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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 272: The Psalter of Count Achadeus.

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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 272: The Psalter of Count Achadeus.
Alternate Title:
Psalterium Achadei Comitis
ff. 183 + 3
Approximate Date:
[ca. 875 A.D. - 899 A.D.]
Parker Manuscripts
This manuscript is known as the 'Achadeus Psalter' because of an inscription after Psalm 150 recording that Count Achadeus ordered it to be made. This need not imply, however, that Achadeus owned the book, or had any closer connection with it than simply paying for its materials. As well as the psalms and canticles the manuscript contains Psalter collects, a litany, and prayers. The litany includes mention of Pope Marinus (882-4), King Carloman (882-3), and Fulk, bishop of Rheims (883-900), and has on these grounds been dated to 883/4; the mention of Bishop Fulk and of local saints locates its use to Rheims. Although not necessarily made in the city itself, it seems to be from that region of France. CCCC MS 272 contains extensive marginal glosses largely taken from Cassiodorus' Expositio psalmorum. They are written in that form of English Caroline minuscule which developed in the first quarter of the eleventh century and continued in use until after the Norman Conquest. Consequently it seems that the manuscript was in England in the eleventh century; it has been suggested that it was brought over earlier than that, perhaps even by Grimbald of Saint-Bertin, who was sent to England by Fulk of Rheims in order to assist King Alfred the Great with his revival of English learning. If so the manuscript must have left Rheims relatively soon after it was made, as Grimbald was at Winchester by 887, and doubt has been expressed over whether a manuscript sponsored by an important count would have been lightly alienated. The manuscript has illumination in gold and colours and originally had large illuminated initials at the liturgical divisions of the Psalter, although all save that for Psalm 97 have been cut out. The Litany has elaborate arched column frames, and at the beginning of the Psalter a large B ornamental initial for the first psalm from an English early thirteenth-century Psalter has been inserted. MS 272 was certainly at Canterbury in the later middle ages, where parts of account rolls of Christ Church Canterbury are used as its endleaves.