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

Merton College MS. 285

Former shelfmark: O. 2. 1



Language(s): Latin

f. irv blank. On the verso can be seen the very faint remains of a table of contents, apparently washed off.

(fols. 1–4, 4v blank)
Capitula to Aristotle, Libri Naturales

in 3 cols.

1. (fols. 5–9v)
Rubric: Incipit logica Algazelis.
Incipit: ⟨Q⟩uod autem preponi debet hoc est quod scienciarum quamuis sint multi rami
Explicit: ostendere et facere intelligi de logica.
Final rubric: Explicit ...

Pr. Venice 1506, fols. 1–14v.

2. (fols. 9v-16v)
ALGAZEL, Physics
Incipit: Incipit phisica Algazelis in qua continentur
Incipit: ⟨I⟩am diximus quod ea que sunt diuiduntur in substantia et accidens
Explicit: hic igitur est quod nos uolumus inducere de scientiis philosophorum, logicis, diuinis et naturalibus.
Final rubric: Explicit phisica Algazelis Deo gracias.

ed. J. T. Muckle, Algazel’s Metaphysics (Toronto, 1933), pp. 130–97; TKI 648.

3. (fols. 17–115; 115v blank)
Rubric: Incipit liber phisicorum siue auditus phisici
Incipit: ⟨I⟩ntencio nostra in philosophia naturali est satisfacere pro nostra possibilitate fratribus ordinis nostri
Final rubric: uel reprehendant uel dimittant secundum quod placuerit eis. S. S. Explicit viii. liber phisicorum secundum fratrem Albertum et totus per consequens.

AMO (Geyer) 4/1–2; Glorieux, Théol. 6b; Fauser 10.

4. (fols. 116–48)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Caelo et Mundo
Rubric: Incipit liber primus de celo et mundo
Incipit: De celo et mundo in hoc secundo libro naturarum nostrarum loqui cupientes
Explicit: in eo que fuerunt nostre intencionis in hac materia.
Final rubric: Explicit de celo et mundo. Deo gracias.

AMO (Geyer) 5/1; Glorieux, Théol. 6ab; Fauser 12.

5. (fols. 148v-54)
Incipit: De natura locorum que prouenit ex habitudine loci ad celum
Explicit: (Tr. 3 c. 8 [ed. p. 43 line 41]) que habent ab oriente Numidiam.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de natura locorum.

AMO (Geyer) 5/2. 1–44; Glorieux, Théol. 6ac; Fauser 13.

6. (fols. 154–62; 162v-3v blank)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, De Causis Proprietatum Elementorum
Incipit: Incipit liber de causis proprietatum elementorum
Incipit: Quoniam autem iam nos compleuimus ea communiter que de natura et distinctione locorum dicenda sunt
Explicit: ut de generacione et corrupcione generabilium et corruptibilium Deo auxiliante desteramus[sic] [pro disseramus].

AMO (Geyer) 5/2. 49–104; Glorieux, Théol. 6ad; Fauser 14.

7. (fols. 164–80; 180v blank)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Generatione et Corruptione
Rubric: Incipit liber de generacione et corrupcione
Incipit: Cum due sint consideraciones de mobili simplici
Explicit: in iii. et iv. de celo et mundo dicta sunt.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de generatione et corruptione. Qui scripsit carmen sit benedictus. Amen

AMO(Geyer) 5/2. 109–213; Glorieux, Théol. 6ae; Fauser 15.

8. (fols. 181–225)
Rubric: Incipit liber i. de anima.
Incipit: Omnibus que de corpore mobili et de mobili secundum locum dicenda erant expeditis
Explicit: quod in se ipsa consideratur determinata sufficiant.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de anima secundum fratrum Albertum.

AMO (Geyer) 7/1; Glorieux, Théol. 6ar; Fauser 18.

9. (fols. 225–8; 228v blank)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, De Nutrimento et Nutrito
Incipit: ⟨D⟩e anima secundum seipsam in precedenti libro dictum est
Explicit: secundum Perypaticos dicta sunt a nobis.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de nutrimento et nutrito. Iohannes Wyliot.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 323–41; Glorieux, Théol. 6as; Fauser 19. 27.

10. (fols. 229–37v)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Sensu et Sensato
Incipit: ⟨Q⟩oniam autem de anima secundum ipsam considerata iam in libro de anima determinatum est
Explicit: cum hiis que in libro de anima sunt considerata.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 1–93; Glorieux, Théol. 6at; Fauser 22.

11. (fols. 237v-9v)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Memoria et Reminiscentia
Incipit: ⟨R⟩eliquorum autem primum considerandum est de memoria
Explicit: propter quas causas contingit utrumque ipsorum.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 97–118; Glorieux, Théol. 6au; Fauser 21.

12. (fols. 239v-40v, 250rv, 242–3v)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, De Intellectu et Intelligibili
Incipit: ⟨S⟩icut a principio istius operis diximus
Explicit: philosophie agens inquisicione

AMO(Borgnet) 9. 477–521; Glorieux, Théol. 6av; Fauser 22.

13. (fols. 243v-9v, 251rv)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Somno et Vigilia
Incipit: Incipit liber primus de somno et uigilia
Incipit: ⟨S⟩ompnus et uigilia non sunt nisi passiones animalis
Explicit: quod intendimus a principio querere de hac materia.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 121–207; Glorieux, Théol. 6aw; Fauser 23.

14. (fols. 252–5)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Spiritu et Respiratione
Incipit: Liber primus de spiritu et respiratione
Incipit: ⟨M⟩ulta sunt animalia que quidem secundum locum mouentur
Explicit: hec igitur de differentiis eorum dicta sunt.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de inspiracione et respiracione.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 213–51; Glorieux, Théol. 6ay; Fauser 24.

15. (fols. 255–9)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, De Motibus Animalium
Rubric: Incipit 1. liber de motibus animalium
Incipit: ⟨T⟩empus et ordo expostulant quod de animalium motibus hic disseramus
Explicit: sic igitur de motibus animalium determinatum sit a nobis.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 257–300; Glorieux, Théol. 6az; Fauser 25.

16. (fols. 259–61v)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Morte et Vita
Rubric: Incipit liber de morte et uita
Incipit: ⟨P⟩robatum est in fine primi celi et mundi
Explicit: ex multitudine accidencium que sunt infinita hec de causa uite breuioris et longioris dicta sufficiant.
Final rubric: Explicit de morte et uita et de causa breuioris uite et longioris

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 345–71; Glorieux, Théol. 6ba; Fauser 27.

17. (fols. 261v-3v)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on ARISTOTLE, De Iuuentute et Senectute
Rubric: Incipit liber de etate siue de iuuentute et senectute
Incipit: ⟨I⟩am explerumus[sic] omnia que de passionibus et operibus anime uidebantur esse dicenda
Explicit: que nos determinauimus in quarto phisicorum.
Final rubric: Explicit liber de iuuentute et senectute.

AMO (Borgnet) 9. 305–19; Glorieux, Théol. 6ax; Fauser 26.

18. (fols. 264–72; 272v blank)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, De Natura et Origine Animae
Rubric: Incipit liber de natura et origine anime
Incipit: ⟨D⟩e anima quidem secundum quod est perfectio corporis
Explicit: et statu anime incorruptione et opere tantum dictum est a nobis. Explicit ...
19. (fols. 273–5; 275v blank)
Ps.-ARISTOTLE, Liber de Causis
Incipit: ⟨O⟩mnis causa primaria plus influit
Incipit: ⟨C⟩um ergo remouet causa secunda
Explicit: non adquisitum sicut ostendimus.

Ed. A. Pattin in Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 28 (1966), 90–203, text from 134; TKI 996 (text), 335 (‘commentary’). The ‘commentary’, variously ascribed in the MSS, is in fact a set of demonstrations added by the compiler of the main text; Pattin integrates the two.

20. (fols. 276–301, 302–12v; 301v, 313rv blank)
Rubric: Incipit liber metheororum
Incipit: ⟨I⟩n sciencia naturali corpus mobile subiectum est
Explicit: ideo sequens sciencia in tria diuidetur.
Final rubric: Explicit quartus liber [phisicorum er.]

AMO (Geyer) 6/1 (not using this copy); Glorieux, Théol. 6af; Fauser 16, 24.

21. (fols. 314–27; 327v blank)
Rubric: Incipit liber primus mineralium qui est de lapidibus
Incipit: De mixtione et coagulacione similiter autem et congelacione
Explicit: de facili poterunt cognosci.
Final rubric: Explicit liber mineralium quintus.

AMO (Borgnet) 5. 1–103; Glorieux, Théol. 6ag; Fauser 17.

22. (fols. 328–60v)
ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Commentary on Ps.-ARISTOTLE, De Vegetabilibus et Plantis
Rubric: Incipit liber de uegetabilibus
Incipit: ⟨V⟩niuersalibus principiis uiuorum omnium et eorum operibus executis
Explicit: et sufficienter poterant agnosci.
Final rubric: Explicit liber unus uegetabilium.

AMO (Borgnet) 10. 1–305; Glorieux, Théol. 6bb; Lohr, p. 343; Fauser 28.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (f. 6) ad quidlibet
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 362 leaves (i + 360, incl. 229A)
Dimensions (leaf): 375 × 265 mm.
Dimensions (written): 300–10 × 180–95 mm.
The edges retrimmed and spattered with red. Foliated early on in arabic numerals, 1 (mod. 5)-60 (mod. 64), 61 (mod. 75)-101, 103–167, 173–354 (360), the replacement quire 6 not then being present; the two breaks in the sequence are due to the subsequent loss of blank leaves.


A singleton, A4, 1–512 / 610 / 712, 86, 912, 1012(12 canc.), 11–1512, 1610(6–10 canc.), 17–2712, 2814, 29–3012, 3112(10–12 canc.); catchwords, framed in red, often cropped. Fols. 241 and 250 were bound in the reverse position after the foliation, but early enough for the rubricator to warn of it.


Ruled with fine pencil in 2 cols of 79–89 lines (61 quire 6).


Written in several English hands, mostly gothic rotunda bookhands, sometimes approaching textualis, sometimes anglicana. Fols. 5–64v, 93–115, 154–228 at least are in the hand of John Wylyot, who signs on f. 228. He may be responsible for more, as even on these leaves his hand varies in size and formality: Parkes, English Cursive Bookhands, pl. 16(ii). Quire 6 (fols. 65–74v), replacing a lost or damaged quire, is written in an expert anglicana, s. xv2.


Spasmodic, probably Oxford work; many unfilled spaces for coloured initials and rubrics. Red and blue flourished initials; red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; plain red initials and paraphs. Occasional marginal sketches in pen and ink: on 154v a drollery blows a large trumpet with gonfanon; a ?jester, tinted with colours, at the foot of f. 155; on 160v a goat eats leaves from an oak tree.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on six bands; formerly chained from the usual position. f. i, formerly the pastedown in an earlier binding, has a rust mark at the foot perhaps from a chain-staple. Rust marks on the early leaves suggest that a previous binding had a central foredge strap replaced by two, and one each at head and tail.


Origin: S. XIV med. ; England, Oxford

Provenance and Acquisition

Made mainly by and presumably for John Wyliot (BRUO 2119), who doubtless gave or left it to the College. He was fellow of Merton in 1338, no longer in 1347–8, d. by Dec. 1383. Perhaps to be identified with the record of payment ‘in luicione[sic] libri Wylioti et est Albertus super naturali philosophia’ (Appendix B, no. 62, dated 1379).

On fols. i and 5 is the James no. ‘99’, s. xvii in. Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with table of contents, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 2. 1. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘O. 2. 1 (CCLXXXV)’ 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, pp. 113–14; Powicke, no. 389; M.-Th. d’Alverny, ‘Avicenna latinus V’, AHDLMA 32 (1965), 257–302, at pp. 288–9.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-14: First online publication