Codex of the month (IV): Lyon, Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms. 443

Lyon, Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms. 443 > Origen, Homilies > dated 7th-9th century [Visigothic script dated c. late 8th-early 9th c].

Origen (185-254 C.E.) was a scholar and early Christian theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. He is considered one of the most important and prolific early church fathers, playing through his work a critical role in the development of Christian thought.

He was an inexhaustible writer in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality. Some of his reputed teachings, such as the pre-existence of souls, the final reconciliation of all creatures, including perhaps even the devil (the apokatastasis), and the subordination of the Son of God to God the Father, later became controversial among Christian theologians.


Origen wrote more than two hundred homilies on almost the entire Bible that are extant in Greek or in Latin translations. This codex contains the homilies In Genesin, In Exodum and In Leuiticum, as translated from Greek into Latin by Rufinus Aquileiensis (345-410) [see Migne Patrologia Latina]. 13 additional folios containing the beginning of the homilies In leuiticum are now at Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale (nouv. acq. lat. 1591).


Composition: folios 1-6, 12-76, 78-161 -> 7th century; folios 162-226, 232-279 -> 7th century; folios 7-11, 77, 227-231 -> 8th-9th century (restored).

Support: well-preserved parchment.

No. of leaves & layout: 279 fols.; 1) fols. 1-6, 12-76, 78-161: 345 × 295 mm (280 × 205 mm; single column, 29 lines); 2) fols. 162-226, 232-279: ca. 350 × 295 mm (275 × 205-220 mm; single column, 29 lines); 3) fols. 7-11, 77, 227-231: 350 × 295 mm (260 × 210 mm, single column, 31 lines).

Folios in Visigothic script: 7-11, 77v, 82r -glosses-.

Copyist/s: unknown.

Half-Uncial (7th century): 1) folios 1-6, 12-76, 78-114v. (related with Lyon, Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon, Ms 604); 2) folios 115-161.

2015_01_25_Codexofthemonth43© Lyon, Bibl. Municipale, MS 443, fol16v.

Uncial (7th century): folios 162-226, 232-279 (expert scribe).

2015_01_25_Codexofthemonth44© Lyon, Bibl. Municipale, MS 443, fol162r.

Merovingian script (7th c.): some liturgical notes and names of readers (f. 17v, 24v, 33r, 58r, 82r, 87v, 99r).Caroline minuscule (8th-9th century): 1) folio 77r-v.; 2) folios 227-231.

2015_01_25_Codexofthemonth45© Lyon, Bibl. Municipale, MS 443, fol16r.

Caroline minuscule (8th-9th century): 1) folio 77r-v.; 2) folios 227-231.

Visigothic script (8th-9th century): 1) folios 7-9v, 10v, 11r; 2) 9v-10v, 11r-v; 3) 77v, 82r.

Illuminator/s: unknown. Decorated initials in the first Half-Uncial hand.

2015_01_25_Codexofthemonth46© Lyon, Bibl. Municipale, MS 443, fol28v.

Script: This codex was written in three stages, being started in the 7th century and continued until the 8th-9th centuries. As a consequence, it was written mostly in Uncial and Half-Uncial, with some folios in Visigothic minuscule script and Caroline minuscule, and notes in Merovingian script.

2015_01_25_Codexofthemonth47© Lyon, Bibl. Municipale, MS 443, fol77v.


Origin: folios 1-6, 12-76, 78-161 and folios 162-226, 232-279 -> from a Merovingian production centre, possibly Lyon; folios 7-11, 77, 227-231 -> copied in southern France, in a production centre with a close relationship with the Iberian Peninsula (maybe in Lyon?).

Provenance: The codex was already in Lyon in the 9th century (annotated by Florus, deacon).

V. Notes

Other copies in Visigothic script from Origen’s works:

  • Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya, Colección Mundó (9th c.): Origenes, In Exodum, Hom. III, 3 (2 fragments, bifolium).
  • Madrid, Real Academia de la Historia, Emilianense 63 (late 9 th – early 10th c.): Origenes, Homiliae in librum Iosua (53 fols.). [online here]

2015_01_25_Codexofthemonth48© Madrid, Real Academia de la Historia, MS 63, fol11v.

VI. References

A. Millares Carlo, Corpus de códices visigóticos, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 1999, nº 122.

More references on the archive’s website.

>>> Digitised (the 2nd one) <<<

by A. Castro

[edited 12/07/2018]

2 Comments | Leave your comment

David Ganz

Perhaps worth making clear that the whole manuscript is on line on the Lyons website, and that we know a certain amount about the Visigothic community in Lyons.



Prof. Ganz, could you please give me some references about the Visigothic community in Lyon?

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