TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures


In Latin, manuscript on parchment
Southern France or Northern Italy, c. 1275-1325

TM 795

7 folios on parchment (prepared in the manner of southern Europe, but with some holes and imperfections), modern foliation in pencil, top outer recto, 1-7 (collation, i2 ii6 [-6, cancelled with no loss of text]), parchment ruled faintly in lead with full-length vertical bounding lines, prickings visible in upper and lower margins (justification, 198 x 132 mm.), text written by two scribes in compressed and heavily abbreviated Gothic scripts in two columns per page: scribe one, ff. 2-6, in a neat Gothic bookhand with fifty lines per column, scribe two, ff. 6v-7v, in a rapid Gothic cursive with fifty-five to sixty lines per column, four two- to three-line spaces left for initials, most of which contain guide letters, two-line space left vacant at the top of the first column of f. 2, most likely for a rubric, guide marks in the form of double diagonal slashes in the first scribe’s stint for paraphs, corrections, brackets, and inserted paraphs throughout may be in the second scribe’s hand, small ink stains obscure some text on ff. 2 and 5, some small holes or tears in the parchment (ff. 3, 4, 6) with some repairs (f. 6), slight waterstaining to opening folios and some slight losses and brittleness at the edges of some of the leaves. Two quires sewn together, but otherwise unbound, with no positive indications that they were ever bound within a larger manuscript, housed in modern cardboard folder.  Dimensions, 259-268 x 198-200 mm.

These two quires (complete in themselves) contain five quaestiones. It is probable that they are unpublished – and indeed, previously unknown – works by one of the foremost scholastic philosophers and theologians of thirteenth-century Paris, the Augustinian friar Giles of Rome. Copied during his lifetime or very shortly after his death, these unique texts merit further study alongside Giles’s vast body of philosophical and theological writing. The manuscript’s corrections and marginal annotations attest to its early use and continued scrutiny by scholars.


1. Evidence of the script and type of parchment suggests this was copied in Southern France or Italy, c. 1275-1325. The manuscript consists of two quires, sewn together, but otherwise unbound, and it seems likely that they always circulated independently. The deficiencies and repairs of the parchment, the characteristic scripts, and the textual contents all suggest that this was a university production, probably copied for a student of theology. Texts in the Middle Ages probably often circulated unbound; it is however rare that they survive to today in this fashion.

The diminutive size of scribe one’s script makes it more difficult to localize, it employs mostly northern abbreviations like the “9”-shaped abbreviation for “con-”, the use of superscript “i” in the abbreviation for “qui”, and the crossed tironian “7” for “et.” Still, the somewhat rounded aspect of this hand, the appearance on the page, and the parchment’s preparation point to an origin in southern Europe, probably southern France or northern Italy.

Though the scripts on ff. 6v-7v are close enough to belong to the same scribe, the texts copied on ff. 6v-7 and f. 7v appear to have been copied at separate times, with the second in the slightly darker brown ink in which many of the manuscript’s corrections have been made. It seems likely that the second scribe, having made some corrections to the text copied by the first scribe and filled out most of the remainder of the quire with the quaestio he copied on ff. 6v-7, may have returned to the manuscript to add the brief quaestio on f. 7v and to make further corrections.

2. Additional marginal annotations added in several later hands are evidence of the use of this manuscript by readers: one neat early sixteenth-century humanistic italic hand has gone through the text in light brown ink and black ink making insertions and adding marginal notes and references expanding on those in the text to works of Aristotle and his commentators, two similar but less calligraphic and more rapid hands also make insertions, add marginal notes, and expand Aristotelian references, one in a faded black ink and one in a pale brown ink.

3. The marginal pen trials and jottings in eighteenth-century hands are evidence of its continued use, and include a number of Italian words and phrases – including “mille sette cento 16 oi 30 (?)” (f. 3v), “Paulina mia” and “il mondo” (f. 5v) – suggesting that the manuscript was in Italian hands during the eighteenth century. The surname “Fortiguerra” is visible on f. 3v.

4. Private European Collection.


f. 1r-v, blank but for later pen trials

ff. 2-7v, [written in a hand other than those of the scribes, “Questiones domini Egidii”], incipit, “[Q]uestio est utrum substantia creata possit esse inmediatum principium alicuius operacionis …”; f. 2v, incipit, “[Q]vestio est utrum caritas siue aliquis habitus uel qualitas uel [expunged: “quia aut augetur”] aliqua forma accidentalis possit augeri secundum essentiam …”; f. 4v, incipit, “[Q]vestio est utrum idem sit augeri caritatem secundum substantiam et secundum uirtutem et uidetur [corrected from “uideatur”] quod non …”; f. 6v, incipit, “[Q]vestio est utrum scientia dei possit dici practica …”; f. 7v, incipit, “Queritur utrum scientia quae dicitur theologia … quae est maior quam illa quae est per fidem continetur.”

These five quaestiones are attributed here to one Egidius (f. 2), almost certainly the great late Scholastic philosopher and theologian Aegidius Romanus, known also as Giles of Rome. Three of these quaestiones – the first, second, and fourth – have been attested in one other manuscript, Nürnberg, Stadtbibliothek, Cent. I, 67, a fourteenth-century book of quaestiones and quodlibeta wherein these three questions are grouped together between quaestiones that scholars attribute to Giles of Rome; some, but not all, of these surrounding texts have also been attributed to Giles in the manuscript’s rubrics (see Schneider, 1967, pp. 78-81). This placement suggests that the association of these works with Giles, if not their attribution, extends beyond this manuscript. The other two quaestiones – the third and fifth – have not been attested elsewhere. There is no modern edition of any of these quaestiones, and indeed, this cataloguer was unable to find any evidence that they have ever appeared in print. These texts warrant scholarly examination in their own right and alongside the rest of Giles’s copious body of theological and philosophical writings.

Giles of Rome (c. 1243-1316) was one of the foremost philosophers and theologians of thirteenth-century Paris, an eminent figure in the Augustinian order, and a significant participant in some of the political and religious controversies of his day. Born in Rome, Giles entered the Order of the Hermits of St. Augustine around 1258, shortly after the foundation of this mendicant order. The order sent him for his education to Paris, where he eventually studied theology as a student of Thomas Aquinas from 1269 to 1272. His career at the university was suspended in 1277, when he was forced to leave on account of his Aristotelian leanings. He may have taken part in the education of the French heir apparent, the future Philip IV, to whom he dedicated in 1279 his most widely known, translated, and circulated work, De regimine principum, a so-called “mirror for princes” offering instruction in the proper ethical, economic, and political conduct of a king. By 1281 he had returned to Italy, where he remained until 1285, primarily involved in issues pertaining to order. Following his reinstatement at the University of Paris in 1285, Giles served there as the first Augustinian master of theology. In 1287 the general chapter of Augustinians officially embraced his teachings, affirming him as the foremost theological authority within the order and head of the Augustinian School. He was elected prior general of the Augustinian order in 1292 and in 1295 Pope Boniface VIII offered him the archbishopric of Bourges, an appointment he held until his death in 1316 at Avignon. In this capacity Giles was privy to the diplomatic tensions between Boniface VIII – dedicatee of Giles’s 1302 tract in defense of papal authority, De ecclesiastica potestate –and Philip IV that resulted in the establishment of the Avignon papacy in 1309.

Beyond his political treatises, Giles was a prolific writer of philosophical and theological works, producing copious commentaries on Aristotle’s works, Peter Lombard’s Sentences, and Scripture, as well as the influential philosophical treatise De erroribus philosophorum, the metaphysical Questiones de esse et essentia and Theoremata de esse et essentia, theological treatises on original sin and the resurrection of the dead, six Quodlibeta, and theological Questiones de cognitione angelorum and Theoremata de corpora Christi (see Del Punta, Donati, and Luna, 1993, pp. 330-34 for a complete list). Giles’s output reveals a thorough grounding in the teachings of his former master, Aquinas, and in the works of Aristotle. Giles was a fully independent thinker, however, and was at times critical of Aquinas’s positions. His later work in particular reflects his debt to elements of Augustine’s thought.

Giles is known to have written a number of other works in the format of the quaestio, or “question”, which was a prominent scholastic genre and pedagogical method within medieval universities that targets the dissonance or ambiguity within the biblical, patristic, and philosophical texts that made up the lectio, the program of reading within the university. A master would pose a question, explore its pros and cons, and then present a conclusion along with an analysis of the arguments presented earlier. These quaestiones explore matters ranging from natural philosophy – whether substance is the immediate principle of operation – to the nature of charity, theology, and knowledge of God. They draw heavily upon Aristotle’s works, including the Metaphysics, Physics, Ethics, and De Anima. This manuscript was certainly intended for an erudite audience, most likely for university students. The text was used – and possibly even added to – by multiple readers, whose marginal notations offer corrections, refer to related commentary (notably that of Averroes), and track its contents, argumentation, and sources.


Aegidii Romani Opera Omnia, ed. Francesco Del Punta, Gianfranco Fioravanti, and Concetta Luna, 11 vols., 1985-.

Bazàn, Bernardo C. “Les questions disputées, principalement dans les facultés de théologie”, Les questions disputées et les questions quodlibétiques dans les facultés de théologie, de droit et de médecine, Turnhout, 1985, pp. 15-149.

Cross, Richard. The Medieval Christian Philosophers: An Introduction, London, 2014.

Del Punta, Francesco, Silvio Donati, and Concetta Luna. “Egidio Romano”, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 42, Rome, 1993, 319-41.

Glorieux, Palémon. Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au xiiie siècle, Paris, 1933.

Leinsle, Ulrich G. Introduction to Scholastic Theology, trans. Michael J. Miller, Washington D.C., 2010.

Schneider, Karin. Die Handschriften der Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, Bd. II, T. 1, Wiesbaden, 1967.

Zumkeller, Adolar. “Die Augustinerschule des Mittelalters: Vertreter und Philosophisch-Theologische Lehre”, Analecta Augustiniana 27, 1964, pp. 167-262.

Zumkeller, Adolar. “Aegidius de Roma (Romanus)”, Manuskripte von Werken der Autoren des Augustiner-Eremitordens in mitteleuropäischen Bibliotheken, Würzburg, 1966, pp. 14-48.

Online resources

Dubray, Charles. “Egidio Colonna”, The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 4, New York, 1908

Lambertini, Roberto. “Giles of Rome”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2009

Bibliography for Giles of Rome (Arlima, 2011)