Manuscript Latin 14904

Ms latin 14904. The heading says: "La dance macabre".
Ms Latin 14904

This manuscript is one of the oldest. It is the one that Dufour called A.

Like so many other of these old manuscripts we are rather dealing with an anthology containing many different texts. Many of these texts are written by Jean de Gerson and this is presumably the reason why Dufour and others believed Gerson authored La Danse Macabre as well. The dance starts on folio 64 (picture to the right).

One of the other texts in the manuscript bears the year 1429 (which incidentally was the year Gerson died) and Emile Mâle stated that the manuscript couldn't be much younger than this.(1) Kurtz informs us that Champion "by a similar process" has come up with the year 1416,(2) however that is to be understood. According to Gilbert Ouy, the date is about 1440.(3)

From the table of contents:
La dance macabre prout habetur apud sanctum innocentium.64.

The book's old name (one of them) is Saint-Victor NN 7 because this manuscript originally resided at the Saint-Victor's Abbey of Paris just like Fr. 25550 did. There is a stubborn story about these old manuscripts from Saint-Victor, viz. that the text itself should bear witness that it is a copy of the dance on the wall of the cemetery of St. Innocents.

As the picture to the right shows, the heading says no more and no less than "La dance macabre". The much hyped self-description can instead be found in a table of contents, which has been inserted at the beginning of the manuscript: »La dance macabre prout habetur apud sanctum innocentium.64.«. So the table of contents simply quote "La dance macabre" (in French) from the headline on page 64, and adds in Latin: "such as we find close to Saint Innocents".

For further details, see the Saint-Victor's Abbey of Paris.


A critical version of the text is available by Alina Zvonareva. See external link.


Further information

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3)

Emile Mâle, L'art religieux de la fin du moyen âge en France, 1908, page 363, footnote 5: »Le manuscrit latin 14904 ne contient guère que des traités de Gerson et de Nicolas de Clemengis. Ou lit au bas d'un de ces traités la date de 1429. Le manuscrit ne semble pas de beaucoup postérieur«.
Léonard Paul Kurtz, The Dance of Death and the Macabre Spirit in European Literature, 1934, page 28: »Champion by a similar process, suggests the date 1416«.

The same information about Champion is repeated in Ihr müßt alle nach meiner Pfeife tanzen, page 29, footnote 11.

Hanno Wijsman, La Danse macabre du cimetière des Saints-Innocents et un manuscrit de Philippe le Bon, page 8, footnote 24: »Gilbert Ouy date le lat 14904 autours de 1440«.

Up to Manuscripts