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Paris » BnF » MS NAL 1616

Library Place Paris
Library Name BnF
Shelfmark MS NAL 1616
Folio Range Fragment (14 fols)
Date IX ex. / X 1/2 (post AD 903?)
  • Brittany (?)
  • Loire Valley (probably)
  • Fleury (probably)
  • Fleury
  • Orléans
  • Stolen by Libri
  • Bought in 1847 by Lord Ashburnham
  • Acquired by the BnF in 1888.
  • Table Cursus lunae per XII signa (1r)
  • Computistical and astronomical diagrams (planetary orbits, horologium, etc.) (1v-2r)
  • Computistical argumenta, inc.:
  1. Statutum inuenimus in consilio Romanorum
  2. Unus uero punctus quarta pars hore est
  3. Quare fit bissextus et quomodo fit et quid esset si non fuisset
  4. [added] Si nosse feriam hoc est die septimane (2v)
  • Quod datarum est hodie per dies anni (argumentum for finding computistical data of the dies praesens) (3r)
  • Computistical tables and diagrams (3v-5r)
  • Computistical excerpts about the seasons, ages of man and ages of the World, finger-reckoning (from Bede, DTR, I, 25–107, with Old Breton glosses), lunar age in relation to the solar calendar (5v-7r)
  • Brief dialogue, inc. Dicito mihi unum diem qui habet XII incensiones lunae et quattuor tempora (7v)
  • Apuleian Sphere, inc. Ratio spere Phtagor [sic] philosophi quam Epulegus descripsit (7v)
  • Computistical tables (8r-9r)
  • Computistical poem, inc. Prima dies Phoebi sacrato nomine fulget (9r)
  • Computistical poem, inc. Nonae Apriles norunt quinos (9v)
  • Hieronimus inuenit horologium (9v-10r)
  • Sancta senodus ubi CCC et XVIII pontifices apud nicenam ciuitatem Bithiniae conuenerunt (10r)
  • Communium et embolismorum ratio ista est (10r)
  • Legimus in epistolis grecorum (10r)
  • Lunar prognostics (10v-12r)
  • Egyptian Days (12r)
  • Blood-letting tract, inc. Tres dies maximi obseruandi sunt in anno (12r)
  • De sugessione formationis hominis in utero [added] (12r)
  • Wind prognostic, inc. Si iii nocte fuerit uentus (12v)
  • Probationes pennae and Biblical lore, perhaps akin to the ioca monachorum genre (12v)
  • Computistical argumenta (acephalous compilation) (13r-v)
  • Computistical table accompanied by Hebrew and Greek words associated with the names of God (saddai, hel, eloim, eloe, sabaoth, elion, asiriee, adonaia, tetra gramaton) (13v)
  • Prognostic text De ragono subiecto (sic, for De <tet>ragono subiecto, a text also found in Laon, BM, MS 407 [Rheims, s. IX 3/4], fols 136v-137r) (14r)
  • Theological notes (added) (14v)
  • Computistical note (14v).
Old Breton Materials Yes
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials No
Connection with Brittany

In Kat. §5103, Bischoff confidently attributed this MS to Brittany, presumably on the basis of its script and the six Old Breton glosses occurring therein (fols 6r, 6v, 7r and 12r, cf. DGBV 5; Lambert 1984: 202–4). The question, however, is not so simple. While a Breton (or even Irish) origin was also proposed by Wickersheimer (1966: 140), on the other hand Carey (1923: 33, 112) included NAL 1616 in his list of Fleury MSS, on the basis of its certain provenance from the library of Fleury (although notice also his description of it as a 'scripturae Hibernicae specimen' at p. 112!), and also because apparently these folios originally constituted pp. 1–28 of Orléans, Médiathèque, 18 (15), a MS usually ascribed to the scriptorium of Fleury and dated by Bischoff to the middle or the third quarter of the ninth century (cf. Kat. §3657; see also LF BF415; Pellegrin and Bouhot 2010: 19, where Orléans 18 is dated to the first half of the ninth century; for the dating of NAL 1616, see below). Moreover, it is remarkable that all the Old Breton glosses of NAL 1616, except one, occur in the excerpt from the first chapter of Bede's De temporum ratione at fols 6r–7r: this allows for the possibility that that particular section was copied from a Breton exemplar (perhaps by a Breton scribe working in the scriptorium of Fleury?)—a conclusion strengthened by the occurrence of some analogous contents (especially one identical gloss) in Angers, BM, 476, fols 7v–8r (cf. Lambert 1984: 203 and 205; the single gloss of NAL 1616 not occurring in the Bedan excerpt—i lenguor, glossing Lat. in melanconia—can be found at fol. 12r, in a passage added by a hand different from the main one). For these reasons, it seems somewhat more likely that this MS was copied at Fleury, possibly by a Breton scribe and/or from a Breton exemplar (cf. LF BF1259 and BF1260, where Mostert divides the MS into two codicological units, fols 1–6 and 7–14; this division is somewhat puzzling, given that the Bedan excerpt occupies fols 6r–7r). Nonetheless, it should be stressed that this conclusion too remains to be fully demonstrated, and a Breton origin cannot be entirely ruled out (in particular, a careful study of the script of these folios is a desideratum).

Quite apart from the issue of its origin, this MS presents many features of interest. First of all, at fol. 3r we can read a rare computistical argumentum for calculating the lunar age and weekday for any given calendar day, using the 21st of December as an example (that day being the dies praesens for the author of the short tract); according to Immo Warntjes (private correspondence), the data found in this text might point to AD 903 as the annus praesens; if proven, this could then be taken as a terminus post quem for the writing of NAL 1616. Moreover, it is remarkable that a shorter but otherwise very similar argumentum can be found in Metz, BM, MS 351 (from Metz, s. IX 3/3, although the contents in question are plainly a later addition), fol. 103r; Paris, BnF, Lat. 6400B, fol. 272v, and Angers, BM, 476, fol. 25v: in view of the strong Breton affiliations of both Lat. 6400B and Angers 476, it is certainly possible that, in addition to the above-mentioned Bedan excerpt, this argumentum too was copied from a Breton exemplar.

Another interesting—and puzzling—feature of NAL 1616 is the phrase Teodorus ep(iscopu)s di(xi)t Si porci casu, written on fol. 4r beneath a computistical table. The phrase Si porci casu is plainly taken from the Iudicia Theodori, i.e. Theodore of Canterbury's penitential: for example, in the recension known as Capitula Dacheriana, D20a (ed. Elliot 2015), we find the phrase Tamen si cassu porci commederint carnem morticinum. Since Theodore's penitential tract circulated widely in Early Medieval Brittany (cf. Paris, BnF, Lat. 12021, containing the Capitula Dacheriana, as well as Cambridge, Corpus Christi, MS 320; London, British Library, MS Cotton Otho E.XIII; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hatton 42; Paris, BnF, Lat. 3182), it is again eminently possible that this incomplete citation was copied, probably by mistake, from a Breton exemplar.

Finally, we should mention David Juste's intriguing suggestion that NAL 1616 (or a copy of it) could be one of the computistical MSS brought to England by Abbo of Fleury, who may have used it as a source for the composition of some of his own computistical works (Juste 2004: 111–12).

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 5103
Essential bibliography

Bauer 2008: 130–2; BnF Archives et Manuscrits; Carey 1923: 33, 112; DGVB 5; Juste 2004: 111–12; Lambert 1984: 202–4; Lambert 2018: 35; Lemoine 1985: 288; LF BF1259 and BF1260; Obrist 2001: 17 (n. 33); Pellegrin and Bouhot 2010: 19–20; PMSB 313 (§92); Riché 2004: 17, 21; Schrijver 2011: 9; Sigerist 1942: 293, 297; Smith 1992: 171 (n. 95 and 103); The Calendar and the Cloister; Wickersheimer 1914: 168–70, 172–3; Wickersheimer 1966: 140–2.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-07 17:39:27
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #170
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