Mid-12th Century Romanesque Missal leaf


Very early Cistercian Missal leaf with excellent provenance, c.1150 



Recto:  24 lines of text in Latin written in two sizes in a protogothic  bookhand (see notes) on parchment.  Rubrics in red.  Several initials in red, varying in size from six-line to one-line.  Capitals touched in red.


Verso:  As Recto, with further red initials.


Origin:  Some scholars have identified this leaf as Southern French/Northern Spanish but the respected authority Christopher de Hamel proposed an Austrian origin.


Date:   c. 1150


Content:  The rubrics indicate that this leaf comes from Wednesday (Feria IV) in the first week of Lent.  The abbreviation FER iiii means feria dies iv, a Wednesday.  Sunday is dies dominica but counts as i (first day of the week), Monday as ii, Tuesday as iii and so on to Saturday as vii but called sabbato, the “Sabbath”.  Ordinarily, it would be hard to know which ferial day we were talking about without consulting another missal.  But this leaf has the rubric stat’ ad.s. Mariam which means statio ad Sanctam Mariam or “Station at St. Mary’s”.  In the old days of the papacy, the pope would deliver services at churches in Rome during Lent, one church per day.  These became known as “stational” churches. 

The leaf contains, among other things, readings from the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 4, and the Gospel according to Saint Luke, Chapter 7.


Condition:  Considering its great age, the leaf is in remarkable condition, with exceptional calligraphy and illumination.  There is some age-related browning and soiling, but in no way affecting the text.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 350x230 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx.  250x160 mm. Free world-wide shipping.   


Notes:   A Missal in the Roman Catholic Church is the book containing the prayers said by the priest at the altar as well as all that is officially read or sung in celebrating the Mass over the course of the ecclesiastical year.  The Roman Missal (Missale Romanum) published by Pope St. Pius V in 1570, eventually replaced the widespread use of different missal traditions by different parts of the church.  This leaf is from one of these earlier Missals.

Protogothic script conforms to the earlier Carolingian minuscule, except that the shapes have become slightly compressed and angular and developed little hooked feet.  However the letters are well separated and have not evolved into the rows of minims of fully developed Gothic script.

Provenance:  Cleveland scholar and manuscript dealer Otto F. Ege (1888-1951) used leaves from this manuscript for his portfolio Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts.  Even though other fragments of this manuscript are decorated in light blue and red (and some have even more elaborate initials), this rubricated leaf reflects the simplicity of manuscript decoration imposed by the Cistercian order until about 1150. 

This leaf has multiple examples of punctus flexus, a form of abbreviation associated only with the Cistercians at this date.  On Recto, the punctus flexus follows the words sollempnitas and conferatur in the second line of text beginning with the large rubricated initial ‘P’.

For a brief biography on Otto Ege and his portfolios see: http://ege.denison.edu/index.php

For a complete study of Ege’s manuscripts see:   Scott Gwara, Otto Ege's Manuscripts: A Study of Ege's Manuscript Collections, Portfolios, and Retail Trade with a Comprehensive Handlist of Manuscripts Collected or Sold (Cayce, SC: De Brailes Publishing, 2013); 381 pages, with more than 100 BW plates and one color frontispiece.

Item No:  MMI007

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