Fine pocket-size prayer book

Prayer book. Latin ms. on vellum.

Rhineland, early 16th c. (after 1503).

12mo (65 x 90 mm). 109 ff. (numbered i, 108 in pencil by a later hand); thus complete. Latin bastarda on vellum. With blue and red Lombardic initials throughout, a few (ff. 31r, 49r, 69r, 71v, 74v) with penwork decoration. Contemporary wooden boards (wants spine; lower cover cracked).


A pretty, pocket-size prayer book, not classifiable as belonging to any known collection. Based on the unsophisticated penwork and the litany, it was probably created in the (northern) Rhineland. Title (fol. 1r): "Exhortacio salutaris terrorem iudicii ac timorem incutiens divinem ul[tionis]; incipit "Expergiscere o miserabilis homo" (for the beginning, but not the remainder of the text, cf. Nicolaus de Saliceto, Antidotarius animae). Contains numerous indulgences, including (fol. 80r/v) one by Pope Alexander VI in honour of Saint Anne (1494; she is also the first female Saint mentioned in the litany, fol. 38v). As the indulgence granted by Pope Sixtus IV for performing the prayer "Ave sanctissima virgo" was doubled by Pope Julius II (1503-13) (cf. fol. 67r), the date can be assumed with a high degree of certainty as after 1503. The penitential psalms (fol. 31r ff.) are followed by the kyrie and litany (37v-38v: with SS. Gereon and Odila); fols. 88r-97v contain prayers to the Saints (including SS. Rochus [fol. 93v], Odilia [fol. 95r], Gertrude [fol. 95v], Apollonia [fol. 96r], Mary Magdalene and Ursula [fol. 97r]).

Later quotation from Maleachi 4:2 in the margin of the first page ("orietur vobis timentibus Deum sol iustitiae"); the blank verso contains a longer note "Dum quis intrat Ecclesiam Auffer a nobis quis Domine cunctas iniquitates nostras" etc.; some additional early modern marginalia. Between leaves 67 and 68 an interesting stain shows that a contemporary reader forgot his pince-nez, which he must have used as a bookmark, within the book. Ownership "Co[...] Rabenau" (2nd half of 18th c.) on inside upper cover. Wooden boards show traces of a former calf binding, with the impression of an armorial stamp on the upper cover; lower cover split near the binding. Right edge of upper cover, as well as lower edge, show traces of gnawing (no loss to text).

Stock Code: BN#45354 Tags: , ,