Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 771

[Part 1]

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General information

LanguageLanguage object (3)
Approx. date?1230 to 1250
Date notesWritten above top line. Characteristics of the hand(s) in this manuscript confirm a dating c. 1250.
Place(s) of productionNorthern France
Place suggested by the Lanceloyt-Graal project.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] se v(ous) soniez cest cor /
First words of last recto folio[f. 206ra] El palais esperitel en la cite /
Incipit[f. 1ra] C i endroit dit li contes que quant / agrauains se fu p(ar)tis de ses (com)paig / nons si (com) uos aues oi qil erra .ii. / iors (et) plus sans auenture trouer /
Explicit[f. 206rb] Si se teste ore li (con)tes atant / des auontures du saint graal qi sont / si menees afin q(ue) aprez cest conte / Nen poroit uns riens dire q(ui) nen / mentist / Ici fenissent les auentures du Saint / graall //


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Medium to lower quality vellum with many tears, holes (ff. 79, 121, 122, 130, 134) and stitches (ff. 42, 43, 103 , 123). The lower corner of f. 117 has been torn and a later hand has added missing words. Generally in fairly good condition, some folds, but on the whole well legible.



1-248 256 268 between f. 17 and f. 18 the folios of two quires have been bound in the wrong order. The correct order is: f. 17 followed by f. 34 to f.39 followed by f. 24 to f. 33.

Quire structure:Twenty-four quaternions followed by one ternion. The final quire is another quaternion. Between folios 17 and 18 two quires have been bound in the wrong order. This is apparent from the 14th or 15th c. foliation in the top right-hand corner of the recto of these folios. Folio 17 should be followed by folios 34 to 39, followed by folios 24 to 33. Folio 18 to 23 should be followed by folio 40. The wrong order has been noted in a moderm and has also been marked with crosses, clarifying the order in which the quires should be read.
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (21)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (10)

Physical description

General description:One folio (f. 144) has been left blank between 'Agravain' and the 'Queste'. This allows the 'Agravain' to end with a full quaternion and the 'Queste' to begin in a new quaternion. The transition between the two texts is also marked by a change in scribe (e.g. marked by the absence of 'tongued' 'e' in final position); the final quire 199-206 is written by the scribe of the Agravain.
No. of illustrations:2
General illustration:The 'Agravain' opens with a single column image (f. 1ra; height: 11 lines) in a scarlet frame. The background, now blue, was originally gilt. The vertical limits of the frame are marked by two turrets. The image, which is heavily worn, shows a mounted knight leaving a city. The 'Queste opens with a similar single column miniature in a scarlet frame with gilt border (f. 145ra). Again, the blue background, shows traces of goldleaf. The images shows another mounted knight leaving a city or castle.
General decoration:Subdivisions are marked by pen-decorated puzzle initials (red, blue; height: 8 lines). The text is further structured through pen-decorated initials (height: 2 lines; red and blue, penwork in contrasting colour). Puzzle initials and pen-decorated initials alike are accompanied by j-borders in red and blue, spanning the full height of the column.
Evidence of readership:Manicula throughout the 'Agravain' part of the manuscript. Only one occurence in the 'Quest'e (f. 191: 'Or dit li contes du seint gra / al'), but it is not certain if this is the same hand. Reference marks (crosses) on f. 78 and 109. Nota bene on ff. 131 and 191. Annotations in French/Italian in a 14th-c. cursive hand on f. 49va: 'chome lanc. fu priso e miso en prison', f. 63vb: 'dolorosa' added in lower margin to accompany 'roine' in the text, f. 70rb: 'morgheine apris Lanc. e tient en prison' written in upper margin, f. 115: 'mesire G conte les aventures [...]', f. 131v.: 'Inci (with cedilla) finiste la guerre di Cladasa', f. 132v: 'Quant la roina trouo [...] / la bela figlia le roi Peles'. On f. 144: drawing of capital letter 'g'. On the verso side of f. 206 is a text on the nine worthies, again written in Italian. The 'Io so' formula may suggest that these are text composed to accompany images. Further annotations in Latin on the same folio. Trancription (Nicola Morato and Dirk Schoenaers): [f. 206v] [pagani] / Jo so hector che fra greci piu volte / seppi sencza voltar dar mo(r)te a mille <these first two lines are repeated in another hand next to the original lines> / E un di isproueduto maccise acchillle / Cesare so che Roma e il monde vinci / cola forcza cu(m)la sfata e cu(m) lo ardire / fi una lege e si me fe morire / Jo so Re allexandro che de mondo / mi manco poco auer lo arbitrio appeno / E el piu bel víuere vi ??(n)c ??i meno / [Judey] / Jo so Re dauide che vinci il grande / Golias . e . filiste(us) . ma piu me gioua / víncí me stesso e no(n) fu menore proua / Jo so il possente Juda macchabeo / che bi nellarme prosp??err ??i fortuna / Trenta duy volte vinci . e perdey vna / Jo so il victorioso Jesoe / che [...] un vinci [...] p??iu?? li adu[..]ey / sempre cu(m) poco vinci e may perdey / [(christ)iani] / Jo so Re artus che fu la piu famosa [...] ??co(n)te?? / de Caualieri erranti che ??auassere?? fo spe / E la fatie dorgania sime destrusse / Jo so il Re de (jhersusalem) go??de??freda / p(er) p(er) casa[..] e forte p(er) natura / gentile p(er) acti e victor p(er) fortuna / Jo se Re Carlo mano Jmperatore / se nel mio tempo il ??re fu au??esmo alczay / [...] un sen . i piu che nollo [...]ay / <other hand> Airtourus // <illegible annotations in the lower margin> / <next to ‘Cesar’ and ‘Alexander’ : Ast Ego q(ui) díuum Incedo Regina iouisq(ue) / Et soro(r) et congiuns una cu(m) gente toct an(n)os <’Aeneid’, I, 46-7> / <drawing of four flowers> /<other hand> Dum sumus in mundo viuamus / in corpore mundo / Dum furtuna perid nullus / amicus erit // <other hand, in very light, or otherwise faded ink> dum sumus in mundo viuamus corpore / mundo mundo viuamus corpore mundo gaudea[mus] / dum leo est magnanimus ludunt simul / (et) leopardus eius morte perit per du??...?? / leo / <other hand> Quia si non moratur non / Quia […] //
Foliations description:Three sets of foliation. The modern foliation, in arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the recto side of the folio runs from 1 to 206. A second, 14th- or 15th-c. sequence, in roman numerals above the b-column, has the same numbering but is not visible after f. 201. This sequence indicates the folios originally belonging between current f. 17 and f. 18 in the right order. A third set of numbers appearing as from f. 61, in roman numerals in the lower margin, generally runs one folio behind.t At the en it jumps from f. 178 to f. 200, from f. 209 to f. 300 and from f. 309 to f. 400.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampledf. 40r
Page dimensions295x220 (mm)
Justification260x175 (mm)
10mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationUsed for decorated initials, J-borders and highlight certain letters (e.g. initial letter of conjunctions) in the text.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom 1ra to 143vb
Datec. 1250
Scribe description:Northern textualis, two-compartment 'a' with open upper compartment, 'e' with tongue, diacritic on 'i' in minim groups, straight 's' in final position, vertical stroke of 't' does not extend above the headstroke. Biting of 'de'. Abbreviations include crossed tironian note, 's'-like apostrophe, superscript vowels, nasal bar, 'p' with crossed descender
NotesThe same hand reappears at the end of the manuscript ff. 199 to 206.

Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom 145ra to 198vb
Datec. 1250
Scribe description:This hand is contemporary to the one in the 'Agravain' but is clearly different. One of the distinguishing features is the absence of a 'tongue' on the 'e'.


DescriptionIn Italy or owned by an Italian in the 14th c.?
Datec. 1350 to 1400
PlacePlace object (10)