A Leaf from Gregory’s Dialogues
Reused for Binding
A Copy of
Euthymius Zigabenus’s On the Psalms
Budny Handlist 3
Here, we focus upon a leaf plucked from its 12th-century manuscript and pressed into service, with trimmed edges and mitered folds, as the vellum covering for a binding for a different text of small format. Both texts, primary and secondary in the life of the leaf, concern religious subjects, but they emanate from authors of different dates, locations, and languages in the Latin West and the Orthodox East respectively. The primary text represents a remnant of a text and an author familiar in some other blogposts, which consider the Dialogues, the Sermons or Homilies, and other texts by Pope Gregory the Great (pope from 590 to 694 CE).
Part of Gregory’s Dialogues, Book III, Chapter 7
(on Andreas, Bishop of Fondi/Fundi):
Sections 2 (Hic namque uenerabilis uir) –
8 (uel quae in conuentu)
Circa 357 × 237 mm
< written area circa 266 × 133 mm >
Single column of 28 lines
in revived Caroline minuscule
Germany, circa 1175
Reused for some time as the vellum cover for the binding of a copy of
Euthymius Zigabenus‘s Commentary on the Psalms
in Greek or in Latin translation?
(now lost or preserved elsewhere in a location unknown)
For this secondary use, the remnants of a set of titles on the outside of the spine of the cover (the original verso of the reused leaf) remain in place, albeit abraded and fragmented, as both a pasted, inscribed paper label (orientated along the ‘horizontal’ across the spine) and an ink inscription on the reused leaf itself in Capitals (‘vertical’, with the tops of those letters turned toward the ‘front cover’). Another, smaller and fragmentary pasted label with a broad rectangular border stands near the bottom of the broad spine of the cover and partly overlies the ‘vertical’ spine inscription.
Acquired, probably by purchase (according to the Owner’s recollections), in France in the past 15 years or so, but before 2007 when I first saw and began to photograph the leaf. This item and others in the Illustrated Handlist acquired in France at various times and by various means (purchase, gift, or exchange), came from a single source in the Département of Saône-et-Loire, from about 1999 onward. Because the leaf does not carry indications of its original place and time of production, apart from its materials, layout, design, script, orthography, and punctuation, those unknowns must depend upon evaluations of the style of the script, lacking any forms of embellishment, such as decorated initials, which might have provided possibly more closely datable symptoms than the letters “alone”.