Tag Archives: Gottschalk of Lambach

Manuscript Road Trip: Reverse-Engineering the Codex

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

Like all of us, I’ve been working and teaching from home for nearly a year, waiting with bated breath for the vaccine distribution, wearing my mask to keep myself and my community safe, and working exclusively from digital images of medieval manuscripts. My recent appointment as a lecturer in Latin Paleography at Yale meant that when libraries on campus opened to faculty and students I was allowed to, at long last, visit an actual library to do some research with real, not digital, medieval manuscripts. And not just any library, but the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale, where I first catalogued and studied medieval manuscripts in earnest while in graduate school there in the early 1990s.

At the Beinecke Library on January 19, 2021
(action photo by Michael Morand)

Because the pandemic is still raging in the U.S., my class meets remotely, like most university classes in the U.S. this semester. Since the Beinecke has digitized hundreds of manuscripts in recent years, I am able to teach a survey of Latin Paleography with reference to those images. And with the launch just last week of a new IIIF-compliant digital viewer at Yale, discovering, browsing, and sharing those images just got a whole lot easier. But digital images, while extremely useful for paleographers thanks to deep zoom and interoperability, aren’t sufficient if you also want to study codicology, that is, the structure of medieval manuscripts. You have to get your hands on the books. Paleography isn’t just about the letters written on the paper or parchment. It’s also about context, what Leonard Boyle called “integral paleography.” It’s about the substrate, the ink and pigments, the decoration, the format, the construction of bifolia, quires, and binding and, ultimately, the institutional context within which the manuscript was written and read, whether monastic, secular, or professional, and its journey from there-and-then to here-and-now. And so I wanted to find a way to give my students, some of whom are Zooming in from overseas, a way to engage with the three-dimensional multi-sensory experience of the medieval codex. Hence my day at the Beinecke, surveying manuscripts that will be made available to my students, on appointment, to study onsite (for my overseas students, I’ve found local collections for them to visit).

I spent time with an old friend that day, MS 699, the fifth of a five-volume set recording Augustine’s Enarrationes in Psalmos, written in Lambach, Austria, in the third-quarter of the twelfth century. Why is it an old friend? Because it played a significant role in my PhD thesis and first book, The Gottschalk Antiphonary: Music and Liturgy in Twelfth-Century Lambach. MS 699 was illustrated by the same Gottschalk who illustrated, wrote, and notated the eponymous antiphonal (a manuscript that was recycled for binding use at Lambach in the fifteenth century and that I recently reconstructed online here). Multiple scribes worked on these Augustine volumes, but the four extant volumes of the set were all illustrated by Gottschalk of Lambach:

Clockwise from top: initials by Gottschalk of Lambach in Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. IV, and Vol. V (i.e. Beinecke MS 699) of Augustine’s Ennarationes in Psalmos (Vol. III is lost. Image from Vol. I taken from Holter 1993, p. 435, fig. 19)

MS 699 is a perfect example of a typical 12th-c. monastic manuscript in its size, layout, script, decoration, use of signatures (at the end of each quire in Roman numerals), the original incised pigskin binding, and the quality of the parchment. Don’t get me wrong, the Lambach monks were very skilled when it came to making parchment. You can easily distinguish hair-side from flesh-side, both by color and by texture. The quires are arranged according to “Gregory’s Rule,” with hair-side facing hair-side and flesh-side facing flesh-side, giving a consistent color and texture across each opening. The parchment is supple and smooth, perfectly prepared to receive the iron gall ink. But the monks were frugal. Instead of cutting around flaws in the skin to create blemish-free bifolia, they used all of the skin available to them, flaws and all. The leaves are full of holes, tears, and slits, whether from natural processes like bug bites or scarring from when the animal (presumably a sheep) was still alive, or tears inflicted by the parchmenter during scudding or stretching. These flaws are why I wanted my students to see this manuscript in person.

Parchment flaws in MS 699

One of the things I find most engaging about working with medieval manuscripts is the palpable connection they provide to the past. When I’m turning the pages of a manuscript like MS 699, I’m imagining the butcher, the parchmenter, the scribe, the artist, the binder, and hundreds of years of readers and owners who’ve handled and read the codex. I’m walking its path from 12th-century Lambach to 21st-century New Haven. While studying the manuscript in person this time, though, I was able to take it back another step, to literally start piecing together the manuscript’s first journey, from sheep to parchment to bifolia, by reverse-engineering the codex.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that parchment is an animal’s skin. It has an outside (the hair side, yellowed and rough) and an inside (the flesh side, light and smooth). The size of the codex depends on the size of the bifolia cut from the skin, which in turn depends on the size of the skin itself, which in turn depends on the size of the animal. I’ve seen giant choirbooks in which each folio is an entire skin, with the spinal column running vertically down the middle. That skin-sized single sheet might be folded in half to create one bifolium. During the 12th century, when monastic textual manuscripts tend to be around 350 x 250 mm, it was typical for a skin to be cut into four bifolia. This diagram shows how that might happen, using the bibliographic terms folio, quarto, and octavo (two sheets, four sheets, and eight sheets):

Diagram from D. S. Farnsworth,
Handmade Paper Method Cinquecento:
Renaissance Paper Textures
 (Oakland, CA: Magnolia Editions, 2018),
p. 20, fig. 2

Because there are so many flaws in these leaves, I had hoped that I might be able to find evidence of how the bifolia were cut from the skin. After carefully scanning the outer edges of each leaf, I found two whose edges fit together perfectly, showing exactly how the knife cut them from the skin. The edges of f. 110 and f. 115 fit together like puzzle pieces, which is exactly what they are.

The two bifolia (ff. 105/110 and ff. 115/116) were originally connected at their short edges, as shown below.

When together, they must have spanned the length of the skin. This means that the monks who cut the skin into bifolia were cutting four bifolia from each skin. Each leaf is 195 x 227 mm. Each bifolium is 390 x 227. The usable portion of the skin, then, measured around 780 x 454 mm, or 30 3/4 x 18 3/4 inches, a fairly typical size for a sheepskin. And now we can even partially reconstruct the very sheepskin from which these two bifolia were cut:

I haven’t yet been able to find evidence of the other two bifolia cut from this skin. Because I haven’t found the missing lower part of the hole in any other bifolium of the manuscript, I’ve oriented the two bifolia so that the flaw was close to the outer edge of the skin rather than the spine.

So now we’ve made our way backwards from 21st-century New Haven to 12th-century Lambach, all the way back to the parchmenter’s workspace at the Lambach Abbey. Now let’s see what else we can learn about book production in Lambach by moving forward in time just a bit.

The five-volume set of Augustine’s Enarrationes in Psalmos was an enormous project, requiring hundreds of bifolia in all:

Volume I (Psalms 1-50): Codex membranaceus lambacensis XVII (now Leutkirch, Fürstlich Waldburgschen Gesamtarchivs MS 5). 216 leaves = 108 bifolia = 27 skins

Volume II (Psalms 51-100): CML XVIII (sold at Christie’s in 2000, then by Les Enluminures to a private European collection). 279 leaves = 140 bifolia = 35 skins

Volume III (Psalms 101-117): CML IX (lost, number of leaves unknown)

Volume IV (Psalms 118-133): CML LXV (now Frankfurt, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Lat. qu. 64). 192 leaves = 96 bifolia = 24 skins

Volume V (Psalms 134-150): CML LXIV (now Beinecke MS 699). 141 leaves = 71 bifolia = 18 skins

In all, well over 100 sheepskins. That’s a lot of sheep and a lot of labor.

These volumes are constructed like most 12th-century Germanic monastic manuscripts, in quires of four nested bifolia. The bifolia were assembled and slip-stitched together to make a quire for writing. After the manuscript was written and illustrated, the quires were stacked in order, sewn together on cords perpendicular to the spine, and secured between wooden boards covered with leather. The first step in the writing process is for a scribe to walk over to the pile of prepared parchment and pick out four bifolia to work with. You might assume that two bifolia cut from the same skin would end up together in the pile. They might, then, be grabbed by our monk as he assembled his quire and end up close together, if not consecutive, in the final codex. In this case, however, the bifolia are separated by several sheets:

Bifolium 105/110 is the second bifolium (i.e. the 2nd and 7th leaves) of the fourteenth quire of MS 699. Bifolium 115/116 is the central bifolium (i.e. the 4th and 5th leaves) of the next quire, the fifteenth. These two bifolia, cut from the same skin, ended up near one another in the codex, but in different quires. This suggests either that somewhere in the process the bifolia were separated in the pile, or that the monk who chose the parchment for his work put some judgement into selecting bifolia for each quire, rather than just grabbing the four at the top.

Reverse-engineering the codex has brought us from my hand turning the leaves in New Haven in the year 2021 past 850 years of readers to the Lambach bindery, scribe, artist, parchmenter, and butcher, all the way back to a lone sheep grazing along the River Traun near the Lambach Abbey around the year 1175.

Thanks, sheep.


Holter, K. “Initialen aus einer Lambacher Handschrift des 12. Jahrhundert (Ms. 5 des Fürstlich Waldburgschen Gesamtarchivs in Schloß Zeil in Leutkirch)” Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 46-47 (1993-4): 255-265, 443-436.

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Filed under Codicology, Medieval Manuscripts, Paleography, Uncategorized

Manuscript Road Trip: Fragmentology under Quarantine

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

For the last few weeks, working from home as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been Tweeting long threads about different manuscript-related subjects. But while following up on the latest thread, I made a discovery that is worth blogging about.

The thread was a brief tour of a fabulous  manuscript, Berlin, Staatsbibliothek MS Theol. Lat. Qu. 140, written and illustrated by Gottschalk of Lambach in the late twelfth century.


Berlin, Staatsbibliothek MS Theol. Lat. Qu. 140 (Lambach, s. XII ex)

At the end of the thread, I showed one of my favorite types of material evidence in medieval manuscripts: offsets left by manuscript fragments that were adhered to the binding structure and were later peeled away. I promised to follow up, so here goes.


Corpus juris civilis: Institutiones Justiniani, with gloss (Oxford, Bodleian Library, A 1.11 Art. Seld.)

It was quite common in the late medieval and early modern period for binders to dismantle older or damaged manuscripts and recycle their parchment leaves for use as binding structures – covers, flyleaves, pastedowns, stays, or spine liners. These binding fragments can still be found hiding in their bindings, just waiting to be discovered. Sometimes they are  removed from the binding and circulated separately, still bearing the scars of that use. The binding from which the fragment is removed can also bear the scars.

When a fragment pasted into a binding (like this one shown at the left, from Oxford) is peeled off, it may leave behind an inverted ghost-text. We have just such a situation inside the front and back covers of the Berlin manuscript.

You really can’t help but wonder about the missing fragments. When were they written? What text did they preserve? When were they peeled off? Where are they now? These are the fundamental questions a Fragmentologist asks, and I didn’t know the answers until today.


Front and Back boards, Berlin Staatsbibliothek MS Theol. Lat. Qu. 140

When faced with offsets like these, the first step is to invert the image so you can actually read the text. Here’s the front offset, inverted and in detail:

00000002 reverse detail

It’s actually quite legible!

Question No. 1: When and where was the fragment written? The script appears to be late tenth or early eleventh century (key features include the pointed minims of [m] and a long-[s] that drops slightly below the line of writing). These are eleventh-century fragments in a fifteenth-century binding of a twelfth-century manuscript. The binding and the manuscript are both from Lambach. What about the fragments? They are Germanic in style, but because they predate the 1056 foundation of the Lambach Abbey they must have been written elsewhere, perhaps brought to the Abbey at its foundation to stock the library.

Question No. 2: What text does it preserve? A good bit of the text is legible in the above detail: “factum est iam in illo” on the first line, “hominum” below, “ideo sunt homines” on line 3, and more. If you have access to one of the subscription collections of Latin texts, you need only plug in a few words and see what happens. During the pandemic, I’m working from home (like the rest of you), so all I’ve got is whatever is open access. Google is usually a good place to start, and, in this case, I was immediately successful in identifying the text! The phrase “factum est iam in illo” followed soon after by “hominum” and “ideo sunt homines” comes from Book IV:i of Augustine’s De Trinitate (online here):

De Trinitate

Questions no. 3 and 4: When were they removed, and where are they now? Because I spent five years cataloguing manuscript fragments at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, I happen to know that lots of binding fragments from Lambach ended up in that collection (including seventeen leaves of the Gottschalk Antiphonal, the subject of my dissertation and first book). The Beinecke is the first place to go for anything Lambach-related, so I started there by searching for keywords “Augustine” and “Trinitate.” Bingo! Three leaves from this same manuscript are now Beinecke MS 481.20, catalogued in part by yours truly thirty years ago!

The description of the leaves, completed by curator Robert G. Babcock after I had finished my PhD in 1993, notes 1996 correspondence from paleographer Hartmut Hoffmann in which he writes that these leaves do indeed come from the same manuscript as those that were removed from the Berlin binding. What Hoffmann couldn’t have known (because he didn’t have the images), and what I just discovered TODAY, is that MS 481.20.3 isn’t just from the same MANUSCRIPT as the missing leaves, it is in fact ONE OF THEM! Folio 481.20.3 can be shown to have been pasted down inside the front cover of the Berlin manuscript. The leaf and the offset are mirror images, and f. 3r matches the visible text offset on the front board:

Beinecke MS 481.20 3r and front board, Berlin Staatsbib. MS Theol. Lat. Qu. 140

The leaf that was pasted down inside the back board is NOT at Yale, though. Hoffmann’s letter (summarized here) records that another leaf of this manuscript is still in Lambach, where it is Fragment 8/11. No images of this fragment are available, so we can’t say for sure if that’s the other missing leaf. However, using the same technique as above the offset can be identified as De Trinitate IV:v-vi, and Hoffmann identifies the text on the Lambach fragment as preserving the same section. So it seems almost certain that the leaf removed from the lower board is indeed still in Lambach.


Beinecke MS 481.20.3r overlaid on the inner front board of Berlin, Staatsbibliothek MS Theol. Lat. Qu. 140 (inverted for legibility; image by Mike Toth)

As for WHEN the binding fragments were removed, I do know that part of the story because it played an important part in my dissertation research. In the 1930s, a scholar named Kurt Holter visited the Lambach library and made detailed and extensive notes about fragments in fifteenth-century bindings. When he returned to Lambach after WWII, the manuscripts were still there, but nearly all of the binding fragments were gone, most having been sold by the Abbey during the war to raise funds for necessary woodworking equipment. The Berlin manuscript was still in Lambach at that time, but the fragments had been removed and sold. From Lambach, the fragment collection made its way to Switzerland, where it was acquired in the 1950s by a dealer named Franz Zinniker. He sold the collection to NYC dealer Hans Kraus, who sold part of it to Yale in 1965 and donated the other half later that same year. By that time, the Lambach origin of the fragments had been forgotten. The story of how Robert Babcock, myself, and two other graduate students (Philip Rusche and Nancy Seybold) traced the fragments back to Lambach has been told elsewhere. This identification of 481.20.3 as having been removed from the Berlin manuscript is a poignant epilogue.00000005Gottschalk

Stay safe, friends.


Babcock, Robert Gary. Reconstructing a Medieval Library: Fragments from Lambach (New Haven, 1993)

Babcock, Robert Gary, Lisa Fagin Davis, and Philip Rusche. Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Volume IV, MSS 481-485 (Tempe, 2004)

Davis, Lisa Fagin. The Gottschalk Antiphonary: Music and Liturgy in Twelfth-Century Lambach (Cambridge, 2000)


Filed under Fragmentology, Uncategorized

Manuscript Road Trip: (Re)introducing the Gottschalk Antiphonal!

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

A few months ago, I wrote about the potential of Fragmentarium for cataloguing fragments and digitally reconstructing dismembered manuscripts. I concluded that post with the  aspirational note, “I really do think it’s time for Gottschalk to go digital,” in reference to the manuscript I reconstructed as part of my PhD dissertation at Yale in the early 1990s. That work was done using black-and-white photocopies, and, when published by Cambridge University Press in the year 2000, black-and-white photographs. Now, 750 years after the manuscript was written, the Gottschalk Antiphonal has finally gone digital! I am very pleased to introduce my Fragmentarium reconstruction of the Gottschalk Antiphonal, in glorious IIIF-compliant interoperable color:



Hello, Gottschalk!

I was inspired to add Gottschalk to Fragmentarium by my students’ work reconstructing other manuscripts and motivated to actually do it by my participation in a Fragmentology session at the recent International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Thousands of medievalists from all over the world flock to Kalamazoo every May for this annual conference, listening to and learning from one another, greeting old friends, conferring with colleagues. My session was chaired by Elizabeth Hebbard (Indiana Univ.) and included fragmentology presentations by Julia King (Univ. of Toronto), Kayla Lunt (Indiana Univ.), Dana Kovarik (Univ. College London), and Elena Iourtaeva (Harvard Univ.). All six of us are working on fragmentology projects. I noted in my presentation that the Swiss-German word for “fragmentology” is “Schnipseljagd” (fragment hunting), which makes all six of us Schnipseljägerinnen (“Fragment huntresses”). That might just be my new favorite word.


The Schnipseljägerinnen of Kalamazoo

In my presentation I discussed the fragmentology projects completed by my students at the Simmons School of Library and Information Science, and I debuted my digital reconstruction of the Gottschalk Antiphonal.


The Gottschalk Antiphonal, with Gottschalk’s distinctive script, neumatic notation, marginal tonary-letters, and purple-and-red penwork initials (BRBL MS 481.51.6v)

The Gottschalk Antiphonal was written and illustrated in the late twelfth century by the scribe/artist/monk Gottschalk of Lambach and was used at the Lambach abbey for several centuries. The manuscript is a choirbook for the Divine Offices recited throughout the day, preserving liturgy for specific days throughout the year. Because it is a choirbook, it includes interlinear musical notation: predating the development of the four-line-staff and Gregorian notation, the Antiphonal uses unheightened neumes in the St. Gall style, with tonary-letters (indicating something akin to the “key” of each chant) in the margins. Gottschalk’s distinctive artistic style permeates the manuscript, with penwork initials in purple and red.

By the fifteenth century, the musical notation and liturgy were centuries out-of-date, and, along with many other manuscripts, the obsolete antiphonal was dismembered to be used as binding scrap at the Lambach Abbey bindery. During World War II, the monks found themselves in need of a new wood lathe. To raise money for the purchase, they removed the antiphonal leaves and dozens of other fragments from the later bindings in which they had been repurposed, and sold them.

The fragments made their way en masse via a Swiss bookdealer to the New York firm of Hans P. Kraus, and from there to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (BRBL) in 1965. By the time the leaves had been acquired by Kraus, however, the original provenance of the group had been forgotten. Fortunately, a scholar by the name of Kurt Holter had studied and described the fragments in situ at Lambach before the war. It was thanks to his published descriptions of the leaves that then-curator Robert G. Babcock and a team of graduate students (including myself) were, in the early 1990s, able to identify the Beinecke collection as having originated at Lambach. I was particularly intrigued by the seventeen antiphonal leaves and decided to make the manuscript the subject of my dissertation. In addition to the seventeen Gottschalk Antiphonal leaves at Yale (BRBL MS 481.51), there are two at Harvard’s Houghton Library (MS Typ 704 (5) and 704 (6)). We have already seen the leaf that toured the midwestern United States in an aluminum trailer before settling down at the St. Louis Public Library, and there are a few still in Austria (at a hotel in Badgastein, in the abbey of St. Paul im Lavanttal, and in Lambach itself, although the incunable flyleaves observed there as recently as 1998 have since vanished and are represented in the online reconstruction by my old black-and-white photographs).


Offset of a Gottschalk Antiphonal leaf (BRBL Zi +1525, inner rear cover) (image rotated and inverted)

In 2016, an offset of a leaf of the Gottschalk Antiphonal was found in an incunable belonging to the Beinecke Library. The mirror-image remnant was left behind when the actual leaf was peeled off of the wooden board, where it had been used to secure the leather turn-ins on the back cover. Ironically, the volume had been at the Beinecke for decades by the time I wrote my thesis there, but it was only during a recent survey of the bindings by Elizabeth Hebbard (Indiana Univ.) that the offset was photographed and identified. The leaf was originally consecutive with one of the leaves at Harvard, and I have added an inverted and rotated image of the offset to my Fragmentarium reconstruction. I hope that more leaves will come to light someday. If they do, they can easily be added to the twenty-nine leaves currently appearing in the Fragmentarium shared canvas.

And here’s a sidenote for the liturgists among you (if you’re not interested in a deep dive into the structure of medieval liturgical manuscripts, you should skip the next few paragraphs). Every time I’ve returned to the Gottschalk Antiphonal over the years, I’ve found myself wondering if I really did put the leaves in the right order. There are no folio numbers, after all, so only the content can determine the correct sequence. In the case of the Gottschalk Antiphonal, the correct order of leaves isn’t always obvious.

The order of the leaves is debatable because in the early Middle Ages, there was no consistent organizational system for liturgical manuscripts. They tended to be organized calendrically, but some manuscripts intermingled the movable feasts like Easter with the dated feasts like Saints’ days (see Hughes, p. 243, ms B60 for one such example). This system was a bit messy, since it necessitated interspersing set feasts with those that could move. In the later Middle Ages (starting in the thirteenth century or so), a more orderly system developed that untangled the two types of feastdays. As a result, later liturgical manuscripts are almost always divided into two sections known as the Temporale (the movable feasts whose dates are set relative to Easter, plus a few set feasts like Christmas and Epiphany) and the Sanctorale (saints’ feasts in calendrical order, e.g. St. Valentine on February 14). Both sections usually begin in late November, with the beginning of Advent for the Temporale and Saint Andrew (30 November) for the Sanctorale. The Sanctorale is usually followed by the Commons, generic liturgy for particular classes of saints like Virgin Martyrs or Popes.

BRBL 481.51.8r

Initial Q in Gottschalk’s distinctive style (BRBL MS 481.51.8r)

The Gottschalk Antiphonal is of the earlier variety that mingles Temporale and Sanctorale. For example, a now-lost leaf that was formerly bound into an incunable in the Lambach Abbey library includes liturgy for the Sunday during the Octave of Epiphany (part of the Temporale, even though Epiphany has a fixed date) as well as the liturgy for St. Paul the First Hermit (a Sanctorale feast on January 10) and St. Hilary of Poitiers (January 13). Depending on the day of week on which Epiphany fell in a given year, St. Paul or St. Hilary’s feastdays might have landed before, on, or after the Sunday that occurs during the eight days following Epiphany. This intermigling of Temporale and Sanctorale means that it’s not entirely obvious where in the year the manuscript begins or how leaves with Sanctorale feasts relate to calendrically-nearby Temporale feasts. But you have to start somewhere, and because most manuscripts begin with the first Sunday of Advent, it seemed logical to begin the Gottschalk Antiphonal there. And so BRBL MS 481.51.1, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, begins my reconstruction (Sundays 1-3 are not extant). From that point, the leaves are in roughly calendrical order, from Advent to Christmas (December), Epiphany season through Lent (January – March), Easter season (March – April), the Summer Sundays and autumn feasts (May – November), ending with St. Lucy (13 December) and St. Thomas the Apostle (21 December). I feel confident about this sequence in part because the office of St. Thomas is immediately followed by the first Common office, for Evangelists (BRBL MS 481.51.17).

Typ 704 6r

Virgin Saint (Harvard Univ., Houghton Library, MS Typ 704 (6) recto)

This placement suggests that the calendrical sequence ends in December and supports the idea that it began with Advent season. However, this theory is complicated by the fact that Advent season itself would have encompassed the Saints of December such as Lucy and Thomas. Gottschalk’s solution to this complexity appears to have been to simply avoid mingling the Sanctorale with Advent. For example, BRBL MS 481.51.2, liturgy for the week after the Fourth Sunday of Advent, provides ONLY Temporale liturgy and does not give any hint of Sanctorale feasts, even though that week could have included Saints from late December such as Lucy or Thomas. Instead, Gottschalk inserted the Saints of Advent season at the end of the manuscript, when the calendar circled back around to December. With only 29 leaves recovered out of perhaps as many as one hundred, however, it is certainly possible that additional evidence may result in adjustments to this sequence. Because Fragmentarium uses a drag-and-drop feature to sequence images, it will be quite simple to add or re-order leaves if necessary. The clip below demonstrates this backend functionality.


It is worth noting that images of the two leaves at Harvard were imported directly into the Fragmentarium reconstruction using a persistent IIIF url. The other images were uploaded to the Fragmentarium server as individual JPGs. That’s part of the magic of both Fragmentarium and of IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework.

Typ 704 5v

Angel of the Annunciation (Harvard Univ., Houghton Library MS Typ 704 (5) verso)

IIIF is the key to fragmentology. If an institutional repository serves its images using IIIF, each individual imagefile will have a persistent IIIF url that can be used to mirror the image directly into a shared-canvas viewer such as Mirador or, in the case of Fragmentarium, Open Sea Dragon. This means that the images are truly open access and can be shared, imported, and manipulated without duplicating, downloading, or uploading the imagefile itself. When the Fragmentarium shared canvas is opened or refreshed, the IIIF images are “mirrored” into the canvas directly from the host server, freed from the host’s viewer or database. The image also has its own metadata established by the home institution that “travels” with it into the shared canvas. If you want to learn more about IIIF and the Mirador viewer, by the way, check out the three-day workshop at the Beinecke Library on 10-12 July 2018 that I will be co-teaching with Stanford University’s Ben Albritton. The deadline to apply is June 1, and more information is available here.

Gottschalk AntiphonaryWhen I first studied the Gottschalk Antiphonal in the early 1990s, I did it with scissors and paste and black-and-white photocopies on the floor of my living room. It is truly thrilling to see it in glorious IIIF-compliant interoperable color in Fragmentarium. I hope that the reconstruction will complement the liturgical, art historical, and musicological study in my book, bringing this beautiful example of twelfth-century music, liturgy, and decoration to a new generation of students and scholars.



Davis, Lisa Fagin. The Gottschalk Antiphonary: Music and Liturgy in Twelfth-Century Lambach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Davis, Lisa Fagin. Fragmentarium. Multiple, Dispersed Virtual Reconstructions, Gottschalk Antiphonal <http://fragmentarium.ms/overview/F-75ud> (accessed 21 May 2018)

Hughes, Andrew. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to their Organization and Terminology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995)


Filed under Fragmentology, Medieval Manuscripts

Manuscript Road Trip: The Jersey Turnpike

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

Remember last time when I said we’d go to the Jersey Shore? I lied. There are no medieval manuscripts on the Jersey Shore. If you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, I highly recommend a visit to Asbury Park. But if you want manuscripts? Stay on the New Jersey Turnpike, the well-travelled and beloved thoroughfare that runs up the middle of the state. It just wouldn’t be a roadtrip without it.


We’ll start by getting off at Exit 8 and heading west into Princeton, where we will find one of the largest collections of medieval manuscripts in the U.S. at Princeton University. According to their website, the Manuscripts Division of the Rare Book and Special Collections Library holds “172 [medieval and Renaissance manuscripts] in the Robert Garrett Collection, 58 in the Grenville Kane Collection, 19 in the Robert Taylor Collection, and 201 in the growing Princeton Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. In addition, there are a number of manuscripts in the Cotsen Library, other manuscripts in other manuscript series or bound with printed books; more than 250 separate miniatures, leaves, and cuttings; and about 100 manuscripts in the Scheide Library.” (the Scheide Library is a private collection housed on the Princeton campus; the collector, William H. Scheide, passed away in November 2014)

Le roman de la rose (Garrett MS. 126, f. 1) (Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

Le roman de la rose (Garrett MS. 126, f. 1) (Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

Curator Don Skemer’s detailed and gorgeous catalogue of the Princeton collection reminds us why print catalogues are still worth publishing, especially when augmented by a significant online presence. Many of these manuscripts have been at least partially digitized, with images and metadata available through the Index of  Christian Art and ARTstor (both paywalled, but many major research libraries are subscribers to one or the other). If you don’t have access to either of these subscription databases, you can find links to a growing collection of digitized manuscripts in Princeton’s Digital Library. Best of all (and here I may be accused of burying the lead), the Checklist of Western Medieval, Byzantine, and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library and the Scheide Library includes links to thousands of images.

Princeton Univ. MS 51, f. 61 (Lambach, s. XII 3/4) (Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

Charlemagne and Alcuin, drawn by Gottschalk of Lambach (Princeton Univ. MS 51, f. 61 (Lambach, s. XII 3/4), Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

The miniature below, from Garrett MS. 48, struck me not only because of the elaborate diapered backgrounds in each of the four miniatures but in particular because of the lovely image in the lower margin of Christ learning to walk, toddling towards his mother’s outstretched arms (detail below).

Book of Hours, Use of Paris, ca. 1420–1430, France (Paris) (Garrett MS. 48, f. 1) (Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

Book of Hours, Use of Paris, ca. 1420–1430, France (Paris) (Garrett MS. 48, f. 1) (Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library)

Garrett MS. 48, f. 1 (detail, lower margin)

Garrett MS. 48, f. 1 (detail, lower margin)

Here are a few other highlights:

Garrett MS. 125 (Chrétien de Troyes, Le chevalier au lion and other French texts) (NW France, s. XIIIex)

Garrett MS. 158 (Giovanni Marcanova [ Collectio antiquitatum ]) (Italy (probably Bologna), 1471 (?) or after 1473)

Garrett MS. 43 (Benedictional written in late Carolingian minuscule and illuminated, probably at Lorsch Abbey, in the second quarter of the eleventh century)

Garrett MS. 126  (Le Roman de la rose, Paris, mid-14th century)

Keep an eye on Don Skemer’s blog for additional information about the collection. Manuscripts are held by other collections in Princeton, including the Princeton Theological Seminary (an institution independent of the University which holds, among other items, several examples of Oxyrhynchus papyri) and the Princeton University Art Museum (which holds, among other items, one of the scrolls edited in my forthcoming book). An Advanced Search in the Museum collection for “Classification = Manuscripts” and “Department = Prints and Drawings” will bring up most of the manuscripts and cuttings.

East to the beach or West to the manuscripts? Decisions, decisions...

East to the shore or West to the manuscripts? Decisions, decisions…

Now it’s back to the Turnpike, continuing north to Exit 9. If you need a beach break, turn right and go through East Brunswick towards Asbury Park. If you want some more manuscripts, turn westward and stop off at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

Rutgers University is home to several dozen leaves from manuscripts dismembered by our old friend Otto Ege. These leaves were the inspiration for one of the first, and still seminal, studies of Ege and his biblioclastic ways, Barbara Shailor’s “Otto Ege: his manuscript fragment collection and the opportunities presented by electronic technology” in The Book as Art, Literature and History (New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers Universities Libraries, c2003), available online here. The manuscripts are all accessible on Digital Scriptorium.

Beauvais Missal (Rutgers Univ., Special Collections, ND3375.F889, verso)

Beauvais Missal (Rutgers Univ., Special Collections, ND3375.F889, verso)

Just 1.5 miles up George St. is the New Brunswick Theological Seminary.  Among the printed books in the Gardner A. Sage library is a three-volume hybrid set of the works of St. Ambrose, the first (and probably the second) volume from 1516. The third volume is an incunable printed in Basel by Johann Amerbach in 1492. Conservation of the books yielded three binding fragments, since removed and housed separately. The first was from Giraldus Cremonensis’ Latin translation of Aristotle’s Meteora (Book II). The second volume contained a scrap of an Old French translation of the Book of Judges (20:23 – 21:7) and the third volume around 200 lines of a unique Old French Life of St. Andrew.  Both Old French fragments date from the early thirteenth century. For more, see Gerald A. Bertin and Alfred Foulet, “The Acts of Andrew in Old French Verse: The Gardner A. Sage Library Fragment (PMLA 81 (1966), 451-454) and Gerald A. Bertin, “The Book of Judges in Old French prose : the Gardner A. Sage Library fragment” (Romania 90 (1969), 121-131).

Next time, we’ll visit the Big Apple. Take the Turnpike to Exit 18W, cross the Hudson River, and meet me in Manhattan. But you’ll want to make one last stop before you get stuck in Bridge traffic…Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 9.40.25 AM





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