Parma Ildefonsus

Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Ms. Parm. 1650


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Illuminated Facsimiles

Parma Ildefonsus

Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Ms. Parm. 1650

Alternative titles
De Virginitate Sanctae Mariae – De Virginitate Beatae Mariae – Ildefonso da Toledo – Ildefonso Toletano.
Physical features
Codex on parchment, dimensions 230 x 158 mm, 112 folios (that is 224 pages).
Nineteenth-century leather binding with blind and gold tooling.
Restoration interventions
Coinciding with the production of the facsimile edition (2010), the publisher financed a restoration of the manuscript, which also involved the 19th-century binding.
The codex was produced in the 11th century (1090-1100) in the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny (Saône-et-Loire, France), dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.
Patronage and subsequent owners
The sumptuousness of the manuscript suggests that it was made for a high-ranking intended recipient. This may have been Bernard of Sédirac, also known as Bernard of Sauvetot (b. ca. 1050, d. 1125), a monk from a French aristocratic family who had received religious orders at the Abbey of Cluny, whence he was sent to Spain to assist the cause of the reforms of Gregory VII (b. 1015, d. 1085). In 1080 he was appointed abbot of St. Facundus at Sahagún in the diocese of León, and in 1085 he became archbishop of Toledo. He was the closest advisor of Alfonso VI of León and Castile (b. ca. 1040, d. 1109) and later of Queen Urraca (b. ca. 1080, d. 1126). Another hypothesis is that the addressee of the codex was Alfonso VI himself. In the mid 18th century the manuscript belonged to the Jesuit Matteo Luigi Canonici (b. 1727, d. 1805), a bibliophile enthusiast who later became director of the Reale Biblioteca di Parma (now Biblioteca Palatina). In 1765 – before entering the Reale Biblioteca di Parma – Canonici sold the manuscript to Paolo Maria Paciaudi (b. 1710, d. 1785), who was the first director of the same library at the time.
Present repository
After the manuscript was acquired by Paolo Maria Paciaudi, it never left the Biblioteca Palatina, where it is still preserved today under shelfmark MS Parm. 1650.
The manuscript contains several texts. The main text is the De virginitate S. Mariae contra tres infideles by Saint Ildephonsus of Toledo (b. ca. 607, d. 667), Bishop of Toledo from 657 until his death, Father of the Church, and venerated as a Saint by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The De virginitate is his main and most popular work. The three heretics he refers to are Jovinian (b. ?, d. ca. 405), Helvidius (b. ca. 340, d. 390) and an anonymous Jew. The manuscript also contains two lives of Saint Ildephonsus and a text dedicated to Bishop Godescalc of Le Puy-en-Velay.
Carolingian (or caroline) minuscule; roman rustic capitals
The text was copied from two different scribes. The main parts are the work of a scribe to whom other manuscripts made in the same scriptorium can be traced. The rubrics and inscriptions, on the other hand, were copied by a second scribe.
All pages of the manuscript are decorated with frames featuring geometric motifs or stylised leaves in gold, silver and purple. In addition, there are 25 full or half-page miniatures, 8 miniatures in a smaller format depicting busts of prophets and patriarchs, 8 large initials decorated with interlacing and phytomorphic endings, 1 historiated initial depicting Saint Ildephonsus kneeling before Christ.
The decoration of the codex can be traced back to two artists, one of whom did most of the miniatures.
Romanesque; Byzantine.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles®



Ildefonso da Toledo – De Virginitate Sanctae Mariae

Publisher – Il Bulino edizioni d’arte (Modena, 2010).
Series – Ars Illuminandi – series dedicated to facsimile editions.
Limited edition – The print run is 499 numbered and certified copies, a further 55 are reserved for the Biblioteca Palatina, contributors and the publisher.
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document. The facsimile reproduces the physical characteristics of the original manuscript as closely as possible, with the aim of substituting it in scientific research and in the libraries of bibliophile collectors.
Binding – The binding corresponds to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original manuscript.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian, abstract in English. Essays by Neil Stratford (British Museum), Andrea De Pasquale (Biblioteca Palatina), Giusi Zanichelli (Università di Salerno), Silvana Gorreri (Biblioteca Palatina), Danilo Bersani (Università di Parma).
Slipcase – The facsimile and commentary volume are housed in a brown canvas covered slipcase with gold lettering.
Certificate of authenticity – The facsimile is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity with the copy number.
ISBN – 978-88-86251-85-3.

Photos courtesy of the Publisher

About The Author

Il Bulino edizioni d'arte