TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Miscellany of devotional and theological treatises, including HENRICUS DE FRIMARIA (PSEUDO-NICOLAS DE LYRA ), abridged version of Praeceptorium divinae legis [Treatise on the Ten Commandments], De decimis dandis, De articulis fidei, De septem peccatis mortalibus, De triplici modo peccandi in deum, De operibus misericordie; [Anonymous] De septem sacramentis; De horis canonicis (ALBERTUS TROTTUS DE FERRARIIS?); De nativitate domini et alia.

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Western Netherlands or Rhineland (Westphalia?), c.1510-1525

TM 647

60 ff., preceded and followed by a single paper flyleaf, complete as such although initially part of a larger miscellany (collation: i-vi10), related to three other substantial fragments (see on this site TM 612, 615, 646) on paper [with watermark close to Briquet, no. 8636 (Lettre P gothique à fleuron à quatre feuilles): Leyden, 1509-1518; Anvers 1512-1519; Düsseldorf, 1513; Sassenberg (Westphalie), 1513-1516; Leeuwenhorst (Pays-Bas), 1519-1529], written below the top line in a rounded hybrida script, in two columns of up to thirty-six long lines (justification: 153/155 x 100/102 mm), frame ruled in blind, some quire numbering although probably from a later date after codex was dismembered, some capitals stroked in red, some passages underlined in red, rubrics and paragraph marks in red, 1- to 2-line high red initials, a few with small decorative flourishes, opening initial on f. 1 with elaborate red pen flourishing,  leather finding tab (f. 41) and trace of another finding tab, now wanting (e.g. f. 1). Bound in a modern half vellum binding, smooth spine, boards covered with speckled paper (Fine general condition; a few very minor stains to paper). Dimensions 204 x 143 mm.

Originally part of an extensive miscellany containing theological, devotional, and confessional texts, this manuscript presents texts attributed to Henricus of Freimar, as well as other anonymous treatises. It rigorously follows the order of texts found in a popular imprint from circa 1475 onwards (Praeceptorium seu Expositio decalogi), specifically that in the editions published in Cologne, 1501, 1502 etc. The origin in the Western Netherlands or Westphalia and choice of texts and authors suggests a connection with the Modern Devotion.


1. Copied in the Western Netherlands or Rhineland (Westphalia?) as suggested by watermarks in the paper and a few linguistic traits such as the spelling of “ewangelia” which suggests a Germanic origin. The watermarks and script suggest a date of copy in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. Noteworthy, the script presents a very characteristic hairline penstroke above letters “r” and “l” (as in the hand that copied the below-mentioned other portions of this miscellany).

This codex was part of an original larger codex, that has been separated and rebound. The other parts of this codex are found described on this site under TM 612, TM 615, and TM 646. Among the authors represented in these manuscripts are Arnulfus de Boeriis, Isidore of Seville, Paul of Hungary or Franciscus Carriocolo, and Andreas de Escobar. The texts cover a wide range of moral, theological and confessional topics, with a number of anonymous treatises, others ascribable to specific authors. The original manuscript must have been a quite substantial miscellany. The relationship with incunables and early sixteenth-century imprints should be explored, and these four parts of an original codex might be studied together.

This particular portion of the larger manuscript contains many texts now attributed to Henricus de Frimaria as published from circa 1475 onwards. There are numerous editions, including [1475]: Henricus de Frimaria, Praeceptorium, seu Expositio decalogi... Cologne, N. Götz, c. 1475 (?) (Goff H-52); [1491]: Nicolaus de Lyra, Pseudo- [= Henricus de Frimaria]. Praeceptorium divinae legis; De decimis dandis..., Paris]: Philippe Pigouchet, [circa 1491] (Goff N-140).

2. European Continental Collection.


ff. 1-7, Henricus de Frimaria (Pseudo Nicolas de Lyra), Abridgment of his Praeceptorium divinae legis  [Treatise on the Ten Commandments], rubric, Incipiunt decem precepta ad que quilibet homo est obligatus et sine quibus homo non potest salvari; incipit, “Primum preceptum. Primum preceptum est. Non habeas deos alienos. In hoc obligati erant tria genera hominum...”;

This work begins in a similar fashion as a work by Henricus de Hassia, De decem praeceptis (see Traditio 32 (1976), T. Hohmann, “Initienregister der Werke Heinrichs von Langenstein”, p. 413 : “No. 155. Primum praeceptum est: Non adorabis deos alienos...”). However, the text follows closely, although in an abridged form, the work found in an imprint attributed to Nicholas de Lyra, but in fact composed by Henricus de Frimaria or Vrimaria. 

The abbreviated version of Henricus de Frimaria (Henry of Friemar), O.E.S.A., De decem preceptis; is also found in Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek HB I 14, f. 173v, and Munich, Bayerische Staatsibliothek Clm 4781; see Stroick, pp. 37 and 74. This version of the text has never been printed, or carefully studied by modern scholars. Henricus de Frimaria’s popular commentary on the Ten Commandments circulated under a number of different titles, including De decem preceptis (“On the Ten Commandments”), Praeceptorium, Expositio decalogi, and Tractatus de decem praeceptis, among other titles, and is ascribed to a number of different authors, notably Nicolaus de Lyra. The usual version of the text begins “Audi Israel precepta domini … In verbis propositis sprititus sanctus circa divina precepta tria tangit ….” Zumkeller, 325, lists 293 manuscripts; see also Bloomfield 526, listing more than seventy-five additional manuscripts; discussed generally in Stroik, pp. 37-42; printed often in the fifteenth century, see Goff H-52 and N-139 to N-145.

There are numerous incunable editions, including [1475]: Henricus de Vrimaria. Praeceptorium, seu Expositio decalogi..., Cologne, N. Götz (?), c. 1475 (?); [1491]: Nicolaus de Lyra, Pseudo- [= Henricus de Vrimaria]. Praeceptorium divinae legis. De decimis dandis..., Paris]: Philippe Pigouchet, [circa 1491]. There is a recent modern edition: see Guyot, 2005.

ff.7-7v, Henricus de Frimaria, De decimis dandis, rubric, De decimis; incipit, “Nota quod homo decimas omnium que habet libenter...”;

The treatise is published verbatim in Henricus de Frimaria/ Nicolaus de Lyra, Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, Colonia, 1502 (see Online Resources, below).

ff.7v-9v, Henricus de Frimaria,Treatise on the Twelve Articles of Faith, rubric, De articulis fidei; incipit, “Sciendum est quod tita lex ewangelii que est...”;

The treatise is published verb/ Nicolaus de Lyra. Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, Colonia, 1502 (see Online Resources, below).

ff.9v-15, Henricus de Frimaria,Treatise on the Seven Deadly Sins, rubric, Sequitur de septem peccatis mortalibus; incipit, “Peccata mortalia sunt septem quorum superbia caput et principium omnium est...”; explicit, “[...] Et ista septem vicia superiorus ennumerata sunt peccata mortalia que damnant…ad mortem eternam” (recorded in Bloomfield, 1979, no. 3762: “De septem peccatis mortalis.” Bloomfield records that the treatise is printed in Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra...cum multis pulcerrimis tractatulis, Cologne, 1501; another incipit, very similar, is Bloomfield, 1979, no. 3761, “De peccatis capitalibus...” MS: Schlägl 80, f. 287). 

The treatise is published verbatim in Henricus de Frimaria/ Nicolaus de Lyra, Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, Colonia, 1502 (see Online Resources, below).

ff.15-16, Henricus de Frimaria,Treatise on Three Sins, rubric, De triplici modo peccandi in deum; incipit, “Sciendum est quod tripliciter peccavis in deum”;

The treatise is published verbatim in Henricus de Frimaria/ Nicolaus de Lyra, Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, Colonia, 1502 (see Online Resources, below).

ff.16-17, Henricus de Frimaria,Treatise on Good Works, rubric, De operibus misericordie; incipit, “Sciendum quod dupliciter agimus misericordiam cum proximo....”;

The treatise is published verbatim in Henricus de Frimaria/ Nicolaus de Lyra, Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, Colonia, 1502 (see Online Resources, below).

ff.17-30, Anonymous, Treatise on the Seven Sacraments, rubric, Sequitur de septem sacramentis; incipit, “Primum sacrum sanctum baptismum quod secundum magistrum...”;

ff.31-38v, Anonymous (Alberto Trotti de Ferrariis?), Treatise on Canonical Hours, rubric, Sequitur de horis canonicis; incipit, “Nota dicit Robertus Holcot super librum Sapientiae...”; explict, “[...] reprobamus cum sacre scripture amen”;

This appears to be an abridgment of Alberto de Ferrariis, Opusculo de horis canonicis, 1480; see also earlier Albertus Trottus, De horis canonicis, [Basel], 1474 (Goff, T-463). The incipit does not fit, but the general structure of the treatise follows Albertus Trottus de Ferrariis’s opuscula on the Canonical Hours. Albertus Trottus was born in Piacenza and taught canon law in Ferrara in 14th century.

ff.38v-40v, Anonymous, Treatise on the Nativity of the Lord, rubric, In nativitate domini;incipit, “Natus est tibi puer masculus...Videndus in mundo quod quando....”;

ff.41-60v, Short questiones on specific moral and theogical points, first questio underlined heading, Aer caliginosus an locus penalis demonum sit; incipit, “Nota secundum sanctum thomam...”; next questio, underlined heading, Avisaciones septem quas pueri sine baptismo decedentes faciunt;

These last folios contain considerations and questiones often taken from Thomas of Aquinas on a variety of moral and theogical issues. The first one “Aer caliginosus – locus penalis” addresses the relation between the Devil and atmospheric perturbations. The following questions address points relative to Baptism, Purgatory, Difference between Good and Bad Angels; Marriage; Celebration of Mass; Demons; Feast days; Women; Children. All topics appear to be tied to confessional practices and “cas de conscience”, providing scriptural and patristic references to justify one’s position.

This codex contains a number of spiritual and confessional works that have now been attributed to Henricus de Frimaria (Henry of Freimar). The majority of the texts found in this codex are in fact copied from either an incunable or an early sixteenth-century edition of Nicolas de Lyra (Pseudo), Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, published under a variety of titles in Cologne and Paris, from 1475 onwards. Exactly which edition the scribe is reading and copying either verbatim or abridged versions of the texts found in the Praeceptorium has yet to be determined. Only a careful comparison of all the editions and confrontation with the present manuscript copy will yield conclusive answers. The texts found in the Praeceptorium enjoyed an immense popularity and circulation, from its first edition in Cologne (c 1475; see Goff, H-52) and its subsequent almost yearly incunable editions printed in Cologne and Paris (see Goff, N-139 to N-145) to the later early sixteenth-century editions (Cologne, 1501; again Cologne, 1502, 1505, 1507 et passim). The present order of the texts seems to follow the edition of the Praeceptorium as published in Cologne by the Retro Minores Press which operated from 1497 to 1504. This order is: Expositio tripharia p[er]utilis in decalogu[m] legis diuine (our manuscript ff. 1-7); De decimis tribuendis (our manuscript ff. 7-7v); De duodecim articulis fidei (our manuscript ff. 7v-9v); De septem peccatis mortalibus (our manuscript ff. 9v-15);  De triplici modo peccandi in deum (our manuscript ff. 15-16);  De operibus misericordie (our manuscript ff. 16-17).

Although the texts in the Praeceptorium have been attributed to Nicolas of Lyra in a number of incunables and sixteenth-century editions, they have since been restored to Henry of Friemar (c.1245-1340; born at Friemar, a small town near Gotha). Heinrich von Freimar or Henricus de Frimaria (senior) was a German Augustinian theologian. At an early age he entered the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine, and later graduated from the University of Bologna and Paris. He worked as a Provincial from 1315-1318 for Thuringia and Saxony. He died in Erfurt.

The association of these texts, and those found in the related codices described in this site (TM 612, TM 615 and TM 646) strongly suggest a connection or more likely origin in the circle of the Modern Devoition, or at the very least sensibility for this miscellany. Further research on these texts and their association should provide interesting paths of study, both concerning the spiritual and theological environment in which these texts were associated but also the relation between printed miscellanies of such works and manuscript copies that circulated simultaneously.


Bloomfield, M. Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100-1500 A.D., Cambridge (Mass.), The Medieval Academy of America, 1979. 

Guyot, B.-G. De decem preceptis. Henricus de Frimaria. Pisa, 2005.

[Henricus de Frimaria]. Preceptoriu[m] Nycolai de Lyra: siue Expositio tripharia p[er]utilis in decalogu[m] legis diuine: cu[m] multis ... tractatulis ... De decimis tribuendis. De duodecim articulis fidei. De septem peccatis mortalibus. De triplici modo peccandi in deum. De operibus misericordie. De natiuitate vita [et] morte Antichristi. De fine mundi et extremo iudicio. Exhortationes faciende infirmo morie[n]ti. Dyalogus Anselmi [et] Marie de passione [christi]. Bernardus de pla[n]ctu b[ea]te Marie virginis. Colloquium peccatoris et Crucifixi Dyalogus Jsidori de homine [et] ratione..., Cologne, Retro Minores, 1501.

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

Weijers, Olga. Le travail intellectuel à la faculté des arts de Paris. Textes et maîtres (ca. 1200-1500), IV, Studia Aristarum, 9, Turnhout, Brepols, 2001.

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

Online resources

On Henricus de Frimaria, senior:

Nicolaus de Lyra, Pseudo- [= Henricus de Frimaria]. Praeceptorium divinae legis. De decimis dandis. Nicolaus de Lyra, Pseudo- [= Albwinus de Säben-Brixen]. Compendium de vita Antichristi. [Paris]: Philippe Pigouchet, [circa 1491]

Henricus de Frimaria/ Nicolaus de Lyra. Praeceptorium Nycolai de Lyra sive expositio tripharia in decalogum legis divine, Colonia, 1502