A Part-Leaf from the ‘Life of Saint Blaise’

March 8, 2016 in Events, Manuscript Studies, Photographic Exhibition

Part of a Leaf from the Saint’s ‘First’ Life
in a Lectionary
Reused as Binding Material

344 cropped to M[First published on 8 March 2016, with updates.]

Here continues our blog by Mildred Budny on Manuscript Studies, for which the Contents List offers a guide to the series.  Now we look at a fragment from a 12th-century manuscript containing, or partly containing, one or more saints’ lives intended for reading aloud.

A fragmentary vellum leaf in Latin now in a private collection represents a remnant of the Passio Sancti Blasii Episcopi et Martiris (‘The Suffering of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr’) from a manuscript dismembered for recycled use.  Laid out in double columns, the text is written in upright proto-Gothic script of circa 1170 CE from an as-yet unknown center.

Similarly, the medieval ownership of the leaf remains unknown, although the reuse as a limp vellum cover for an 18th-century paper notebook comprising a register of receipts in French presumably indicates the location of the leaf, if not the rest of its book, at least by the early modern period.  Given the fragmentary nature of the surviving evidence, we’ll take all we can get.

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