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

Merton College MS. 281

Former shelfmark: O. 3. 1

COMMENTARIES ON ARISTOTLE, ASTRONOMICA; S. XIV in., XIV

Contents

Language(s): Latin

Fols. iv-iiv blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (f. 2) semper et similiter
Secundo Folio: (f. 153) ex ipsa aerem
Two original books, each put together from two and three books respectively, some apparently already fragmentary. The two main books were still separate in 1600 and were probably only brought together for the present binding.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 235 leaves (ii + 232, incl. 41A)
Dimensions (leaf): 330 × 230 mm.
The edges heavily retrimmed with loss of marginalia, in art. 8 of text, and spattered with red; fols. i-ii of thick, stiff parchment.

Collation

A bifolium, 1-58 / 6-1012, 118, 126, 13-1512, a bifolium / 16-1712, 1810(10 canc.) / 19-2012, 218 / 2212(+ 1 after 12), 234(2 canc.); framed catchwords.

Binding

Standard Merton s. xvii; sewn on five bands, formerly chained from the usual position.

History

Provenance and Acquisition

Apparently still two separate volumes in 1556 (UO65. 277-8) and 1600 (I appears as James no. 155).

Both volumes were given to the College by William Reed, the first in 1374 (UO49. 14), the second as part of his legacy. In the lower margin of f. 1 is ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ in Oxon’ in communi libraria eiusdem et ad usum communem sociorum ibidem studencium cathenandus. Ex dono uenerabilis patris domini Willelmi tercii episcopi Cicestrensis. Oretis igitur pro eodem et benefactoribus eiusdem ac fidelium animabus a purgatorio liberandis’, in the hand of Walterus Roberti.

Closer to the foot, in tiny writing, is ‘Isti 8. quaterni sunt magistri ’.

II: on f. 151, in the hand of the index, is ‘Tradatur iste liber Waltero de Rutona et mittatur fratri Thoma de Bures apud Schelmeresford sicud rogauit frater Iohannes Kenelme [a line and a half erased]’. These men were Dominicans, presumably from the convent at Chelmsford (Essex): Thomas de Bures was ordained subdeacon and deacon at Banbury and Dunstable in 1294 (A. B. Emden, A Survey of Dominicans in England [Rome, 1967], p. 122). Rutona is presumably Ruyton in Shropshire. Beneath, in the same hand, is ‘P(e)r(tin)et p(at)r(i) Iohan. de Elham preden’.

At the foot of f. 150v is a mutilated caucio: ‘Caucio I. Han exposita in cista regine die conuersionis sancti Pauli pro vii s. anno Domini M. CCC?X | et habet supplementum unum librum medicinalem cum commento Haly super ’. Perhaps John Hanneye or Henney ( BRUO 867, 909), occ. 1299, 1300, 1305.

At the head of f. 151v is ‘Liber I. Gilden pro quo habet textum philosophie.’ John Gilden (BRUO 768-9) was fellow of Merton 1344-at least 1347/8, d. by Dec. 1390.

Below are two erased single-lines notes, and three partly-erased cautio notes, all of ‘Magister Iohannes Lok’ in the Lincoln chest, 1394-5. John Lok or Luke (BRUO 1175-6) was fellow in 1390, no longer in 1399, canon of Salisbury, d. by Aug. 1435.

In the lower margin of f. 149v, autograph, is ‘Liber magistri Willelmi Red ex dono magistri Nicholai de Sandwich. Oretis igitur pro utroque’, with a table of contents.

At the head of f. 152 ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ ex legato Magistri Willelmi Reed episcopi Cicestrie ad communem usum sociorum dicte domus.’ For William Reed, fellow from 1344 until at least 1357, d. 1385, see MS 18.

At the head of f. i is ‘Coll. Mert. Donavit venerabilis vir Willielmus Reade Episcopus Cicestrensis olim Socius’ and the James no. ‘155’, s. xvii in.

Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with two tables of contents, s. xvii, ‘Q. 1. 13’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with ‘O. 3. 1’ in red ink and ‘(CCLXXXI)’ in pencil, and (3) the College bookplate. On f. 1 is ‘103’ (canc.), and on f. 151v ‘4’, both s. xvii. They are probably James numbers, in which case both are wrong.

Merton College MS. 281 - Part IA (fols. 1-40v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1-11)
GILES OF ROME, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Bona Fortuna
Incipit: ⟨Q⟩uidam ordinant in idem bonam fortunam felicitati ut dicit philosophus
Explicit: ea que ex hiis quam uocamus h’aloh’agachiam &c.
Final rubric: Explicit de bona fortuna Aristotelis scriptum Egidii. Deo gracias.

Pr. Venice 1496, 1551; Glorieux, Théol. 400u; Lohr, p. 334. Annotation of s. xv.

2. (fols. 11v-37v; 38rv blank)
PETRUS DE ALVERNIA, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, Meteora IV
Incipit: Quoniam autem. Postquam philosophus determinauit de corpore simplici mobili
Explicit: a quo principaliter procedunt et diriguntur omnia. Qui est benedictus in s. s. Amen. Si igitur habemus ... uelut hominem plantam et alia talia. Benedictus Deus in donis suis et sanctus in omnibus operibus suis, Qui .... Amen scriptor sit benedictus amen.

The complete work ed. Salamanca 1497; Lohr, pp. 338-9, not this copy.

3. (fols. 39-40v)
AVERROES, Theriaca (De Venenis)
Incipit: ⟨I⟩nquid magnus medicus Hamet Auerroys Postquam prius Deo gratias egero
Explicit: (ends impf.) in hac egritudine detur cum [catchwords] aceto et quod est accidule

Pr. with Magninus Mediolanensis, Regimen Sanitatis (n. d. or p., Hain *10482), fols. 98v-104v; TKI 750.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 225 × 170 mm.

Layout

Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 44 lines.

Hand(s)

A single anglicana hand.

Decoration

Unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics.

History

Origin: s. XIV in. ; script of English appearance.

Merton College MS. 281 - Part IB (fols. 41-149v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 41-149v)
FERRANDUS (or DURANDUS) DE HISPANIA, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, Metaphysica
Incipit: ⟨S⟩icut scribit Aristoteles quarto Ethicorum oportet non secundum suadentes humanas sapere hominem entem
Explicit: (ends impf. in bk. 10) non est de quidditate rei est dum [catchwords] per accidens illata autem

Unpr.; TKI 1496; Lohr, pp. 407-8, this copy only; C. J. Ermatinger, ‘Notes on some early 14th century scholastic philosophers’, Manuscripta 4 (1960), 29-34.

Annotated at the beginning, s. xv. On f. 77 is a note, s. xiv, that ‘Hic deficit a medio commenti 12 3i libri usque ad primum sexti.’ The original catchwords to quires 12 and 13 do not correspond and have been amended at a later date; nonetheless quires seem to be missing.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 275 × 170 mm.

Collation

Layout

Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 61 lines.

Hand(s)

A single anglicana hand, except for fols. 110vb line 49 – 149v, in a gothic rotunda bookhand of university type.

Decoration

Unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics.

History

Origin: s. XIV in. ; script of English appearance.

Merton College MS. 281 - Part IIA (fols. 150-232v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

Fols. 150-1, though hooked around the previous quire, were originally the front pastedown and flyleaf of part II when it existed independently. f. 150 is blank; a large tear in the middle of the foredge probably marks a central strap, and at the foot, near the foredge, is the mark of a small iron chain-staple, apparently replaced by a brass one near the foot of the foredge.

(fols. 150v-1)
An informal alphabetical subject-index to a medical work
(fol. 151v)
A table of contents,

s. xiv ex., to part II, including two items no longer at the end: ‘Albertus super librum metheorum def.’, ‘Questiones super methora et alia notabilia’, followed by an erased line.

5. (fols. 152-80v)

ARISTOTLE, Meteora, lemmata only, with the commentary of ALEXANDER OF APHRODISIAS, transl. WILLIAM OF MOERBEKE

Incipit: ⟨D⟩e primis quidem igitur causis nature et de omni motu naturali. Incipiens methorologica primo nobis ad memoriam reducit dicta
Explicit: que sunt ex hiis Anno Domini MCCLX in uigilia Marchi euangeliste.

Text, to appear, AL 10/2; TKI 386.

Comm. ed. M. Hayduck, Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca 3. 2 (Berlin, 1899); TKI 219, 726; Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum 1, ed. P. O. Kristeller et al. (Washington DC, 1960), pp. 96-7.

Circular diagrams in the lower margins.

6. (fols. 180v-3; 183v blank)
Ps.-ARISTOTLE, Physiognomia (transl. BARTHOLOMEW OF MESSANA)
Rubric:
Incipit: [ ]nimi (recte Quoniam) et anime sequuntur corpora et ipse secundum seipsas non sunt inpassibiles
Explicit: in quibus et sapiencie plurime sunt apparencia fit.
Final rubric: Explicit phisionomia Aristotelis.

Ed. R. Foerster, Scriptores Physiognomici 1 (Leipzig, 1893), pp. 5-91; TKI 1274.

On f. 184 is a large unfinished circular diagram in ink of text. On f. 184v is a list of books which ‘pro forma inceptarum audientur’, s. xiv (Pl. 36): ‘Liber celi et mundi / Liber metheororum / Liber geometrie / Liber arsmetrice Boecii / Liber methafisice / Liber ethicorum / Liber polleticorum et / duo de paruis libris animalibus’.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 255 × 170 mm.

Layout

Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 57 lines.

Hand(s)

A single anglicana hand.

Decoration

Unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics.

History

Origin: s. XIV ; script of English appearance.

Merton College MS. 281 - Part IIB (fols. 185-216v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

7. (fols. 185-214v)
ALBUMASAR, De Magnis Coniunctionibus (transl. JOHN OF SEVILLE)
Rubric: ⟨H⟩ic est liber in summa de significationibus indiuiduorum superiorum super accidentia que efficiuntur in mundo generationis de presencia eorum respectu ascendentium incepcionum coniunctionalium et aliorum et corruptionis et sunt 8 tractatus et sunt 63 differentie editus Alaphaz astrologo qui dictus est Albumasar.
Incipit: ⟨T⟩ractatus primus qualiter aspicitur ex parte coniunctionum apparicio prophetarum ...; ⟨S⟩ciencia significacionum indiuiduorum circularium
Explicit: iam ergo compleuimus totum librum.
Final rubric: Completus est liber coniunctionum ex dictis Albumasar Japhaz filii Machome Abalchi cum laude Dei et eius auxilio et Dei malecitio super Machometum et omnes socios eius. Finito libro sit laus et gloria Christo.

A break in the text occurs at f. 213; 213v is blank.

Pr. Venice 1515; Carmody, pp. 91-2; Diaz 972; TKI 615, 1013.

8. (fols. 214v; 215-16v blank)
ZAEL, Introductorium ad Astrologiam
Rubric: ⟨D⟩ixit Zirehele Benbisirus Israelita.
Incipit: Scito quod signa sunt 12 ex hiis 6 masculina et sex feminina
Explicit: (ends unfinished) et nocte est saturnus. Tauri est triplicitas

Pr. Venice 1493 (Hain *13544), fols. 122v-38; Carmody, pp. 40-3; TKI 459, 1411, not this copy.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 300 × 190 mm.

Layout

Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 70 lines.

Hand(s)

A single anglicana hand.

Decoration

Unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics.

History

Origin: s. XIV ; script of English appearance.

Merton College MS. 281 - Part IIC (fols. 217-232v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 217-31v; 232 blank)
ALBUMASAR, Liber Introductorius in Astronomiam II-IV (transl. HERMANN OF CARINTHIA)
Rubric: Tractatus secundi libri interdictorii in quo sunt viiii differentie.
Incipit: ⟨P⟩rima differentia est in numero stellarum circulari uelocium attardarum
Explicit: et diurnorum minuit et debilitat.

Pr. Augsburg 1489 (GW 840); ed. R. Lemay, Kitab al-madkhal al-kabir ila ibn ahkam al-nujum. Liber introductorii maioris ad scientiam iudiciorum astrorum (Naples, 1995-6), vols 7-8; Carmody, 89-90; TKI 116.

f. 232v is blank but for a pen-trial of s. xiv ‘Diligite sciencias Aristoteles in libro de pomo’.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 300 × 190 mm.

Layout

Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 59 lines.

Hand(s)

A single anglicana hand.

Decoration

Unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics; some underlining in red.

History

Origin: s. XIV ; script of English appearance.

Additional Information

Record Sources

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

Availability

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

Bibliography

    Coxe, pp. 111-12; Powicke, nos 541, 566; AL Codices, no. 370.