Vida de Santo Aleixo




Uida de sancto allexo conffessor

Uida de Sancto alexo Confesor

Original Latin source

Vita Sancti Alexis Confessoris (lt.015)

Textual localization  

There are two copies:

- copy 1: it belongs to a manuscript with about twenty different texts entitled Colecção Mystica de Fr. Hylario da Lourinhãa, Monge Cisterciense de Alcobaça, o qual transcreveo o seguinte no idioma Portuguez (Códice Alcobacense 266 - ALC. 462).

- copy 2: it belongs to a manuscript – the Códice Alcobacense 36/181 ( – where we also find texts like Diálogos de São Gregório, Vida do Cativo Monge Confesso and a doctrinal text on enduring life.

There is also another witness that comes from a spanish translation (for the latter, see Notes).


Old Portuguese



Witness 1: At the beginning of the Códice Alcobacense 266 it is stated that the translator of the texts  was Frei Hilário (of which almost nothing is known, except that he came from Lourinhã and was a monk at the Monastery of Alcobaça - Castro et alii, 1982-83: 5), but this information does not seem reliable.  In fact, although paleographically the manuscript is dated to the fifteenth century, some of its texts have an older language and there are signs of at least three different scribes. According to Castro et alii (1982/83: 6), it is possible that the three have worked in the scriptorium of Alcobaça during the time D. Estêvão de Aguiar was the abbot of the Monastery (between 1431 and 1446) and that Frei Hilário had the responsibility to compile the texts and copy or translate some. As this specific text is a copy of a previous translation, it has been copied and not translated into this manuscript.

Witness 2: The translator related to the copy 2 is unknown. We only know that the manuscript was copied by Estevão Anes Lourido.

Translation’s contextualization  

Witness 1 belongs to the Códice Alcobacense 266, a manuscript from the fifteenth century, is a collection of lives of saints known by its eighteenth century title: Colecção Mystica de Fr. Hylario da Lourinhãa, Monge Cisterciense de Alcobaça, o qual transcreveo o seguinte no idioma Portuguez.

Witness 1 belongs to codex that contains a compilation of saints lives and also the Diálogos de São Gregório, the Vida do Cativo Monge Confesso and a doctrinal text.


The dating of the Códice Alcobacense 266 is controversial, because there are significant differences in terms of the dates for which the researchers point out. Recent studies indicate that the dating of the codex is between 1431 and 1446. This does not mean, however, that this specific text has been produced at that time, although some researchers argue that the codex was the result of a unitary project and that, therefore, all texts were produced on the same period (see Sobral 1993: 673).

Códice Alcobacense 36/181 was produced on 1416.


Códice Alcobacense 266 has been translated/copied probably in the scriptorium of the Monastery of Alcobaça, where the codex was made.

No one knows the place of production of the Códice Alcobacense 36/181, although it also belongs to the Alcobaça collection.

Changes to the original work

There are no known content changes or textual interferences.

List of manuscript witnesses


There are two Portuguese translations of the Latin text:.

Witness 1 is inserted between folios 1r and 42r of the manuscript with the reference ALC. 462 that comes from the Monastery of Alcobaça (Códice Alcobacense 266) and today belongs to the National Library of Portugal. There is a microfilm of the manuscript at the Torre do Tombo (Mf 185), its previous owner.

Witness 2 is inserted between folios 153r and 157r of the códice alcobacense 36/181. Nowadays, it is in the National Library of Lisbon, and it is possible to download the manuscript.

List of old editions

In Portuguese, there is are no old editions from this text.

Witnesses’ contextualization 

In what concerns witness 1, (Códice Alcobacense 266, National Library of Portugal, reference ALC. 462), its exact date is unknown, whereas witness 2 (códice alcobacense 36/181) is dated from 1416. The archetype from which both descended is unknown, but the witness 2 is probably related with two other manuscripts: manuscrito 522 (Torre do Tombo – ms. da Livraria 522) and  manuscrito Serafim da Silva Neto (Biblioteca Central, Divisão de Coleções Especiais: 181). See Machado Filho, 2008/2009 e Mattos e Silva, 1971, 1973).

According to Pereira (1887-1889: 333), the two witnesses descend from the same Latin text and could be copies of an earlier (now lost) Portuguese translation (this could explain the differences between the texts). Joseph Allen (1953) also connects both texts, concluding that witness 1 is a copy of witness 2. Correia (1993: 663), however, considers that further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.

Outros dados

Witness 1: text in Códice Alcobacense 266, now in the National Library of Portugal (ALC. 462). The manuscript is on parchment and it is written in Gothic characters from the late fourteenth century or beginning of the fifteenth century in a single column of 30 lines. The initials are colored and decorated with filigree. The leaves have the size of 263 × 180 mm. The previous owners were Torre do Tombo and the Monastery of Alcobaça.

Witness 2: text in Códice Alcobacense 36/181 (1416).  The manuscript is on parchment and bound and it is written in Gothic characters. Is has 165 folios, with the size of 276 x 185 mm, and it is illuminated. In this codex, besides the Vida de Santo Aleixo, we also find the Diálogos de São Gregório, the Vida do Cativo Monge Confesso and a doctrinal text.



PEREIRA, F. M. Esteves (1887-1889), Vida de Santo Aleixo segundo os Códices do Mosteiro de Alcobaça. Revista Lusitana 1, 332-345.

ALLEN Jr., Joseph H. D. (1953) Two Old Portuguese Versions of the Life of Saint Alexis, Codices Alcobacenses 36 and 266. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (Illinois Studies in Language and Literature, 37.1, 1953).

PECORARO, Dinorah S. C. (1951), A Vida de Santo Aleixo. São Paulo


Online databases:

Philobiblon - BITAGAP:

Testemunho 1: Texid 1087; Manid 1143; Cnum 1071

Testemunho 2: Texid 1083; Manid 1094; Cnum 1095







CASTELO BRANCO, Ricardo Cerveira de Abreu (1996) Patrística e hagiografia – Subsídios para o estudo da tradição hagiográfica de Santo Aleixo. Tese. Lisboa: Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

CORREIA, A. (1993), Vida de S. Aleixo. In: LANCIANI, Giulia; TAVANI, Giuseppe. Dicionário da literatura medieval galega e portuguesa. Lisboa: Caminho, 663-664.

CORREIA, A. (1993). Sobre a funcionalidade da narrativa hagiográfica. In Nascimento, Aires Augusto (dir.), Actas do IV Congresso da Associação Hispânica de Literatura Medieval. Lisboa: Edições Cosmos, 121-124.

POTTIER, Bernard (1953), Joseph H. D. Allen Jr., Two Old Portuguese Versions of The Life of Saint Alexis, Codices Alcobacenses 36 and 266. (Illinois Studies in Language and Literature, vol. 37, n° 1.). Bulletin Hispanique 55.2, 209-210.

SOBRAL, Cristina M. M. (1993), Vida de Santa Maria Egipcíaca. In LANCIANI, Giulia e TAVANI, Giuseppe (dir.), Dicionário da Literatura Medieval Galega e Portuguesa. Lisboa: Caminho, 672-674.

WILLIAMS, Edwin B. (1941), The Old Portuguese versions of the life of saint Alexis: a note based on the chronology of Old Ptg. Orthography. Hispanic Review 9, 214-215.


There's a translation of the text that apparently comes not from the Latin text, but from a Portuguese copy. It is a text that is part of a Portuguese version of Flos Sanctorum that is in the National Library of Portugal (Ho flos sanctõ[rum] em lingoaje[m] p[or]tugue[s]), with the reference RES. 157. This work comes from the Spanish version of Leyenda Aurea of Jacopo de Voragine and the Vida e Penitência de Santo Aleixo is between folios 70r and 73v. This book was printed in 1513 in Lisbon by Hermão de Campos, who compiles more than two hundred texts. It has about three hundred folios (some are missing and others are damaged) illuminated and written in Gothic on paper in two columns and is bound in parchment. The leaves have a size of 263 x 200 mm. Previously, the work belonged to Dom João de Melo Manuel da Câmara Medeiros, Conde da Silvã and Francisco de Melo Manuel da Câmara (Cabrinha).