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

Merton College MS. 273

Former shelfmark: O. 3. 5



Language(s): Latin

Fols. iii, iv-vi blank.

1. (fols. 1–114v)
THOMAS AQUINAS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, Metaphysics
Incipit: Sicut docet philosophus in polliticis suis quia argumenta plura ordinantur ad unum
Explicit: et primum bonum quod supradixit Deus qui ...

Ed. M. R. Cathala and R. M. Spiazzi (Rome/Turin, 1964); Glorieux, Théol. 14bz.

2. (fols. 114v-43v)
Incipit: Sicut philosophus docet in secundo phisicorum ars imitatur naturam
Explicit: (ends in iii. 6) quasi equiualentes eis propter libertatem

STO 48. 69–205 (for this copy see pp. A 11 and A 25–33, siglum O1); Glorieux, Théol. 14aw; Lohr, pp. 168–9.

3. (fols. 143v-224v)
Rubric: Hic incipiebat Magister Petrus de Aluernia componere scilicet in principio 3i.
Incipit: Si autem qui de policia &c. Postquam philosophus pertransiuit opiniones antiquorum
Explicit: (ends impf. in 8) ac si omnes homines [catchwords] et semper existerent in statu

Pr. Rome 1492, &c., combined with art. 2; Lohr, pp. 342–3; many copies.

In the lower margin of f. 223v is a list of the first seven Gregorian tones, s. xv, incl. ‘tertius onus est in frigisca et disponit ad rapertum prope fortissime sicut ex Wyg’ny [scil. Wygorny?]’. In the margin of f. 224 is ‘Hic summa Baunaful | aliter quam in ethica’. Perhaps Robert Bampfeld (Baunfelde) (BRUO 102), who was charged for renting a room in University College 1396–7, still in 1401–2.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: instinctu prudencia
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 231 leaves (vi + 225)
Dimensions (leaf): 330 × 230 mm.
Dimensions (written): 260 × 170 mm.


A4, 1–912, 108, 11–1912; framed catchwords. Leaves are missing from the end.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 52 lines.


English gothic rotunda bookhands of university type.

Arts 2 and 3 are pecia copies; the highest number for art. 2 is ‘pª xiiiª’ on f. 142v; art. 3 has only ‘pª iiª’ on f. 148.


Art. 2 opens with a 7-line initial of burnished gold on a squarish pink and blue ground. Otherwise red or blue initials, probably intended for flourishing; red or blue paraphs.


Standard Merton s. xvii; sewn on seven bands; formerly chained from the usual position; fols. i-ii, 225 are paper binding leaves, f. 225 from the same printed book as in MS 68. Another paper leaf before f. 225 has been torn out. f. iii was a pastedown in an earlier binding. On it appear the marks of two straps, and possibly of a small iron chain-staple in the middle of the foot. A faint mark probably of the usual large iron chain-staple appears at the foot of f. 224v.


Origin: S. XIV1 ; England, Oxford

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably made at Oxford.

The book was bought, at the warden’s request, by Subwarden Richard Billingham c. 1350, as was MS 274.

On f. iiiv ‘Exposicio sancti Thome de Alquino super xii. libros metaphisice secundum stationarios cum aliis politicorum prec’ xl s.’

On f. viv ‘8us liber de sorte Abyndon’. Henry Abingdon was warden of Merton 1421–37 (BRUO 7–8); ‘5us de sorte Iohannis Look’. John Luke was fellow in 1390, no longer in 1399 (BRUO 1175–6).

Pencilled in the outer margin of f. 22 are the names ‘Chdley’, smudged, and ‘Allesford Alsforde clericus meus’.

At the head of f. i is the James no. ‘96’, s. xvii in. Inside the front board is a table of contents, s. xvii, ‘Q. 1. 5. Art.’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with ‘O. 3. 5 (CCLXXIII)’ 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. 107; Powicke, no. 390; Dondaine & Shooner, no. 2151; Ker, ‘The books of philosophy distributed at Merton College in 1372 and 1375’, in Books, Collectors and Libraries, pp. 331–78, at 353–4.

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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