A CARTHUSIAN DEVOTIONAL COMPENDIUM, in Latin, decorated manuscript on paper [Strasbourg, second half 15th century]
A personal devotional book, doubtless written by a Carthusian of Strasbourg for his own use and kept in the library after his death, still in its unusual original binding.
(1) THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY OF STRASBOURG: a partially erased inscription reads ‘Hic libell(us) spe[ctat ad domum] mo(n)t(is) b(ea)te Marie virg(inis) ord(inis) car[thusiensis] p(ro)pe Argen[tinam]’ (f.ir). Although the book was produced for personal use by a Carthusian monk, the presence of a spine-title demonstrates that it was later shelved among other books in a library; a late 16th-century catalogue of the Strasbourg Carthusian library includes a few entries that could refer to the present volume, e.g. no.279: ‘De passione domini et alia varia’ (Schmidt, Zur Geschichte der ältesten Bibliotheken […] zu Strassburg, 1882, p.63). (2) MAURICE BURRUS, without his usual acquisition-note, but doubtless acquired locally.
Extracts from the gospels for the liturgical hours of the day: ‘Concordancia ewangelistarum. De passione domini. Appropinquante passionis tempore […]’ ff.1r-15v; a series of devotional exercises for the liturgical hours from first compline, followed by matins to compline the next day, ff.16r-32v; near-contemporary added prayers on the Wounds of Christ, etc., ff.32v-34v; a long series of devotions headed ‘Modus meditandi’, the first being ‘Memoriale passionis dominice’, ff.35r-115v; ‘Incipit tractatus de ligno vite editus a fratre Bonaventura […]’ ff.120r-143r; short treatises on virtuous themes, the first on loving one’s neighbour, ‘Caritas ad proximi’, including a ‘Nota pro Carthusiensibus pulchra extracta ex Tractatu de quadripartito celle exercitu [i.e. of Adam of Dryburgh, d. c.1212] ipsius ordinis Carthusiensis’, ff.144r-155v; the final flyleaf with several lines in German f.156v.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION:
150 x 115mm, paper, i + 155 + i leaves, COMPLETE, mainly in gatherings of 12 leaves, some with added leaves and most with catchwords, with narrow strips of waste manuscript on vellum used as strengthening in the middle of each, written in several scripts, c.20 lines, ruled space: c.100x70mm (marginal staining, some edges frayed).
The volume retains its remarkable original binding: the paper textblock is protected by a double layer of vellum, the inner one formed of a document, dated 1399 at Ehrenbreitstein (where there was a Carthusian monastery), in the name of Werner von Falkenstein, archbishop of Trier, and the outer one blank but strengthened with another document also mentioning Trier; the spine is strengthened with a strip of thick leather, itself reinforced by four strips of leather for the sewing (worn and scuffed).