London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius E. xviii "Vitellius Psalter"

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Phillip Pulsiano


258. London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius E. xviii

"Vitellius Psalter"

[Ker 224, Gneuss 407]

HISTORY: Probably written at Winchester mid-11c. The calendar, dated by Wormald (1934) to ca. 1060, is most likely from New Minster, but as Ker (Cat.) notes the added litanies "suggest the cathedral priory rather than New Minster." Bishop (1908) and Wildhagen (1921) favor the scriptorium of Winchester Cathedral as the place where the manu­ script was written. Belonged to Robert Boyer in 1590 according to a note in a transcript of portions of the manuscript by Francis Tate (Brit­ ish Library, Cotton Julius C. ii, f. 68v: "ii Junij 1590. ex libro n<ost>ri R. Boyeij ante psalmos dauides. Saxonice & Larine c<on>scripto").

CODICOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION: Ff. [ii] + 146 + [ii]. Modern
paper endleaves. At the front of the codex are two inserted paper leaves, the first detailing the rearrangement of ff. 1-17 when the codex was rebound in 1954:
New                                Old
1-7                                   1-7
(several leaves lost)
8                                         8
9a                                      9b
9b                                      9a
10-12                                10-12
13                                      15
14                                      14
15                                      13
16                                      16
17a                                    17b
17b                                    17a
The second insert contains notes made by Rosier in August 1959 on the arrangement of misplaced patches in the manuscript. Leaves measure 210 x 126 mm. Leaves are ruled for 26 lines, but not ruled for a gloss. The litany is in two columns ruled for 26 lines each; the prayers following the litany are also ruled for 26 lines. Ff. 144v-145r are in two columns ruled for 36 lines; ff. 145v-146v are ruled for 34 lines. The litany and prayers were added in the 12c, the list of confraternities (f. 9r) and the invocations to the Virgin Mary (f. 17r/20a-l7v) 13/14c. Initial letters are in red, blue, and green ink, with psalm titles in red. The front matter and calendar show green, red, and blue ink. F. 18r shows a large initial B in green, blue, red, and brown. No major psalm divisions are indicated. The manuscript was burned in the Cotton fire of1731; the leaves have generally lost left and right margins (thus resulting in substantial loss of the psalm introductions to Pss. 1-50), and shrinkage is evident in the upper margins. Leaves have suffered severe splitting. Staining is evident on f. 104 and following. Leaves are mounted in separate paper frames numbered 1-146. The main texts (psalms and canticles) are glossed in two hands, the first from ff. 18r-138r, the second from the Magnificat on f. 138r until f. 140v.

COLLATION: Collation is indeterminable, since the leaves are mounted separately in paper frames.

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