Discover the world of liturgical manuscripts

Liturgical manuscripts are the most tangible and direct source for understanding Medieval liturgy. Their complexity is somehow difficult to explain because of the great variety of types, recipients, and destinations. What is fascinating is their use, which becomes clear only by putting them in their real contest of production, circulation and meaning. In that, the content of a liturgical book is not always enough to establish its use: sometimes its material appearance and its internal organisation tell us a lot about how a book was intended to be used.

Manuscript Paris, BnF, Latin 17742, as an example, is formed by two codicological units. The first (fol. 1-105) have been copied at Cluny at the end of the 11th century and contains Usuard’s Martyrology and some homilies; the second (fol. 106-336) includes some homilies, the Rule of St. Benedict and an Obituary, and it has been produced at the Cluniac Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs during the 14th century. Plus, the Martyrology of the first unit has been adapted to the use of Saint-Martin-des-Champs. Although it is not said in the description, this manuscript is unitary and consistent on the basis on its content, and it has been used at Saint-Martin-des-Champs for the chapter office, celebrated after Prime. A full color digitization of the manuscript is available on Gallica.