Psalterium duplex

  • S. VIII2; parchment; mm 310 × 230; ff. I, 239, III’.
  • Vatican City, ‘Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana’, Reg. lat. 11

Very old exemplar of St. Jerome’s double Psalter, particularly famous for its belonging to Eberhard, marquis of Friuli.

In the renowned testament will of Eberhard [Everardo], marquis of Friuli († 864-866), among the numerous books the noble Frank owned and divided among his children, there is also, and it is even the first listed, «psalterium nostrum duplum», allotted to his son, Unroch. As a matter of fact, this Psalter is double, since it contains the two different Latin translations of the psalms, edited by Jerome in the fourth century, one opposite to the other: on one side the translation from the Greek Septuagint text and the translation directly from the Hebrew text on the other side. Several aspects mark the exceptionality of this codex. One is sure its antiquity: literature unanimously agrees to date it to the eighth century, maybe the second half, which means, among other things, that this is one of the oldest examples of a double Psalter. The codex is surely the product of a French scriptorium, that could be identified in the monasteries of Chelles and Corbie. A further element for the codex exceptionality is just a note that refers to the book’s owner and is therefore very celebrated. And indeed the name «evvrardus» can be read on f. 236v. Scholars have by common consent recognized the name of marquis Eberhard by this note. In the Modern Age the codex belonged to Christina of Sweden [Cristina di Svezia] (1626-1689) and, since 1690, together with all the other books of the queen, it got into one of the main funds of the ‘Biblioteca Vaticana’.

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ff. 21v-22r, incipit of the Psalter in the Gallican (on the left) and in the Hebrew version (on the right)

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