The Dominican Order was founded in the beginning of the thirteenth century by Dominic of Caleruega (1170-1221). One of the most famous Dominicans, archbishop and author Jacobus de Voragine (c.1228-1298), published multiple volumes of collected sermons (see also LTK 263 and LTK 278). This manuscript contains his Sermones de tempore et de sanctis (Sermons for Feast Days and Saints’ Days) which includes sermons for Sundays, Lent, saints’ days and other holy days. The manuscript belonged to the Convent of the Virgin in Gaesdonk (the Netherlands) (see also BPL 2231 and BPL 2483).
The sermons in this manuscript are all written in Latin, which tells us that the sermons were created for the clergy and not lay people, who generally could not understand Latin. Even though the manuscript was probably used by the monks of the convent, there are few annotations and traces of use in the margins. Perhaps the book was not used regularly but mainly served as inspiration for other sermons.
The sermons in the manuscript are separated from each other by a blank page. The flyleaf at the end of the book is a fragment of a calendar, probably from the fourteenth century. The manuscript still has its original binding.1
- While the medieval book was made out of sheets, it is the quire that is the object's building block. A quire is a small package of folded sheets usually made from bifolia. To create a bifolium, a sheet is folded in half (each half is called a 'folium', which consists of two 'pages', i.e. the front and back of the folium). How many bifolia were used in each quire of this manuscript? Clue: take a look at the catchwords in the lower margins.
- Some manuscripts were produced by one individual that undertook all production stages, including designing the page, copying the text, adding rubrication, and correcting the book. Many others, however, are the product of two or more individuals. How many people worked on this manuscript and how can you tell? Use any observation for your verdict, including how the letters were executed. Can you for example see any notable differences in the execution of the script?
- Gumbert, J. P. (2009). Illustrated Inventory of Medieval Manuscripts in Latin script in the Netherlands. Verloren.