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

Merton College MS. 300

Former shelfmark: A. 3. 1

SENECA; c. 1300, s. xv 3/4

Contents

Language(s): Latin

On f. iii, in a rough Italian cursive hand, s. xiv, is a table of contents to I, and ‘Libri Senece’. On f. iiiv are scribbles, s. xv, including an extract from ‘quadam epistola apostrophando ad Senecam’, ‘Plutarchus siquidem grayus uester et Trayani principis doctor comparans suos Grecos ad nostros latinos ...’. f. iv is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (f. 1) missus uagetur
Three originally separate volumes, I and II probably together soon after the making of II; III could have been added at any time between then and s. xvii or even later.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 222 leaves (iv + 219, omitting 129)

Collation

A bifolium, 110(lacks 1), 2-1510, 166 / 17-2012, 216(4-6 canc.) / 2210; I and II have catchwords. A quire is missing after 3.

Binding

1963; full tan goatskin. Fols. i-ii and 218-19 are modern paper binding leaves. f. iii has the mark of a brass chain-staple near the foot of the foredge.

History

Provenance and Acquisition

On f. iiiv ‘Iste liber operum Senece est Iohannis ex Bello Vallorum familia episcopi Andegauensis.’ John of Beauveau was bp. of Angers 1451-1479.

On f. ivvis ‘liber Collegii de Mertone in Oxon’ incatenandus in communi libraria eiusdem ad utilitatem sociorum ac aliorum studentium ibidem Ex perquisicione magistri Ricardi Fitz James nuper Custodis eiusdem. Et continentur in hoc uolumine omnia opera Senece uiri disertissimi.’ It was placed in the library on 2 Aug. 1494 (Registrum, p. 184). For Fitzjames, warden 1483-1507, see MS 9. The inscription was written at least thirteen years after the book came to the College.

On f. ivvare the James no. ‘93’, ‘Q. 2. 13. Art:’, and contents (I and II), s. xvii. ‘13’ is inked on the foredge.

Merton College MS. 300 - Part I (fols. 1-156v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

1. (fol. 1)
SENECA, Epist.
Incipit: (Beg. impf. in 34)missus uagetur in toto
Explicit: hoc quidem nobis reliquerunt melius scire.
Final rubric: Explicit liber Annei Lucii Senece de septem liberabus artibus.

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (2 vols, Oxford, 1965), I, pp. 320-3.

2. (fols. 1-25)
SENECA, Quaestiones Naturales
Rubric: Incipit liber primus de questionibus naturalibus Lucii Annei Senece de diuersitate uaporum eleuatorum in altum ...
Incipit: Quantum inter philosophiam inter est Lucilli nostrorum optime et ceteras artes
Explicit: et leui manu querimus.
Final rubric: Explicit liber vi ...

Ed. A. Gercke (Leipzig, 1907).

3. (fols. 25-7v)
Florilegium of short moral sentences

For a while in roughly alphabetical order, from works by or attrib. to SENECA

Rubric: Incipit prouerbia eiusdem.
Incipit: (Beg. as Ps.-SENECA/ PUBLILIUS SYRUS, Prouerbia) Alienum est omne quicquid optando euenit
Explicit: (SENECA, De Clement. 2. 7) Hanc sapiens quare dare non debeat reddit rationem quibus hoc diutius propositum est.
Final rubric: Expliciunt ...
4. (fols. 27v-9v)
SENECA, De Prouidentia Dei (= Dial. 1).
Rubric: Incipit liber primus eiusdem de prouidentia Dei ad Lucillum ...
Incipit: [mutil.]uesisti a me Lucili quid ita si prouidentia
Explicit: (ends impf.) ideoque ex omnibus rebus quas (catchwords esse nobis)

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1977). The table of contents shows that Dial. 2 and 7 are missing after this.

5. (fols. 30-1)
SENECA, De Tranquillitate Animi (= Dial. 9)
Incipit: (Beg. impf.) habet ubi illam timeat
Explicit: et assidua cura circuit annum labentem.
Final rubric: Explicit liber Annei Lucii Senece de tranquillitate animi ad Serenum.

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1977).

6. (fols. 31-7v)
SENECA, De Brevitate Vitae (= Dial. 10)
Incipit: Incipit liber eiusdem de breuitate uite ad Paulinum. Maior pars mortalium Pauline de nature malignitate conqueritur
Explicit: grauis fremitus circumsonat.
Final rubric: Explicit ...

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1977).

7. (fols. 37v-49)
SENECA, De Ira (= Dial. 3-5)
Rubric: Incipit liber primus de Ira ad Nouatum.
Incipit: [mutil.]egisti me Nouate ut scriberem quemadmodum
Explicit: quod nos immortalitas aderit.
Final rubric: Explicit liber tertius Annei Lucii Senece de ira ad Nouatum.

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1977).

8. (fols. 49-53v)
SENECA, Ad Marciam de Consolatione (= Dial. 6)
Rubric: Incipit liber eiusdem ad Marciam de consolatione filii sui.
Incipit: Nisi te Marcia scirem tam longe ab infirmitate muliebris animi
Explicit: qui ista iam nouit.
Final rubric: Explicit ...

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1977).

9. (fols. 53v-7)
SENECA, Ad Heluiam de Consolatione (= Dial. 12)
Rubric: Incipit liber eiusdem ad Herbiam matrem de consolatione. Rubrica.
Incipit: Sepe iam mater optima impetum cepi consolandi te
Explicit: futurumque uadit omnibus seculis.
Final rubric: Explicit ...

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1977).

10. (fol. 57rv)
Epistolae Pauli et Senecae
Incipit: [mutil.]cius Ennius Sen⟨ec⟩a Cordubensis Fotini stoici discipulus
Explicit: Vale Seneca karissime nobis.

CPL 191; ed. L. Boccolini Palagi (Biblioteca Patrum 5: Fiesole, 1985).

Followed by the epitaph ‘Cura labor meritum sumpti pro munere honores’ (Hildebert; WIC 3960).

11. (fols. 57v-115v)
SENECA, Epistolae
Incipit: Ita fac mi Lucilli uendica te tibi et tempus quod adhuc aut auferebat
Explicit: esse in felicissimos felices. Vale.

Ed. L. D. Reynolds (Oxford, 1965).

12. (fols. 115v-16v)
Ps.-SENECA, De Remediis Fortuitorum
Rubric: Lucii Annei Senece ad Galionem de remediis fortuitorum.
Incipit: [mutil.]icet cunctorum poetarum carmina gremium nostrum semper illustrent
Explicit: ista felicitas rara.
Final rubric: Explicit ...

Ed. F. Haase (Leipzig, 1902).

13. (fols. 116v-17v)
MARTIN OF BRAGA, Formula Honestae Vitae
Incipit: Incipit libellus Senece de quatuor uirtutibus. Quatuor uirtutum species multorum sapientum sententiis diffinite sunt
Explicit: contempna ignauiam.

CPL 1080; ed. C. W. Barlow, Martini Episcopi Bracarensis Opera Omnia (New Haven, Conn., 1950), pp. 236-50; Bloomfield 4457.

14. (fols. 117v-32)
SENECA THE ELDER, Controuersiae
Rubric: Incipit Seneca de causis.
Incipit: [mutil.]gistis a me rem magis auidam [pro iocundum] michi
Explicit: est proditor malo inuentus.

Ed. H. J. Müller (Vienna, 1887); ed. L. Hakanson (Leipzig, 1989).

15. (fols. 132-4v)
SENECA, De Clementia
Rubric: Incipit liber Senece de clementia ad Neronem.
Incipit: Scribere de clementia Nero Cesar proposui
Explicit: in rectum praua flectantur.
Final rubric: Explicit ...

Ed. C. Hosius (Leipzig, 1914), pp. 210-51.

16. (fols. 134v-56; 156v blank)
SENECA, De Beneficiis
Rubric: Incipit primus liber Senece de beneficiis.
Incipit: [mutil.]ter multos ac uarios errores
Explicit: hoc est magni animi perdere et dare.
Final rubric: Expliciunt libri Senece scripti per manus Gerardi Iohannis de Romaricomonte Tullensis dyocesia.

Ed. C. Hosius (Leipzig, 1914), pp. 1-209. Followed by a table of contents in red.

Annotated in a humanistic bookhand (similar to that of Florius), and in a humanistic cursive.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (leaf): 425 × 275 mm.
Dimensions (written): 295 × 180 mm.
Parchment prepared in the Italian manner. The edges retrimmed, affecting some decoration and marginalia, the feet and formerly foredge stained yellow. Contemporary foliation in roman numerals, often cropped, ii-clxvi.

Layout

Ruled with crayon in 2 cols of 64 lines.

Hand(s)

In the expert gothic rotunda bookhand of Gerard Iohannes, notary of Remiremont, diocese of Toul: Colophons, no. 5302 (Trier, Staatsbibl. 1345).

Decoration

Italian. Splendid 8-9 line initials with 1-3-sided borders in colours and gold, often mutilated, that on the original fol. 1 gone altogether: fols. 1 (Seneca in conversation with Lucilius), 5 (mutil.), 9 (sea and sky), 16 (the four winds), 18 (mutil.), 22, 25, 28 (mutil.), 31v, 37v (mutil.), 40, 44, 49, 53v, 57 (24-line, mutil.), 92v, 96, 100v, 103, 115v (mutil.), 116v, 117v (mutil.), 119v, 121, 122v, 126, 130v, 132, 133, 134v (mostly excised), 136v, 138v, 143, 146v (king with sword and buckler), 149v, 153; red initials flourished in violet, blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs; red highlighting.

History

Origin: c. 1300 ; Hand: Gerard Iohannes, notary of Remiremont, diocese of Toul, France. Decoration: Italian.

Merton College MS. 300 - Part II (fols. 157-207v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

17. (fols. 157-205v)
SENECA, Tragedies
Rubric: Incipiunt tragedie Senece poete tragicorum clarissimi.
Incipit: Tragedia prima Herculis furentes. Soror tonantis hoc enim solum michi
Explicit: Fulmina mictas.
Final rubric: Expliciunt tragedie Senece ... scripte per Florium. Deo gratias.

Ed. O. Zwierlein (Oxford, 1986). In the order Hercules Furens, Thyestes, Oedipus, Phaedra, Octauia, Oedipus (‘Iam nocte pulsa’), Hecuba, Medea, Agamemnon, Octauia (‘Iam uaga celo’), Hercules Oetheus (‘Sator deorum’).

18. (fols. 205v-7; 207v blank)
SENECA, Apocolocyntosis
Rubric: Incipit ludus Senece de morte Claudii imperatoris romanorum.
Incipit: Quid actum sit in celo
Explicit: ut a cognationibus abesset.
Final rubric: Explicit.

Ed. C. F. Russo (6th edn., Florence, 1965).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (leaf): 425 × 275 mm.
Dimensions (written): 300 × 180 mm.
Parchment prepared in the Italian manner.

Layout

Ruled with red ink in 2 cols of 60 lines.

Hand(s)

In the Italian gothic rotunda bookhand, influenced by humanistica, of Franciscus Florius, a Florentine scribe working in France, c. 1449-80: C. F. Finlayson, ‘Florius Infortunatus’, Scriptorium 16 (1962), 378-80; Colophons, nos 4133, 4262-4; G. Tournoy, ‘Francesco Florio's Novella revisited’, Humanistica Lovaniensia 40 (1991), 30-42, manuscripts listed at pp. 32-3. Xavier Binnebeke has recently recognized his hand in Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Hamilton 97 (Boethius).

Decoration

French. On f. 157 a 6-line initial in colours and gold, on a square ground with 2-sided border; at the foot an ornament or coat of arms has been excised; champe initials open each play; plain red or blue initials and paraphs; highlighting in yellow.

History

Origin: s. XV 3/4 ; Decoration: French. Hand: Franciscus Florius.

Merton College MS. 300 - Part III (fols. 208-17v)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 208-17v)
Indexes to Seneca’s correspondence
Incipit: Epistolas Senece ad Lucillum 89 duasque ad Neronem de clementia iuxta libri mei tenorem sibi intitulatas tabulaui secundum ordinem alphabeti easque omnes et singulas ut malui sub oratione breui clamque perstringens cuius quidem tabule primus numerus epistolam quotat, secundus autem partem eius monstrat quantam non equaliter partiuntur cum in quantitate sententie dicte sint equales expedit eiusdem partibus in magnitudine numerum suum diligenter anteponere. Sic eum sine tedio inueniemus quesitum
Explicit: Tabula super epistolis Senece ad Lucilium ordinata Parisiis Amen.

The same index is in Auxerre, Bibl. mun. 82 (s. xiv), fols. 69v-74v, and 243 (AD 1358), fols. 38-45.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper
Dimensions (leaf): 305 × 210 mm.
Dimensions (written): 240 × c. 130 mm.
The edges retrimmed, affecting some decoration and marginalia, the feet and formerly foredge stained yellow.

Layout

Written in 2 cols of 33-5 lines.

Hand(s)

French bastarda, perhaps of Bishop John of Angers.

Decoration

None.

History

Origin: s. xv 3/4 ; script of French 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. 119-20; Powicke, no. 1114; Alexander & Temple, nos 772, 900.