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

Merton College MS. 72

Former shelfmark: I. 1. 2



Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1–258)
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Prima Pars
Incipit: Quia catholice ueritatis doctor non solum prouectos debet instruere
Explicit: partus decebat eum qui est super omnia benedictus Deus in s. amen
Final rubric: Explicit prima pars summe fratris Thome de Aquino de ordine predicatorum

Over ‘fratris’ has been pencilled ‘sancti’. STO 4–5; Glorieux, Théol. 14ax.

(fols. 258v-62v)
An index of the tituli of the quaestiones and articuli .

The scribe corrects the text in the margins. Copious marginal annotation, especially at the beginning, much contemporary with the main text, some as late as s. xv.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: homine ut moras
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 264 (i + 263) leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 325 × 230 mm.
Dimensions (written): 245 × 160 mm.
The edges savagely retrimmed especially at the head, with loss of running heads and marginalia, and spattered with red.


1–2112, 2210; catchwords; quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form, often cropped.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 42 lines. Running heads between lines ruled right across the page.


An English gothic rotunda bookhand of university type, correcting its own work in the margins.


On fol. 1 a 6-line initial Q in colours on a squarish ground, enclosing Thomas preaching to lay persons including a soldier, in the style of the William of Devon painter, for whom see E. Temple, ‘Further additions to the William of Devon group’, BLR11 (1984), 344–8 and figs 2–3; Morgan, Early Gothic, II, pp. 22, 128, 153, 161–2. Red and blue flourished initials; blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs. Catchwords and runovers are associated with attractive grotesques in pen-and-ink.


Standard Merton s. xvii, repaired in modern times; sewn on five bands; formerly chained from the usual position on the rear board; fols. i and 263 are modern paper blanks.


Origin: S. XIII 3/4 ; England, Oxford

Provenance and Acquisition

Doubtless made commercially in Oxford. In the outer margin of fol. 81 is a monk’s head very like the Gloucester ones illustrated by N. R. Ker, English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960), pl. 27 b-c. It is not known when this book came to the College prior to 1600.

Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with (1) ‘D. 4, 2’, s. xvii, canc., (2) the contents, s. xvii, (3) ‘N. 6. 6. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with ‘I. 1. 2’, in red, and (4) the College bookplate. The James no. ‘6’ is at the head of fol. 1 (s. xvii in., slightly cropped), and the same number is inked on the foredge.

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, p. 44; Powicke, no. 508; Alexander & Temple, no. 218, pl. XII; Dondaine & Shooner, no. 2135.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2018-09-01: First online publication

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