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

Merton College MS. 308

Former shelfmark: H. 3. 2



Language(s): Latin

f. i blank; on the verso is ‘Perspectiua Vitellionis’, s. xvi.

(fols. 1–288)
WITELO, Perspectiua
Incipit: ⟨V⟩eritatis amatori fratri Willelmo de Morbeka Vitelo filius Thuringorum et Polonorum eterne lucis irrefracto mentis radio
Incipit: Quia ergo tibi ut tocius entis sedulo scrutatori
Incipit: ⟨C⟩rescens namque negotium 4 libris partialibus duximus distinguendum
Explicit: nichil coeternum uel econtra bonum est iniacens cui ....
Final rubric: Explicit perspectiua magistri Vitilonis, continet autem propositiones 805.

Ed. F. Risner, in Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni Arabis Libri Septem ... Item Vitellonis Thuringopoloni Libri X ..., Basel 1572 / New York, 1972; I-III ed. and transl. S. Unguru, Studia Coperniciana 15, 28 (Wroclaw, 1977, 1991), V ed. and transl. M. Smith, Studia Coperniciana (Wroclaw, 1983); eTK 1689E, not this copy; Lindberg, no. 105. Followed by a short note on references in the work to the ‘speculum comburens’, then ‘Explicit expliciat ludere scriptor eat.’

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: conuexis
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 290 leaves (i + 289)
Dimensions (leaf): 280 × 185 mm.
Dimensions (written): 200–25 × 130 mm.
The edges savagely retrimmed with loss of marginalia.


A singleton at each end, 18, 2–1912, 20–78; framed catchwords; leaf-numbers.


Ruled with pencil in 43 long lines.


Rather rough anglicana hands; the propositions sometimes written in rotunda bookhand, sometimes in a larger size of anglicana.


None; unfilled spaces for coloured initials. Propositions underlined in red. Marginal diagrams in ink of text, rather roughly drawn, as far as f. 52v.


Medieval, restored by Maltby; slightly bevelled oak boards, recycled from another binding (which had five bands), with unusually projecting squares, now bared, the spine covered with modern red goatskin; resewn on four bands. The front board has shallow recesses for two straps with clasps to pins replaced by catches nailed to the rear board, all now lost. Formerly chained from the foredge of the front board, near the foot. f. 288 was formerly a pastedown in an earlier binding. Fols. 287–8 are extensively mutilated at the foot, with associated verdigris stains, perhaps from the large brass chain-staple.


Origin: S. XIV med. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Written in England.

It is not known when it entered the College, but Appendix B, no. 98 (1449) records a payment ‘pro ligatura unius libri de perspectiua Vitulonis ...’

At the head of f. 1 is a thoroughly erased inscription of 2–3 lines. On f. iv are a title, s. xvii, and ‘Q. 1. 10. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘H. 3. 2 (CCCVIII)’ in red; the College bookplate. ‘10’ is inked on the foredge.

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. 122; Powicke, no. 1242.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-11-05: First online publication

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