ST AUGUSTINE (354-430), De doctrina Christiana and other works, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Italy, second or third quarter of the 15th century]
270 x 170mm. iii paper + 116 + iii paper leaves: 18(of 10, lacking i & x), 2-1110, 128 (of 10, ix and x cancelled blanks), catchwords throughout, and occasional leaf signatures, foliated in 18th(?)-century reddish ink, lacking ff.1 and 10, 29 lines written in semi-humanistic bookhand in brown ink, between two verticals ruled in plummet and 30 horizontals ruled in ink, justification: 185 x 100mm, rubrics in dark red, two-, three-, and four-line initials alternately blue or reddish, TWO INITIALS IN GOLD, MODELLED IN YELLOW, WITH WHITE-VINE DECORATION ON A GROUND OF RED, BLUE, AND GREEN (ff.70, 105) (first two leaves lacking parts of their upper and fore-edge margins from damage by extinct mould). 18th-century Italian half sheep and patterned paper over pasteboards, the spine lettered in gilt 'XXXIII S. AUG. MEDIT MS.' (scuffed).
1. The script and illumination show that the manuscript was made in Italy, where it continued in use as shown by the numerous marginal annotations and textual correction in more than one fine fifteenth-century Italian humanistic hand.
2. Perhaps from the Dominican convent of San Domenico, Gaeta (see lot 16): bound uniformly with the manuscript from Gaeta (lot 22) and eleven others and similarly inscribed 'A. 6 Meditationes Sci Augustini' (ff.2, 11) and 'foglie # 116 Segnato N AP' (end pastedown).
3. HSA, B1376; Faulhaber, pp.7-8, 54, 80-81.
Augustine, De doctrina Christiana, ending with a rubric Explicit liber quartus et ultimus sancti Augustini de doctrina christiana (ff.2-68), followed by a chapter-list (ff.68v-69v); John of Fécamp, Meditationes (on which see Wilmart, Auteurs spirituals et textes dévotes du Moyen Age, (1932) pp.126-7), ending with a rubric Expliciunt Meditationes seu suppotationes Beatissimi Augustini (ff.70-104); the Prayer of Manasses (which follows II Chronicles in the Vulgate Bible) (f.104r-v); a prayer often said at the elevation of the host, 'Salutatio ad corpus Christi. Ave Ihesu Christe verbum patris filius virginis agnus dei' (see Wilmart, p.24 n.) (f.104v); Pseudo-Augustine, Liber de contemplatione Domini, or Manuale (see Wilmart, pp.195-6), ending 'Expliciunt Meditationes minores sollempnissimi doctoris Beatissimi patris nostri Augustini Episcopi' (ff.105-118).
The main text of the volume was composed in two stages, Books I-III in A.D. 397, the fourth in 426. The four books concern fundamentals of Christian doctrine; interpretation required by ignorance of the meaning of signs; interpretation required by the ambiguity of signs; and the Christian Orator.
John of Fécamp (d.1097) -- after a varied life as a student of medicine, abbot of Fécamp and Dijon, traveller to the Holy Land, captive of the Turks, and confidante of Emperor Henry III -- spent the last years of his life as spiritual guide to Henry's widow, Agnes, for whom he wrote a number of devotional works, including the collection of prayers and Meditations, which were attributed to Augustine in the Middle Ages. The final text in the present manuscript, also attributed to Augustine, is in fact a collection of pieces by different authors, including John.