17-10-12: National Archive of the Torre do Tombo MS 643 and Bibliothèque des Champs Libres MS 0255

Paleo-Penn-Portuguese-643

On October 12, Carlos Pio (Hispanic and Portuguese Studies) led our meeting by introducing us to two manuscripts, National Archive of the Torre do Tombo MS 643 (above) and Bibliothèque des Champs Libres MS 0255. Even those of us with no background in Old Portuguese or Old French enjoyed puzzling out the lines during our collective transcription.

1. Could you tell us about these manuscripts?
a)
MS 643, Lisbon, National Archive of the Torre do Tombo, 16th century, 311 folios in paper, prose, written in Old Portuguese, contains a Portuguese translation of the Old French Arthurian Estoire del Saint Graal from the Post-Vulgate cycle, no illustrations.
b) MS 0255, Rennes, Bibliothèque des Champs Libres, 13th century, 276 folios, written in Old French, 3 columns per page, 67 historiated initials, contains the Old French Arthurian Estoire del Saint Graal from the Lancelot-Grail cycle.

2. How did you become interested in these manuscripts?
I started studying these manuscripts for my Master’s dissertation. I wanted to compare both versions and see their textual relationship.

3. What is your favorite detail about these manuscripts?
The Portuguese manuscript is quite unique because it has at least 5 different hands, so it is very rich and challenging in paleographical terms. The French MS is more beautiful aesthetically and the handwriting is more consistent. Also, in both manuscripts the languages are just beautiful.

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