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E02826: Hymn in honour of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) composed in Latin in Spain, possibly in the 7th century.

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posted on 2017-05-19, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 84


(1) Hymnum Marie uirginis
decantemus cum angelis,
quam Xristus, Dei filius,
sanctificauit utero.

(2) Adsumptionem ipsius
celebremus cum angelis;
concessa nobis requies,
remotis prauis hostibus.

(3) Mater, que uirum renuit,
mater, que Xristum meruit,
uirgo ante partum que fuit,
uirgo post partum claruit.

(4) Iam Xristus, Deo genitus,
non raptum faciens Deo,
formam serui suscipiens
seruile corpus inserit.

(5) Nec fessum fregit uirginis
egressus templum atriis,
sed claustrum quod inuenerat
clausum reliquit uirginis.

(6) O uere sacer alueus,
huius milesque glorie,
quem celum, terra non capit,
uirginis uero uterus.

(7) Sed nos ad te concurrimus,
alma parens, et poscimus:
erue nos de gentibus
tuis beatis precibus.

(8) Per tuum unigenitum,
quem genuisti, dominum,
celi petamus gremium
diu per omne seculum.

'For the day of saint Mary. For the lauds.

(1) Let us chant with the angels a hymn to the Virgin Mary whom Christ, the Son of God, sanctified in her womb.

(2) Let us celebrate with the angels her Assumption. We are granted rest and wicked enemies are far from us.

(3) O Mother, who rejected a man, o Mother who deserved Christ, who was Virgin before birth and shone as Virgin after birth.

(4) Now Christ born from God, though he did not rob God [in being equal with him], but took the form of a servant, and assumed a servile body. [cf. Philippians 2:6: qui cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est esse se aequalem Deo, KJV: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God"]

(5) He did not break the weak temple of the Virgin when he left this dwelling, but he left the womb of the Virgin as closed as he had found it.

(6) O truly sacred vessel and the servant of the glory of the one whom heaven and earth cannot contain, but the womb of the virgin [did contain].

(7) But we run to you, o nourishing parent, and we beg: rescue us from the nations by your blessed prayers.

(8) Through your Only-Begotten Lord whom You bore, let us seek the bosom of heaven for ever.'

Text: Castro Sánchez 2010, 315-316. Translation: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Liturgical texts - Hymns


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts


This hymn for the feast of Mary is written in the iambic dimeter and used to be attributed to Prudentius. It is known only from the Mozarabic tradition, so it was certainly composed before 1085 when the Mozarabic rite was abolished. However, on the basis primarily of its internal stylistic characteristics, it has been tentatively dated to the 7th c. Some scholars think that the poem is an acrostic with the name 'Haminos' spelled out by the first letters, which might be the name of the author. See Blume 1897, 48-49; Messenger 1946, 165; Szövérffy 1998, 37; Castro Sánchez 2010, 820. The hymn was included by Alfonso Ortiz in his Toletan edition of the Breviarium secundum regulam beati Isidori in 1502. In the manuscript tradition it survives only in the 17th century notes of Nicolás Antonio, Extracta ex Missali et Breviario Toletano-Gothico, siue officio quod uocant mozarabico, a Gothorum tempore inter Hispanos solemni, on folios 486-529 of ms. 7365 in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid (Castro Sánchez 2010: 25). Pérez de Urbel's method of dating hymns: Josef Pérez de Urbel's method is based on two preliminary assumptions: a) that the bulk of the Hispanic liturgy was composed in the 7th century, the 'golden age' of the Hispanic Church, and that important intellectual figures of this period (Braulio of Saragossa, Isidore of Seville, Eugenius of Toledo, et al.) participated in its creation; b) that the liturgy was, nevertheless, still developing and changing in the period after the Arab invasion, and therefore, many texts which we find in 9th, 10th, and 11th century liturgical manuscripts might be of more recent date. Some hymns can be dated to the period after 711, for instance if they mention 'hagaric oppression' or if they are in honour of saints whose cult was imported later to Spain (they do not feature in earlier literary and epigraphic evidence, nor are attested in the oldest liturgical book from Hispania, the Orationale Visigothicum). It is more difficult to identify the hymns which are certainly from before 711. To this group Pérez de Urbell usually attributed hymns with a probable attribution to an author from the 7th century (like Braulio of Saragossa or Quiricius of Barcelona), and those which were stylistically close to the poetry of Eugenius of Toledo from the 7th century. Pérez de Urbell then compared two groups of the hymns and noticed the following: a) late hymns contain 'barbarisms' and solecisms, while early ones are written in correct classical Latin; b) late hymns are composed in rhythmic metres, early ones are frequently in the correct classical metres; that, up until the end of the 7th century, people still could compose in e.g. hexameters is confirmed by epigraphical evidence; these metric inscriptions disappear from the 8th century onwards; the 8th and 9th century authors who make attempts at writing in classical (quantitative) metres, always make mistakes; c) some rhythmical poetry could nevertheless be early; d) although both early and late hymns sometimes have rhymes, perfect rhymes occur only in late hymns. In the absence of any certain indications for dating, Pérez de Urbell assumed that a hymn is early if at least two requirements were met: the Latin is 'correct' and there are no perfect rhymes. He also considered early every hymn composed in a quantitative metre.


As the main motif of the hymn is the conception of Christ, most probably the hymn was dedicated for the feast of the Virgin Mary celebrated in the Spanish Church on 18 December, see E04419 and E05172.


Editions: A. Ortiz, Breviarium secundum regulam beati Isidori (Toledo 1502). C. Blume, Hymnodia Gothica: Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevii 27; Leipzig 1897). J. Castro Sánchez (ed.), Hymnodia hispanica, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167, (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010). J. Castro Sánchez (ed.), Hymnodia hispánica, Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19, (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: R. Messenger, "Mozarabic Hymns in Relation to Contemporary Culture in Spain", Traditio 4 (1946), 149-177. Szövérffy, J., Iberian Latin Hymnody: Survey and Problems (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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