The antiphonary is a Catholic liturgical book. This collection of Gregorian chants was used for the office but also for mass. It is recognized in particular by its square neumatic notation characteristic of the Gregorian style. Its name is derived from “antienne” which is a song performed alternately by two choirs.
This present liturgical book is a mass antiphonary. It contains texts intended to be sung at mass. For each of them, the texts are broken down as follows:
The Introitus with which the mass begins
The Graduale and Reponsorium, response songs to the first reading
The Offertorium during which the priest places the offering of bread and wine on the altar
The Communio during the communion of the faithful
Each of these parts is separated by red calligraphic letters in order to differentiate the times: “Int”, “Com”, “Off”…
The celebrations begin at the start of Advent with the first Introitus “Ad te levavi”, the first song of the first Sunday of Advent, attributed to Saint Gregory I.
After the third Sunday of Advent, the Christmas mass is celebrated with in particular the “Puer natus est nobis”: “A child is born to us”.
We then find the masses of the four Epiphany Sundays.
Then follows the mass of Quinquagesima Sunday (the fiftieth day before Easter).
To finish this impressive work we discover the liturgy of Lent with the different days after Ash Wednesday. During this period, the “Alleluia” is replaced by the “Tractus”, the Gregorian trait, derived from the word Trahere, because it drags and invites patience.
The Antiphonary ends on Sabatto post Cineres.
The pages have 5 staves of 5 lines. The vellum sheets, numbering 130, are numbered at the top right. One number corresponds to two pages, so there are 260 pages. They are decorated with interlacing, illuminations and initials. This important work was carried out in the scriptorium, the workshop annexed to the library where the manuscripts were copied manually. We notice on the lines and letters the traces of the tool used: a cut reed called calame which was dipped in ink. This dictated a particular type of writing, called ductus, forming the letters of the antiphonary.
The inside cover, the most richly illuminated page, informs us about the origin of the sponsor belonging to the “Roman estates” of this important acquisition. It is indicated that this antiphonary was made for the order of Dominicans in the province of Aragon:
“Hic liber factus eft expenfis R.P. prefentati Fr.Petri Santa Romana Praediea toris Generalis et Filij Regalis Conventus Praedicatorum Caefar auguftae, bis illius Prioris. Terque Socij et Secretarij huius Pro vinciae Aragoniae. »
The inscription on the back cover confirms this Dominican provenance.
The leather cover has a wrought iron clasp. The second is missing.
Important dimensions: a height of 85 cm and a width of 59 cm.
Dated 1736 on the back cover.
Wear on the cover. Some small losses of vellum in the corner of certain pages, a connection at the bottom of one of them.
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