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

Merton College MS. 304

Former shelfmark: I. 2. 4

Philosophical texts; Padua, c. 1581


Language(s): Greek

(fols. 1r – 261v)
SEXTUS EMPIRICUS, Adversus mathematicos

Ed. H. Mutschmann – J. Mau (Leipzig, 1958–61).

(fols. 262r – 267v)
Dissoi Logoi

Ed. H. Diels and W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, ed. 6 (Berlin, 1952 and subsequently reprinted), vol. II, pp. 405–16.

(fols. 268r – 341v)
ALEXANDER OF APHRODISIAS, Commentary on Book M of Aristotle’s Metaphysics (no title given in the MS). Ed. M. Hayduck, Commentaria in Aristotelem graeca I (Berlin, 1891), pp. 722ff. In this MS the text breaks off incomplete at p. 825. 14, and the scribe has noted that it is incomplete.
(fols. 342r – 371r)

Ed. J. L. Heiberg and H. Menge (Leipzig, 1896).

371v-3v blank.

H. Mutschmann in Rheinisches Museum 64 (1909), p. 246, who assigns this MS the siglum M.; E. Gamillscheg and D. Harlfinger, Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten I (Vienna, 1981), pp. 89 and 121, list the scribes (nos 142 and 212); L. Floridi, Sextus Empiricus, the transmission and recovery of Pyrrhonism (Oxford, 2002), p. 85; M. L. Sosower, ‘Greek Manuscripts acquired by Henry and Thomas Savile in Padua’, Bodleian Library Record 19 (2006), 157–84, esp. 164 and figs 5–8.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper
Extent: 386 leaves (iv + 375, plus three unnumbered folios after 267, four after 341)
Dimensions (leaf): 325 × 225 mm.
Dimensions (written): 215 × 115 mm.
The edges stained yellow.


Two bifolia at each end, 1–3410, 358, 36–3910. Signatures: as far as f. 267 in the centre of the lower margin of the first recto, with vertical catchwords; thereafter catchwords only.


30 lines. Ruling pattern too faint to be identified with certainty


Written by Camillus Venetus, using an exemplar belonging to the Paduan Gian Vincenzo Pinelli (1535–1601). The same exemplar was copied in 1589 by James Dalyrimple who wrote f. 10rv (a replacement leaf glued to the stub of its predecessor) of this MS. Brief marginal notes by him on f. 1rv.


Titles, initials of simple pen-work ornament and chapter headings in various red inks.


Oxford, blind-stamped brown leather over reverse-bevelled wooden boards repaired by Maltby in 1953; an elaborate version of Pearson, Oxford Bookbinding, type B2b; his fig. 28 is somewhat similar. Formerly two clasps from the front board to catches at the rear; the marks of a chain staple at the foredge of the front board, near the foot. The front foredge is marked with the numeral 6. A pencilled note records that the binding was repaired by Maltby in 1953.


Origin: c. 1581 ; Italy, Padua

Provenance and Acquisition

Bought by Sir Henry Savile in Padua.

On f. iiv is a list of the chapters of art. 2 in Dalyrimple’s hand, a table of contents, s. xvii, ‘Q. 3. 6. Art:’, canc., and ‘I. 2. 4. (CCCIV)’ in red. The College bookplate.

Merton College MS. 304 - flyleaves (fols. i-ii, 374–5)


Language(s): Latin

(fols. i-ii, 374–5)
A theological work,

from a pecia copy.

Fols. i-ii from qq. 4–5 (5 inc. ‘Circa Christum arguitur quod anima Christi separata a suo corpore gloria eius fuit diminuta’); fols. 374–5 from ?Bk. 1. q. ?. On f. ii is ‘pecia iiia’.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 225 mm.
Dimensions (written): 240 × 140 mm.


Substantial parts of two parchment bifolia from the same book, flattened and bound in sideways.


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 50 lines.


Written in proficient gothic rotunda bookhand, probably French. Textual corrections in a small anglicana hand little later than the main text.


Red or blue initials flourished in the other colour; red and blue running heads between ruled lines across the whole page; small red or blue initials; red paraphs and highlighting.


Origin: c. 1300 ; Script of French appearance; textual corrections in a script of English 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.


Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2019-11-18: First online publication

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