JACOBUS DE VORAGINE (ca. 1230-1298). Legenda aurea. - USUARDUS (d. ca. 875). Martyrologium. Cologne: Johann Koelhoff, the Elder, 5 January 1490.
Chancery 2o (266 x 195 mm). Collation: a8 b6; c-e8 f6 g-h8 i6 i8 k-l6 m-z A-F8.6 G6 H-N8.6; a-h6.8 (a1r title, a1v blank, a2r table; c1r Legenda aurea, N1v colophon, N2r additional texts; a1r title, a1v blank, a2r Martyrologium, h8r colophon, h8v blank). 316 leaves. 45 lines and headline. Types: 18:290G (titles and colophon to Legenda aurea), 15:175bG (headings), 17:86G (text), 16:80G (Additiones at end of table). Two- to four-line initial spaces, some with printed guide-letters. One four-line blue Lombard initial with red pen-flourishing; rubricated with red Lombards, capital strokes, paragraph signs and underlines (quire h of Legenda aurea unrubricated). (Slight soiling to first and last pages, a1.8, a2.7 and b1 of table strengthened at inner margin, faint printing offset to a number of leaves.) 18th-century panelled calf, gilt spine.
Provenance: Arne Pettersen; sale, Parke-Bernet, 10 November 1964, lot 188 -- Manhattan College: bookplate; sale, Christie's, New York, 1 June 1991, lot 64.
Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend was one of the most popular collections of saints' lives in the later Middle Ages. It survives in a large number of manuscripts and in more than 100 incunable editions in Latin or in vernacular translations. Although the basic cycle of feasts seems to have remained the same, additions and alterations were made to serve the interests of each region or audience, thus customizing individual manuscripts and editions to an extent that remains to be investigated. The Martyrology of Usuard was the most widely used martyrology of the Middle Ages and forms the basis of the Roman Martyrology. Composed during the Carolingian era by a Benedictine monk of St.-Germain-des-Prés at Paris on the basis of earlier works, it provides short readings for the feasts of the saints in the order of the church year.
ISTC lists only two other copies in North America (Fordham University, Library of Congress [Voragine only]). C 6465 (Voragine); HCR (Usuardus) 16111; BMC I, 229 (IB. 3615); CIBN J-96; Pr 1079; Voulliéme Köln 625; Goff J-123.