Epinal, Bibliotheque Municipale 72 (olim 66:7) Homilies; "Epinal Glossary"

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Peter J. Lucas
Angela M. Lucas


128. Epinal, Bibliotheque Municipale 72 (olim 66: 7)

Homilies; "Epinal Glossary"

[Ker 114; Gneuss 824; Lowe 6.760]

HISTORY: This manuscript consists of two parts subsequently brought together. Foliated in ink continuously '1-107' in top right-hand corner (and used in this description). Part A (ff. 1-93) contains fifty sermons attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo, and was written by more than one scribe in the 10c. Part B (ff. 94-107, foliated separately in pencil '1-14' by a later hand in upper right corner, and paginated '1-28' in bottom outer corners), comprising the so-called "Epinal Glossary;' was written probably around or just before 700 in England (Lowe 1953 thinks 'saec. viii1 '; Brown 1982 c.700; Bischoff and Parkes 1988 c.700 or late 7c), or possibly by an Englishman on the continent. Pfeifer (1978: xc-xci) thought the dialect to be Anglian, specifically Mercian, with some W-S and Kentish coloring but that the linguistic evidence was insufficient to determine the Glossary's place of origin. The script is basically an A-S majuscule (usual in lemmata) with frequent shifts into minuscule, especially where space was cramped.

More properly the Glosssary part should be called the "Moyenmoutier Glossary;' since that was its home until it went to Epinal as a result of the French Revolution. How the Glossary came to Moyenmoutier is not known, but no doubt it was there for centuries. Around 960 there was a leading school of grammar there under Abbot Almann. Before the French Revolution the whole manuscript was at the abbey of Moyenmoutier (Vosges, founded 671), the name, meaning "middle monastery;' deriving from the fact that it was situated at the centre of a group of five monasteries referred to as "La Croix Sacree de Lorraine;' Bonmoutier to the north, Etival to the west, Senones to the east, and St-Die to the south. During the second half of the 17c and the 18c the monastery enjoyed a period of aggrandisement, following the establishment of L'Academie de Moyenmoutier under Abbot H. Alliot (1676-1705). In order to provide systematic access to its resources a major reorganization of the library was undertaken by Abbot Humbert Belhomme (d.1762), who published a history of the monastery (Belhomme 1724). It was he who was responsible for the note of the present manuscript's inclusion in the Catalogue that he masterminded (mentioned below) and the statement of contents noted under item 1(a) below (Vernier 1960).

The manuscript's binding, sewn on five bands in a sheepskin cover (tanned with oak bark) over thick card, is of the first half of the 18c and is similar to others from the abbey. Probably it was done about 1717 under the auspices of Abbot Humbert Belhomme. On f. 94r a reference to George Hickes's Thesaurus linguarum veterum septentrionalium (Oxford, 1703-1705) has been trimmed by the binder, indicating that the binding was applied after that date but before the entry in the catalogue of 1727 mentioned below. On f. 1r there is the 13c inscription 'Iste lib<er> <est> de majori ecl<esi>a. ego joh<ann>es feci eu<m> religarj: and an 18c inscription 'Mediani Monasterij Catalogo inscriptus. 1717'. In 1727 it was duly recorded in Belhomme's unprinted "Catalogus Bibliothecae Mediani Monasterii editus anno M.D DCCXXVII;' now Epinal, BM cod.189, 2: f. 571v, as 'Sermones XLVIII. S. Augustini. I ibidem; lexicon quoddam Anglosaxon' under the press-mark 'X.1.19'. The press-marks on the front endleaves read 'ARM(arium) No. 66 [corrected below from 'No. 100'] 7; and on the inside of the front cover 'X. 1. No. 10' [not included on the film/fiche]. Perhaps around this time the whole manuscript was foliated in ink in the top right-hand corner of recto leaves. Another foliation in pencil, starting at the beginning of Part B, was added subsequently. When the abbey of Moyenmoutier was suppressed in 1790 during the French Revolution, following common practice (Gasse-Grandjean 1992) the manuscript was listed by Joseph Benoit Didelot in his 1791 manuscript "Catalogue des Livres de la Bibliotheque de la ci-devant Abbaye de Moyenmoutier ... en 179 1;' now Epinal, Bibliotheque Municipale, cod. 194, f. 62, and (clearer) f. 70r (another copy, cod. 195) as 'N°. 1844 Sermones XLVIII S. Augustini episcopi. | ca<ractere> min<uscule> ca<ractere> Versets cap<itale>. vel<in> 9 ou 10 S<iecle> - | Lexicon quoddam Anglo Saxonicum. au | commencement est un cahier detaché de | l'office note de S<anct>o Hydulpho du 15 S<iecle>' (St. Hydulphus was the founder of Moyenmoutier); the reference is to the style of writing in both the Augustinian sermons and the Glossary which is written largely in majuscule in columns; the detached leaflet is no longer present in the manuscript.

Along with other manuscripts (and the splendid early 18c wooden shelving), it remained in Moyenmoutier (neglected) until 1826, when all manuscripts were transferred to Epinal (Vernier 1960: 26-27, and 1962). There the manuscript, and especially Part B, was brought to wider attention by the German scholar Franz J. Mone in 1835. He applied a reagent, 'lyrrocide chimique' according to a note on the endleaf, which has left a grey-blue shadow on the verso of the last leaf and to a lesser extent on the preceding pages ( different from the thick brown shadow left by the reagent applied to the Vercelli Book), and he made a transcript of the OE glosses, now London, Lincoln's Inn, Charles Purton Cooper MS B2-7, stated by Pheifer (1974: xxiv) to be of no textual value; the first two printed texts of the OE glosses, by [Thorpe] in 1836 (published 1869) and by Mone himself in 1838, were based on this transcript. Eighteen months later another (more accurate) transcript was made by M.J. Quicherat, now Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, cod. suppl. francais 2717. Previous description in Catalogue 1849-1918: 3 (1861): 394-95, as "no. 7" (i .e. Epinal BM MS 7) and so frequently cited by French sources. A detailed description of Part B in Bischoff et al. 1988: 13-17.

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