Sermons by the Obscure First Known Bishop of Turin


(Italy: late 12th century). 490 x 340 mm. (19 1/4 x 13 1/2"). Double column, 42 lines, in a proto-gothic script.

Two seven-line "B's" painted bright yellow, blue, and red, with white vine-stem work and small flowers. Recovered from a binding and therefore with some creasing, soiling, and small holes, one side a little darker than the other, but most of the text still legible and the colors surprisingly bright, with just a little chipping here and there.

This early leaf features two colorful initials highlighting text by the first known Bishop of Turin. Although he is both a Church Father and a Saint, and although a number of his discourses survive, surprisingly little is known about the life of Maximus of Turin (ca. 380-465). According to the "Catholic Encyclopedia," the extant texts include more than 230 sermons and homilies and six treatises on the Christian year, the saints, and the Bible. The text of the present leaf mentions Saints Peter and Paul, and is probably a sermon for their feast day. Although the creasing and other condition issues of this leaf illustrate its later use in a binding, we are fortunate to have both columns of text intact and the initials extremely well preserved.