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Rome (Città del Vaticano) » Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana » MS

Library Place Rome (Città del Vaticano)
Library Name Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
Shelfmark MS
Folio Range Whole MS (103 fols)
Date XI in (probably c. AD 1007)
  • Loire Valley
  • Abbey of Micy-Saint-Mesmin



This manuscript contains a heterogeneous compilation of computistical, cosmological and prognostic texts, tables and diagrams, mostly anonymous, but also including excerpts from Isidore's De natura rerum and Etymologiae, and from Bede's computistical and cosmological works, as well as materials associated with Abbo of Fleury (cf. Denoël 2019). Texts including dating clauses for AD 863 and 936 occur, respectively, at fols 28v and 42r. It is also worth highlighting the presence of a calendar accompanied by striking iconography of human seasonal activities at fols 65r-75r.

Old Breton Materials No
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials Yes
Connection with Brittany

This manuscript was written at the abbey of Micy-Saint-Mesmin, near Orléans, in the early eleventh century (probably c. AD 1007, as shown by the paschal table at fols 61v–64r; note also the dating to 'wohl kurz vor 1100' in Borst 2001: I, 223, which however seems too late). It has been recently the object of a detailed study by Charlotte Denoël (2019), focussing on its script and iconography. Denoël stresses in particular the strong links between Micy, Fleury, and Chartres.

Some observations regarding a possible Breton connection can here be added to Denoël's analysis: indeed, this MS presents some affinities with the contents of the two tenth-century codices Angers, BM, 476, written in Brittany, and Paris, BnF, Lat. 6400B, probably copied in Fleury from a lost Breton exemplar. The most striking instance is a tract concerning the course of the Sun and the Moon against the backdrop of the Zodiac, curiously copied twice in, at 30v–31r and again at fol. 48r: this text is rare, with copies only found (besides the present MS) in Lat. 6400B, fol. 251v; Angers 476, fols 32v-33r; Tortosa, Arxiu Capitular, 10, fols 16r-v; and Paris, BnF, Lat. 7569, 105r–107v. The incipit of the second copy in (the one at fol. 48r) reads De diuersitate cursus sol(is) ɔ-c celu(m): the sign ɔ-c is an abbreviation for contra, and it is a strong Breton diagnostic feature (cf. the entries for Bern, Burgerbibliothek, 167; Chartres, BM, 98; London, BL, Royal 5.E.XIII; Orléans, Médiathèque, 221; Oxford, Bodleian Libray, Auct. F.4.32; Paris, BnF, Lat. 4839 and NAL 1587; Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, 759; on this abbreviation, see also Lemoine 2008: 190–1). The fact that the text in question (as well as several others) can be also found in tenth-century Breton computistical manuscripts, coupled with the occurrence of the peculiar abbreviation for contra, suggest that this tract—and perhaps other materials too— were either copied from a Breton exemplar or ultimately derived from a Breton archetype (for example, such materials could have easily reached Micy via Fleury; moreover, see Deuffic 2008: 115 for some possible historical connections between Brittany and Micy, ).

For analyses of the beautifully illustrated calendar at fols 65r–75r, see Borst 2001: I, 223–4 (for its computistical contents and the manuscript family to which it belongs, namely what Borst labelled the 'Salzburger enzyklopädische Fassung') and Denoël 2019: 138–53 (for its rich iconography focussing on human seasonal activities).

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog n/a
Essential bibliography

Borst 2001: I, 223–4; Delisle 1876: 489–90; Denoël 2019; Innovating Knowledge.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-20 14:56:32
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #202
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