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Library Place Rome (Città del Vaticano)
Library Name Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
Shelfmark MS
Folio Range Whole MS (60 fols)
Date IX in.
  • Loire Valley
  • Fleury (?)

Glastonbury (s. X)

  • Boethius, De consolatione Philosophiae, with abundant scholia (2v-60r)
  • Brief glossary to Prudentius, Psychomachia (60r-v, almost entirely effaced on the verso).
Old Breton Materials Yes
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials No
Connection with Brittany

This important early ninth-century copy of Boethius's Consolatio contains late ninth-century glosses presenting 'Celtic' palaeographical features and including (at fol. 37r) one Brittonic gloss, whose exact linguistic identity is however unclear: it could be either Old Breton or Old Cornish (cf. Sims-Williams 2005). Troncarelli (1981: 137–51) and Bischoff (Kat. §6877; cf. also Bischoff 1977: 40, n. 4) ascribed this MS to the Loire Valley, Fleury being a particularly strong candidate. As a consequence, it cannot be ruled out that the gloss in question is indeed in Old Breton: it may have been added by a Breton scribe working at Fleury, or alternatively, it may have been written in Brittany after that the MS reached that region from the Loire Valley, before continuing its journey to Britain. However, we must also consider that, as has been pointed out by Papahagi (2010: 22), Vat.Lat.3363 is 'possibly the earliest surviving manuscript of the Consolatio to have reached Britain' (in addition to being 'one of the best and earliest codices of the Consolatio' tout court; cf. also Teeuwen 2020: 285–6): this fact rather suggests that the vernacular gloss was perhaps inserted when the MS was already in Britain, in which case its language could rather be Cornish. Indeed, the combined palaeographical, codicological, textual and linguistic evidence does seem to point to the this as the more likely solution (cf. the convenient summaries in Papahagi 2010: 22–7 and Love 2012: 121–5). Still, even in this case it is not clear whether the MS went first from the Loire Valley to Cornwall (via Brittany?), and only subsequently to England, or whether the 'Celtic' glosses (including the vernacular one) were added by a Cornish scribe active in an English centre. At least we do know that around the mid-tenth century the MS must have reached Glastonbury, where it was glossed again, possibly by Saint Dunstan himself (cf. Gameson 2012c: 347).

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 6877
Essential bibliography

ASM 657 (§908); Bischoff 1977: 40 (n. 4); Gameson 2012c: 347; Lambert 2018: 40; LF BF1313; Love 2012: 94, 121–5; Papahagi 2010: passim, esp. 22–7, 33 (n. 76), 50, 167–9; Parkes 1981; Schrijver 2011: 11; Sims-Williams 2005; Teeuwen 2020: 285–6; Troncarelli 1981: 137–51, 153–96.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-14 08:25:02
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #206
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