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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, A III 21
Paper · 181 ff. · 31.5 x 22 cm · 1503
Ambrosius Alantsee, Glossa psalterii

This commentary on the Psalms is an autograph by Ambrosius Alantsee, who, after having studied and then taught at the University of Basel, entered the Carthusian monastery of Basel in 1480 and, among others, held positions there as scribe, prior and author of primarily liturgical literature. This manuscript was written a few years before his death, which occurred in 1505 while on a visitation journey to Erfurt. (mue)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, A VIII 18
Paper · 187 ff. · 20.5 x 14 cm · Basel · second half of the 15th century
Sermones capitulares Ordinis Cartusiensium

This codex, with a binding partially in leather, contains mostly chapter sermons and collationes written by Heinrich Arnoldi; usually they begin with a quote from the Bible and are only a few pages long. The composite manuscript for in-house use was produced at the Carthusian Monastery of Basel, where it was written mostly by Martin Ströulin and in part by Heinrich Arnoldi himself. In addition to the handwritten part, it also contains two short prints. (mue)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, A X 93
Paper · 135 ff. · 15.5 x 11 cm · middle of the 15th century
Thomas à Kempis, De imitatione Christi libri I-III

Ludwig Moser brought this small-format volume to the Carthusian Monastery of Basel (cf. note of ownership 1r), from where it came to the Basel University Library. It contains the first three of the four books of Thomas à Kempis’ De imitatione Christi. This text, which is influenced by the teaching of various mystics, especially Meister Eckhart, offers spiritual people a guide for detaching from the world. It was very well received by Catholics as well as Protestants and is considered one of the most widely read books of Christendom. (mue)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, A X 117
Paper · 261 ff. · 22 x 15 cm · Basel · 1st quarter of the 16th century
Composite manuscript of theological content

This volume, originally from Ludwig Moser’s private book collection (cf. note of ownership 2r) came to the Basel University Library as part of the holdings of the library of the Carthusian Monastery of Basel. It contains various theological texts in German, beginning with a version of Wilhelm Textoris’ Migrale vel Ars moriendi (Sterbebuch, a book on the art of dying), which Moser himself translated into German. This is followed by Henry Suso’s "Büchlein von der Wahrheit”, Thomas Peuntner’s "Büchlein von der Liebe Gottes”, and several sermons by Johannes Tauler and Meister Eckhart. (mue)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, B XI 10
Parchment · 383 ff. · 12-12.5 x 8.5 cm · second half of the 14th century
Composite manuscript (mysticism)

This small-format composite manuscript contains numerous pieces of mysticism, such as sermons, treatises (excerpts), instructions and sayings by, among others, Meister Eckhart, Heinrich von Ekkewint and Johannes von Sterngassen. The volume was written by two different hands; the first of these complains in red ink on f. 379r that anyone unable to write could have no idea how torturous such work is. A note of ownership by abbey librarian Georg Carpentarius (around 1487-1531) and the old shelfmark E xxvi associates the manuscript with the library of the Carthusian Monastery of Basel. As most of the German-language manuscripts at the monastery, it was part of the lay brothers' library. (flr)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, E I 4
Paper · 639 ff. · 29 x 21 cm · Basel · 2nd quarter of the 15th century
Composite manuscript of writings regarding the Council of Basel

This codex, which consists of several parts, contains primarily decrees, bulls, letters and decisions related to the Council of Basel (1431-1448), by various hands in Latin and German. Later hands added occasional notes, corrections and additions. Historiographic information is included with the so-called “Grössere Basler Annalen” and Latinized excerpts from the Rötteln Chronicle and the German Chronicle of Jakob Twinger von Königshofen. This manuscript came from the Carthusian Monastery of Basel and then became part of the holdings of the Basel University Library. (srf)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, N I 1:99a
Paper · 10 ff. · ca. 19.5 x 12.5 cm · Alemannic-speaking region · middle of the 14th century
Nibelungenlied (fragment)

These five bifolia with fragments from The Song of the Nibelungs are from a mid-14th century manuscript; they were preserved because they were reused as binding material. Discovered in 1866 by a clergyman from Fanas/Prättigau, they came into the hands of the Basel philologist Wilhelm Wackernagel and today are part of the Basel University Library. The leaves show restrained rubrication; the margins are decorated with occasional reddish-brown pen and ink drawings (particularly in the shape of dragons and dragon-like creatures). (flr)

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Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, O III 19
Paper · 44 ff. · 21.5-22 x 16-16.5 cm · Alemannic-speaking region · second half of the 15th century
Johannes Tauler, Sermons

This slim volume belonged to Remigius Faesch (1595-1667), jurist and rector of the University of Basel; together with his vast collection of art and curios, the book became part of the university library in the 1820s. As noted by Remigius Faesch in his catalog under the Libri manuscripti in 4º antiqui, the codex contains “Etliche Teutsche Sermon unn Predigen”, mostly by the Dominican preacher and mystic Johannes Tauler (1300-1361). (flr)

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Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. C 219
Parchment and paper · 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 ff. · A) 29.5 x 19.5-20 cm; B) 27 x 21.5 cm; C) 30.5 x 21.5 cm; D) 27 x 20 cm · A) Italy?; B) France; C) France: Bourges; D) England: Wales · A) second half of the 11th century; B) first half of the 15th century; C) around 1465–1475; D) end of the 9th/ beginning of the 10th century
A) Cicero: Topica; B) Annaeus Florus: Epitome Bellorum Romanorum; Livius: Periochae; C) Juvenal: Saturae, cum glossis; D) Augustinus (Pseudo-): Categoriae [= Paraphrasis Themistiana] (fragments)

Composite manuscript consisting of four very different parts that probably came to Bern in 1632 as part of the property of Jacques Bongars; parts B and C are from the Collège de Navarre in Paris. All parts are at least partly illuminated. All fragments have related parts in other libraries: for part A, Paris BN lat. 7709, f. 1–4; for B, Paris BN lat. 17566, f. 1–40; for C, Paris BN lat. 17902, f. 1–85; and for D, Leiden UB, Voss. Q 2 IX (f. 60). (mit)

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Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. D 219
Parchment · 8 + 10 ff. · 27.5 x 19.5 cm ; 26.5 x 17 cm · A) France: Fleury; B) France: Eastern? · A) fourth quarter of the 9th century; B) second quarter of the 9th century
A) Passiones sanctorum; B) Isidorus: Synonyma, Differentiae (fragments)

Composite manuscript consisting of two different parts that probably came to Bern in 1632 as part of the property of Jacques Bongars. Part A comes from an extensive collection of lives of the saints for the liturgy of Fleury, various of which have been preserved in the Vatican Library: Reg. lat. 274, f. 95–102; Reg. lat. 318, f. 1–79, 80–146, 147–258; Reg. lat. 585, f. 13–27; Reg. lat. 711.II, f. 11–18; 67–76. Part B contains fragments from Isidore’s grammatical writings and probably was written in Eastern France. (mit)

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Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. E 219
Parchment · 8 ff. · 26 x 15.5 cm · France · first half of the 9th century
Salvianus Massiliensis: Epistulae (fragment)

The only textual witness for certain letters by Salvianus of Marseille, the complement of which is preserved in Paris BN lat. 2174, f. 113–115. This non-illuminated fragment probably came to Bern in 1632 as part of the property of Jacques Bongars. (mit)

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Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. F 219 I
Parchment · 14 ff. · 24.5 x 18.5 cm · France · second half of the 10th century
Boethius: De arithmetica (fragment)

Fragment of the Boethius' On Arithmetic, containing numerous schematic drawings; it probably came to Bern in 1632 as part of the property of Jacques Bongars. (mit)

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Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. F 219 II
Parchment · 4 ff. · 31 x 22 cm · France: Loire region · first half of the 9th century
Isidorus: De natura rerum (fragment)

Two bifolia from an Isidore manuscript that was probably produced in the Loire region. The fragment contains, among others, a carefully sketched wind rose as well as astronomical texts at the end that, in the context of the Aratea, are known as the “Scholia Bernensia”. It probably came to Bern in 1632 as part of the collection of Jacques Bongars. (mit)

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Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. F 219 III
Parchment · 18 ff. · 34.5–35 x 24.5–25 cm · probably Spain · second half of the 7th century
Oribasius: Synopsis medica (fragment)

Fragment of a manuscript in uncial script containing medical texts; it was probably written in Spain and came to the library of Chartres Cathedral perhaps via Italy. The remaining parts are preserved in Paris BN lat. 10233. Based on an entry by the Bernese librarian Samuel Hortin, the fragment in all likelihood came to Bern in 1632 as part of the Bongarsiana collection. (mit)

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 54
Paper · 349 ff. · 30.8 X 20.1 cm · Bern (?) · around 1616 (with additions until the late 17th century)
Collection of alliances made by the (Swiss) confederates, as well as burgage (“Burgrecht”) alliances and contracts with the city of Bern

The first part (4r-121r) of this paper manuscript contains a series of alliances made by the (Swiss) confederates, and the second part (130r-290r) contains the burgage (“Burgrecht”) alliances and contracts of the city of Bern. In the last part (300v-336r), the texts of alliances made in the 16th and 17th century by the confederates or by the individual cantons with Venice, Savoy and France were added at a later time and by a different scribe. Based on the kind of paper as well as on the script, this manuscript seems to have been produced around 1616 in Bern or in a territory under Bernese rule. The inside front cover holds the bookplate Baggrave Library, perhaps the library of the country house Baggrave Hall (Leicestershire), seat of the Burnaby family, including John Burnaby (1701-74), the English ambassador in Bern (1743-49). In 1970, the manuscript was purchased by Martin Bodmer. (ber)

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 152
Parchment · I + 122 + I ff. · 30.3 x 21 cm · Northern Italy · last third of the 14th century
Seneca, Tragedies

During the Middle Ages, Seneca was the most popular and most read of the ancient playwrights. The manuscripts of his tragedies, of which almost 400 copies are known today, are mostly from the 14th and 15th century, as is this copy, owned by the Fondation Bodmer. At the beginning of each of Seneca's dramas, this version has a historiated initial that summarizes the plot of the drama, such as the suicide of Jocasta and the blinding of Oedipus at the beginning of the eponymous drama (f. 46v). The rather modest execution of these initials was most likely carried out in Northern Italy, where most of the illuminated copies of this text (about 50) were produced. (rou)

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Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 158
Parchment · 16 ff. · 9.5-32 x 8.6-21 cm · Italy · 11th century
Terence, Comedies: Andria and Eunuchus

The plays of Terence were highly appreciated throughout the entire Middle Ages, as attested by this 11th century manuscript written in Carolingian script, which preserves fragments from two of his six comedies, Andria and Eunuchus. The fragments are of different sizes; between the 15th and 16th century, they were used as binding for registers, as evidenced by certain signs of use and of folds, as well as by dates written beside invocations of the Virgin, of Christ or of St. Thomas. (rou)

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Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 163
Parchment · I + 99 ff. · 29 x 20.5 cm · Northern France · third quarter of the 15th century
Laurent d'Orléans, Somme le roi

At the behest of King Philip III the Bold, the Dominican Laurent d’Orléans wrote a book on religious instruction for lay people. He drew inspiration from the Miroir du monde, compiling two treatises about this 13th century work, that was widely read throughout the realm. The treatise on the virtues is the only part originally by Brother Laurent. The illuminator who created the 8 miniatures is not identified, but probably was active in Northern France. (hoc)

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Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 164
Parchment · II + 96 ff. · 29.5 x 21 cm · Paris · ca. 1470
Jacques Legrand, Livre de bonnes meurs

The Livre de bonnes meurs, dedicated to the Duke of Berry, draws its inspiration from the Sophilogium by the same author. In essence this is a moral and religious work. As part of the “mirror for princes”, it broaches the topic of the virtues and moral qualities that an ideal prince should possess. This Geneva manuscript represents the first version, dated 1404. It was illuminated by the master of Philippe de Commynes’ Froissart and contains a single beautiful illumination for the frontispiece. (hoc)

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Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 179
Parchment · I + 14 ff. · 25.5 x 17.3 cm · Lyon · around 1511
Jean d’Auton, Epistre d’Hector au roy

In 1511, the Benedictine Jean d'Auton (around 1466-1528), chronicler at the court of Louis XII, initiated a contest to write fictional letters to the king. For this contest, he wrote the Epistre d'Hector au roy, which was answered, among others, by Jean Lemaire de Belges with his Epistre du roy Loys à Hector. This Geneva manuscript begins with a full-page illustration, executed by an artist named Maître des Entrées, active in Lyon. It depicts Hector presenting a book to a satyr in front of an army of soldiers in armor, some of whom are crowned with the poets’ laurel wreath. The numerous references to antiquity, textual as well as visual, are typical for the humanist milieu of Lyon, which included the owner of this manuscript, Jean Sala, half-brother of the famous author and antiquities enthusiast Pierre Sala. (rou)

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Documents: 34, displayed: 1 - 20