Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 20125

Livre des estoires Rogier

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General information

Folio notes:Seventeenth century foliation (De Visser-Van Terwisga 1999, 25)
LanguageLanguage object (49)
Approx. datec. 1250 to 1300
Date notes'Manuscrit en parchemin du troisième quart du XIIIe s.' (De Visser-van Terwisga 1999, 24) 'a copy produced at a scriptorium in Saint-Jean d'Acre in about the year 1287.' (Coker-Joslin 1986, 20) 'Frankreich, drittes Viertel 13. Jahrhundert' (Oltrogge 1989, 302). The script, a Northern textualis with double-compartment 'a', the upper compartment of which is open or closed (double-bow 'a'), and round 's' in final position, slightly descending below the baseline, would confirm a date in the second half of the thirteenth century. The straight Carolingian 'd' occassionally used (e.g. in the rubric f. 226va) is an archaic feature dating to the end of the twelfth, beginning of the thirteenth century.
Place(s) of productionAcre, Northern France
'BN fr. 20125 wird zumeist nur kurz erwähnt als französische, um 1300 entstandene Handschrift. Ausführlich besprochen wird das Manuskript nur von Folda, der es einer akkonesischen Werkstatt des letzten Viertels des 13. Jahrhunderts zuweist. [...] Stahl akzeptiert in seiner Rezension zu Foldas Arbeit über französische Ateliers in Akkon nur Chantillu 590 als nahöstliche Handschrift; bei den übrigen Manuskripten, darunter auch BN fr. 20125, hält er eine Entstehung in Akkon für nicht gesichert, da auch nac der Auswanderung des "Hospitaller Masters" der rein französische Stil in Frankreich fortlebte. [...] In den Handschriften, die Folda dem "Hospitaller Master" zuschreibt, finden sich - ausser in Chantilly 590 - keine eindeutigen Hinweise auf eine Entstehung in Akkon, vielmejr könnten alle Manuskripten auch vom "Hospitaller Master" selbst oder dem Atelier, aus dem er kam, in Frankreich ausgeführt worden sein. [...] Die einzige Parallele zwischen BN fr. 20125 und den sicher akkonesischen Handschriften der "byzantinischen Richtung" BBR 10175, Dijon und BL Add. 15268 ist der Initialdekor; die Fleuronnéeinitialen dieser vier Handschriften sind sehr ähnlich gestaltet. Allerdings ist dieser Dekor in den akkonesischen Handschriften französischer Import, ahnliche Ornamentformen wurden gleichzeitig auch in Frankreich verwendet [...] die Initialen in BN fr. 20125 sind also auch aus französichen Traditionen erklärbar. Die übrigen Dekorformen in BN fr. 20125 sind ebenfalls französisch geprägt. [...] Auch die steifen, sehr gerade stehenden Figuren sind haüfig in der Pariser und nordfranzösischen Buchmalerei der Mitte und des dritten Viertels des 13. Jahrhunderts zu finden. (Oltrogge 1989, 21-22).
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] Coment níníue fu fondee /
First words of last recto folio[f. 375ra] assamblerent lí galoís /
Incipit[f. 1ra] Ci comence li prologues ou liure des estories .Rogier. & la porsi / uance / S egnors ie / ai oi re / traire : / con doit ades bie(n) / dire (et) fai / re . Tant / con on / ou siecle / demore / Li hom ne uit cune sole ore / A  inz trespasse (et) ua a la fin / Sil a urai cuer (et) fin .
Explicit[f. 375va] der le pere de toz lor deus en cui il / auoit grant fiance.


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:High grade vellum, in good condition. Some wear on first and last folios. The first folio has been damaged in the lower border and affected by damp. On f. 56 and f. 57 pen-decorated initials have been cut.



1-36(10), 37(5)

Quire structure:Generally made up of quinions. The final quire is a binion with one added leaf.
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (23)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (20)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:50
General illustration:F. 2vb and 3r: two one-column miniatures displaying in seven episodes the creation. Stylistic Eastern influence (particularly in the decoration of the frame). Miniatures (height: c. 10 to 15 lines), with background in goldleaf. Framed in broad borders of blue and red bars, decorated with white flourishings, bordered by a fine gilt frame lined in black ink. Dark, mat blues and scarlets, orange. Figures are tall, with straight or curved posture, faces are blank, hands meaningfully gesturing. Some of the images are framed in Gothic architecture, arches with Ionian columns, coloured blue or red. An interesting miniature on f. 112rb, depicts 'la tigre de thebes' on an azure background with gilt fleurs-de-lis, suggesting a French (royal?) connection. The battle between Alexandre and the elephants (f. 235r) is illustrated with a two-column miniature. Special attention has been given to the wondrous creatures encountered by Alexandre, e.g. the unicorn/rhinoceros (f. 238) and the beast with two heads (f. 242r).
General decoration:The manuscript opens with a large foliate initial, pink with white flourishings (height: 10 lines) on a gilt background, decorated with blue tendrils ending in red leaves. Two chimaera, one wearing armour, the other shield and sword. The initial is framed in a yellowish border lined in black ink and extends into an 'L'-border of red, goldleaf and blue bars. After the prologue, the text proper opens with a one-column initial 'Q' (height: 11 lines), goldleaf, decorated with blue and red tendrils. The initial is placed on a blue foeld, decorated with goldleaf and angels (strangely with fish-tails) one blowing a horn, the other playing the harp in the upper corners. The descender extends into the intermarginal area, thus forming a border of goldleaf, blue and red bars, decorated with white flourishings and ending in blue and red tendrils with red leaves. Major sections are indicated by large pen-decorated puzzle-initials (e.g. f. 10va, height: 7 lines), blue and red with flourishings in the same colour. Special attention is given to Noach (f. 10va), Esau (f. 55v), 'coment la dame triste (et) dolante / se plainst de joseph a son baron (f. 63vb-64ra), 'Or symeon demora en prison por / ses freres . (et) li autre sen ralere(n)t (f. 71va), 'Or ioseph fist a tote sa maisnee / uoidier la sale' (f. 75vb), 'Que li frere reuindrent / a iacob lor pere' (f. 76va), 'Que iacob ot grant ioie qua(n)t / il oi noueles de ioseph son fill.' (f. 77ra), 'Si come / ioseph porta le cors de iacob son / pere en ebron por auoir sepouture' (f. 81va). The opening of section II 'Que / li rois ninus fu au tans abraha(m) (f. 83ra). 'dou roy nin(us) q?.?ns ans il regna' (f. 83va). 'Que li siecles / estoit mout mauuais adonq(ue)s' (f. 88v). The opening of the Thebes-section 'Ci comence de thebes' (f. 89ra). The beginning of section IV 'Ci come(n)ce de ceus / dathenes (et) de ceus delisle de crete / qui en celui tans seguerreoient / (et) dou comencement dou regne / damazone' (f. 117va). The 'Amazon' section (f. 119rb) 'Des dames de sithe qui alerent ue(n) / gier lor fiz (et) lor amis as armes / esmolues'. 'Que les amazonienes fundere(n)t ephese' (f. 119vb). 'Or h(er)cules ocist un autre iaiant' (f. 123ra). Opening of 'Troie' section 'De quel lignee li roi de troie fure(n)t / (et) qui la cite estora premerai / nement' (f. 123rb). 'Ci comence lueure' (i.e. Troie, f. 123vb). f. 125ra, no rubric, first words: 'Quant Priamus seut que / li grigois auoient / si maumenee la contree [etc.] / '. F. 127vb-128ra 'Qua(n)t prince / (et) quantes nes assamblerent a / athenes por aler sor troies /'. Very large initial (height: 8 lines) on f. 146va 'Que li g(ri)ois deuindre(n)t / (et) ou il alere(n)t apres la grant destruc / tion de troies (et) q(ue) menelaus rep(ri)st / abon gre dame helaine .' F. 148rb-148va, beginning of 'Eneas'-section 'Ci comence deneas qui / separti de troies (et) coment il sen ala en itale'. F. 156v 'Que eneas reuint en sesile'. F. 175vb 'Q(ue) eneas espou / sa lauine (et) si tint tot le roi / aume'. F. 179rab, beginning of Rome I-section 'Ci comence lestorement de la cite de rome.' F. 175r 'Si comence / des conceles li grans affaires', Brutus-section, also puzzle-initial in fr. 17177. F. 199rb ' Ci comence des / rois de mede (et) des autres rois la / genealogie qui tote assir ?ri?ndrent', beginning of Orient II-section. F. 205ra 'Ci comence / dou fill le roi cyrus qui cambis / ses ot non qui tint le roiau / me'. F. 226va, beginning of 'Alexandre'-section 'De neptana / bus le roi degypte qui fu peres / alixandre si come li pluisor con / tent et dient. F. 258vb, beginning of Rome II-section ' Q(ue) cil de / tarente se pristrent par lor / folie as romains de bataille', which has also been treated in a special way in fr. 17177. F. 264ra, no rubric, 'Segnor adonques / nauoit onques / eu haine / entre ceaus de car / tage et ceaus de / rome . ne choze /' f. 282ra ' Q(ue) hani / bal assambla sa gent por uen / gier la mort de son pere . (et) ser / uage de cartage /' F. 302ra 'Ci recomence des / macedonois la bataille encontre / ceaus de rome /'. F. 312vb ' Ci comence la destructio(n)s dela noble cite de cartage'. F. 359vb 'Ci come(n) / ce dou roi Mitridates qui tenoit / la menor armenie (et) la mer', also treated in a special way in fr. 17177. F. 369 'Ci comence de iule ce / sar lestorie si com sen ala por con / querre france', beginning of section XI. The text is further structured by means of large pen-decorated initials (height: 3 lines), alternating between blue and red with flourishings in the contrasting colour. The initials are generally preceded by rubricated tituli which end with a roman numeral, indicating the number of the section (right justification). The numbering stops at f. 24vb with section .xcvj.. Simple line-filling devices in red ink. The beginning of clauses are marked by a littera notabilior highlighted with a dash of red ink. In the verse sections the first letters of the verseline have been treated in a similar way.
Evidence of readership:f. 1r: title and shelfmark added 'Les histoires de Roger' S3; Stamp of the Sorbonne library. Notes in the margin (14th or 15th c.), Provençal (e.g. f. 7r, f. 16va, f. 17r, f. 17v, f. 18r, f. 18v, f. 19r, f. 83v, f. 84r f. 86r, f. 86v, f. 87v, f. 90v, f. 95r,
Foliations description:Seventeenth century foliation by Blaise (De Visser-Van Terwisga 1999, 25) in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampled10r
LayoutMSLayout object (7)
Page dimensions372x255 (mm)
Justification270x175 (mm)
14mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (6) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (6) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationIn general, decorated initials are preceded by a rubricated tituli. Line fillers are executed in rubric. First letters are highlighted with red ink.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (3)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom 1 to 375
Date?1250 to 1300
Scribe description:two compartment 'a' of which the upper compartment is open or closed (double-bow 'a'). Occasional use of right (Carolingian) d. Tongued 'e' in final position. Use of 'i'-longa in numerals. No use of 'v'. Round 's' in final position. Use of trailing 's' at the end of the line. Relatively few abbreviations including superscript vowels, crossed tironian note, 'p' with crossed descender, '-us' abbreviation, nasal mark. Rubricated titles and quire marks / catchwords in the same hand. Corrections in the margin (e.g. 12r).
Notes'Écriture de form, calligraphique. Encre noire. Ms exécuté d'une seule main. Rubriques à l'encre rouge de la main du texte, de même écriture.' (de Visser-van Terwisga 1999, 25). Corrections and additions in the margins.


DescriptionNo medieval owner is known but a rather large number of marginal annotations in Catalan (see Zinelli 2013, 12) may suggest that the manuscript was in Catalonia during the 14th and/or 15th c. See, for instance, folios 83v, 84r, 86r, 86v, 87v, 90v, 95r, 96r (de Visser-van Terwisga 1999, 24-5).
Date1300 to 1500
PlacePlace object (196)