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

Jesus College MS. 2


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r–232v)
Geoffrey of Monmouth, De gestis Britonum
Rubric: (fol. 1r) Incipit historia britonum.
Incipit: Eneas post troianum bellum quod annis decem mensibus viii
Explicit: (fol. 232v) hoc modo in latinum sermonem transferre curaui.
Final rubric: Explicit historia britonum.

ed. Geoffrey of Monmouth, De gestis Britonum, ed. Michael D. Reeve, trans. Neil Wright, Woodbridge, 2007. For §§ 6–63 of Reeve’s division, the text here belongs to his ∆ family and for the rest to a branch related to Cambridge, Caius College 406/627.

The text is contaminated and interpolated (e.g. the cited incipit) with an often chronological gloss. Extensive glosses in the same hand appear also in margins, beginning on fol. 1r: ‘Nota quod iste numerus semper …’. As for the Prophetia Merlini (fols. 96r–145v ‘Sedente itaque Vortigerno … hac tribulatione remedium), an extensive interlinear gloss, too, was planned, but was (like all glossing in this section) only sporadically executed.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper; endleaves membrane
Extent: iv + 232 + ii leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 220 × 150 mm.
Slightly trimmed.
Foliation: Contemporary foliation, in ink on both sides, has two runs: the first goes from 1 to 48 at the outer bottom corner, and the second, beginning on fol. 49, from 1 to 184 down in the middle of the lower margin. A modern foliation, in pencil at the lower right corner on the recto side, occurs first only sporadically and from fol. 49 to the end continuously.


a4 +1–298 + z4 wants 1,2; catchwords on the final folio of each quire in the lower margin at the right hand.


The number of (long) lines in the corpus text depends on the amount of glossing, and is in general between 22 and 28. No ruling. 140–165 × 90–100 mm. The measurements for the written area exclude the glosses, which are of variable size.

For fols. 96–145, Prophetia Merlini, the written area is, only 8 or 9 long lines. 115–130 × 60 mm.


Fast anglicana.

The final verso is in a slower bastard anglicana hand of the same period; there is no break in the text coinciding with the change.


Whittawed skin over oak boards; sewn on six raised bands. The final folio of the lower endleaves serves as a pastedown.

The present binding incorporates an entire book which was never finished with regard to glossing. The two sets of contemporary foliation suggest that the quires were not bound together immediately once the main text was completed.


Origin: 1400s × 1440s ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

On fol. 1r, an ?18th-cent. hand enters ‘Autore Galfrido Arthurio Monumetensi. Vide Perkinsi Problema; pag. 43.’ The reference is to an entry on the author in W. Perkins, Problema de Romanae fidei ementito Catholicismo, London, 1604.

How and when the book entered the College is unknown. Pressmarks on spine: ‘74’; ‘⟨Ar⟩ch. ⟨1–⟩2’ (paper label); ‘MS. Jesus Coll. Ox. E. 2’ (paper label); fol. i recto: ‘1 Arch. 1–2’; ‘8’; ‘2027’; ‘Numb 8’; ‘(74)’ crossed over. Title on the cover, almost completely worn out, possibly in the same 19th-cent. hand as in Jesus College 3; ‘2º fº Regnat xxix’.

Record Sources

Description by Samu Niskanen (January 2011), revised by Andrew Dunning (December 2022). Previously described:

Last Substantive Revision

2022-12-09: Andrew Dunning revised description by Samu Niskanen.