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les Enluminures

HUGO DE FOLIETO (Hugues de Fouilloy), De claustro animae [preceded by a fragment from HUGO DE FOLIETO, De duodecim abusionibus claustri]

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
France? c. 1150 (if earlier, after 1132)

TM 477

68 ff., missing a number of leaves, mostly at the beginning and end of the major textual breaks (collation: i6, ii2, iii4, iv4, v8, vi8, vii8 [of 10, missing ix-x], viii7 [of 8, missing vii], ix6, x9 [of 10, with iii cancelled], xi3 [of 6, missing iii, v, vi], xii2 [of 6, of 4?], xiii1), written by several scribes, almost as many as there are quires, although some hands can be grouped together, in twelfth-century minuscule, in brown and darker brown (almost black) ink, above the top ruled line, text first on a single column (ff. 1-32v) of up to 26 long lines (justification: 215 x 130 mm) and after on two columns (ff. 33-67v) of up to 40 lines (justification: 225/230 x 140/145 mm), ruled part in plummet, part in blind, some catchwords, guide letters and guide words for rubrics found in margins, some cut short and some guide words copied vertically, rubrics generally written horizontally but some rubrics continued vertically, prickings still visible on most leaves, quotation marks indicated in the margin, numerous marginal annotations and/or corrections, some contemporary. Bound in a later (late 16th c.?) ledger binding, of Italian origin, limp vellum parchment, with leather horizontals strips, numbers and calculations scribbled in brown ink on the covers, the name “Barnabei” on the bottom of the lower cover (Covers soiled, somewhat battered and thumbed, but offering nonetheless a sound protection; some thumbing and internal wear, reparations and stitching to parchment, e. g. fol. 7 with an impressive example of a three-sided parchment reparation; bifolium ff. 66-67 detached). Dimensions 290 x 205 mm.

Very early exemplar of this important allegorical treatise concerning monastic architecture and spirituality, copied close to its date of composition. Dating is largely based on the generally accepted date of composition of De claustro animae c. 1153, although script seems earlier. This manuscript was copied in a monastic setting, its quires written by different scribes and later assembled: this accounts for the irregular quires, the changes in script, and the differences in lay-out, offering interesting insights into scribal practices and division of labor.


1. Copied most likely in France based on script and text layout. The characteristic scripts (note the abbreviation of “enim”) should be further studied and compared to allow for a better place of origin for this manuscript, copied and assembled in a monastic scriptorium (Cistercian?). It appears that many 12th century codices of De claustro animae can be related to Cistercian scriptoria. This manuscript is composed of a series of irregular quires, not all cropped to the same size, and subsequently assembled to form the entire text. There are missing quite a number of leaves, including a first portion (a second copy of the De XII abusionibus claustri) of which only a half-page survives preceding the beginning of the De claustro animae. This collective enterprise could explain the lay-out which is somewhat disordered and lacking in regularity: in two cases, although there was ample space to continue copying, there is a change of hand and scribe (e.g. ff. 17-18; ff. 55-56). It seems that within a given scriptorium, different scribes were responsible for sections of the text to be copied. They were after assembled to form the whole work. Also noteworthy, the De clautro animae ends on fol. 66v: this quire is clearly incomplete. The original manuscript had other texts that followed the De claustro animae, difficult to identify given the very fragmentary nature of what is left (see fol. 67-67v). To sum up, there is internal proof that there was a work before (a dissociated portion of De claustro animae) and a work (or sermons?) after, yet to be identified.

2. Reference to a dated 12th century event [1187] found in the upper margin of fol. 1: “A[nn]o d[omini] M. C. octogesimo VII. quondam sanctum capitum fuit sepulcrum...” This is the capture of the Holy Sepulcher by Saladin on 2 October 1187, defeating Guy de Lusignan, during the siege of Jerusalem.

3. Venice, San Salvatore, monastery of Augustinian Canons Regular (founded in 1141), as per the ex-libris inscription in the lower margin of the opening leaf: “Iste liber est monasterii sancto salvatoris de venetiis. Ego frater petrus venetiis fillius de simonis lanzini merchatori vini venetiis” [This book belongs to the Monastery of San Salvatore in Venice. Brother Petrus of Venice, son of Simon Lanzini, wine-merchant in Venice]. Placed on the opening leaf, the presence of this inscription copied in a late 15th or 16th century hand would suggest that the manuscript must have been wanting its initial leaves quite early on, or at least already in the 16th century. On San Salvatore, see Cottineau, III, col. 3226.

4. On f. 67v, an inscription in code, preceded by the date 1507, which transcribes as such: “Die quartp bprillis k507 die sbnctf pbschf / kstf lkbfr fst mpnbstfrkk sbnctk sblxbtprks df xfnfctis...” [code: b = a / f = e / k = i / p = o / x = v]. It can be deciphered as such: “Die quarto aprillis 1507 die sancte paschae. Iste liber est monasterii sanctis salvatoris de venetiis...” [April 4, 1507, Easter day. This book belongs to the monastery of San Salvatore in Venice...]. This inscription relates directly to the ex-libris described above, with an apparent similarity of script, and the same text but coded. Another date is found beneath the last column of the table of chapters (fol. 68v): the year 1506 and a motto in larger letters: “Bonum est hic nos.”

5. Continental Private Collection.


f. 1v-1, Hugo de Folieto, De claustro animae, Book II, chap.7 [Book II, chap. 23 in edition PL,176], bound out of sequence [correct sequence: ff. 32-32v-1-1v], incipit fol. 1, “[...] iniant carnis desiderio solent aggravari”; explicit, “[...] columba m et turturem animalium corpora di[visit] [...]” [PL, 176, 1083 B-1084 D];

f. 2, Hugo de Folieto, Fragment of the last chapter of Tractatus de duodecim abusivis [usually chap. 11-23 of Book II, De claustro anime: “De irreverentia juxta altare. Abusio duodecim”], incipit, “[...] ja[cent] per ministerium operis et honorari...”; explicit, “[...] pendet summa totius religionis” (begins incomplete) [PL, 176,1086 D];

The Tractatus de duodecim abusivis or De XII abusionibus claustri is sometimes found as an independent and autonomous work (as is in Cambridge, UL, Hh. VI. 11 (ff. 30-51), Tractatus de duodecim abusivis dompni Hugonis de Folieto prioris canonicorum sancti laurentii in pago ambianensi, also sometimes referred to as De XII abusionibus claustri). It is in fact a part of the larger De claustro animae, exactly Book II, chap. 11-23, also De XII abusionibus claustri.

What is surprising in the present manuscript is that the excerpt is copied before the beginning of the entire and complete work, and for all practical purposes, copied twice. Why would the monks have projected to copy twice the same text, once in its independent form (fragment on f. 2 preceding the beginning of the whole De claustro animae), and again in the body of the whole De claustro animae, in its “rightful” or “correct” place in Book II, chap. 7 [not as expected chap. 23 because the index of this manuscript shows different chapter divisions from other manuscripts, chapter 7 in the present manuscript contains Book II, chap. 11-23 in most manuscripts].

ff. 2-14v, Hugo de Folieto, De claustro animae, Preface to Book I, rubric, Incipit tractatus de claustro corporalis et anime; incipit Prologue, “Rogasti nos frater amantissime...” (fol. 2); rubric, Incipit liber primus. Quod incipientibus edificare quaerendus est locus fundamenti; incipit Book I, “Incipientibus hedificare quaerendus est locus fundamenti...”; explicit, “[...] [rubric] Quod optima sit bonis religio; Bonis est optima religio bonos...bonam incipientem caritate meliorem...” (ends incomplete) [PL, 176, 1017-1048; Gobry, 1965, pp. 2-4];

ff. 15-32v, Hugo de Folieto, De claustro animae, Book II (begins and ends incomplete; missing most of chap. v and missing chap. vi, between ff. 16-17), “[...] -natem non est enim extra ordinem natem conpati...”; first rubric, Ut hedifitia fratrem extra cohabitationem secularum fiant .ii.; explicit, “[...] Qui enim terena sapiunt et terenis...” [PL, 176, 1053-1083B];

ff. 33-48, Hugo de Folieto, De claustro animae, Book III (lacks prologue, missing end of chap. viii and chap. ix, between ff. 40-41; missing chap. xxii and xxii, between ff. 46-47), with first rubric, Incipit liber .ii. quod anime claustrum in contemplatio dicitur; incipit, “Anime claustrum contemplatio dicitur....”; explicit, “[...] pervenire festinas [usque huc de templo salomonis]” [PL, 176, 1087-1130; Gobry, 1965, pp. 7-122];

ff. 48-66v, Hugo de Folieto, De claustro animae, Book IV (apparently complete), rubric, Explicit liber .iii. incipit prologus .iiii. libri; incipit prologue, “Rogas karissime rogas...”; rubric [largely effaced] De civitate magna ierusalem; incipit, “Civitatis magne ierusalem quondam...”; explicit, “[...] autem dabit virtutem incorruptionis fortitudinem immortalitatis benedictus deus. Amen” [there is a mistake on fol. 49 in the rubricated running title which should read IIII rather than III; Book IV begins indeed at fol. 48] [PL, 176, 1130-1182];

A note at the bottom of the lefthand column on fol. 55v: “Hic nichil deficit quam hoc spatium pro nichilo hic habeatur” [Here nothing is lacking but there was nothing to fill this space].

ff. 67-67v, Unidentfied fragment, not part of the De claustro animae which ends on fol. 66v (begins incomplete), incipit, “[...] Et sit transsitus de iudea...”; other incipit, “Sermo comotionis...”; explicit, “[...] ergo ab aqua in deus a gratia [change of hand] Superbia nobile vitium natione celestis nobilium montes (?) inhabitans latitat sub cinere et cilitio”

ff. 68-68v, Table of the four books and related chapters, rubric, Incipiunt capitula primi libri claustralis.

This manuscript contains a hitherto unknown twelfth-century copy of the De claustro animae by Hugh of Fouilloy (c. 1100-c. 1172), who was a French Augustinian Prior of Saint-Laurent-au-Bois (in 1152), a priory located near Amiens. Fouilloy is a town not far from Amiens. It appears that Hugh of Fouilloy received a full clerical education, most likely at the great Benedictine abbey of Corbie. Hugh of Fouilloy was known well enough in his day to be given biographic notices by the thirteenth-century chroniclers William of Nangis and Aubry of Trois-Fontaines, as well as Vincent of Beauvais. On Hugues de Fouilloy, see also Dict. de spiritualité..., Paris, 1968, col. 880-886.

The works that are assigned to Hugh are all for a monastic audience. The present manuscript contains a copy of the most familiar of his works, De claustro animae or “The Cloister of the Soul,” an allegorical treatise on monastic architecture and spirituality. This work is often associated with another allegorical treatise called De medicina animae (The Medicine of the Soul [Migne, PL, 176, 1183-1202]). Hugh of Fouilloy is also the author of a delightful moralizing book on birds or Aviary (Aviarium) (see W. Clark, The Medieval Book of Birds. Hugh of Fouilloy’s Aviarium, 1992). It appears his literary career began circa 1132 (W. Clark, 1992, p. 9), although none of his works are dated. According to recent scholarship, composition of De claustro animae can be situated c. 1153 (see Gobry, 1995, p. 25; see also Dict. de spititualité, VII-1, col. 880), hence offering something of a terminus post quem date of 1153.

De Claustro is Hugues de Fouilloy’s major work which comprises four books. Book I has no title, often referred to as De religione (18 chap.), which is a celebration of the religious monastic life, with advice on how to overcome illusions and temptations; Book II, De claustro materiali, contains usually 23 chapters, and provides the rules for monastic discipline, including the work sometimes copied separately De duodecum abusionibus claustri [often misattributed to Pseudo-Cyprianus, CSEL, 3, 3, 1871, pp. 152-173]; Book III, De claustro spirituali (29 chap.) contains an allegorical interpretation of the different physical parts of a cloister and of the monastic activities in general; Book IV, De clautro coelesti [or paradisi] or De civitate magna Jerusalem, give a mystical interpretation of the cloister, compared with the celestial city. Although Hugues de Fouilloy was an Augustinian Canon, his De claustro animae is profoundly influenced by Cistercian spirituality and writings (see Gobry, 1965; Dict. de spiritualité, VII-1, col. 885).

The manuscript tradition of the De claustro animae is quite complex. R. Baron (1964) distinguishes seven groups of manuscripts. The present manuscript seems to fit group V (containing Books I, II, III and De claustro paradisi [Book IV]) (cf. Baron, 1967, p. 251). But the present manuscript is odd in that the De claustro animae was initially preceded by De XII abusionibus claustri (of which only fragments are left). Baron does not record any such case. There are some 174 (Gobry, 1965, p. 126) or 176 (Dict. de spiritualité, VII-1, col. 882) manuscripts, but this number is apparently higher, as studied by Negri, 2009, pp. 401-409. Of the 174 manuscripts known to I. Gobry, there are 24 which are twelfth century (18 in French holdings, 6 in other holdings) (see Gobry, 1965, p. 126). The “ARLIMA” database records many more--some 516 manuscripts (see link below).

Gobry chose Paris, BnF, MS lat. 2495 as his base manuscript for his partial edition. There is an edition of the work in Migne, Patrologia latina, 176, 1017-1182 (but based on a late printed edition of 1648). See also more recently the edition and French translation by I. Gobry, 1965, with the introduction to his partial critical edition (only Prologue to Book I and Book III) published separately again in 1995. A complete critical edition taking into account all the early twelfth-century manuscripts and some thirteenth-century manuscripts would constitute an important contribution to the study of the twelfth-century Renaissance. This copy is also of interest for its codicological structure, specifically, for what it reveals about scribal practices and division of labor within scriptoria. We are far from a university pecia system. Instead the quire structure and frequent change of script and lay-out offers today’s collector and scholar a chance to study monastic book production and the complex division of labor that nonetheless produced complete works.


Baron, R. “Note sur le De Claustro,” in Sacris erudiri 15 (1964), pp. 249-255.Bauer, Gerhard, Claustrum animae. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Metapher vom Herzen als Kloster. Band I: Entstehungsgeschichte, Munich, Fink, 1973.

Clark, W. B.The Medieval Book of Birds. Hugh of Fouilloy’s Aviarium, Binghamton, 1992.

Cook, R. F., “Un manuscrit américain du De claustro de Hugues de Fouilloy,” Scriptorium 33 (1979), p. 62-64.

De Marco, M., “Per la storia della tradizione di Ugo di Fouilloy, De claustro animae,” Aevum 36 (1972), pp. 172-174.

Gobry, I. Hugonis de Folieto De Claustro anime, [I. Gobry], 1965, 2 vol. [Thesis, Paris, 1965].

Gobry, I. Le "De claustro animae" d’Hugues de Fouilloy, Amiens, 1995.

Migne, J.-P. Patrologiae cursus completus..., vol. 176 [Hugonis de S. Victore], Paris, 1854.

Negri, Franco, “Ancora sul De claustro animae di Ugo di Fouilloy: tradizione manoscritta,” Aevum 83:2 (2009), pp. 401-409.

Pinder, Janice M., “Love and reason from Hugh of Fouilloy to the Abbaye du Saint-Esprit: changes at the top in the medieval cloister allegory,” Parergon, 27:1 (2010), pp. 69-83.

Peltier, H. “Hugues de Fouilloy, chanoine regulier, prieur de Saint-Laurent-au-Bois,” Revue du Moyen-Age latin 2 (1946), pp. 25-44.

Online resources

On Hugues de Fouilloy, listing some 516 manuscripts containing De claustro anime: