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Angers » BM » MS 477 (461)

Library Place Angers
Library Name BM
Shelfmark MS 477 (461)
Folio Range Whole MS (99 fols; 3 codicological units)
Date IX ex. / X in. (with C.U. 2 written in AD 897)
  • Brittany (?)
  • Landévennec (?)
  • Léon (?)
  • Northern Francia (probably)
  • Amiens (?)
  • Corbie (?)
  • Laon (?)
  • Soissons (?)

Saint-Aubin of Angers


C.U. 1:

  • Greek-Latin glossaries (1r-8v)
  • Added prayer to the Virgin Mary (incomplete) (8v)

C.U. 2:

  • Church consecration diagram, with added marginal excerpts from Martial's epigrams and from the Book of Jeremiah (9r)
  • Computistical diagrams (9v)
  • Bede, De natura rerum (10r-18v)
  • Bede, De temporibus (18v-22r)
  • Victorius of Aquitaine, Liber calculi (22r-27v)
  • Computistical tables and calendar (28r-43v)
  • Computistical argumenta (44r)
  • Bede, De temporum ratione (without Chronica maiora, except for chapter 61, ll. 1–71 of Jones's 1975 edition) (44v-85v)
  • Cryptogram (cf. Lambert 1983: 140–1) (47v)
  • Added formula for ordeal by hot water and curse (85v)
  • Colophon of C.U. 2: sit sospes qui scripsit hunc librum (85v)
  • Added texts, including excerpts from Deuteronomy and passages from Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob, possibly inserted by the same hand responsible for the marginalia on fols 9r-v (87r-v)

C.U. 3:

  • Prayers, homilies, poetry, Biblical and exegetical excerpts, etc. (88r-96r)
  • Computistical and cosmological tables, diagrams and texts, as well as penitential excerpts, canon laws and poetry, in various hands (96v-99v)

Abundant glossing and marginal entries throughout the MS, in both Latin and Old Breton.

Old Breton Materials Yes
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials Yes
Connection with Brittany

The codicological structure and contents of this important MS are very complex, and a full study is still a desideratum (although a marked progress has recently been achieved in Barbet-Massin 2017, at least from the codicological point of view). Angers 477, which contains the largest collection of Old Breton glosses ever discovered (roughly 450; for their discovery see Fleuriot 1959), is constituted by three codicological units, but these were bound together at an early date: this is especially true as far as units 2 and 3 are concerned, given that the hand of the glosses of 'type B' can be seen on both of these units (cf. Barbet-Massin 2017: 18–21), so that unit 3 can be considered as an 'expansion' of unit 2 (cf. Kat. §69, 'Erweiterung in bretonischer Min.'). As for unit 1, which contains some Greek-Latin glossaries (cf. Omont 1898), its date may be slightly earlier than that of the other two units (cf. Kat. §68), but the fact that the script of the prayer to Mary added on fol. 8v appears to resemble the hand responsible for the texts added on fol. 87v (at the end of unit 2, cf. Barbet-Massin 2017: 21) might suggest that unit 1 too was attached to the other two sections at an early stage, perhaps already in the tenth century.

The dating of the MS has attracted some controversy, but it is in fact quite clear that the second codicological unit was written in AD 897, as shown by a marginal argumentum occurring on fol. 21r (for a published dating of this MS to c. AD 900, cf. Barbet-Massin 2017: 32–3, pace Gautier Dalché, who erroneously associated the scientific diagrams in Angers 477 with the teachings of Abbo of Fleury; cf. Gautier Dalché 2002: 38–41); this also means that unit 1 probably dates from the late ninth century (in agreement with Bischoff's dating, as indicated above), while unit 3 may have been added sometime in the early tenth century.

Determining the origin of this codex is more difficult, and several different places of origins have been proposed by scholars. Fleuriot initially opted for Landévennec (DGVB 9–11; note that Dubreucq has recently called into question Fleuriot's suggestion that Angers 477 originated from the same scriptorium where Paris, BnF, Lat. 13029 was written; cf. Dubreucq 2017: 143–4). Deuffic (PMSB 293) stated (following an earlier suggestion by Vezin) that this MS is 'dû sans doute à un léonard établi à Angers vers la fin du IXe siècle' (see also ILLB In43, p. 142, for the prominent presence of saints associated with the region of Léon in the calendar at fols 30v–36r; moreover, 'Léon' is indicated by Bischoff as the area of origin of units 2 and 3 in Kat. §69). A completely different localization has been recently proposed by Barbet-Massin, who attributes the writing of the bulk of Angers 477 to a Breton scribe working in the areas of Amiens/Corbie or Laon/Soissons (Barbet-Massin 2017: 28–34): this view is mostly based on readings shared with several codices originating from Northern Frankish scriptoria, as well as on the presence of numerous saints associated with the region of Amiens/Corbie in the above-mentioned calendar at fols 30v–36r (the main comparandum being the 'Amiens Sacramentary', i.e. Paris, BnF, Lat. 9432). Some of the textual links identified by Barbet-Massin involve Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, MS Aug. perg. 167, a famous copy of Bede's scientific works copied by Irish scribes probably in the area of Laon/Soissons (cf. Barbet-Massin 2017: 23–4, 30, 32–3). This is highly significant, as connections between Angers 477 and Karlsruhe 167 have also been detected as far as the glosses are concerned (cf. Lambert 1983: 120–9; Lambert 2018: 35–6; Bauer 2017b; for parallels with further MSS containing glosses to Bede's works, see Bauer 2019b). In particular, Angers 477 preserves at least two corrupted Old Irish glosses (Lambert 1983: 129, 132; Lambert 1989: 89; Lambert 1994: 101; Bauer 2017: 38), as well as a number of Breton glosses clearly related to, and probably based on, an Irish or Irish-influenced model close to Karlsruhe 167 (in this context, it is also important to note that Fleuriot introduced a distinction between 'type-A' and 'type-B' glosses in DGVB 9: the former are contemporary with the main text of unit 2, while the latter are somewhat later, but the precise distribution of hands within these two groups remains to be worked out in detail). In any case, there is no doubt as to the Breton origin of the scribes who participated in the writing of Angers 477: the presence of nearly 500 Old Breton glosses, the frequent and consistent use of insular abbreviations throughout the main text and the glosses, and the strong Breton character of the calendar, leave no doubt in this respect.

As for the Irish affiliations of Angers 477, they are far from being confined to its vernacular glosses. Indeed, some of the Latin glosses demonstrate the glossators' acquaintance with the three main Irish computistical textbooks discovered so far, namely the Computus Einsidlensis, the Munich Computus and De ratione conputandi (cf. Ó Cróinín 1982: 426, n. 60; Ó Cróinín 1983: 79; Warntjes 2010: clxxxiii–clxxxvii; Bisagni 2020a: 41–6). To this already long series of connections with Ireland we should add the church consecration ritual on fol. 9r (discussed in detail in Barbet-Massin 2011 and Barbet-Massin 2016), the mention of the death of Uuiniaus = Saint Finnian of Clonard (AD 549) at fol. 36v (Ó Cróinín 1983: 77–9), and the computistical table occurring at the bottom of fol. 36r, where Old Breton words are used to translate (sometimes erroneously) equivalent Old Irish calendrical terms (Lambert and Bisagni 2018). Prominent links with Wales and England are present too (for the Welsh links, cf. DGVB 16, 26, 29–31; Lambert 1994: 101–2, 104; Lambert 2018: 36–8, noting that vernacular type-B glosses present 'a language coloured with Old Welsh features'; for the Anglo-Saxon links, cf. Le Duc 1979 and Le Duc 1989). All this makes of Angers 477 an extraordinary cross-linguistic and cross-cultural 'bridge' between the insular world, Brittany and Francia (for example, for a preliminary attempt to analyse the phenomena of language interaction in these glosses, see Bauer 2017: 42–4).

Given that significant doubts still surround the issue of the manuscript's place of origin, and given that many different hypothetical scenarios may be proposed to account for the complex superposition of layers that can be recognised in both the main text and the glosses, it is clear that a complete and thorough palaeographical, textual and linguistic analysis of the three codicological units that composed Angers 477 is a major desideratum.

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 68; 69
Essential bibliography

Barbet-Massin 2011; Barbet-Massin 2013: 398–9, 498; Barbet-Massin 2016; Barbet-Massin 2017; Bauer 2008: 9–65; Bauer 2017: passim (esp. pp. 34, 38, 42–6); Bauer 2017b; Bauer 2019b: passim (esp. p. 32–3, 47); Bisagni 2020a: 36–7 (n. 92), 40–6; CCfr; CGM 31: 349; Deuffic 2008: 116; DGVB 6, 8–11, 16, 18, 26–31; Dumville 2005: 57–9; Fleuriot 1959; Gautier Dalché 2002: 38–41; Guillotel 1985: 16; ILLB In43; Initiale; Le Duc 1979; Le Duc 1989; Le Duc 1995: 176; Lambert 1983 and 1984; Lambert 1983b; Lambert 1989: 89–92; Lambert 1990; Lambert 1994: 101–2, 104; Lambert 2005; Lambert 2018: 35–8; Lambert 2019; Lambert and Bisagni 2018; Lemoine 1985: 52–7, 260–4, 290, 357–67; Lemoine 2010: 219; Ó Cróinín 1982: 426 (n. 60); Ó Cróinín 1983: 77–9; Ó Cróinín 1988: 115–16, 118, 163; Omont 1898; PMSB 293 (§7); Schrijver 2011: 9; Simpson (McKee) 1994: 115; Simpson (McKee) 2012: 342; Smith 1992: 171 (n. 103), 172 (n. 105); Stifter 2018: 37, 47; Stirnemann 2011: 75–6; Warntjes 2010: cv–cvi, cxxviii–cxxxii, clxxxiii–clxxxvii, ccix.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-26 13:23:20
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #9
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