Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 794

[Part 1]

General information

LanguageFrench - Central localisation or influence
Approx. datec. 1230
Date notesThe manuscript has been dated alternatively to the early to mid-thirteenth century. Elements of layout (writing above top line), hand (use of straight 's' in final position and two-compartment 'a' with open upper comapartment) and decoration (pen-flourishings) support a date in the second quarter of the thirteenth century (Nixon 1993, 29-31)
Place(s) of productionProvins
In the scribal colophon (f. 105rc) Guiot localizes his activities near the church of Notre-Dame-del-Val in Provins. 'Explicit li ch(eualie)rs aulyeon / c il qui lescrist guioz a non / d euant n(ost)re dame del ual / e st ses ostex tot aestal //'. Linguistic features situate the copy in the region Haute-Marne. The illustration has been identified with the Manerius style of decoration connected with Champagne (Nixon 1993, 30).
First words of second recto folio[f. 3ra] (et)  se ge puis ius qual tierz ior /            (The first quire has been bound incorrectly. The original f. 2 is now f. 3. Possibly, the section with Chrétien's four romances (ff. 1ra-105rc) was originally the last part of the manuscript. However, as suggested by the table of contents on the third parchment guardleaf, by the second half of the thirteenth century the manuscript was bound in its current order.)
First words of last recto folio[f. 433ra] (et) il lui lors dist deuerte /
Incipit[f. 1ra] L i uilains dit anson respit / Q(ue) tel chose alan andespit /
Explicit[f. 433vc] L  e bracher (et) [...] teste au porte / I  ce poeuax del [...]forte


Condition:Medium to lower quality vellum, generally in good condition. Some stains (e.g. ff. 52v and 65).



1-138 141 15-238 246 25-558 562

Quire structure:The first quire is bound incorrectly. The right order should be 1, 3, 7, 4, 5, 2, 6, 8 (Nixon 1993, 29). Possibly, ff. 1-105 were originally at the back of the manuscript.
Quire marks:verso of the final leaf of the quire, centered under the writing space, roman numeral
Catchword disposition:verso of the final leaf of the quire, lower right-hand corner

Physical description

General description:It has been argued that this manuscript consists of three units. The first unit covers ff. 1-105 and has 'Erec', 'Lancelot', 'Cligès' and 'Yvain'. The second spans ff. 106-82 and has 'Athis et Prophilias'. Unit three is is formed by ff. 184-433 and contains 'Troie', 'Brut', 'Calendre', and 'Perceval' and its continuations. The scribal colophon on f. 105rc may suggest that this was originally the final unit. (Nixon 1993, 29). ff. 1-27: 'Erec et Enide'; ff. 27-54: 'Lancelot'; ff. 54-79: 'Cligés'; ff. 79v-105: 'Yvain'; ff. 106-82: 'Athis et Prophilias'; ff. 184-286: 'Roman de Troie'; ff. 286-342: 'Brut'; ff. 342v-60v: 'Les empereurs de Rome'; ff. 361-94v: 'Perceval'; ff. 394v-430v: 'First continuation'; ff. 430v-33v: 'Second continuation'. Each text concludes with an explicit-formula.
No. of illustrations:1
General illustration:One historiated initial at the beginning of the 'Lancelot' (f. 27r). The initial is blue and pink on a gilt background, framed in red and shows a seated woman, judging on the gesturing of her hands, explaining something. The image probably represents Marie de Champagne explaining the 'sen' of the story (Nixon 1993, 30).
General decoration:Texts open with large foliate initials (height: 8-9 lines), blue or red on a guilt background, framed in red, blue or goldleaf. Occasionally, large initials also appear within the text. These include gilt initials on fields of blue and scarlet with white flourishings (height: 4-6 lines), e.g. f. 6rc, in the Chrétien-romances and the third unit and puzzle-initials (height: 3-4 lines) in the third unit of the manuscript (e.g. f. 203ra). Otherwise, further subdivisions are indicated by pen-decorated initials (height: 2 lines) alternating between blue and red with flourishings in the contrasting colour.
Evidence of readership:On f. 105rc: erased notes (illegible, even under UV); f. 286r: a later hand has added a title 'Le Roman de Brut'; f. 361: reading aid has been sewn into the manuscript; f. 433v: erased notes (illegible, even under UV).
Foliations description:15th-c. foliation in roman numerals, centered in the upper margin of the recto side (duplicates 363-371, Nixon 1993, 29). Modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1Separate columns for the letters (minuscule) at the beginning of the verseline. Horizontal throughlines at the top and bottom of the justification.
Page sampledf. 16r
Page dimensions320x230 (mm)
Justification265x190 (mm)
mm between columns
Column ruling present in grey (Plummet )
Line ruling present in grey (Plummet )
RubricationRed ink is only used for decorated initials.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Libraria
ScriptNorthern textualis
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 433vc
Datec. 1230
Scribe description:Northern textualis with double-compartment 'a', the upper compartment of which is open. Hanging round 'd' in initial position. Tongued 'e'. Diacritic dash on 'i' when confusion is possible. No use of 'i'-longa, except for final position. Ascender of 'l' is clubbed. Both long and round 's' occur in final position. Headstroke of 't' almost at the top of the ascender. No use of 'v'. Dotted 'y'. Abbreviations include apostrophe, crossed tironian note, nasal bar, superscript vowels, 'p' with crossed descender and 'con'-abbreviation. Biting of 'o' and round 'r'.


DescriptionAcquired in 1725 by Châtre de Cangé at the Charles-Jérome de Cisternay Du Fay sale (number 1890). (Nixon 1993, 30)
PlaceParis (City in France)
OwnershipChâtre de Cangé, Jean-Baptiste, Jean-Baptiste Châtre de Cangé
DescriptionGiven by De Cangé to the Bibliothèque du Roy in 1733 (Nixon 1993, 30).
PlaceParis (City in France)
Ownershipdu Roy, Bibliothèque, Bibliothèque du Roy