Manuscripts of Speculum Maius

Sigla of components

Ha Speculum Historiale, Dijon version
Hb Speculum Historiale, Klosterneuburg version
Hc Speculum Historiale, Vienna version
Hd Speculum Historiale, Saint-Jacques version
He Speculum Historiale, Douai version
LA Libellus Apologeticus
Phist Prologue to the Speculum Historiale
Rnat Résumé of the Speculum Naturale in the Speculum Historiale
Hist Text of the Speculum Historiale
Rhist Résumé of the Speculum Historiale in the Speculum Naturale

In order to distinguish different versions of the components of a speculum, a number is added to the component's siglum, preceded by a hyphen. To indicate a specific redaction, a letter is added to the number. Thus LA-4A is the first redaction of the fourth version of Libellus Apologeticus.

Manuscripts of the Speculum Historiale : Introduction

Speculum Historiale manuscript Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Library, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, LJS124 fol. 1r

Speculum Historiale (Douai version), book XXIX, chapters 83-84, from manuscript Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Library, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, LJS124, fol. 1r

This section on the surviving manuscripts of the Speculum Historiale is related to the introduction into the genesis of the Speculum Historiale (see Overview of genesis) and its components (see Components). It extends the general introduction into the manuscript inventory of the Speculum Maius (see Manuscripts of the Speculum Maius).

The sigla used in this inventory of surviving manuscripts of the Speculum Historiale are copied from the list in J.B. Voorbij, Het 'Speculum Historiale' van Vincent van Beauvais, Groningen 1991, Appendix 2.2, pp. 292-330. New manuscripts have been added to that list, notably in J.B. Voorbij, Gebrauchsaspekte des Speculum Maius von Vinzenz von Beauvais. In: Meier, C., D. Hüpper & H. Keller [eds], Der Codex im Gebrauch. (Akten des Internationalen Kolloquiums 11.-13. Juni 1992), München 1996, pp. 226-227, note 8. To these new manuscripts subsequent sigla have been assigned. The codicological information in Voorbij's list has been updated, for which Mary Franklin-Brown´s Reading the World. Encyclopedic Writing in the Scholastic Age (Chicago and London 2012) was an important source.

The genesis of the Speculum Historiale is the most complicated of all specula. Being popular after its first release, copies of the earlier versions were distributed years before Vincent of Beauvais finished the final (= Douai) version of the Speculum Historiale. That explains why, in producing manuscripts, scribes copied texts belonging to different versions. In this way, even complete copies of the Speculum Historiale circulated that represent different versions. Sometimes scribes being aware of the existence of these differences, tried to unify them or even emend the text of the Speculum Historiale, thus causing even more confusion for posterity.

The manuscript inventory uncovers this intertwining of versions. Each item is equipped with a siglum: a combination of letters and numbers. The letters indicate the version of the speculum to which a specific manuscript belongs, the numbers the serial number in the inventory. When the siglum has three or more letters, the manuscript contains material from different versions. For example, manuscript Hcb2 is the second representative of the Vienna version (Hc) of the Speculum Historiale, mixed with components of the Klosterneuburg version (Hb).

Five versions and their components

Five versions of the Speculum Historiale are known today. They are listed below, with an indication of the specific components that make up this speculum. The combinations of letters and numbers point to different versions of these components. The table in the right-hand margin of this page explains the meaning of these sigla.

Ha: Speculum Historiale, Dijon version

Hb: Speculum Historiale, Klosterneuburg version

Hc: Speculum Historiale, Vienna version

Hd: Speculum Historiale, Saint-Jacques version

He: Speculum Historiale, Douai version

The manuscripts of the five versions are listed in the sections Dijon version, Klosterneuburg version, Vienna version, Saint-Jacques version and Douai version, as indicated in the left-hand margin of this page. A few manuscripts could not be assigned to a specific version as yet, see the section Unclassified manuscripts.