HOMILIARY OF PAUL THE DEACON, with excerpts from Origen and Bede, in Latin, manuscript on vellum [France, last third of the 9th century]
A handsome and clear example of Caroline minuscule written at an unidentified scriptorium in France: a testament to the popularity of Paul the Deacon's homiliary at the height of the Carolingian Empire.
A single leaf, 294 x 236mm, blind-ruled for two columns of 29 lines written in a fine Caroline minuscule in pale brown ink, ruled space 242 x 190mm, Rustic Capitals at the beginning of new sentences and for the heading of the Bede sermon, a medial punctus is used for the medial and main pauses, single bounding lines visible, '66' written in a ?16th-century hand in the middle of the top margin of the verso (a few stains and some marginal soiling, else in excellent condition). Bound in grey buckram at the Quaritch bindery.
(1) Dr Thomas E. Marston (1905-1984), former curator of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Yale University, sold in October 1957 to:
(2) Bernard Rosenthal, his 'I/51'. A letter from Bernard Bischoff dated 18 July 1986 accompanies the documentation of this lot.
(3) Bernard Quaritch, Bookhands of the Middle Ages, V, cat. 1147 (1991), no 76.
(4) Schøyen Collection, MS 621
The leaf contains two homilies on the Circumcision by the early Christian scholar, ascetic and theologian Origen of Alexandria (Patrologia Latina 26, Hom. XIV on Luke, col,246-247A, line 15), and Bede (ed. D. Hurst, Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, vol. 122, 1955, pp. 73-4, line 39).
For more on the homiliary of Paul the Deacon, see lot 424. This anthology of patristic and contemporary Church texts was widely circulated in the Carolingian Empire at the instigation of Charlemagne, and still forms the basis of the Roman Breviary.
The text is written in a handsome and clear French Caroline minuscule of the later 9th century, with tall ascenders and rudimentary loops sometimes appearing at the top. Strokes of the pen are clearly visible, and the minims are curled at the feet and the downstrokes of the 's', 'f', 'r' and 'q' taper slightly.
Z.M. Guiliano, ‘The composition, dissemination, and use of the homiliary of Paul the Deacon in Carolingian Europe from the late eighth to the mid-tenth century’, Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, 2016.