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

Merton College MS. 309

Former shelfmark: H. 3. 9



Language(s): Latin

Fols. i-iv blank. On f. ivv is a table of contents to the whole book in an anglicana hand of s. xv.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: duos una
Secundo Folio: pace retro
Secundo Folio: hec propositio
Secundo Folio: ualet alterum
Four originally separate books, together by s. xv.
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 209 leaves (iv + 204, incl. 88A)
Dimensions (leaf): 265 × 190 mm.
The edges heavily retrimmed with loss of marginalia, and stained red.


A4, 14, 2–312, 416, 510, 6–712, 812(12 canc.) / 910 / 1012(+ 3 after 12) / 118(+ 1 before 1), 12–1410, 1512, 16–198, 208(8 canc., + 1 after 8).


Standard Merton s. xvii; sewn on four bands; formerly chained from the usual position. The outermost leaves were pastedowns in an earlier binding. At the foot of f. i, and at the foredge near the foot, are the marks of iron chain-staples. Near the foot of the last few leaves are marks of the usual large iron chain-staple.


Provenance and Acquisition

At the College by the early 14th cent. (UO46. 54).

On f. 88Av, in faint pencil, is ‘Verba de sol Thome de ’.

At the head of f. 115v is ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ in Oxon’ de legato M. Ioh’ Reynham sacre pagine professoris et quondam socii eiusdem domus’. Reynham occ. as fellow in 1321 and 1330–1.

On f. 204v ‘Hugo Herle habet librum particularem’ and ‘Iste liber emptus fuit [pro l ... florinis]’. Herley (BRUO 918) was fellow in 1409, probably still in 1414.

At the head of f. 201v is ‘Iohanni Cole’, perhaps John Cole or Cale (BRUO 339), bachelor 1495, fellow briefly in 1496.

Inside the front cover is a sheet of paper, s. xvii, with a table of contents of that date and ‘Q. 3. 11. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘H. 3. 9 (CCCIX)’ in red; the College bookplate.

Merton College MS. 309 – Part I (fols. 1–88v)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1–88v)
PRISCIAN, Institutiones
Incipit: Quoniam in ante expositis libris de partibus orationis
Explicit: gloriari student doctrine.
Final rubric: Explicit liber Prisciani constructionum. Est liber scriptus qui scripsit sit benedictus | Assit ei numen qui scripsit tale uolumen | Pec⟨u⟩nia precor siste quoniam liber explicit iste.

CPL 1546; H. Keil, Grammatici Latini (7 vols, Leipzig, 1857–80), III, pp. 106–278.

Copious marginal glossing in ink and pencil, in several anglicana hands, little later than the main text, beg.

Incipit: Quoniam in ante expositis libris &c. In hac parte grammatice que dicitur dyasyntactica

Apparently the only known copy. Also pointing hands, profile heads and other doodles. f. 88A is nearly filled with pencil notes. On the verso are pencilled scribbles.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 240 × 170 mm.



Ruled with pencil in 5 cols, the inner- and outermost two 25, 10, 20 and 35 mm. wide; the text, in 24 long lines, in the centre, 140 × 75 mm. The glossing not ruled for.


The main text is in an English gothic rotunda bookhand of university type. One of the glossing hands looks like that of the Worcester monk John of St Germans.


Opens with a red and blue flourished initial; otherwise red or blue initials plain or flourished in the other colour; red or blue paraphs.


Origin: s. xiii ex. ; script of English appearance.

Merton College MS. 309 – Part II (fols. 89–98v)


Language(s): Latin

2. (fols. 89–94v)
DONATUS, Ars Maior

III, glossed, fragm.

Incipit: (Beg. impf. in iii. 2; edn. p. 655 line 16) soloecismi cum alie partes pro aliis ponuntur ut cornum quam repente clamat pro cornu
Explicit: (ends impf. in iii. 6; edn. p. 674 line 1) parabola est rerum genere dissimilium comparacio.

Ed. L. Holtz, Donat et la tradition de l’enseignement grammatical (Paris, 1981), pp. 653–74.

There is informal additional glossing in anglicana hands.

3. (fols. 95–8v)
Ps.-PRISCIAN, De Accentibus,

glossed, fragm.

Incipit: ⟨L⟩ittera est nota elementi que cum scribitur et in uoce mire resonat nichil aliud quam nota ad formandum elementum esse experitur
Explicit: (ends impf. in 27; edn. p. 524 line 17) et eius excipitur heres. dis. uu.

Ed. Keil, III, pp. 519–28.

Glo. beg. ‘In hoc libro Prisciani qui est de accentibus primo declarat de eius subiecto s. de accentabili’.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 140 × 75 mm.


Ruled with pencil for 19 widely-spaced lines of text, within a frame 165 mm. wide, the depth varying, ruled ad hoc for the glosses.


The text in a gothic rotunda bookhand of Italian appearance; the gloss in a small hand of the same type but with anglicana letter forms.


Unfilled spaces for painted initials and rubrics.


Origin: s. xiii ex. ; script of Italian appearance, glossing hand of English appearance

Merton College MS. 309 – Part III (fols. 99–113v


Language(s): Latin

4. (fols. 99–112)
PETRUS HISPANUS (Ps.-PETRUS HELIAS), Commentary on art. 1 (Priscian's Institutiones)
Incipit: Absoluta cuiuslibet discipline perfectio duplici comparatur exercicio
Explicit: sed ut diximus transit in uim aduerbii.
Final rubric: Explicit liber Petri Helie. Gloria pro merito reddatur debito.

Ed. C. H. Kneepkens, Het Iudicium constructionis. Het Leerstuk van de Constructio in de 2de Helfte de 12de Eeuw (4 vols, Nijmegen, 1987), IV, pp. 1–84, this copy at I, p. 520; R. W. Hunt, 'Absoluta: the Summa of Petrus Hispanus on Priscianus Minor', Historiographa Linguistica 2 (1975), 1–23. Informal glossing in anglicana hands.

f. 112v is covered with pencil notes, 113 with notes in a French cursive hand, c. 1300, apparently notes for a monastic sermon against superfluity of food and wine, ‘de operibus extra caritatem factis’, &c., including verses. More notes, in an anglicana hand of s. xiv ex., on f. 113v.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 200 × 145 mm.


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of c. 60 lines.


A small gothic rotunda bookhand with some anglicana letter forms, probably the hand of the glosses in II.


Blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs.


Origin: s. xiii ex. ; script of English appearance

Merton College MS. 309 – Part IV (fols. 114–204)


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 114v-15; 114 blank

A series of notes and sententiae on the four virtues and the liberal arts, s. xi, incl.: ‘Cum in hymno trium puerorum propter interminabilem infinitatem seculorum .in. prepositio ubique semper accusatiuo iungatur ...; Quis primus inuenit logicam id est rationem? Plato ...’.

5. (fols. 115v-18v)
CICERO, Topica,

xix. 73-xxvi. 100

Incipit: Persona autem non qualiscumque est testimonii pondus habet ad fidem enim faciendum
Explicit: quaedam uoluimus non debita accedere. M. Tullii Ciceronis topica expliciunt.

Ed. W. Friedrich (Leipzig, 1891).

6. (fols. 118v-21)
BOETHIUS, De Differentiis Topicis

IV, excerpt (Communis speculatio de rhetorica cognatione)

Incipit: Communis speculatio de rethoricae cognatione. Quanta sibimet ars rethorica cognatione iungatur non facile considerari potest
Explicit: post fierit commodum disseremus.
Final rubric: De collacione rethorice speculacionis communis explicit.

PL 64. 1207A-12A, 1217C-22C.

7. (fols. 121–2)
BOETHIUS, De Differentiis Topicis

IV, excerpt (Locorum rhetoricarum distinctio)

Incipit: Incipit locorum rethoricorum distinctio. Persona est quae in iudicium uocatur
Explicit: tractatum hucusque constitui.
Final rubric: Explicit locorum rethoricorum distinctio.

PL 64. 1212A-14C, 1221–4.

8. (fol. 122rv)
De Multifaria Praedicatione Potestatis et Passibilitatis
Rubric: Incipit de multifaria predicatione potestatis et passibilitatis.
Incipit: Potestate esse aliquid dupliciter dicitur
Explicit: quae ualeant permutari. Explicit ...

Ed. G. Schepss, ‘Pseudepigrapha Boethiana’, Philologus 55, N. F. 9 (1896), 727–31, at p. 730.

9. (fol. 122v)
Quomodo Argumentorum uel unde Colligantur Loci
Rubric: Incipit quomodo argumentorum uel unde colliguntur loci.
Incipit: Argumentiue[sic] oratio rei dubie faciens fidem
Explicit: inueniri aliud ne quid. Explicit.

Ed. Schepss, p. 371.

Arts 6–9 are found together in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibl., Clm 6371 (s. x) and 6372 (s. x-xi), St Gallen, Stiftsbibl. 830 (s. xi), BnF lat. 11127 (s. x-xi) and nouv. acq. 1611 (s. x-xi), Charleville-Mézieres, Bibl. mun. 187 (s. xii), Valenciennes, Bibl. mun. 406 (388) (s. x-xi), Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibl. 2269 (s. xiii), and Chartres, Bibl. mun. 100 (92) (s. x/xi). The group was studied by Schepss, not knowing of this copy.

10. (fols. 123–201v; 202–3v blank)
BOETHIUS, Commentary on Cicero’s Topica
Rubric: Anicii Manlii Seuerini Boetii uic. et ini. exconsulis ordinarii ad Patricium in topica M. Tullii Ciceronis commentarium liber primus incipit.
Incipit: Exortatione tua Patrici rethorum peritissime
Explicit: talis etiam fortuitarum rerum concursio est.

PL 64. 1039–1169; CPL 888.

Marginal and interlinear glossing in hands of s. xi. On fols. 149v, 177 and 184v, in the text, ‘conditor operis emendaui’.

On f. 204 are two circular cosmological diagrams in ink, contemporary with the main text, and some pen-trials in a charter-hand, s. xii.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (written): 220 × 110 mm.


Blind-ruled in 32 long lines.


In two Continental late Caroline minuscule hands, perhaps Norman.


Initials ornamented in red and ink of text, red paraphs, highlighting and underlining.


Origin: s. xi ; script of perhaps Norman appearance.

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, pp. 122–3; Powicke, nos 101, 360; Codices Boethiani, no. 225; M. Passalacqua, I Codici di Prisciano (Rome, 1978), no. 469; B. Munk Olsen, L’étude des auteurs classiques latins aux XIe et XIIe siecles I (Paris, 1982), p. 250; Bursill-Hall 197. 10.

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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