Breviary of Cividale

  • S. XII ex.-XIII in.; parchment; mm 395 × 255; 2 columns; ff. 422. Neumatic notation.
  • Cividale del Friuli, National Archaeological Museum. Archives and Library, codex XCI

Quite certainly written for the chapter of Cividale, this book betrays a strong Germanic imprint both due to the presence of transalpine saints and to the music notation.

A breviary is the book that gathers all the elements necessary for the celebration of the liturgy of hours (office, opus Dei). It contains the texts of the psalms (psalter) with relating antiphons, readings (biblical, hagiographical, patristic) with corresponding responsories, hymns, versicles, prayers. Some breviaries may also contain trops, mostly included in responsories, and be fitted with music notation. The breviary of Cividale follows this setting and contains, in the order: a calendar (f. 2r); a liturgical psalter with noted antiphons, chants of the lauds, litanies of the Saints (f. 6r); a hymnal (f. 46v); added temporale and sanctorale (f. 58r); the Common of Saints sactorale (f. 330v); biblical readings, responsories (“Historiae”) and antiphons drawn from the Old Testament for the after-Pentecost period (f. 349r); the office of the dead (acephalous and mutilated section) (f. 422r). From the calendar and some textual elements it can be easily inferred that the book was written in the Aquileian area, maybe in Cividale itself. The detectable Germanic imprint is remarkable due to the presence of transalpine saints and the music notation: Germanic adiasystematic neums (that do not show the intervals, that is to say the distance between notes) on open field (without the stave). In red ink, in the calendar, there are written the names of the solemn festivities and the saints who enjoyed a particular commemoration, such as Paulinus episcopus, Apolonia, Hellarus et Tacianus, Gallus (the abbot). In the series of the Antiphonae maiores, the breviary of Cividale exhibits as many as 12 chants, a small repertoire common to other books of this area (e.g.: Cividale, Museo Arch. Naz., XLI and Gorizia A).

f. 6r, Invitatory and antiphon prior to psalms 1-4

f. 6r, Invitatory and antiphon prior to psalms 1-4

f. 252r, conclusion of the formulary for the Four-tempora Saturday, followed by Sunday (“vacat”) and beginning of the formulary of the local Saints Cantius, Cantianus and Cantianilla

f. 252r, conclusion of the formulary for the Four-tempora Saturday, followed by Sunday (“vacat”) and beginning of the formulary of the local Saints Cantius, Cantianus and Cantianilla

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