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Walters Ms. W.71, Saints' lives

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Saints' lives

Text title
Lives of SS. Bernard and Marie d'Oignies and On the lamentations of Jeremiah


Authority name: William, of St. Thierry, Abbot of Saint-Thierry, ca. 1085-1148


Authority name: Jacques, de Vitry, ca. 1170-1240


Authority name: Hugh, of St. Victor, 1096-1141


Authority name: Hildegard, of Bingen, Saint, 1098-1179

Known as: Hildegard von Bingen


This manuscript, which was made at or for the Cistercian monastery at Himmerode, Germany, is a compilation of several texts written in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. The first and third texts, William of St. Thierry's Life of St. Bernard and Hugh of St. Victor's On the lamentations of Jeremiah, are contemporary but were written separately and then bound together. A third text, Jacques de Vitry's Life of St. Marie d'Oignies, was inserted between them at a later time. Several additional texts were added to blank folios in the thirteenth century, most notably a letter by Hildegard of Bingen on the final folio. Many different hands can be identified throughout the manuscript, sometimes changing every few lines; this variety of scribes is especially evident in the third text. Although the book contains no pictorial illuminations, large, ornate decorated initials, drawn in bright green and red, announce the beginning of each chapter.


Late 12th century / early 13th century CE


Himmerode, Germany






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium-weight parchment, unevenly finished with hair sides often darker and rougher; heavy wear visible to the lower corners; flyleaves of modern paper


Foliation: ii+139+ii

Modern pencil foliation in the upper right corners of rectos


Formula: ii, 1-10(8), 11(10,-8), 12(8), 13(8,+ tipped-in slip, fol. 100*, after third leaf), 14-17(8), 18(2), ii

Catchwords: None

Signatures: Quires 1 and 2 marked "I" and "II" in a nineteenth-century black hand, middle bottom margin, last folio; quires 5, 6, 7, and 9 marked "v" through "ix," middle bottom margin, last folio, in a thirteenth-century(?) hand; quires 13, 14, and 17, marked "x," "xi," and "xiiii" respectively, middle bottom margin, last folio, in the same thirteenth-century hand, which also marked quire 18 "xv," middle bottom margin, first folio

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 9(2), 17(3), 25(4), 33(5), 41(6), 49(7), 57(8), 65(9), 73(10), 81(11), 90(12), 98(13), 106(14), 114(15), 122(16), 130(17), and 138(18); present quires 10-12, containing the Life of Marie D'Oignies, possibly not present at the time the thirteenth-century(?) signatures were added


22.4 cm wide by 32.0 cm high

Written surface

17.7 cm wide by 24.3 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 30

fols. 1r - 139v:
  1. Title: Lives of SS. Bernard and Marie d'Oignies and On the lamentations of Jeremiah
  2. Hand note: Written in pre-Gothic bookhand
  3. Decoration note: Nine large red and/or green decorated initials (5-15 lines); small red or green initials throughout (2-5 lines); opening lines of first two major incipits in enlarged alternating red and green letters; rubrics in red or else in black struck through with red; text in black and brown ink
fols. 1r - 72v:
  1. Title: Life of St. Bernard
  2. Author: William, of St. Thierry, Abbot of Saint-Thierry, ca. 1085-1148
  3. Rubric: Incipit prologus domini Guillelmi abbatis Sancti Theoderici. In vita Sancti Bernardi clarevallis abbatis.
  4. Incipit: Scripturus vitam servi tui ad honorem
  5. Text note: Incomplete; contains the first recension of the life of St. Bernard, dating to ca. 1155; lacks prologues to books 3 through 5
  6. Decoration note: Ornate decorated initials on fols. 1r-v, 22 r-v, 23r, 41r, 51r, and 66r
fols. 73r - 97v:
  1. Title: Life of Marie d'Oignies
  2. Author: Jacques, de Vitry, ca. 1170-1240
  3. Rubric: Incipit prologus domini Jacobi accharonensis episcopi in vitam ancille Christi Marie de Ognies ad dominum fulconem tolosanum episcopum
  4. Incipit: Precepit dominus disciptis suis
  5. Text note: Complete; does not contain the supplement of Thomas of Cantimpré, written before 1240
  6. Decoration note: Decorated initial on fol. 73r
fols. 97v - 97v:
  1. Title: Added prayers and prologue
  2. Incipit: Beata progenies unde gloriosa virgo
  3. Text note: Four texts added in thirteenth-century cursive hands: prayer to the Virgin, prayer to St. Anne, prayer to the elevation of the host, and a prologue to the text by Hugh of St. Victor found on fol. 98r
  4. Decoration note: None
fols. 98r - 139r:
  1. Title: On the lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah
  2. Author: Hugh, of St. Victor, 1096-1141
  3. Rubric: Incipit tractatus Magistri Hugonis super lamentationes Iheremiae
  4. Incipit: Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena
  5. Text note: Complete; omitted passage added on a one-third-page scrap (fol. 100bis) with the other side being a repeat of fol. 97v in a cursive hand
  6. Decoration note: Decorated initial on fol. 98r
fols. 139v - 139v:
  1. Title: Hildegard of Bingen letter 43
  2. Author: Hildegard, of Bingen, Saint, 1098-1179
  3. Incipit: In vera visione vigilantibus oculis
  4. Text note: Text added to a blank folio in the thirteenth century, being letter #43 of Hildegard of Bingen; contains only her response to a letter from "sacerdotis cuiusdam"
  5. Decoration note: Red initial beginning text


fol. 1r:

  1. W.71, fol. 1r
  2. Title: Decorated initial "S" (Scripturus)
  3. Form: Decorated initial "S," 10 lines
  4. Text: Life of St. Bernard

fol. 1v:

  1. W.71, fol. 1v
  2. Title: Decorated initial "B" (Bernardus)
  3. Form: Decorated initial "B," 15 lines
  4. Text: Life of St. Bernard

fol. 22v:

  1. W.71, fol. 22v
  2. Title: Decorated initial "V" (Virorum)
  3. Form: Decorated initial "V," 7 lines
  4. Text: Life of St. Bernard

fol. 23r:

  1. W.71, fol. 23r
  2. Title: Decorated initial "E" (Ea tempestate)
  3. Form: Decorated initial "E," 8 lines
  4. Text: Life of St. Bernard


The binding is not original.

Red velvet over sixteenth-century(?) boards, with a Limoges champlevé enamel crucifix applied to the upper board; bound by Léon Gruel, Paris, late nineteenth/early twentieth century


Owned by, and possibly made at, the Cistercian abbey of Himmerode (in the diocese of Trier throughout the medieval period until 1802-1803) (thirteenth-century(?) inscription in top margin of fol. 1r reading "Liber fratrem monachorum sancte marie in hemenrode ordinis cisterciensis" with shelf mark B.viii in lower margin; fols. 71v and 139r with same inscription in a second, fourteenth-century(?) hand, reading "Liber monachorum Sancte Marie in himerode ordinis cisterciensis trevirensis dioces")

Josef von Görres collection, Germany, 1802/3-1902 (nineteenth-century library number N.93 in top margin of fol. 1r)

Görres collection sale, Munich, 1902, Catal.libr.mss. lot 60, p. 12

Gruel and Engelmann collection, Paris, 1902-1903 (bookplate no. 125)

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel, June 9, 1903


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters bequest


Hildegardis Abbatissa, Epistulae. Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1855.

De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 820, no. 385.

Schneider, Ambrosius. "Skriptorium und Bibliothek der Cistercienserabtei Himmerod im Rheinland: zur Geschichte klösterlichen Bibliothekswesens im Mittelalter." Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 35 (1952-3): 155-205.

Morson, John. "The Life of St. Bernard: Manuscripts and Recensions in Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensium." Reformatorum 19 (1957): 54, 58, no. 2.

Schneider, Ambrosius. Skriptorium und Bibliothek der Abtei Himmerod: ein Beitrag zur Geistesgeschichte des Eifelklosters. Himmerod, Germany: Himmerod-Drucke, 1974, p. 30, no. 37.


Cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editors: Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Dutschke, Consuelo; Emery, Doug; Hamburger, Jeffrey; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.