Gallica’s latest Treasure Hunt

Incipit of Ambrose's Hexameron (Paris, BNF, latin 12135, f. 1v)
Incipit of Ambrose’s Hexameron (Paris, BNF, latin 12135, f. 1v)

It took a few days, because there seem to have been a bug somewhere, but in the end nineteen newly digitized manuscripts of Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France’s «latin» and «nouvelles acquisitions latines» (NAL) collections were released on Gallica on December 15th.

Some real treasures are to be found among them, starting with no less than six manuscripts prior to the ninth century:

  • latin 3836Collectio canonum Sanblasiana — s. VIII
  • latin 10910 — Fredegar’s Chronicle — s. VII-VIII
  • latin 12135 — Ambrose’s Hexameron — «s. IX» they say, but obviously more s. VIII. Compare the ornements and script with those of latin 3836 for example.
  • latin 13028 — Isidor’s Etymologiae — s. VIII
  • latin 14086 — Varia (Computus, Patres) — s. VIII
  • NAL 1063 — Novum Testamentum — s. VIII

Among them, latin 10910 probably is the most remarkable codex in this whole release. It is the ancestor of all other witnesses of the Chronicle attributed to Fredegar, one of the most important sources for the history of Franks in the VIIth century. Although the codex is well known  and its text published, it’s a pleasure to leaf through such a beautiful HD digitization.

As for the thirteen others, I’ll only write down their shelfmark linked to their digitization:

I didn’t go through all of them of course, but I find very interesting latin 9696, a collection of ancient inscriptions copied by the Jesuit and giant of modern erudition Jacques Sirmond (1559-1651). I have no idea wether or not they were published and/or studied.

It is a very serious and hard-working selection: you won’t find any masterpiece of illumination in there. But there appears to be a few thematics: hagiography (latin 5323, nal 1755), scholastics (latin 461, latin 15350, latin 15719), Ptolemy and astrology (latin 7302, latin 7309, latin 7448), modern erudition (latin 9696, latin 12669, latin 12673).

With this new release, that’s 4978 manuscripts of the latin and NAL collections that may be seen and downloaded from Gallica.

Please let me know if I had it wrong with one or the other shelfmark, link, etc.

Pierre Chambert-Protat

Philologue. Assistant au département des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Apostolique Vaticane.

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