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

Merton College MS. 270

Former shelfmark: O. 3. 2



Language(s): Latin

f. iirv blank.

1. (fols. 1–130; 130v blank)
Rubric: De historiis animalium primus liber incipit quem Aristotiles composuit.
Incipit: Earum que sunt in animalibus parcium
Explicit: et propter quandam causam motiuam.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de animalibus.

A standard collection of Aristotle’s zoological works, here consisting of: (1) De Historia Animalium libri X, books 1–5, ed. P. Beullens & F. Bossier, AL 17/2. 1. 1, books 6–10 forthcoming in AL 17/2. 1. 2; (2) De Progressu Animalium, ed. P. De Leemans, AL 17/1 (2006); (3) De Motu Animalium, ed. P. De Leemans, AL. 17/2. 2–3 (2006); (4) De Partibus Animalium libri IV, ed. P. Rossi, forthcoming; (5) De Generatione Animalium libri V, ed. H. J. Drossaart Lulofs, AL 17/2. 5 (1966). The running heads are wrong from book 8, ending up with 16 of the actual total of 21. The text is corrected in the margins in pencil. An anglicana hand of s. xv in. annotates bks 10–11, 13–14.

2. (fols. 131–83; 183v-5v blank)
Rubric: Incipiunt probleumata Aristotelis.
Incipit: De probleumatibus que sunt circa medicinalia.
Incipit: (Capitula.)
Incipit: Propter quid magne superhabundancie egritudinales
Explicit: facile est consumere humidum.
Final rubric: Expliciunt probleumata Aristotelis.

Pr. Venice 1482, part ed. R. Seligsohn (Berlin, 1934).

eTK 1144K

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: alio motu
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 187 leaves (ii + 185)
Dimensions (leaf): 330 × 250 mm.
Dimensions (written): 220 × 150 mm.
The edges drastically retrimmed, affecting running heads and marginalia, and spattered with red. Much of f. 185 excised.


A bifolium, 1–78, 86, 9–168, 174 / 18–238, 246(6 canc.), a bifolium; catchwords; pencilled leaf-numbers to art. 1.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 42 lines.


Practised gothic rotunda bookhands of French appearance.


Art. 1 opens with a 9-line initial in colours and gold with 3-sided ivy-leaf border. Art. 2 opens with a red and blue flourished initial. Art. 1 has red and blue flourished initials, red or blue initials flourished in the other colour, red or blue paraphs, red and blue running heads. Art. 2 has plain blue initials flourished in red and plain red or blue initials. Unskilful marginal drawings in pencil, s. xiv, on fols. 109v, 124.


Standard Merton s. xvii, rebacked and resewn on four bands; formerly chained from the usual position. f. 185 was probably a pastedown in an earlier binding.


Origin: S. XIII ex. ; script of French appearance.

Provenance and Acquisition

On f. iv, s. xiv, ‘Liber domus scolarium aule de Merton’ in Oxonia quem legauit Magister Iohannes de Osemyngtone quondam socius dicte domus ad incathenandum in libraria communi ad communem usum sociorum.’ Osmyngton (BRUO 1408) was fellow in 1312, rector of Fuggleston (Wilts), in 1333.

On fols. i and 1 is the James no. ‘89’, s. xvii. Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with a table of contents, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 1. 2. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘No. CCLXX’ and ‘O. 3. 2’, in red; the College bookplate. ‘2’ 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.


Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-01: First online publication

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