Zofingen, Stadtbibliothek Pa. 32 flyleaf with 452. St. Gallen 1394 (ff. 121-122, 125-128) Isidore, "Etymologiae;' "De natura rerum"

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Joseph P. McGowan


496. Zofingen, Stadtbibliothek Pa. 32

flyleaf with 452. St. Gallen 1394 (ff. 121-122, 125-128)

Isidore, "Etymologiae;' "De natura rerum"

[Ker App. 44; Gneuss -]

HISTORY: This famous Isidore manuscript had a medieval provenance of St. Gall and was probably written there in the early to mid-9c. Lindsay (1911: vii-ix) does not consult this manuscript for his edition, but would likely have included it in his Group a "Francicae sive integrae;' but Porzig (1937: 162-67), noting discrepancies within the group between French, German, and Spanish exemplars, located this manuscript on a line of the stemma occupied by a group of 8c/9c Alemannic and upper Italian manuscripts that descended directly, and not through French intermediaries, from the edition of Isidore's colleague Braulio, as indicated, among other things, by its being prefaced by an exchange of epistles between Isidore and Braulio (see Bischoff 1961: 340-40, Beeson 1913: 15, Fontaine 1962: 315- 16). The beginning of the codex is somewhat rearranged and mutilated (see Porzig 1937: 167-70 and below). The codex includes as a flyleaf [i], a leaf taken from a binding that was once a part of the same manuscript as the fragmentary Aldhelm leaves from another St. Gall manuscript, now incorporated into an album of fragments, St. Gall 1394 [ 452); one of the St. Gall leaves contains scratched OE glosses [see 452 for description of this flyleaf and "Photo Note" below].

The Isidore manuscript ( with its Aldhelm flyleaf) left St. Gall in 1712 as part of the booty taken by Bern forces in the Second Villmergen Burger War. Much of the plunder taken from the Stiftsbibliothek of St. Gall was subsequently returned (with the assistance of the Cantons of Zurich and Bern), but Pa. 32 remained with Johann Georg Altmann, professor at Bern and a Zofingen Burger, who gave the manuscript to Zofingen Stadtbibliothek in 1712. There it has remained ever since except for restoration carried out in November 1986 at the Stadt- und Universitatsbibliothek Bern. A letter of 1712 from J.J. Breitinger, a canon at Zurich, to the St. Gall librarian Pius Kolb describes the whereabouts of three missing St. Gall manuscripts; he notes that manuscripts of Statius and Claudian wound up in the Zurich Stadtbibliothek, while the Isidore manuscript (Pa. 32) was in Bern in private hands (cf. Weidmann 1841: 106-7). T he hand of the Isidore codex is in "typical alemannisch-karolingischen" minuscule; the insular hand and other physical characteristics of the flyleaf fragment are discussed in the description of St. Gall 1394, q.v.


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