Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Antiphonary of Charles the Bald (877)

Also known as the Hofschule or Compiègne Antiphonary, was prepared for Charles the Bald in the latter years of his reign. The dedication of the octagonal chapel of St Mary, part of the royal palace at Compiègne, on 5th May 877 seems to have been the likely occasion for its preparation. Compiègne may also have been the site of the manuscript's production, and perhaps therefore also the home of the atelier known as the so-called ‘Hofschule Karls des Kahlen’. Originally an independent bound volume, Michael Huglo has made the case for this Antiphonary being brought together with an accompanying -  but physically independent Gradual  - to produce the composite codex known today as BN lat. 17436. This act of aggregation seemingly occurred in the late eighteenth century. The manuscript holds an important place in the history of liturgical manuscripts: it is 'the sole witness to the official [i.e., Carolingian] character of the antiphonal', in the words of Eric Palazzo. No less elevated is its place in the study of on ninth-century art, royal patronage and religious reactions  to Viking attacks. Famously, folio 24r contains the frequently-cited neumed prayer ‘Summa pia ...’ with its request, ‘From the wild Norman people, deliver us ..’ (de gente fera Normannica nos libera). It should be noted that this is not contemporary with the main text,  but was added at a later date (Note: this is a correction to my initial version of this post). This page can be examined in considerable detail here. (Several translations and transcriptions are floating around online.) The Antiphonary also contains a complete office for the reception of a king, De susceptione regum, which can be read here. For the text of this royal liturgy see R.-J. Herbert, CAO, I, pp. 366-8. PL 78, cols. 827-8 offers an earlier, but perhaps more easily accessible, edition. 
Some recent studies on this manuscript: R. Jacobsson, ‘The Antiphoner of Compiègne’ in M. Fassler and R. A. Baltzer, eds, The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages. Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography. Written in Honor of Professor Ruth Steiner (Oxford, 2000), pp. 147-179 (cited above); M. Huglo, ‘Observations codicologiques sur l'antiphonaire de Compiègne (Paris, B. N. lat. 17436)’, in  P. Cahn et A.-K. Heimer, eds, De Musica et Cantu. Studien zur Geschichte der Kirchenmusik und der Oper (Hildesheim, 1993), pp. 117-129; I. Garipzanov, The symbolic language of authority in the Carolingian world (c. 751-877) (Leiden, 2008), p. 93; A. Hughes, ‘The Monarch as the Object of Liturgical Veneration’, in A. Duggan, ed., Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe (London, 1993), pp. 375-424. Online access to BN lat. 17436 and the image reproduced above both come via Gallica, bibliothèque numérique, the extraordinary open access project of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Reproduction here accords with the BN's requirements of fair non-profit use. 

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