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Early Cistercian antiphonary – Fragment

Parchment · 4 leaves (trimmed) · 1136 – 1140 CE · 360 x 245


Romont, Abbaye de la Fille-Dieu Romont, Ms. liturg. FiD 2
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These antiphonary fragments, which were copied around 1136/1140 and were scraped and corrected around 1140/1143, constitute a blank cover. Doubtlessly the parchment pieces of various sizes were glued together by the nuns of Fille-Dieu in order to cover a now lost liturgical formulary. Together, FiD 1 and FiD 2 constitute relics of antiphonaries that contained the primitive Cistercian liturgy. This was defined by Fr. Kovacs (“Fragments du chant cistercien primitif“, ASOC 6 [1950], pp. 140–150) and Chr. Waddell (The Primitive Cistercian Breviary, Fribourg, 2007 [Spicilegium Friburgense 44]) as the liturgy reformed by Stephen Harding shortly after 1108. During this reform, the abbot of Cîteaux forced the order to adopt the antiphonary of Metz, which was in use by the order until the time of the second reform under Bernard of Clairvaux. This second reform was completed in the early 1140s. The existence of Bernardine drafts had until now been known through antiphonary 12A-B from Westmalle Abbey (Belgium) and through the one from Tamié Abbey 6 (Savoy). Codicological analysis of the flyleaves of FiD 1 and of the fragments of FiD 2 reveals that all pieces come from the Swiss Abbey of Fille-Dieu; they share identical status and common characteristics, irrespective of current holding sites. The same hands and correcting hands can be recognized, the same types of ornamentation and the same later touch-ups, which were done at the earliest in the 16th century, probably by the nuns or by the monks of Hautcrêt Abbey (Oron, VD), which was the mother house of Fille-Dieu until 1536.

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