Manuscripts

The Only Known Manuscript from the Priory of Notre Dame de Fargues in Albi

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Noted Missal. Two bifolia on vellum. Southern France, doubtless Albi, ca. 1325: 213 mm x 162 mm (justification, 154 mm x 105 mm). Up to 12 four-line staves in red, with minute square notation (7.5 mm). Double column, 23 lines. Ruled in diluted black ink. Decoration: alternating red and blue multi-line initials with contrasting penwork. Origin: a note copied between the text columns on fol. 1v reads: “de priora de fargiis.” This must be the Priory of Our Lady of Fargues, founded in 1325 adjacent to the old cathedral of St. Cecilia in Albi. The annotation is germane to the context: “Memento etiam domine famulorum famularumque tuarum N et eorum omnium qui nos precesserunt.” The initial N stands for nomen, indicating that the celebrant should add a relevant name for the statement “Remember as well, O Lord, the male and female servants, NAME (=of a place or community), and all those who preceded us.” In this instance the added text means: “Remember as well, O Lord, the male and female servants of the Priory of Fargues and all those who preceded us.” The evidence for an attribution to Fargues is irrefutable. Under these circumstances, the date of the manuscript becomes exceptionally important. The priory was founded in 1325 by Bishop Béraud de Fargues, bishop of Albi. Our manuscript could antedate 1325, in which case it was prepared and used at Albi, then given over to the priory. Yet it may also represent the founding missal for the priory, copied in 1325 for the new foundation. In all events our fragment represents the only manuscript witness from the Priory of Notre Dame de Fargues. Text: our bifolia come from different parts of the manuscript and are not contiguous. Yet the bifolium with the inscription is the central gathering of the quire, which means it has continuous text. It comes from the Canon of the Mass and contains prayers recited during the elevation of the host as well as the invocation of the saints. The red crosses indicate that the priest should bless himself as he says the word below the cross. This bifolium is labeled “vi” in the upper margin of the recto, suggesting that the quires comprised twelve leaves. The second bifolium, labeled “iiii,” opens with the Secret for Trinity Sunday and contains the sequence “Benedicta sit beata Trinitas” for the feast of the Trinity. On the subsequent folio are collects, secrets and postcommunions for 6th through the 9th Sundays after Trinity Sunday. Given that the Canon of the Mass usually follows Easter, this bifolium probably comes after the Canon. Provenance: comes with a French export license allowing permanent export. Condition: these folios do not seem to have been used in a binding, but they are stiff, worn, thumbed, cockled and soiled as shown.

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