This page is a leaf from a manuscript Antiphonary. Pages like this were written during the Middle Ages for choral singing. They were made very large so that whole choirs could read them. The antiphonary was one of three books used by the Divine office and the were named because of a specific element: Antiphons. Antiphons are, in general, are short sentences sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle. From the information in the Special collections room, this leaf is written on parchment paper in black and red gothic hand. It is most likely Flemish and from the early 16th century.

The history behind Antiphonal singing is very old. It is said to have been introduced into Christian worship by “one Ignatius in the first century, after he had vision of angels singing in alternate choirs” (Special Collections card). It was brought into the Latin church (Catholic) by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. The form of antiphonary used in modern times and seen below is the work of Gregory the Great in the 6th century. Not much evolution there. Professor Johnson mentioned that this one was not one of the nicer ones. I’ve attached some photos of nicer looking leafs below.