A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

Merton College MS. 31

Former shelfmark: A. 3. 5



Language(s): Latin

fols. i, ii blank.

1. (fols. 1–94v)
THOMAS OF WALES OP, Commentary on AUGUSTINE, De Ciuitate Dei I-X
Incipit: Fluminis impetus letificat ciuitate Dei. In Psalmos Fons sapientie in excelsis per dona tamen sua paululum inde procedens in 4. capita se diuisit
Explicit: fide resurrectionis futuro ad eternam beatitudinem ad quam ...

Followed by:

(fols. 94v–101v; 102–4v blank)
Incipit: Auditus quid est
Explicit: Zoroastes rex Bactrie
Final rubric: Explicit expositio super libros Augustini de ciuitate Dei cum tabula quorum 10 primi sunt secundum Thomam Anglorum

An alphabetical subject-index

pr. [Strassburg 1468] (GW 2883), Mainz 1473, &c., together with the commentary on books XI– XXII by Nicholas Trevet OP; Kaeppeli 3891; Sharpe, Handlist, p. 397.

2. (fols. 105–78v)
LACTANTIUS, Diuinae Institutiones
Incipit: Magno et excellenti ingenio uiri cum se doctrine penitus dedissent quicquid laboris poterat inpendi
Explicit: quod ipse promisit et Domino consequamur
Final rubric: Firmiani Lactancii diuinarum institucionum aduersus gentes liber unus viz. de uita beata

CPL 85; CSEL 19 (1890). Preceded by five passages of testimonia from Augustine and Jerome, followed on fols. 178v-9 by a passage from Augustine, De Ciu. Dei, bk. 20.

3. (fols. 179–87)
Rubric: Firmiani Lactancii liber de ira incipit
Incipit: Animaduerti sepe Donate plurimos id existimare quod eciam nonnulli philosophorum putauerunt
Explicit: semper habeamus ut nunquam uertamur naturam
Final rubric: Explicit

CPL 88; SChr 289 (1982).

4. (fols. 187–94v)
LACTANTIUS, De Opificio Dei
Rubric: Firmani Lactantii liber de opificio Dei siue de formacione hominis incipit
Incipit: Quoniam minime sua quietus eciam in summis necessitatibus
Explicit: ab erroribus liberatos ad iter celeste direxerint
Final rubric: Firmani Lactancii de opificio Dei siue de formatione hominis liber explicit Deo gracias.
Colophon: Nicholaus Voocht. Scriptori qui scripsit bene, melius si potuisset, sed quia non potuit indeclinabile mansit

CPL 87; SChr 213–14 (1974).

Arts 2–4, including the extra matter accompanying art. 2, are as Oxford, Corpus Christi Coll., MS 51, written in ?Oxford, 1429.

5. (fols. 194v-223)
PETRARCH, De Vita Solitaria
Incipit: Paucos homines noui quibus opusculorum meorum tanta dignacio
Explicit: bene suades recte consulis uerum dicis
Final rubric: Viri clarissimi Francisci Petrarce de Florentia poete laureati de uita solitaria de Philippum Caualicensem episcopum liber secundus explicit feliciter

ed. G. Martellotti et al ., Petrarca. Prose (Milan, 1955), pp. 286–591; Petrarca nel tempo: tradizione lettori e immagini delle opere, ed. M. Feo (Florence 2003), pp. 419–22. fol. 223v is blank except for ‘Lactantius’ pencilled in a hand of s. ?xix. On fol. 224 is a table of contents in a neat small hand writing fere humanistica; fol. 224v blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: circumuentus diem
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 226 leaves (ii + 224)
Dimensions (leaf): 355 × 245 mm.
Dimensions (written): 245–55 × 160–75 mm.
The edges lightly retrimmed and stained yellow. fols. i-ii and 224 are of thick, stiff parchment.


a bifolium, 1–278, 288(8 canc.), a singleton; quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form, catchwords.


Ruled with pencil or crayon in 2 cols of 50 lines.


Art. 1 is in a skilled Continental hybrida influenced by humanistica. Arts. 2–5 are in the elegant bastarda of Nicholas Voocht, who apparently wrote at Oxford.


Uniform throughout; large red and blue initials; smaller red or blue initials. Both types were probably intended for flourishing, not carried out. Art. 1 has red or blue paraphs.


c. 1500, repaired by Maltby; bare oak boards with broad chamfers and slightly projecting squares, resewn on seven bands; rebacked with vellum. Formerly two straps from shallow recesses in the front board to catches on the rear. Near the foot of the foredge of the front board is the mark of a chain-staple. Near the foot of the rear board are four parallel holes from the large brass chain-staple. The outermost leaves were formerly pastedowns.


Origin: S. XV1 ; England, Oxford (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

At the head of fol. iiv‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ ex dono magistri Henrici Seuer sacre pagine professoris ac custodis eiusdem incathenatus ad communem usum sociorum in libraria studere uolencium Anno Domini MCCCCLXVI.’ For Sever, see above, MS 6.

At the head of fol. 1 is the James no. ‘169’, s. xvii in. ‘5’ is inked on the foredge. On fol. ivis a sheet of paper with a table of contents , s. xvii. Above is ‘N. 3. 5. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with ‘A. 3. 5 (XXXI)’ in red. The College bookplate is on fol. iiv.

Record Sources

R. M. Thomson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Merton College, Oxford (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer), 2009.


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Merton College Library.


    Coxe, pp. 22–3; Powicke, no. 944; Römer 2. 303; Duke Humfrey’s Library & The Divinity School 1488–1988, Exhibition Catalogue (Oxford, The Bodleian Library, 1988), no. 88; N. Mann, ‘Petrarch manuscripts in the British Isles’, Italia medioevale e umanistica 18 (1975), 139–527, no. 243.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Warden and Fellows of Merton College .

Last Substantive Revision

2018-08-01: First online publication

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