary on the Pauline Epistles published in Patrologia Latina, vol. 117, 765-784 (based on the editio princeps, published at Strasbourg, 1519), and the work is listed in Stegmüller, III, 3101-3114, with a provisional list of known codices (Stegmüller  listed the commentary as Ps. Haimo de Halberstadt, probably Haimo of Auxerre).  The commentary apparently survives in 166 manuscripts, of which 137 are dated (see Iogna-Prat, 1991, p. 161, pp. 172-174).  A thorough critical evaluation of all these codices remains to be undertaken and is much-needed, especially because Haimo’s text represents such an important moment in the exegetical transmission of Pauline commentaries: “Il est d’autant plus urgent de disposer d’un bon texte que le commentaire d’Haymon représente ... un temps fort dans la chaîne exégétique paulinienne” (Iogna-Prat, 1991, p. 161). The work is a comprehensive commentary on the Pauline corpus, including the minor letters to Titus and Philemon. Haimo begins his exegesis of each letter with an extensive argumentum setting it in a historical context.

Haimo of Auxerre (fl. c. 840-860? perhaps as late as 875?) has long been confused with several other contemporary Haimos, especially Haimo of Halberstadt.  In 1907, E. Riggenbach demonstrated that the commentaries attributed in the Patrologia Latina to Haimo of Halberstadt were actually the work of another Haimo, at Auxerre, a Carolingian exegete, about whom information remains regrettably scant. We know that he taught at the school of the Benedictine house of Saint-Germain at Auxerre and is the author of many widely read commentaries on the Song of Songs, Revelations, and the Minor Prophets, as well as of many sermons.  He evidently studied with the Irish grammarian Murethach and was for a time the abbot of the monastery of Sasceium (Cessy-les-Bois).  His activity at the school in Auxerre produced other Carolingian scholars such as Remigius of Auxerre (c. 850-908) and Heiric of Auxerre (841-876) (see Jeauneau, 1972, ii, pp. 495-522).  Haimo’s commentaries on Scripture are amongst the most innovative and learned in the Carolingian era, and his works are exemplary of what has been called the Carolingian Renaissance: “When the history of the ninth century Carolingian renaissance ... is written, Haimo of Auxerre will occupy a large place in that account” (Contreni, 1975, p. 303).  A recent overview of the work and influence of Haimo of Auxerre was undertaken by D. Iogna-Prat in 1991. 

To his contemporaries, Haimo of Auxerre was perhaps best known for his pedagogical skills. In both the monasteries of Auxerre and Cessy-les-Bois he was an innovative teacher, focusing the attention of his students on the study of grammar in order to discipline and sharpen their minds.  It is now agreed that Haimo’s exegetical scholarship anticipated scholasticism by nearly three centuries (see Bertola, 1961, pp. 29-54).

An illustrious provenance:  Jean II Budé (1430-1502)

The present manuscript was commissioned by Jean Budé, secrétaire and conseiller to Louis XI (1461-1483) and Charles VIII (1483-1498). It is in keeping with his known literary and exegetical tastes, and we know that approximately a fourth of his library was dedicated to theological and exegetical works (see H. Omont, 1885, p. 101). The little that has been published on this under-studied bibliophile and his library allows us a glimpse of a book collector with an eye for lavish illuminated works, but clearly a personal preference for studious and theological texts. Jean Budé amassed a stately collection of manuscripts and books in the 1480s and 1490s. Many of these manuscripts bore his arms, and many had an inscription that proclaimed his standing and patronage of learning and date of acquisition. Although the current census of localized manuscripts is badly in need of revision, for Jean Budé’s Library, see Omont, 1885, who lists some forty-one manuscripts, including the present manuscript, listed no. 11, p. 104 (“Ashburnham, Barrois, 28, Haymonis expositio in epistolas Pauli...”).  Omont’s list has been amended by Martin-Demézil, 1938; by Droz, 1939; and by Garand, 1967-68, bringing the total number of manuscripts once owned or commissioned by Jean Budé to about sixty.

Jean II Budé fell seriously ill between 1480 and 1490, the period during which he assembled his collection of books, which consisted mostly of manuscripts, but also of early imprints.  Collecting books appears to have been a family tradition. One finds traces of a manuscript having belonged to Jean II Budé’s grandfather (hence Guillaume Budé’s great-grandfather), Jean I Budé, thus witnessing an inherited interest in manuscripts and book collecting that extended through at least four generations. Jean II Budé’s habit of annotating his purchases was not, in turn, an innovation but something of a family tradition, and can be traced back to the time of his own grandfather Jean I Budé who also inscribed his books (see the fascinating piece of detective work on Paris, BnF, MS lat. 2827, narrated in Ouy, 1985). In the present manuscript, one finds (although effaced but still legible using ultra-violet light) Jean II Budé’s personalized inscription, with the date of acquisition 1481.  Interestingly, another illuminated manuscript containing works of Anselm of Canterbury was acquired by Jean II Budé in the same year (Paris, BnF, MS lat. 2885, see Omont, 1885, p. 104). Further research on this collection might yield more information on the painters, scribes and successive owners of these codices.  Martin-Demézil has called for more caution in the identification of the manuscripts having belonged to Jean Bude: “Ce qui touche les ascendants de Guillaume Budé ne nous est connu que de manière hypothétique, fragmentaire, incertaine. En l’absence de documents nouveaux, une grande réserve s’impose” (Martin-Demézil, 1938, p. 222).

Famous humanist and hellenist, Guillaume Budé (1468-1540) recognized the influence of his father’s library on his intellectual development: “[...] excitante me tantum patris exemplo doctrinae laudatoris, ut erat hominis ingenium, et librorum emaciassimi...” (...stimulated to do so by the example of [my] father, who in his great intelligence, praised learning and was a passionate buyer of books...) (see Delaruelle, 1907, pp. 62-63, note no. 2; translation in Grafton, 1997, p. 148). A more recent study on Guillaume Budé as a reader underscores the importance of his father’s collection and interest in manuscripts, and Jean Budé is said to have been a “great buyer of books” (librorum emacissimus) (see L. Katz, 2009). Upon his death in 1502, Jean Budé’s collection was dispersed: the BnF in Paris preserves some 40 manuscripts from his library; another 17 have been localized in other institutional holdings. In her study on the scribes of Jean Budé’s manuscripts, M.-C. Garand has identified a number of hands that worked for Jean Budé.  Further research on Jean Budé’s library and the manuscripts he commissioned would surely allow to better place the present manuscript within his collection, perhaps even to identify a scribe having executed other manuscripts for the patron.  Jean Budé’s books went mostly to his sons (of which he had 10 and his offspring totaled 15 or 18 depending on the accounts):  these include Dreux II Budé whose inventory after death lists his books including some 25 manuscripts; Guillaume Budé, the great humanist for which unfortunately we have no surviving inventory (but there are inventories of the “librairies” of his son Dreux III Budé and his grand-daughter Marguerite Budé (both preserved in the Archives nationales de France, Minutier Central, see Exhibition Catalogue Guillaume Budé (1968), respectively no. 165 and 166); Etienne Budé, canon of Saint-Pierre de Troyes (died before his father in 1501, so probably not concerned by his father’s inheritance); Louis Budé, also canon at Saint-Pierre de Troyes and humanist close to his brother Guillaume who taught him Greek, whose detailed inventory with some 314 books does not include this particular manuscript (Chalandon, 2001, pp. 22-23 and inventory pp. 49-69).


f. 1, Saint Paul portrayed enthroned on the left gives a sealed letter to a messenger for the Galatians, portrayed on the right. The name “S. Pol” is inscribed below Saint Paul and “Les juifs” below the Galatians.

The miniature is divided into two panels. On the left, Saint Paul is shown enthroned and holding his sword in one hand as he hands his Epistle to the Galatians to a messenger, who then reappears in the background of the panel striding across a landscape toward the center. In the right panel, the kneeling messenger doffs his cap as he proffers the letter to members of the Galatian court. At the foot of its seated leader is an inscription in white ink, “Les Juifs.” The panels are divided by an architectural frame in liquid gold studded with painted gems. As the architectural motif atop the left frame consists of Gothic spires, while the panel on the right is capped by a dome inscribed “Galathiens,” there is a visual connotation of the messenger traveling from the West to the East.

Because this manuscript seems to have been painted in the milieu of Troyes, it is possible that the task of adding the painted frontispiece might have been undertaken by one of the sons of Jean Budé, established in Troyes and canons at the Cathedral St.-Pierre.  More particularly, one might have thought of Louis Budé, great collector and humanist, younger brother of Guillaume Budé. It is said that Guillaume Budé came to Troyes quite often to visit his two brothers Etienne and Louis, close to their uncle Jacques Raguier, influential bishop of Troyes (1483-1518) and also amateur of manuscripts and early imprints (see F. Bibolet, “Le mécénat troyen,” in Avril, 2007, p. 22; see also Duhem, “Deux frères de Guillaume Budé, chanoines de Troyes...,” in Mémoires de la Société académique d’agriculture, des sciences, arts et belles-lettres du département de l’Aube, XCV (1932), pp. 73-87). Might the present manuscript have been completed in this milieu by an artist close to the Budé in Troyes?  Stylistic elements, along with further research in the various inventories after death of the heirs of Jean Budé, might help identify the subsequent owner at the turn of the sixteenth century who had this manuscript completed with the lovely painted frontispiece. 

The added miniature set in an earlier decorated frontispiece page bears comparisons with a group of manuscripts painted by an artist active in Troyes at the end of the fifteenth century and during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. This artist painted an Office de la Croix à l’usage de la Confrérie de la Sainte Croix (Saint-Rémi de Troyes) circa 1510-1520, described in Avril, 2007, p. 202 and fig. 50 (p. 57) and 178 (p. 203). This artist also painted a number of Horae for local patrons in Troyes such as the Hours of Anne du Plessis, wife of Gaucher de Dinteville (Paris, sold at Drouot, Ader Picard Tajan, 19 May 1976, lot. 55) or the Hours of Jeanne d’Availly (Catena aurea: 50 illuminierte und illustrierte Handschriften..., H. Tenschert, [1984], cat. 16, no. 24). F. Avril also ascribes to this artist a Diurnal (Chaumont, BM, MS.31) and the artist is said to have collaborated with an artist from Dijon for the illustration of an edition of the Faits et gestes des Françoys de Robert Gaguin (Troyes, Médiathèque, Ed. précieuse B24) (see Avril, 2007, p. 202).

The portrayal of Saint Paul as a king seated on a throne draped with a cloth semé with the royal fleur-de-lis may have had personal significance for a member of the Budé family.  Both Jean Budé and his son Guillaume had begun their careers in the French Court as royal secretaries, and the subject matter of the illumination, that of a sealed diploma and its conveyance to a foreign court, must have been a subject close to both their hearts.


Avril, F. and N. Reynaud. Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1480-1520, Paris, 1993.

Avril, F., M. Hermant, F. Bibolet. Très riches heures de Champagne. L’enluminure en Champagne à la fin du Moyen Age, exh. cat., Paris, 2007.

Bertola, E. “Il commentario paolino di Haimo di Halberstadt o di Auxerre e gli inizi del metodo scolastico,” Pier Lombardo 5 (1961), pp. 29-54.

Chalandon, A. Les bibliothèques des ecclésiastiques de Troyes du XIVe au XVIe siècle, Paris, 2001.

Contreni, J. “Haimo of Auxerre, Abbot of Saceium (Cessy-les-Bois) and a new sermon on I John V, 4-10,” Revue bénédictine 85 (1975), pp. 303-320.

Cuissard, C. “Nicolas Thoynard et son testament 1629-1706,” Mémoires de la Société archéologique et historique de l’Orléanais 28 (1902), pp. 33-57.

Delaruelle, L. Guillaume Budé, les origines, les débuts, les idées maîtresses, Paris, 1907.

Droz, E. “Livres imprimés de la Bibliothèque de Jean Budé,” in Humanisme et Renaissance, vol. VI, 1939, pp. 288-293.

[Exhibition]. Guillaume Budé, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, 1968.

Garand, C. “Les copistes de Jean Budé (1430-1502),” Bulletin d’information de l’Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes 15 (1967), pp. 294-328.

Grafton, A. “How Guillaume Budé read his Homer,” in Commerce with the Classics: Ancient Books and Renaissance Readers, Ann Arbor, 1997, pp. 135-183.

Iogna-Prat, D. “L’Oeuvre d’Haymon d’Auxerre: Etat de la question,” in L’Ecole carolingienne d’Auxerre: de Murethach à Remi, 830-908, Paris, 1991, pp. 157-179. 

Jeauneau, E. “Les écoles de Laon et d’Auxerre au IXe siècle,” in La scuola nell’Occidente latino dell’alto medio evo, 1972, ii. pp. 495-522.

Katz, L. Guillaume Budé et l’art de la lecture, Turnhout, 2009.

Martin-Demézil, J. “Un manuscrit de la bibliothèque de Jean Budé,” Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Chartes 99 (1938), pp. 220-222.

Migne, J.-P. ed. Haymonis Halberstatensis episcopi opera omnia .... Praemittuntur Ebbonis Rhemensis, Hartmanni monachi S. Galli, Ermanrici Augiensis monachi..., Patrologiae cursus completus omnium SS. Patrum, doctorum scriptorumque ecclesiasticorum sive Latinorum, sive Graecorum, Patrologia Latina, reprint, Turnhout, 1995, vol. 117.

Omont, H. “Notes sur la famille de Guillaume Budé”; “Notices sur les collections de manuscrits de Jean et Guillaume Budé,” Bulletin de la société de l’histoire de Paris et de l’Ile de France 12 (1885), pp. 45-50 and pp. 100-113; 13 (1886), pp. 112-113.

Ouy, G. “Histoire ‘visible’ et histoire ‘cachée’ d’un manuscript,” Le Moyen Age 64 [1958], pp. 115-138

Quadri, R. “Aimo di Auxerre alla luce dei Collectanea di Heiric di Auxerre,” Italia medioevale e umanistica 6 (1963), pp. 1-48.

Riggenbach, E. Die ältesten lateinischen Kommentare zum Hebräerbrief, Leipzig, 1907.

Shimahara, S., ed. Etudes d’exégèse carolingienne: autour de Haymon d’Auxerre: atelier de recherches du Centre d’études médiévales d’Auxerre, 25-26 avril 2005, Turnhout,  2007.

Stegmüller, F. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, Tomus III: Commentaria, Madrid, 1951.

Online Resources

H. Omont, “Notice sur les collections de manuscrits de Jean et Guillaume Budé,” Bulletin de la Société de l’histoire de Paris et de l’Ile-de-France 12 (1885), pp. 100-113 [lists 41 manuscripts having belonged to Jean Budé]

E. Petit, “Les Budé dans l’Auxerrois,” Bulletin de la société des sciences historiques et naturelles de l’Yonne 49 (1895), pp. 417-422.

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