209 leaves (11 5/8 x 8 11/16; 295 x 220 mm). Ruled in lead pencil, written on vellum in square Ashkenazic script in dark brown ink, 18 lines in a single column for the prayers, in double columns for some of the piyyutim, instructions and some commentaries in semi-cursive script, glosses and more piyyutim added in the margins by later hands; margins of several leaves cropped close to the script, some staining not affecting legibility. Contemporary calf over wooden boards; front cover and spine sympathetically replaced.\nA rare, fine, and complete medieval Ashkenazic mahzor. The mahzor represents a precious survival of the cultural heritage of the medieval Jewish communities in France. Medieval Hebrew manuscripts of any type originating in France are very few in number—and liturgical works of this period are rarer still. Goldschmidt lists twelve mahzorim with French textual characteristics, six of them dating from the thirteenth or early fourteenth century.\nContents:\nfol. 1r - 6v Preliminary Blessings;\nfol. 7r - 20v Pesukei de-Zimra;\n fol. 20v – 52v Shaharit for the first day of Rosh Hashanah;\nfol. 22r – 24r Yozer for the first day;\nfol. 34v – 50v Reader’s repetition of the Amidah, piyyutim;\n fol. 50v – 52r Avinu Malkenu;\nfol. 52v – 62v Torah service for the first day;\nfol. 62v – 64r Shofar service;\nfol. 63r – 114r Musaf for the first day;\nfol. 72r – 111v Reader’s repetition of the Musaf Amidah, piyyutim;\n fol. 114v - 154v Shaharit for the second day of Rosh Hashanah;\nfol. 116r – 118r Yozer;\nfol. 126v – 152v Reader’s repetition of the Amidah, piyyutim;\n fol. 153r – 154r Avinu Malkenu;\nfol. 154v – 162v Torah service for the second day;\nfol. 162v – 164r Shofar service;\nfol. 164v – 209r Musaf for the second day;\nfol. 172v – 209r Reader’s repetition of the Musaf Amidah, piyyutim.\n\nThis mahzor—in terms of its codicological features, illumination and liturgical form—is consistent throughout with Ashkenazic tradition. The text of the prayers contains specific readings, which are characteristic of the rite of French Jewish communities. The manuscript also contains many piyyutim (liturgical hymns) typically found in French mahzorim. That the mahzor is of French origin is also supported by the paleographic data. The vellum is equalized on hair and flesh sides; and the ruling is in lead pencil page by page. These techniques characterize Ashkenazic manuscripts from the last decades of the thirteenth and early fourteenth century (cf. Beit Arie, Hebrew Codicology, pp. 24–25, 84). The earliest owner of the manuscript is known as "Ashkenazi" (fol. 209v). The book may have been the second volume of a mahzor containing prayers for the festivals or it may have been created integrally for use on Rosh Hashanah. It is complete in and of itself. There is internal evidence that can date and locate the manuscript. The lines of the Aleinu prayer are uncensored, and on fol. 34r, the last line, Shalom bi-semoli ve-shalom bi-yemini in the prayer Eloah Netsor is included despite Mordekhai ben Hillels's (ca. 1240 - 1298) disapproval of it. The present manuscript was apparently copied prior to his ruling. Fol. 1v contains Magbiah Shefalim following She-Lo Asani Eved in the morning blessings is proper to the Jews of Metz. Marginal notes prove further that the manuscript is an Ashkenaz production in that they contain words in Judeo-German and Judeo-French, written in Hebrew characters (fols. 23v, 26v). On the outer margin of fol. 37r, there is a short insertion of a text used mainly in the communities of Alsace (cf. Goldschmidt, Rosh ha-Shanah, p. 69) and the piyyut Em Asher added in the margin of fol. 40r usually appears in the mahzorim of the French rite (cf. Goldschmidt, p. 74).\nThe scribe of the main text did not sign his name. On folios 112r and 207v, however, the name ‘Nathan’ is indicated by pen-flourishes. These flourishes are done in the light brown ink used for the vowels and the decoration of the catchwords. It can therefore be assumed that Nathan was the name of the scribe who vocalized the text.\nProgram of Decoration:\nThe work falls squarely in the golden age of illuminated mahzorim, which flourished in the Askenazic world throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, mainly in southwest Germany in the Rhine Valley. Some of the famous mahzorim of the Askenazic tradition are illuminated with narrative or topical depictions of humans or animals; others have elaborate decoration in the initial panels of the various piyyutim. The ornaments found in this manuscript are of two different styles, and have been executed in two phases.\nThe original decoration was done in the dark brown ink used for the text, and probably by the scribe himself. This decoration comprises: on fol. 1r: the initial word barukh, written in large display letters, with rosettes at the junction of the strokes and small floral motifs at the place of the vowels; on fol. 88r: a vertical band filled with scrolls spared on the ink ground; on fol. 114v, a medium sized initial word with pen-flourishes surrounding the strokes. This original decoration in this mahzor was enriched by three exquisite initial-word panels dominated by well-preserved gold leaf. These initials appear at important junctures in the liturgy. They in effect introduce each of the largest divisions of the service by emphasizing the first word of a liturgical poem which encapsulates the most important meditative focus of that division.\nThe first initial word is "Melekh" ("King," fol. 22r) from the piyyut "Melekh azur g’vurah" (King girded with power"), and highlights the sovereignty of God, which is the theme of the day’s, and more specifically, the morning’s liturgy. This poem serves as the yozer, or poetic introduction to the blessing "Yozer Or" (who creates light) for the first morning of Rosh Hashanah. The letters of the initial word are executed in gold leaf and the word itself floats against a scrolled background of violet, purple, blue and green penwork within the suggestion of a Gothic arch. Encompassed within 28 roundels is an exceptionally fine assembly of Gothic drolleries—both real and fantastic birds, beasts and plants.\nThe second initial word appearing on fol. 72r is "Ufad" ("Ordained") from the piyyut "Ufad me’az leshefet ha-Yom" ("Ordained from old was this day for judgment"), which is chanted in the reader’s repetition of the Musaf Amidah, before the blessing “Magen Avraham" (…Shield of Abraham). It emphasizes the pre-ordained character of the Day of Judgment, a primary theme of the Musaf, whose culmination on Rosh Hashanah is the U’Netaneh Tokef prayer, with its description of how even the angels tremble when they hear that this is to be the Day of Judgment, and its assertion that "On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed … who will live and who will die." This incipit word is again accomplished in fine gold leaf, and like the first panel, floats against a background of violet, purple, blue and green scrollwork. Whereas the framework of the yozer panel was that of a gateway, emphasizing that the yozer is the entryway into the entire service of the day, this illumination is more fixed and delimited, proclaiming the firm, fixed character of the Day of Judgment. Yet judgment itself is not fixed; there is opportunity for repentance and for a change of the verdict. Perhaps this is why the drolleries, which may well be seen as purely decorative, appear here again. Just as the birds, animals and plants are within their spheres, the reader is reminded that he too, is within his world as a creature of the Most High, to be ordained this day in judgment.\nThe third initial word, again "Melekh," (fol. 116r) is from the yozer for the second day of Rosh Hashanah. It serves as the opening words of the piyyut, "Melekh amon, ma’amarakh me’rachah mutsav" (Mighty King, your word [promise] stands fast from of yore). This piyyut combines an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty with the assurance that just as justice was ordained from of old, so was mercy, in the form of God’s enduring covenant with the people of Israel. The yozer interjects a note of hope into the liturgy of the day and into the coming week of repentance. The gold letters of the incipit panel stand out against a network of violet foliage on a blue ground, forming the hidden figures of dragons, which symbolize unexpected mercy.