Frankish Hymnal

The Frankish Hymnal (German: Fränkisches Hymnar, also called "Gallican Hymnal"[1]) is a collection of early medieval Latin hymns, most likely composed during the 6th to 8th centuries in Francia, recorded in a set of manuscripts of the mid-8th to early 9th century.

Vatican Reg. Lat. 11, fol. 230v (Te Deum)


According to Helmut Gneuss (2000), the extant texts of the Frankish Hymnal are found in the following six manuscripts, all originating in northeastern France or southwestern Germany:

  • Vatican Reg. Lat. 11, foll. 230v–236v, mid-8th century;[2]
  • Paris B.N. Lat. 14088, 8th or 9th century;
  • Paris, B.N. Lat. 13159, c. 795–800;
  • Paris, B.N. Lat. 528, early 9th century;
  • Zürich, ZB MS Rheinau 34, early 9th century;
  • Oxford, Bodleian MS Junius 25 (the Murbach hymnal), early 9th century.[3]

A critical edition of the text was published by Bulst (1956).

The Frankish Hymnal is one of the regional traditions of "Ambrosian hymns", developed on the basis of the "Old Hymnal", a collection of about 15 hymns of the Latin rite which surround the core of original hymns composed by saint Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century. Other regional traditions recognized in Fontaine (1992) are the "Milano Hymnal", the "Spanish Hymnal", and the "New Hymnal" as it developed for the use in Benedictine monasteries in the 9th to 11th centuries.[4]

Within the Frankish hymnal, the Oxford manuscript (the Murbach hymnal) is of particular interest, as it includes a full set of Old High German glosses, likely still dating to the first quarter of the 9th century.

List of hymnsEdit

Seventeen hymns are innovations to the Frankish Hymnal (underlined below), of which six survive into the New Hymnal.[5]

OH[6] Incipit Use NH[6]
1 Mediae noctis tempore Nocturns Sunday
2 Aeterne rerum conditor Nocturns 4
3 Rex aeterna domine Nocturns 31
4 Magna et mirabilia Nocturns
5 Tempus noctis Nocturns
6 Te deum laudamus Vigils Sunday
7 Deus qui caeli lumen es Lauds Sunday
8 Splendor paternae gloriae Matins Monday 15
9 Aeterne lucis conditor Matins Tuesday
10 Fulgentis auctor aetheris Lauds Wednesday
11 Deus aeterni luminis Lauds Thursday
12 Christe caeli domine Lauds Friday
13 Diei luce reddita Lauds Saturday
17 Iam surgit hora tertia Terce
18 Iam sexta sensim volvitur Sext
21 Ter hora trina volvitur None
22 Postmatutinis laudibus Prime
23 Certum tenentes ordinem Terce
24 Dicamus laudes domino Sext
25 Perfectum trinum numerum None 53
26 Deus creator omnium Vespers 2
27 Deus qui certis legibus Vespers
28 Deus qui claro lumine Vespers
29 Sator princepsque temporum Vespers
30 Christe qui lux es et dies Compline 12
34 Intende qui regis Israel Christmas 39
35 Illuminans altissimus Epiphany
36 Dei fide qua vivimus Terce during Lent 51
37 Meridie orandum est Sext during Lent 52
38 Sic ter quaternis trahitur Vespers, None during Lent 54
39 Hic est dies verus dei Matins and Vespers at Easter
40 Ad cenam agni providi Easter 70
41 Aurora lucis rutilat Easter 72
44 Aeterna Christi munera Martyrs 117

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Donald A. Bullough, Carolingian Renewal: Sources and Heritage (1991) 262.
  2. ^ "Psalterium duplum", possibly from the possession of Eberhard of Friuli;
  3. ^ MS.;
  4. ^ Alexander Zerfass, Mysterium mirabile (2008), 65f.
  5. ^ Inge B. Milfull, The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church: A Study and Edition of the 'Durham Hymnal' (1996), 473f.
  6. ^ a b "Old Hymnal" and "New Hymnal" numbering following Helmut Gneuss, Hymnar und Hymnen im englischen Mittelalter (1968), 60ff.
  • Walther Bulst, Hymni latini antiquissimi LXXV Psalmi III, Heidelberg (1956).
  • Jacques Fontaine (ed.), Ambroise de Milan: Hymnes (1992).
  • Helmut Gneuss, "Zur Geschichte des Hymnars", Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 35.2 (2000) 227–247 (p. 228).
  • Marie-Hélène Jullien, "Les sources de la tradition ancienne des quatorze 'Hymnes' attribuées à saint Ambroise de Milan", Revue d’histoire des textes (1989), 57–189 (86–91).
  • Lothar Voetz, "Murbacher Hymnen (Interlinearversion)" in: R. Bergmann (ed.), Althochdeutsche und altsächsische Literatur (2013), 272–288.