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Mnemosinon biblie memoriale [PETRUS DE ROSENHEIM, Roseum memoriale divinorum eloquiorum]

In Latin, manuscript on paper
Austria (Vienna), c. 1524

TM 511

111 folios on paper, watermark too fragmented for identification, modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, lacking at least three leaves at the end, bound out of order, correct order, ff. 1-3v, 7-10v, 4-6v, 11-111v (collation, i6 ii4 [quires one and two originally one quire of 10, with quire two inserted in the middle of the first quire, so that f. 3 was followed by ff. 7-10] iii14 iv10 v14 vi10 vii14 viii10 ix14 x12 xi6 [3, f. 111, detached, -4, 5 and 6, with loss of text]), no catchwords or signatures, unruled (justification, 50 x 95-93 mm.), written in a neat humanistic cursive script in twenty long lines, red rubrics, headings and numbers, one-line red initials, last folio detached, f. 1, darkened, and f. 111 detached, but overall in good condition. Bound in sixteenth-century half pigskin stamped in blind with Renaissance ornament, very rubbed, a half-length figure, possibly of a saint, holding a book discernible on the front cover, and parchment leaves from a manuscript, dyed green and decoratively scored over thin wooden boards, rounded corners, spine with two raised bands, hinges damaged top and bottom, front and back covers worn, back pigskin partially missing and repaired. Dimensions 66 x 105 mm.

This verse summary of the Bible served as a way to memorize the contents of the Bible, as well as the order of books and the number of chapters in each book. This mnemonic text, which was written by the monastic reformer, Petrus de Rosenheim c. 1423-6, survives in about thirty manuscripts and numerous printed editions. This manuscript, a copy of the edition published in Vienna in 1524, is evidence of its continued popularity in the sixteenth century among humanist scholars, possibly at the University of Vienna.


1. he text of this manuscript was copied from the edition published in Vienna, 1524; the date, 1524, at the end of the prologue on f. 2v is the date of the text rather that the date of this copy, but it is likely that it was copied not long after this. Its unusual format – long and narrow – would have made this a manuscript that was easily carried; the style of the script, a good humanistic cursive, suggests that it may have been copied for or by someone in the circle of humanist scholars at the University of Vienna.

2. “Mnemosinon”, written in Greek letters above the Latin, f. 1; notes in Latin, inside back cover in a sixteenth or seventeenth century hand, mentioning “Franciscus”, a theology professor.

3. Belonged in the collection of Eduard Langer (1852-1914), Braunau i.B. (Bohemia), MS 433; the library was dispersed after World War II, and this manuscript was considered lost since 1920 (currently being studied by Ulrich-Dieter-Oppitz; see below, Dolch, 1912, Hermann, 1966, and online resources, BBAW, Deutsche Texte des Mittelalters).

4. Owners’ and dealers’ notes include, inside front cover, “31”, in red pencil, “123”, in pencil, and “No. 49”, in ink, and a fragment of a printed description (?) in Latin; inside back cover, fragment of a printed description (?) in German.


Bound out of order (see above); described in correct order:

f. 1, incipit, “Mnemosinon bibliorum memoriale ubi exiguo labore … Mira industria compilatum”;

f. 1v-2v, Reuerendissimo in Christo Patris ac domino Domino Ioanni de Reuelles Granatensi Dei gratia Viennensi Episcopo Conradus Boius Monoreus, incipit, “Per longum temporis interuallum … comendatum in omni re honesta uelim. Vale in Christo Clericorum deus ac Presul. Fato et consilio clestissime. Ex Vienna Austrie Emporio Anno M D xxiiii infra Kalendas Nouembres”;

f. 3rv, Sequitur Tabula librorum Veteris testamenti, incipit, “Genesis … 2 Machabeorum”;

List of the books of the Old Testament; the deuterocanonical books are listed together in the following order after the Minor Prophets: Baruch, 2 Ezra [i.e. 3 Ezra, Stegmüller 94,1], Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

f. 3, and ff. 7-9, Bibliorum Epilogi Versus Nomen Auctoremne materiam ordinem quotum libri id est quotus sit in ordine liber, capitulorum quoque numerum cuiusius libri necnon aliam quam directionem uocant utilitatem insinuant, [ff. 7-9], incipit, “Astra Polum Iuncta Terra, Genesisque patres dat, 50/ … Frangis Tu Princeps, Machabaee malosque secundo, 15”;

This is a summary in verse of the biblical books and chapters, with one line for each book, followed by the number of chapters in red Arabic numerals; each verse begins with a letter of the alphabet, so that Genesis begins with “a”, Exodus with “b”, and so forth.

f. 9, incipit, Sequitur Tabula libororum Noui Testamenti, incipit, “Matheus … Apocalipsis”;

List of the books of the New Testament.

ff. 9-10v, Post Legem Veterem Noua lex desus incipit inse, incipit, “Glorificat Titulis Hominem Scribendo Matheus, 28 … Nos Voluit Bene Sit Apocalipsis fore cautos, 22.”

Conclusion of the “Versus epilogi”, for the New Testament Books.

ff. 4-6v, and 11-111v, Bresith quem nos Genesim dicimus, incipit, “1, In prin[cipio] cre[avit], Astipotens celum terram … Quod cernens, Ioseph conditi corpus iussit ... hinc obyt, 50, … Epistola iude, incipit, “1. Iudas Iesu, Ardua dat monita .. et Sathan in Moyse”//

This text, here titled the Mnemosinon bibliorum memoriale, is more commonly found with the titles, Roseum memoriale divinorum eloquiorum, or Rosarium biblie (and with other variations on these titles). Mnemosyne was the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. It was written by Petrus de Rosenheim (1380-1433) c.1423-6 for Cardinal Guilo Branda (d. 1443), and was one of the most successful mnemonic summaries of the Bible in the later Middle Ages. It consists of 1194 elegiac couplets which proceed through the Bible from Genesis through the Apocalypse, omitting only the Psalms, summarizing each chapter in two lines of verse. The “Versus epilogi”, composed in hexameters, is a summary of the biblical books and the number of chapters, with one line of verse for each book of the Bible. Both of these texts are composed as abecedarian poems, in which the initial letters of the verses begin with “a”, followed by “b”, and so forth, through the alphabet.

In this manuscript, the verses for each chapter are numbered in red Arabic numerals in the outer margins, and begin with the opening words of the biblical text (often abbreviated) also copied in red. It is bound out of order at the beginning, and now ends imperfectly with the first chapter of Jude’s Epistle.

Thoma lists thirty manuscripts, mostly in German public institutions; Stegmüller lists thirty-three (Thoma, 1962; Stegmüller, Repertorium, no. 6836); it has been available on the market infrequently – the Schoenberg Database records a copy sold in 2003 (this copy also sold in 1988); but before that the most recent listed sold in 1976. The text has not yet been edited in a modern edition (an edition is planned by Sabine Tiedje). It was printed three times in the fifteenth century: Southern Germany, c. 1480-90 (n. pr.; GW M32724; Goff R336), Bologna, 1489 (GW M32722; Goff R337), and Nuremberg, 1493 (GW M32726; Goff R-338), and numerous times in the sixteenth century: 1505, 1510, 1524, 1532, 1544, and 1570.

Our text was copied from the Vienna 1524 edition, published by Johannes Singriener, who printed numerous texts associated with the University of Vienna (VD 16, P 1901). This edition of the text was prepared by Conradus Boius Monoreus, who also identifies himself as Conradus Bavarus Norenbergensis (in the opening letters and syllables of the verse epigram, lacking in this manuscript, but found in the printed edition), and was dedicated to Johann Revell, the archbishop of Vienna from 1523-1530. Conrad presents his work as an updating to the work by Peter of Rosenheim, to whom he gives credit in the preface. The changes are small, and in the printed edition include the new title, a verse preface or epigram, the preface addressed to the Johann Revell, placed before the text of the “Versus epilogi”, and additional verses to Revell, a prologue to Sigismund, Abbot of Melk, and a new set of sixty explanatory Canons by Conrad; also included is a short two-page treatise on the liberal arts by Jakob Schwartz (Iacobus Nigri Campidonicus). The inclusion of the opening words of each chapter of the Bible, found in this edition and in the manuscript described here, also seem to be new to this edition.

The text in this manuscript follows the edition closely, but omits the verse epigram found at the beginning of the printed edition; since the manuscript now ends imperfectly it is impossible to determine if it once included all of the texts found at the end of the printed edition.

An interesting feature of this manuscript is the list of the books of the Old Testament on f. 3rv, in which the deuterocanonical books are listed together in the following order after the Minor Prophets: Baruch, 2 Ezra [i.e. 3 Ezra, Stegmüller 94,1], Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. The order of the biblical books in the text of the Rosarium biblie, in contrast, agrees with the order that was common in the Middle Ages since the thirteenth century (and is still the order of the modern Vulgate, with the exception that Acts follows the Pauline Epistles rather than the Gospels). The place of the deuterocanonical books within the canon was a controversial one in the sixteenth century, and they ultimately were omitted from some Protestant Bibles, or grouped together at the end of the text as the Apocrypha (as in the King James Bible).

Petrus de Rosenheim (1380-1432) was born in Bavaria, and was educated at Rosenheim and at the monastery at Tegernsee, ultimately studying theology at the University of Vienna in 1398. In 1403 he entered the Benedictine monastery at Subiaco. He was an important figure in the monastic reform movement of his day; attending the Council at Constance in 1416, and then reforming Melk, St. Peter at Salzburg, and Tegernsee. Later in life he was the representative of the southern Benedictine monasteries at the Council of Basle in 1431. He died in 1432. The Roseum memoriale was his most important work and likely reflects his experience as a teacher; he was the cursor biblicus at Melk from 1423-6. He was interested in humanism and was instrumental in disseminating Italian humanist ideals in Germany and Austria.

This manuscript is copied in an elegant humanistic cursive, suggesting that it was written for or by a humanist scholar. Examples of manuscripts copied by German and Austrian humanists in scripts modeled on Italian humanistic scripts include Basel, Universitäts-Bibl. E.III.15, copied by Johannes Reuchlin in 1488 (Bruckner, 1977, nr. 473, Abb. 599), and Basel Universitäts- Bibl. F. VIII.21, copied by Conradus Leontorius in 1507 (Bruckner, 1977, nr. 590, abb. 625)

Humanist studies were introduced to the University of Vienna, founded in 1365, when the College of Poetics and Mathematics was founded and Konrad Celtis (1459-1508) was appointed the first Chair in 1497. Konrad Celtis was a leading German humanist, and became the center of a circle including numerous humanist scholars in Vienna and at the Court of Maximillan I. Many of the well-known scholars in Vienna, such as Georg Tanstetter, Johannes Stabius, Thomas Resch, Andreas Stiborius, and others, are known for their interest in history and science. Nonetheless, an interest in the text of the Bible was a focused interest for many humanist scholars in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, including, for example, Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457) in Italy, Desiderius Erasmus (c.1469-1536) in the Netherlands, and Johannes Reuchelin (1455-1522) in Germany.


Bentley, Jerry H. Humanists and Holy Writ: New Testament Scholarship in the Renaissance, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1983.

Bruckner, Albert, Max Burckhardt, Pascal Ladner, Martin Steinmann, and Beat M. Scarpatetti. Katalog Der Datierten Handschriften in Der Schweiz in Lateinischer Schrift Vom Anfang Des Mittelalters Bis 1550, Dietikon-Zurich, U. Graf, 1977.

Dolch, Walther. Geschichte und Einrichtung Der Dr. Ed. Langerschen Bibliothek in Braunau I.b: Mit Einem Beispiel Ihres Druckerkataloges: Die Klosterdruckerei Bruck B. Znaim, Braunau i.B, Im Selbstverlage, 1912.

Graf-Stuhlhofer, Franz. Humanismus Zwischen Hof Und Universität: Georg Tannstetter (collimitius) und sein Wissenschaftliches Umfeld im Wien des frühen 16. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 1996.

Herrmann, Hugo. “Eduard Langer”, Bohemia 7 (1966), pp. 399-406.

Mühlberger, Kurt. “Zwischen Reform und Tradition. Die Universität Wien in der Zeit des Renaissance-Humanismus und der Reformation”, Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte 15 (1995), pp. 13–42.

Stegmüller, Fridericus. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, Madrid, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1950-61, and Supplement, with the assistance of N. Reinhardt, Madrid, 1976-80.

Toma, Franz. “Petrus von Rosenheim. Eine Zusammenfassung der bisherigen Ergebnisse”, Das bayerische Inn-Oberland 32 (1962), pp. 97-164.

Tiedje, Sabine. “Petrus of Rosenheim: Roseum memoriale divinorum eloquiorum”, in Retelling the Bible: Literary, Historical, and Social Contexts, eds. Lucie Dolezalová and Tamás Visi, Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, 2011.

Verzeichnis der im deutschen Sprachbereich erschienenen Drucke des XVI. Jahrhunderts: VD 16, herausgegeben von der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in München in Verbindung mit der Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Stuttgart, Anton Hiersemann, 1983-2000.

Online resources

Langer Collection MS 433, see Die Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften(BBAW), Deutsche Texte des Mittelalters, Braunau (Bohemia); http://dtm.bbaw.de/HSA/Braunau_700289310000.html

Digital edition of Petrus de Rosenheim, Roseum memoriale divinorum eloquiorum, Leipzig, 1505 [VD 16, P 1900]:

Digital edition of Menemosinon, Vienna 1524 [VD 16, P 1901]:

VD 16 (Electronic edition)
http://www.bsb-muenchen.de/1681.0.html ;

VD 16, P 1901:

Helmut Rosenfeld “Petrus von Rosenheim”, in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon:

“An Historical Tour of the University of Vienna: Renaissance Humanism”, by Kurt Mühlberger and Thomas Maisel, transl. by Bryan Jenner: