Produced at Noyon Cathedral in the late 10th century, this manuscript is a Sacramentary—a collection of all the texts needed for a bishop to celebrate the Mass and carry out ordinations, blessings, and consecrations. The book’s unusually tall and thin format was probably designed to allow the bishop to hold it in one hand while he was performing services.
The manuscript gained multiple additions in the 11th century. These include ‘neumes’, an early form of musical notation, which can been seen above the words of the chants for the Mass. Other additions to the manuscript include prayers for the bishop and an anathema (book curse) against plunderers of the church who ‘we will pierce with the sword of the Holy Spirit from the top of the head to the sole of the feet’.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Nicolas Bell
- Christian religion and belief
Music played a central role in Christian liturgy throughout the Middle Ages. Nicolas Bell describes the evidence for this music in manuscripts made before 1200.