The Genesis of a Composite

The Codicology of AM 239 fol.

  • Lea D. Pokorny


Manuscript AM 239 fol. is central for the so-called Helgafell-manuscripts, as it connects the group of some sixteen manuscripts and fragments to the Augustinian house of Helgafell on Snæfellsnes in west Iceland. The manuscript’s significance lies not only in the ownership note on fol. 1r, but also in the fact that it was used as an exemplar for two manuscripts, AM 653 a 4to (with JS fragm. 7) and SÁM 1. The codicological structure of the manuscript is complex and was recently described as a composite consisting of two late-fourteenth-century production units. This article revisits the codicology of AM 239 fol; it shows there are, in fact, three production units from that period and explores the ways in which these relate to one another. The genesis of the manuscript is important to keep in mind when discussing AM 239 fol. as exemplar, as it offers a possible explanation as to why only one of its texts was copied into SÁM 1.