Manuscript

Universiteitsbibliotheek Ghent, MS 92
(Liber Floridus)

Codicology

Produced: France, ca. 1120
Location: Universiteitsbibliotheek Ghent (Universiteit Gent), Gent, Belgium
Type: Encyclopedia
Language: Latin
Folios: 287
Author: Lambert of Saint-Omer
Illustrated: Yes
Scribe: Lambert of Saint-Omer
Media: Parchment
Dimensions: Height: 31 cm Width: 21 cm
Folio

Description

The Liber Floridus, a twelfth century encyclopedia, by Lambert of Saint-Omer. It is thought that this manuscript is Lambert's own autograph copy; it is at least the earliest known copy.

This is the Liber Floridus manuscript designated G

Numerous full color illustrations, though only six are animal related (lion, griffin, dragon, crocodile, behemoth, leviathan). The animal illustrations are similar in content to Bibliothèque du Musée Condé, MS 724 and Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Guelf. 1 Gud. lat., though the style is very different.

Folio 58 has another full folio attached to its right edge; this folio is designated 58bis (or 58², the designation used here). The text on pages 58²r and 58²v is about beasts (the bird section begins on folio 58v and continues on 59r) so the attached folio was probably intended to extend folio 58r. This extra folio caused confusion as to the correct reading order of the manuscript, resulting in later copies having different orders. Here the reading order is assumed to be folio 58r, 58²r, 58²v, 59r.

The animal section of the encyclopedia (folio 56v-64v) is divided into categories:

  • Beasts (folio 56v-58v)
  • Birds (folio 58v-60v)
  • Serpents (folio 60v-61v)
  • Behemoth (folio 62r)
  • Leviathan (folio 62v)
  • Fish and other aquatic animals (folio 63r-64v)

[This copy of] the Liber Floridus is extremely rare for two reasons: 1) autographs are understandably quite rare; 2) medieval encyclopedias are also a rather rare source type. Autographed medieval encyclopedias are therefore virtually unique. The manuscript has a special value for the collective memory. It offers an insight into the available knowledge in the 12th century and into the organization of this knowledge. In addition, it contains data on the history of the County of Flanders that have not been handed down anywhere else. The manuscript also has a calibration value, as it is dated to time and space. It can therefore contribute to the stylistic research of miniature art in the south of the 12th-century county of Flanders and to the chemical analysis of the pigments used in that specific geographical and chronological context. The manuscript also has a special artistic value. The manuscript is extensively illuminated and contains high-quality miniatures, which do not exclusively belong to the religious framework, as is usually customary in the 12th century. - [Universiteitsbibliotheek Ghent]

Delisle says that a number of folios are missing from this manuscript, though none of these appear to be in the animal section.

Additional Descriptions

Additional description 1
Additional description 2
Additional description 3 (Page 581-588)

Editions and Facsimiles

Digital facsimiles

Universiteitsbibliotheek Gent
Google Books