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

Merton College MS. 206

Former shelfmark: N. 2. 3



Language(s): Latin

The companion volume to MS 207.

Fols. i-ii blank.

1. (fols. 1–231; 231v blank)
HUGH OF ST CHER, Postills on Genesis-Psalms
Incipit: Frater Principium uerborum tuorum ueritas Deus pater
Explicit: tandem ad uitam glorificati intremus ubi omnis spiritus laudet Dominum. Amen.

There are often breaks or dislocations at the ends of quires, with partially blank leaves; fol. 159v completely blank. At the foot of 231v is pencilled ‘ecclesiasticum. matheum viii q.’ Beneath is a catchword, ‘Iungat’, which is the opening word of MS 207.

Pr. in his Opera, Venice 1703, I-III; Stegmüller, Bibl. 3632–76.

2. (fols. 232–56)
?STEPHEN LANGTON, Interpretationes Nominum Hebraicorum
Incipit: He sunt interpretationes hebraicorum nominum incipientium per .a. litteram. Aaz apprehendens uel apprehensio
Explicit: Zuzim consiliantes eos uel consiliatores eorum

Unpr.; Stegmüller, Bibl. 7192, 1, 7708–9; Lambert 402; Sharpe, Handlist, p. 628.

3. (fols. 256–61v)
Lexicon of biblical words
Incipit: Angelus purus natura reconciliator fidelis in custodiendo ... (xl.) annis post passionem uastati sunt Iudei. (Generationis) Mathei parte discipuli parte in generatione Luce ... Omnipotens sempiterne Deus
Explicit: laudis tue comminatio potestatis.

Unpr.; Stegmüller, Bibl. 8914. Also in BAV, Reg. lat. 1637/2, BnF, lat. 10473, Brussels, Bibl. royale 1315 (s. xiv, from the Charterhouse of Cologne), fols. 62–73v, Klosterneuburg, Stiftsbibl. 1066, Prag, Univ. Bibl. 1919.

On fol. 262, in an anglicana-secretary hand of s. xv, is ‘Oracio regis Manasse 2 paralipo. 33. Domine omnipotens Deus patrum nostrorum ...’.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Quem uisurum
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 264 leaves (ii + 262)
Dimensions (leaf): 380 × 250 mm.
Parchment treated in the Italian manner, the edges retrimmed affecting the text, and spattered with red. The companion volume to MS 207.
Dimensions (written): 275 × 180 mm.


A bifolium, 110(lacks 3), 2–2210, 2312, 24–610, a singleton; catchwords, mostly cropped.


Art. 1 is ruled in crayon with the gloss surrounding the text, which is on the same lines but in slightly larger script; all dimensions are ad hoc: the written space usually occupies most of the page (up to 96 lines); the area occupied by the text varies markedly, is sometimes irregularly shaped, and is sometimes in 2 cols, sometimes in a single very narrow one, the gloss in up to six cols. Arts 2–3 ruled with crayon in 3 cols of 59 lines, written space 275 × 180 mm.


Expert Italian gothic rotunda bookhands, one each for text and gloss in art. 1; arts 2–3 may be by the glossing hand.


Parisian: 44 exquisite decorated or historiated initials, mostly small, in colours and gold: fol. 1 (prol.) F, the whole depth of the written space with marginal extension, with scenes in two registers: seated Dominican friar being ?tortured by a surgeon who appears to be applying a saw-knife to his mouth; seated friar writing; fols. 2v (Gen.; the opening initial gone with the orig. fol. 3; a tiny piece of decoration remains), 21v (Exod.; horned Moses divides the waters before the Israelites), 38v (Levit.; offering of two beasts), 53v (Num.; horned Moses receives the Decalogue), 69 (Deut.; horned Moses places the tables in the ark), 84v, 85 (Ios.; nimbed Joshua with scroll), 92v (Iud.; nimbed prophet admonishes a soldier with kite-shaped shield), 100v (Ruth; Ruth and Boaz travelling), 102, 102v (I Reg.; massacre), 110v (II Reg.; execution), 117v (III Reg.; King David dying), 126 (IV Reg.; Ozias falls from a tower), 133, 133v (I Paral.; group of patriarchs), 140v (II Paral.; 2, the second with seated king bearing sword), 148 (Esdr.; 2, the second with king, architect and builders’ labourers), 151v (Nehem.; king and cupbearer), 155v (III Esdr.; man with bucket on pole), 160 (Tob.; 2, second with dying man, his soul escaping in the form of a blackbird), 163 (Judith; Judith kills Holophernes), 167 (Esth.; Esther pleads with the king; Haman is hanged), 171, 171v (Job; Job on the dunghill castigated by his wife), 190v (2), 191 (Psalms; David harping, a stork above), 198v (The Lord crowns David: Ps. 26), 202 (David and God converse: Ps. 39), 205v (a madman: Ps. 52), 209 (God delivers drowning king: Ps. 68), 213 (David playing bells: Ps. 80), 217 (singing priests: Ps. 95), 221 (God in Majesty: Ps. 109), 222, 226–7, 228, 229v, 232.

Red or blue initials flourished in the other colour, some with long marginal extensions; some in the Psalter are touched with gold; plain red or blue initials; running heads and chapter numbers in capitals of both colours; red or blue paraphs flourished in the other colour.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on five bands; formerly chained from the usual position. Fols. i, 262 were formerly pastedowns, probably in an earlier binding; both have the marks of iron bosses. Near the foot of the foredge of fol. i is the mark of an iron chain-staple.


Origin: S. XIII med. ; Italy (text) ; France, Paris (decoration)

Provenance and Acquisition

Written in Italy, decorated in Paris. A handful of annotations in anglicana script suggest that it was in England by s. xv.

At the College by s. xv ex., when it was in an electio: on fol. iiv ‘Li primus’, followed by a table of contents in the same hand.

‘3’ is inked on the foredge.

Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with a table of contents and ‘F. 7, 2’ (canc.), s. xvii, and ‘P. 1. 3. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘N. 2. 3 (CCVI)’ in red; the College bookplate.

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. 80; Powicke, no. 1197; Alexander & Temple, no. 687 and pl. XXXIX.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-07-31: First online publication

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