Here you find some helpful directives to correctly catalogue liturgical manuscripts. For each type of book, we should be attentive to some details that can help to identify the liturgical use or the destination of the manuscript. The kind of description depends also on the level of detail that you want to give, which could include the general structure of the book, the specific content or liturgical actions, and the details of the texts. 

The Calendar is generally a part of another book, like a Missal, a Breviary, a Sacramentary, or a Computus. It is an extremely useful tool for dating and localizing manuscripts, even if we should always be careful: if the presence of a feast is indeed a terminus post quem, the absence of another isn’t necessarily a terminus ante quem, because a Calendar could have been copied from a model and lately updated. There are specific feasts that point to a liturgical use; because of the great variety of Calendars, it is impossible to summarize here all these details, but we recommend the consultation of two very useful tools:

Calendoscope, by Denis Muzerelle (especially useful for late medieval Calendars)

Leroquais’ study of Calendars, unpublished work, Paris, BnF, NAL 3159

Grotefend’s database on Calendars

For the Sacramentary, we should give first the general structure: does it contain the Temporal or the Sanctoral (or both), the Winter or the Summer part (or both)? How are the different parts structured? Are they separated or embedded? See this example taken from Paris, BnF, Latin 822.

f. 10r-25v: Sacramentary, from the first Sunday of Advent to the Thursday of the second week of Lent, Temporal and Sanctoral combined.

A deeper level can be reached when it’s useful to give the list of the feasts: that’s particularly important for the Sanctoral, which can often help to localize the manuscript. The famous Drogon’s Sacramentary could be catalogued as follows:

f. 1r (addition) Festivitas omnium sanctorum; f. 1v Eodem die in natale sancti Cesarii martyris; f. 2r-v blank; f. 3r Ordinatio ostiarii; f. 3v Ordinatio lectoris; f. 4r Ordinatio exorcistae; f. 4v Ordinatio acolyti; f. 5r Orationes de quatuor temporibus; f. 5v Ordinatio subdiaconi; f. 7r Ordinatio diaconi; f. 8v Ordinatio presbyteri; f. 13r-v blank; f. 14r Canon missae; f. 21v In vigilia natalis domini; f. 22v Missa in nocte; f. 23v Missa primo mane; f. 24v Missa in die…

If we evaluate that the details of each prayer are necessary, you have two main tools for identifying the texts (with a preference for the second one):

E. Moeller, J.-M. Clément, B. Coppieters’t Wallant (eds.), Corpus orationum, Turnhout, 1993-2001 (CCSL 160)

J. Deshusses, Le Sacramentaire grégorien: ses principales formes d’après les plus anciens manuscrits, édition comparative: I. Le Sacramentaire, le supplément d’Aniane, 1971; II. Textes complémentaires pour la Messe, 1979; III. Textes complémentaires divers, 1982, Fribourg (Spicilegium Friburgense, 16, 24, 28)

The prefaces are edited in the Corpus Praefationum, or in the Deshusses’s edition.

E. Moeller, Corpus Praefationum, 1-5, Turhout, 1980-1981

The Sacramentary can also contain the episcopal benedictions to be said during the mass; sometimes this section forms a single book, called Benedictional. For the identification of the texts, see Moeller’s edition.

E. Moeller, Corpus benedictionum pontificalium: édité avec une étude, un index scripturaire et liturgique et un index verborum, 1-4, Turnhout, 1971, 1973 and 1979

The Ritual is one of the less studied liturgical books. Pierre-Marie Gy devoted some of his researches to this book; unfortunately, he could never finish his catalogue. Some very good editions can help in the identification of the texts:

G. Hürlimann, Das Rheinauer Rituale: (Zürich Rh 114, Anfang 12. Jh.), Freiburg, 1959

W. von Arx, Das Klosterrituale von Biburg: (Budapest, Cod. lat. m. ae. Nr. 330, 12. Jh.), Freiburg, 1970

A. Odermatt, Ein Rituale in Beneventanischer Schrift: Roma, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, Cod. C 32 Ende des 11. Jahrhunderts, Freiburg, 1980

The Pontifical has to be identified according to its liturgical tradition: the most ancient Pontificals date from the 10th century and belong to the tradition of the Romano-Germanic Pontificals. The process of Romanization let to the Pontifical of the Roman court of the 12th century and, in the 13th century, the definitive version set up by Guillaume Durand. The Pontifical has been deeply studied by Michel Andrieu and Cyrille Vogel; Richard Kay gave a useful checklist of the surviving manuscripts.

M. Andrieu, Le Pontifical romain au Moyen-Âge, I. Le Pontifical romain du XIIesiècle; II. Le Pontifical de la Curie romaine au XIIIesiècle; III. Le Pontifical de Guillaume Durand; IV. Tables alphabétiques, Città del Vaticano, 1938-1941

C. Vogel, Le Pontifical romano-germanique du dixième siècle: le texte, 1-2, Città del Vaticano, 1963

R. Kay, Pontificalia: A Repertory of Latin Manuscript Pontificals and Benedictionals, Kansas City, 2007 [download here]

The Evangeliary needs no identification for the texts; however, Gospels are usually preceded by prologues and chapter lists, for which a reference must be given. Prologues are indexed in Stegmüller’s Repertorium Biblicum (with incipit and explicit), and some of them are edited in de Bruyne’s work on prefaces; chapter lists are edited in de Bruyne’s Sommaires.

D. de Bruyne, Sommaires, divisions, et rubriques de la Bible latine, Namur, 1914 [download here]

D. de Bruyne, Les préfaces de la Bible, Namur, 1920

F. Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, I-XI, Madrid 1950-1980 [digital version here]

For the Evangelistary, the list of the pericopes and their liturgical references have to be given; the tradition to which a series of readings belong can be established thanks to Klauser’s study on the Gospel readings.

Th. Klauser, Das römische Capitulare Evangeliorum: Texte und Untersuchungen zu seiner ältesten Geschichte, Münster, 1935 (Liturgiegeschichtliche Quellen und Forschungen, 28)

The Epistolary deserves the same treatment of the Evangelistary. The list of the readings with their liturgical reference has to be given.

For the Gradual, the general structure has to be given, as for the Sacramentary, namely the Temporal and the Sanctoral, the Winter and Summer parts. Liturgical feasts can be given in detail, when necessary; it is extremely useful to give the alleluia series for the Holy Week, for Sundays after Easter and for Sundays after Pentecost; rare chants have to be mentioned, especially alleluia, tropes and proses. If a catalogue is focused on the musical notation, some specific melodic references have to be identified. The main instrument to identify the texts is AMS:

R.-J. Hesbert, Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex, Roma, 1935

that edited a synoptic version of the 6 most ancient manuscripts containing mass chants. 

For Sundays after Easter, see Regensburg website here.

The Gradual can be associated with a Troper or contain tropes itself. The texts of the tropes have to be fund in the volumes of the Corpus Troporum:

1: R. Jonsson, Tropes du propre de la messe. 1. Cicle de Noel, 1975; 2: O. Marcusson, Prosules de la messe. 1.Tropes de l’alleluia, 1976; 3: G. Björkvall – G. Iversen – R. Jonsson, Tropes du propre de la messe. 2. Cycle de Pâques, 1982; 4: G. Iversen, Tropes de l’Agnus Dei, 1980; 5: G. Björkvall, Les deux tropaires d’Apt: mss 17 et 18, 1986; 6: E. Odelman, Prosules de la messe. 2. Les Prosules limousines de Wolfenbüttel, 1986; 7: G. Iversen, Tropes du Sanctus, 1990; 9: A.-K. Andrews Johansson, Tropes for the proper of the mass. 4. The feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1998; 10: R. M. Jacobsson, Tropes du propre de la messe. 5. Fêtes des Saints et de la Croix et de la Transfiguration, 2011; 11: G. Björkvall, Prosules de la messe. 3. Prosules de l’offertoire, 2009; 12: G. Iversen, Tropes du Gloria I-II, 2014, Stockholm (Corpus Troporum, 1-12)

Concordances of the Corpus Troporum can be downloaded here.

Also, a Gradual can have sequences or proses, mixed with the other chants or in a separated part, called Sequentiary or Proser. The text of the proses can be found in the volumes of the Analecta Hymnica:

C. Blume – G. M. Dreves – H. M. Bannister (edd.), Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, 55 voll., Leipzig, 1886-1922. 

See also Meyer’s catalogue of proses.

For the melodies of the alleluias there is a specific repertory by Schlager:

K. Schlager, Thematischer Katalog der ältesten Alleluia-Melodien aus Handschriften des 10. und 11. Jahrhunderts, ausgenommen das ambrosianische, alt-römische und alt-spanische Repertoire, München, 1965 (Erlanger Arbeiten zur Musikwissenschaft, 2) [electronic version here]

The Missal, as a composite book, have to be considered in all the singles parts that compose it; prayers, readings and chants need references according to the already mentioned repertories (see Sacramentary, Evangelistary, Epistolary, Gradual).

The Kyrial is usually interesting for tropes and melodies. tropes can be found in the volumes of the Corpus troporum (for example nr. 4, 7, 12), except the Kyrie tropes, which still have to be edited. Melodies, when necessary, are to be referenced according to Melnicki, Bosse, Miazga, Thannabaur and Schildbach.

M. Landwehr-Melnicki, Das einstimmige Kyrie des lateinischen Mittelalters, Regensburg, 1955 (Forschungsbeiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, 1)

D. Bosse, Untersuchung einstimmiger mittelalterlicher Melodien zum “Gloria in excelsis”, Regensburg, 1955 (Forschungsbeiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, 2)

T. Miazga, Die Melodien des einstimmigen Credo der römisch-katholischen lateinischen Kirche. Eine Untersuchung der Melodien in der handschriftlichen Überlieferung mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der polnischen Handschriften, Graz, 1976

P. J. Thannabaur, Das einstimmige Sanctus der römischen Messe in der handschriftlichen Überlieferung des 11. bis 16. Jahrhundert, München, 1962 (Erlanger Arbeiten zur Musikwissenschaft, 1)

M. Schildbach, Das einstimmige Agnus Dei und seine handschriftliche Überlieferung vom 10. bis zum 16. Jahrhundert, Erlangen, 1967

The Psalter, as it contains the 150 psalms, needs no great details for the psalms themselves, except for the textual tradition (Roman, Gallican, Hebrew); it is however useful to mention the ferial antiphons, when there are any, the hymns and other annexes (canticles, litanies, prayers) that usually follow the psalter. If there are prologues, they have to be identified according to Stegmuller’s repertory (see Evangeliary).

The Office Lectionary deserves a special treatment. Since it contains readings taken from the Bible, the Fathers of the Church and Legendaries, it has to be carefully catalogued, giving for each reading the proper references. For the biblical readings, the mention of the biblical book and verses will suffice; for patristic texts, references to the critical edition should be given (Corpus Christianorumor Sources Chrétiennes) or, failing that, to the available edition (Patrologia Latina). The hagiographical readings should point to the BHL (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina) number (see Legendary).

Homiliary is a very complex book. There are some Homiliary-types that have been described and indexed, but it is still possible to find a source that doesn’t correspond exactly to any of them. Homiliaries have been studied by Raymond Étaix, Réginald Grégoire et Henri Barré, who published the most remarkable works and repertories:

H. Barré, Les homéliaires carolingiens de l’école d’Auxerre. Authenticité. Inventaire. Tableaux comparatifs. Initia, Cité du Vatican, 1962 

R. Grégoire, Homéliaires liturgiques médiévaux: analyse des manuscrits, Spoleto, 1980

R. Etaix, Homéliaires patristiques latins. Recueils d’études des manuscrits médiévaux, Paris, 1994

Legendary and Passionary should be treated identifying each text according to the BHL (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina) number; when a text doesn’t appear in the repertory, incipit and explicit should be given. It should be said of the legends follow the liturgical year or another order plan.

Socii Bollandiani, Bibliotheca hagiographica Latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 voll., Bruxelles, 1898-1901, accessible on Gallica [vol. 1 and 2] [electronic version here]

Collectars are not very well studied; as they usually are associated with other books (namely, the Capitulary and the office Lectionary), it is rarely considered alone. For a detailed description, every prayer should be identified according to the Corpus orationum (see Sacramentary); however, a more general description can contain the related feasts and their organization.

The Capitulary is never copied alone but frequently associated with a Collectar, an Antiphonary or an Office Lectionary. A detailed description implies the identification of biblical passages, according to the Vulgate’s Weber edition.

For the Antiphonary, we have a remarkable work, that of René-Jean Hesbert (CAO = Corpus Antiphonalium Officii); an electronic version has been provided and expanded thanks to the data extraction from other sources and is now available online in the cantusdatabase website. The tropes of the responsories are listed, in incipit, in Hoffmann-Brandt’s repertory.

R.-J. Hesbert, Corpus antiphonalium officii, 1-6, Rome, 1963-1979

Cantus database

H. Hofmann-Brandt, Die Tropen zu den Responsorien des Officiums, Erlangen, 1971

The Breviary, as a book that groups the Antiphonary, the Collectar, the Capitulary and the Office Lectionary, can be catalogued according to the principles of each book-type; however, since this operation is extremely time-consuming, it is wiser to give the general structure, reporting the presence of the Calendar, the Psalter, the Temporal and the Sanctoral and focusing on the details that could help to identify the liturgical use (like Proper Offices).

The same can be stated for the Diurnal, as it is an extract from the Breviary (without the Office Lectionary).

For the Hymnal, the main reference is the Analecta Hymnica (see Sequentiary); when an exam of the melody is required, a reference to Bruno Stäblein’s repertory should be given.

B. Stäblein, Hymnen. Die mittelalterlichen Hymnenmelodien des Abendlandes, Kassel, 1956

The Processional has been studied by Michel Huglo in his RISM volume, with an essay of classification; the repertory has been recently published in two studies, one by Albiero and the other by Clyde Brockett.

M. Huglo, Les Manuscrits du processional, I: Autriche a Espagne, II. France à Afrique du Sud, München, 1999 and 2004

L. Albiero, Repertorium Antiphonarum Processionalium, Lugano, 2016

C. W. Brockett, The Repertory of Processional Antiphons, Brepols, 2018

The Penitential is not very much considered as a liturgical source; however, some of the earlier Penitentials have been successfully published. Its text is quite fluctuant, so it is somehow difficult to place a Penitential within a textual tradition. A number of Penitentials display the text of Poenitentiale Burchardii, taken from Buchard’s Decretum.

R. Kottje – L. Körntgen – U. Spengler-Reffgen, Paenitentialia minora Franciae et Italiae saeculi VIII-IX, Turnhout, 1994

F. Bezler, Paenitentialia Hispaniae, Turnhout, 1998

C. Van Rhijn, Paenitentiale pseudo-Theodori, Turnhout, 2009

A. Gaastra, Paenitentialia Italiae, saeculi XI-XII, Turnhout, 2016

Th. Kölzer – G. Fransen, Burchardus Wormatiensis,Decretorum libri XX. Ex consiliis et orthodoxorum patrum decretis, tum etiam diversarum nationum synodis seu loci communes congesti, Aalen, 1992

For the Martyrology, the work of Henri Quentin remains still today unsurpassed. To that, we shall add the works of Jacques Dubois

H. Quentin, Les martyrologes historiques du moyen âge: étude sur la formation du martyrologe romain, Paris, 1908 [download here]

J. Dubois, Le Martyrologe d’Usuard, Bruxelles, 1965

C. Rauer, The Old English Martyrology: Edition, Translation and Commentary, Woodbridge, 2013

The Obituary is a very specific source that is linked to one and only particular house or monastery; that’s why each witness has to be edited as a unique source. A great work on Obituaries has been done by Jean-Loup Lemaitre in the series “Répertoire des documents necrologiques français”. The Obituary as a liturgical source is often associated with a Martyrology, a Calendar, a Rule (of St. Benedict or St. Augustin) and a Homiliary: they form the so-called “Chapter book” or “Liber Capituli”. 

A. Molinier, Les obituaires français au Moyen Âge, Paris, 1890