Commentary on the Canon of the Mass from Poland
Scholia and Commentary on the Canon of the Mass. 8 folios on paper, a single quire, complete; fol. 1 blank except for a hand-colored print on silk of the Crucifixion by Hieronymus Wierix (d. 1619) glued onto the verso. Silesia, either modern Poland or Czech Republic, ca. 1495-1530: 200 mm x 144 mm (justification, 150 mm x 86 mm). The date and locale are suggested by the watermark, very close to Briquet 9158, which is attested in Lubin from 1494, with variants from Wrocław, Wschowa, Görlitz (on the German border), and Silesia generally. There are no other close matches. The watermark on the flyleaf is similar to Briquet 6089 (from Lucca), except that ours has an initial S in the center of the star. As Briquet observes, “on trouve des étoiles surmontées de la croix du même style que le no 6089, souvent accompagnées d’initiales dans l’Italie méridionale durant tout le XVIIe s.” Single column, 14 lines in an elegant university script. Although it may have come from a larger codex, this manuscript is complete as is, and its seventeenth-century binding suggests that it has existed in this state for three centuries. The primary hand and beautiful glossing script are notable examples of Renaissance calligraphy in central Europe. Decoration: A single ornate initial T in red, plus a hand-colored engraving of the Crucifixion by the Flemish artist Hieronymus Wierix, either printed on silk or with a silk gauze glued over it. Crucifixion images would have been found in precisely this position (before the Canon of the Mass) in missals. Text: Our text is highly unusual. There was a long tradition from the early Middle Ages through the Reformation of commentaries on the Mass (e.g., Christopher A. Jones, “The Book of the Liturgy in Anglo-Saxon England,” Speculum 73 (1998), 659-702; J. Wickham Legg, Tracts on the Mass [London, 1904]). Our text has both interlinear glosses and marginal scholia, and they are fascinating explications of the Canon. The following textual units are glossed: Te igitur, Commemoration of the Living, Communicantes, Hanc igitur, and Quam oblationem. There are no glosses for the Qui pridie, but they pick up again in the Simili modo. The odd omission may be due to a missing leaf in an exemplar. Skipping the Mysterium fidei, it continues with the Unde et memores, Supra quae, Supplices te rogamus, Commemoration of the Dead, and Nobis quoque peccatoribus, ending before Per quam haec omnia (which is included). The text continues unglossed, with the Communion, concluding at the end of the Prayer for Sanctification. We have not been able to identify the author of this text, and it may simple represent the formal notes of a parish priest or university student. Binding: seventeenth-century Italian vellum over pasteboards with original seventeenth-century fly-leaf and pastedown. Provenance: Unknown, but the manuscript comes with a UK export license. Condition: with the exception of slight water-staining in the lower margins, very slight worming, and trivial toning and thumbing, in overall excellent condition, with flexible, well-preserved paper.