Proceedings of the Academic Society of Agriculture, Science, Arts and Humanities of the Department of the Aube, volume 81 (1917), p127ff(RP)



Dom Andre Wilmart


The library of the town of Troyes, so rich in manuscripts1, is made up mainly by the contents of Clairvaux. It is necessary to distinguish between two parts of this collection: the old library of the abbey founded in XIIe, XIIIe and XIVe centuries; and the famous collection of Bouhier acquired in 1781 by the abbot François Le Blois2. All these manuscripts passed to Troyes after the Revolution, forming a considerable total. One can only consider it regrettable that in 1801 one of the Government commissioners, Dr. Prunelle, from Montpellier, diverted to the profit of the Faculty of Medicine of that city a significant batch of volumes which would otherwise have remained in Troyes in their native milieu3.

The old collection of Clairvaux formerly excited the curiosity of a well-known scholar, Henri d'Arbois of Jubainville (died 1910), who had the leisure, as an archivist at Troyes, to examine closely the inventory of 1472. The study of d'Arbois hardly goes beyond a short analysis and a partial publication of this invaluable document4. It especially apparently attempted to refute in a precise manner some of the irritating remarks made by Libri on the composition and the interest of the contents of Clairvaux5.

The discovery of a notable portion of the catalogue of XIIe century can be an occasion to better know some of the oldest manuscripts of Clairvaux preserved in the library of Troyes. Compared to the inventory indications of this catalogue one will place those of the inventory of the end of the middle àges6 ; there will be thus the means of measuring the increase in the library in Clairvaux after the period of foundation and of supplementing the remarks of d'Arbois concerning the value of the collection.

(1) At the moment I wrote this note (April 1 916), it possessed exactly 3014 manuscripts. This information has been provided to me by the distinguished Conservateur, Mr. Lucien Morel-Payen, whom I cannot thank enough for the great kindness that he showed me in so many ways during a long stay at Troyes.

(2) [ A. Harmand ] General Catalogue of the manuscripts of the Public Libraries of the Departments, series in quarto, vol. II, 1855, p. I ff. - To be fair, it is appropriate to recognise that this large volume, entirely devoted to the library of Troyes, is not without merits, whatever its insufficiency or errors of detail. It is all the same one of the best of the quarto series.

(3) namely 323 manuscripts, that's to say more than half of the current possessions of the Medical school. The same operation transferred l47 manuscripts to the National Library. Cf. Catalogue genéral, p. VI ff.: Harmand published (ibid, p. XVI-XXIV and p. IX-XV) the lists of the police chiefs who authorised these depredations - In both series, the manuscripts of Bouhier are much the most numerous. There are at Montpellier about sixty manuscripts from the old collection of Clairvaux; I have noted below those from the same source which have been identified at Paris.

(4). Study on the interior state of the cistercians Abbeys and mainly of Clairvaux to the XII and the XIII century, Paris, l858, p. 75-81, and p. 413-467. See also, p. 95-111, a methodical statement of the principal preserved manuscripts of Clairvaux at Troyes and at Montpellier, according to the plan adopted by the authors of the Inventory.

(5). Note of the manuscripts of some libraries of the Departments, in the Newspaper of the Scholars, year 184l, p. 487-492 cf of D'Arbois, Study, p. 86-92.

(6) Manuscript 521 of the library of Troyes. On this volume, I am not satisfied to return to the remarks, amply sufficient, of D'Arbois (above, note 1). The other catalogues relating to the manuscripts of the library of Clairvaux are the following: (a) Troyes 2299 : not a " draft " of manuscript 521 (catalogues general, p. 942), but on the contrary a development, made for the current needs, during the first half of XVIth century. (b) Paris, B N Collection French 22364, pure and simple a copy of the Inventory of l472, executed at Dijon in 1615, and, in consequence, obviously for Jean Bouhier; Also this manuscript comes from Troyes (cf Catalogue general, p. IX, no4 list of Thistle Rochette); (c) Troyes 1310, short alphabetical catalogue drawn up in the XVIth century; (d) Troyes 2616, Repertoriun omnium librorum in hac clarevallis bibliotheca existentium, compiled by the Fr. Mathurin de Cangey. it was published by the same Harmand: The Library of Clairvaux in 1503, Troyes, 1838, 16 pages.

Translated by, and polished up by me.

This page has been online since 11th December 1999.

Return to the Tertullian Home Page Original language About these pages