Contents: The contents is the end of the first nocturn and the beginning
of the second nocturne of the Matins, the night-office of St. Mauritius
and socii (22 September). From the first nocturne we have the last
responsory, describing how the Theban legions crossed the river
Octodurum after hearing (and refusing) the cruel emperor's orders, and
how they arrived in Agaunus. From the second nocturne we have the first
three antiphons written out in full with their psalms indicated. The
antiphons are now quoting the thoughts of the Theban legion, like the
first antiphon: "We know how to fight against the unpious, but we are
utterly incapable of slaughtering the pious and our fellow citicens."
The second antiphon continues: "We hold our weapons and do not uprise,
because we are prepared to die rather than kill." The third antiphon
describes how the emperor's men, the "crudeles" draw their weapons on
the legion. The first responsory introduces Mauritius, the primicerius,
as well as two other officers, the signifer Exuperius and the senator
Candidus, who make the men obey them out of love rather than fear. In
the second responsory the emperor gives his horrible command, and then
our fragment ends.
Written with pen on the lower right of 420r: "410 3. /givet 1864 af
Frøken Caroline Kÿhle, havde faaet dette Blad af en
Boghandler i Kjøbenhavn:/" (In primo nocturno) f. 419:
(Resp.) Cognoscens Thebea (no CAO number). V. Ut octo milium. pro.
Gloria patri. In secundo nocturno (rubric). (Ant.) Nos pugnare (CAO
3959) Ps. Verba mea. (suprascript with a later hand: "fol: 2") (Ant.)
Tenemus ecce arma. (CAO 5132) Ps. Domine dominus noster.(suprascript
with a later hand: "fol: 4") Ant. Cumque missi. (CAO 2066) Ps. Do(mine),
q(uis) h(abitavit). (suprascript with a later hand: "fol: 8") (Resp.)
Erant in eadem legione (no CAO number). V. Viri in bello strenui. Resp.
Post preceptum (no CAO number).
The clue to a closer identification of the manuscript could be the
chants not found in the Corpus Antiphonalium Officii or the Cantus
on-line database: The responsories Cognoscens thebea, Erant in eadem
legione and Post preceptum.
Parchment, one bifolium fol. size ca 37 x 27,5
Lay-out: The bifolium was the inner one of the quire, and the two folia
are marked with 419 and 420. No visible ruling apart from the lines for
the notation. Writing space ca 27 x 19 cm, one column, 8 lines per
The fragment is in good condition, and still relatively white, although a
Script: Gothic textualis. Rubricated. Musical notation: Gothic notation
(Hufnagel) on five brown lines, marked with both c and f-keys.
Initials: There are two categories of initials. The plain red or blue
alternating initials seem to be higher in the hierarchy. Coloured
initials are used for the first antiphon in the row of three, and the
responsories. The small letters indicating the desired coloured initial
are still visible. The secondary kind is a more complex gothic initial
with red filling, though without decorative elements apart from the red
stripe and the shape of the letter itself.
The Antiphoner was probably written in Germany in the 15th century.
(Date supplied by prof. Ludwig Bieler, Dublin, in note from 6/7
The bifolium was according to the older catalogue bought in
A gift to the Bergen Museum from ms. Caroline Kyhle in 1864.
Tveitane, Mattias et. al.: Bergen University Library Manuscript