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GUIDO DE MONTE ROQUERIO, Manipulus curatorum

In Latin, manuscript on paper and parchment
[Italy (probably Verona), c. 1450-75]

TM 246

ii +59 + ii (collation i13 + ii8 + iii1 + iv4 + v13 + vi20), paper size (204 x 147) mm, parchment size (201 x 143 mm), watermarks (Briquet 6596, 'Fleur à 8 pétales,” Churwalden, 1461-1464; Milan, 1468), modern foliation (followed here) in pencil in Arabic numerals ff. 1-63 includes original front and rear flyleaves, contemporary alphabetical signatures in rubric and brown ink a-f, written in a humanist bookhand in brown ink, single column, irregular use of vertical and horizontal justification in both pencil and hard point, ruling in pale red ink (justification 145 x 98 mm.), 26 lines per page, periodic paraphs in blue and red ink, 1 three-line and 56 two-line initials alternating in red and blue ink, guide letters for rubricator, one outer and one inner parchment bifolium used to strengthen each gathering, folios with signatures a4-a9, a13, b2-b4, b12-b20, c1-19, d2-d9, d12-d19, and e4-e6 are missing, ff. 1-2 and 62-63 are original flyleaves, Latin pericopes for the mass from the Gospel of Mathew written in a semi-gothic script in black ink appear on the original flyleaves now ff. 1v-3r and 61v-63r, ownership mark in a fifteenth-century humanist script in brown ink on ff. 61v and 63r, purchase note in an early sixteenth-century cursive script in black ink on f. 63r, ownership note in a seventeenth-century cursive hand in black ink on f. 1r, catalogue information in a seventeenth-century cursive script in brown ink on f. 1r, a few hand notabenes in margins, marginal gloss on f. 61r, a few interlinear and marginal scribal corrections, tear in gutter on f. 24, some browning to later folios, ff. 1 r and 63v show wear and staining from wood boards, some worming to first and last folios, text otherwise clean and bright. Bound in a contemporary thick reversed soft calf binding over wooden boards, sewn on three thongs raised on spine, front and rear covers worn and stained, all edges bumped and worn, upper fore edge corners of binding chipped and broken, moderate worming to front and rear covers, binding repairs in rough brown leather on front cover and spine, original brass catch plate showing an image of the agnus dei on rear cover, front catch plate and clasp missing, seventeenth-century paper title and catalogue information affixed to spine, title written in seventeenth-century cursive script in black ink on spine, liturgical curse (“Qui te furetur Cum Iuda dampnificetur”) written in a fifteenth-century humanist hand in rubric on inside front cover, modern catalogue information written in pencil on inside front (“17 6 19”) and rear (“3C9B6”) covers, seventeenth-century catalogue information on original recto of first front flyeaf (f. 1r) in a cursive script in brown ink (Manipulus Curatorum opus ut apparet en fol. Tertio pagina secunda, scriptum anno Domini 1333 a quodam Guido de Monte Rotherii) parchment bifolium used as front and rear flyleaves. Dimensions 215 x 152 mm.

Guido de Monte Rogerio’s Manipulus curatorum was one of the most important pastoral manuals for instructing priests in the Middle Ages. Bound here in an original medieval binding, this catechetical primer for priests contains a comprehensive introduction to the sacraments, including long sections on the questions for penitents and their punishments. This manuscript stands out for its long history of medieval and early modern provenance, as well as for the expurgations of the text resulting from its condemnation in 1554.


1. Antonio Venture, priest of the church of Santa Maria Antica, and canon of Verona. Antonio Venture is recorded as the owner of the manuscript in a fine humanist script in brown ink on f. 61v (“Iste liber est domini Antoniy Venture prepositi Ecclesie Sancte Marie canonice perponi”). This is the same hand that appears on ff. 2r and 63v. On f. 2r, the scribe provides the title of the work (“Manipulus curatorum”). On f. 63v, the scribe interestingly records a journey or embassy made by Venture on 6 August 1471 to Mantua to see either Lodovico Gonzaga (1412-1478), marquis of Mantua, or to his son, Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (1444-1483). This journey was made on behalf of the clergy and presumably as part of a delegation sent by Galeazzo Maria Sforza, duke of Milan (1464-76): “1471. die martis vi augusti dominus prepositus accessit mantuam, pro clericatu, ad Illustrium ducem milani qui tunc erat gunzaghe etc.”

2. Giorgio de Boatario, priest (fl. early sixteenth century?) purchased the book from priest Laurentio della Rovere for three pounds. This information is recorded in a purchase note on f. 62r: “Iste liber Emptum fuit per Me presbiterem Georgium de boatariis presbitero laurentio de roverinis de locho gablati precio librarum trium signum.”

3. Convent of Saint Francis of Capodistria (Koper, Slovenia). This information is found on the recto of the first front flyleaf (f. 1r) written in a seventeenth-century cursive hand in brown ink: “Conventus sancti Francisci de Justinopoli.” Capodistria was at this time a Venetian colony on the Adriatic coast. The convent was the headquarters of the Istrian inquisition until the convent was suppressed in 1806.


ff. 1v-2r, Latin pericopes for the mass from the Gospel of Mathew.

ff. 2r-3v, Guido de Monte Roquerio, [Prefatory letter to Bishop Raymond], incipit, “Reverendus in xristo patri ac domino domino Raymundo douina prouidentia sancte sedis ualentie episcopo suorum”; explicit, “maiora conscendant vestram Reverendam personam conseruet dominus ecclesie sue sancte cui me humiliter recomendo scriptum turoli. 1333”;

ff. 3v-4r, Guido de Monte Roquerio, [prologue], incipit, “Quoniam sciendum quod dicit propheta Malachias ymmo dominus per malachiam labia sacerdotis,”; explicit, “ut uideant ea que circa suum officium sunt agenda”;

f. 4rv, Guido de Monte Roquerio, Diuisio libris, incipit, “Diuiditur ergo presens opusculum in tres partes”; explicit, “septimo de sacramento matrimonii”;

ff. 4v-61v, Guido de Monte Roquerio, Manipulus curatorum, incipit, “Quantum ad sacramentum in generali...Sciendum ergo quam omnia sacramentum noue legis fuerunt immediate instituta”; explicit, “in aduertencia ascriberis caritatiue corrigat et pro me ad deum preces fundat. Amen”;

ff. 61v-63r, Latin pericopes for the mass from the Gospel of Mathew.

Little is known about the author of this work, who is often misidentified as a French writer by the name of Guy de Montrocher. Confusion has primarily been based on the variety of names that both medieval and modern authors have used to identify the author of the Manipulus curatorum. Common first names include, Guido, Gilbido, Gui, and Guy, and common lasts names include Monte rocherii/ Rotherii/ Richori/ Rochen/ Roquerio. Common unified last names are Montrocher, Montriquier, Monroger, Monterogerio, Monterroquerio, Mont-roquer, Monroquero, or simply du Rocher or Rocher. Conrado Guardiola’s recent research, however, has provided new biographical information about the author based on newly discovered documents in Teruel. Monte Roquerio was likely born in Teruel, where he was a vecino (a legal status similar to cives). He served as an ecclesiastical judge in a court case in 1338 and as a witness to another case in 1339. The documents from Teruel also show that Monte Roquerio was a secular priest, who held the rank of magister, and likely doctor. Whether these were in theology or in canon law is not known.

The date of the composition has confused scholars, as manuscript evidence records both the date of 1330 and 1333. The place of the composition has also confused scholars, as manuscript evidence in the prefatory letter records both “Caroli” and “Turolii.” However, Guardiola (see literature) has shown that the date of 1333 was a perpetuation of a scribal error, and that “Caroli” was a corruption of “Turolii,” the latter meaning Teruel. Thus, the work was composed by Guido de Monte Roquerio in Teruel in 1330. This information corresponds to the information in the prefatory letter, where Monte Roquerio dedicates the work to Ramon Gastó, bishop of Valencia (1312-48).

Guido de Monte Rogerio composed the Manipulus curatorum as a pastoral manual for instructing priests in the sacraments. However, the work is far more complicated, and offers a solid introduction to the practices of the sacraments, aspects of canon law, and methods of confession and penance. The treatise is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the sacraments, except for 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 focuses on penance. Monte Rogerio goes into great detail on the importance of contrition, confession, and satisfaction of sins. The discussion includes a very long section on the types of questions that a confessor should ask the penitent. The second part ends with a long list of penances that a priest should impose on sinners as part of their satisfaction. The third part of the work is a short instructional piece on the explanation of the symbols of the Church, the Pater Noster, and the Ten Commandments. Throughout his treatise Guido de Monte Rogerio shows his vast knowledge of sources, ranging from canon law, the Church Fathers, and medieval and scholastic theologians. Monte Rogerio used this knowledge to compose a treatise where the Eucharist and penance served as the two essential tasks for the priest to undertake to fulfill their ministry in the Church.

Currently, there is no modern edition of this important and understudied work. Its importance can be measured simply by acknowledging the 250 surviving manuscript copies and the over 100 editions printed prior to 1510, the earliest dating back to the 1473 editions published by Ulrich Gering in Paris and Christophorus Beyamus in Savigliano. The popularity of the work led it to be translated into French and Greek prior to 1500. As a testament to the work’s popularity, 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. Anne Thayer (Lancaster Theological Seminary) and Katharine Luardi are preparing a translation and an interpretive introduction of the work.

Here is an interesting example of a manuscript where the incomplete state of its text, a direct result of its early history, is a positive aspect instead of an imperfection. During the sixteenth century, the Manipulus curatorum was condemned and placed on the index of prohibited books, despite its medieval popularity. The first condemnation occurred in Spain in 1554. This condemnation applied to both the Latin and vernacular versions, which by this time included Castilian. Substantial portions of the present manuscript have been expurgated presumably in accordance with the condemnation. Guido’s condemnation stemmed from what was seen to be an overly optimistic view of humanity’s ability to aid in their own salvation through their own actions, justification and God’s grace. The Catholic Reform looked suspiciously on these views, as they either resembled Protestant or Erasmian views of salvation. In this manuscript sections on penance and confession have been removed from the manuscript, perhaps by the Inquisition, though there is no sure evidence of this. The expurgation of the material seems contemporary, as the manuscript remains in its original binding and the rest of the collation is tight. It seems likely that this expurgation took place at the convent of Saint Francis of Capodistria, which held the book in its library and served as center of inquisitorial activity in Istria. In this sense, this manuscript thus provides an example of the Inquisition’s activity in censoring works and expurgating the materials deemed offenses to church doctrine.


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Plumed Allueva, Andrés. “El Manipulus Curatorum, suma de moral pastoral del siglo XIV,” Revista española de filosofía medieval 3 (1996), pp. 101-108.

Santiago Otero, Horacio. “Guido de Monte Roterio y el ‘Manipulus curatorum’,” in Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Salamanca, 21-25 September 1976, edited by Stephan Kuttner and Kenneth Pennington, Monumenta Iuris Canonici, series C, Subsidia 6, Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1980, pp. 259-265.

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