London, Lambeth Palace Library MS 173 Ps.-Hegesippus, "Historiae"; Saints' Lives and Visions; Homilies

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Rolf H. Bremmer
Kees Dekker


312. London, Lambeth Palace Library MS 173

Ps.-Hegesippus, "Historiae"; Saints' Lives and Visions; Homilies

[Ker 276, Gneuss 507/508/508.5]

HISTORY: Lambeth 173 is a composite manuscript consisting of three parts. All parts date from the 11 c/ 12c, and all three probably originate from the Augustinian priory of Lanthony Secunda in Gloucester. OE glosses have been added on ff. 212v and 214r. Part 1 (Gneuss, no. 507, s. xi/xii; Gameson 1999: no. 588, s. xiii"-1) contains the "Historiae;' attributed in the Middle Ages to Hegesippus, which is a Latin adaptation of Titus Flavius Josephus's De be/lo Judaico et excidio urbis Hierosolymitanae. Several manuscripts, however, mention St. Ambrose as the translator of the "Historiae': while Cassiodorus stated in his De institutione diuinarum literarum 1.17 that some hold Jerome to be the translator, others Ambrose, and yet others Rufinus (Mras in Ussani 1960: 2.xxv). The Lambeth manuscript, which is not among the witnesses used by Ussani for his edition, provides no incipit stating the translator. It originates presumably from Lanthony as is shown by entry 131 in their catalogue from 1355-1360, now London, British Library, MS Harley 460 (James and Jenkins 1932: 272). After the dissolution of the monasteries the books from Lanthony presumably remained with Richard Hart, the last prior of Lanthony, from whose collection Archbishop Richard Bancroft (1544-1610) acquired a substantial number of books (Webber and Watson 1998: 34, 51). The name 'Eu(er)ard' on f. 1 is presumably an early owner's mark. Part 2 (Gneuss, no. 508, s. xi/xii; Gameson 1999: no. 589, s. xii1 ) contains a collection of lives and visions of saints, starting with the Lives of St. Abraham the Hermit and his niece Maria by Ephraem the Syrian, the earliest evidence of this work in England (Whatley 2001: 41). It is followed by two other saints' lives: pseudo-James the Deacon's Life of St. Pelagia, the penitent prostitute from Jerusalem (Whatley 2001: 382-83), and the Life of the Irish St. Furseus (Whatley 2001: 222), which is accompanied by a scribal comment referring to Bede's extract of Furseus's life in the Historia ecclesiastica 3.19. Subsequently, there are the visions of Fulrad (anonymous), and ofBarontus and Wetti (ascribed to Heito of Reichenau [d. 836]), which are followed by the vision of Drihthelm, from Bede's Hist. eccl. 5.12, which includes two OE glosses. The series of visions and saints' lives concludes with two visions of anonymous characters, from Bede's Hist. eccl. 5.13-14, and the anonymous Life of St. Euphraxia (Whatley 2001: 200-1). This volume also originates from Lanthony and was already together with Part 1 in the Middle Ages (Ganz et al. 2007: 50). Part 3 (Gneuss, no. 508.5, s. xi ex; Gameson 1999: no. 590, s. xi/xii) contains two homilies on All Saints' Day belonging to a group of homilies wrongly attributed to Bede. The first of the two, "Legimus in ecclesiasticis historiis;' was one of the sources for Ælfric's sermon on All Saints' Day, and was therefore edited in 1977 by James Cross, who did not include this manuscript among his witnesses. This volume is probably also from Lanthony (Ganz et al. 2007: 50). At the beginning of the 17c, Lambeth 173 belonged to Archbishop Richard Bancroft ( 1544-1610 ), the founder of the archiepiscopal library, as is shown by the catalogue of his manuscripts, compiled in 1612 (Ker, Cat., p. 341). Originally distinct volumes, Parts 1 and 2 were "probably bound together in the Middle Ages" (Ker, Cat., p. 341). Part 3 must also have been added at an early date, for Lambeth 173 is not one of the manuscripts rearranged by Archbishop William Sancroft (1617-1693, elected 1677, deprived 1690) in his extensive reorganization of the Library in 1664. In 1647 the Lambeth Palace Library manuscripts had been transferred by Parliament to the University Library of Cambridge, where they were given Cambridge shelfmarks (Ker 1972: 1-3). The Cambridge shelfmark of this manuscript was#. G. μ. 10., visible on f. Ilr. The pre-1647 Lambeth press mark 'N. 8:, written in the bottom right corner of f. iii recto, marks the original place of the book in the Lambeth Palace library before the Civil War, as can be seen in a catalogue made up after Archbishop George Abbot's death in 1633 (Ker 1972: 2). In 1664 the collection was returned to Lambeth Palace and reorganized by Archbishop Sancroft, who reduced 203 of the old volumes to 93 new ones (Ker 1972: 4-5).

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