The contents are the first part of the Canon missae, the prayer read by the priest between the prefatio and the Pater noster in the preparation for the communion in mass. The prayer is subdivided into twelve
parts, and we have the first three: 1) Te igitur, “accept our gifts, merciful father”,
2) Memento domine, “remember your servants”. In this book the Memento prayer does
not stand out in the lay-out, but is linked to the end of the Te igitur. 3) Communicantes,
“joining, and honouring the memory of...”. The names to be remembered are the virgin
Mary, Christ, twelve apostles and twelve martyrs; Peter, Paul, Andreas, Iacob, Iohannes,
Thomas, Iacob, Philip, Bartholomeus, Mattheus, Simon and Thatheus (often spelled Thadeus),
then the five popes Linus, Cletus, Clemens, Sixtus, Ciprianus, and seven other martyrs,
Laurentius, Crisogonus, Iohannes and Paulus, Cosmis and Damianus.
The size of the fragment is 38 x 23 cm, while the full writing space is 28 x 17,5 cm. One column, 19 lines.
Script: Since this is a printed book and not a manuscript, we should rather be talking
about print than script. The letters are rounder than the formal gothic textualis of most of the printed German books, and we should maybe look outside of Germany
for the origin. Rubricated. No musical notation. The N where actual names are to be
read, have the shape of an H, a trait common in English manuscripts.
Initials: There is one large blue T over 6 lines (8,5 cm) on the recto side, written
into a green rectangular frame. The background is light pink with a dynamic acanthus
leaf pattern, which is also mirrored in the letter itself. There are traces of gold
around the red areas above and below the letter. On both sides lines from the T are
exceeding the boundaries of the green frame. On the verso side there is a red, plain
C over two lines, which is the initial of the third part of the Canon prayer, Communicantes.
Condition: The fragment is in relatively good condition. It is a little bit ripped
in the upper right corner (vertically) and there is a 7 cm horisontal rip over the
tenth line from the left side, following edges where the fragment has been folded
when used as a book cover. There are traces from the back of the book (ca 3 cm thick)
going horizontally across the fragment, and “Im Herbst” is written on what would have
been the top of the back cover, now the left margin of the fragment. There is a 1
cm fold around the edges, with what seems to be the remains of pastedowns. The recto
side is a bit stained and worn, and the verso side is quite yellow, possibly from
glue, but otherwise in good condition.
Origin unknown, second half of the 15th century.
Used as a book cover. In the inner margin is written vertically “Im herbst”, pointing
towards Germany, or possibly the German community in Bergen? The folio was part of
the book collection of Christian Henrichsen (1825-1898), who was the principal of
Bergen Cathedral school 1875-1897. (On the connection between Henrichsen and Bergen
Museum, see Bergen museums Aarsberetning 1898, p. 36-37). From October 1899 the fragment
was kept in the diploma collection of Bergen Museum (Bergen University Library), in
a box marked (Diplom) “Uden Aar” (“Undated”), in an envelope marked “Blade af en latinsk
Bønnebog, No B.” (“Leaves from a Latin prayer book, No. B”).
According to a pencil note on the lower margin of the recto page the folio was acquired
from the principal Henrichsen’s book collection October 1899 (Okt 1899 Fra rektor
Kulturhistorisk Leksikon for Nordisk Middelalder (VIII: Kanon p. 209, Kanonbild p.
212), Oslo 1963.
Bergen Museums Aarsberetning 1898, p. 36-37.
Tveitane, Mattias et. al.: Bergen University Library Manuscript Catalogue [unpublished]