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0521823935 - The Bobbio Missal - Liturgy and Religious Culture in Merovingian Gaul - Edited by - Yitzhak Hen and Rob Meens
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Liturgy and Religious Culture in Merovingian Gaul

The Bobbio Missal is one of the most intriguing manuscripts to have been produced in Merovingian Francia. It was copied in south-eastern Gaul around the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth century and it contains a unique combination of a lectionary and a sacramentary, to which a plethora of canonical and non-canonical material was added. The Missal is therefore highly regarded by liturgists; but, additionally, medieval historians welcome the information to be derived from material attached to the codex which provides valuable data about the role and education of priests in Francia at that time, and indeed on their cultural and ideological background. The breadth of specialist knowledge provided by the team of scholars writing for this book enables the manuscript to be viewed as a whole, and not as a narrow liturgical study. Collectively, the essays view the manuscript as physical object: they discuss the contents, they examine the language, and they look at the cultural context in which the codex was written. The entire volume is a major re-evaluation of the Bobbio Missal, its content and purpose.

YITZHAK HEN teaches Medieval History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His recent publications include Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul (1995); The Sacramentary of Echternach (1997); The Uses of the Past in the Early Middle Ages, co-edited with Matthew Innes (2000); and The Royal Patronage of Liturgy in Frankish Gaul (2001). He is the General Editor of the series Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

ROB MEENS teaches Medieval History at the University of Utrecht. He is leading the research project ‘Building a Christian society. Penitentials of the tenth and eleventh centuries: Text and Context’. His recent publications include Het tripartite boeteboek. Overlevering en betekenis van vroegmiddeleeuwse biechtvoorschriften (1994). He is also the editor of the journal Millennium.

Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology


Albinia de la Mare
Rosamond McKitterick Newnham College, University of Cambridge


David Ganz King’s College London
Teresa Webber Trinity College, University of Cambridge

This series has been established to further the study of manuscripts from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It includes books devoted to particular types of manuscripts, their production and circulation, to individual codices of outstanding importance, and to regions, periods, and scripts of especial interest to scholars. The series will be of interest not only to scholars and students of medieval literature and history, but also to theologians, art historians, and others working with manuscript sources.


Bernhard Bischoff, translated by Michael GormanManuscripts and Libraries in the Age of Charlemagne

Richard Gameson The Early Medieval Bible: Its Production, Decoration and Use

Nancy Netzer Cultural Interplay in the Eighth Century: The Trier Gospels and the Making of a Scriptorium at Echternach

William Noel The Harley Psalter

Charles F. Briggs Giles of Rome’s De regimine principum: Reading and Writing Politics at Court and University, c. 1275–c. 1525

Leslie Brubaker Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium: Image as Exegesis in the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus

Francis Newton The Scriptorium and Library at Monte Cassino, 1058–1105

Lisa Fagin Davis The Gottschalk Antiphonary: Music and Liturgy in Twelfth-Century Lambach

Albert Derolez The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books: From the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century

Alison I. Beach Women as Scribes: Book Production and Monastic Reform in Twelfth-Century Bavaria


Liturgy and Religious Culture in Merovingian Gaul

Edited by

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© Yitzhak Hen and Rob Meens 2004

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2004

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

Typeface Adobe Garamond 11.5/13.5 pt.      System LATEX 2e      [TB]

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress cataloguing in publication data
The Bobbio missal: liturgy and religious culture in Merovingian Gaul / edited by Yitzhak
Hen and Rob Meens.
p.    cm. – (Cambridge studies in palaeography and codicology; 11)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0 521 82393 5
1. Bobbio Missal – Congresses.   2. Missals – Gaul – Congresses.   3. Catholic Church – Liturgy – Texts – History and criticism – Congresses.   4. Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits – Congresses.
I. Hen, Yitzhak.   II. Meens, Rob.   III. Series.
BX2037.A3G333 2003
264′.01403 – dc21    2003055170

ISBN 0 521 82393 5 hardback


List of illustrations page vii
List of contributors viii
Acknowledgements ix
List of abbreviations x
Map xii
  1 Introduction: the Bobbio Missal – from Mabillon onwards 1
  2 The scripts of the Bobbio Missal 19
  3 The palimpsest leaves in the Bobbio Missal 53
  4 Reading and writing the Bobbio Missal: punctuation, word separation and animated initials 60
  5 Liturgical Latin in the Bobbio Missal 67
  6 Additions to the Bobbio Missal: De dies malus and Joca monachorum (fols. 6r–8v) 79
  7 The liturgy of the Bobbio Missal 140
  8 Reforming the clergy: a context for the use of the Bobbio penitential 154
  9 Doctrinal and theological themes in the prayers of the Bobbio Missal 168
10 The Missa pro principe in the Bobbio Missal 187
11 Liturgy in the Rhône valley and the Bobbio Missal 206
12 Conclusion 219
Index of manuscripts 223
General index 227


1 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fol. 7v: sample of a leaf from quire A (Joca monachorum): scribe A page 25
2 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fol. 11v: the beginning of the canon missae (Te igitur): scribe M 26
3 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fol. 16r: the canon missae with interlinear additions: scribe M, main hand 27
4 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fol. 88r: the Apostolic Creed: scribe M 28
5 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fols. 110v–111r: sample of an opening: scribe M 29
6 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fols. 250v–251r: the beginning of the Missa pro principe: scribe M, fol. 250v; scribe M2, fol. 251r 30
7 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fols. 251v–252r: sample of an opening: scribe M2 31
8 Paris, BNF lat. 13246, fol. 293r: sample of a leaf with Merovingian cursive lines: scribe A, main hand 32
1 The Bobbio Missal: letter forms 24
2 The Bobbio Missal: quire GG, showing insertion of leaves with the Missa pro principe 49
Bobbio and other monasteries xii


LOUISE P.M. BATSTONE    Magdalene College, Cambridge

DAVID GANZ    Department of Classics, King’s College, University of London

MARY GARRISON    Department of History and Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York

YITZHAK HEN    Department of General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

ROSAMOND McKITTERICK    Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge

ROB MEENS    Department of History, University of Utrecht

MARCO MOSTERT    Department of History, University of Utrecht

ELS ROSE    Research Institute for History and Culture, University of Utrecht

IAN N. WOOD    Department of History, University of Leeds

CHARLES D. WRIGHT    Department of English, University of Illinois

ROGER WRIGHT    Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Liverpool


The Bobbio Missal is one of the most intriguing liturgical manuscripts that were produced in Merovingian Francia. It is here argued that it was copied in south-eastern Gaul and it contains a unique combination of a lectionary and a sacramentary, to which a plethora of canonical and non-canonical material was added. Notwithstanding its richness and significance, no major study of the Bobbio Missal has been published since 1924, and scholars who used it throughout the twentieth century simply picked up from previous discussions whatever they deemed appropriate. On 28 April 2001 a group of scholars from various disciplines and universities gathered together in Utrecht for a one-day workshop on the Bobbio Missal. The present volume is essentially the revised and expanded version of the papers presented at the Utrecht gathering, to which three more papers have been added (by Ganz, Mostert and Wright and Wright), in order to cover issues which were raised (but not discussed) in the Utrecht workshop.

   This volume could not have been published without the help and advice of many friends and colleagues. We would first like to extend our deep gratitude to the contributors for their cooperation and forbearance, and to those who participated in the discussions at the Utrecht gathering. Special thanks should go to Mayke de Jong, who took a special interest in the progress of this enterprise, and provided much encouragement and support. She also chaired the sessions held at Utrecht, and contributed immensely to the success of our workshop. We are equally indebted to the Research Institute for History and Culture of the University of Utrecht and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for their generous financial support, and to Irene van Renswoude who masterfully helped us in organising things. Finally, we should like to thank Tessa Webber, William Davies, Caroline Bundy and the staff of the Cambridge University Press for their interest in this book and for seeing it through the press.


AASS Acta Sanctorum (Antwerp and Brussels, 1643–)
BAR British Archaeological Reports
BAV Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
BM Bibliothèque Municipale
BNF Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Bobbio The Bobbio Missal: A Gallican Mass-Book, ed. E.A. Lowe, HBS 58 (London, 1920)
CCSL Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina (Turnhout, 1952–)
CLA Codices Latini Antiquiores. A Palaeographical Guide to Latin Manuscripts Prior to the Ninth Century, 11 vols. with a supplement (Oxford, 1935–71; 2nd edn of vol. II, 1972)
CLLA Codices Liturgici Latini Antiquiores, ed. K. Gamber, 2 vols., Spicilegii Friburgensis Subsidia 1 (2nd edn, Freiburg, 1968); supplemented by B. Baroffio et al., Spicilegii Friburgensis subsidia 1A (Freiburg, 1988)
Clm Codices latini monacenses
DACL Dictionnaire d’archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. F. Cabrol and H. Leclercq, 15 vols. in 30 (Paris, 1907–53)
HBS Henry Bradshaw Society Publications
Lowe, ‘Notes’ E.A. Lowe, ‘Notes on the parallel forms in early texts’, in The Bobbio Missal: Notes and Studies, ed. A. Wilmart, E.A. Lowe and H.A. Wilson, HBS 61 (London, 1924), pp. 107–47
Lowe, ‘Palaeography’ E.A. Lowe, ‘The palaeography of the Bobbio Missal’, in The Bobbio Missal: Notes and Studies, ed. A. Wilmart, E.A. Lowe and H.A. Wilson, HBS 61 (London, 1924), pp. 59–106 (repr. in E.A. Lowe, Palaeographical Papers, ed. L. Bieler, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1972), I, pp. 142–81)
MGH Monumenta Germaniae Historica
    AA     Auctores Antiquissimi, 15 vols. (Berlin, 1877–1919)
    SRG     Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum (Hannover, 1871–)
    SRM     Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum, 7 vols. (Hannover, 1884–1951)
PL Patrologiae cursus completus, series latina, ed. J.-P. Migne, 221 vols. (Paris, 1841–64)
PLS Patrologiae latinae supplementum, ed. A. Hamman, 4 vols. (Paris, 1957–71)
Settimane Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo (Spoleto, 1954–)
Wilmart, ‘Notice’ A. Wilmart, ‘Notice du Missel de Bobbio’, in The Bobbio Missal: Notes and Studies, ed. A. Wilmart, E.A. Lowe and H.A. Wilson, HBS 61 (London, 1924), pp. 1–58
Wilmart, ‘Palimpseste’ A. Wilmart, ‘Le palimpseste du missel de Bobbio’, Revue Bénédictine 33 (1921), pp. 1–18

Map 1 Bobbio and other monasteries. After Paul Fouracre, The Age of Charles Martel (Harlow, 2000)

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