PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND MATERIALITY
Parchment, most of a bifolium, c. 244mm x 394mm, the three sides cropped and the corners clipped to allow mitering, but still preserving prickings in one wide margin (and the scribe’s guides for the rubric, “EV” for “Evangelium” and “[M]ala” for “Malachie”), ruled in drypoint, each leaf preserving 28–29 lines in a single column, written in a large transitional bookhand, with rubrics and enlarged initials in red, the words of the chant in smaller script allowing space for staveless neumes between the lines.
Although the sheet is generally fairly clean and well-flattened, its previous use as a book-cover is clear from the clipped corners and the turn-in creases. The original gutter fold has broad horizontal slits at the sewing-stations, and considerable vertical accumulations of dirt in the fold, except immediately next to the sewing stations: this is because the sewing would have been more tightly pulled against the gutter here, making it more difficult for dirt to penetrate underneath the threads.
It is perhaps surprising that the sheet is cropped on three sides: it would have been less work to trim the bifolium down to the required size by trimming only two margins. That this was not done suggests that the whole bifolium was used, and then after it had been applied to the host binding the excess was trimmed away where necessary. This gives an rare insight into the specifics of the binder’s working-methods.
SCRIPT & MUSIC
As with other examples of transitional script in this catalogue, the overall appearance is late caroline, but individual features betray the evolution towards Gothic: we find adjacent round letters do not kiss or fuse, but the finals strokes of several letter, including ‘e’, ‘r’, and ‘t’ often touch the next letter, ę is used for ‘æ’, double ‘i’ is dotted, but not single ‘i’ or ‘y’, the ampersand is used but not tironian ‘et’, round ‘r’ occurs only after ‘o’, round ‘s’ is sometimes used at the end of words, and as a capital at the beginning of sentences, majuscule ‘r’ appears occasionally at the end of words, punctuation includes the typically Cistercian punctus flexus, accents are provided to aid reading aloud. The broken form of ‘h’ (Honoris) and capital ‘L’ (Lucam, Lucerna), as well as the rather orange tone of the rubrics, is typically German.
First leaf. St Benedict:
Recto. “atque pontifice fragilitatem nostram … Postcommunio. Prestent domi[ ] quesumus tua sancta presidium … BENEDICTI. Iustus ut palma florebit sicut cedrus Lybani … Oratio. Intercessio nos quesumus domine beati Benedicti abbatis commendet … Sapientie. Iustus cor suum tradet ad uigilandum … Collaudabunt mult[i] [Ecclesiasticus 39:6–12]”
Verso. “… Secundum Lucam. In illo tempore. Dicit Ihesus discipulis suis. Nemo lucernam accendit … [Luke 11:33–36] Offertorium. Posuisti domine in capite eius coronam … Secreta. Sacris altaribus domine hostias super positas … All. Protegat nos domine cum tui perceptione sacramenti beatus Benedictus … intercessionis ipsius percipiamus”
Recto. The Common for the Birth of a Virgin-Martyr:
“& in conspectu uirtutis illius gloriabitur … & rami mei honoris & gratię. [Ecclesiasticus 24:2–22] Gr. Specie tua & pulchritudine tua … Evangelium. Simile est regnum celorum thesauro. R. in natalis sancte Lucie virg. Offertorium. Offerentur regi uirgines post eam … Secreta. Super has quesumus domine hostias benedictio copiosa descendat … Communio. Simile est regnum celorum homini negociatori … Postcommunio.”
Verso. The Virgin Mary:
“[… MA]RIĘ v(irginis). Suscepimus deus misericordiam tuam … Oratio. Omnipotens sempiterne deus maiestatem tuam supplices exoramus … Lectio Malachie prophete. He dicit dominus. Ecce ego mittam angelum meum … [i.e. Malachi 3:1–4] Graduale. Suscepimus deus misericordiam tuam in medio templi tuo … domine ita & laus”.
Despite only using one colour, apparently the same red ink as the rubrics, the artist/scribe of the initials emphasised the major initials not only by their size, but also by some accomplished ornament.
This bifolium has the appearance of being from a fairly normal noted Missal, but it may have been more special than that. The two feastdays represented appear to be the Purification of the Virgin (2 February) and the Translation of Benedict (11 July) several months apart, and so the only way for both to have occurred within a single quire the parent volume would be if it comprised only a selection of the most important feastdays of the year. Perhaps a more likely alternative, however, is that the texts may instead represent the main feast of Benedict (21 March) and the Annunciation to Virgin (25 March), just a few days apart. Comparison with another 12th-century Cistercian Missal might confirm this, and any textual variants might help date the present fragment, as changes in Cistercian liturgy are well documented and usually precisely datable.