« L’ensemble de ces dispositifs paratextuels garantit à cet ouvrage une lecture efficace et souple et en fait un instrument de travail remarquable. » (D. Saulnier, dans Scriptorium, 2, 2017, p. 151)
The Missale Gothicum provides unique evidence relating to the liturgy of early medieval Gaul around 700 AD and its reception in later centuries, and offers insight into the development of the Latin language in this key period of Latinity. Its significance may therefore not be underestimated. The codex in which the text is transmitted, now preserved in the Vatican Library (Vat. reg. lat. 317), comprises the prayers for Mass for the entire liturgical year as recited by the celebrant, most probably the bishop of Autun. The Gothic Missal is the only surviving source of many rites and commemorations that characterise the specific liturgical tradition of late antique and early medieval (Merovingian) Gaul. At the same time, the codex is the earliest known source of a number of liturgical texts still in use in the liturgy of the Western Church, such as the Easter hymn Exultet and prayers featuring in Baptismal rites. This first integral English translation of the text is intended to make its sometimes rather obscure Latin more accessible to scholars of medieval liturgy (musicologists, religious and social historians) and of medieval Latin, as well as to new generations of students interested in the history and religious culture of the Middle Ages. Moreover, it is the hope of the author of the present volume to address a broad audience of interested readers, academic and otherwise, by opening up to them the unique and colourful world of late antique and early medieval liturgical life and its reception until the present day.
The source text of this volume appeared in the series Corpus Christianorum Series Latina as Missale Gothicum (CCSL 159D). References to the corresponding pages of the edition are provided in the margins of the present translation.