Prudentius, Carmina


Brussels, KBR, ms. 9987-91 (olim ms. 66)

genre – text type

Patristic literature


(fol. 1r-17r) Prudentius, Cathemerinon, 1-10; (fol. 17r-63v) Prudentius, Peristephanon; (fol. 64r-66v) Prudentius, Cathemerinon, 11-12; (fol. 66v-83v) Prudentius, Apotheosis; (fol. 83v-99v) Prudentius, Hamartigenia; (fol. 100r-129r) Prudentius, Psychomachia; (fol. 130r-157v) Prudentius, Contra Symmachum


(fol. 1r) Haec dum scribo vel eloquor / vinclis o utinam corporis emicem


(fol. 157v) his ni fallor ager viciis corruptus et ante




Northern France: Abbey of Saint-Amand ?


ca. 890


Caroline minuscule




(fol. 100r) Sacrifice of Isaac; (fol. 100v) Loth is robbed by the five kings; (fol. 100v) Abraham pursues the robbers; (fol. 101r) Abraham's victorious return; (fol. 101v) Abraham and Melchisedec; (fol. 101v) Abraham speaks with the angels; (fol. 102r) Prudentius at prayer; (fol. 102v) Faith fights against Worship of the ancient gods; (fol. 103r) Faith mocks Worship of the ancient gods; (fol. 103r) Faith offers crowns to the martyrs; (fol. 103v) Chastity fights against Lust; (fol. 103v) Chastity throws a rock to Lust; (fol. 104r) Chastity pierces Lust with her sword; (fol. 104r) Chastity treads on Lust; (fol. 105r) Chastity washes her sword in the river Jordan; (fol. 105v) Chastity hides her sword under an altar; (fol. 105v) Without any fear Patience stands between various vices who assail her; (fol. 106r) Anger touches Patience; (fol. 106r) Anger mocks Patience; (fol. 106r) Anger throws her spear to Patience; (fol. 106v) Anger's missiles lie purposeless on the ground; (fol. 106v) Anger hits Patience with her sword; (fol. 107r) Anger's sword breaks into pieces; (fol. 107r) Anger kills herself with her sword; (fol. 107v) Patience mocks Anger after her death; (fol. 107v) Patience strides with Job amid her foes; (fol. 108r) Patience speaks with Job; (108r) Patience speaks to the Virtues about the vanquished Vices; (fol. 108v) Pride on her horse amid her troops; (fol. 108v) Pride; (fol. 109r) Pride threatens, Humility and Hope stand without fear; (fol. 110r) Pride tries to storm Humility and Hope; (fol. 110r) Pride falls into the ditch; (fol. 110v) Humility laughs at Pride; (fol. 111r) Hope offers her sword to Humility;

(fol. 111r) Humility cuts off Pride's head; (fol. 111r) Humility offers Pride's head to Hope; (fol. 111v) Hope mocks Pride; (fol. 112r) Humility ascends to heaven, the Virtues are amazed at her sight; (fol. 112r) Luxury at table; (fol. 112v) Luxury runs to battle; (fol. 112v) men wonder at Luxury in her car; (fol. 112v) Luxury deludes the Virtues with flattery; (fol. 113r) men throw down their weapons and follow Luxury; (fol. 113r) the entire army lays down its weapons; (fol. 113v) Temperance convinces the army not to follow Luxury; (fol. 114v) Temperance holds the cross against Luxury's car; (fol. 115r) Temperance hits Luxury with a stone; (fol. 115r) Temperance mocks Luxury; (fol. 115v) Jest throws down her cymbalum and flees; (fol. 115v) Cupid throws down his arrows and flees; (fol. 115v) Pomp throws down her ornaments and flees; (fol. 116r) Desire flees her feet wounded by the thorns; (fol. 116r) the Virtues refrain from plunder; (fol. 116v) Avarice looking for gold in the sand; (fol. 116v) Avarice protects her loot; (fol. 117r) the mass of vices created by Avarice and her black milk; (fol. 117r) Avarice strikes many people, the rest seeks blind its way; (fol. 117v) Avarice tries to pierce someone when showing something; (fol. 117v) Avarice drives many people into the fire; (fol. 119r) Avarice cheats; (fol. 119r) Avarice binds those whom she cheats; (fol. 119v) the army of the Virtues in doubt as it does not fully recognise Avarice; (fol. 119v) Generosity fights against Avarice and hands out the loot to the poor; (fol. 120r) Generosity speaks to the armies in joy; (fol. 120v) Peace enters, Fear and Labour and Violence flee; (fol. 120v) the weapons rest; (fol. 121r) Avarice is stupefied and fails; (fol. 121r) Generosity binds Avarice; (fol. 121v) Generosity pierces Avarice's knees and feet; (fol. 121v) Generosity hands out Avarice's riches to the poor; (fol. 122r) the army of the Virtues in joy over the victory; (fol. 122r) Harmony orders the standards to be brought back into the fortress; (fol. 122r) the troops rejoicing; (fol. 122v) the Virtues enter the city; (fol. 123r) Discord secretely hurts Harmony; (fol. 123r) Discord threatens the Virtues; (fol. 123v) Discord surrounded by the Virtues; (fol. 124r) Faith strikes Discord; (fol. 124r) the Virtues chop Discord into pieces; (fol. 124v) the Virtues build a tribune; (fol. 125r) Faith and Charity on the tribune; (fol. 125r) troops come running from all camps; (fol. 125v) Charity speaks to the troops; (fol. 126v) Faith addresses itself to the troops of Virtues; (fol. 127r) Faith and Charity measure the place where the temple of the Lord will be built; (fol. 127v) the temple of the Lord; (fol. 128v) the lower court where Wisdom sits; (fol. 129r) the poet Prudentius thanks the Lord

historiated initials


codicological description

Parchment; (ii) + 157 + (ii) f.; 24 x 16 cm; 1 column, 2 columns (fol.1r-4r, 8v-9v, 15v-17r, 19r-23r, 28v-29r, 39v-46r, 64r-66r); collation: 1 (8-1) 2-8 (8) 9 (8-1) 10-19 (8) 20 (8-1)


Theodorus Pulmannus; Johannes Haechtius; Bollandists (Antwerp); Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris); Royal Library of Belgium (Brussels)

coats of arms



Modern binding (19th c.)


Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum Bibliothecae regiae Bruxellensis, I, II, Bruxellis, 1889, p. 393; R. Stettiner, Die illustrierten Prudentiushandschriften, Berlin, 1895-1905, I, p. 43-46; J. Van den Gheyn, Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, II, Bruxelles, 1902, p. 46-48, nr. 974;  J. Bergman, De codicibus Prudentianis, Holmiae, 1910, p. 52-53; H. Woodruff, 'The illustrated manuscripts of Prudentius', in Art studies (1929), p. 33-79 (p. 40); C. Gaspar - F. Lyna, Les principaux manuscrits à peintures de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, I (Bruxelles, 1937), p. 16-20, nr. 6; A. Boutemy, 'La miniature, VIIIe-XIIe s.', in: E. de Moreau, Histoire de l'Église en Belgique, II, Bruxelles, 1945), p. 311-362 (p. 319); A. Boutemy, 'Le scriptorium et la bibliothèque de Saint-Amand d'après les manuscrits et les anciens catalogues', in Scriptorium, 1 (1947), p. 6-16; A. Boutemy, 'Un trésor injustement oublié: les manuscrits enluminés du Nord de la France (période pré-gothique)', in Scriptorium, 3 (1949), p. 110-122 (p. 115); H. Silvestre, 'Aperçu sur les commentaires carolingiens de Prudence', in Sacris erudiri, 9 (1957), p. 50-74 and 396; H. Silvestre, 'Les manuscrits bruxellois de Prudence', in Scriptorium, 11 (1957), p. 103-104; Le livre illustré en occident du Haut moyen âge à nos jours, exhibition catalogue, Bruxelles, 1977, p. 11-12, nr. 6; Benedictus en zijn monniken in de Nederlanden, exhibition catalogue, Gent, 1980, III, p. 308-309, nr. 688; I. Hottois (ed.), L'iconographie musicale dans les manuscrits de la Bibliothèque royale Albert Ier, exhibition catalogue, Bruxelles, 1982, p. 75-76, nr. 104; G. Binding (ed.), Der mittelalterliche Baubetrieb Westeuropas. Katalog der zeitgenössischen Darstellungen, Köln, 1987, p. 134; M.-A. Arnould (e.a., edd.), Les routes de la treille, exhibition catalogue, Bruxelles, 1990, p. 240.