TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

[Miscellany of Theological Writings], including NICOLAUS HERITIUS, Ars praedicandi; JOHANNES MERKELIN, Expositio seu Postilla in Epistulas dominicales; ANONYMOUS, Sermons, etc.

In Latin and German, manuscript on paper
[Southern Germany (Bavaria), Würzburg, c. 1460-1480]

TM 118

368 ff., preceded by a single flyleaf and followed by [10] blank pages, on paper [watermarks close to Briquet:”Balance,” no. 2406, Würzburg, 1467-1468; Bavaria 1466-1468; “Tete de Boeuf au serpent s’enroulant autour d’une croix,” no. 15381, Bavaria, 1482-1485; Würzburg, 1482], in quires of 12 leaves (collation i11 [10+1],ii11[12-1, missing fol. cancelled], iii-v12, vi9 [12-3], vii10, viii-xviii12, xix11[12-1, folio cut out between ff. 219-220], xx-xxviii12, xxix11 [12-1, folio cut out between ff. 327-328], xxx-xxxiii10), written in a Gothic cursive script by several hands in brown and black ink, text copied in two columns(justification 220/255 x 140/145 mm.), some catchwords, ruled in ink, Initials and capitals stroked in red, numerous red Lombard initials, passages in the text underlined in red, some initials with strapwork-like extensions and calligraphic penwork, some initials in red (up to 6-line high, some with ornamental penwork), but mostly space left blank for initials, numerous manicula in the margins pointing to text, marginal annotations or corrections. CONTEMPORARY BINDING of brown calf over wooden boards, covers tooled in blind with a three-line fillet border, panels decorated with a crocketed ogive tool (Rautenranke) and floral tools inscribed in oval shapes, clasps and spine lacking, the latter covered with paper (binding typical of Bavarian workshops)(Covers of binding rubbed with some exposure to the boards; insignificant worming and damp staining in some places, not affecting text; sporadic light thumbing). Dimensions 310 x 210 mm.

This handsome paper manuscript constitutes an unusual miscellany for preachers, consisting of mostly unpublished theological texts, including postillae by a Polish Augustinian Johannes Merkelin, and the largest section including a group of anonymous and evidently unrecorded sermons for the feasts of the liturgical year. In a blind-stamped contemporary binding and with an inscribed provenance in the Benedictine monastery of Neustadt-am-Main in the diocese of Würzburg, the copy comes from the celebrated library of the Princes of Löwenstein (dispersed at auction in 1930) and is further noteworthy for the list of German synonyms for the books of the Bible at the end of the homilies.


1.Script, watermarks and original binding certainly all confirm Bavarian origin for this manuscript. Perhaps the manuscript was copied and compiled in a Franciscan milieu since several of the texts are Franciscan before it entered the Benedictine cloister of Neustadt am Main.

2.Sixteenth-century inscription on the opening flyleaf referring to the Benedictine Cloister of Neustadt-am-Main in the diocese of Würzburg, “Mon[aste]rij Neustadt ad Moenum,” and on f. 1 the dated ownership of the abbot Conrad, “Anno d[omi]nj 1552 decima die mensis februarij providens vir […] civis Carolstat [Karlstadt?] … presemi libro me Conradus […]. Condradus abba[s] Neuenstadt.” This cloister was taken over by the Princes of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg in 1803. [On the abbey of Neustadt founded in 741 and suppressed in 1803, see Cottineau, II, col. 2059].

3.Bookplate of Ernst Fischer, 1905, pasted on front pastedown (in roundel, are quoted ancestors, Hans Vischer, 1399; Valten Fischer, 1576).

4.Auction catalogue clipping, pasted on upper pastedown, Frankfurt, Antiquariat Joseph Baer, his sale, 6 October 1930, of a “süddeutscher furstlicher Besitz” (cat. no. 23, clipping from the sale catalogue on the inside cover). See Meyer, 1988, p. 30.


ff. 1-10, Nicolaus Heritius, Ars praedicandi, incipit, “Quatuor facies uni. Ezechielis primo. Ad hanc artem praedicandi quam intendo secundum quod materia patitur sub compendio tradere…” ; explicit, “Explicit ars sermonu[m] p[rae]dicacionu[m] et coll[e]ccionu]m] edita p[er] fr[atre]m Nicolaum Herit[iu]m ordinis fratrum minorum de provincialis sancti angeli. Amen”;

Unpublished “Art of preaching,” composed by the fifteenth-century Franciscan Nicolaus Heritius of which very little is known and published. For another manuscript of this text, see, Oxford, Bodleian Library, Lyell MS 79, ff. 114-128.

f. 11, blank;

f. 12, lefthand column, lacking beginning of text, likely the dedication to bishop Henry of Warmia by Johannes Merkelin of his Expositio seu Postilla in Epistulas dominicales; explicit, “[…] et vita valeatus feliciter per venire. Amen”. Treatise actually begins on ff. 12-65.

ff. 12-65, Iohannes Merkelin, Expositio seu Postilla in Epistulas dominicales, incipit, "[F]ratres scientes quia hora est iam…Gloriosus doctor beatissimus…". ; explicit, “[…] sextus timor 3. filialis (?)” [missing ending?];

Although the present work lacks its dedication, we know the treatise was dedicated to Henry, bishop of Warmia. Warmia is a region between Pomerania and Masuria, in actual northeastern Poland. Its author is the fifteenth-century German Augustinian Hermit Johannes or Jan Merkelin (c. 1330-after 1400) from the Augustinian convent of Bredeberg. On the dedication of this work to the bishop of Warmia, see A. Zumkeller (1966), p. 308, n° 544, “In Christo Reverendissimo D. D. Haynrico Divina et Apostolicae sedis Providentia Warmiensis Ecclesiae Episcopo Fr. Joannes Merkelin servorum minimus Ord. Heremit. S. Augustini Conventus Bredebergensis Caminiensis Dioecesis "; see also Dict. de spiritualité, X, 1051; Dict. d’hist. et de géo. ecc., XXVII, 289-290. This treatise is unpublished. The only published work by the Augustinian theologican is his “Liber de instructione simplicium sacerdotum,” Warsaw (1982). Another copy of the present Postilla is kept in Erfurt, Wissenschaftl. Allgemeinbib. Amplon, 4o 140 (2).
f. 65v, blank;

ff. 66-67, Notes on spiritual doubts during Mass, beginning, “Notandum quaedam dubia que occurunt ex negligencya in solempnitate misse. Primum dubium…”;

f. 67v, blank;

ff. 68-74v, Unidentified text and author, heading, Doctor Jo. Groÿczen; incipit, “Crebius siquidem exhortacionibus inpulsatus a nonnullis fratribus …”; explicit, “[…] septem horas cottidie deo persolvit vitam eternam habebit […] qui vivit et regnat per omnia secula seculorum. Amen”;

ff. 75-77v, blank;

ff. 78-361, Sermons (anonymous ?) for the liturgical year, numbered 1 to 268 of which 143 and 252 are lacking, heading, In die pasce; incipit, “Ihesu queritur nam…”; the cycle of sermons ends with De festo annunciatione Marie; incipit, “Intranvit rex in ortu arboribus…”[none of these sermons are recorded in Schneyer, nor in the In principio database];

ff. 362-367, Anonymous Franciscan author ( ?), De passione Domini, incipit, “O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus… Considerando passionem domini nostri…"; ending with a series of brief synonyms for the books of the Bible in German, copied in red ink, beginning, “Omelia leyhen rede / Genesis der scheppfunge (?) / Exodus des usergangis/ Leviticus des prister / Judicum der richter/ Regum der Koninge/ parabole … der sprache/ Sapientie der Wysheyt/ Canticorum der libe (Genesis creation, Exodus the going out of, Leviticus priest, Judges judge, Kings kings, Parables speech, Sapientia wisdom, Canticorum love [Text also found in another manuscript, Vienna, Schottenstift, 246 (54) (53.f.12), ff. 1-12v. This is perhaps the same text attributed to an anonymous Franciscan author by Mohan (1977), p. 260];

ff. 367v-368, Notes on the Old and New Testaments, and their division into legal, historical, spiritual and prophetical books, incipit, "Notandum quod vetus testamentum et novum dividuntur in quatuor sed libris legales, historiales, spirituales et prophetales…"


Meyer. “Handschriften in der Fürstl. Löwensteinschen Bibliotheken,” in Kostbare Bücher aus drei alten fränkischen Bibliotheken, Würzburg, 1988, p. 30.

Mohan, G.E. “Initia operum Franciscalium (XIII-XVe s.),” Franciscan Studies 37 (1977), p. 260.

Thurn, Hans. Die Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Würzburg, 2/2, Handschriften aus benediktinischen Provenienzen, Wiesbaden, 1986.

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

Online resources

On Nicolaus Heritius

On Johannes Merkelin