TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

ST. JEROME, Epistulae; SENECA, De Clementia; FRANCISCUS DE MAYRONIS, Sermo de corpore Christi; GIOVANNI DA CALVOLI, Meditationes; PSEUDO-EUSEBIUS, Epistula de morte S. Hireronymi; PSEUDO-SENECA, De quatuor virtutibus; PSEUDO-AUGUSTINUS, Epistula ad Cyrillum; PSEUDO-CYRILLUS, Epistula ad Augustinum, etc.

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
[Italy, probably Tuscany, c. 1400-50]

TM 33

[6]+ 189 folios out of 190 (lacking the first folio, with beginning of text), otherwise complete, foliated in upper margin in red ink, mostly in quires of 10 (i6, ii9, iii-xx10), ff. [3], [6v] and 190 blank), ruled in hard point, catchwords, written in brown ink in an elegant humanistic script on 31 long lines copied by a single scribe (justification: 155 x 85 mm), rubrics and paragraph marks in red, catchwords in lower margin, headings in red, numerous marginal annotations or corrections, tie-marks in the margins, maniculae pointing to specific passages in text, alternating red and blue 2-line initials, 17 larger initials (3 to 6-line high) marking the beginning of various texts, some calligraphed with penwork in pale red and blue extending in the margin. Modern calf half-binding sewn on four thongs, parchment-like paper over cardboard boards, pastedowns and flyleaves in parchment. Dimensions: 207 x 138 mm.

Beautifully written and attractively decorated monastic compilation, probably transcribed in a Franciscan milieu, including works by influential fourteenth-century Franciscans such as Giovanni da Calvoli and Franciscus de Mayronis, although the body of the work comprises the Letters of Saint Jerome and hagiographic texts on Jerome preface the letters. Unusual for its compilation of texts, otherwise known but rarely brought together in this fashion.


1. Manuscript probably copied in a Franciscan environment (see below), because of the particular combination of texts, and most likely in central Italy, on the basis of the script and the delicate penwork decoration.

2. Unidentified erased stamp on first folio of first quire containing table of contents.


ff. [i verso- ii v], Giovanni da Calvoli, Meditationes vitae Christi [chapter 72], rubric, Quando dominus noster Jhesus Christus mortem suam matri predixit; Incipit: "Hic potest interponi meditatio valde pulcra…" ; Explicit : "…et ipse in dicta domo facerent Pascha";

ff. [iv-vi], Table of contents;

ff. [1]-32, Eusebius of Cremona: Epistula de morte Sancti Hieronimi (lacking first folio; ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 239-281);

ff. 32v-38, Pseudo–Augustinus, Epistula ad Cyrillum de laudibus beati Hieronymi; Incipit: Gloriosissimi christiane fidei athlete sancte matris et desie lapidis…; Explicit: aliqualiter defraudatur desiderio (ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 281);

ff. 38v-66, Pseudo–Cyrillus, Epistula ad Augustinum de miraculis beati Hieronymi; Incipit: Venerabili viro episcoporum eximio Augustino Yponensi presuli …; Explicit : ... "carissime in tuis orationibus memor esto" (ed. Migne, PL 22, 289-326);

ff. 66v-73, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Nepotianum; Incipit, "Petis a me Nepotiane carissime litteris transmarinis…"; Explicit : "... quod talis est confitebitur" (ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 527)

ff. 73v-90v, ff. 73v-90v, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Eustochium; Incipit: "Jeronimus beatus ad Eustochium filiam sancte Paule de virginitate servanda …"; Explicit: "... non cooperient eam" (ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 394);

ff. 91- 95, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Heliodorum monachum; Incipit: "Quanto amore et studio contenderim ut pariter"; Explicit : "...tunc labor durus est" (ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 348; CSEL, 54, pp. 44-62);

ff. 95-98v, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Paulinum presbyterum; Incipit: "Ad Paulinum de instructione clericorum vel monachorum. Bonus homo de bono thesauro cordis"; Explicit: "...militantem per te salutari volo" (epistula 58; ed. Migne, PL, 22, col. 52; CSEL, 54, pp. 527-41);

ff. 99-102v, Pseudo.St. Jerome, Epistula ad Occeanum ; Incipit: "... Ad Occeanum de vita clericorum. Estoronius Eusebius Jeronimus Occeano…"; Explicit: "…nec latro violentus eripere" (epistula 42);

ff. 102v-108, Excerpts from St. Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum Admonitio; Incipit: "... Excerpta de epistulis contra Jovinianum. Recurram breviter grecas et latinas…" ; Explicit : "...exemplis quod de servi.";

ff. 108v-112, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Furiam de viduitate servanda; Incipit: "... Obsecras litteris et suppliciter deprecans…"; Explicit : "... oculi cordis fatentur archana" (epistula 54; ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 527);

ff. 112-116v, St. Jerome, Epistula consolatoria ad Paulam de morte Blesillae; Incipit: "... Epistula Jeronimi consolitaria ad Paulam de dormitione Besille. Quis dabit capiti meo aquam…"; Explicit: " …sorore cum matre amen" (epistula 39; ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 473);

ff. 116v-126, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Demetriadem virginem; Incipit : Inter omnes materias quas ab adolescentia usque ad hanc etatem…; Explicit: " …quarum imitatio forma virtutis est" (epistula 130, ed. Migne, PL 22, col. 1124);

ff. 126-131, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Laetam de institutione filiam; Incipit: "Jeronimus ad Athletam (sic) de instructione filie. Apostolus Paulus scribens ad corintheos…" ; Explicit: "…regnis celestibus offerendam" (epistula 107);

ff. 131-134, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Sabinianum diaconum cohortatoria de paenitentia; Incipit: "Parce queso anime tue…" ; Explicit : "…istius illecebris fugiendis"(epistula 147);

ff. 134-140v, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Rusticum monachum; Incipit : "Nichil est christiano felicius…" ; Explicit "… sed magna sunt premia" (epistula 125);

f. 141, St. Jerome, Epistula ad Antonium monachum Haemonae; Incipit: "Epistula ad Asconium (sic). Dominus noster humilitatis magister…" ; Explicit : "…valde in Domino" (epistula 12, ed. in Migne, PL 22, col. 345);

ff. 141v-148, St. Jerome, Alexandri Regis Magni Macedonum et Dindimi Bragmanorum Regis per litteras collatio; Incipit: "Epistulae Allexandri regis ad Dindimium regem bragmanorum. Sepius ad aures nostras fando…" ; Explicit: "… que per neglienciam fit"(ed. Migne, PL 101, col. 1366 et sq.) ;

ff. 148-156, Pseudo-Seneca, De copia verborum [De quatuor virtutibus] (See Fohlen, 1980);

ff. 156v-167v, Seneca, De clementia, Proemium, III 1 – III 24 (See Sénèque, De la clémence, texte établi et traduit par F. Préhac, Paris, 1967, pp. 2-6, 15-47) ;

ff. 167v-170, Seneca, De clementia, I 1 – II 5 (See Sénèque, pp. 7-15) ;

ff. 170-173, Pseudo-Seneca, De remedies fortuitorum (See Palmer, pp. 28-64).

ff. 173v-187v, Franciscus de Mayronis, Sermo de corpore Christi (ed. Sermo de laudibus sanctorum et dominicales per totum annum cum aliquibus tractatibus, Venice, Per Pelegrinum de Pasqualibus, 1493; Mohan, p. 236); and Schneyer, p. 130, no. 927) ;

ff. 188-189v, Notabilia bona et utilia ; Incipit : "Nota quod in quatuor casibus redemit dimissa…" ; Explicit : "… in celestibus deberet desiderare". This short text gives point by point useful knowledge to all Christians: about attending sermons, demons, the devil, hunting etc.

This is an unusual compilation of texts, carefully thought out and interrelated, the combination of which points to a Franciscan milieu where there was considerable interest in Saint Jerome. For the purposes of discussion, the many texts in the manuscript can be divided into five sections. 1) An opening fragment from Giovanni da Calvoli's (John of Caulibus) Meditations on the Life of Christ (chapter 72, on the death of Christ) points at the outset to a Franciscan context. The author was active in the fourteenth century and possibly still alive c. 1376. The work is "the first comprehensive biography of Christ containing regular and extensive interpolations of extra-Gospel narration ... and the most widely read Franciscan work after the Fioretti" (ed. Corpus Chrsitianorum, p. ix). 2) A small group of texts by early Christian writers on the hagiography of Saint Jerome. 3) A large group of letters by Saint Jerome, some spurious, including the most famous letter he wrote to Eustochium, daughter of one of Jerome's female followers, who decided to become a nun. 4) A small group of works attributed to Seneca or Pseudo-Seneca, who had a direct influence on early Christian thought. 5) Sermons of Franciscus de Mayronis (1288-c. 1328, Piacenza), an influential Franciscan doctor, minister, preacher, counsellor, and writer. Thse are followed by a short group of precepts for all Christians.

Although none of the texts is rare, the compilation is unusual, carefully constructed, handsomely written and decorated, and appears to be unprecedented.


Bougerol, G. "Jean de Caulibus",in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, VIII, Paris, 1974, pp. 324-326.

Fohlen, J., "Un apocryphe de Sénèque mal connu: le De verborum copia,"in Medieval Studies, 42 (1980), pp. 139-211.

John of Caulibus. Meditaciones vite Christi (Corpus christianorum. Continuatio medievalis, 153), Brepols, 1982.

Mohan, G. E., "Initia Operum Franciscalium (XIII-XV c.)," in Franciscan Studies, 37 (1977), p. 236.

Palmer, G.G., Seneca's De Remediis fortuitorum and the Elizabethans, Chicago, 1953.

Quaesten, J., ed. Letters of Saint Jerome, Paulist Press, 1963.

Rossmann, H. "Meyronnes, François de," in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, vol. X, Paris, 1980, pp. 1155-1161.

Roth, B., Franz von Mayronis O.F.M. Sein Leben, seine Werke, seine Lehre vom Formulunterschied in Gott, Werl in Westfalen, Franziskanische Forschungen, 3, 1936.

Schneyer, J. B. Repertorium der lateinischen sermones des Mittelalters, III, Munster, 1971.

Seneca, De la clémence, texte établi et traduit par F. Préhac, Paris, 1967.

Online resources

Jerome, Seneca, etc., Latin and Greek Authors on the Web, including various digital libraries

Franciscan authors, their manuscripts, editions, and literature (on Franciscus de Mayronis)