PERALDUS, Guglielmus (c.1190/1200-c.1270). Sermones de epistolis dominicarum, and Sermones in evangeliis dominicalibus, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[southern Germany or Austria, 14th century]
210 x153mm. 246 leaves: 1-710, 88, 9-2110, 228, 23-2510, lacking a gathering at beginning and end, traces of trimmed catchwords at lower inner edge of most final versos, some also with informal quire numbers, prickings survive and guide letters for some rubrics, two columms of 37 lines written in dark brown ink in a round gothic bookhand between four verticals and 38 horizontals ruled in brown ink, justification: 160 x 55-10-55mm, some cadels with tightly scrolling flourishing, rubrics in red, titles and biblical quotations underlined in red, paragraph marks and two-line initials in red, some with flourishing and a few with faces, areas of two versos where original parchment weak patterned in red (pp.21v & 56v), medieval marginal annotations some in German, nota bene and manicoli (upper page edges with dark staining that occasionally extends slightly into upper margins, most seriously on first folio). CONTEMPORARY CHAINED BINDING, original kermes-stained leather over slightly bevelled boards sewn on five thongs, vellum pastedown on upper cover from a 12th-century service book and on lower cover with dominus meus nos concedit/ in large letters, INTACT METAL CHAIN 82CM LONG of nine elongated links attached by a metal hasp to upper edge of lower cover and ending in a round eyelet (worn, lacking clasps from lower cover and pins from upper cover, rebacked in white leather, replaced corners of brown leather wormed). Modern fitted box.
1. Some of the marginal notes in German have features characteristic of southern German dialect (eg f.134v), and point to the early location of the manuscript in an institution in that region. It was clearly an establishment with a library of some importance for it to have been necessary to keep the books chained.
2. Johannes Ernst of Jamagne, Apostolic Protonotary, of the Deanery of Passau and the parish of Waidhofen-an-der-Thaya, in northern Austria: his bookplate inside upper cover, inscribed with the shelf-marks 154, 271 and the initals MBM.
3. A 19th-century descriptive label pasted inside the upper cover has the shelf-marks MIII c9 (crossed through), Vd 7 (replacing a crossed-through 5) and 5876 (crossed through). The numbers 7453 and 23571 are also written in pencil inside the upper cover.
Guilelmus Peraldus, Sermons for Sundays arranged according to the Temporal in two series.
Sermons on the epistles, opening in the first sermon for the fourth Sunday in Advent followed by Item de eodem 'D[omi]n[u]s p[ro]pe e[st] etc [Philippians 4, 5], Hoc verba multum frequentat ecclesia' (J.B. Schneyer, Repertorium der Lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters, 1970, no 141) succeeded by Scheneyer's 142-145, 148-153, 154, 156, 159-165, 168-185 etc and generally following Schneyer until 323 for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost near the end of the Temporal ff.1-117v. Sermons on the Gospels, from the first Sunday in Advent 'Dilicte filie syon [Matthew 21, 5], In hoc sacro tempore' (Schneyer, Wegweiser, 1965, p.134; attributed to Peraldus), followed by 'Erunt signa in sole [Luke 21], In domenica precedenti recoluit ecclesia' (Schneyer, Repertorium, 7), and continuing to the 25th Sunday after Pentecost and the end of the Temporal ff.119-243v.
The Dominican Guillaume Peyrault, or Peyraud, was the perfect embodiment of the ideals of his order, and was renowned for the brilliance and zeal of his preaching. His contemporaries praised his virtuous character and application: 'in keeping with his religious profession he evangelised by word, pen and example; even in death he did not cease preaching'. He had joined the Order in the 1230s and spent the remainder of his life travelling to preach and hear confession, and in writing treatises that could serve as the basis for the sermons and pastoral care of others. His best known works were the Summa de viciis et virtutibus and the body of 500 or so sermons that circulated in manuscript in his lifetime. Both had widespread and continued popularity -- as the present manuscript shows -- and from the 15th century on were issued in many printed editions.
There is perhaps nothing more evocative of medieval scholasticism and scholarship than a chained binding. They are a solid expression of the value an institution placed upon both the content and the cost of its manuscripts, allowing availability while protecting security. Few survive in as complete a state as the present example.