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POPE LEO I, Sermones, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [Lake Constance, first quarter 9th century]
POPE LEO I, Sermones, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [Lake Constance, first quarter 9th century]
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POPE LEO I, Sermones, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [Lake Constance, first quarter 9th century]

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POPE LEO I, Sermones, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [Lake Constance, first quarter 9th century]

A fine, confident example of Alemannic minuscule.

A single leaf, 245 x 175mm, single column of 17 lines written in dark brown ink in an Alemannic minuscule, glosses in a 15th-century German hand on verso (small stains, outer margin torn with small losses to a few lines of text, some creasing and cockling, small pieces of paper adhering to lower part). Bound in grey buckram at the Quaritch bindery.


Provenance:
(1) Bernard Breslauer (1918-2004): a description in German by Albert Bruckner, who saw the leaf when it was in Breslauer’s possession, accompanies the lot.

(2) Heinrich Rosenthal, Lucerne. Sold in October 1959 to:

(3) Bernard Rosenthal, his 'I/86'. A letter of 1 November 1959 from the great palaeographer Bernhard Bischoff addressed to Rosenthal, in which he dates the fragment and localises it to the Bodensee region, accompanies the documentation of the lot.

(4) Quaritch, Bookhands V, cat.1147 (1991), no 3 (as ‘Commentary on Joel’).

(5) Schøyen Collection, MS 618.


Text:
The text, beginning on the reverse of the fragment as bound, ‘patum tenere; Quia multum prodest ad praecepta’ and ending ‘prius sem[en]te[m] dominicam tua ariditate[…]’ generally follows the text of Pope Leo I’s (c.391-461) Sermo LXXXI, for Pentecost, ch.1-2. In addition to a few deviations from the standard text of Migne, the present fragment also includes an excerpt from what appears to be a commentary on Joel 2.23.


Script:
Alemannic minuscule was the pre-Carolingian script in use in St Gall and Reichenau, which reached its mature form in the mid-8th century in the hand of the scribe Winithar, about whom Lowe noted ‘his piety and zeal for learning were only exceeded by his bad penmanship’ (Codices Latini Antiquiores VII, p.ix). The script of the present fragment, written with a thick pen in a confident hand, boasts a well-spaced, robust aspect, a firmly formed uncial ‘a’ and a preponderance of ligatures (for example 're', 'ri', 'or', 'ec', 'ex', 'st', 'et', 'ae'), showing the beginnings of early Carolingian influence.
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Eugenio Donadoni
Eugenio Donadoni

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