Vindel Parchment

Vindel Parchment Facsimile Edition

Galicia (Spain) — Late 13th century

Discovered by a Madrid antiquarian: one of only three surviving collections of medieval love songs from a woman's perspective

  1. The seven love songs written by Martin Codax, a travelling singer in 13th century Galicia, were discovered in 1913/14

  2. They are in the tradition of the so-called Cantigas de amigo, which are narrated in a female voice

  3. These monologues and dialogues tell of their longings and laments, and are filled with illusions to nature

Vindel Parchment

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Vindel Parchment

Medieval Spain and Portugal had a rich tradition of troubadour poetry, including a specific tradition written in a female voice known as Cantigas de amigo. These cheeky, even erotic monologues and dialogues are among the rarest specimens of medieval lyric poetry. In fact, before the discovery of this manuscript in 1913/14, only one other manuscript of Galician-Portuguese cantigas was known to exist, and only one other has since been discovered. This 13th century manuscript may have originated from the splendid court of Alfonso X the Wise, and is counted among the greatest historic finds of the 20th century.

Vindel Parchment

This 13th century manuscript was discovered by coincidence in 1913/14. Pedro Vindel, an antiquarian in Madrid, discovered that it was being used as a cover for a copy of De Officiis by Cicero (106-43 BC). It is one of the most important discoveries in the history of the Galician-Portuguese troubadour tradition. The so-called Vindel Parchment contains seven love songs written by Martin Codax, a travelling singer in 13th century Galicia associated with the court of Alfonso X the Wise (1221–84), and is the only record for six of them. It is also the only manuscript containing the so-called Cantigas de amigo – a genre of medieval lyric poetry specific to northwestern Iberia in a female voice – with musical notation. Taking the form of either monologues or dialogues with their girlfriends, sisters, mother, or boyfriend, the short and cheeky lyrics tell of their longings and laments, and are filled with illusions to nature –they are also strongly erotic. The manuscript was created in an unknown but well-staffed scriptorium and is adorned with blue and red initials. Until the emergence of this document, the Cantigas de Santa María, dedicated to religious subjects by Alfonso X the Wise, was the only known Galician-Portuguese cantigas. Later, the Sharrer Parchment (turn of the 12th to 13th century) was discovered along with seven cantigas of troubadour poetry by King Denis of Portugal (1261–1325), called the Poet King, but fall within the genre of Cantigas de amor. The Vindel Parchment was acquired in 1977 by the New York Morgan Library, where, after a journey as random as the protests of the protagonist in the verses themselves, it is still preserved today.


Alternative Titles
Vindel Pergamente
Pergamino Vindel
Siete Canciones de Amor
Size / Format
2 leaves / 33.6 × 45.0 cm
Late 13th century
Gothic Textura
Red and blue fleuronné initials
7 songs about love
Previous Owners
Pedro Vindel
Rafael Mitjana
Otto Haas

Available facsimile editions:
Vindel Parchment  – MS M.979 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA) Facsimile Edition
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2016
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Pergamino Vindel

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2016

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2016
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Martin Codax, Monica Miro, Marina Arbor Aldea, Rip Cohen, Harvey L. Sharrer, Simone Marcenaro, Antonio Ciaralli, Antonio Calvia, and Speranza Cerullo
Languages: Galician, English, Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
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