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

Merton College MS. 290

Former shelfmark: K. 1. 4



Language(s): Latin

Fols. iii-ivv blank.

(fols. 1–133; 133v blank)
Incipit: ||(Beg. impf. in 1. 13) creditur eiusdem fortunare processum
Explicit: et dirigat in eo gressus nostros.
Final rubric: Explicit Policraticus.

Also lacks iii. 5 ‘set a toto [catchword fidelium] – iv. 6 ‘studium quasi belli negocia’ between fols. 24v-5.

Ed. C. C. J. Webb (Oxford, 1909); CCSL cont. med. 118 (1993), this copy at p. xxxvi.

Physical Description

secundo folio gone
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 138 leaves (iv + 135)
Dimensions (leaf): 305 × 210 mm.
Dimensions (written): 230 × 140 mm.
The edges retrimmed and spattered with red.


A bifolium, 1–1012, 1114 (14 canc.); catchwords; the quires numbered at each end. Single quires are missing before 1 and after 2.


Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 44 lines.


A gothic rotunda bookhand of university type, heavily influenced by anglicana.


Books open with champe initials in colours and gold: fols. 2, 22, 30, 48, 65v, 92v. Blue initials flourished with red; capitula have smaller red or blue initials flourished in the other colour, or the red flourished with violet.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on four bands; formerly chained from the usual position. Fols. i-ii, 134–5 are paper binding leaves, the outermost from printed books, f. i from the same book as in MS 84, f. 135 from the same book as in MS 78. f. iii, formerly a pastedown in an earlier binding, has marks of two foredge straps, and of a chain-staple at the foot.


Origin: S. XIV ; England, Oxford

Provenance and Acquisition

Doubtless made in Oxford; at the College by 1556: UO65. 198.

It may have been the copy with secundo folio ‘in quo’ given by John Wymark (BRUO 2119–20) on 18 Sept. 1498 (Registrum, p. 225).

Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with ‘F. 6, 2’ (canc.) and a title, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 2. 6. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘K. 1. 4 (CCXC)’ in red; the College bookplate. ‘6’ is inked on the foredge. ’J’, cropped, is at the head of f. 1. This is presumably James no. 212, ‘Liber Theologicus incerto auctore. Pr. Rusticanum & forte offelli prouerbium est lib. 8’, the incipit being the start of bk. 2. In that case the book was already lacking its early leaves.

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. 115; Powicke, no. 1237.

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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