Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms. 594
A parchment manuscript
dated in the third quarter of the ninth century, located in Saint-Oyan, abbey
Saint-Claude (?). It contains the entire encyclopedia De nuptiis Philologiae
et Mercurii of Martianus Capella and is for the greater part heavily
glossed, apparently in only one contemporary hand. The glosses form a very close
parallel to those found in Leiden, Vossianus Latinus Folio 48.
- A. Castan, La bibliothèque de l'abbaye de St.-Claude du Jura,
p. 325 n. 2; id., Catalogue général, pp. 352-353
Castan dates the
manuscript in the middle of the ninth century and notes that the script of this
manuscript closely resembles those manuscripts that were produced by order of
Manno, who taught at Laon and later became provost of Saint-Claude in the Jura.
He observes that many of the marginal glosses seem to be written in the same
hand as the text.
- S. Tafel, The Lyons Scriptorium II, pp. 49-50
Tafel also mentions Manno:
a ct-ligature characteristic for his hand is also recognizable in Besançon, Ms. 594. A
Martianus Capella manuscript is mentioned in the 11th-century
catalogue of St.-Oyan. It is, however, described as a “codex continens Martiani
libros novem, habens in fine Porfiri librum ad Constantinum imperatorem”. But
nowadays the codex, which still has its original ninth-century sewing (!), only
contains Martianus Capella.
- J. Préaux, Un nouveau manuscrit de St. Gall, p. 225 n. 11
Préaux is the first to
identify the corpus of glosses in Besançon, Ms. 594 as being a representative of the
Anonymous corpus, which he attributes to Martin of Laon.
- C. Leonardi, I codici I, pp. 452, 462-463; II, pp. 13-14
Concerning the place of
origin Leonardi mentions St.-Oyan; the manuscript was there, at least, shortly
after its origin. He also recognizes the Anonymous corpus in the glosses, and
observes that it was written by two different hands.
- G. Glauche, Schullektüre
im Mittelalter, p. 45.
Glauche adds that this
manuscript, together with 11 others, bears witness to the special interest of
the “Irish colony” in De nuptiis. He suggests a concentration of
manuscripts and manuscript production with the commentary of the learned
Irishman Martin of Laon in Northeastern France or the surroundings of
- J. Préaux, Les manuscrits principaux, pp. 79, 123
Préaux dates the manuscript
in the second or third quarter of the 9th century and mentions that
the manuscript was present in St.-Oyan shortly after its origin. Besançon,
Ms. 594 is
not as close to the 6th-century archetype as Leiden, Vossianus Latinus Folio 48; it is
removed one step further.
- D. Shanzer, Review article
She repeats the
conclusions of the above mentioned authors and adds that in the stemma of
manuscripts, this manuscript is related to Paris, BnF, lat. 8669, Oxford, Laud.lat. 118 and Leiden, Vossianus Latinus Folio 48.
- The same information is
repeated in B. Bischoff, Katalog
der festländischen Handschriften, 629, pp. 157-158.
The manuscript consists of
11 quires: 1-38 [1-24], 410 [25-34],
56 (-1, -4) [35-38], 6-108 [39-78], 116
(-6) [79-83]. It is not clear why quires 4 and 5 deviate from the
pattern of regular quaternios. For the last quire (11) a smaller gathering
was obviously used because not many leaves would be needed for the remainder of
the text. All quires except the first and eleventh carry an original quire
signature in the lower margin of the last verso of each quire: f 16v - ii; f
24v - iii; f 34v - iiii; f 38v - v; f 46v - vi; f 54v - vii; f 62v - viii; f
70v - viiii; f 78v - x.
The foliation is modern, written in the upper right of each recto
in ink. On f 2r, 37r and 53r there are second folionumbers in pencil. In the
first quire the bifolia, which are now loose, have been re-arranged and
numbered in the wrong order. Nowadays the second bifolium is placed in the
middle of the gathering, so that the leaves are now in the order 1342|7568. To
read the leaves in the correct order, one should read (following the modern
pagination) f 1r-v, then 4r-v, 2r-v, 3r-v, 6r-v, 7r-v, 5r-v and finally 8r-v.
Originally the leaves were bound together correctly, as can be concluded from
the HF-arrangement and marks left by binding thread in the gutter of bifolium
3^6 (originally 4^5).
The leaves measure ca 335 x 255 mm. This must be close to the
original size of the manuscript, for the margins are quite large, there are no
signs of cutting and in quire 4 (the quinio) the edges of the
actual skin are visible (bifolia 26^33 and 28^31).
The parchment is of medium quality. Hair- and flesh-sides are in
general easily recognizable.
The thickness of the leaves is fairly constant. The quires of 8 leaves are
arranged according to the pattern HFHF. In the first quire, the present pattern
is HHFF, but restoring the original order, the pattern is HFHF. In the two terniones
and the quinio the arrangement is the same, taking the irregularities of
the gatherings into account. The manuscript does not have a cover, which caused
darkening of the outer leaves and fading of the ink. Both from the front and
from the back many wormholes penetrate into the manuscript, as far as f 37 and
f 58 respectively. Moisture damaged the manuscript, especially the last quire.
On several leaves in the margins white spots can be seen, perhaps some kind of
fungus or the remains of inserted damp and sticky paper leaves. Folium 36 (half
of a bifolium, fastened only by a stub) is torn and almost loose.
The leaves contain 29
lines, with exception of the first bifolium of the first quire (f 1^8), where
30 lines are ruled, but the 30th line is not used. Ten lines measure
ca 90-94 mm. Two ruling types are used in this manuscript: the quires 1,
2, 4, 5, 6 and 11 have one column, no
horizontal projecting through lines and only two vertical projecting through
lines: 1-1/0/0/J, ca. 60<134>62 x 22<264>52 mm (quires 1 and
2) or ca. 22<264>52 x 36<158>62 mm (quires 4-6
and 11). The quires 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10
have in lay-out a narrow column (probably originally meant for glosses) next to
a broad column, marked off by an extra vertical through line, but this narrow
column has never actually been used; the writing lines stretch from the first
to the third vertical through line. This ruling-type can be described by the
formula 11-1/0/0/J, ca. 35<17-136>65 x 22<264>52 mm. In both types
the prickings for the vertical lines are high in the upper, and low in the
lower margin. Pricking for the writing lines are along the edges of the leaves.
Ruling is executed by a hard point, generally on the hair-side of each
bifolium, laid open. There are two different ruling-patterns for the quaterniones:
><<>|<>>< in quire 1 (having restored the
original order of the bifolia);
><><|><>< in the quires 2, 3, 6-10.
The two terniones (5 and 11) follow the same pattern:
><>|<><. The quinio (4) is again ruled
according to the same pattern as the terniones, but a binio,
ruled per two open bifolia, is added to it: >>
The script is Carolingian
minuscule, with cc-a's alongside two-storeyed a's and lightly clubbed, almost
vertical ascenders. U's are round or sometimes v-shaped, g's have large tails
which are nearly closed and reach backwards. Capital N's and U's sometimes have
descenders. The line-spacing is very wide; letters of 1-1.5 mm (with long
ascenders) in lines of 9-9.5 mm. The copyist must have reckoned with
interlineair glosses. The script is regular, but there are several transitions
where the letter seems to grow smaller, more packed together and written with a
The scribe uses a fine capitalis rustica (with capital and uncial
(round) D) for (a.o.) explicits/incipits and is able to write nice,
regular Greek letters.
The glosses are written in a contemporary hand (or perhaps hands)
very similar to the text-hand. In a regular and small script (letters of ca 1
mm) many glosses are written in the books I, II, IV and VII, slightly fewer in
the other books.
There are no clear transitions of one scribe to another, nor distinguishable
layers of glosses. The commentator sometimes does, and sometimes does not use
symbols to tie gloss and lemma together.
The original punctuation
is sober and scarce and uses only two symbols: an elevated dot (pause) and an
elevated dot with an ascending stroke (question mark). Further on in the
manuscript (e.g. f 25v) puncti elevati (semicolons) and puncti versus
(“inverted semicolons”) are used as well, which may have been added by a
slightly later scribe. Majuscules are used for explicits/incipits, words in
Greek, subtitles, refrains of poems (e.g. f 10v), definitions of metres, at the
beginning of verse lines or sentences. The majuscules used at the beginning of
books, or of passages of poetry or prose are in general somewhat larger: 1.5 or
2 lines high. There are no rubrications or decorations.
We have very little
information on the history of Besançon, Ms. 594. There are no traces of usage other
than the ninth-century ones, nor are there any notes or stamps which reveal
former possessors; the only stamp is the one of the Bibliothèque Municipale of
Besançon on f 1r and 83v. Castan and Tafel both
linked the manuscript to Manno, teacher at Laon under Charles the Bald and then
provost of Saint-Claude in St.-Oyan. His hand can be recognized by a
characteristic ct-ligature in his ex voto, and
closely resembles the hand of the scribe of Besançon, Ms. 594. Martianus Capella's
encyclopedia is mentioned in an 11th-century library catalogue of
St.-Oyan and this title can perhaps be identified as the manuscript now kept in
Besançon. In the catalogue, however, the codex is described as a codex
containing Martianus Capella and Porphyry, whereas Besançon, Ms. 594 only
contains Martianus Capella. Moreover, since the original sewing has been
preserved, it is unlikely that the manuscript has ever contained more texts
than this one.
The manuscript does not
have a cover. At present it is kept in a modern box made to fit it. The first
quire is loose, but its sewing stations concur with the other quires. The other
ten quires are sewn together and still have their original herringbone sewing
(!). In the gutter of the quires five stations can be seen, corresponding to
three thongs and headbands, spaced (measured down from the rim) 25-39-96-100-33
mm. The headbands are fastened on a piece of leather, which is first folded
back and then fastened to the quires on the edges of the spine (see my sketch
in Harmony and the Music of the Spheres, Leiden etc. 2002, p. 103).
The manuscript contains
- Martianus Capella, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, books I-IX: I
1r-8v; II 8v-16r; III 16r-27r; IV 27r-35r; V 35r-43v; VI 43v-57r; VII 57r-66r;
VIII 66r-73v; IX 74r-83v.
- On f 83v: figure to book
VIII (De astronomia), made by use of a pair of compasses.
 Markings of
the skin are clearly visible on 12v-13r, 20v-21r, 29r, 37r, 40v-41r, 42v-43r,
45r, 46v-47r, 52v-53r, 54v-55r, 65r, 67r, 73r, 76v, 79r, 80v-81r, 82v-83r.
 Here the
ruling of the inner pair of leaves has been executed on the flesh-side.
 Ff 16v-17r,
25r-25v, 34v-35r, 59r-59v. There may be a change of hands on f 48v.
 In general the
first and last couple of pages of each book are heavily glossed, but in between
the density of glosses decreases.
 For the
explicit of book I/incipit of book II three lines were left open, but it was
never actually written (f 8v).
 A. Castan, La bibliothèque de l'abbaye
de St.-Claude du Jura, p. 325 n.2, p. 355; id., Catalogue général
des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France, pp. 352-353; S. Tafel, The Lyons Scriptorium II,
bonae memoriae Mannonis liber ad sepulchrum sancti Augendi oblatus"; cited
after S. Tafel, The Lyons