V: Stemma in the Ripoll Bible


Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 5729, fols 359r-361v. Text without graphics.

Online: Digitized, Cataloged.

Sixteen columns of Carolingian script (three per page) with enlarged initials in the margin and rubricated initials in the text flow, but no diagram or illuminations; parchment, 55 x 37 cm.

An abstracted text only, without any graphic features. It records the course, left to right, of a diagram which had been altered to conform with the writings of Jerome of Stridon and a solution to the gospel contradiction propounded by Julius Africanus, rejecting the original Great Stemma doctrine. The solution is set out in Rufinus's Latin translation of the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius.

This "counter-stemma" must have looked very similar in its broad outlines to the Great Stemma itself. Its Vorlage evidently contained the Bumped Royal Wives error, but not the Job Nonsense error. The function of the extra minuscule letters written on the shoulders of many personal names, apparently as a guide to drawing the graphic, is discussed by Piggin in an April 2016 blog post (see below).

The Ripoll version, our only witness to the Zeta recension, does not contain the extensive supplementary texts which characterize the Iota group (Załuska's Sixth Recension), suggesting that Ripoll is an abstract from a now-lost graphic which existed before a follower of Isidore of Seville (or perhaps Isidore himself) set to work entering lengthy additional passages of biblical commentary on it in the blanks on the chart. It would be plausible to suppose that the Zeta recension was composed before 600 CE.

Given siglum V by Piggin.

The codex

Overall number of folios: not researched. See BNF and this Ripoll page for some more details.

Scribe: the monk Guifré of the Monastery of Ripoll, Catalonia in the 11th century (c.1015-1020) (Mundó).

The rest of the codex contains: A large-format bible with many miniatures. This is one of three bibles believed made at Ripoll early in the 11th century: the other two are Paris BNF Lat. 6 and the lost Bible of Fluvià which only survives in dispersed fragments.

Ownership: Listed in an inventory at Ripoll at the death in 1047 of Abbot Oliba. Later apparently in France. Entered the papal library in Rome between 1612 and 1618 (Castiñeiras) and was wrongly tagged the "Farfa Bible" for a long time. Its Spanish origin was not realized for many years.

Description and bibliography online at Digita Vaticana: BAV catalog


Castiñeiras, Manuel Antonio. “Le Nouveau Testament de la Bible de Ripoll et les anciennes Traditions de l’Iconographie chrétienne: du Scriptorium de l’Abbé Oliba à la Peinture romane sur Bois.” Les Cahiers de Saint-Michel de Cuxa, 40 (2009). Online.

Mundó, Anscario M., ed. Les Bíblies de Ripoll: estudi dels mss. Vaticà, lat. 5729 i París, BNF, lat. 6. Studi e testi, 408. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2002.

Piggin, Jean-Baptiste. Medieval scribes used HTML tags. Blog post, 2016, April 2.

Załuska, Yolanta. “Entre Texte et Image: les Stemmata Bibliques au Sud et au Nord des Pyrénées.” Bulletin de la Societé nationale des antiquaires de France, 1986, 142–152.

Next: Foigny

Back to Table of Contents

Creative Commons License The Great Stemma: A Graphic History in the Fifth Century by Jean-Baptiste Piggin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.