2016 | 33 | 29-84
Article title


Title variants
An attempt at a reconstruction of the original text of Angilbertus’s poem on the Battle of Fontenoy (841)
Languages of publication
Only a handful of specialists know that the exceptionally valuable collections of the Kórnik Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences include a Carolingian manuscript dating to the second half of the 9th century. The founder of the Kórnik Library, Count Tytus Działyński (1796–1861), most probably obtained it by purchase or as a gi from the branch of the Radziwiłł family living in the Greater Poland region. The historical object was produced in a monastery scriptorium in Gaul, and contains a work devoted to the rule of St. Benedict authored by Smaragdus (d. about 830), abbot of Saint-Mihiel Abbey near Verdun. On the rst sheet of the manuscript, an unknown copyist placed a 15-stanza poem devoted to the battle which took place near Fontenoy, Burgundy, on 25 June 841. The work is written in a trochaic decapentasyllable by a man of whom we do not know much apart from his name, Angilbertus, and the fact that he fought in the ranks of Emperor Lothair. Karl Strecker (1861–1945), the most distinguished expert on Carolingian poetry, believed that, in terms of expression, the poem was the grandest piece of poetry of the Carolingian Renaissance. Unfortunately, the Carolingian poetical masterpiece has survived to our own times in a form which is questionable in many respects. Since the 18th century until today, the most eminent Latinists have made the poem a subject of their studies. The text has been published many times, and scholars undertook numerous attempts at a reconstruction of the original text in their separate studies. Although these works deserve the highest respect, the same cannot be said about the subsequent editions of the poem. The later the edition, the more errors it contains. In our opinion, the sheer number of errors in these editions prevents any critical analysis of the text of this unique poem. In this situation, I decided that it was necessary to prepare a new edition and simultaneously attempt a reconstruction of the original text. I read the text of all the three copies on the basis of: 1. the original manuscript kept in the Kórnik Library (K); 2. a photocopy of the Parisian copy (P), and 3. a photocopy of the copy from Sankt Gallen (S). In the case of the copies from Paris and Sankt Gallen, I had their photocopies recorded on a CD added to the Corpus rhythmorum musicum saec. IV–IX1 edition; I also used high- quality photocopies of the two copies published on the Internet by the National Library in Paris, and included in the Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland (e-codices). Each of the copies was issued separately and compared to the other copies on pp. 36–39, whereas the attempted reconstruction was published on pp. 78–80. The reconstruction of the text was preceded by a palaeographic and grammatical analysis, as well as an analysis of the rhythm of the individual stanzas .
Physical description
  • Instytut Historii UAM
  • Biblioteka Kórnicka
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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