MS 12: Partial Old Testament (fragment of Books of Tobias and Esther; complete Book of Judith)



MS 12 was a donation of Barbara Weiss. It consists of 7 leaves (and 8 flyleaves) ruled in lead, with 2 columns of 48 rows of text in Gothic script. It is bound with corrugated board, leather spine, and corners from the 1930s. It has been dated to the 13th century and is of Italian origin.

The text in Latin includes part of the Old Testament: the end of the Book of Tobias (Tobit), the complete text of the Book of Judith, and the beginning of the Book of Esther. These texts in part or whole are often referred to as apocryphal or deuterocanonical books.

Two decorative initials and 2 historiated initials comprise the major decoration. The initials employ colors of pink, red, blue and burnished gold while feather-like acanthus leaves of pink, yellow-gold, and orange-red extend like vineleaves into the margins and gutters between columns. Additional decoration includes the marginal guide and small decorative capitals. The two historiated initials depict the heroines of their respective books, Judith and Esther.

Index of Selected Images from MS 11

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f.1r, Prologue to Judith

f.1v, Beginning of the Book of Judith

f.1v, Detail of Historiated Initial: Judith slaying Holofernes

f.7r, Beginning of the Book of Esther

f.7r, Detail of Historiated Initial: Queen Esther

Detailed Multilevel Description

Index of Medieval Manuscripts
Image Links and descriptions
Shelfmark MS 12, Syracuse University Library, Department of Special Collections.
Composite MS? No.
Total Folios ff. ii + 7 + vi
Outer Dimensions 33 x 24 cm. (12 _" x 9")
Physical Issues/Binding Bound with corrugated board from the 1930s, with leather spine and corners.
Provenance Barbara Weiss, Akron Ohio.
Notes (Manuscript Level) Bookplate of Syracuse University George Arents Research Library (Department of Special Collections) attached to inside cover.Additional information about MS from William C. Chrisant, employee of Akron Antiquarian Books in Schoolhouse Antiques.
Source(s) Chrisant, William C. Letter to Lucinda Weiss. – Catalog descriptions. – Additional information by Jennifer Casten.
Inputter/Reviser Jennifer Casten
Part Number Pt. I, Tobit; Pt. II, Judith; Pt. III, Esther.
Support Parchment.
Span of Folios for Part Pt. I, f. 1r; Pt. II, ff. 1r-7r; Pt. III, ff. 7r-7v.
Country Italy.
Document? No.
Dated? Yes.
Date 13th Century.
Layout 5 vertical and 51 horizontal lines ruled in lead and 2 columns of 48 rows of text. Text in brown ink. One noticeable scribal hand for this Bible fragment. Versos 1v-6v have roman numeral "IV" written in top margin in alternating blue and red characters. Rectos 1r-7r, & 7v have an abbreviation for the book or prologue in the top margin also in alternating red and blue characters (e.g., "PROLO" for prologue, "DITH" for Judith, or "HE" for Hester/Ester). These serve as a form of catchword to keep the different sections of the Bible together. Chapter numbers appear in alternating read and blue colors. Capitula, or chapter/section headings appear in red.
Script Gothic.
Representational Decoration This fragment consists of 2 decorative initials and 2 historiated initials. The initials primarily employ colors of pink, red, and burnished gold against a field of blue. Feather-like acanthus leaves of pink, blue, yellow-gold, and orange-red extend like vinework into the gutter between columns and into the margins. The decorative initial for the Prologue to Book of Judith (1r) is 6 rows high and that for the Prologue to the Book of Esther (7r) is 8 rows high. The historiated initial introducing the Book of Judith (1v) depicts the scene in which Judith, dressed in pink and wearing a white veil is in the tent of the sleeping Holofernes , cutting off his head. The historiated initial introducing the Book of Esther (7r) is a full-body portrait of Queen Esther in a blue gown with gold design, wearing a pink cloak with a yellow underside and bearing a gold crown upon her blonde hair.
Other Decoration Ornamental marginal guides in red and blue extend the full length of a column of text and beyond into the top and bottom marginal spaces. These appear to the left of either the left or right column of text. Additional small decorative capitals appear either as blue letters with red decoration or red with blue decoration. Scroll-like designs from marginal guides and capitals also ornament the pages.
Span of Folios for Text Tobit (Tobias) 13.4-14: f.1r ; Judith 1-31 and prologue: ff.1r-7r; Esther 1-2.8 and prologue: ff. 7r-7v.
Title. Book of Judith. Book of Tobit [fragment]. Book of Esther [fragment]. Liber tobie. Liber judith. Liber hester.
Supplied Title Bible. Old Testament. Apocrypha. Deutercanonical books.
Status of Text Only parts of the Tobit and Esther appear, although Judith is complete.
Incipit [Prologue to Judith:] "Apud hebreos liber judith"; [Judith:] "Arfaxat itaque, rex Mudorum"; [Prologue to Esther]: "Librum hester variis"; [Book of Esther:] "In diebus Assueri";
Language(s) Latin.
Notes (Text Level) Incipits cited here do not include rubrics. First words of text in this fragment are "...ut vos ennaretis mirabilia eius...".


[No known citations.]