TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Miscellany of exempla, miracles, tracts, and sermons, including JACOBUS DE VORAGINE, Sermones quadragesimales;and ANONYMOUS, Medicina pauperum

In Latin, manuscript on paper
[Northern Germany, Magdeburg ?, dated 1396]

TM 60

280 leaves, paper (watermarks close to Briquet 14496 [dated manuscripts 1393 and 1394]; 14742, [Tête de boeuf à yeux, Frankfurt, 1397]; 15567, [Tête de Cheval: Würzburg, 1384]; and 15592 [Tête humaine, Würzburg, 1381]), last as pastedown, pencilled foliation begins at 2 (collation i11 of 12 lacking i, ii14, iii-v 12, vi-viii14, ix10 [lacking vi], x14, xi12 with small parchment leaf between vi and vii, ff. 133-134, xii-xiv12, xv10, xvi-xviii12, xix14, xx8 of 10 [lacking at least i/x], xxi8 [? of 10 lacking at least i and x], xxii-xxiii10 [uncertain detached as singletons]), parchment sewing guards, between 35 and 65 lines written in brown ink in cursive hands in two columns between four verticals and two horizontals ruled in brown ink, paragraphs marked in red, numerous large initials in red with staves often extending into the margins, numerous jaunty maniculae detailed in red, red never added ff. 227-235 (lacking several leaves, final 38 leaves mouse nibbed, eight into text, final 10 leaves loose, bottom of f. 244 cut into text, incisions to ff. 247-248, small hole to text f. 134, water damage to ff. 2-70. Bound in CONTEMPORARY RED LEATHER over wooden boards, front pastedown part of a Choir Book leaf, five metal attachments to each cover, two clasps, holes for chain fitment on lower cover, stitched to four bands (spine split, lower cover worn to boards and one metal attachment lacking, clasps restored). Dimensions 290 x 210 mm.

Signed and dated by an unrecorded scribe, this working copy mostly contains unedited sermons, combining Jacobus de Voragine’s popular lenten sermons with those throughout the year from the rare Medicina pauperum, the latter existing in only two other manuscripts, both from northern Germany. Other of its didactic texts are also unusual. The manuscript was clearly highly valued, for its sturdy contemporary binding preserves evidence of a chain, by which it was once firmly kept in place in the monastic library.


1. Written by Jacob Schiltrim in 1396: colophon on f. 134v ... dompni Jacobi Schiltrimi. Anno dmi m o ccc o xcvj. In vigilia purifacionis marie (2 February). A second colophon on f. 226 refers to the first mass of Johannes Heuhase: Et sic est finis anno dmiu m ccc xcvj. In vigilia festum trinitatis qua[ando] dno Johannes Heuhase cantabat prima[m] missa[m] sua[m] (23 May). The tile “dominus” given to Schiltrim and Heuhase shows that they were members of a monastic community. The book was presumably written as a functional compilation, chiefly of sermons, which was then chained in the library. A few annotations are in Low German, in a dialect used in the north. The presence of the lives of Saints Catherine and Laurence together suggests an origin in Magdeburg, and the limited circulation of the second text, the Medicina pauperum also suggests an origin in the area of northern Germany. The watermarks point instead to central or southern Germany.

2. H. Legel, his bookplate inside upper cover.


ff. 2-14v, Collection of exempla (by Jacobus de Vitriaco?), including miracle stories, especially of the Virgin, lacking opening;

ff. 14-17v, Lives of Saints Catherine and Laurence (this combination suggests a possible origin of the manuscript in northern Germany, specifically in Magdeburg, which alone among German cities celebrates the invention of the relics of both Catherine and Laurence);

ff. 16v-17v, Instructions for priests on administering the Mass etc.;

ff. 18r-18v, Order of readings for the Hours;

ff. 18v-19, Miracle of the Hermit and the Prostitute;

ff. 19, Story of the Three Kings;

ff. 19v-20, Index including a list of Sundays outside Lent, each assigned one of the following Lenten sermons so that the Lenten sequence can serve throughout the year;

ff. 20-134v, Jacobus de Voragine, Sermones quadragesimales,incipit, “Filia populi mei... Quamvis solemnitatas quadragesimales ...”, lacking one leaf between ff. 109-110, explicit “... ad secundam resurrectionem in gloriam. Ad quam meritis et precibus gloriose virginis matris sue et omnium electorum suorum ipse filius dei nos perducat, qui cum patre et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat per infinita seculorum secula. Amen” (see Schneyer, Repertorium; end of 201, 202-92;and Kaeppeli, SOPMA, no. 2157); followed by three additional sermons on the Passion of Christ, on the compassion of the Virgin, with omitted text on an added parchment leaf, and on the Last Judgment (ff. 131v-134v); ending with a colophon, Explicit sermones per xl. Secm fratrem Jaco. De Voragine, Arepiscopus januensus, et trater ordinis predicatorum ... dompni Jacobi Schiltrimi. Anno d[o]m[in]i mcccxcvj. In vigilia purifacionis marie [2 February](f. 134v);

ff. 134v-135, Indulgence of John XXII, Avignon, 1317;

ff. 135, Sermon on the dedication of the church with more exempla, section of omitted text on f. 139v;

ff. 140-198, Medicina pauperum, summer part, rubric, Iste liber dicitur medicina pauperum, incipit, “Maria magdalena et maria jacobi et maria solome,” with an interpolated sermon on the Conception and Nativity of the Virgin, ff. 181-183, explicit “... cum patre et filio et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat,” f. 198;

ff. 198-199, On the punishments of hell and the souls,

ff. 198-226, Medicina pauperum, winter part from Advent to Quinquagesima Sunday, incipit, “Hora est nos iam de sompno sugere ...”, f. 199v, with an interpolated sermon for Christmas, ff. 207v-210, explicit with the colophon, Et sic est finis anno dmiu mcccxcvj. In vigilia festum trinitatis qu[ando] dno Johannes Heuhase cantabat prima[m] missa[m] sua[m] [23 May], f. 226 (see Schneyer,Repertorim, vol. 8, nos. 1-35 [winter part] and 78-158 [summer part]; and Schneyer, Wegweiser, p. 309);

ff. 227-233v, rubric, Incipit salubris medicina animae vulnerate peccatis ff. 227-233v (see Bloomfield and Guyot, no. 2652);

ff. 234-235v, miscellaneous short texts on poverty, f. 234; resurrection f. 234v; life and death of the saints f. 235; the glory of the Lord, f. 235v;

ff. 236-280, discussions of or sermons on texts, lacking opening, ff. 236-243; treatises, starting with one on feasts of the Virgin, lacking opening and leaf between ff. 251-252, ff. 244-255v; on simony, ff. 256-257;

ff. 257-60v, Bonaventure, Tractatus de decem praeceptis, incipit,” Decalogus est sermo breuis decem mandata dei continens...; explicit, “... ad plenum et optatum statum perducitur”(see Bloomfield and Guyot, no. 5668; edited Quaracchi, 1981, V, pp. 505-32);

ff. 271-80, further miscellaneous treatises, including one on martyrs f. 269, noting defective exemplum and leaving a gap, f. 270v, leaves lacking, ff. 261-270 + pastedown.

This is a working volume for preachers, combining the popular Lenten sermons of Jacobus de Voragine with the much rarer anonymous sermons of the Medicina pauperum, together with subsidiary sermons, didactic texts, and information for priests. There are no modern editions of either Jacobus de Voragine’s Sermones quadragesimales or the Medicina pauperum.

The Dominican Jacobus de Voragine (c. 1230-c. 1290), an Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa, was an enormously influential writer. He left a list of his own works in his Chonicon januense, including the Legendae sanctorum (his Golden Legend ) in which he compiled the legends of the saints in one volume, adding many things from the Historia tripartita et scholastica, and from the chronicles of many writers. He also claims two volumes of sermons. One presents sermons for every Sunday of the year; and the other presents sermons for the period from Ash Wednesday to the Tuesday after Easter, the Sermones Quadragesimales included here. The final work, Marialis, qui totus est de B. Maria compositus, consists of 160 discourses on the attributes, titles, etc., of the Virgin Mary.

The present compilation is unusual. In comparison with Jacobus de Voragine’s widely circulated complete cycle of sermons (c. 350 manuscripts) or his immensely popular Golden Legend, the lenten sermons exist in about 150 manuscripts, mostly in European public institutions. DeRicci (Census) records only two copies in North America. As is the case with the complete cycle of sermons, there is considerable variety in the manuscripts, which include many sermons expurgated from the early printed editions, and there is no modern edition. Although Jacobus’s complete cycle of sermons was undoubtedly known to the compilers of the present manuscript, they apparently preferred the much more unusual Medicina pauperum for this collection, omitting the lenten sermons of the Medicina to avoid duplication with those of Jacobus. The Medicina is recorded in only two other manuscripts, in Copenhagen (Kongelige Bibliothek S 4 o 1385) and Wolfenbuttel (Herzog August Bibliothek, MS 19.26.10 Aug. 4O; (see Schneyer, Wegwiser, p. 309). Bonaventura’s Tractatus de decem praeceptis appears also to be relatively rare. Some of the other texts deserve further study.

The Wolfenbuttel manuscript was written in Hildesheim in Lower Saxony in the fifteenth century not far from Magdeburg. The Copenhagen manuscript, also transcribed in the fifteenth century, comes from the Benedictine monastery of St. John at Cismar in Schleswig-Holstein further north. The title “dominus” of Schiltrim and Heuhase was used by Benedictines, among other clerics. It is possible that the Medicina was thus largely restricted to Benedictine houses in northern Germany, because this was its authors’s milieu.
The present manuscript was clearly much valued in Schiltrim’s house; although written on paper as a working copy, this compilation was given a handsome binding and securely chained in the monastic library.


Bonaventura. Opera omnia, 10 volumes. Quaracchi, 1882-1902. (Quaracchi)

Bloomfield, M. W., B. G. Guyot, D. R. Howard, and T. B. Kabealo, Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100-1500 A.D., Cambridge, MA, 1979.

Kaeppeli, T. Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum medii aevi, Rome 1970- . (SOPMA)

Schneyer, J. B. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1150-1350. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 43/1-11, 11 vols., Münster, 1969-90.

Schneyer, J. B. Wegweiser zu lateinischen Predigtreihen des Mittelalters, Munich, 1965.

Online resources

The sermon as a literary genre

University of Lyon Project on the Sermons of Jacobus de Voragine

On sermons and preaching

Biography and works of Jacobus de Voragine