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Cambrai » BM » MS 679 (619)

Library Place Cambrai
Library Name BM
Shelfmark MS 679 (619)
Folio Range Whole MS (72 fols)
Date VIII 2/2 (AD 763-790)
  • Northern Francia
  • Cambrai (?)
  • Péronne (?)

Cambrai Cathedral

  • Recension A of Collectio Canonum Hibernensis, incomplete (1r-37r; 38v-72v)
  • 'Cambrai Homily' in Early Old Irish (37v-38v).
Old Breton Materials No
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials Yes
Connection with Brittany

This MS, which is written in an early form of Caroline minuscule with signficant insular features (especially at fols 37–38, on whose contents see below), was commissioned by Albericus, bishop of Cambrai (AD 763–90) and Arras, as revealed by the colophon at fol. 75: Explicit liber canonum quem domnus Albericus episcopus urbis Camaracinsium et Adrabatinsium fieri rogauit. Deo gratias. Amen. (cf. CLA vol. 6, §741). As for the place of writing, while the colophon might point to Cambrai, Bischoff suggested that this MS may have been written at Péronne (Bischoff 1994: 27). In addition to an incomplete copy of Recension A of the Collectio Canonum Hibernensis, the scribe inadvertendly copied at fols 37–8 a long text in Early Old Irish, usually known as 'Cambrai Homily', introduced by the formula In nomine Dei summi (ed. Thes II, xxvi, 244–7). Dumville (1994: 86, 93) argues that this MS is connected 'in certain textual peculiarities [...] with a group of three other manuscripts, one of which also belongs to the eighth century and visibly stands in an insular line of transmission'; the MSS in question are: Cologne, Dombibliothek, 210 (the eighth-century MS mentioned by Dumville), Chartres, BM, 124 (127) (s. X; destroyed in 1944; its contents began with the formula In nomine Dei summi according to CGM 11: 67), and Tours, BM, 556 (s. IX; from Marmoutiers, also destroyed during the Second World War). Unfortunately, Dumville does not elaborate on the possible connections between these MSS and Cambrai 670, but some details may be found in Bradshaw 1893: 10–11, 18–9 (cf. also Flechner 2019: 94–5).

To my knowledge, the only possible Breton affiliation concerning this MS is the word Emmanuel, written in the superior margin of fol. 1r: as has been recently pointed out by Lambert (2018: 20, citing from Bradshaw 1893: 24), 'Bradshaw remarked that the word Emmanuel [....] also occurred in the margin of two other manuscripts of Breton origin [i.e., Paris, BnF, Lat. 3182 and Orléans, Médiathèque, 221 (193)]. This, according to him, is "a possible indication that all three manuscripts were copied from a prototype existing in Brittany, which was itself written at a time when a greater number of Irish students were to be found in the monasteries of Saint Gildas at Rhuys and of Winwaloe at Landevennech, than was likely to be the case in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries".' Although this is far from being a sufficient proof, Bradshaw's view is nonetheless at least reasonable, especially in view of the very prominent role played by Brittany in the transmission of the Canones Hibernenses (cf. Dumville 1994; Flechner 2008; Lambert 2018: 18–23).

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

Bischoff 1994: 27; Bradshaw 1889: 414; Bradshaw 1893: 20–4; CCfr; CGM 17: 257–8; CLA 6, §741 = ELMSS; CLH 766–7 (§597); Dumville 1994: 86–7, 93; Enright 1985: 88, n. 47; Flechner 2019: I, 52, 94–5; Lambert 1994: 98; Lambert 2018: 20; MIrA; Thes II, xxvi.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-08 08:44:04
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #30
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