The Eleventh-Century Gospel Books of Montecassino: An Archaeology

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation constitutes a detailed material study of eight Gospel book manuscripts produced at the Abbey of Montecassino in the late eleventh-century:

  • CittγåÊ del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 10644, ff. 28r-31v (mass evangelistary; s.XI2; fragment)
  • Frosinone, Archivio di Stato, Fondo pergamene inv. 142 (mass evangelistary; s,XI/XII; fragment)
  • Lucca, Archivio di Stato, Busta 9, c. 263, n. 45 (evangelary/mass evangelistary; s.XIex; fragment)
  • Montecassino, Archivio dell'Abbazia, 191, pp. 1-128 (night office evangelistary; s.XImed)
  • Montecassino, Archivio dell'Abbazia, 211 (evangelary; s.XIex)
  • Montecassino, Archivio dell'Abbazia, 229 (mass evangelistary; s.XIex)
  • Montecassino, Archivio dell'Abbazia, 424 (night office evangelistary, s.XImed)
  • Rimini, Biblioteca Civica Gambalunga, SC-MS.24 (night office evangelistary, s.XIex)

The material evidence of production processes (the preparation and selection of parchment; the folding, assembling, pricking and ruling of folios; the copying, rubricating and illumination of text) are described, analyzed, and compared with codicological and palaeographical data from contemporary Cassinese manuscripts, other Gospel books produced in the Beneventan script, and with quantitative studies of contemporary and/regional manuscript production. Material evidence of the use and adaptation of the object is discussed, and an attempt is made to understand the Cassinese Gospel books within their historical spatial contexts at the Abbey.

Gospel books, central to the celebration of Christian liturgy, are frequently assumed to be in some way different to other books. By investigating each material aspect of this group of Gospel books from a single time and place, we demonstrate to what extent this was the case. By focusing attention on the Gospel books as material objects, the study underlines that their intended functions and actual use(s) had as much to do with their physical presence as to do with their textual contents. In this way, the study of the Cassinese Gospel books as material objects provides a more secure basis for future work on the use of Gospel books in the Middle Ages, both at Montecassino and elsewhere.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04192012-222007

Author Andrew James McGregor Irving
Advisor Daniel Sheerin
Contributor Thomas Pruegl, Committee Member
Contributor Daniel Sheerin, Committee Chair
Contributor Nathan Mitchell, Committee Member
Contributor Calvin Bower, Committee Member
Contributor Richard Gyug, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Medieval Studies
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2012-04-10

Submission Date 2012-04-19
  • United States of America

  • Beneventan script; evangelary; evangelistary

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.