BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 571
France, s. X2 and XII1
Gregory the Great, Dialogi; Sermons; Life of St. Simeon, in Latin
1. ff. 1r-63v // furem huc ingredi non permittas. Protinus serpens totus se in itinere in
transversum tetendit ... Scrupulum cogitationis mee aperta ratio dissolvit. De Abundio
mansionario ecclesiae sancte Romane. //
Gregory the Great (Gregorius Magnus), Dialogi, Books I-III. CPL 1713; A. de
Sources chretiennes, v. 260 (1979), pp. 34-364. Starts incomplete I, 3, 2 and ends incomplete III,
24, 3 followed by the title of III, 25. Between ff. 13 and 14 a page is missing which contained
Dialogi I, 9, 8-13 (pp. 84-88).
2. ff. 64r-65r // videt diabolum propter se assistere. Quid hic adstas cruenta bestia? Nichil in me,
funeste, repperies ... Martinus hic pauper et modicus celum dives ingreditur.
Sulpicius Severus, Sermo de transitu sancti Martini = Epistula III, 16-21 ; CPL 476, BHL 5613 ;
C. Halm, ed., CSEL, v. 1 (1866), pp. 149-151. The beginning is missing.
3. ff. 65r-69v Sermo in natale unius confessoris. Fratres karissimi, qui ad celebrandam
festivitatem sacrosancti confessoris illius [above the line : Aderaldi] certatim concurritis ...
sanctis suis semper est mirabilis, nunc et per cuncta secula seculorum. Amen. Explicit sermo.
Unidentified sermon for the feast of a Confessor in the Common of the Saints, containing 7??
Lessons. Above the line a twelfth-century hand has repeatedly identified the saint with St.
Aderaldus archdeacon of Troyes (d. beginning of the 11th cent.).
4. ff. 69v-96r Postquam de paradisi gaudiis culpa exigente expulsus est primus humani generis
parens, in huius exilii atque caecitatis quam patimur erumnam venit ... Et fidenter dico, quia
salutari hostia post mortem non indigemus, sed [correction above the line : si] ante mortem hostia
Domino ipsi fuerimus. Expliciunt dialogorum libri IIII sancti Gregorii episcopi urbis Rome. Amen.
f. 96v blank
Gregory the Great (Gregorius Magnus), Dialogi (see art. 1), Book IV; A. de
Vogue, ed., Sources
chretiennes, v. 265 (1980), pp. 16-206.
5. ff. 97r-108v Incipit vita sancti Simeonis monachi. Sancte recordationis beatus Symeon,
cuius depositionis diem hodie celebramus, ex utero matris sue electus a Domino meditabatur a
pusillo opera placentia Deo ... mercedem a Domino Ihesu Christo recipiet. Celebratur dies
depositionis eius sancti Symeonis nonas Ianuarii in ***ate Domino nostro Ihesu Christo, cui
honor et gloria in secula seculorum. Amen. Explicit vita sancti Simeonis.
Vita S. Symeonis Stylitae, BHL 7959 ; PL 73.325-334.
6. Music added in a few margins s. XII: f. 52v, on a 4-line stave with the opening verses of the
famous hymn in honour of St. John the Baptist (RH 21039) "Ut queant laxis resonare fibris mira
gestorum famuli tuorum sollve [sic] polluti labii reatum sancte Iohannes"; f. 78v, neumes in a
two-part notation divided by an undulating line with the beginning of the Easter verse "Dicant
nunc Iud@ei quomodo milites custodientes"; see J.R. Bryden, D.G. Hughes, An Index of
Gregorian Chant, v. 1 (Cambridge MA, 1969), p. 119.
Parchment of varying quality, some parts very bad (quire IX), with irregular edges, ff. III
(parchment) +108 + II (parchment), 260 x 175 mm.
Tentative collation: I 8 (ff. 1-8), II 8 (- 6, with loss of text, ff. 9-15), III-VIII 8 (ff. 16-63), IX 12 (-
1, ff. 64-74), X-XI 8 (ff. 75-90), XII 10 (- 2, - 4, - 6, - 10, ff. 91-96), XIII 8 (ff. 97-104), XIV 4
(ff. 105-108). The first quire is missing. Quire signatures of the later Middle Ages in the middle
of the lower margin of the last pages, from "2" to "15".
Quires I-X have hard-point ruling for one column of 22 lines above top line (ff. 1-23) or 24 lines
above top line (ff. 24-82; ff. 53-54 have 25 lines). The ruling type is 36 or 33. The pricking has
mostly disappeared at the trimming. The 12th-century sections have hard-point ruling for one
column of a varying number of lines above top line: 30 (quire XI); 29, from f. 95r onwards 28
(quire XII); 24, towards the end a larger number (quires XIII-XIV). Pricking in the upper, outer
and lower margin. Ruling type 36. In general the dimensions of the ruling vary a lot.
There are more than five scribes: A (Carolingian script with very imperfect word separation, s.
X2), ff. 1r-63v = art. 1; B (large and bold Carolingian script, s. X2), ff. 64r-74v; C (smaller
Carolingian script, very close to B, or same hand), ff. 75r-82v; D (Praegothica, s. XII), ff. 83r-
96r; E (various hands writing Praegothica and succeeding each other at irregular intervals), ff.
97r-108v = art. 5.
Art. 1 is decorated with red plain initials, more or less small decorated initials in various colours
and large initials, of which the principal are: f. 21r, extra large, with interlace decoration, in
brown, red, blue, green (beginning of Book II); f. 26v, with foliate decoration (beginning of II,
5); f. 45r, with foliate and interlace decoration (beginning of Book III); f. 49v, idem (beginning
of III, 9); f. 54v, idem (beginning of III, 15); f. 60r, with interlace decoration (beginning of III,
18). Titles, incipits and explicits in Capitalis, on ff. 20v-21r in red and brown ink.
Art. 3 has a title in mixed Capitalis/Uncialis.
The part of art. 4 copied by hand B has some highlighting in yellow, red or green and plain
initials; the part copied by hand C has a few plain initials; the 12th-century part copied by hand D
has red headings with instructions in small script written in the outer margins, plain or flourished
Romanesque initials and an explicit in decorated mixed Capitalis/Uncialis.
Art. 5 is undecorated apart from its title and the opening initial.
There are effaced drawings in the lower margins of some leaves in art. 1.
Binding s. XX: reddish brown morocco over cardboard, by Riviere and Son. Spine with five
raised bands and gold-tooled inscription "S. GREGORII DIALOGI. SAEC. X". On the binders
Riviere and Son see H.W. Nixon, Five Centuries of English Bookbinding (London, 1978), p. 218
The earliest sections of this complicated and textually interesting manuscript have traditionally
been dated to the ninth century. Bernhard Bischoff ascribed them to the early eleventh century,
which seems too late given the very archaic appearance of the script. They were written by three
successive hands. Hand A copied Books I-III of Gregory's Dialogi, the beginning as well as the
end of which are missing (art. 1). Book II dedicated to the Life of St. Benedict is emphasized by
a large decorative initial at its beginning (f. 21r) and an explicit formula at the end in
Capitalis/Uncialis "Explicit vita sancti hac [sic] beatissimi Benedicti abbatis". Corrections are
very numerous. Carl Nordenfalk in a letter to H. P. Kraus ascribed the decoration to the
monastery of St. Benoit-sur-Loire. Hand B added on extremely bad parchment art. 2 (the
beginning of which is lost) and 3, and continued with Book IV of the Dialogi (art. 4). The
sermon that is art. 3 was afterwards marked as being in honour of St. Aderaldus, which may
point to Poitiers as the place where the manuscript or part of it was at that time kept. After a few
pages the very similar hand C continued the Dialogi in quire X, which ends with Book IV, 18, 2
(ed. de Vogue, p. 70): "gravitatis detersit manu. Cumque eam //". More than a century later hand
D wrote the continuation on quires XI and XII. Two final quires were added about the same
time, copied by a series of hands (E) writing the Life of St. Symeon (art. 5).
Said to have belonged to the French humanist Pierre Pithou (d. 1596), many of whose
manuscripts ended up in the collection of the Duchesse de Berry, whose armorial bookplate is in
our manuscript. It was sold in 1837: Catalogue de la riche bibliotheque de Rosny (Paris, s.d .), no.
2369. A note in French pasted on the last of the front fly-leaves recto repeats part of the
description in this sale catalogue. About Marie-Caroline-Ferdinande-Louise de Bourbon-Sicile,
Duchesse de Berry (1798-1870), see Dictionnaire de Biographie francaise, v. 6 (Paris, 1954),
157-159; J. Guigard, Nouvel armorial du bibliophile, v. 1 (Paris, 1890), pp. 105-107. There is a
second, unidentified armorial bookplate?? Collection of Guglielmo Libri: his sale catalogue ??,
1859, no. 431. Sir Thomas Phillipps (MS 16332). Sold by the Phillipps heirs, 10 June 1896, no.
1231. Sotheby sale, 14 Dec. 1919, no. 719. Judge Granger ?? Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hans P. Kraus
in memory of Edwin J. Beinecke, 1975.
Bibliography: Th. E. Marston, "A Manuscript of the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great",
Gazette, 50 (1976), pp. 15-18.
Quires Folios Quire-Marks Lines Scribes Content
I 1-8 2 22 A 1
II 9-15 3 22 A 1
III 16-23 4 22 A 1
IV 24-31 5 24 A 1
V 32-39 6 24 A 1
VI 40-47 - 24 A 1
VII 48-55 8 24~ A 1
VIII 56-63 9 24 A 1
IX 64-74 - 24 B 2-4
X 75-82 11 24 C 4
XI 83-90 12 30 D 4
XII 91-96 13 29~ D 4
XIII 97-104 14 24 E 5
XIV 105-108 15 24~ E 5