A leaf of 12th century homilies

[Carolingian Homiletic fragment]. A large leaf from a Latin Homiliary.

[Italy, ca. 1120 / early 12th century].

2 pp. on one leaf, 349 x 499 mm. Latin manuscript on vellum, text on recto and verso. In iron-black Carolingian minuscule script, 2 columns of 50 lines, with a rubricated phrase in uncials and decorated with a foliate initial 'C' in red and blue, the rest of the word in rustic capitals.


A leaf from a Carolingian homiliary, and a very imposing and elegant example of 12th-century Italian script and decoration. The text begins with the end of Sermo 68 by Pope Leo I (ca. 400-461), followed by the beginning of "Epistola ad Paulam et Eustochium" by the Carolingian theologian Paschasius Radbertus (785-865) on the Assumption of the Virgin, in the style of (and here attributed to) St Jerome: "misericordia dei [...] in saecula saeculorum Amen. Sermo Iheronimi presbyteri De assumptione sanctae Marie ad Paulam et Eustochium. Cogitis me o Paula et Eustochium [...] Quam sane archangelis".

While doubtless originally placed alongside a wide range of other homilies, an Italian scribe's placement of the writings of Pope Leo I and Paschasius Radbertus next to each other in a manuscript would have made thematic sense: both men's writing was focused, theologically speaking, on Christology and the simultaneous humanity and divinity of Christ, especially ruminations on the body of Christ. Though written anonymously as pseudo-Jerome, Radbertus's Epistle discusses the bodily resurrection of the Virgin Mary, on a similar theme of the physicality of the divine.


Sotheby's, 25 June 1985, part of lot 7, purchased by Maggs. Colker MS 357; acquired from Maggs in 1985.


The late-medieval number '259' in the upper fore-edge margin is perhaps a folio number. Vellum in good condition, with a natural flaw in the upper two lines of the outer column around which the scribe has written, with original prick-lines and ruling visible. A rare and handsome survival in quite good condition.


On the authorship of the Epistola ad Paulam et Eustochium, see Hannah W. Matis, "The Seclusion of Eustochium: Paschasius Radbertus and the Nuns of Soissons", Church History 85.4 (2016), pp. 665-689.

Stock Code: BN#60748 Tags: ,