Vat. lat. 630

V630 1v detail

Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Vat. lat. 630 (V630) provides the False Decretals of Pseudo-Isidore in two volumes, both them fully digitized. Volume 1 is online here; Volume 2 is online here. In all likelihood, the manuscript was produced during the pontificate of Benedict III (d. 858) for the benefit of Wulfad or those close to him. Wulfad, who had been ordained to holy orders by Ebo of Reims in 840/1, enjoyed the favor of Charles the Bald, and from 866 was the archbishop of Bourges. His career is closely entangled with the earliest stages of Pseudo-Isidore’s reception.

Both volumes of V630 represent the work of Corbie scribes. As such, V630 is an important pillar of evidence associating the A/B recension with the monastery at Corbie. V630 is also the earliest and most complete copy of the A/B recension. The text of the interpolated Hispana embedded in V630 (and therefore the A/B text of the Hispana) has an especially close relationship to our only complete copy of the interpolated Hispana, Vat. lat. 1341. Other recensions of the False Decretals offer a slightly different text of the Hispana that suggests some distance from Vat. lat. 1341.

The manuscript opens with two fly-leaves—numbered I and II—that, as Friedrich Maassen and Joachim Richter have recognized, once formed the first two folios of an otherwise lost manuscript of the interpolated Hispana. The contents of these folios include a list and brief description of the first four ecumenical councils; a second list of the first six ecumenical councils; and finally a third list of further councils from the Dionysio-Hadriana that has been clumsily merged with a separate conciliar list from the Hispana Gallica. See the edition here (pages 2 through 8) A consequence of Pseudo-Isidore’s attempt to merge two different capitulationes is that the list ceases to name councils and provides only bare numbers between the Council of Mâcon (XXI) and the Council of Elvira (XXX).

After the conciliar list, the interpolated Hispana provides an overview of provinces of the Roman empire. In V630, this breaks off at the bottom of fol. IIv, with a list of the twelve provinces of Asia (see page 9).

V630, IIv

All of these items, in the same sequence, including the empty numbers intervening between the councils of Mâcon and Elvira, occur at the beginning of  Vat. lat. 1341. Compare Annette Grabwosky’s transcription here and here and here. While V630 is rather larger than Vat. lat. 1341, the first two folios of Vat. lat. 630 are roughly 2cm shorter in width and 1 cm shorter in length than the rest of the manuscript, approximating the size of Vat. lat. 1341.

The False Decretals proper follow these items from the interpolated Hispana, on fol. 1v. As medieval manuscripts were ordinarily copied from the first verso folio, Vat. lat. 630 originally had two blank rectos—fol. Ir (from the folios carrying the items from the interpolated Hispana) and fol. 1r (from the folio carrying the start of the False Decretals). These rectos have received important additions. A ninth-century hand has added a papal list to fol. Ir. Originally this list concluded with the papacy of Benedict III (d. 858). A different hand has supplied the name of Pope Nicholas I:

vat lat 630 Ir

Fol. 1r, for its part, has received two items. The first is a list of the civitates of Reims, contributed by a high medieval scribe.

V630 1r detail

This list is an excerpt from a longer list of the provinces of Gaul that follows the imperial provinces in the interpolated Hispana. Vat. lat. 630 must have once included further folios from this lost Hispana manuscript. They were discarded only in the high medieval period, at which point the cities of Reims were retained in a later copy. Vat. lat. 630 was presumably still to be found in the archiepiscopal province of Reims at this point.

The second item to accumulate on fol. 1r is an epistola formata purporting to have been issued by Bishop Liutad of Vence, who to my knowledge is attested nowhere else. This letter is known only from V630 and a later codex descriptus derived from this manuscript. It is addressed to Archbishop Wenilo of Rouen, on behalf of Wulfad, in some year falling in the first indiction—most likely 853. As it seems unlikely that Wenilo took office earlier than 854, Rouen is perhaps an error for Wenilo of Sens. The letter commends Wulfad to Wenilo and requests that Wenilo advance him to higher orders. It must surely have been drafted in the aftermath of the Synod of Soissons in 853, the venue at which Wulfad and the other clerics ordained by Ebo during his restoration to Reims in 840/1 were deposed.

Two items copied at the very end of the second volume of Vat. lat. 630 confirm the general impression that this early recension of the False Decretals was produced for clerics in Ebonian circles. Fols. 321 and 322 contain an excerpt from the twelfth book of the Historia Tripartita dealing with the translation of bishops, as well as an excerpt from Pseudo-Isidore’s own forgery in the name of Pope Pelagius II (JK †1049) on the same theme.

V630, 321v detail

Pseudo-Isidore’s interest in episcopal translation, and specifically his effort to relax restriction on movement from one see to another in specific circumstances, reflects his associations with Ebo of Reims. Following his ultimate expulsion from Reims in 841, Ebo eventually translated to the see of Hildesheim. I have argued elsewhere that Pseud-Isidore’s entire approach to episcopal translation is an attempt to relax ancient restrictions with details calculated precisely for Ebo’s case. These items on episcopal translation are present in other manuscripts of the A/B recension and provide a good prima facie case that this version of the False Decretals is especially early: After Ebo’s death at Hildesheim on 20 March 851 this aspect of Pseudo-Isidore’s agenda lost all relevance.

Quaternions are the rule in V630. Exceptions are fols. 33-36 (a binion), 69 (a singleton), 70-73 (a binion corresponding to the end of Part I), 122-6 (originally a ternion, but the leaf before fol. 126 has been excised), 200-205 (a ternion), 222-3 (singletons, originally the first two folios of a binion), 224-7 (a binion), 260-4 (a ternion with last leaf excised), 305-9 (a ternion with last leaf excised), 318 (a singleton), 319-20 (a union), and 321-2 (a union, or two singletons joined in the course of modern restoration). The quire irregularities from fol. 206 to 227 coincide with the Innocent dossier in V630, and specifically with the supplements from the Collectio Quesnelliana.