MS 5577
  1. Alcuin of York, Carmina LVIII Conflictus veris et hiemis
  2. Chant: Angelorum consortia quereris sanctus Lanomarus
  3. Chant: Gloriosus vir dei Launomarum
  4. Chant: In civitate Carnotum
  5. Chant: Ecce homo qui toto corde dominum dilexit
  6. Translations and Miracles of St. Laumer
  7. Chant: Tu es vas electionis beate Paule doctor
  8. Life of St Laumer, the end
  9. Translation of St Laumer in 872 and subsequent miracles
Description MS in Latin on vellum, probably Blois, France ca 873, 9 ff (-2) 30x19cm, single column, 36 lines in Carolingian minuscule, and 13 + 5 lines of music notated in Metz neumes (26x17 cm) with numerous 3-line capitals in green and red, and 4 ff (4 of the 6 last leaves of the MS) 25x17 cm, single column, 29 lines in Carolingian minuscule (21x14 cm), 4 lines in rustic capitals, 1 line in capitals, 4-line dcorated capital A.
Binding France, ca 1840-50 brown calf gilt sewn on 3 cords, one of 3 front flyleaves made from a 16th c choirbook with music in square notation, spine lettered in capitals "De S. Launomaro - MS IXe S".
Context The main part of text 8 is in Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Reg.Lat.479, ff.1-9v), which is a miscellaneous volume bound in 17th c.
Provenance 1. Probably Benedictine Abbey of St-Laumer, Blois (ca 873-1568?); 2. Dom Noel Mars, Blois and Landévennec (1612-1702) with his notes and signature; 3. Louis de la Saussaye at Château de Troussay, near Blois (1801-1878) and heirs; 4. His sale 30 September 1887 lot 1148; 5. Sotheby's 5 July 2016 lot 57.

The music in texts 2-5 and 7 is notated in early Metz (Messine) staffless neumes about 873. No other European music MSS are earlier than 9th c. (See MS 96 in Metz notation from late 9th c).

Texts 2-5 These chants seem to be hitherto unrecorded.

Text 6 remains unpublished.

Text 7 Chant for the conversion of St Paul. Cantus Index for Mass and Office chants 006207.

Text 8 is with the Vatican MS the earliest witness to the Life of St Laumer.

All the texts in the present MS except text 1 are relating to St Launomarus (ca 530-593). In 874 his relics were moved to Blois, where the Benedictine Abbey of St-Laumer was founded in 924. It was sacked by the Huguenots in 1568, and dissolved in 1789. MS 5577 includes the translation St-Laumer to Parigny and specificaly states the year 872, but does not include the subsequent translation to St Blois in 874, implying the MS probably was written between these years.

Text 1 is added on the verso of the original flyleaf together with the 4 chants. Alcuin of York (ca 735-804) was the leading scholar and teacher at the court of Charlemagne in Aachen from 782 on, and was the most prominent figure of the Carolingian renaissance. He was one of Charlemagne's chief advisers and established the great library at the palace. In 796 Acuin became the abbot of the Benedictine abbey of St Martin in Tour and founded its famous library (See MSS 109, 570, 624 and 1762 from this library). There survives over 300 letters from him and several of these as well as his poem "De clade Lindisfarnesis monasterii" provide the the only significant contemporary account of the Viking raids on Lindisfarne 793-796. Another poem celebrates York and its library. The present MS is one of the 7 earliest 9th century witnesses to his Poem "Conflictus veris et hiemis" where Spring and Winter debate their various virtues. See also MS 3283 Debate between Summer and Winter, written probably in Larsa 1900-1700 BC, the earliest and most substantial MS of this text.

Place of origin Blois, France
Dates ca 873