Een leeuw van een handschrift: Ademar van Chabannes en MS Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Vossianus Latinus Octavo 15

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


Part I: Introduction

In the first place, it is the purpose of this study to shed light on Ademar of Chabannes (ca. 989-ca. 1034) in his capacity as a teacher and in the second place it has become clear that the existing scholarly opinion on Ademar is in need of revision. A central role in our research is played by the analysis of the manuscript Leiden Vossianus Latinus Octavo 15 (VLO 15), that reveals us the educational activities of Ademar. The characteristics and contents of this astonishing manuscript are treated against the background of Ademar’s other extensive scribal work. Ademar plays a controversial role in modern historiographical debates about such questions as apocalypticism, “les terreurs de l’an mil”, and especially about the apostolicity of Saint Martial. According to modern historiography Ademar manoeuvered himself into the position of a solitary forger, an outcast, spat out by the monastic community.

A meticulous investigation of VLO 15 leads to the result that we can recognise his hand, his working method and his interests when it comes to teaching his pupils at the monasteries of St.-Cybard and St.-Martial. At first glance the manuscript appears as a poor mishmash with an amalgam of texts and drawings, presented in different kinds of layout in quires that are dissimilar to one another with regard to quality, size and construction. Nonetheless some unity prevails. It is a unity grown organically out of an assemblage of quires constructed, collected and written by a single man, i.e. Ademar, and with a single goal in mind, i.e. teaching.

After studying VLO 15 in its context, we cannot but conclude that currently held views on Ademar have been unnecessary biased and negatively coloured. He was a highly regarded member of the monastic community, involved in a wide variety of scribal activities. Though it is true that Ademar started forging documents after 1029, it is nevertheless unthinkable that he could do so without the support of the dignitaries in his surroundings. I do not think that his departure for the Holy Land was meant as a farewell to the world either.
In the Appendix to Part I can be found a description of a previously unknown autograph of Ademar (Wolfenbüttel Gud. 79), containing some interesting didactic texts.

Part II: Edition
In the second part of our study we present a diplomatic edition of all the contents of VLO 15.
Preceding the edition of each text or (set of) drawing(s), the palaeograpical, codicological, philological and other features are presented, in order to contextualise the entity’s subject. In the apparatus palaeographical and codicological peculiarities are mentioned. Sometimes we are allowed to get a rather precise idea of Ademar’s working methods, when we can identify the manuscripts Ademar consulted for his texts and drawings in VLO 15.
Original languageDutch
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Mostert, Marco, Primary supervisor
  • Orban, Arpad, Supervisor
Award date23 Jan 2015
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs978-94-6295-042-9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2015


  • History
  • Middle Ages
  • Ademar of Chabannes
  • paleography
  • codicology
  • teaching program
  • personal notebooks

Cite this