This is a rubric for the hymn Ave maris stella from a French 13th century source. Someone helped me and gave me: 'A song for the Blessed Virgin when her office is celebrated on Saturdays in the monastery.' I'm looking for a literal translation. Is this close? Thank you.

  • I'm having a really hard time parsing this. Is this the whole sentence?
    – Figulus
    Apr 25, 2020 at 5:27
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    De beata Maria virgine in sabbatis officium (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday) is a popular devotional office for Saturday liturgies. I have noticed that Sabbata, the plural of Sabbatum is often used in a singular sense, almost as if it were a plurale tantum, so it could be interpreted as singular "Saturday" as well as plural "Saturdays", not that that makes much difference in meaning.
    – Figulus
    Apr 25, 2020 at 5:32
  • Ya, I checked again. I copied it correctly. It may be one of those cases that mixes in local dialects, I don't know. Apr 25, 2020 at 15:29
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    @R.B.Jawad Do you have an image or link you can post? I'm really skeptical of the "quae." I could easily see someone who didn't know paleography misinterpreting an abbreviation, e.g. it could be "quando" (as the translation you posted seems to assume), which would make a lot more sense.
    – brianpck
    Apr 25, 2020 at 15:43
  • I tried to find the original source online, but couldn't. It's apparently from Roma, Santa Sabina, Archivum Generale Ordinis Predicatorum s. n., in a manuscript Correctorium des Humbert von Romans ("le gros livre"), ca. 1255. Here is an image from Stäblein's book: pasteboard.co/J5t50Xu.png Apr 25, 2020 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


According to https://cantus.uwaterloo.ca/chant/675638, the correct reading of this line in a Dominican hymnary is indeed Cantus de beata virgine quando in sabbatis de ea agitur officium in conventu, which indeed translates as "A hymn¹ of² the Virgin Mary when her office is celebrated on Saturdays in the convent³" [Footnotes: ¹ or "song" or "chant", but "hymn" would be the usual liturgical term; ² or "about"; ³ or "monastery", but this manuscript was for the use of Dominican nuns, so "convent" would be the more usual word].

  • Thank you for the detailed response. May 9, 2021 at 16:57

A hymn about the Blessed Virgin... The rest is certainly correct, although the quae is indeed odd.

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    Do you have an alternative translation that you think makes more sense, or explains why you think quae is odd? I think it would help improve your answer to include that.
    – Adam
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:35
  • One would expect the pronoun q... to refer to cantus, which however is masculine. (qui). It's not really clear to me how quae could be explained (e.g. it doesn't make sense for it to refer to virgo).
    – Batavulus
    Apr 7, 2021 at 19:41

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