Poetic Attraction: Anonymous Verses in Two Manuscripts of Peter Riga’s Aurora


  • Greti Dinkova-Bruun


Peter Riga, Aegidius of Paris, biblical versification, poetic anthologies, mnemonic poetry, manuscript studies


Peter Riga’s verse Bible, the ‹Aurora›, represents a true medieval didactic masterpiece which elicited multifaceted creative and compilatory responses during the later Middle Ages. One such response is the inclusion of additional poetry in the empty margins or other blank spaces of the manuscript copies of the poem. This article discusses two such codices from the thirteenth century which exemplify two different stages of the textual transformation of the ‹Aurora› as well as two distinct accretional approaches. Thus, Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. Lat. 2867 preserves the second authorial version of the poem to which later hands add in the
margins eleven mnemonic pieces (thirty-five verses in total). In contrast, Douai, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 40 preserves the final third version of Riga’s poem together with some of the revisions by Aegidius of Paris. The verse collection here comprises eighteen pieces, 47 verses in total, all exhibiting a marked pastoral tenor. In addition to discussing these codices, this article also includes an edition of the anonymous verses added in them.