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les Enluminures

Vidimus of a supplication to Pope Innocent VIII by Lyonnais residents to have their excommunication lifted

In Latin, illuminated document on parchment
France, Lyons, dated 16 October 1489

TM 832

Single membrane of parchment (hole mid-way in the text, some loss to text), written in a gothic hand in 53 lines, illuminated bracket border at the top of the document, 2 miniatures, 3 heraldic shields. Dimensions: 675 x 525 mm.

This is an illuminated vidimus, a type of document now scarce because they and the original documents they copy – here a supplication – are seldom illuminated. The bracket border contains two miniatures, depicting the Annunciation and Saints Peter and Paul. In the upper border to the right, one finds the painted arms of Pope Innocent VIII (14841492). On the sides are the supplicants’ shields, with the arms of the Guerrier family on the left: d’azur à 3 têtes de lions arrachées d’or et posées en bande; and arms parti Grolée and Guerrier on the right: gironné d’argent et de sable de huit pieces (Grolée). There are a few other examples of illuminated supplications (for instance Archives départementales des Pyrénées-Atlantiques, E 24/1, supplication to Pope Clement VI), but a full census of this type of illuminated charter would be of great service.

A vidimus is a certified copy of another original act, in which the tenor of a royal charter, Papal Bull, or other writing is copied and attested for the purpose of perpetuation when the original document is in a state of decay or in danger of removal. It is a manner of “re-establishing” a deed or renewing an existing original. The present vidimus of the Grolée-Guerrier supplication was commissioned by Jean de Cintabancto, lieutenant to the officialof Lyons. Supplications are never dated, and are approved based on the principle of “sola signatura.” The formula “Concessum A. C[ardinal]is Alerien[sis]” indicates that the supplication was approved by Cardinal Ardicino della Porta, Bishop of Aleria, in lieu of the Pope himself. The Guerrier and Grolée families were well established in Lyons; for instance, Jean de Grolée was preceptor of the Commandery des Feuillants (Ain), Order of the Knights Hospitaller. We do not know the reason behind the initial collective excommunication, lifted once the supplication was approved.


Brunel, G. Les chartes décorées des Archives nationales XIIIe-XVe siècle, Paris, 2005;

Millet, H. ed. Suppliques et requêtes: le gouvernement par la grâce en Occident (XIIe-XVe siècle), Rome, 2003.