Inventory of manuscripts of Vincent's political works
Prologue to De morali principis institutione, from manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C 398, fol. 89v
This inventory lists 39 surviving manuscripts that contain one or more of Vincent's political works that he had written for king Louis IX and members of his court: the De morali principis institutione, the De eruditione filiorum nobilium and the Liber consolatorius ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii. The inventory also gives brief information on 8 manuscripts that are lost today.
The manuscripts of each political work received a section of their own. Each section presents succinct manuscript descriptions. Several descriptions start with a siglum derived from Robert Schneider's 1995 edition of the De morali principis institutione or from Arpad Steiner's 1938 edition of the De eruditione filiorum nobilium.
The descriptions continue with additional information on the text as found in the manuscript under consideration, and mentions conjunctions with other works by Vincent of Beauvais. Then follows, as far as available, information on the date and geographical region of production of the manuscript and on its medieval and later owners. If online facsimiles are available, hyperlinks are added to the description.
The manuscript tradition of the De morali principis institutione being well studied, the traditions of the De eruditione filiorum nobilium and the Liber consolatorius need further analysis. Viewing the number of manuscripts, the Liber consolatorius must have been the most popular of these works: it survived in 29 manuscripts from all over Europe and is known to have existed in four more manuscripts lost today.
The inventory shows that the manuscripts of the political works preponderantly circulated in houses of the Dominican order — this sharply contrasts with the circulation of manuscripts of the Speculum Maius, in which the Cistercian and Benedictine orders played a key role. Analysis of the manuscripts of the De morali principis institutione revealed that this text was neglected for fifty years following Vincent's death — again a sharp contrast with the circulation of manuscripts of the Speculum Maius, which rapidly started after Vincent completed its first edition. By efforts of the Dominican order, the De morali principis institutione was disseminated from Paris in the early 14th century. It primarily circulated in southern England, and from there on the continent. This might mirror the role that the Augustinian Abbey of St. Victor at Paris and the Dominican house at Basel possibly played in the circulation of Vincent's theological works, but further study is required here (see: Inventory of manuscripts of Vincent's theological works). It is unestablished if the manuscript circulation of the De eruditione filiorum nobilium and the Liber consolatorius have similar dissemination patterns.
In 12 of the surviving manuscripts, and in 4 of the lost manuscripts, two or all three political works are companions. This coexistence is made visible in the table used in the Alphabetical list of manuscripts.