As a result of generous funding recently allocated by UVM President Thomas Sullivan, and at the recommendation of medievalist faculty from the departments of History, Romance Languages, Religion, and English, Special Collections has just purchased an extraordinary late-medieval manuscript that will now be available to UVM students and faculty for teaching and research.
Les roys de la très crestienne maison de France (The Kings of the Very Christian House of France) is an illuminated manuscript on parchment that probably originated in northern France, possibly Paris, around 1500. It lists each French king and the dates and key events of his reign, beginning with legendary King Pharamond and ending with a heading for Louis XII, who ascended to the throne in 1498. With its elegant script, decorated initials, and red velvet binding, the manuscript may have been made for a person close to the royal family.
The stunning manuscript has enormous potential for teaching and research at UVM. It will be featured in several manuscript-based courses scheduled for fall 2019. Meanwhile, a group of UVM medievalist faculty plans to begin work on an edition of the text. Comparing this copy with the only other known copy, held by the Bibliothèque national de France in Paris, will allow the production of a critical edition. Special Collections will add the manuscript to its Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts digital collection in the near future.