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les Enluminures

VINCENT OF BEAUVAIS, Liber de laudibus beate virginis (Book of Praises of the Virgin Mary); PETER COMESTOR, In laude beate virginis (In Praise of the Virgin); GERARD OF LIÈGE(?), Sermo de testamento Christi (Sermon on the Testament of Christ); CIRCLE OF HUGH OF SAINT-CHER(?), Filia Magistri (The Daughter of the Master, Summary of the Sentences of Peter the Lombard); GERARD OF LIÈGE(?), De doctrina cordis (On the Teaching of the Heart)

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northeastern France or Flanders (Arras or Lille?), c. 1260-1280

TM 905

i (paper, marbled on recto) + ii (modern parchment) + i (contemporary parchment) + 227 + i (modern parchment) + i (paper, marbled on the verso) on parchment (very thin, and usually high quality, a few quires with original holes and offcuts), modern foliation in pencil 1-144, 144 bis, 145-226, earlier foliation in ink top outer corner recto usually trimmed,  visible (partially), ff. 93 and 95, “9,” f. 101, perhaps “118,” and from ff. 140 on, easily read with a discrepancy of 17 folios (for example, f. 160, “177”; f. 225, “242”), nonetheless apparently complete (collation i-vi12 vii12 [-12, one leaf after f. 83, no apparent loss of text] viii-xix12), quire and leaf signatures bottom outer corner in many quires with a letter designating the leaf and a symbol the quire, quire eighteen signed at the end “xvii,” ruled in lead usually with the top, middle, and bottom three horizontal lines full across, and with extra sets of double rules in the upper and lower margins, single full-length vertical bounding lines inside, outside and between the columns, plus an extra set of double bounding lines in the outer margin, some prickings upper and lower margins (justification 83-82 x 58-55 mm.), written in an upright early gothic bookhand below the top line in two columns of 34 lines by at least three scribes whose hands seem to alternate through the book (changes of hand for example at ff. 26, 80, 96), red rubrics, majuscules highlighted in red, 1-line red and blue initials, 2-line pen initials alternately red and blue infilled with the opposite color, 4- to 6-line red or blue penwork initials (ff. 80 and 187v), two 4-line parted red and blue initials with red and blue penwork on f. 96, two painted initials, f. 1, 5-line white patterned pink initial extending the full-length of the page and f. 144, 5-line polished gold initial, and f. 3, one 9-line HISTORIATED INITIAL of a kneeling Cistercian monk with the Virgin and Child (described below), excellent condition apart from erasure top margin and slight wear to the initial on f. 1.  Bound in Paris by Gruel in 1855 (stamped bottom edge inside front cover) in brown morocco tooled in gold with single fillets intersecting on the diagonal framing eight diamond-shaped compartments each enclosing an inlaid red and gold acorn with green leaves, bordered with fine gold fleurons; rounded spine with five raised bands, each compartment with an acorn and gold fleurons, ribbon place marker, full green morocco and gilt doublures, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, a very fine binding in excellent condition. Dimensions 120 x 80 mm.

This is a contemporary copy of four influential texts; none have been edited in modern critical editions, and some have never appeared in print.  Astonishingly small for a manuscript of this type, carefully written, and decorated with a handsome illuminated initial, this was not an "ordinary" manuscript.  Its evidence will certainly be of interest to scholars studying the authors of these texts, but its central interest is broader.  Analyzing for whom, and why, this was copied, and why these texts were copied together, will shed light on the relationship between the urban school and the monastery – in particular, the fertile relationship between the Dominicans and the Cistercians in the middle decades of the thirteenth century. 


1Produced in Northeastern France or Flanders c. 1260-1280, as supported by the style of the illumination, script, and penwork initials; the script suggests earlier in this date range is most likely.  None of the texts included here are securely dated, but this is surely a copy of contemporary texts – the text by Vincent of Beauvais was written c. 1247-1260; the Filia magistri, likely in the late 1230s or early 1240s; the Doctrina cordis, perhaps c. 1255.   

The script, penwork, and illumination all tell us this was made by professional scribes and artists.  The audience of the texts included here was quite probably monastic, but it is difficult to explain its small size; perhaps this was a little showpiece copied as a gift for an abbot, or another important monastic official.  The iconography of the illuminated initial that depicts a Cistercian monk kneeling before the Virgin and Child suggests a possible Cistercian origin.

2. Readers’ annotations spanning several centuries, including short notes in one or two fifteenth-century hands, and extensive annotations in a cursive sixteenth-century hand (ff. 79-82v, 64-65, 158-9), and one later reader who was interested in attributions of these texts: ff. 3, “Vincentius Beluvaciensis ordinis predicatorum autor huius libri de laudibus beati virgins”; f. 144, “Autor huius est Gerardus ordinis predicatorum vixit anno 1303”;  f. 224v, a longer  note at the end of the De doctrina cordins, again ascribing the text to Geradus.

3. Lower margin, f. 1, “B.” 

4. Bibliothèque Marsan, 1976, no. 7.


ff. 1-79v, Incipit prologus in libro loquenti, incipit, “Quoniam de gestis beatissime uirginis marie …”; [f. 1, chapter list], incipit, “De laudibus uirginis matris, i …Oratio ad filium pariter et ad partum, cxl”; [f. 3, text] De laudibus uirginis matris.  Jeronimus de assumptione beate Marie, incipit, “Si deum ore prophetico …psallat tota substantia mea,” Explicit [later expunged];

Vincent of Beauvais, Liber de laudibus beatæ Virginis; this work, a collection of extracts from various authors on the life and praises of the Virgin Mary was popular; Voorbij and Albrecht, “A Vincent of Beauvais website” (Online Resources) lists 52 manuscripts, of which ten are from the thirteenth century, sixteen from the fourteenth, and twenty-two from the fifteenth century; FAMA (Online resources), and Kaeppeli (1970-199), vol. IV no. 4001, record 48 manuscripts; printed Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1481, GW M50551 (ISTC iv0027000); there is no modern critical edition.

Vincent of Beauvais (c.1180 or 1190-c.1264) (Vincentius Bellovacensis in Latin), was an important Dominican theologian, author of the very influential and widely disseminated Speculum majus, but little is known about his life.  He was probably born sometime between 1180-1190.  Although he was a Dominican, he served as lector in theology from c. 1247-c.1260 at the Cistercian monastery of Royaumont.  During these years he wrote a number of theological works, including, most likely, De laudibus virginis.  He died c. 1264. 

ff. 79v-80, Petrus comestor in laude beate uirginis, incipit, “Si fieri posset quod harene puluis et unde/ … Que tua sit pietas nec littera nec dabit etas”;

Peter Comestor (d. 1179) (?), In laude beate Virginis, ten lines of verse; often, but not always, attributed to Peter Comestor in the manuscripts as here; also attributed to Peter by Vincent of Beauvais in the Speculum Historiale (see Patrologia Latina, vol. 198, col.1045); Dreves, 1899, vol. 32, p. 206; Chevalier, 1897, no. 18874.

ff. 80-94, incipit, “Disposui testamentum electis meis.  Angelus testamenti tempore quem pater heredem uniuersorum constituit in cruce pendens.  Testamentum eterne hereditatis  … colla propria uirtute calcaui,” Explicit sermo de testamento christi; [ending bottom col. a, remainder, and ff. 94v-95v, blank];

Gerard of Liège(?), Sermo de testamento Christi (ff. 79v-94), also found in Prague, Nár. Knih. MS 1695 (IX.B.9), with the title there, Tractatus de octo beatitudinis (Treatise on the Eight Beatitudes).  We have discovered no other copies of this text, which appears to be an unprinted and unstudied work that can now be added to known works by Gerard of Liège.

Gerard of Liège is accepted by most scholars as the author of a treatise, Super septem verbum dicta a domino Jesu Christo pendente cruce (On the seven words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ While He was Hanging on the Cross) (edition, Mikkers, 1950-1951; Hendrix, 1980, attributes this text to Hugh of Saint-Cher; see the discussion below on the author of the De doctrina cordis).  The prologue of the text in our manuscript, De testamento christi, must be discussing Super septem verbum when it calls the last words of Christ His Testament.  It then states that its subject is instead Christ’s other, earlier Testament, the Beatitudes, which are each commented on in the body of the text.  Earlier bibliographers attributed a text called De testamento christi to Gerard of Liège, and there seems to be no doubt that this manuscript is a copy of that text (see Mikkers, 1950, p. 180; Fabricius, vol. 3, 1754, p. 42, mentioning Quetif, vol. 1, p. 249).  Modern scholars have apparently not recognized that this work is extant, and must post-date the Super septem verbum.

ff. 96-143v, incipit, “Quoniam uelut quatuor paradisi … quas per gratiam evaserunt. Explicit”; [ends near bottom a; remainder and b, blank];

Filia magistri, an anonymous summary of the Sentences of Peter Lombard; unedited and unprinted; Stegmüller, 1947, vol. I, pp. 175-176.  Modern scholars now attribute it to the circle of Hugh of Saint-Cher, dating it to the 1240s (after c. 1232-before c. 1245) (see Rosemann, 2007, pp. 33-37, and Harkins, 2015, pp. 30-32, discussing the problem of attributions and earlier scholarship by Martin, 1915, Landgraf, and Weisweiler).  It survives in about thirty manuscripts (Harkins, 2015, p. 33, partial list), with a very fluid transmission.  As we will discuss below, its inclusion in this manuscript suggests that the question of its author should be re-opened.

The text provided newcomers to theology with a simpler, more accessible introduction; it seems to have allowed members of religious orders training “on the ground” to gain rudimentary access to theology.  Many copies include interlinear and marginal comments – ours does not.

ff. 144-224v, Incipit liber de doctrina cordis, incipit, “Preparate corda uestra domino.  Verba sunt samuelis in libro regum.  Loquitur dominus predicatoribus …; [f. 144bis], Hic incipit liber, incipit, “Preparate corda vestra domino.  Nota quod vii instructiones circa cordis…”; [f. 187v], Secundus tractatus de custodia cordis et primo ad similitudinem uasis, incipit, “Post tractatum de preparatione cordis … que in eo et per eum habebuntur,” Explicit liber de doctrina cordis.  Benedictus deus qui incepit et perfecit.  Amen; [ff. 225-226v, blank but ruled].

De doctrina cordis circulated widely not only in Latin (207 manuscripts, Hendrix, 1995), but also in English, French, German, Dutch, and Spanish (Renevey and Whitehead, 2010).  There is no modern critical edition of the Latin text, although one was announced by Hendrix, who published a volume on the authorship and surviving manuscripts, a Dutch translation, and a facsimile edition of the Leyden manuscript (Hendrix, 1995-2000, 1980).  Printed in Paris, 1506, Naples, 1605 and 1607 (Online resources); Bloomfield, 1979, no. 4038.

From an early point in the tradition, this text was attributed to “Gerardus Leodiensis,” widely assumed to be a Dominican lector in Liège by that name who was active c. 1246-1272.  In 1931 Wilmart suggested the author was a different Gerald of Liège, also active in the thirteenth century, and a Cistercian monk (Wilmart, 1931).  Guido Hendrix, on other hand, who devoted many articles and books to the subject, suggested that the author was instead the Dominican, Hugh of Saint-Cher, and written probably c. 1251-1253 when Hugh was papal legate to Germany and had responsibility for the cura monalium (Hendrix, 1880, 1995-2000). 

In the most recent article on the subject, Nigel Palmer (2010) reviews the previous scholarship, and concludes that the Cistercian Gerard of Liége is the most likely author, probably c. 1255. Wilmart suggested he was Abbot of Val-Saint-Lambert near Liège, Palmer argues that he was a monk at Villers-en-Brabant.  Palmer sees the text as one written for enclosed religious, both male and importantly female, and thus part of the concern with the question of the religious life of women in general, and the cura monalium in particular. The Brabant-Liège region saw an efflorescence of female piety and saints, in particular Beguines and Cistercian nuns, in the first half of the thirteenth century. 


The penwork and illumination may be compared with Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 99, a Cistercian Breviary, 1267-1284, later owned by the Cistercian monastery at Marquette-lez-Lille.

One historiated initial:

f. 3, 9-line blue historiated initial depicting a kneeling Cistercian monk in white robes at the bottom and the Virgin and Child at the top (on a crescent moon), flanked by angels with a polished gold background, on a pink ground extending full-length of the page, edged in a thin gold frame;

Two illuminated initials:

f. 1, 5-line white patterned pink initial infilled with a vine scroll with the heads of two long-eared dragons, extending full-length of the page, infilled and on blue, with touches of orange and green, with a narrow gold frame;

f. 144, 5-line polished gold initial infilled in pink and blue on a pink and blue ground, edged in black.

This manuscript is a contemporary copy of four religious texts. The identity of the author of three of these texts is a matter of scholarly debate.  No one disputes that Vincent of Beauvais was the author of the first text.  Vincent was a Dominican, but a Dominican with close connections to the Cistercians (he spent years as lector teaching at Royaumont).  The last text, the influential devotional text, De doctrina cordis, has been attributed to Gerard of Liège, identified as either a thirteenth-century Dominican or a Cistercian by the same name, and to Hugh of St. Cher (c. 1200-1263), the Dominican author and cardinal.  This manuscript, a contemporary copy of these texts which has not yet been part of the scholarly discussion, may shed new light on the debate.

Particularly interesting is the presence here of the Sermo de testamento christi, an unstudied work that refers to a known work by Gerard of Liège (or Hugh of St. Cher), and the summary of the Sentences of Peter the Lombard known as the Filia magistri.  Traditionally ascribed to a student of Hugh of St. Cher (its textual dependence on Hugh’s commentary on the Sentences is clear), it was particularly popular in non-school settings and monasteries, offering a beginner’s guide to this essential theological text.  All of the works attributed to Gerard of Liège indicate that their author drew heavily on texts by Hugh of St. Cher (the fact that led Hendrix to suggest they were actually by this author).  Could the Filia magistri be by the author of the De doctrina cordis?  It is a question that needs to be explored.

Beyond questions of authorship, this manuscript offers evidence of the close association of the Dominican and Cistercians in the middle of the thirteenth century.  Its small size, anomalous for a thirteenth-century of theological and spiritual texts, remains an intriguing puzzle.


Bloomfield, Morton W. Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100-1500 A.D., Cambridge, Mass., 1979.

Chevalier, Ulysse. Repertorium hymnologicum. Catalogue des chants, hymnes, proses, séquences, tropes en usage dans l'église latine depuis les origines jusqu'a a nos jours, vol. II, Louvain, 1897, no. 18874.

Clark, Willene B. “A Re-United Bible and Thirteenth-Century Illumination in Northern France,” Speculum 50 (1975), pp. 33-47.

Dreves, G. M. Pia dictamina. Reimgebete und Leselieder des Mittelalters, Analecta hyminca medii aevi 32, Leipzig, 1899, p. 206.

Fabricius, Johann Albert. Bibliotheca Latina mediæ et infimæ ætatis cum supplemento Christiani Schoettgenii ..., vol. 3, Pauda, 1754.

Falmagne, Thomas. Un texte en contexte: Les "Flores Paradisi" et le milieu culturel de Villers-en-Brabant dans la premiere moitie' du 13e siècle, Instrumenta Patristica et Mediaevalia: Research on the Inheritance of Early and Medieval Christianity 39, Turnhout, 2001.

Harkins, Franklin T. “Filiae Magistri: Peter Lombard’s Sentences and Medieval Theological Education ‘On the Ground’,” in Mediaeval commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, volume 3, ed. P. W. Rosemann, Leiden and Boston, 2015, pp. 26-78.

Hendrix, Guido. “Hugh of St. Cher O.P., Author of Two Texts Attributed to the XIIIth-Century Cistercian Gerard of Liège,” Cîteaux commentarii cistercienses 31 (1980), pp. 343-356. 

Hendrix, Guido. Hugo de Sancto Caro’s traktaat De doctrina cordis, 4 vols., Louvain, 1995-2000.

Hendrix, G. Le manuscrit Leyde Bibliothèque de l'Université, BPL 2579: témoin principal des phases de rédaction du traité De doctrina cordis, à attribuer au dominicain français Hugues de Saint-Cher (pseudo-Gérard de Liège), Ghent, 1980.

Hendrix, G. “Les postillae de Hugues de Saint-Cher et le traité De doctrina cordis,” Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 47 (1980), pp. 114-130. 

Kaeppeli, T. and Panella, E. Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi, Rome, 1970-1993.

Martin, Raymond, “Filia magistri: un abregé des sentences de Pierre de Lombard,” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 2 (1915), pp. 370-379.

Mikkers, Edmond. “Le traité de Gérard de Liège sur les sept paroles de notre-Seigneur en croix,” Collectanea Ordinis Cistercensium reformatorum 12 (1950), pp.176-194, and 13 (1951), pp. 18-29.

Palmer, Nigel F. “The Authorship of De Doctrina Cordis,” in A Companion to ‘The Doctrine of the Hert’: The Middle English Translation and Its Latin and European Contexts, eds. Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead, Liverpool, 2010, pp. 19–56.

Renevey, Denis, and Christiania Whitehead, eds. A Companion to 'The Doctrine of the Hert': The Middle English Translation and Its Latin and European Contexts, Liverpool, 2010.

Rosemann, Philipp W. The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard’s Sentences, Peterborough, Ontario and Orchard Park, NY, 2007.

Stegmüller, Friedrich. Repertorium commentariorum in Sententias Petri Lombardi, Würzburg, 1947.

Wilmart, A. “Gérard de Liège. Un traité inédit de l'amour de Dieu,” Revue d'ascétique et mystique 12 (1931), 349-430.

Online Resources

British Library, Incunable Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) http://data.cerl.org/istc/_search

Hans Voorbij and Eva Albrecht, “A Vincent of Beauvais website”

Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes (IRHT-CNRS), “Notice de De laudibus beatae Mariae virginis, Vincentius Bellovacensis (1190?-1264?),” in Pascale Bourgain, Francesco Siri, Dominique Stutzmann, FAMA : Œuvres latines médiévales à succès, 2015 http://fama.irht.cnrs.fr/en/oeuvre/268750

Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes (IRHT-CNRS), “Notice de De doctrina cordis,” in Pascale Bourgain, Francesco Siri, Dominique Stutzmann, FAMA : Œuvres latines médiévales à succès, 2015 http://fama.irht.cnrs.fr/en/oeuvre/267494

Liber de doctrina cordis, a R.P. fratre Gerardo Leodiensi ordinis fr. Praedicatorum lectore, iam olim editus. Nunc recens a fr. Aloysio de Aquino, è latebris, situque vetustatis erutus, mendis purgatus, ac religiosorum commodo restitutus, Naples, 1605

BVMM, Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 99

Gerhardus Leodiensis in MIRABILE: Archivio digitale della cultura medieval,
Digital Archives for Medieval Culture

TM 905