(France: mid-to-late 12th century). 180 x 142 mm. (7 1/8 x 5 5/8"). Single column, 32 lines in Caroline minuscule.

With one slightly larger than one-line initial in red. See: Herrick, "Imagining the Sacred Past: Hagiography and Power in Early Normandy." Removed from a binding and thus with some moderate browning and soiling, a series of small holes near inner margin affecting a couple of letters, no more than a line or two of text cut away at the bottom, but the rest of the text intact and very legible, the ink dark and the script quite pleasing.

Featuring a pleasing late Caroline hand, this leaf contains text from the "Vita Taurinii," a hagiography of St. Taurin (d. ca. 410), first bishop of Évreux, in Normandy. The author of the "Vita" is known as Pseudo-Deodatus, most likely an 11th century monk who falsely refers to himself on the present leaf as the godson of the saint ("Ego autem deodatus filiolus eius . . ."). Pseudo-Deodatus also places St. Taurin far earlier in the Christian chronology than we know to be true, claiming that, as a child, the future saint was left in the care of the second century pope Clement I and Dionysus the Areopagite (known as a disciple of St. Paul). The author goes on to describe St. Taurin's journey to Gaul and the miracles he performed there--from casting out demons inhabiting a pagan statue to raising a young girl from the dead--converting the local population in the process. A monastery dedicated to St. Taurin was erected in Évreux as early as the sixth century, but according to Samantha Herrick, his cult was especially promoted in the 10th and 11th centuries by the dukes of Normandy, helping them to "articulate an ideal image of Normandy's past" and consolidate their power. Evidently the cult was still thriving in the 13th century when a large and ornate reliquary was commissioned by the abbot of Saint-Taurin to house the saint's remains. The date of the parent manuscript from which our leaf originates coincides with this surge in popularity, making it a document of political and historic interest as well as an excellent paleographical specimen.
(ST15768)