The Library of King René
[A. Lecoy de la Marche, Le Roi René. Sa vie, son administration, ses travaux artistiques et littéraires. D’après les documents inédits des archives de France et d’Italie. Paris, Firmin-Diderot, 1875, vol. 2 pp. 182-191]
translated by Ross Gregory Caldwell
Nothing in the end can better serve to give the measure of his guidance and the part that he played in the development of letters, than the catalogue of books selected through his care. This catalogue can be established by means of three different sources: the inventory of the Château of Angers; the names of the volumes which Charles d’Anjou, Count of Maine, inherited from his uncle and which he had brought to Provence with his tapestries in 1473; finally articles from accounts mentioning acquisitions. Before the King of Sicily left his duchy for the last time, in 1471, his library had been housed in the Château of Angers, in the new gallery which neighboured his oratory and the small garden. In chests carefully locked it was protected; they were nearly all emptied at his departure: however, some remained securely locked, and their contents could not be inventoried (1). The books transported to Aix, which formed the majority, were arranged in a room which bore the name bibliothèque du roi René et de Charles d’Anjou: the list of this was prepared under the latter prince or a short time after his death. Those which he had added during the single year that he ruled in Provence were fortunately designated as such in this list, such that one has only to subtract them in order to have the books of his uncle (2). The accounts contain only the barest minimum of elements; but they at least allow one to arrive at a result almost complete (3). Thus here is, taken from these diverse documents and in a methodical order, the catalogue of the Library of King René, comprising two hundred and two volumes, without counting his own works, enumerated above, his Books of Hours, and some notebooks of which the number can not be determined.
A volume in Hebrew language, written in letters of silver (probably the Bible).
Herbolista, botanical treatise, with paintings of different herbs.
ARAB OR TURKISH BOOKS
Twenty-four volumes unspecified, in languages “Turkish and moorish.”
The Bible written in the Greek language and in letters of gold.
Another volume in the Greek language and in letters of gold (probably a second copy of the Bible).
1st HOLY SCRIPTURE
Textus Bibliae, with illuminations.
Libri Genesis et Exodii, with a gloss.
Glosa ordinaria super Genesim, cum libro Exodii.
Liber Josue, with other books and a gloss.
Libri Regum, cum libris Paralipomenon, glossed.
Libri Regum et Paralipomenon, with gloss.
Tres libri Salomonis (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) et liber Ecclesiastici.
Libri Salomonis, with gloss.
Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium, with gloss.
Liber Jeremie, with gloss.
Ysaias, Jeremias et lamentations Jeremiae, with gloss.
Ysaias et Jeremias, with gloss.
Liber Ezechiel, Daniel, cum parvis prophetis.
Liber duorum parvorum prophetarum, with gloss.
Psalterium, with gloss.
Liber quatuor evangelistarum, with the Ten Canons at the start.
Actus Apostolorum, cum Epistolis canonicis et Apocalypsi, glossed.
Liber Apocalypsis, with miniatures.(1)
Epistole Pauli, with gloss.(2)
Liber dictus Magnificat, with gloss.
Epistole sancti Jheronimi, printed.
Prima et secunda partes epistolarum beati Jheronimi (2 volumes).
Liber sancti Athanasii.
Homeliae beati Johannis Chrysostomi, printed on paper.
Homily of the same Saint, recently discovered (3).
Commentum sancti Johannis in Epistolâ ad Hebraeos.
Orosius ad Augustinum.
Liber Augustini contrà Faustum.
Augustinus super Johannem.
Septem libri Lanctancii, with the arms of René at the head.
Lactancius, with arms and paintings.
Moralia beati Gregorii papae.
Glosa Origensis, Aymonis and Remigii super Epistolis Pauli.
Cathena aurea S. Thomae, printed.
Nicholaus de Lyra super totam Bibliam (3 volumes).
Rationale divinorum officiorum.
Panthaleon, sive dominus Raynerius (3 volumes).
Apparatus domini Archidiaconi.
Apparatus domini Pauli super Clementinis.
Summa quae vocatur Catholicon, by brother John of Genoa.
Summa doctoris irrefragabilis, de Deitatis et Trinitatis agnitione ac distinctione.
Vita Christi, in four parts (4 volumes).
Life of Saint Denis (1).
Legends of the Saint Marys.
Many books of hours, matins and missals.
Glosa super Catonem.
Somnium Scipionis, of Cicero, printed.
Liber Lucii Senecae.
Boecius, de Consolatione
Liber Guillelmi Parmensis de Universo.
Heuteticus Johannis Salisburiensis in Policratieo.
Libri metaphisices (14 volumes).
Tractatus de puritate artis logice.
Liber de fortunâ bonâ.
Liber de homine et naturâ, beginning by the words: Ad laudem et gloriam.
Digesta nova, with glosses.
Liber Digestorum veterum, printed.
Apparatus domini Johannis Andreae in sexo libro Decretalium.
Textus Sentenciarum, by Pierre Lombard.
Lectura [librarum] Sentenciarum, by brother Grégoire de Heremmo, of the order of Saint-Augustin.
Primus Sentenciarum Durandi.
Durandus de Sancto-Porciano super tertium librum Sentenciarum.
5th HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
Liber Herodoti Halicarnassei, printed.
Sallustius, with armories.
Titus Livius de secundo bello Punico, with armories.
Justinus historicus, printed.
Historia de Alexandro Magno (Quintus-Curtius).
Liber de temporibus Imperatorum, with armories.
Speculum historiale of Vincent de Beauvais, with armories.
The same, cum historiâ de Annuntiatione.
The same, with illuminations and imperial arms.
The same, without decorations.
Tractatus historiarum dicti Speculi historialis, with armories.
Liber capitulorum Speculi historialis, with illuminations and imperial arms.
Capitula dicti Vincentii historialis.
Capitula tricesimi libri dicti Vincentii.
Repertorium ejusdem Vincentii.
Commentum Remigii in libro Marciani.
Strabon, translated into Latin by Guarini da Verona.
Cosmographia or Geography of Ptolemy (1).
6th PROFANE LITERATURE
Marci Tullii Ciceronis Questiones Tusculane ad Marcum Brutum, printed.
Marci Tullii Ciceronis oratio, with the arms of René and ten other escutcheons.
Tullius, de Genealogiâ deorum gentilium, printed.[see note *]
Tullius, de Naturâ deorum, printed.
Antonius Lescius (?) super orations Tullii, et commentum super  Lucanum, with other treatises.
Marius Caius, printed.
Laurentius Valle (2), printed.
Papinotus grammaticus (3).
Liber Hugucii grammatici.
Liber edictus ad grammaticam aut signifficationem [sic] et etymologiam vocabulorum habendam.
7th PHYSICS AND NATURAL SCIENCES
Speculum naturale fratris Vincentii.
Liber subtilium speculacionum, de notitiâ diversarum impressionum aeris, qui dicitur Cyromancia.
Liber de agregationibus septem stellarum et principiis celestium motuum.
Liber physicorum Alberti.
Liber in medicinâ.
Libri anatomiae (4 volumes).
Tractatus de utilitate capitis et partibus ipsius.
Liber de naturâ avium, with a royal personnage at the head.
Albertus de Vegetalibus et plantis, et de Juventute et senectute.
Liber dictus Herbolista, with paintings of different herbs.
8th DIVERSE MATERIAL
Liber Alani (Alain de Lille).
Precianus major (sic).
Illius (?) de re militari.
Book starting with the words: In desolatione et flectibus stabat Raymundus.
Treatise starting with the words: A veritate quidam.
Treatise starting with the words: Hic nota quedam definita.
Liber in pergameno descriptus (without any other designation).
Memoirs in Latin on the county of Beaufort, by the chancellor of Provence (to Jeanne de Laval).
Les Histoires de la Bible, in French.
Les Actes des Apôtres, “arranged and put in order” by Jean du Périer, called The Prayer, following the indications given by René.
L’Apocalypse of Saint John (to Jeanne de Laval).
Les Histoires des Belges.
Vie de saint Louis, by Joinville (1).
Relation du pas d’armes de Bruxelles tenu par Philippe de Lalain.
Volume containing the beginning of a tournament (2).
Division générale de toute la terre.
Description des parties orientales (3).
Le Livre de Jean Boccace, philosophe (in gallico italicorum (4)), with the arms of René.
Le Miroir des dames, illuminated (to Jean de Laval).
Le Pèlerinage de la vie humaine (put into prose for Jeanne de Laval (5)).
Songbook starting with the verse: Amours et desires m’y destroient.
Songbook starting with the words: Quant elle voy qui noccist (7).
Treatise offered to the King of Sicily by his Herald of Arms Pierre de Hurion, litterateur.
Le livre des blazons des chevaliers et écuyers de l’ordre du Croissant, made by Pierre de Mantes, chaplain of René.
Treatise on the game of Chess, dedicated to Bertrand Aubant, Ecuyer of Tarascon, by the translator Jean Ferron, Dominican (1).
Booklet titled: Cy commance ung petit traicté.
Booklet starting with the words: Sur le quart.
Booklet decorated with figures and beginning by the words: Pour tel ouvraige (manuel d’art).
Administrative collection beginning with an ordinance of the King of Sicily.
Another collection of the same genre beginning with the formula: Nous, René, par la grace de Dieu, etc.
Collection of compositions and condemnations.
Paper of Counsel (2).
Many notebooks written in numbers (chiffres) and differently.
Divers papers “which are not of much value”, closed in an ivory chest.
Dante of Florence.
A volume in Italian, at the head of which one reads the words: In hoc volumine.
A book of Astrology, “written in German, illustrated, and signed”, sent by the astrologer Nicholas Merlin.
Two books “written in letters of German” (escriptz en letter d’Almaigne) (acquired, in 1476, from a dealer from Avignon).
(1)Inventory of 1471 (Extraits des comptes et mémoriaux du roi René, no. 642)
(2) Libri reperti in secundà et nova bibliotheca que appellatur seu intitulatur Regis Renati et Karoli de Andegavid. A document taken from the archives of the Bouches-du-Rhône by M. Albanès and published recently in the bulletin du Comité des travaux historiques. Only nine volumes out of the total number come from the specific library of Charles d’Anjou; all the others in it having been left by René. M. Albanès, following a Remontrance de la noblesse de Provence au Roy (Aix, 1669, in-fo.), says that Charles in his turn left his books to the Dominican monastery of Saint-Maximin, except for the works on medicine, which he gave to his physician and counselor Pierre Maurel. But these bequests are not present in the testament of this prince. In another instance, César de Nostredame holds that a portion of the librairie of René fell into the hands of Fouquet d’Agoult, lord of Sault. This portion was comprised above all of ancient poets and of troubadours, which, indeed, are not to be found among the books falling to the account of Maine; Peyresc wrote, in 1631, that there remained almost nothing more in Provence. (Villeneuve-Bargemon, Histoire de René d’Anjou, roi de Naples, duc de Lorraine (Paris, 1825), III, 349.) Thus it would be difficult today, outside of a lucky accident, to retrieve this precious collection.
(3) Comptes et mémoriaux, nos. 501, 506, 697, etc. Arch. des Bouches-du-Rhône, B 215 (pieces justificatives, no. 88), Compte de Jeanne de Laval (Bibl. nat., acq. nouv. fr. 894, nos. 97, 247, 442)
(1) Perhaps this is the fine exemplar which Charles V had loaned to Louis d’Anjou in order to have made his tapestry of the Apocalypse, and which was had not been re-integrated into the Library of the King. See above, p. 111.
(2) This volume is without doubt the same as the “book in parchment of the Epistles saint Paul, text and gloss”, which René bought for a hundred ducats from Louis Daurie, in 1476. (Arch. Des Bouches-du-Rhône, B 273, fo. 171 vo.) This is why I have not counted this last in the present catalogue.
(3) Sent by Marcello.
(4) Probably the Pantheologia of Reynier de Pise, according to M. Albanès.
(1) Manuscript bearing the arms of René and of Jeanne de Laval, conserved in the French collection of the Bibliothèque nationale under no. 2090.
(1) Sent, as well as the Strabo, by Marcello. (Bibl. nat. ms. lat. 17542). See above, p. 181.
*[Ross’ note – should be Boccaccio? I am not aware of Cicero writing a genealogy of the heathen gods, so I am inclined to think that either an early cataloguer or Lecoy de la Marche has here written Tullius by mistake for Boccaccio.]
(1) Sent by Marcello
(2) Laurenzo Valla, Italian philologist, died in 1457.
(3) Very probably the treatise de Arte grammaticae of Pomponius (Laelius), which had been sent to René by Marcello, as discussed herein above; the name of the author, written without doubt in abbreviated form, had been badly read. For this reason I have not added this treatise in the catalogue.
(1) Found at Beaufort, after the death of Jeanne de Laval, among the registers coming from the King her husband. (Des Rieux, ed. de Joinville, in-folio, 1547, preface ; Vill. Barg., III, 261.)
(2) This volume in large format, resting in the château of Angers, was perhaps an unfinished manuscript of the Livre des tournois composed by René himself.
(3) Perhaps the description of the Holy Land sent by Marcello.
(4) Without doubt in Provençal.
(5) Today in the Bibliothèque nationale, fonds français, no. 1113.
(6) This book and the preceding, though they were probably literary or moral treatises, must have been written in French, since they were destined to the small children brough up in the château of Angers.
(7) This initial verse as well as that of the preceding volume are not to be found at the beginning of any songs currently known. One of these two manuscripts was perhaps the collection of French and Provençal songs held in the Bibliothèque nationale under the no. 1597, and which contained the arms of René or of Jean d’Anjou.
(1) This volume carries the arms of René (Bibl. nat., ms. fr. 2000).
(2) This register of the deliberations of the Counsel of the King of Sicily, which carried still its ancient title in the XVI century, as stated in the inventory of this epoch, is conserved today in the Archives nationals under the call number P 1334(3); it contains 213 leaves. The preceding volume offers some comparison with a “book of the finances and compositions” coming equally from René and catalogued, in the same Archives, I(3) 1334(15); but, for this latter, it was not possible to establish the identity.
(contributed by Ross Gregory Caldwell)