previous section
next section


Text Divisions

Fol. 1, introductory paragraph to Book I, "Ci commence Le Livre de Politiques, ou quel Aristote traicte et determine des manieres de ordener et gouverner les citez et les grans communitez et contient. VIII. livres particuliers ." Fol. IV, colophon, "Je Raoulet d'Orliens qui l'escri ay mis le texte premier ainsi signé T. Et apres la glose s'ensuit ainsi signé O qui fait Oresme ."[1] Fol. 2v, incipit, Book I: Politiques , "Nous veons que toute cité est une communité. Et toute communité est instituée et establie et ordenée pour la grace et a la fin d'aucun bien." Fol. 363, explicit, Book VIII, Politiques : "Cy fenist le .viii.e de Politiques." Fol. 363v, incipit, Book I, Yconomique : "Cy commence le livre de Yconomique lequel composa Aristote ." Fol. 387, explicit, Book II, Yconomique : "Cy fenist Yconomique. Et ne convient a ici faire table des notables." Fol. 388, "Par les intitulacions des livres et des chapitres l'en peut veoir les matieres de tout ce livre de Politiques qui contient .viii. livres." Fol. 388v, "Ci commence la table des notables ." Fol. 403, explicit, index of noteworthy subjects: "Cy fenist la table generalede tout le proces du livre de Politiques contenant .viii. livres."

The text comprises the eight books of the Politica and two books of the pseudo-Aristotelian Oeconomica . D is the second volume of the portable set of Oresme's translations of these texts commissioned by Charles V and is the counterpart of C described in Appendix II. D lacks the prologue, the two instructions, and the glossary of difficult words contained in B and described in Appendix III. D includes the integrated index of noteworthy subjects placed after the text of the Yconomique . Raoulet d'Orléans added the following marginal note, fol. 130v: "la glose qui vient apres est en la fin de ce tiers livre car cest livre estoit escript quant le maistre li adiousta." This gloss appears on fols. 134v–137.

Structure and Layout

Parchment, 403 fols. ii (modern) + 403 + 2 (modern): I (1) 1; II (2) 8; III (10) 8; IV (18) 8; V (26) 8; VI (34) 2; VII (36) 8; VIII (44) 6; IX (50) 8; X (58) 8; XI (66) 8; XII (74) 3; XIII (77) 8; XIV (85) 8; XV (93) 8; XVI (101) 8; XVII (109) 8; XVIII (117) 8; XIX (125) 8; XX (133) 12; XXI (145) 8; XXII (153) 8; XXIII (161) 8; XXIV (169) 8; XXV (177) 4; XXVI (181) 8; XXVII (189) 8; XXVIII (197) 8; XXIX (205) 8; XXX (213) 8; XXXI (221) 8; XXXII (229) 8; XXXIII


(237) 4; XXXIV (241) 8; XXXV (249) 8; XXXVI (257) 8; XXXVII (265) 8; XXXVIII (273) 8; XXXIX (281) 8; XL (289) 8; XLI (297) 8; XLII (305) 8; XLIII (313) 8; XLIV (321) 8; XLV (329) 8; XLVI (337) 4; XLVII (341) 8; XLVIII (349) 8; XLIX (357) 8; L (365) 8; LI (373) 8; LII (381) 7; LIII (388) 8; LIV (396) 8 226 × 15.3 (justification, 141 × 95) mm. Text written in 2 columns, 41 lines; ruled in pale brown ink. Prickings for rulings visible. Text and gloss intermingled. In rubrics, text = T , or Texte ; gloss = O , Or , or Oresme . Gothic bookhand, one scribe, Raoulet d'Orléans. Catchwords lower right verso; modern pencil foliation. Book numbers in upper margin, alternating red and blue filigrees; chapter numbers in alternating blue and rose Roman numerals in margins. Alternating red and blue pen 2-line initials of chapter headings, line endings, and paraphs. Introductory paragraphs, chapter titles, and some diagram inscriptions in rubrics. Below miniatures beginning each book, a 5-line initial, dentellated and foliated. Alternating red and blue, 2-line initials for chapter headings and summary paragraphs. Capital letters stroked with yellow. Diagrams (Book IV, fols. 177v and 180v; Book V, fols. 186 and 237v; Book VI, fol. 254; Book VII, fols. 254, 289, and 318v; Book VIII, fol. 360; and Yconomique , Book I, fol. 372v). In the margins abbreviations for the word note (no .) written by the scribe (fols. 35, 38, 50, 131v, 188v, 196, 231, 254, and 369).

An earlier brown calf binding was replaced by a modern quarter binding in wood, red morocco spine and bands, gold metal strip with 5 small rivets, 2 metal clasps, morocco trim by M. J. Marchoul, Belgium, 1967.


Ten rectangular frontispieces, 1–3 registers. The atelier of the Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V executed the entire cycle (Books I–VIII, Politiques ; Books I–II, Yconomique ). The head of the atelier himself was responsible for the frontispieces of the entire volume on fols. IV and 2, as well as of the miniature of Book VI, fol. 241. Politiques : Book I, fol. IV, Tyrannie, top; Olygarchie, center; and Democracie, bottom (16.5 × 9.4); fol. 2, Royaume, top; Aristocracie, center; and Tymocracie (Polity), bottom (16.5 × 9.4)/Book II, fol. 36, Socrates Dictates to Plato, above left; Hippodamus, right (10.2 × 9.2); and Phaleas, below left (5.4 × 4.7)/Book III, fol. 77, A King Banishes a Subject, above; A King Cuts off the Tallest Ears of Grain in the Presence of a Messenger, below left; A Painter Erases an Error, right (10.1 × 9.3)/Book IV, fol. 138, Povres genz, above left; Bonne policie—Moiens, center; Riches gens, right; Povres gens, below left; Mauvaise policie—Moiens, center; Riches gens, right (10.2 × 9.3)/Book V, fol. 181, Conspiracion occulte, above; Demagogue preschant contre le prince, Sedition apperte, below (10.2 × 9.5)/Book VI, fol. 241, Bonne democracie (10.7 × 9.6)/Book VII, fol. 263, Genz d'armes, top left; Genz de conseil, right; Gent sacerdotal, center left; Cultiveurs de terres, right; Genz de mestier, bottom left; Marcheans, right (15.5 × 9.3)/Book VIII, fol. 341, Excercitations corporeles, above; A jecter le dart, below left; En musique, right (10.6 × 9.6). Yconomique : Book I, fol. 363v,


Household and Family (6.5 × 9.6)/Book II, fol. 375, A Marriage Ceremony (6.2 × 9.4).

As in C , the figures are modeled in grisaille with colored washes. Two miniatures (fols. 36 and 77) have tricolored, quadrilobe frames. A new type of frame is introduced in the miniatures beginning with Book VI of the Politiques and continues throughout the cycle. A familiar repertoire of colored and gold geometric backgrounds occurs in all the miniatures but is diminished in those illustrations with a landscape or architectural background (fols. 241, 363v, and 375).


For the documents relating to the commission of the translations and the payments to Raoulet d'Orléans for his work on the Ethiques and the Politiques , see Appendix II. The manuscript is mentioned in all 4 inventories of Charles V's library in the Louvre and is identified from a description of 1411 by the librarian Jean Le Bègue.[2] Like C , the manuscript remained in the Louvre library until the death of Charles VI in 1425, when it was sold to the regent, John, duke of Bedford, for 16 livres. Following his death and that of his wife, Anne, sister of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, the manuscript entered the library of that prince and is described in inventories of 1467 and 1487. The manuscript remained in the Burgundian library in Dijon until the French Revolution. In 1796 D was taken to Paris, where it stayed in the Bibliothèque Nationale until 1815. It was brought to Brussels in 1830 to form part of the Bibliothèque Royale. The red stamp of the Bibliothèque Nationale is still visible on fols. 1 and 403v.

Principal References[en3]Principal References[3]

Avril, La librairie , no. 204, 118–19; Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier, La librairie de Bourgogne , nos. 4–5, 19–20; idem, La librairie de Philippe le Bon , no. 216, 141; idem, Trésors de la Bibliothèque Royale , no. 13, 34–35; Calkins, Programs of Medieval Illumination , 139–41; Delaissé, Medieval Miniatures , no. 14, 70–73; Delisle, Le cabinet des manuscrits , vol. 3, no. 485, 138; idem, Mélanges de paléographie , 256–69 and 281–82; idem, Recherches , vol. 1, no. 54, 254, and vol. 2, no. 485, 82–83; Doutrepont, Inventaire de la librairie de Philippe le Bon , 127; idem, La littérature française à la cour des ducs de Bourgogne , 121–23 and 126–27; Gaspar and Lyna, Les principaux manuscrits à peintures , vol. 1, no. 152, 362–65; van den Gheyn, Catalogue des manuscrits , vol. 4, no. 2904, 336; Grabmann, "Die mittelalterlichen Kommentare," 47; Hoeber, "Über Stil und Komposition der französischen Miniaturen," 187; Masai and Wittek, Manuscrits datés conservés en Belgique , vol. 1, no. 73, 44; Oresme, Politiques , 34–35; Sherman, "Some Visual Definitions," 326–33; de Winter, La bibliothèque de Philippe le Hardi , no. 17, 222–25; idem, "Copistes, éditeurs, et enlumineurs," 193; idem, "The Grandes Heures ," 794.


previous section
next section