Karlsen, Espen (ed.): Latin Manuscripts of Medieval Norway

Karlsen, Espen (ed.): Latin Manuscripts of Medieval Norway

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Studies in memory of Lilli Gjerløw

This book sheds light on early Latin book culture and book production in Norway. The establishment of Latin writing in Norway predates writing of the Old Norse vernacular (with the exception of runic inscriptions) and was an important prerequisite for vernacular book culture in medieval Norway. 

When an Old Norse book culture was established in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, it appears that the scribes usually wrote in both languages. The arrival of the Latin alphabet and Latin books from the eleventh and twelfth centuries on had a revolutionary effect on Norwegian culture. Yet, very few of the Latin manuscripts from the Middle Ages remain intact today. As a consequence of the arrival of printed service books in 1519 and the introduction of Lutheranism in 1536–37, the service books of the medieval church in Norway went out of current use. However, as many were written on substantial parchment, the manuscripts were reused for binding purposes, especially in public account books after the Reformation. Thus, the medieval books partially survived in the form of fragments.

In this book a large number of extant Latin manuscripts and manuscript fragments of Norwegian origin or provenance are presented for the first time in print, to demonstrate the range and the extent of the material. The date and the origin of the manuscripts are central issues of interest, particular whether they are imported or produced locally in Norway. The establishment of an early local production of liturgical books happened in the eleventh century. Many of the liturgical manuscripts contain musical notation and are important sources of medieval music. The twelfth century was the age of importation as well as local production of Latin manuscripts in Norway. The earliest evidence of patristic and theological literature stems from around 1100. Several of the contributions in the volume concern English influence in particular.

The primary material is found in different archives and libraries in Norway and the rest of Scandinavia. The largest collection of fragments in Norway is found in the National Archives in Oslo. These fragments are connected with the collection in the National Library (Oslo), which contains fragments of some of the same manuscripts, as well as the earliest book produced in Norway still extant in its original form (the Kvikne psalter, from the late twelfth/early thirteenth century). For the first time the collection of Norwegian fragments of Latin manuscripts in the Swedish National Archives (Stockholm) is presented in print. This collection contains, inter alia, previously unknown material concerning St Olav.

The Latin manuscripts of medieval Norway have been largely neglected, with the notable exception of the masterly studies of Lilli Gjerløw (1910–1998) to whose memory the present volume is dedicated. However, the last ten years have seen intensified study and research on the remains of early Latin book culture in Norway by scholars from different disciplines (medieval Latinists, musicologists, palaeographers, Old Norse philologists, historians) and different countries (America, England, Scandinavia and Iceland). Several of these scholars contribute to the present volume.


Acknowledgements 7

Abbreviations and Conventions 9

Preface 11

Introduction 13
Espen Karlsen

Latin Manuscripts of Medieval Norway: Survival and Losses [Karlsen 1] 27
Espen Karlsen

Maps 37

From Parchment Books to Fragments: Norwegian Medieval Codices before and after the Reformation 41
Gunnar I. Pettersen

Fragments of a Missal from the Old Minster, Winchester (Oslo, Riksarkivet Mi 14) 67
Susan Rankin

An Early Missal Fragment in Riksarkivet, Oslo 83
K. D. Hartzell

A Preliminary Account of the English Element in Book Acquisition and Production in Norway before 1225 [Gullick 1] 103
Michael Gullick

A Preliminary List of Manuscripts, Manuscript Fragments and Documents of English Origin or the Work of English Scribes in Norway Datable to before 1225 [Gullick 2] 123
Michael Gullick

Caroline and Proto-Gothic Script in Norway and Iceland 199
Guðvarður Már Gunnlaugsson

Fragments of Patristic and Other Ecclesiastical Literature in Norway from c. 1100 until the Fifteenth Century [Karlsen 2] 215
Espen Karlsen

A Christian Approach to Vergil’s Eclogues. A Fragment of Hugo de Folieto, De pastoribus et ovibus in Oslo 271
Marianne Wifstrand Schiebe & Espen Karlsen

Psalms Interrupted. The Psalter Fragments in the NRA in Oslo 279
Åslaug Ommundsen

The Norwegian Collection of Medieval Latin Fragments in the SRA in Stockholm (the Swedish National Archives) 307
Gunilla Björkvall

Medieval Music Manuscripts in Nasjonalbiblioteket (the National Library), Oslo [Edwards 1] 337
Owain Tudor Edwards

A Memoir of Lilli Gjerløw and Her Contribution to Norwegian Liturgical Research [Edwards 2] 361
Owain Tudor Edwards

Review of Antiphonarium Nidrosiensis Ecclesiae, edited by L. Gjerløw 381
Christopher Hohler

Lilli Gjerløw – a Bibliography 387
Nils Dverstorp

List of References 391

Index of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books 409

Index of Persons 418

Geographical Index 422

Contributors 425

Credits 426

ISBN 978-82-7099-722-0, 426 pp., hardcover
Format: 22x30 cm, wight 1,8 kgs, year of publication 2013, language: English

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