Incipit prolog in elucidario... [manuscript with dual illumination of magister cum discipulis and of scribe at desk.

Honorius Augustodunensis [Browse]
Manuscript, Book
Germany. early 12th century.
[38] manuscript leaves on vellum, with a dual illumination and rubrication. 18.5 x 12.5 cm.


  • A manuscript fragment, comprising the complete text of the Elucidarium. The upper leaf bearing the illumination is soiled and faded, but still legible. Thom Kren of the manuscript department at the Getty center says the image might be enhanced electronically in PhotoShop, or mechanically through the use of special lights or filters to bring up detail.
  • "An encyclopaedist and teacher of British extraction, Honorius (ca 1075- ca 1155) defines himself in one of his works as Augustodunensis ecclesiae presbyter et scholasticus, and was therefore long known as Honorius d'Autun. It is now agreed that Augustodunum does not mean Autun by Ratisbonne (Regensburg), where he settled after leaving England in the late 11th century. His greatest success in terms of popularity, the Elucidarium reflects the teachings of Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109).
  • "Both the presentation and style of this work are so clearly of Anselmic inspiration that many manuscripts credit the famous archbishop of Canterbury with having written in (in a short prologue, Honorius explains why he wishes to remain anonymous. The Elucidarium, as the title indicates, is designed to throw light on all aspects of Christian doctrine. It is structured as a dialogue between a pupil (D for discipulus) who asks his master (M for magister) a series of questions to which the master provides answers and explanations. The text is divided into three books: the first (203 questions) is entitled <>, and deals with the subjects of God, Creation, the Fall, Redemption and the Eucharist; the second (106 questions) <>, deals with good and bad men, grace and the sacraments, whilst the third book (122 questions), <>, focuses on the last rites and death: Doomsday, hell, purgatory and paradise. Written around 1100, the Elucidarium, is clearly the first treatise to systematically present Christian doctrine. This accounts for its great and immediate success in abbey schools and cathedrals where theology was taught (it was soon to be replaced by more elaborate works, such as Pierre Lombard's <>), and is later use in humbler circles, amongst the low clergy and in small schools where it was used until the early XIVth century to teach catechism.
  • "...Copied and punctuated with great care, very few mistakes are to be found in thismanuscript whose text is connected to Y. Lefevre's "B family", that is to say to the original version. A great many variant, of which Lefevre was unaware, are to be found in the text. One must also note the layout of the chapters which are all preceded by rubrics, a layout which does not necessarily coincide with that of the questions, which gives the text its original character.
  • "Several passsages were scratched, probably a long time ago: in F. 14v, questions 191, 192 and most of question 193 in book I, which deal with bad priests and the value of sacraments administered by such; in F. 34v, question 47 in book III, devoted to the question of what will become of two-headed monsters (siamese or incomplete twins) after the resurrection of the dead in the Last Judgment. This last question was probably deleted as incongruous. However, it might be interesting to find out whether the same passages are missing from one branch of manuscripts of which this manuscript might be the ancestor.
  • Description of the volume:.
  • F. 1v <>.
  • F. 1v-15v. <>.
  • F. 15v-29r. <>.
  • F. 29r-36v. <> The text stops in the middle of question 78; bottom of f. 36v anf ff. 37-38 had been kept blank in order to copy the end. ie: qu3estions 78 (second half) to 122 - and were later used to transcribe the following text.
  • F. 36v-38v rimi toni melodiam spalles (!) in directo... Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel...>> A plainsong treatise with a neumatic Sangallian notation; f. 38v is almost totally illegible. (complete description on file).
  • "This small volume of 38 unnumbered leaves on rather thick and stiff parchment has been written in three different hands. The first part is in a small Carolingian, which could be dated to the end of the 11th century, but considering the date at which the text was written, must be the hand of an old scribe. Then the second part to leaf 36 is in a small roman letter typical of the early 12th century. Finally, the third part, the plainsong treatise, is in a third hand contemporary with the second one, but possibly from England. The first leaf bears a frontispiece drawn in black, red and brown inks, divided th two parts: the upper drawing representing the "Magister" seated in a high chair between two colums, holding a book and answeing the pupil seated at his feet. [Thomas Kren points out that the pupil is holding a banner bearing a line of text and that this is a standard iconographic representation of philosophical or theological debate, with the disputants holding these representations of their respective authorities. He believes that a trial and error process using mechanical and electronic enhancement might reveal the respective texts.] The other illumination is of a scribe holding the "scribe" with which he rules lines in one hand and the pen in the other. The rubricated initials with their "bumps" are typically German. Many of these initials have little faces drawn in the open spaces.
  • Richard Rouse at UCLA believed the manuscript probably dated to the early 13th century, based on the lines having been ruled in ink rather than being done with a hard point, a practice which came into use around 1150. Pushing the date up past 1200 is based on his contention that there would be a 50 year lag in styles between Paris and Germany as the latter is "a cultural backwater" (this is disputed by Thomas Kren and Elizabeth Teviotdale). Interestingly, he noted that the pen trials comprising a series of "a"s and "c"s may be a student practicing letter forms.
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