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Paris, Bibliothéque nationale, fr. 598

Giovanni Boccaccio, De Claris mulieribus

Anonymous French translation : Livre des femme nobles et renommees

This manuscript was given to Jean de Berry in February, 1404 by Jean de la Barre


Foliation Scribe   Text / Miniature / Miniaturist Decorator  
1 (1-8) Cleres femmesScribe A   f. 1r: Inc. Rubrics Walters 231 Decorator  
    f. 2v: Expl. of rubrics.  
  f. 3r: Inc. Proeme: Boccaccio presents book /Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator

This reverses the sequence from fr. 12420. There the preface is introduced with the miniature of Boccaccio lecturing and the prologue shows the presentation of the text to Andrea Acciaiouli.

Compare the floral decoration of this page to Ars. 5058, f. 300r.

The pen line border ornament with blue and mauve buds is only found in the first gathering. This same ornament is found in fr. 12201 and Arsenal 5057-58.  
    f. 4v: Prologue: Boccaccio as monk writing text / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator  
  f. 6v: Eve: Temptation / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator  
    f. 8r: Semiramis with her soldiers and her son Ninus/ Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator  
f. 8v: CW       The Walters 231 Decorator was responsible for the entire gathering.
2 (9-16) Cleres femmesScribe A        
  f. 10v: Opis: Opis worshiping idols / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator In fr. 12420 the miniature shows Opis being venerated which is more consistent with the text which says that she was "regarded as a goddess and honored by almost the entire world with divine veneration." [pres de tout le monde honnouree et serve des honneurs services et reverences deubs seulement a dieu]
  f. 12r: Juno: Queen of Heaven, guardian of marriage and protector of Childbirth / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator  
  f. 11r [sic]: Ceres: Goddess of agriculture ("she invented the plow and the plowshare, plowed the earth with them and sowed seed in the furrows") / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator Foliation of fr. 598 reverses 11 and 12.
  f. 13r: Minerva: "she discovered the art of working in wool.... She showed how wool should be cleaned, softened with an iron comb, placed on the distaff, and she invented weaving....She discovered how to use oil....Ahe showed the Athenians how to crush olives with the millstone and how to press them.... [s]he was the first to invent the cart and make iron weapons. She first thought of covering one's body with armor....[S]he discovered numbers and arranged them in the manner which we still keep today. They believed that she was the first to make the flute or shepherd's pipes from the leg bones of some bird or from swamp reeds" / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes Walters 231 Decorator The text refers to the birth of Minerva, her struggling with Vulcan, her contests with Arachne and Neptune. None of these are shown in the miniature. Likewise there is a description of Minerva wearing helmet and cuirass and carrying a lance and a shield with the head of Medusa. The illustration does not introduce these details, but rather focuses on Minerva's contributions to crafts. Note also the prominent position and dress of the money changer used to illustrate the "discovery of numbers."
    f. 15v: "tres belle" Venus worshipped ("She was honored with incense not only in Paphos, an ancient city of the Cypriotes (who thought that after death this unchaste woman would love the scent in which, while alive, she had wallowed in the filth of brothels), but also by other peoples and the Romans.....") / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator  
  f. 16v: Isis "dees et royne des egipciens" ("...there are some who say that his virgin was seduced by Jupiter. Then, spurred by the sin she had committed and afraid of her father, she and some of her friends boarded a ship which had a cow as an emblem [entra et monta aven aucuns en une nef de qui lenseigne estoit une vache]. Endowed with great talents and spurred on by desire to rule, she crossed to Egypt with favorable winds....) / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator Isis wears a crown and his haloed to identify her as a goddess and queen. Fr. 598 includes the penant with a cow as referred to in the text. Fr. 12420 does not include this detail.
f. 16v: CW        
3 (17-24) Cleres femmesScribe A        
    f. 18v: Abduction of Europa (tres belle europe royne des cretesiens) ("...while the girl was playing, she followed her father's flocks from the mountains to the shore of Phoenicia....There she was suddenly seized, put on a ship that had a white bull as an emblem, and taken to Crete....")/Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator  
  f. 19r: Libya (mere de busiridis et royne de libie) being venerated / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator  
    f. 19r: Martesia and Lampedo "roynes des amazones" ("These two queens...divided the provinces among themselves, so that while one remained to guard the homeland, the other went forth with part of the people to subjugate those whose lands bordered on their empire") / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator The illustrations of both fr. 598 and 12420 depict the division of the responsibilities of the two queens, but both do not illustrate of the Amazons like their "withered right breast."
    f. 20v: Thisbe stabbing herself before Pyramus (tresseable tisbe qui fut vierge en babiloine) ("While waiting near the spring, raising her head head eagerly whenever something move, she saw a lioness approach and fled into the wood, carelessly leaving her cloak behind. After eating and drinking, the lioness found the cloak and rubbed her blood-stained mouth against it....In the meantime Pyramus...arrived in the forest late and looking attentively in the silent night found Thisbe's cloak, torn and smeared with blood. He thought that Thisbe had been devoured by some wild animal, and he filled the place with his wails....Scorning life, he took out the sword which he had brought along and pierced his breast, determined to die near the spring.... When she arrived near the spring, she heard Pyramus lying on the ground, and, running to embrace him, she found him already near death, lying in the blood which had oozed from the wound....[S]he drew out the sword, which was embedded in the wound up to its hilt and with great laments called out the name of Pyramus...")/ Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator Fr. 598 does not include the cloak and the spring that the text refers to and that are included in the fr. 12420 illustration.
    f. 22v: Hypermnestra (royne des argiviens)("In accordance with their father's command the daughters secretly brought knives into their chambers and killed their husbands, who were helpless because of the day's feasting. Only Hypermnestra held back, since she had already fallen in love with her husband, whose name was Linus or Lynceus. She had fallen in love with him at first sight, ass girls often do. Thus, to her great praise, she refrained from this shameful murder, pitying him, and advised him to flee, and through flight he was saved.") / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator

Fr. 598 has Hypermnestra and Linus crowned. They would only become king and queen after the death of Danaus.

fr. 12420 conceives of the scene as a courtly romance with the couple seated on the ground. This illustrates more effectively the context of Hypermnestra falling in love with Linus.
    f. 24v: Niobe grieving over dead children ("...all Niobe's children died in the fair flower of youth because of a fatal plague. This happened within a short period of time and in their mother's sight. Amphion [king of Thebes], who had been the father of fourteen children, found himself childless, and spurred on by grief, he killed himself with a knife wound inflicted by his own hand....Widowed and saddened by all these deaths, Niobe fell into such deep and obstinate silence, that she seemed a motionless stone rather than a woman. For this reason the poets later imagined that she had changed into a stone statue near Sipylus, where her children had been buried...." / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Walters 231 Decorator Fr. 598 shows seven boys and seven girls at the feet of Niobe while fr. 12420 appears to only include 6 girls and boys. Fr. 598 shows the crowned Amphion as dead while fr. 12420 shows him still alive talking to Niobe. Both show Niobe a second time with eyes closed in the background.
f. 24v: CW       All the text decoration in this gathering is by the Walters 231 Decorator
4 (25-32) Cleres femmesScribe A        
  f. 26r: Hypsipyle (royne de lemne) ("she was the daughter of Thoas, the king of Lemnos, who reigned at the time when women were seized by madness and withdrew their untamed necks from the yoke of men. Scorning the old king's rule and taking Hypsipyle with them, they unanimously decided that the following night they would turn their knives against all men....Hypsipyle made a more merciful decision, because she thought that it would be inhuman to sully herself with a father's blood and told him of the others' crime. After putting him on a ship so that he could avoid public wrath and flee to Chios, she immediately made a great pyre and pretended that she was performing the last rites for her father. Everyone believed this, and Hypsipyle was place on her father's throne and substituted for him as queen of the wicked women....While Hypsipyle was queen, Jason, on his way to Colchis with the Argonauts, either brought by the winds or arriving deliberately, landed on the shore while the women resisted in vain, and he was received by the queen in her house and into her bed. When he had left, she gave birth to two sons at one time. Since...she was forced by laws of Lemnos to send them away, she ordered that they be taken to Chios to be brought up by their grandfather. By this act it became known that she had deceived the others by saving her father, and her subjects rose up against her. Boarding a ship, she saved herself with difficulty from the common fury....") /Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Cleres femmes B Decorator

Both fr. 598 and fr. 12420 conflate the two scenes of the saving of her father and the saving of her children and herself. Fr. 12420 is more accurate with showing the two boys referred to in the text (deux filz). Fr. 598 shows two girls instead.

British library copy shows the two boys on the boat

f. 26v: paragraphs
  f. 27v: Medea (enchanteresse royne des colchiens) having her brother killed and escaping with Jason ("...the properties of herbs were so familiar to her that no one ever knew them better. By intoning enchantments [par une chancon quelle chantoit troubler et obscurrir le ciel], she knew perfectly how to disturb the sky....having gained the embraces of her beloved youth [Jason], she secretly fled with him, taking along all her father's wealth. Not content with this great offense, her cruel soul turned to worse. Thinking that Aeetes [her father] would follow them when they fled, she took along her brother Sbsyrtus, or Aegialeus, who was a small child. To make her father delay on the road, she had her brother dismembered and scattered the parts of his body in the fields of the island....") / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Cleres femmes B Decorator Fr. 12420 shows Medea holding a banderoll with musical notation and flowers. This illustrates the reference to her familiarity with herbs and her ability to make enchantments. Medea in fr. 598 simply holds a scroll. Otherwise the two versions illustrate the scene in the same way including crowned Medea, Jason on horseback, a man slaying a small boy, and a horse bearing a load.
    f. 29r: The hung Arachne (tressoubtiue) at her loom ("...she discovered the uses of woven cloth, and that she was the first to think of making nets....she became so proud that she dared enter a contest with Pallas Athena, who had discovered that art. Not being able to endure defeat with resignation, she ended her life with a rope....") / Master of Berry's Cleres femmes. Cleres femmes B Decorator  
  f. 30v: Orithya and Antiope (royne des amazones...femmes batailleresses)("She [Orithya] was so powerful in deeds of arms with Antiope, who reigned together with her, that she ornamented the kingdom of the Amazons with many honors....) Cleres femmes B Decorator

Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 visualize the scene in the same way by converting it into a medieval joust. They do not show the story of Hercules. The emphasis in the images is on their prowess and not illustrating a specific episode.

Fr. 598 includes crowns on the two queens. These are not found in fr. 12420.

    f. 31r: Erythraea ("une des sibilles") ("through her great studies...she gained the skill to write about the future with such clarity that it seems to be Gospel rather than fortunetelling....") Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 visualize Erythraea as a scholar with cathedra and lectern. Compare to images of the Evangelists.
    f. 32r: Medusa (fille du roy phorce)("...Medusa was of such marvelous beauty that she not only surpassed all others but, like something wondrous and supernatural, attracted very many men to see her. Her hair was golden and abundant, her face was of special beauty, and her body properly tall and straight. Among other things, her eyes had such great and pleasant force that if she looked kindly at someone, he remained motionless and beside himself....Heer fame reached Greece, where Perseus, the most excellent among the young men of Achaea, heard these reports and became desirous of seeing that beautiful woman and taking her treasure. Thus, boarding a ship whose emblem was the horse Pegasus, her arrived in the West with wonderful speed. In that region he used skill and his arms to kidnap the queen and returned home laden with gold and booty.") Cleres femmes B Decorator

Both images show Perseus riding Pegasus rather than as "emblem" for the ship as called for in the text.

Both images put Medusa in a romantic context with having seated on the ground.

Note roman numeral 22 in margin as guided to the rubricator.

f. 32v: CW

      All the text decoration in this gathering appears to be by the Cleres femmes B Decorator
5 (33-38) Cleres femmes Scribe A        
    f. 33r: Iole (tresbelle yole fille du roy des etholtens) (" Iole, the daughter of King Eurytus of Aetolia, was the most beautiful among the girls of that country. There are some who say that she was loved by Hercules....After conquering the country he took his beloved Iole to himself. She was certainly moved more by her father's death than by love for her husband. Desiring vengeance, with marvelous and constant slyness she covered her feelings towards him with false love. With caressesand a certain artful wantonness she made Hercules love for her so much that she could see very well that he would not deny her anything she might ask. For this reason, before anything else she told that powerful man to put aside the club with which he had tamed the monsters and to remove the skin of the Nemean lion, which was a sign of his strength....First she asked him to adorn the fingers of his hands with rings, anoint his head with Cyprian unguents, comb his shaggy hair, anointl his rough beard with nard, and adorn himself with girlish garlands and the Maeonian headdress. Then she mad him dress in dainty purpel clothes, believing that she, a young woman armed with her deceit, had performed....he would sit like a woman among other common women and tell of the story of his labors. Taking the distaff, he would spin wool....") Cleres femmes B Decorator  
    f. 35v: Deianira abducted by Nessus (tresnoble deyanire femme de hercule) ("There [river Evenus] he [Hercules]was met by her admirer Nessus. Since he was on horseback [note how Boccaccio does not describe Nessus as a centaur but simply as a man on horseback]Nessus offered to help Hercules by taking Deianara across. Hercules agreed, intending to swim after his wife. Nessus, his desirew almost satisfied, ran away after crossing the river with his beloved. Hercules was unable to catch him on foot but reached him with an arrow poisoned with the Hydra's venom....") Cleres femmes B Decorator  
    f. 36r: Jocasta (royne des thebains) ("she learned that the man she thought was her legitimate husband was her son. Although this was a great blow to her, her husband felt it so much more that through shame for the sin he had committed he gouged out his eyes, seeking night, and abandoned his kingdom. The sons took over the kingdom amid discord, broke their agreement, and came to war. To Jocasta's great sorrow, they often fought each other. Finallm whe the two fought in single combat, they were delivred up to her dead of mutually inflicted wounds....unable to bear her grief and already old because of her afflication, plunged steel into her despairing and struggling heart.... Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 conflate the different events the same way.
    f. 37r: Sibyl Amalthea Cleres femmes B Decorator The text emphasizes Amalthea's virginity. Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 represent this by having her wear a wimple.
    f. 38r: Nicostrata("Seeing that they [the Romans] were almost illiterate and that the little they knew was in Greek, and considering with her god-like mind the fame which was in store for that place and region, she thought it would be unworthy for their great deeds to be told to posterity in a foreign tongue. With all the power of her intellect, she decided to give that people its own letters completely different from those of other nations. Cleres femmes B Decorator Fr. 12420 shows Nicostrata holding onto a scroll which has the alphabet written on it. The scroll in fr. 598 is empty. Otherwise the two miniatures visualize Nicostrata in the same way with a seated Nicostrata presenting a scroll to a young boy, probably her son Evander, and a group of men in the background.

f. 38v: CW

      This is a short gathering of 6 leaves that marks the end of a scribal unit.
All the text decoration in this gathering appears to be by the Cleres femmes B Decorator
6 (39-46) 8 f. 39r: Cleres femmes B Scribe    

The scribal break appears at the beginning of a new paragraph in the Nicostrata story.

The running titles appear to be by Scribe A, but the foliation is by a different scribe.

  f. 40v: Procris (...Doubling back, he returned to the city and through go-betweens tempted his wife's fidelity with gifts. Although large, these did not sway her during the first assault. But when her perservered and added jewels, her will which was vacilllating broke, and she promised to give him that night the embrances he desired if he would give her the gift he had offered.... Torn by jealousy, she [Procris] thought that because of Aurora's wiles her husband was doing to her what she had done to him for money. She began to follow him secretly while he hunted through mointains, hilltops, and hidden valleys. This went on for a while, and it happened that as Procris moved secretly in a grassy valley among the reeds of a swamp, her husband thought she was a wild animal and killed her with an arrow. Cleres femmes B Decorator

The miniatures of both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 combine both the temptation of Procris and the slaying of Procris. Both artist emphasize the wilderness context of the slaying.

Rubric appears to be by Scribe A.

    f. 41v: Argia (femme de pollinice et fille du roy adraste) (Anxious Argia heard that Polynices had been left unburied among the bodies of commoners. Casting aside royal splendor...,she immediately set out on her way to the battlefield with a few comanions....When at midnight she went with eager but saddened spirits to the battlefield, where the corpses gave off a fetid stench, she turned over this or that body to see, with a small lamp, if she recognized the rotting face of her beloved husband, and she did not stop until she found the one she sought.... Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures dress Argia in a simple dress and they call attention to the night time setting with the figures carrying torches. In fr. 598,Polynices' body identified by the crown and gold detailing of his armor.
    f. 43r: Manto (fille de tyrsesie) ("she had such a quick and capable mind that she learned the ancient art of foretelling the future from fire....She then went with her son to Cisalpoine Gaul, where near Lake Garda she found naturally fortified swampy areas and serttled on land which rose above the water in the middle of the swamp, so that she could attend to her witchcraft with greater freedom and lead the rest of her life with greater safety in the midst of this marsh.") Cleres femmes B Decorator  
    f. 44r: Wives of the Minyans ("They were to be put to death by the executioners on the following night...when their sad, tearful wives conceived an unheard-of plan for the liberation of their husbands and did not delay in acting on it. When night came, they dressed in simple clothes, with their faces veiled in tears, and as noblewomen they easily received permission from the guards to enter the prison to see their husbands who were to be executed....They changed clothes with them, and their husbands veiled their faces as women do, wept, lowered their eyes to the ground, and feigned sorrow.....) Cleres femmes B Decorator  
    f. 46r: Penthesilea (royne des amazones)("Often she pursued the fleeing ranks with her arrows and did so many and such great deeds that at times she amazed even Hector who watched her." Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 598 and fr. 12420 show the scene in the same way with the crowned Penthesilea carrying a bow and arrows leading a calvacade. In both miniatures the lead rider is shown carrying a helmet on a stick. There is no specific textual basis of this detail and thus visualizes a detail included in the written instructions that both miniaturists used.
f. 46v: CW- no decoration        
7 (47-54) 8 Cleres femmes B Scribe       Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A
  f. 47r: Polyxena("fille du roy priame") ("When the power of the Trojans had collapsed and Troy had been destroyed, Polyxena was brought by Neoptolemus to his father's grave [Achilles] to appease his spirit. On that site....she saw that harsh young man pull out his sword while the onlookers cried, and the harmless girl offered him her thoat with constant spirit and fearless expression.") Cleres femmes B Decorator The two miniatures conceive the story in the same way with Polyxena praying and Neoptolemus wielding his sword. The tomb in fr. 598 is open and empty. Apparently the artist assumed this would be the tomb of Polyxena while the tomb of Achilles is closed in fr. 12420.
    f. 47v: Hecuba(royne des troiens)("She saw Troy burn ed by the fire of the Greeks, Polites cut down in his father's lay, old Priam himself disemboweled before the altars of his own house....") Cleres femmes B Decorator  
  f. 48v: Cassandra (fille de priame roy des troiens) Cleres femmes B Decorator

The inscription on Cassandra's banderoll reads: hort het wort ("hear the word"). The Germanic dialect has been used as evidence to support the Netherlandish origin of the artist.

Fr. 598 illustrates the scene more effectively. It uses iconography regularly found in prophet images to support Cassandra's identity as a prophetess. The figure of Agamemnon in heaven turning away from Cassandra is more accurate to the text. He rejected his words and then was killed by Clytaemnestra. Only afterward was Cassandra killed. The king in the fr. 12420 image does not make sense.

    f. 49v: Clytaemnestra (royne de micene) ("[Clytaemnestra] fell in love with Aegisthus, an idle and vile young man..., who had not taken up arms because he was a if about to give a great feast for the Greeks, calmly persuaded him [Agamemnon] to dress in the clothes of his own country, which she had prepared for her purpose with no opening for his neck. She brazenly handed them to him, and when Agamemnon had put his arms in the sleeves and was trying to find the opening to put his head through, she handed him half-bound to her lover, recruited by her as an assassin.) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 approach the scene in the same way and include common elements not included in the text. Aegisthus status as a priest is translated in the miniatures to being a monk. Both miniatures show him attacking Agamemnon with a cudgel which does not appear to have a textual basis. Also both miniatures show a courtier attacking Agamemnon with a sword. This figure does not have a direct text basis. Note also the similarities of the dress of a Agamemnon in both miniatures.
    f. 51r: Helen (femme de manelaus le roy) ("Having gathered their forces, they landed on the shore...with a thousand and more ships loaded with armed men and beseiged Troy, while the Trojans resisted in vain. From the walls of the beseiged city, Helen was able to see of what value her beauty was") Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures visualize the scene in the same way with Helen and Paris embracing in a city beseiged by ships. There is no specific textual basis for Helen and Paris embracing.
  f. 54v: Circe (une tresnommee femme et fille du soleil) Cleres femmes B Decorator Note the use of rinceaux decoration by the B Decorator.
f. 54v: CW:        
8 (55-62) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe B       Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A

f. 56r: Camilla (noble camille royne des volquiens)("When she reached a stronger age, Camilla began to cover her body with the skins of animals, to hurl the spear, use a sling, carry a quiver, stretch the bow, chase and catch the fleeing deer and wild goats, and disdain all womanly work."

Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 598 and fr. 12420 visualize the story in the same way. The fr. 12420 miniature adds a crown on Camilla's head.
    f. 58r: Penelope (femme de ulixes) ("She asked those who wanter her and clamored for her that she be allowed to wait for her husband until she could finish weaving a cloth which she had begun according to the custom of royal women....After he [Ulysses] had seen how the suitors were wasting his property and how the chaste Penelope was refusing to marry them, he was angered and attacked the carousing suitors with the help of the swineherd Sybotes, his cowherd Philitia, and his son Telemachus....) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures visualize the scene in the same way. The text refers to Ulysses being assisted by three others and the text also identifies at least five victimes, but both miniatures only show three assasins and three victims. Fr. 12420 does include a figure that can be identified as Ulysses who wears a crown and has a cloak with dagged bombard sleaves.
    f. 60r: Lavinia(royne des laurentins) Ascanius offering crown and scepter to Lavinia: "fearing her step-son Ascanius, who had become the ruler, retired into the forest, where she gave birth to Postumus, and according to some she gave him the name of Iulus Silvius. Ascanius, however, feeling more charitable toward his step-mother than she thought, built Alba for himself and voluntarily left to Lavinia her father's kingdom...." Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures visualize the scene in the same way. Place the scene in a forest. Both include a river not referred directly to in the text (Tiber?). Both miniatures show Ascanius offering a crown and scepter to the seated, crowned figure of Lavinia.
    f. 61v: Dido (aultrement appellee elisse laquelle fut royne de ceulx de cartage) (...Dido bought from the landowners of the vicinity only as much land on the shore as could be encircled by the hide of an ox for establishing her settlement [all three miniatures include this detail] Cleres femmes B Decorator All three miniatures show the same scene with the city encircled by the hide of an ox. All three miniatures show a group of figures looking up to Dido in the castle. The major difference between the three miniatures is that fr. 12420 shows Dido stabbing herself. BR 9509 and fr. 598 show Dido embracing Aeneas. This conforms more accurately to the text.

f. 62v: CW:

9 (63-70) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe B       Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A
    f. 67v: Nicaule (royne des ethopiens) (after asking him some very difficult querstions, she listened attentively to his explanation and willingly confessed that Solomon's wisdom greatly surpassed his reputation and the capacity of the human intellect....Then she gave him magnificent presents, among which it is believed werre those small trees from which balsam comes. Cleres femmes B Decorator The three miniatures are similar with the enthroned Solomon receiving a balsam tree from Nicaule. Nicaule is accompanied by wildmen. A difference is that fr. 12420 adds a detail of a man offering a gift to another man.
    f. 68v: Pamphile (fille de platee) (Authors who are considered trustworthy say that she was the first to pick cotton from plants and cleanse it of residual matter with the comb. After it was combed, she put it on the distaff and showed how to make thread from it and how to weave it....) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures show the picking of cotton and they include the distaff. Fr. 12420 adds weaving.
    f. 69r: Rhe Ilia (vierge de veste la deese) (to remove all hopes of her having husband and children, he [Aemilius] made her a Vestal and forced her to take a vow of perpetual virginity....[S]he became pregnant and gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus, founder of the city of Rome. Because of this sin, although she was a royal woman, she was buried alive, and her children were exposed by ancient law and by royal command....) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures visualize the scene the same way. Rhea is represented as a nun. Workmen are shown digging a grave for her to be buried alive. Both miniatures show the suckling of Romulus and Remus by the she wolf. The she-wolf in both miniaturesThis is not directly referred to in the text.

f. 70v

f. 70v: Gaia Cyrilla (femme de tarquin roy des romains) (Since this woman had an excellent mind, she did not allow herself to languish idly, in spite of the fact that she was the wife of a king and dwelled in a royal palace. In fact, she dedicated herself to the art of working in wool, which I believe was an honorable occupation among the Latins at that time. She was such a noble craftsman in this and so diligent that her fame has endured up to our times, and in her own she was not without public reward) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures approach the scene in the same way. They show the division of labor in the production of cloth with the combing, the spinning, and the weaving of wool. Gaia who wears a crown is shown weaving. The text does not enumerate the stages of production.

f. 70v: CW


10 (71-78) 8

Cleres femmes Scribe B       Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A
    f. 71v: Sapho (saphe lesbie poeteresse et grant clergesse) (...she...had so fine a talent that in the flower of youth and beauty she was not satisfied solely with writing in prose, but, spurred by the greater fervor of her soul and mind, with diligent study she ascended the steep slopes of Parnassus and on that high summit with happy daring joined the Muses, who did not not in disapproval. Wandering through the laurel grove, she arrived at the cave of Apollo, bathed in the waters of Castalia, and took up Phoebus' plectrum. As the sacred nymphs danced, this girl did not hesitate to strike the strings of the cithara and bring forth melody, Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures visualize the scene in the same way. Translate the story into the context of the medieval university with Sapho sitting in a cathedra with pupils seated around her. It is notable that the miniatures do not include the sacred groves and caves referred to in the text. There are no musical instruments included as well. Is the cathedra used as an equivalent to "ascending the steep slopes of Parnassus" ?

f. 72v: Lucretia (femme de collatin) (Not many days later, spurred on by his madness, Sextus secretly left the camp at night and went to Collatia. Since he was her husband's relative, Lucretia received him hospitably and welcomed him. But when he saw that the whole house was silent, thinking that everyone was asleep, Sextus entered Lucretia's bedroom with drawn sword. He made himself known to her and threatened to kill her if she cried out or did not give in to his desire. Because she refused his wishes and did notfear death, he stooped to a damnable trick. He said that he would slay one of her manservants next to her and tell everybody the he had killed them after having found them together in adultery. When she heard this, the trembling woman stood still, frightened by such a wicked disgrace. Fearing that if she died there would be no one to avenge her innocence, she unwillingly gave her body to the adulterer. Sextus satisfied his wicked desire and left like a conqueror, as he thought.

As soon as day broke, Lucretia, suffering from this wicked crime, sent for her father, Tricipitinus, Collatinus' relative Brutus, who up to that day had been considered mad, and other relatives by blood, in addition to her husband. When they came to her, she told them tearfully in order what Sextus had done in the dead of night. As her relatives consoled her while she cried wretchedly, she took out a knife that she had under her dress and said: "Although I absolve myself of the sin, I do not free myself from the punishment, and in the future no woman will live dishonorably because of Lucretia's example." Having said these words, she drove the knife into her innocent breast, fell wounded and dying in the presence of her husband and her father, and soon poured out her soul together with her blood."

Cleres femmes B Decorator All three miniatures visualize the scene in the same way.
    f. 74v: Thamyris (royne des sycthes) (She then encircled them among mountains and desolate places, where they lacked almost all necessities. She then turned on them and destroyed almost the entire army. Cyrus himself did not escape; in fact by his bloody death he satisfied the widow's wrath. With ferocious spirit, she had Cyrus' body sought among the others; and when it was found, she had the head cut off and order that it be placed in a leather bottle filled with the blood of her men) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both miniatures diverge from the text which says that she had Cyrus beheaded while the miniatures show her beheading the Cyrus. Fr. 12420 shows Cyrus still alive which diverges from the text. [thamire la royne si commanda que on quest entre les mors le corps du roy et quant on leust trouve elle li fit trenchier la teste et fist mettre en bouteille....]
    f. 76r: Leonne/ Leaena (fole femme du pays de grece) (Subjected to cruel torture to make her name the conspirators, this dissolute woman nobly thought of the value of the hold and venerable name of friendship. Fearing that force would make hersave herself by harming others, at first she steeleds herself for a a long time with marvelous constancy against answering what she was asked. Finally, as the tortures increased and her bodily strength ebbed, this valiant woman feared that her determination would weaken with her strength. She rose to even greater firmness and acted so that her ability to speak was lost together with her strength. She bit sharply down on her tongue, severed it, and spat it out....) Cleres femmes B Decorator All three miniatures visualize the scene in the same way.

f. 78r: Athaliah(royne de iherusalem) (When Ahaziah died of an arrow wound, this fierce woman, burning with the desire to rule, thought of a memorable plan and steeled herself to put it in action. Casting aside feminine pity, not only did she fail to mourn her son, but gave reason for more tears, if she had had a woman's heart. While the earth was still wet with her son's blood, she drew sword against all the descendants of David's lineage. She persecuted them until no male member of that family was left alive. Only the little boy Jehoash, King Ahaziah's son. who was taken away without her knowledge, escaped her cruelty. For Athaliah's daughter Jehosheba, who was Ahaziah's sister, secretly took away the boy and brought him to the house of her husband, the high priest Jehoiada, to be brought up in safety. And so reckless Athaliah wickedly dared to seat herself upon the royal throne over the blood of so many dead, since through her handiwork there were no claimants left, and to rule the affairs of the kingdom....

Finally, so that the wicked woman would not remain unpunished for the blood she had shed, after she had reigned seven years, she saw her grandchild Jehoash, whom she thought had been killed with the others, made king through the help of the high priest Jehoiada, and she herself was forced from the royal throne, While the people shouted against her, she was shamefully dragged to the carriage entrance by her servants and ruffians, while she shouted and threatened in vain.

Cleres femmes B Decorator

fr. 598 repeats the figure of Athaliah twice showing two episodes: 1) slaying the descendants of David; 2) her expulsion. Fr. 12420 only shows Athaliah once with her being dragged off. On the right side of the miniature soldiers slaughter the descendents of David. By repeating the figure of Athaliah, the planner of fr. 598 makes it clear that the miniature shows two episodes.

BR 9509 repeats the figure of Athaliah twice with the slaughtering of the descendents of David on the left and her stoning on the right. Stoning is not referred to in the text.

f. 78v: cw

(no decoration)

11 (79-86) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe B       Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A
    f. 81r: Cleoelis (Rommaine vierge) (Evading her guards, by night she led many of the hostages to the bank of the Tiber, and there she mounted a horse, which she happened to find grazing near the river, although she had never been on one before. Unafraid of the river's depth and the swirling waters, she brought them all safely to the other shore and returned them to their families. Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 598 and fr. 12420 show the scene in the same way with Cloelia riding a horse across the river. Both miniatures depart from the text by showing her crowned which is not referrred to in the text and both show her alone while the text refers to Coelia leading a group across the Tiber.
    f. 83r: Yppone /Hippo (femme grecque) (Well then, we are told that Hippo happened to be captured by enemy sailors. She was a beautiful woman, and, hearing those who had seized her make plans against her and against her honor, she valued the purity of chastity so hioghly that, since she could not safeguard it except through death, she did not wait for violence but through herself headlong into the sea, where she lost her life but saved her honor....) Cleres femmes B Decorator The different miniatures show the scene in the same way with Hippo throwing herself head first into the sea from a boat.
    f. 83v: Megulis Donee / Megullia Dotata (I believe that Megulia acquired the name of Dotata more through the lavishness of her ancestors than through the worthiness of nay of her own deeds. For at that time it seemed such a marvelous thing to give 500,000 bronze coins as a dowry to one's husband that the name Dotata was bestowed on the woman who gave it. The name lasted a long time, so that if anything extra was added to a girl's dowry, she was immediately called Megullia Dotata. Cleres femmes B Decorator Fr. 598 more accurately shows an engagement scene with the joining of right hands. Megullia's father carries a chasse which contains the dowry. In fr. 12420 the couple walk together with his arm around the waist of Megullia. He carries a bag containing the dowry. The British Library version shows the father giving the dowry to the future husband. Megullia stands behind the father.

f. 82v: Veturie (rommaine matrone) (Veturia, when already old, by a praiseworthy deed gave her years perpetual freshness....Complete despair had already entered the souls of the Romans, when many women went in tears to Coriolanus' mother Veturia and his wife Volumnia. They prevailed on Veturia to undertake the great journey to the enemy's camp together with his wife to calm her son with prayers and tears, since men and arms seemed unable to defend the Republic. Many other women went with her....

With Coriolanus wife on one side and his children on the other, Veturia cast aside motherly love and became angry as soon as she saw her son.

Cleres femmes B Decorator

The fr. 598 and BR 9509 miniatures are much more accurate than fr. 12420. In fr. 12420 men accompany Veturia- these are not accounted for in the text. Veturia is not depicted as old. The wife and children of Coriolanus are not clearly depicted. But most importantly the gesture of Veturia with hands up suggests she is listening while Coriolanus' gesture is of ticking off points with his fingers suggests that Coriolanus is making a speech which contradicts the text.

The age of Veturia is indicated in fr. 598 and fr. 12420 by her wearing a wimple.

The British Library copies are more consistent with fr. 598.

    f. 86r: Thamar (tresnoble pointerresce fille de micon) (...she had such marvelous talent that she scorned the duties of women and practiced her father's art. When Archelaus was king of Macedonia, she acquired such great glory in painting that the Ephesians, who venerated Diana with special honors, kept for a long time a painting of that goddess done by Thamyris on a panel and guarded it as a precious thing. ) Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 598 and fr. 12420 visualize the image of Diana as an image of the Madonna and Child. The British Library copies show Thamar painting a half-length nude woman more consistent with an image of a godess.

f. 86v: Arthemese (royne de care) (Artemisia, the queen of Caria....She was the wife of Mausolus, the powerful king of Caria....During her widowhood she performed great deeds....Mausolus' tomb would be a worthy symbol of her love [Boccaccio provides an extended description of the Mausoleum and its sculpture]....

Artemisia's virtue cannot be extolled with only this praise, for she was worthy for her vigor, daring, and military leadership, and she adorned the majesty of her name with triumphs. Although at other times she had often taken up arms, I have read that after her husband's death, when time had soothed her grief, she took them up twice, once to defend the welfare of the country, and the second time to maintain faith with her allies at their request.

Cleres femmes B Decorator

All the miniatures visualize the scene in the same way with the crowned and victorious Artemisia standing in the center holding a sword in one hand and a scepter in the other. At her feet are a pile of bodies, and behind her is her army.

The illustrations diverge from the text since the text focuses on sea battles. Also the text provides an extensive account of the Mausoleum which is not included in the illustration.

f. 86v: cw:


12 (87-94) 8

Cleres femmes Scribe A       The break in scribes appears in the middle of a text which indicates continuous copying.

f. 90r: Virginee (vierge fille de virgine) (Verginia was a Roman virgin in name and in fact, and she should be reverently remembered. She was of marvelous beauty and was the daughter of the plebian but honorable Aulius Verginius. Although she was of excellent character, she is not so famous for her constancy as for her lover's wickedness and the act of her overly severe father, from which Roman liberty ensued....

[Verginia was unfairly charged and her father defends her honor the only way he could]

When Marcus wanted to take her away and Verginius had attacked Appius in vain, he obtained permission from the furious man to speak briefly with the girl and her nurse, so that he could find out the truth of the matter and give the girl over to him more willingly. Having gone out opposite the court itself near the Cloatine shops, Verginius seized a butcher knife and said, "Dear daughter, I defend your liberty the only way I can." He then stabbed his daughter in the breast, to the great grief of those who were watching. In their presence the wretched girl fell to the ground as her blood and life left her. Thus the vile hopes of lustful Appius came to naught because of the innocent girl's death.


Cleres femmes B Decorator The miniatures all show the slaying of Verginia by Verginius. Verginius is represented in an elaborate houpelande. In the fr. 598 miniature he wears a money purse on his belt. Is this to indicate his status as a plebian?
    f. 92r: Yrene (femme de cratin) (This Irene had unusual talent, and her skill was worthy of remembrance. Proof of her skill lasted for a long time in the painted figure which could be seen in the city of Eleusis, in a portrait of old Calypso, and also in the paintings of the gladiator and of Alcisthenes, who was an excellent dancer in that age. ) Cleres femmes B Decorator The images all show Irene painting, but there is a variety in what they are painting. In fr. 598 she is painting a diptych with the Holy face on the left wing. In fr. 12420, she is painting a sculpture of the Virgin and Child. In the BL versions she is painting a mural of a boy.

f. 92v: Leonce /Leontium (femme grelze) (According to the testimony of the ancients, she was such a scholar that she dared write against and criticize Theophrastus, a famous philosopher of that period....

Alas, what an unworthy crime it is that she could bring Philosophy, the queen of all human pursuits, among panderers, unclean adulterers, and prostitutes, and into brothels, and in these disgraceful chambers smear it with shameful stains, trample it with unchaste feet, and plunge it into filthy sewers --if indeed the splendor of Philosophy can be stained by the infamy of an unchaste heart.

Cleres femmes B Decorator

The miniatures show her with the attributes of a scholar while she is being seduced by a suitor.

In fr. 12420 the decorator used a capital "S" instead of the correct capital "L" as found in fr. 598. The guide letters for the two letters could have been confused.


f. 93v

f. 93v: Olympias (royne tresnoble de macedoine) (Olympias, the queen of Macedonia, was famous for many honors....[A]t Philip's death her son Alexander ruled over Macedonia. His deeds were so great that no one born before or since was known to have surpassed him. This added a great deal of glory to Olympias, if it is glorius for mothers to give birth to excellent sons. But this glory could not escape altogether without being blemished at times by marks of infamy, even though this made her more famous, for in her youth she fell prey to the allure of adultery. Hardly anything more shameful could have happened to the queen. Worse than this was the suspicion that Alexander had been born of an adulterous union. This suspicion so troubled Phil that he not only openly said at times that Alexander was not his son, but repudiated Olympias and married Cleopatra, the daughter of Alexander of Epirus....

[She] mader herself famous for various monstrous actions. It was believed that she urged Pausanias, a noble youth born in Orestis, to kill her husband Philip, and that Alexander knew of this. For while Pausanias was hanging on the cross the day afterhe had been crucified for the murder of Philip, he was found with a golden crown on his head, placed there by Olympias. A few days later, at Olympias' orders, his body was placed over the remains of King Philip, and, following the Macedonian rites, he was honorably cremated and buried with funereal pomp....

[She is captured by Cassander] When she had surrendered, the friends of those whom she had treacherously killed demanded that she be executed. Cassander sent his wicked men to kill her in the prison where she was being kept. Realizing that she was to die at the hands of the men who were approaching, Olympias fearlessly got up leaning on two servants, combed her hair, and arranged her clothes so that she would not lie naked when she fell. She did not permit herself to beg for life, nor did she utter any cries or womanly laments, but walked towards the executioners and willingly offered her body to their blows, as if she scorned what even brave men are wont to fear greatly. With that act she showed that she was indeed the mother of so excellent an emperor as Alexander.

Cleres femmes B Decorator All the miniatures conflate the different episodes of the story in the same way. They all include a pile of bodies with a crowned figure at the bottom. This refers to the episode of Pausanias' body being placed over that of King Philip. The miniatures focus on Olympias being supported by her servants as she is brought to her execution. In all of the images Olympias is shown crowned wearing a wimple.

f. 94v: CW

13 (95-102) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe A        

f. 95r

f. 95r: Claudie (vestale rommaine vierge) (...By decree of the Senate, her father was holding his triumph with a great deal of pomp in front of a great crowd of Romans. Suddenly, moved by private enmity, a tribune of the plebians ran up to him as if to one who deserved ill. He moved forward, laid violent hands on the triumphant man with the insolent audacity of a tribune, and tried to pull him down from the chariot. The virgin Claudia, who was among the spectators, saw this and was distressed because of her love for her father. Unable to endure it, she forgot her sex and the dignity of the bands which she wore. She suddenly rushed violently into the crowd...she stepped between the tribune's arrogance and her father's glory. With whatever daring this was done, she pushed back the tribune and assured her father free access to the Capitol. Cleres femmes C Decorator The different miniatures visualize the scene in much the same way. Claudia is shown brandishing a club as the man tries to pull her father out of the cart. All of the images place the scene in the countryside and not in the city. There is no reference to crowds. In all of the images Claudia is shown with her hair down. Is this to indicate that she is a virgin?
  f. 95v: paragraphs    
    f. 96r: Verginia (femme de Lucien volupin) (Verginia...was a famous woman among the Romans and the daughter of a certain Aulus, a man of the patrician order....As is well known, at that time in the city of Rome near the temple of Hercules in the cattle market there was a small temple piously consecrated to Patricia Pudicitia by the noblewomen.... And it happened that Verginia went to these ceremonies with the other women. A brief quarrel broke out of the tmeple by order of the patrician women because she was the wife of a plebian (although a former consul), Lucius Volupinus. Finally Verginia, burning with more than simple womanly anger, said that she was honorable and a patrician, and that she should not be cast out of the temple of Patricia Pudicitia, although she had married a plebian. After extolling her husband's deed with marvelous praise, she left the patrician women and returned home angrily. [the text goes on to describe Verginia's creation of a temple of Plebeia Pudicitia in her house.] Cleres femmes C Decorator

Fr. 12420 uses two miniatures to illustrate this scene. In the first it shows the patrician temple with women worshipping an idol on the right side and Verginia being expelled on the left side. The second miniature shows the figure of Verginia worshipping in the temple of Plebeia Pudicitia.

Fr. 598 has only one miniature. On the right Verginia is being expelled from the temple while on the left Verginia is placed on an altar and is being worshipped.

    f. 97r: Flora (ribaude. des fleurs deese appellee et femme de zephire) Cleres femmes C Decorator

The miniatures show images of prostitution. In fr. 12420 Flora is show seated watching two prostitutes and their clients approach. In fr. 598 two prostitutes and their clients are shown. In the background is a structure with a bed in the interior.

The BL copies show Flora seated greeting a naked couple while musicians play at the bottom right.

The divergence of these scenes could be explained by a lack of specific detail in the instructions for the miniatures. The artists could have been asked to represent images of prostitution.

    f. 99r: ieune fille Rommaine (This young girl's mother was of honorable parentage, but unfortunate, for she was condemned to death before the tribunal of the praetor in Rome for a reason unknown to me. The praetor handed her over to a triumvir to carry out the punishment already determined by the sentence, and the latter gave her to the city gaoler for this same purpose. But, since she was of noble rank, it was ordered that she be executed at night. The gaoler, moved to pity and feeling compassion for her nobility, did not want to hurt her with his own hands, and so he locked her up alive to die of hunger. Her daughter used to go to see her, and , after she had been carefully searched so that she could not bring in any food, the guards allowed her to enter the prison. Since the mother was already starving, the daughter nourished her with her milk, of which she had plenty since she had just given birth. This continued for many days, and the gaoler began to marvel that the condemned woman lived so long without food. Secretly watching what mother and daughter did, he saw that the daughter, taking our her breasts, offered them to her mother's lips to be sucked. Amazed at the filial devotion and the unusual way the daughter had found to feed her mother, he told the triumvir. The triumvir told the praetor, who told the public council. The result was that with general agreement the sentence which the mother had deserved was annulled as a reward for the daughter's devotion. Cleres femmes C Decorator Both miniatures show a nursing scene. Fr. 598 is more specific with setting the scene in a jail while fr. 12420 places the scene outside.

f. 100v

f. 100v: Marcie (de varron vierge perpetuelle) (Remarkable examples of her art lasted for many a year, among others her portrait which she painted on a tablet with the aid of a mirror, preserving the colors and features and the expression of the face so completely that none of her contemporaries doubted that it was just like her. Cleres femmes C Decorator BR 9509, fr. 598, and fr. 12420 all show Marcia painting a self portrait in a convex mirror.

f. 100v

Note the symbol in the center margin. Compare to those found in fr. 159.


f. 101v: Sulpice (tres honnorable) (After the decemvirs had consulted the Sibylline Books according to the ancient custom, the Senate decreed that a statue be consecrated in the city to Venus Verticordia, so that virgins and other women would not only abstain from lustfulness but would more easily turn to praiseworthy chastitu, and, in accordance with the order of the decemvirs, it was requested that the most chaste among Roman women consecrate it. They decided that first one hundred women, who enjoyed greater fame for chastity among the others, be selected from the multitudes of chaste women which abounded in Rome at that time. Sulpicia was chosen among these. Then by order of the Senate, ten were selected who in the judgment of those one hundred women were most renowned, and Sulpicia was among the ten. Finally, when one among the ten was asked for, Sulpicia was chosen by unanimous consent. Cleres femmes C Decorator

Fr. 598 shows Sulpicia with a censer worshipping the figure of Venus seated on an altar. The gesture of Venus is the listening gesture suggesting she is responding to the appeals of Sulpicia.

In fr. 12420, Sulpicia has the censer but there is no image on the altar. There is a chalice and a book.


f. 102v

f. 102v: Armonie (...When through a conspiracy and sudden insurrection the people of Syracuse raged against everyone of royal lineage....[T]he mob with naked swords rebelliously assailed Demarata and Heraclea, Hieron's daughters, and Harmonia, the daughter of Gelon. And it happened that, through the shrewdness of Harmonia's nurse, a girl of Harmonia's age dressed in royal robes was gotten ready for the murderers in place of Harmonia. This girl did not oppose in any way the intentions of the person who had planned this, in fact, when she saw the multitude of hostile rebels run agains her with their sharp-pointed swords, she was not frightened, nor did she run away. She did not give away her identity to the men who wounded her, and she did not accuse Harmonia, who was in hiding and whose place she was dying. Silent and motionless, she received the mortal blows and died. She was happy in her death, and Harmonia was unhappy. The former was happy in her faithfulness; the other was sad because she had lost the one who was faithful....

O loyalty! O ancient faith! Although she had escaped, she showed herself in public, and, calling back the bloody swords, she confessed her nurse's stratagem, the loyalty of the girl who had died, and her own identity. And she voluntarily she her blood as a sacrifice to the dead girl.

Cleres femmes C Decorator In the fr. 598 miniatue, Armonia watches as the girl is killed in her place. Fr. 12420 shows both women being attacked.

f. 102v: cw

14 (103-110) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe A        
    f. 103v: Busa (Canusigne) (They say that when Hannibal the Carthaginian was waging bitter war against the Romans, laying waste all of Italy with fire and sword and staining it with much blood, and when in a great battle near Cannae, a village in Apulia, he not only defeated his enemy but almost destroyed all the power of Italy, it happened during the night, of the many who were fleeing the defeat and great slaughter through deserted places, dispersed and wandering, about ten thousand arrived in Canusium, a city which at that time held to its alliance with the Romans, The fugitives were weak, exhausted, needy, unarmed, naked, and covered with wounds, but Busa, who was not frightened by this disaster or by the power of the conqueror, received these men in her own house with friendship and gave them shelter. Before anything else. Busa told them to be brave, and having brought doctors, she had the wounded tended with maternal affection, gave clothes to the naked, helped all of them with admirable generosity, and paid their daily expenses from her own welath.... Cleres femmes B Decorator All three miniatures show Busa giving clothing (chain mail in fr 598) to one side and coins to the other. A money chest is in the foreground and horses are behind her.

f. 105r: Sophonisba (royne de numede) (...Scipia received them in a friendly manner for their great deeds, and then he gently reproached Masinissa for having married a captive of the Roman people. The king withdrew into his tent, where he grieved alonge for a long time with sighs and tears, which were heard by the men nearby. He then sent for his most trusted servant, to whom he had entrusted the poison which he kept for the uncertain exigencies of fortune. Forced by Sophonisba's fate, he ordered the servant to bring it to her diluted in a cup and tell her that he would gladly have kept the pledge which he had willingly sworn to her, if it had been possible. But since his authority was being taken away by those who had the power to do so, he, not without sadness, kept his pledge that she should not fall alive into the hands of the Romans, if she desired to take advantage of it. Nevertheless, she should remember her father, her country, and the two kings whom she had married shortly before, and then take whatever decision seemed proper.

Sophonisba listened to this, and then, with unchanging expression, said, "I willingly accept this wedding gift, and if my husban can give me no other I shall be grateful for this. But tell him that I should have died better, had I not married at the point of death." There was more bitterness in her words that in the way she accepted the cup. Giving no sign of feat whatsoever, she quickly drank it all, and, without inveighing against the death she had sought, fell piteously to the ground.

Cleres femmes B Decorator

Fr. 598 and fr. 12420 show the same conception. The figure of Sophonisba is shown twice in both miniatures. In fr. 12420 she is shown receiving the cup from the servant and then she is shown collapsing. In fr. 598, she is shown drinking from the cup. The servant offers the cup to the second figure of Sophonisba. It is unclear whether this figure is collapsing or rejecting the cup.

This might be a good example of a confusion in the instructions with miniatures showing the same number of figures.

    f. 107r: Theosena (the rubric in fr. 598 is cut short to allow for room for the miniature and the large initial at the bottom of a column of text. In fr. 12420 the rubric identifies Theosena as "fille de heorice prince") (Theoxena saw this, and realized the danger. When she saw Poris praying she went back to the plan which she had previously conceived, as if the gods were now giving her the opportunity. She immediately dissolved poison in a ccup and took out knives. She set them before her son and her nephews and said, "Only death can give us protection and safety. The cup and dagger are means of death, for we must flee the king's arrogance in whichever way you choose. Well then, my children, arouse your noble spirit, and you who are the oldest act bravely; take up the dagger, or drinck from the cup if you prefer a more cruel death; take refuge in it since the fury of the stormy sea does not allow us to go toward life." Cleres femmes B Decorator BR 9509, fr. 12420, and fr. 598 visualize the scene in the same way. In all of the miniatures only cups are shown. There are no knives shown. The cups in the miniatures have serpents like the cup held by John the Evangelist.
    f. 109v: Beronice (royne de cappadoce) (Having lost both of her sons, the unhappy mother was so grieved that, impelled by sorrow and forgetting that she was a woman, she furiously seived arms, harnessed the horses, climbed into the chariot, and pursued the rapidly fleeing Caeneus, who was the king's servant and the perpetrator of the wicked deed. She did not stop pursuing him until, after missing him with her lance, she struck him to the ground with a rock. She then wrathfully drove the chariot over his prostrate body....) Cleres femmes B Decorator Fr. 12420 and fr. 598 represent the scene in the same way with Beronice throwing a rock from her horse drawn cart. Fr. 12420 shows only a single figure fleeing from Beronice while fr. 598 has two figures.

f. 110v: Orgiagontes / Drogiagon (des gaulx grecs royne) (...The survivors surrendered and acknowledge Manlius as their conqueror.

There were a great number of captives, men and women of all ages, and they were placed under the guard of a centurion. As soon as this man saw the wife of King Drigiagon, youthful and very beautiful, he desired her and, forgetting Roman honor, ravished her although she struggled against him as much as she could. She was so indignant as this that she desired vengeance no less than freedom. She cautiously kept her desire secret at that time by keeping silent. When the money promised for the ransom of the captives arrived, renewed wrath burned in her chaste breast. Having decided beforehand what she was to do, when she was freed of her chains she moved aside with her people and ordered that the gold be weighted for the centurion, who demanded it. While the centurion's attention was fixed on this task, she ordered her servants in her own tongue, which was unknown to the Romans. to kill the centurion and cut off his head. They she returned unharmed to her people with the centurion's head in the bosom of her dress. When she came into her husband's presence, she told him of the shame inflicted upon her in prison and threw at his feet the head which she had carried....
Cleres femmes B Decorator The images in fr. 12420 and fr. 598 are similar except that fr. 598 shows two decapitated bodies. The text only refers to one. Also the head being offered by Drigiagon in fr. 598 is wearing a crown which is not consistent with the text that identifies the victim as a centurion and not a king.
f. 110v: cw        
15 (111-118) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe A       Signature mark on f. 111r: "P1". In the bottom gutter the gathering is identified as "16."

f. 112r: Tierce emilie (de scipion premier affrique)

( ...[W]hen he [Scipio, the husband] had become old, he could not pull himself away from the allure of concupiscence. In fact, he fell in love and committed adultery with a little serving girl of his. And since it is almost impossible for these things to escape the notice of honorable love, he could not deceived Tertia, who learned everything as time went by....

But , however difficult it seemed, this glorious woman endured it with such constant courage and hid her husband's fault, of which she was aware, with such silence that not only others but her husband himself did not realize she knew what he was doing [Tertia protects the honor of both her husband and the servant girl]

Walters 232 Decorator The miniatures approach the story in the same way with Scipio embracing the servant girl while Tertia stands to the side. Her dress clearly sets her off from the servant girl. In the fr. 12420 miniature, Tertia is shown looking away while in fr, 298 Tertia looks at the two embracing.
Cleres femmes Scribe C: There is a break in scribes between f. 112r and f. 112v.     Since this break appears between the recto and verso of a leaf and there is no textual break, this break indicates consecutive copying with Scribe C picking up where Scribe A left off.
  f. 113r: paragraphs. These paragraph marks which begin on f. 111r are distinct from those of Cleres femmes B and C Decorators. Walters 232 Decorator  

f. 113v

f. 113v: Dripetrue (de laodace royne et du grant mitridate fille) ( seems to me that she was made much more memorable by Mother Nature through its unheard-of handiwork. For if the writings of the ancients are to be trusted, Dripetrua, born with a twin set of teeth, was a monstrouse spectacle for all the people of Asian Minor in her time....[S]he mitigated by her praiseworthy faithfulness. For when her father Mithridates was defeated by Pompey the Great, she always followed him without avoiding labor or danger. Thus, with such faithful service she showed that deformities should be attributed to Nature and not to one's parents. Walters 232 Decorator

Both miniatures visualize the scene in the same way with Dripetrua seerving her father at the table. The text just refers to "faithful service". It does not refer to serving him at table.

Fr. 598 visualizes her deformity as two heads and three arms and not two set of teeth. There is no apparent deformity shown in the fr. 12420 miniature.

The periods in both the text and rubric have the distinct flourish characteristic of Scribe C.


    f. 114r: Sempronie (gratue laquelle fut fille de tite) (It is said that after her brothers had been killed bcause of their sedition, to her great dismay Sempronia was brought to trial before the people by a tribune of the plebians. There she was urged by all the power of the tribunes and with the approval of the mob to let herself be kissed by Equirius, a man from Firmum in Picenum, as her nephew and the son of her brother Tiberius Gracchus, and she was pressed to accept him as a member of the Semrponian family...Sempronia, with constant spirit and stern face and without any fear whatsoever, to his disgrace rjected Equitius, the presumptuous strange who was attempting with false proof to stain the honor of the noble family of the Greacchi....[T]he firmness of this woman's noble spirit was praised.) Walters 232 Decorator All miniatures show Sempronie standing before a tribune. In fr. 598 there are two judges while only one appears in fr. 12420, BR 9509 and in the BL copies. The suitor is shown in the miniatures.
    f. 115r: Claudie quinte (femme rommaine) ([I]t happened that the mother of the gods was being taken from Pessinus to Rome over the river Tiber. According to the answer of the oracle, Nasica, whom the Senate had judged to be the best man in the city, went there with all the women to receive it from the ship. When the ship was close and the sailors wanted to reach the nearer shore, the vessel on which the statue was being carried happened to run aground. As it was seen that it could not be moved even bu a great number of young men, Claudia, who was among the other women, conscious of her virtue, openly knelt and humbly prayed the goddess that if she knew she was chaste she should follow her girled. Getting up immediately, and hoping that what she had prayed would occur, she confidently ordered her girdle to be tied to the ship and all the young men to move aside. As soon at this had been done, Claudia easily drew the ship out of the shallows adn to everyone's surprise led it where she desired. Walters 232 Decorator

The miniatures agree with the details. The image of the goddess is conceived of as a seated woman with a gold halo. The miniatures show Claudie pulling the ship with her girdle.

The BL copy appears to confuse the story. Claudie is shown in the water of the Tiber pulling the boat with her girdle. She has a halo while the woman on the boat does not have a halo.

    f. 116r: Hypsicratee (royne de ponse) (Not enduring her husband's [Mithridates the Great] absence easily, and thinking that no one but herself could serve him properly and that the ministering of servants was in great part untrustworthy, she decided to follow him, although this seemed difficult to her, so that she could attend to the needs of her dearly loved husband. Since womanly clothes seemed incoungrous in so great an enterprise, and it did not seem proper for a woman to march alongside a warlike king, Hypsicratea, in order to look like a man, first cut her golden hair, of which women are so proud, and not only did she endure covering her beautiful face with a helmet, together with her hair, but stained it with sweat, dust, and the rust of armor. She discarded her golden bracelets, jewels, and dresses of purple which flowed down to her feet....She cast off her rings and the precious ornaments of her hands, and in their place carried shield and lance and replaced her necklaces with the Parthian bow and quiver. She did everything so well that she seemed to have changed from a delicate queen to a veteran soldier. Walters 232 Decorator

The miniatures have the same conception with the King and Queen identified. Both show Hypsicratea cutting her hair with scissors. In both miniatures she has a bow and quiver. Neither of them show her holding a shield and lance as referred to in the text.

Was the same visual model used in both miniatures for the man carrying a helmet.

The British Library copies agree with these details as well.


f. 118r

f. 118r: Sempronie (femme rommaine) (She was of such quick and versatile intellect that she immediately understood and carried out by imitation whatever she heard or saw others do. Having learned not only Latin but Greek, she cared, unlike a woman, to compose verses when she felt like it, and she wrote so skillfully that she made all who read them marvel, as they would have been extraordinary and praiseworthy even for a man....And what is more, she was so charming when she spoke that no matter what form of speech she used, she sent it full of wit and elegance to the listener's ears. She also knew how to sing and dance elegantly, and these skill are perhaps the most commendable in a woman, so long as they are used properly.

For the rest, steeped in evil deeds, she seemed to be very different. For, spurred by too much daring, she sometimes stooped to things which are damnable even in a man. With dancing and singing, which are instruments of sensuality, she turned to wantonness. Burning with lust, she discarded all womanly honor and reputation, and to satisfu that lust she sought men more often than they sought her.

Walters 232 Decorator

All of the miniatures show musical instruments especially stringed instruments lying one tables. Significantly there is no reference in the text to stringed instruments. The text refers to her mastery of dancing and singing.

In the Cité des dames (I,42.2) Christine discusses Sempronia's mastery: "She sang so melodiously and played all string instruments so skillfully that she won every contest."

Sallust, Catalina XXV: Now among these women was Sempronia, who had often committed many crimes of masculine daring.  In birth and beauty, in her husband also and children, she was abundantly favoured by fortune; well read in the literature of Greece and Rome, able to play the lyre and dance more skilfully than an honest woman need, and having many other accomplishments which minister to voluptuousness.  But there was nothing which she held so cheap as modesty and chastity; you could not easily say whether she was less sparing of her money or her honour; her desires were so ardent that she sought men more often than she was sought by them. 

f. 118v: cw        
16 (119-126) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe C      
    f. 119r: Text page. Paragraph marks are identifiable as being done by the Walters 232 Decorator Walters 232 Decorator  
  f. 120r: Femmes de cycambrons (First they deashed their little children to the ground. After killing them to save them however they could from foul servitude, that same night they hanged themselve with ropes and the reins of the horses within the stockade they built, so that their chastity would not be dishonored and they would not be subjected to the conqueror's derisions, and they left the ardent soldiers no other prey than their own dangling bodies. Cleres femmes B Decorator The different miniatures represent the story in the same way.

f. 121v

f. 121v: Iulie (de Gaye cesar fille) (For , while performing a sacrifice in the assembly of the aediles, Pompey (the husband of Julia) held the animal which, on being wounded, jerked in all direction and spattered Pompey with a great deal of blood. Pompey therefore removed his clothes and sent them to his house in order to wear different ones. It happened, they say, that the man who was carrying them did not see anyoner before meeting Julia, who was pregnant. Seeing her husband's bloody garments, without asking the reason, she assumed that Pompey had been violently killed. As if she did not want to survive her beloved, murdered husband, she was filled with ominous fear and fell to the ground, her eyes filled with darkness and her hands clenched. And she soon died, to the great sorrow not only of her husband and the Roman citizens, but of the whole world at that time. Cleres femmes C Decorator The images in the different copies visualize the scene in the same way with the servant bearing the garment and Julia expressing sorrow at the sight.
  f. 122r: Porcie / Portia (de cathon utitence fille) (...Brutus was killed. When Portia heard this, feeling that after her husband's death the future held no happiness, she decided to endure death with the same courage with which she had endured the wound from the barber's razor, and immediately she turned to her former plan. Since she had no instruments to bring about her suicide with which her vilent impulse required, without hesitation she took with her hands some live coals which were nearby, put them in her mouth, and swallowed the, Her entrails were burned by them, and her life was forced from her. Walters 232 Decorator The miniatures all show the scene in similar ways. The British Library illustrations add the detail of a fireplace not shown in the two Paris manuscripts.

f. 123v

f. 123v: Curie /Turia (de quint lucrecien femme) (For in the unsettled times when buy order of the triumvirs new lists of proscribed persons were being posted in Rome, her [Turia's] husband Quintus Lucretius was found to have been proscribed along with many others. The others fled swiftly from their fatherland and with difficulty found safe hiding places among the dens of beasts, in lonely moutain regions, or with the enemies of Rome. Only Lucretius, following the advice of his loving wife, hid fearlessly within the walls of Rome in his own house, near his wife in the secrecy of their conjugal chamber, Here he was protected by his wife with such skill, clever care, and the faithfulness that with the exception of a servant girl no one among their friends and relatives suspected it, much less knew it.

We may believe that to cover this fact skillfully Turia often went among the people in humble garments and soiled dress, with sad face, tearful eyes, unkempt hair, not adorned with veils as usual, with painful sighs and pretending a mad senselessness.

Walters 232 Decorator

Compare the dragon at the top of f. 123v to the one at the top of fr. 2604, f. 1r. See also fr. 598, f. 138v.

Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 show the scene in similar ways composed of three figures: the husband, Turia, and her servant. The husband is set off in a different chamber while Turia converses with the servant.

  f. 124v:Hortencie (de quint hortencien fille) (At the time of the triumvirs, when it seemed that because of the needs of the state women were to be burdened with almost intolerably heavy taxes, and when there was not single man who would date to defen them against such an unjust thing, Hortensia alone with firm spirit dared to take up the women's cause before the triumvirs. And she pleaded so effectively and with such inexhaustible eloquence that to the great admiration of the audience it seemed that she had changed her sex and was Hortensius come back to life. Cleres femmes C Decorator Fr. 12420, fr. 598, and the BL copies represent the scene in the same way with Hortensia speaking in front of the Triumvirs.

f. 124v: detail

  f. 125r: Sulpice (de crussellion femme) (Lentulus had been proscribed by the triumvirs in the same disturbance I mentioned above. Having speedily saved himself by flight into Sicily, Lentulus dwelt there in exile and poverty. Once certain of this, Sulpicia decided to endure these sufferings together with her husband, thinking it improper to accept pleasant honors and propitious fortune with one's husband and then refuse to share adversity adn exile with him if necessary....Therefore, seizing the proper moment, dressed as a slave she escaped her mother and her guards, and acompanied by two maids and the same number of male servants this noble woman left her country , abandoned her home, and followed her exiled husband.... Cleres femmes B Decorator fr. 12420, fr. 598, and the BL copies visualize the scene in similar ways. Sulpicia dressed as a servant is shown in the center with a fancier dress at her feet. She is accompanied by a group of male and female servants.A discrepancy here is that the text says that she was accompanied by two male servants and two female servants. That is what is shown in fr. 12420 while in fr. 598 there are three male and 3 female servants. In fr. 12420 and fr. 598 Lentulus is shown emerging beyond a rock, while the figure of Lentulus does not appear in the BL copies.
  f. 126r: Cornifice (poeteresse) (At the time when Octavian ruled, she excelled so much in the study of poetry that it seemed that she ahd not been nourished by Italian milk but by the waters of Castalia....Not satisfied with excelling in such a splendid art, inspired by the sacred Muses, she rejected the distaff and turned hers hands, skilled in the use of the quill, to writing Heliconian verses.... Walters 232 Decorator fr. 12420, fr. 598, and BL copies all show Cornificia seated at a cathedra. A difference is shown with Cornificia in fr. 598 and the BL copies writing with a quill while in fr. 12420 she is shown reading from a book. She has the palms up acclaiming pose. Fr. 598 has two figures standing below Cornificia with the acclaiming gesture. This more accurately shows the appreciation of her poetry.

f. 126v: cw

f. 126v

17 (127-135) 8+1 Cleres femmes Scribe C      

f. 127r:

f. 127r: Mariamie (des iuifs royne) (...When she was of marriageable age, she was wedded to Herod, the unfortunate king of the Jews, and to her great misfortune was madly loved by him for her beauty. He gloried in the fact that he alone in the whole world possessed such divine beauty and was so determined that no one else should be equal to him in this that he began to fear that Mariamne would survive him. To prevent this, when he was called to Egypt to explain to Antony the death of Mariamne's brother Aristobulus, whom he had killed, and after Antony's death when he had to go to the Emperor Octavia to excuse himself, if possible for having helpyed the friends of Antony against him, he ordered his mother Cypros and his friends to kill Mariamne immediately if he should die at the hands of Antony, Octavian, or anyone else....

[H] e [Herod] was persuaded to comann that she be killed, condemning her to dies as one who had sought the king's death.

Mariamne summoned her noble courage so that, scorning death, with all the beauty of her fact intact, and not yielding at all in the fashion of women, she listened silently to her mother reprimanding her and with dry eyes looked at the others who were crying. She went to her death not only fearlessly, but with an eager expression as if going to a joyful triumph, and without begging for her life she met her death at the executioner's hands as if it were something for which she longed.

fr. 242 Decorator All of the miniatures reduce the story to the confrontation between Mariamne and the executioner. In fr. fr 12420, BR 9509, and the BL mss. she is shown crowned. In fr. 598 she is not crowned. In fr. 598 and fr. 12420 attention is drawn to the beauty of Mariamne's dress eventhough they are different styles. Is this attention to the dress a way of illustrating the text's emphasis on her beauty?

f. 127r

  Good example of the paragraph marks for fr. 242 decorator.
  f. 128v: Cleopatra (royne des egipciens)(...Antony despaired, and, according to some, entered the royal mausoleum, where he killed himself with his sword. When Alexandria had been captured, Cleopatra tried in vain with her old wiles to make young Octavian desire her, as she had done with Caesar and Antony. Angry at hearing that she was being reserved for the conqueror's triumph, and without hope of safety, Cleopatra, dressed in royal garments, followed her Antony. Lying down next to him she, opened the veins of her arms and put two aspes in the openings in order to die.... Cleres femmes C Decorator Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 conflate the scenes in the same way. Note the similarity of the thrones of Cleopatra in both images. In fr. 12420, Antony has already collapsed while in fr. 598 he is still standing. The miniatures assume that the suicides occurred at the same time, while in the text the suicides took place at different times. In this way BR 9509 appears to be more accurate to the text. Cleopatra is collapsing over the already dead body of Antony. The BL copies show Cleopatra standing with exposed arms and two large serpants at her feet. Antony is not included in these images.
    f. 132v: Anthonie (abbreviated rubric in fr. 598) (...After his [Drusus], his wife Antonia, although very young a beautiful, thought that for an honorable woman one marriage should suffice, and she could not be persuaded by anyone to enter into a second marriage. In fact, she spent the rest of her life with her mother-in-law Livia sho chastely and modestly within her husband's chamber that the fame of her widowhood surpassed that of all previous women....[S]he was brought up among a thousand examples of lust, and yet with courage and constancy she preserved her chastity, not for a short time and in the hope of a future marriage, but to keep her virtue until old age and death....] Walters 232 Decorator Fr. 12420 and fr. 598 visualize the scene in the same way with the elegantly dressed Antonia spurning equally elegantly dressed suitors. In both miniatures Antonia's left hand is covered by a cloth. The BL copies add the detail of a harpist on the right.

f. 133v

f. 133v: Agripine [de germanite femme] (...Later he [Tiberius] attacked her with many accusations which he brought before the Senate and ordered her to prison, although she was innocent. But the noble woman, knowing that that what the emperor was doing to her was undeserved, planned to escape the petty emperor's persecution by committing suicide. Since other means were not available, with noble courage she decided to seek death by starvation and immediately began to refuse all food.

When Tiberius was informed of this, the wicked man realized what the result of her fasting would be. Since neither threats nor floggings were of any avail in making her ear, Tiberius forced her to take food so that she would not escape his abuse so quickly and so surely. For as long as she received nourishment, although she wanted to die, he did not care what means were used to force food into her stomach. By these methods he thought he would not be deprived of the object of his cruelty. But the more Agrippina was provoked by indignities, the firmer did her purpose become. By persevering in what she had begun, in death she overcame the insolence of the infamous emperor....Although she certainly acquired great glory among her people through her death, she nevertheless left much greater opprobrium to Tiberius.

Cleres femmes C Decorator Fr. 12420 and fr. 598 conceive the story in the same way with Agrippina being shown in prison with jailers trying to feed her. She spurns them by turning away. The BL copies are similar except the bars of the jail are omitted.

f. 133v detail.


f. 134v: Pauline (femme rommaine) (...Besides her husband, she cared for nothing with special eagerness except to serve and win the favor of Anubis, an Egyptian god whom she worshipped with great veneration. Since beautiful women, especially those who take great care of their chastity, are desired everywhere by young men, a young Roman named Mundus began to court her continuously with glances, gestures, pleasantries, promises, gifts, prayers, and flattery to see if perhaps he could obtain what he so ardently desired. But all this was in vain, for this very chaste woman, devoted only to her husband, ignored all her lover's attempts. He persisted in his efforts, but seeing very clearly that the road was blocked by the woman's constancy, he turned his mind to deception.

Paulina used to visit the temple of Isis every day and worshipped Anubis with continuous sacrifices. When he learned this, the young man, counseled by love, thought of an unheard-of deception. Thinking that the pries of Anubis could be very useful to his desires, he went to them and with great gifts won them to his purpose. And it happened that the one who because of his advanced years was the most venerable among the, instigated by Mundus, gently told Paulina, when she came as usual, that Anubis had come to him at night and ordered him to tell her that he had taken great pleasure in her devotion, and that he wanted to speak to her in the temple while she slept. When Paulina heard this she thought that it had happened because of her holiness. She felt within herself great pride in those words and believed them to be as true as if she had heard them from the god Anubis with her own ears. She told all this to her husband, who, more foolish than his wife, consented to her request to spend the night in the temple. Therefore, a bed worthy of the god was spread in the sacred temple, without the knowledge of anyone except the priests and Pauline.

...[A]fter her prayers and sacrifices she got into bed to wait for the god. When she fell asleep, Mundus was brought in by the priests. Dressed in the regalia of Anubis, he approached and, desiring his beloved, embraced the woman and kissed her. When she awoke in amazement, he told her to be in good spirits for he was Anubis, whom she had honored for such a long time, and that because of her prayers and devotion he had come from heaven to lie with her so that from them would be born a similar god....Hearing this, Paulina happily consented to his request. Mundus entered naked into the bed in Anubis' place and enjoyed the desired embraces and intercourse. When night was already changing into day, he left, saying to the deceived woman that she had conceived a child.

fr. 242 Decorator Fr. 598 and BR 9509 show Anubis ascending into heaven with his feet dangling down from heaven. In fr. 12420 Anubis is depicted as a red haloed figure with orant gesture looking down from above. In temple structure with bed appears Paulina and priest dressed as a monk. In the BL mss. Paulina kneels before an altar with priest with conical hat. A small Anubis figure stands on top of bed.

f. 134v: cw

135 Cleres femmes Scribe C        

f. 135v: cw

f. 135v

  Walters 232 Decorator

Text ends at the end of a story, and catchword is for the rubric that introduces the next story. This break marks a break in textual units and thus argues for concurrent copying.

The paragraph marks on f. 135 are identifiable as those of the Walters 232 Decorator.

18 (136-143) 8 Cleres femmes Scribe B     Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A
    f. 136r: Agripine (de noiron cesar mere) (Anicetus, the tetrarch Herculeius, and a navy captain were sent to kill Agrippina. When the house had been surrounded by Anicetus, and a servant who was Agripinna's only companion had fled, the henchmen entered. First Hercueius gave her a blow on the head with a club. Then Agrippina, seeing the centurion prepare to kill her with his sword, offered her belly and shouted to them to strike her in the womb. And thus she was killed.... fr. 242 Decorator Fr. 12420 and fr. 598 show the same details which are inconsistent with the text. Nero was not present at the death of Agrippina. She was actually killed by a stab wound to the womb, neither miniature shows this. They show her being clubbed.

f. 138v

f. 138v: Epitare (femme estrange et non pas rommaine) [Epicharis was a part of a conspiracy to dethrone Nero. She went to Volusius Puteolio, chiliarch and commander of the Roman fleet, to enlist his aid in the conspiracy. Instead of joining the plot, Volusius reported the plot to Nero. Epicharis had not told Volusius the names of the conspirators] ...when they summoner her, they could not make her reveal anything they asked. Finally, while she was being hled in custody, the conspiracy was accidentally revealed by the conspirators themselves, and Epicharis was called back for questioning, as if she were less able to endure torture, adn thus they could more easily obtain from her what they wanted. After torturing her for a long time, her tormentors willingly persisted even more in their cruelty so that they should not seem to be conquered by a woman, but with great courage she did not reveal any secrets. Finally, having been remanded to the next day, Epicharis, unable to walk, feared if they called her a third time she could not hold out. She tore off her breast-band, tied it to the sedan chair in which she was being carried, and made a noose which she put around her neck. Letting all the weight of her body fall, she inflicted violent death upon herself lest she do harm to the conspirators.... Walters 232 Decorator

Compare the dragon at the top of fr. 598 f. 123v to the one at the top of fr. 2604, f. 1r. See also fr. 598, f. 138v.

fr. 12420 and fr. 598 both show her being tortured and she pulls a rope around her neck. Both images conflates different moments in the story. According to the story she killed herself while in her sedan chair which is not shown in either image. Her torture was at a different time from her suicide. Fr. 598 shows Nero? watching the suicide.

The BL copies do not show her hanging herself, instead

    f. 139v: Pompeye pauline (de Seneque femme) (Fearlessly she stepped into the warm water and opened her veins so that she might die at the same moment as her husband. But against her will she was saved from death by slaves at the order of the emperor, who did not have any particular hatred for her, in order to subdue somewhat the infamy of his innate cruelty.... Walters 232 Decorator

In the fr. 598 image it looks like Seneca's veins are being opened, while in fr. 12420 Pompeia is having her veins cut, eventhough the text says that she did it herself.

The BL images appear to be more accurate with Pompeia being pulled from the tub while a man opens the veins of the old Seneca.

    f. 141r: Sabie pompee (femme de Neron) ([the text emphasizes Sabina's lasciviousness] Poppaea did not long enjoy the greatness which she had sought and acquired with her wiles. She was pregnant once again when Nero in anger kicker her and she died. Nero refused to have her buried publicly with a great funeral in the manner of foreign kings. Walters 232 Decorator Fr. 12420, fr. 598, BR 9509, and BL copies all show the story in the same way with the recumbent Sabina being driven in a cart. She is shown wearing a crown (in fr. 12420 and BR 9509 is an imperial crown). Sabina has a horseshoe mark on her belly referring to being kicked by Nero. It is unclear why the horseshoe mark and the text does not account for her being driven in a cart.These appear to be inventions by the designer of the miniature program independent of a direct textual source. The context of her being driven in a cart is probably a reference to the funeral. See Buettner p. 38 where she attributes this as "one of the few mistakes, properly speaking, that I have noticed in the manuscript.
    f. 142v: Triare (de lucien vitellien femme) (...That night Triaria followed her husband and entered the city, and, desiring his victory, she mingled with Vitellius' soldiers. Armed with a sword, she rushed here and there against those poor wretches in the darkness of the night, in the midst of blood-curdling cries, flashing weapons, blood, and the death rattles of the dying, missing none of the atrocities of war. So much so, that it was said that she acted too cruelly and haughtily against the enemy.) Walters 232 Decorator Fr. 12420, fr. 598, and the BL copies visualize the scene in the same way. The text says that Triaria was armed with a sword but in the miniatures she is shown wielding a battle-axe. This appears to be another instance in which the miniatures are consistent with each other while diverging from the text.

f. 143v: Probe (femme delphe) (Proba...was a womanb worthy of being remembered for her knowledge of literature....Whoever her teacher may have been, it can easily be seen that she excelled in the liberal arts. Among other studies she became so well informed and familiar with Virgil's poems through continuous devotion to them that she seemed to have them always present in her mind, as is shown in all the works she wrote.

Perhaps some time when she was reading these works with more careful attentiveness, the idea came to her that with them one could write the history of the Old and New Testaments in calm, graceful verses full of vigor....

fr. 242 Decorator Fr. 12420, fr. 598, and the BL copies are similar in the representation of the story. Proba is shown seated in a cathedra writing. In the fr. 12420 and fr. 598 miniatures, there are two stands with books. The planner of the miniature cycle intended these two stands as a reference to Proba's interest in classical and Christian literature. Thr BL copies only show a single bookstand.

f. 143v: CW

(no decoration)


19 (144-151) 8

(two systems of signature marks appear on f. 146r)

Cleres femmes Scribe B     Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A

f. 145r: Faustine (auguste) (Faustine Augusta, who later was included among the gods, acquired more glory in life and death through her husband's kindness than through her own deeds....Her world-wide fame was equalled by the infamy of her shamelessness. It was believed that in addition to her husban she was not satisfied with one lover but enjoyed the embraces of many. Disrepute has made known the names of some of them [Boccaccio lists the lovers].... Most shameful of all, it is said that she loved a certain gladiator so much that because of her desire for him she became dangerously ill....

At Marcus Aurelius' request the Senate raised her to a place among the gods, and afterwards she was known as the goddess Faustine. This had never before happened to a Roman woman. Having previously called her Mother of the Camp, Aurelius had a marvelous temple built to her in the place where he had died, and he had a number of remarkable statues placed in it to her glory. He established an order of priestesses in the tmeple and ordered that they be known as Faustinians....)

Cleres femmes C Decorator

Fr. 12420 divides the story into two miniatures. In the first she is shown haloed and seated on altar. She is being adored by women. In the second she is shown with an imperial crown being approached by lovers including a cutlery smith /gladiator (see Buettner's discussion). In fr. 598 the single miniatures combines the two parts of the story into one miniature. The miniature does not include the cutlery smith.

The BL copies do not show her as being worshipped as a goddess. Instead she is being approached by suitors. The cutlery smith is shown on the right side of the miniature including the addition of a forge.

There is a faint Roman numeral consistent with the number of the rubric visible in the inside margin adjacent to the rubric in fr. 598.

    f. 146r: Semiamire (femme greque de la cite messane) (If what has been said is shameful, what follows is ridiculous. For this woman was held in such esteem by her dastardly son that he instituted a place on the Quirinal which he called the Little Senate. Women had previously been accustomed to meet there on holy days. Having appointed some women and having established that they meet in this place, Elagabalus ordered that in the same manner as the Senate they should deliberate and pass laws on the behavior and state of women. And he appointed Soaemias president of this separate Senate, although they were ridiculous. Cleres femmes B Decorator Although the miniatures are all somewhat similar there are notable differences. In all Soaemias is shown seated in a throne or cathedra. In fr. 12420, she wears an imperial crown and reads from a book. In fr. 598 she wears a French royal crown and gives something to kneeling man ("Traditio legis?"). In fr. 12420 and fr. 598, she is flanked by two women in court dress. Men in scholar's and noble clothing also flank Soaemias. In fr. 12420, the men read from books.
    f. 148r: Cenobie (royne des palmirenes) (They tell us that from childhood she scorned all womanly exercises, and when she had grown up somewhat and become strong she dwelt for the most part in forests and woods and, girding on the quiver, pursued and slew goats and stags with her arrows. fr. 242 Decorator Fr. 598 breaks the story into two miniatures while fr. 12420 conflates the two parts of the miniature together.
    f. 151r: Iehanne (englesche pape) (And she, who for a long time had been able to hide her sex, did not lack the wiles necessary to quench her desire. And so, finding someone who would secretly mount on Saint Peter's successor and assuage her lecherous itching, the Pope happened to become pregnant....This woman, who had been able to bewitch men's eyes for a long time, lacked the astuteness to hide the shamevu fact that she was about to give birth to a child. For, being closer to the time of birth that she thought, as she went from the Janiculum to the Lateran in sacred procession around the city, between the Colosseum and the church of Pope Clement she publicly fave birth without the presence of any midwife. This made clear how she had deceived all men except her lover. And so she was thrown into a horrid dungeon by the cardinals, where this wretched woman died in the midst of her laments.) Cleres femmes C Decorator Fr. 598 and fr. 12420 approach the image in a very similar way. The figure of Pope Joan turns away indicating her denial.

f. 151v: cw


20 (152-159) 8


Cleres femmes Scribe B       Running titles and rubrics appear to be by Scribe A

f. 152r: yrene (des rommains et constantin noble dame et empereys) (Irene was a very noble Athenian woman, remarkable for her breat beauty. Having called her to Constantinople from her home, the Emperor Constantine [Constantine V, Emperor of the East 741-775] gave her in marriage to his son Leo.... After Constantine's death, she became empress of the Romans and hore her husband a son named Constantine. Finally, when Leo had departed from this earth, she ruled nobly over the empire for ten years with her very young son.

When he grew up, however, her son asserted that he alone had inherited the throne and, according to some, removed Irene from his court for eightr years. That woman, because of her great spirit and thirst for power, quarreled with her son who trusted in his own strength, seized him with womanly cunning, deposed him, and had him imprisoned. She thus ascended alone the throne from which the whole world had once received its laws. Famous beyond other mortals, she ruled as empress for five years with great glory. But it happened that, through the aid of Constantine's friends and the Armenians, Irene was deposed, and Constantine, freed from prison, once again took possession of his father's throne.....

Cleres femmes B Decorator Both fr. 12420 and fr. 598 visualize the story in the same way with the enthroned figure of Irene being throttled by one figure and the young figure of Constantine putting a crown on his head. Fr. 12420 uses an imperial crown while fr. 598 uses a French royal crown.

f. 153v: Enguborade (vierge) (When she was attending a festival with many Florentine women in the temple which had once been dedicated to Mars, but which was later consecrated to the true God under the name of Saint Joun the Baptist, the Roman emperor Otho IV, who had just come to Florence to embellish the festival and render it greater with his presence, happened to enter the temple accompanied by many gentlemen. Seated in the highest place, he inspected the ornaments of the temple, the citizens, and the women seated in a circle, and his eyes happened to fix upon Engeldruda. Having first admired for a while and then praised her beauty, her plainness of dress, her dignity and girlish nobility seriousness, he addressed Illitio, a citizen venerable in age and nobility who happened to be standing next to him on duty, and asked, "Who is that girl seated facing us, who in our opinion surpasses all the others in dignity and in the beauty of her face?"

Illitio, laughing, answered with humorous sophistication, "Your Majest, whoever she may be, she will kiss you if you desire it and I so command her." Hearing these words, the girl immediately became indignant and bore ill the fact that her father had such a poor opinion of her constancy and so little concern for her chaste virginity. She could not long endure the insult. The emperor had not yet answered, when she rose blushing, looked at her father and then, lowering her eyes to the ground, said in a steady but humble voice, "Be silent, father, and do not speak, for I swear that without violence no one except the man to whom you will give me in legitimate and sacred marriage will receive what you offer so freely...."

After praising at length her outspoken indignation, the emperor sent for a certain young nobleman named Guido. So that the girl would not lack for long someone whom she could honestly kiss if she so desired, before leaving he gave Engeldruda, who was of marriageable age, to Guido as his wife, in the presence of her father, who thanked him....

Cleres femmes C Decorator Fr. 12420 and fr. 598 include the enthroned emperor and the seated father and Guido who is embracing Engeldruda.
      f. 154v: Constance (royne de scicle) Cleres femmes B Decorator  

f. 16v: Cleres Femmes Scribe A

f. 39r: Cleres femmes B Scribe


f. 126v: Cleres femmes C Scribe

Division of Labor in the decoration of fr. 598


Division of labor in the decoration of fr. 598