JOHANNES CASSIANUS (d. c.435), Collationes Patrum I-VIII, in Dutch, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Northern Netherlands] 1419
200 x 140 mm. ii + 144 + ii leaves: 110 (of 10; i-ii are cancelled blanks, ff.i-ii are inserted flyleaves), 2-178, 1811 (of 10, ix blank cancelled, ff.145-146 are inserted flyleaves), COMPLETE, some prickings preserved, two columns of 25 lines written in brown ink in a formal gothic bookhand between four verticals and 26 horizontals ruled in brown, justification: 140 x 95 mm, rubrics and chapter numbers in red, capitals stroked in red, SEVEN LARGE DECORATED INITIALS in red and blue with red and purple penwork ff.1, 22v, 43, 60v, 94v, 115, 130v, one large initial in blue with red scrolling foliate ornament and red penwork, f.74v, two-line initials alternately red or blue, paraphs in red (some minor staining). Sewn on four bands and bound in wood boards covered with brown calf tooled in blind with two rolls, one with classical busts-in-medallion amongst scrolling foliage, the other with figures labelled as David, the Virgin and Child, Paul, and 'Isaeia', and individual stamps of acorns, lilies, and six-petalled flowers, two clasps at the fore-edge, the spine lettered in gilt for Bogaers: 'Cassianus. 1419.' and with his initials 'A.B.' at the foot (the straps renewed, top and bottom of spine repaired and damaged).
Written in 1419 on the eve of the feast of St Bartolomew (i.e. 23 August), according to the colophon: 'Ghescreven int iaer ons heren dusent vier hondert ende neghentien op sinte bartholomeus avent' (f.143).
The full text consists of twenty-four Collations, so this is apparently the first volume of a three-volume set. The second volume is probably Copenhagen, Royal Library, MS. Thott 524, 4o, which contains Collations IX-XVII, which is extremely close in size (see J. Deschamps, Middelnederlandse handschriften uit Europese en Amerikaanse bibliotheken, 1972, no 75), and has a colophon stating that it was completed by Brother Vrederic on 24 January 1419 [1420 n.s.], i.e. five months after the completion of the present volume.
There is a three-line erased medieval ownership inscription apparently beginning 'Dit boc ...' (f.iii verso).
Jacob (Jan) Marcus (1702-50), Amsterdam historian and book-collector: sold by S. Schouten, Veilingcatalogus, boeken van Jacob Marcus, 7 September 1750, lot 36 (according to the Schoenberg database).
A member or members of the Enschedé family of printers of Haarlem, Izaak (1681-1761), his son Johannes (1708-1780), and the latter's son also called Johannes (1750-99): sold at Haarlem by Frederick Muller and Martin Nijhoff, Catalogue de la bibliothéque ... formée pendant le 18e siècle par Messieurs Izaak, Iohannes et le Dr. Iohannes Enschedé, Imprimeurs-Libraires à Haarlem, 9 December 1867, lot 506 (clipping inside front cover).
Adriaan Bogaers (1795-1870), Rotterdam lawyer, poet and linguist: with his signature (f.iii) and his characteristic gilt lettering on the spine. The Royal Library in the Hague has about 45 medieval manuscripts from his collection, some of which he obtained at the Enschedé sale; see Kees Thomassen, 'A. Bogaers: Lawyer and Man of Letters, 1795-1870', in M. van Delft et al., eds., Collectors and Collections: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1798-1998 (1998), pp.108-12.
'Dic is dat prologus vanden navolghe den boeke. Hi hiet Iohannes Cassianus die dese vier ende twintich navolgende vadere ... Hier beghint die anderde collatcie des heilighen abts Moyses vanden ondersceide ... Hier beghint die achte collacie des heilighen abts Theodorus van den do ot der heylighen ..., ff.1-143; the flyleaves at each end of the volume are composed of the outer two bifolia of the first quire of a copy of Pseudo-Eusebius's Epistola de morte beati Hieronomi, ff.i-ii, 145-146.
Cassian's work on monasticism was much read. The Dutch translation made by Lodewijk Thonijs of Brussels in 1382 seems to have had a very restricted circulation, whereas the translation made in the Northern Netherlands, the text of the present lot, circulated widely in the second half of the 15th century in both the Northern and Southern Netherlands, doubtless fostered by the religious houses associated with the Windesheim Congregation and the Brethren of the Common Life. It was probably in the context of the devotio moderna that the translation was made to widen access to a fundamental text on the religious life, of which THIS IS APPARENTLY THE EARLIEST DATED COPY.