PRG Database: Concordance Tables for the Romano-German Pontifical

Curator: Henry Parkes (University of Nottingham)


The PRG Database presents concordance tables to the so-called Romano-German Pontifical (RGP), also known as Pontifical Romano-Germanique or Pontificale Romano-Germanicum (PRG), a celebrated tradition of early medieval liturgical texts. The tradition was first identified by Michel Andrieu in the 1920s, who began to edit the texts but did not complete the project. The whole was subsequently edited posthumously as:

Le Pontifical Romano-Germanique du Dixième Siècle, ed. Cyrille Vogel and Reinhard Elze, 3 vols, Studi e Testi 226-7, 269 (Vatican, 1963 & 1972).

What the database offers

The Vogel-Elze edition is founded upon from a diverse group of eleventh- and twelfth-century manuscripts, some of which look like pontificals and may have functioned as such (i.e. supporting the liturgical duties of the bishop), others of which seem to have been copied more as theoretical compendia. These manuscripts communicate the texts for a number of unusual or occasional Christian rituals (essentially all those outside of the daily Mass and Office celebrations), along with texts on their authoritative status and their organisation within the church year. They are distinctive for their frequent overabundance of texts, for their tendency to provide intricate textual detail and multiple alternate texts, and above all for the eclectic guide to the special rituals of the church year known to scholars as Ordo Romanus Antiquus or Ordo Romanus 50.

The database is necessary because the individual manuscripts are far more variant than the Vogel-Elze edition suggests. Indeed, but for a few identical manuscript pairs, no two copies have the same text. Furthermore, the edition incorporates only a fraction of the surviving witnesses to this tradition. Both problems are addressed here, and will continue to be addressed as further indices are added.

How to use the database

Each row in the left-hand column represents a chapter from the PRG edition (I-XCVIII from Volume 1; XCIX-CCLVIII from Volume II). Each of the other columns represents a manuscript. Ten of the columns represent manuscripts used in the edition; the remaining columns have been collated (or are in the process of being collated) independently. The numbers in each column represent the basic relative order of texts in that manuscript. At present there is no way to indicate other, non-PRG texts contained in each of these manuscripts – in no way should we minimise that fact – and it is hoped that a suitable method may be established in due course.

The columns have been arranged in three families, here named ι, β, and γ, followed by a selection of more distant or fragmentary witnesses. The first and third families correspond to those named Groups II and Group I (respectively) in the published PRG edition. However, the present arrangement reverses these families, following the thesis of Parkes (2020), with manuscript B (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Lit. 53) placed at the head of the collection. Note that the families are divided according to their textual differences; these may or may not correspond to the ordering patterns that this table sets out to clarify.

The user may interact with the data as follows:

    • drag and drop columns
    • re-orient the ordering information relative to a selected manuscript
    • hold the mouse over row and column titles for more information

Further resources

  • Henry Parkes, ‘Henry II, Liturgical Patronage and the Birth of the “Romano-German Pontifical”’, Early Medieval Europe 28 (2020), 104-141
  • Henry Parkes, ‘Questioning the Authority of Vogel and Elze’s Pontificale Romano-Germanique’ in Helen Gittos and Sarah Hamilton (eds.), Understanding Medieval Liturgy: Essays in Interpretation (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 75–101
  • Henry Parkes, The Making of Liturgy in the Ottonian Church: Books, Music and Ritual in Mainz 950-1050, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought 100 (Cambridge: CUP, 2015)