Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 747

[Part 1]

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General information

LanguageLanguage object (44)
Approx. date?1230 to 1250
Date notesDate suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project. Supported by the script (writing only below top line, two-compartment 'a' with open upper compartment, straight 's' in all positions except at the end of the line, occasional use of round 's', 'u' in all positions).
Place(s) of productionNorthern France
Place suggested by the Lancelot-Graal project.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] Andementiers que ie esgardoie cele grant merueille /
First words of last recto folio[f. 229ra] di?..?e (et) il si fist. Car ma(n)tien(en)t q(ue) la parole li fu coulee de la /
Incipit[f. 1ra] Cil qui setient et iuge au plus petit (et) au pl(us) / pecheor de toz mande saluz au (com)mancema(n)t / de ceste estoire . a toz cels qui lors cuers / ont (et) lor craance en la sainte trinite ce / est elpere ce est el fiuz ce est el sainte / esp(ri)t . el pere par cui toutes choses sont / establies (et) recoiuent comancemant de uie /
Explicit[f. 229rb] [...] (et) ce fu celi q(ui) le t(ra)i (et) p(ar) qui il / p(er)di le chastel detrebe . ai(n)si(n)c (com)me licontes ledeuise / ra ca auant q(ui) com(men)ce entele maniere / En la marche de Gaule

Related MS

RelationshipType object (6)Manuscript object (226)
Manuscript object (229)


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Medium to lower quality parchment, with some holes (ff. 34, 47, 52, 69, 119, 164, 190), many stitches (ff. 18, 45, 50, 55, 58, 60, 69, 71, 81, 94, 95, 96, 125, 132, 141, 154, 172, 186, 187, 200, 204, 209) and some irregularities (ff. 27, 45). In a number of instances the edges of the skin coincide with the edges of the sheet (ff. 8, 61, 62, 65, 67, 82, 83, 105, 133, 147, 148, 157, 208, 226). First pages (ff. 1-5), ff. 86, 120 are severely damaged, causing loss of text in the outer columns of the folio. On many pages the lower outer corners are torn (ff. 11, 33, 197, 198, 200, 201, 202, 212, and onwards).



1-128 136 14-238 246 258 266 27-298 301+2+1

Quire structure:The manuscript consists mainly of quaternions: quire 13 (ff. 97-102) is a ternion, which allows the 'Suite du Merlin' to start in a new quire. Quire 24 (ff. 183-8) is also a ternion. The second part of the 'Suite' is copied by another hand which takes over at this point. The second half of ff. 188va and 189vb have been left blank. In quire 26 (ff. 197-202), also a ternion, a lacuna occurs between ff. 199 and 200, possibly explaining the structure of this quire.
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (21)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (10)

Physical description

General description:f. 188va: the text stops and a new quire starts after a ternion rather than a quaternion. Folio 189 starts 'Or dit li contes q(ue) lirois pelles auoit .i. filz m(o)lt bel demoisel q(ui) nestoit pas encor c(heualie)rs'
No. of illustrations:2
General illustration:The text opens with a historiated initial (height: 6 lines), blue on a field of blue and red. The illustration represents a figure carrying a book, kneeling before Christ. The figures are long and slender, wearing long robes, the folds of which are suggested with black ink. The main colours used are blue and red. The background is gilt. At the beginning of 'Merlin' (f. 77rb) another historiated initial (height: 5 lines) representing a bearded figure carrying a child and standing next to a king. The 'Suite du Merlin' (f. 103) starts on the recto side of a new folio at the beginning of a new quire. The preceding quire is a sexternion instead of a quaternion. The 'Suite' opens with a historiated initial (height: 8 lines) representing five men standing opposite another figure.
General decoration:The text is structured by means of puzzle initials (height: 5-6 lines) in blue and red with flourishings in the same colour. These are often associated with an 'or dit li contes' formula. Further subdivisions are indicated by plain initials (height: 2 lines) executed in red ink (one blue, f. 2ra). Guide letters in the margins. Particular marks on ff. 22rb, 41rb, 50v, 51rb (may be later additions). No further subdivision by means of plain initials in the 'Merlin'. Instead, rubricated chapter headings precede the puzzle initials. The 'Suite' (f. 103 and following) returns to the paratextual programme of puzzle initials and plain initials. Folio 203: initials (design) in brown ink. Folios 206, 211, 220: initials not executed.
Evidence of readership:f. 87r: Annotations (15th c.) 'Je vous vans [de] / chesne la feu[ille] / je pry au d[ieu] / damours qui[l] / vueille en v[ostre] / cuer esc(ri)pre [ce] / que je pense [et] / nose dyre'. This annotation is a 'vente d'amour' or 'jeux à vendre', as also written by Christine de Pizan and popular in the 15th c. f. 92: f. 117: je vous vans la ?ose f. 127: […] donne a […] f. 166v: f. 220v: upper margin : 'Jeha(n)' f. 228v: lower margin: 'si nos salua' 'abcdef' f. 229rb: text estoit une pucelle / […]eflor la qel estoit fille / […]tant q(ue) ?m’?llis lama ?..? / q(ui)l ?..?st aly[.] engendra / fil […] v(?er?)tigles q(ui) puis fu emp(eri)re de / rome [….] mult de ann[.]s f. 229v: annotations (littera cursiva) 'Explicit le romans' 'Daual' 'Sachent tout que je jehan le a .. de la cite' 'Ce liure est a guillam le '
Foliations description:Modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampledf. 8r
Page dimensions320x240 (mm)
Justification255x195 (mm)
13mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (4) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationRubrication is primarily used for decorated and plain initials. In the 'Merlin' section (ff. 77rb-102va) red ink is also used for chapter titles.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom f. 1r to f. 229rb
Datec. 1250
Scribe description:Multiple hands. One distinctly ff. 1ra-8vb. The writing of this hand is smaller than that in the rest of the manuscript. This hand also copies the 'Suite' for the portion ff. 103ra-188va. Possibly other hand(s) interfering in the final portion of the copy (ff. 207ra-207vb; 211ra-211vb; 220rb-220va). These are composite folios; the outer part has been pasted onto the inner part. In these instances the initials have not been executed. The hands share a number of characteristics: two-compartment 'a' with open upper compartment, straight 's' in final position, use of 'u' in all positions.
NotesMany (interlinear and marginal) corrections, especially ff. 68-71. Folio 73: 3-like sign at the end of each line.