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Paris » BnF » MS Lat. 10290

Library Place Paris
Library Name BnF
Shelfmark MS Lat. 10290
Folio Range Whole MS (247 fols)
Date IX 2/2
  • Northern Francia
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés (?)
  • Soissons (?)


  • Depiction of two figures, possibly Priscian donating his book to the emperor (1r)
  • Excerpt from Augustine, De doctrina Christiana II, 3–4, and grammatical glosses (1v)
  • First accessus to Priscian (2r)
  • Fragment of a glossary and excerpt from Bede, De orthographia, followed by a second accessus to Priscian (possibly added at a later stage) (2v)
  • Priscian, Institutiones grammaticae, with abundant scholia (3r-246r)
  • List of Greek grammatical terms, inc. Gramaticæ artis nomina grece notata (246r)
  • Excerpt from Cyrus Fortunatianus, De rhetorica (possibly added in the tenth century) (246v-247v).
Old Breton Materials Yes
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials Yes
Connection with Brittany

For a long time the origin of this MS has been placed in Brittany by modern scholars, mostly on account of its substantial corpus of Brittonic glosses—nearly 300—existing side by side with a significant number of Old Irish glosses (approximately 50) and an enormous amount of Latin glosses. However, in recent years this old 'orthodoxy' has been seriously called into question, especially by Franck Cinato (2015: 562–7), mostly on palaeographical grounds: according to Cinato, this MS was written in a Frankish scriptorium, possibly at Saint-Germain-des-Prés (according to a suggestion made by Vezin), or in the area of Soissons. This striking conclusion raises a number of interesting questions as to the process of formation of the large corpus of vernacular glosses of Lat. 10290, which must be seen as the complex superposition of a number of distinct strata. The earliest stratum of vernacular glosses is undoubtedly the Old Irish one; indeed, the recensio of the text of Priscian's Institutiones in this MS also belongs to the Irish tradition (Lemoine 1985: 17; Cinato 2015: 565). The latest stratum is in all likelihood the Old Breton one: remarkably, in addition to the corruption of Old Irish glosses that the Breton glossator(s) could not understand, Lambert (1982: 210; 1994: 102–3; 2018: 29–33) has nonetheless also identified a number of glosses in which a Breton word has been written near to its Old Irish equivalent, as well as glosses where Irish words have been 'Bretonised' or replaced by a Breton calque; these phenomena imply a certain degree of knowledge of Old Irish on the part of the Breton glossator(s), or at least a recognition of some commonalities between the two Celtic languages in question (cf. Lemoine 1985b: 59, 'Si certaines bretonnisations du vieil-irlandais peuvent être expliquées par la simillitude des deux langues [...], il semble que d'autres adaptations ou calques aient nécessité de la part des glossateurs bretons une connaissance au moins approximative de l'irlandais').

In his dictionary of Old Breton (DGVB 30–1), Fleuriot also drew attention to the presence of Old Welsh glosses in this same MS; while on the one hand this fact is not sufficient to argue that the Brittonic glosses should be attributed to a Welshman 'ayant fréquenté le cercle des Irlandais implantés dans le nord de la France et l'Allemagne occidentale' (Cinato 2015: 567)—many glosses are undoubtedly Breton and not Welsh, and at least two Welsh glosses may have been 'Bretonised' (cf. DGVB 31; Lambert 2018: 34)—, on the other hand the presence of such a Welsh stratum lends itself to several possible explanations. Perhaps an archetype originating from Ireland (and belonging to a line of transmission particularly close to that of the famous Saint Gall Priscian, i.e. Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 904, cf. Cinato 2017: 98) was first copied in a Welsh centre, and a number of Welsh glosses were added to that codex, which later reached the Frankish area where it was eventually copied by a Breton scribe working outside of Brittany. Alternatively, an ancestor of Lat. 10290 may have been written in a Welsh centre where Irish and Welsh scholars collaborated (cf. the case of the famous Cambridge Juvencus), and this lost exemplar, bearing glosses in both Irish and Welsh, later reached the Frankish scriptorium where the Breton stratum was finally added. However, none of these explanations is without problems (for other hypothetical solutions, see Lambert 2018: 34–5; for arguments in favour of the existence of a 'Celtic glossing tradition' in relation to Priscian's Institutiones, see Bauer 2014). In any case, it is interesting to observe that an analogous coexistence of Irish, Welsh and Breton materials also characterises the computistical glosses of Angers, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 477.

As for the subsequent history of our Priscian codex, Lemoine (1985: 17–22; 1985b: 46, 60–3) made the important observation that some of the glosses and textual corrections that were added by Lambert's tenth-century 'hand C' (cf. Lambert 1982: 179–81; Cinato 2017: 108) correspond to, and may have been copied from, glosses and readings in Paris, BnF, Lat. 10289; this fact indicates that Lat. 10290 and Lat. 10289 must have been present in the same library-scriptorium for a certain period of time in the early tenth century, perhaps at Chartres (cf. Cinato 2015: 562, 564, 566).

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 4623
Essential bibliography

Bachellery 1964; Bauer 2008: 85–126; Bauer 2014; BnF Archives et Manuscrits; Bronner 2017: 40–1; Charles-Edwards 2012: 400 (n. 63); Cinato 2015: 66, 562–7; Cinato 2017 (esp. 84, n. 4); CLH §803; DGVB 5, 8, 31–2; Dumville 2005: 57; Hofman 1996: 35–8; Hofman 2000: 258–63; Jeudy 1984–5: 133; Kerlouégan 1982b: 318; Lambert 1982; Lambert 1994: 102–3; Lambert 2018: 28–35; Lemoine 1985: 16–24, 220–7, 288, 367–76; Lemoine 1985b; Lemoine 2008: 188, 190; Lemoine 2010: 223; MIrA; Ó Cróinín 1999: 88; Passalacqua 1978: 244 (§531); PMSB 310–11 (§83); Riché 2004: 20; Schrijver 2011: 9; Simpson (McKee) 1994: 115; Smith 1992: 172 (n. 106).

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-07 14:48:02
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #146
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