The manuscript Paris, BnF, lat. 1139 is a composite manuscript whose origins are not precisely known. It was preserved in the library of the abbey Saint-Martial de Limoges, one of the most prestigious book collections of the Middle Ages, since the mid-thirteenth century. The manuscript includes the first expressions of a new way of singing divine praise. These compositions do not so much break with older traditions as add to what already existed.
The oldest and most important part of the manuscript (end of the 11th – the beginning of the 12th century) contains many festive chants: tropes, versified songs (versus and Benedicamus domino, so called nova cantica) troped epistles and liturgical dramas (ff. 32r-117r). Also added are votive offices for the BVM, notated in the thirteenth century (ff. 119r-148r), a full sequentiary dating from the end of the twelfth century (ff. 149r-228v), and parts of two other sequentiaries of the thirteenth century (f. 2r-20v). Throughout the manuscript, one can also find texts about liturgical practice and the daily life of the abbey (such as an inventory of altar ornaments, a list of the books in the library, and so on).
This conference is open to scholars from many disciplines (history, art history, history
of literature, musicology, philology, palaeography…) in order to tackle all the aspects of this complex manuscript.
The meeting will provide an opportunity to fill lacunae in the historiography, especially in dealing with the more recent sections of the manuscript. We will therefore consider the manuscript itself, and, at the same time, attempt to place it within a wider context, beginning with the abbey of Saint-Martial and then within networks of creation and dissemination beyond the Limousin territory. The specificity of this conference will lie in the assessment of the circulation of artistic and intellectual practices. From this perspective, Latin 1139 will be the starting point for a renewed study
Papers might deal with the following themes (but are not limited to these):
Influence: comparison of Paris, BnF, Latin 1139 with other sources
– palaeographic questions, both musical and textual; the use of the neumatic
characteristics of the manuscript’s notations in other traditions (above all in the Iberian
– musical and literary features of the repertory;
– codicological approaches, presentation, layout and decoration of the manuscript in
relation to a larger context of manuscripts.
Dissemination: Saint-Martial de Limoges as a musical and artistic centre
– the position of Saint-Martial with regard to the dissemination of repertories and
artistic practices from the Limousin into other regions;
– the abbey as a creative centre as well as its reception of external material;
– the circulation and transfer of manuscripts to and from the library of Saint-Martial;
– the liturgy and communal life of the abbey, as revealed by the musical repertories and the non musical additions in Latin 1139.
Circulation: the reception and destiny of repertories notated in Paris, BnF, Latin
– consideration of the dissemination, networks of repertories notated in Latin 1139:
manuscripts from Norman Sicily, offices of the Circumcision, German manuscripts including the Carmina Burana, Cantatoria from Prague, etc.;
– relationships between the repertories of latin 1139 and Parisian sources of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (nova cantica, sequences);
– consideration of the complex material aspects of the manuscript as testimony to ways
of using books and repertories: transformations and re-compositions in response to new
– exchanges and crossovers between Latin (versus, tropes, epistles, etc.) and vernacular
Papers will be published following a peer-review process.
– Proposals for papers (title and abstract: c. 300 words) to info@colloque1139 : 31 May 2018
– Response from the Scientific Committee: 30 June 2018
– Conference: 19-21 March 2019
– Finished texts of papers for peer-review and publication: 30 September 2019
Lunch will be offered to speakers. Bursaries for travel and accommodation will be considered case by case, depending on the funding sources for the conference