BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 215 France, s. XV^^in
St. Augustine, De civitate Dei, Fr. version of Raoul de Presles
V.1, f. 1r [Prologue:] A vous tres exellent prince charles le
quint Roy de france...[v. 4, f. 211v] et que nostre mere Sainte eglise
en tient. abte de ceste translacion. Cest translacion fu achevee le
premier jour de Septembre lan de grace mil. ccc. Soixente et Quinze.
See British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books, v. 8, col.
Composed of 4 volumes, originally bound as 2, of parchment. Vol. 1:
ff. ii (paper) + i (contemporary parchment) + 219 + ii (paper); vol. 2:
ii (paper) + 187 + iv (contemporary parchment, with iii and iv glued
together) + ii (paper); vol. 3: ii (paper) + iv (contemporary parchment,
i and ii stubs) + 146 + ii (paper); vol. 4: ii (paper) + 211 + iv
(contemporary parchment, i = stub) + ii (paper). All volumes 345 x 253
(250 x 172) mm., trimmed. Written in 2 columns, 42-44 lines; single
bounding lines, full across; ruled in pale brown ink.
Vol. 1: I-XIII^^12, XIV^^10, XV-XVII^^12, XVIII^^7 (originally 12, now
divided between v. 1 and 2); vol. 2: I^^5 (five loose leaves glued in;
originally part of final quire in v. 1), II-XV^^12, XVI^^14; vol. 3:
I-XII^^12, XIII^^2; vol. 4: I^^10, II-XVII^^12, XVIII^^10 (-10). Quires marked
in lead, s. xx, lower right recto: v. 1: A-S; v. 2: S-Z, 2A-2K; v. 3:
2L-2Z; v. 4: 3A-3Q; no J, U, or W. Catchwords lower right verso, first
letters often stroked in red.
Written in an informal batarde by one scribe who also added proper
names in the margins.
The miniatures are dry and unoriginal copies of rather average
quality. The illustrations of Bks. 1-10, the original first volume (now
vols. 1-2), are by an associate of the Boethius Master and depend upon
the cycle created for the Cite de Dieu by the Virgil Master (see S.O.D.
Smith, "Illustrations of Raoul de Praelles' Translation of St.
Augustine's 'City of God' between 1375 and 1420," Diss., New York
University, 1974, p. 126, no. 54; pp. 133-37, 219-22). The mediocre
illustrations of Bks. 11-22, by workshop assistants, used other models.
Other manuscripts to which the miniaturist of the present vols. 1-2
contributed (Smith, op. cit., p. 135) are: New York, Pierpont Morgan MS
804; Brussels, Bib. Roy. MS 9475; Grenoble, Bib. Pub. MS 870; Camarillo
(California) St. John's Seminary, Doheny Memorial Library, Bible
Historiale; London, B. L. Lansdowne 1178; Oxford, Bod. Lib. Douce 202.
Another Cite de Dieu from the Boethius Master's workshop is Paris, B.
N. fr. 20-21.
One large 2-column miniature of the Two Cities at the beginning of
Bk. 1 (f. 5r) in a thin gold frame; on 3 sides a bar-border with pink,
orange, and blue plant scrolls on a gold ground, surrounded by a full
border of dense ivy in pink, red, orange, blue, and gold, with white
highlights; interspersed with gold balls with hair-sprays. Before the
Prologue and all the remaining books, miniatures, 19- to 18-line (vols.
1-2) or 16- to 15-line (vols. 3-4), in thin frames, pink and blue, with
white highlights, set within a gold band, with 3/4 bar borders in red,
blue, and gold, highlighted in white, and a full ivy border, as
described above (no orange). These miniatures are as follows: v. 1: f.
1r (Prologue) Presentation of the work to Charles V; f. 37r (Bk. 2)
Messala and Cassius with musicians; f. 88v (Bk. 3) Seizure of Rome by
the Gauls; f. 166r (Bk. 4) Ptolemy and Pompey; v. 2: f. 1r (Bk. 5)
Wheel of Fortune and Nigidius; f. 46r (Bk. 6) Varro and Apuleius; f.
69v (Bk. 7) Berecynthia; f. 105r (Bk. 8) Aristippus in a boat; f. 140r
(Bk. 9) Monotheism; f. 160r (Bk. 10) The Old Law; v. 3: f. 2r (Bk. 11)
Christ with Mary; f. 21r (Bk. 12) Fall of the Rebel Angels; f. 36r (Bk.
13) Original Sin; f. 50r (Bk. 14) Four Philosophers; f. 74r (Bk. 15)
Cain and Abel; f. 108v (Bk. 16) Tower of Babel; v. 4: f. 1r (Bk. 17) a
man and woman on horseback (Abraham and his wife on their way to
Egypt?); f. 29r (Bk. 18) The Last Judgment; f. 80r (Bk. 19)
Philosophers Discussing; f. 111r (Bk. 20) Musicians; f. 145r (Bk. 21)
The Devil Seated on a Rock between Two Philosophers; f. 177v (Bk. 22)
Christ seated, with two angels, greets two men. Many of the folio
numbers given in A. de Laborde (Les manuscrits a peintures de la
de Dieu de Saint Augustin [Paris, 1909] pp. 301-05, no. 25) are
Beneath each miniature there is a large initial, 7- to 5-line,
blue or pink with scrolls and geometric forms in white highlighting, on
blue or pink grounds respectively, set within thin gold frames, or blue
and/or pink on a gold ground; both types filled with red and/or blue
ivy scrolls with white highlights (in one case, v. 4, f. 74r, there is
also a dragon terminal). Initials, 3- to 2-line, at the head of each
chapter, gold edged in black, on pink and blue grounds with white
highlights. Paragraph marks and book numbers, top center of each folio,
recto and verso (which in v. 4, ff. 152r-54r read XXII instead of XXI)
in the same manner. Ribbon line-fillers (in v. 3-4 only) red and blue,
with gold dots or lozenges and white highlights, edged in black.
Chapter headings and numeration in red (orange occasionally).
There are some stains, abrasions, and irregularities in the
parchment throughout; none obscure text or miniatures.
Binding: s. xix. Marbled and gilt edges. Blue goatskin heavily
gold-tooled. Bound for Count Justin MacCarthy-Reagh. Spines
mislabelled: II labelled IV, III labelled II, IV labelled III, I
Written in Paris, ca. 1415. A terminus ante quem of 1409, first
suggested by Laborde (op. cit., p. 302), and based upon the presumed
ownership of Jean II de Montagu, the grand maitre d'hotel of Charles
VI, need no longer be assumed; the inscriptions on which it depends (
"Monsieur de Montagu", v. 1: f. 1r; v. 3: f. 1r) seem to be of a later
period (s. xvi?). As the Boethius Master was active ca. 1414-1418/20
(M. Meiss, The Limbourgs, pp. 369-70), the Yale manuscript may be dated
ca. 1415. Belonged to Duc de Brancas (sale G. de Bure, Catalogue d'une
collection de livres choisis provenant du Cabinet de M*** [Paris, 1770]
no. 49). Library of Count Justin MacCarthy-Reagh, Toulouse (see
binding; sale G. de Bure, Catalogue de livres rares et precieux de la
bibliotheque de feu M. le Comte de... [Paris, 1825] no. 547). Collection
of Sir Thomas Phillipps (no. 4359; P. Durrieu, "Les manuscrits a
peintures de Sir Thomas Phillipps a Cheltenham," Bibliotheque de
l'ecole des Chartes 50  p. 392). Bequeathed to his grandson, M.
T. Fitzroy Fenwick, Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. Purchased in 1946
by William H. Robinson, Ltd., London. Acquired from Dudley M. Colman
through C. A. Stonehill in 1954 as the gift of the Yale Library Associates.
secundo folio: [v. 1, f. 2r] a ceste parlong
[v. 3 (originally 2)] lune que
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 41, no. 215. Exhibition
217-18, no. 43.
"Eight Medieval Manuscripts," Gazette 29 (1955) pp. 105, 109, with
illustration of v. 1, f. 6r.
Barbara A. Shailor