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

Merton College MS. 288

Former shelfmark: O. 2. 4



Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: cum logica
Secundo Folio: (f. 60)
Structurally two volumes, but probably always together, as part of a larger book in which II was bound before I.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 68 leaves (ii + 67)
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 235 mm.
Dimensions (written): 255–65 × 170 mm.
The edges retrimmed, affecting marginalia, and spattered with red.


1–212, 312(4, 11 canc.), 48, 512, 66(lacks 4–5) / 78(lacks 8). At least one quire is missing after 5.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on five bands; formerly chained from the usual position and also from near the head of the front board. Fols. i-ii, 66–7 are paper binding leaves, the outermost from the same printed book as in MS 68. On f. 58v are the marks of two foredge straps or catches and, near the foot, of the large iron chain-staple.


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

Provenance and Acquisition

At the foot of f. 40v, in early pencil, is ‘Hornecastr 4’, of f. 42v ‘Graham. 5.’, of f. 45 ‘Barthon 4’, of 46 (in ink) a quaestio‘... etiam opponit Donatus. Barton. 3’, of f. 49 ‘Graham secundario’, of 50v ‘Hornecastr 3’. Hornecastr may be William de Horncastr’ (BRUO 966), in charge of expenditure for scholars of the founder’s kin at Merton College in 1340 and 1347. Barton may then be William de Barton (BRUO 123–4), fellow in 1356, until 1361. According to Dr J. Catto, these notes suggest that the manuscript was used by a master to lecture and organize disputations in-house for Mertonian bachelors proceeding to the status of Master.

At the foot of f. 57v is ‘prec’ xv s.’ At the foot of f. 11 is ‘Wylkyn be war of Jankyn’, probably only a pen trial.

On f. 58v, among the pen trials, is ‘Vinum bibat mane cerebrumque reformat inane | Quem profudit heri crapula multa meri. Quod Wyttham’, and ‘O quam iocundum quam amenus foret dominari | S mors non posset dominantibus insidiari | Sed quia mors semper comes est et causa doloris | Non est honor sed onus assumere nomen honoris. Quod W[erased]’. Possibly Thomas Wytham (BRUO 2129), fellow in 1419, no longer in 1422, d. by 1470.

At the head of f. 1 is the James no. ‘103’ (wrongly), s. xvii in., canc.

Inside the front board is a table of contents, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 2. 4. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘O. 2. 4 (CCLXXXVIII)’ in red; the College bookplate.

Merton College MS. 288 – Part I (fols. 1–58v)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1–33; 28, 33v-4v blank)
Commentary on GILBERT OF POITIERS, Liber Sex Principiorum
Incipit: ⟨A⟩ristoteles in quinto metaphisice dicit quod unum quod dicitur tantum dicitur perfectum
Incipit: ⟨F⟩orma est
Incipit: Liber sex principiorum cuius expositionem intendimus
Explicit: quod generatur per actionem ignis generatur simpliciter et ignis.
Final rubric: Explicit liber sex principiorum cum literali expositore super eodem.

Apparently the unique copy. A commentary with a similar incipit (‘Prout uult Aristoteles quinto metaphysicae’) is recorded by Bale, Scriptores i. 405, and by Tanner, p. 113 n. b, as by the early 14th-cent. Luke Bosden OCarm, otherwise unknown: Sharpe, Handlist, p. 368.

2. (fols. 35–54v)
Commentary on PRISCIAN, Institutiones 17–18 (‘Priscianus minor’ or ‘De Constructione’)
Incipit: ⟨S⟩icut scribitur in prohemio metaphisice Hominum natura multipliciter serua est
Incipit: Quoniam in ante expositis ...; Ad formam tractatus redeundum est ...
Explicit: (ends impf. at ‘uel etiam aduerbium confirmatiuum’) determinat ipse principaliter, alia autem solum

Unpr.; also in BAV Borgh. lat. 155, fols. 1–36v (s. xiv); Pinborg, Sprachlogik, p. 322 (A 79).

3. (fols. 55–7v; 58 blank)

GILES OF CORBEIL, De Vrinis, with the Commentary of GILBERTUS ANGLICUS

Incipit: (text, beg. impf. at line 21) ⟨N⟩igrior urine facies incommoda febris
Explicit: (ends impf. at line 68) Talis cruda potest aut indigesta uocari;
Incipit: a subcitrino inferius
Explicit: est propter defeccionum

Text ed. L. Choulant, Aegidii Corboliensis Carmina Medica (Leipzig, 1826), pp. 1–18; Wickersheimer 196–7; WIC 4432. Comm. unpr.; eTK 1483B, ; Sharpe, Handlist, pp. 143–4.

At the head of f. 55 is a title, s. xvii. On f. 58v are pen trials in various hands of s. xv.

There is a good deal of pencilled annotation throughout.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment


Ruled with pencil and crayon in 2 cols of 71 lines. Blocks of text and gloss alternate, the text in larger script on alternate lines.


Fols. 1–54v an English gothic rotunda hand of university type, in the commentary much influenced by anglicana. fols. 55–7v are probably in the same hand, now writing just as formally in the commentary.


None: unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics.

Merton College MS. 288 – Part II (fols. 59–65)


Language(s): Latin

4. (fols. 59–63v)
SIMON OF FAVERSHAM, Quaestiones Libri Porphyrii
Incipit: ⟨S⟩icut dicit philosophus in secundo phisicorum qui non potest distinguere inter manifestum et inmanifestum
Explicit: que dicerent tantum essentiam accidentis.

Part ed. C. Ottaviano, 'Le Opere di Simone di Faversham e la sua posizione nella problema degli universali’, Archivio di filosofia 1 (1931), 15–29, at 23–9; ed. P. Mazzarella, Magistri Simonis Anglici sive de Faverisham Opera Omnia 1 Opera Logica (Padua, 1957), pp. 11–65 (from Milan, Bibl. Ambros., C. 161 inf.); Lohr, pp. 141–2, not this copy.

5. (fol. 64; 64v-5 blank)
SIMON OF FAVERSHAM, Quaestiones super Librum Praedicamentorum
Incipit: ⟨C⟩irca librum predicamentorum queritur utrum de predicamentis possit esse scientia
Explicit: (ends unfinished in q. 2) uel res cum uoce

Ed. C. Ottaviano, ‘Le “Quaestiones super libro Praedicamentorum” di Simone di Faversham’, Memorie della Reale Accademia dei Lincei, 6th ser. 3/4 (Rome, 1930), 257–351, text from p. 263; Mazzarella, op. cit., pp. 71–143 (from Milan, Bibl.. Ambros., C. 161 inf.); Lohr, p. 142, not this copy.

On f. 65v are the titles of two quaestiones, s. xv ex.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment


Ruled with pencil and crayon in 2 cols of 71 lines.


A small compressed anglicana.


None: unfilled spaces for initials and rubrics.

Additional Information

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. 114; Powicke, no. 514.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-10-25: First online publication

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