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

MS. Add. C. 15

Summary Catalogue no.: 24713

Cyprian of Carthage, letters and treatises; Germany (?Lotharingia), 9th century (?third quarter)


Language(s): Latin

(fol. i)

Marbled endleaf conjoint with the pastedown; the verso blank except for Bodleian shelfmarks.

(fols. ii-iii, iv, v-vi)

All mounted on to fol. vii: three pieces of correspondence relating to the manuscript, dated 1919, from Emile Rodé, aide-bibliothècaire of Colmar: see Provenance.

(fol. 1r)

Blank except for 14th(?)-century title ‘Epistole Cipriani Cartaginensis’, later(?) pen-trial ‘Herman’, and 19th-century label '299' (see Provenance).

(fol. 1v)

Contemporary list of contents: ‘In hoc codice Sancti Cypriani Epistolae sunt numero xxiiii’. A late-sixteenth or 17th-century hand adds page references to the printed edition of 1589 (USTC 406847): see Provenance.

1. (fols. 2r-6(a)v)
Cyprian, Epistola ad Donatum
Incipit: Bene ammones Donate carissime ; nam et promisse
Explicit: prolectet aures religiosa dulcedo[sic]
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriana ad Donatum explicit
CPL 38; CCSL 3A.1-13
2. (fols. 6(a)v-13r)
Cyprian, Liber ad Demetrianum
Rubric: Incipit ad Demetrium[sic]
Incipit: Oblatrantem te et aduersus deum qui unus et uerus est
Explicit: factus est inmortalitate securus
Final rubric: Explicit ad Demetrianum
CPL 46; CCSL 3A.33-51
3. (fols. 13r-22v)
Cyprian, Epistola ad Fortunatum de exhortatione martyrii
Rubric: Incipit ad Furtunatum
Incipit: Desiderasti Furtunate carissime, ut quoniam
Explicit: in pace conscientia coronatur
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Furtunatum explicit
CPL 45; CCSL 3.183-212, collated as O.
4. (fols. 22v-32r)
Cyprian, Liber de lapsis
Rubric: Incipit de lapsis
Incipit: Pax ecce dilectissimi fratres ecclesiae reddita est
Explicit: ueniam sed coronam
Final rubric: Cecili Cypriani de lapsis explicit
CPL 42; CCSL 3.217-42
5. (fols. 32v-40r)
Cyprian, Liber de opere et eleemosynis
Rubric: Incipit de opere et elemosinis amen
Colophon: Legenti et facienti uita et pax operanti scribentique gratia et misericordia
Incipit: Multa et magna sunt fratres dilectissimi beneficia diuina
Explicit: in persecutio\ne/ purpuram pro passione germinabit
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani de opere et elemosinis explicit
CPL 47; CCSL 3A.53-72
6. (fols. 40r-46r)
Cyprian, De mortalitate
Rubric: Incipit de mortalitate
Incipit: Etsi apud plurimos uestrum fratres dilectissimi mens solida est
Explicit: quorum circa se fuerint desideria maiora.
Final rubric: VII Explicit Cecili Cyprianic de mortalitate
CPL 44; CCSL 3A.15-32
7. (fols. 46r-52r)
Cyprian, De bono patientiae
Rubric: Incipit de patientia
Incipit: De patientia loquuturus[sic] fratres dilectissimi sum
Explicit: sed cum iustis et deum timentibus honoremur, amen
Final rubric: Cecili Cypriani de patientia explicit
CPL 48; CCSL 3A.115-33
8. (fols. 52r-60v)
Cyprian, De oratione dominica
Rubric: Incipit de dominica oratione
Incipit: Euuangelica praecepta fratres dilectissimi nihil sunt aliud
Explicit: gratias agere non desinamus
Final rubric: Explicit de dominica oratione
CPL 43; CCSL 3A.87-113
9. (fols. 60v-65r)
Cyprian, Ep. 63 ad Caecilium
Rubric: Incipit de sacramento calicis
Incipit: Cyprianus Cecilio fratri salutem. Quamquam sciam
Explicit: facere quod fecit
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani de sacramento calicis explicit
CPL 50; CCSL 3C.389-417 (ending at line 364), collated as O.
10. (fols. 65r-71r)
Cyprian, Liber de habitu uirginum
Rubric: Incipit ad virgines
Incipit: Disciplina custos spei
Explicit: uirginitatis hono\ra/ri
Final rubric: Cecilii Cypriani de disciplina et habitu uirginum explicit
CPL 40; CCSL 3F.7-320, collated as O.
11. (fols. 71r-75v)
Cyprian, Liber de zelo et liuore
Rubric: Incipit de zelo et liuore
Incipit: Zelari quod bonum uideas
Explicit: in hoc mundo ante placeamus
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani de zelo et liuore explicit
Colophon: hic finit

Colophon at least partly in tironian notes (see M. Hellmann, Index Tironianum, no. 408); the characters preceding 'hic finit' perhaps the scribe's name.

CPL 49; CCSL 3A.73-86
12. (fols. 76r-84r)
Cyprian, De unitate ecclesiae
Rubric: Incipit de unitate ecclesiae catholicae
Incipit: Cum moneat dominus et dicat
Explicit: Christo dominante regnabimus
Final rubric: Cecili\i/ Cypriani de ecclesiae unitate explicit
CCSL 3.243-68
13. (fols. 84r-87r)
Ps.-Cyprian, De idolorum uanitate
Rubric: Incipit quod idola non sint
Incipit: Deos non esse quos colit uulgus hinc notum est
Explicit: si Christum sequuti fuerimus. Amen.
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani quod idola non sint explicit

First line in uncial majuscules

CPL 57; CSEL 3.1, 19–31
14. (fols. 87r-91r)
Cyprian, Ep. 58 ad Thibaritanos de exhortatione martyrii
Rubric: Incipit ad Tibaritanos legenti uita
Incipit: Cyprianus plebi Tiberi consistenti in domino salutem. Cogitaueram quidem
Explicit: semper bene ualere et nostri memores esse
Final rubric: Amen Cecili Cypriani ad Tibaritanos explicit
CCSL 3C, pp. 319-335, collated as OI
15. (fols. 91r-93r)
Cyprian, Ep. 76 ad Nemesianum
Rubric: Incipit ad confessores
Incipit: Nemesiano, Lucio, Felici […] Gloria quidem uestra
Explicit: pariter in regnis cęlestibus gaudeamus
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad confessores explicit
CCSL 3C, pp. 605-617 (l. 155), collated as O.
16. (fols. 93r-97r)
Cyprian, Ep. 58 ad Thibaritanos de exhortatione martyrii
Rubric: Incipit ad Thibaritanos
Incipit: Cyprianus plebi Thibaritanorum consistenti
Explicit: paratus est ad coronam
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Thibaritanos explicit
CCSL 3C, pp. 319-335, collated as OII (cf. art. 14 above)
17. (fols. 97r-105v)
Cyprian, Ep. 55 ad Antonianum
Rubric: Incipit ad Antonianum de Cornelio et Nouatiano
Incipit: Cyprianus Antoniano fratri salutem. Accepi primas
Explicit: tractare poterimus
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Antonianum explicit
CCSL 3A, pp. 256-295, collated as O.
18. (fols. 105v-146v)
Cyprian, Testimoniorum aduersus Iudaeos libri tres ad Quirinum
Rubric: Incipit ad Quirinum liber primus
Incipit: (fol. 106r) Cyprianus Quirino filio salutem.
Explicit: meditabitur die ac nocte
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Quirinum liber III explicit
CPL 39; CCSL 3.1-179, collated as O.

Each book preceded by capitula; book II begins at fol. 113r, book III at fol. 125v. The chapters are numbered by Greek letters

19. (fols. 146v-149r)
Cyprian, Ep. 66 ad Florentium (Pupianum) de obtrectatoribus
Rubric: Incipit ad Florentium quem et Puppianum
Incipit: Cyprianus qui et Assius
Explicit: utręque recitabi\un/tur
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Puppianum rescribentis explicit
CCSL 3C.434-45, collated as O
20. (fols. 149r-151v)
Cyprian, Ep. 30
Rubric: Incipit ad Romanos
Incipit: Cyprianus papae et diaconibus Romę consistentibus salutem. Quamquam bene sibi
Explicit: quasi duram crudelitatem
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Romanos explicit
CCSL 3B, pp. 139-150 (ending at line 186), collated as O.
21. (fols. 151v-152r)
Cyprian, Ep. 2 ad Eucratium de histrione
Rubric: Incipit ad Eucratium de histrionem[sic]
Incipit: Cyprianus Eucratio fratri salutem. Pro dilectione tua
Explicit: in ecclesia discere
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Eucratium de histrionem explicit
CCSL 3B, pp. 6-8 (ending at line 37), collated as O.
22. (fols. 152r-153v)
Cyprian, Ep. 64 de infantibus baptizandis
Rubric: Incipit ad Fidum de infantibus baptizandis
Incipit: Cyprianus et ceteri […] Legimus litteras tuas
Explicit: quam deprecantur
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani ad Fidum de infantibus baptizandis explicit
CCSL 3C, pp. 417-425 (line 96), collated as O.
23. (fols. 153v-157v)
Sententiae episcoporum numero LXXXVII de haereticis baptizandis
Rubric: Incipit sententiae episcoporum
Incipit: Cum in unum Cartagini
Explicit: et de antichristus[sic] christiani
Final rubric: Caecili Cypriani sententiae episcoporum LXXXIIII
CPL 56; CCSL 3E, collated as O.

As noted by Diercks (CCSL 3D, p. 800), Vatican Library Pal. lat. 159 (15th century, origin and early history unknown; digitized with description by Michael Kautz, 2016) was copied from the present manuscript.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment with numerous irregular edges and flaws
Extent: ii (paper) + 158 + ii (paper) folios
Dimensions (leaf): 320 × 240 mm.
Foliation: i-ii, 1-6a, 6b-159


1(8)-9(8), 10(4) (fols. 1-75) | 11(8)-19(8) (fols. 76-147), 20(10) (fols. 148-57). Quires 1-10 numbered in roman on the final verso, bottom centre.


Blind-ruled; 1 col., c. 28-9 lines. Written space c. 235-45 × 155-65 mm.


Caroline minuscule by two (?) hands, fols. 1-75v (quires 1-10) and fols. 76r-157v.


Unfinished initial 'B', fol. 2r

Plain red initials elsewhere.

Rubrics in rustic capitals (quires 1-10) or uncial (quires 11-20).


Modern binding of blind-tooled calf: probably rebound for the Bodleian, c. 1860. At the Libri sale the manuscript was described as 'in the original oak binding'.


Origin: 9th century (third quarter (?)) ; Germany, perhaps Lotharingia

Provenance and Acquisition

Dating and localization after Bischoff. J. Autenrieth (see below) suggested the Lake Constance area.

Constance, cathedral church: annotations on the opening folios were attributed by Autenrieth to 'Konstanzer Anonymus A', active in the second half of the 11th century, whose annotations are found in a large number of manuscripts from the cathedral library: J. Autenrieth, Die Domschule von Konstanz zur Zeit der Investiturstreits (1956), p. 83 and passim.

Reichenau, Benedictine abbey (?); perhaps later at Murbach, Benedictine Abbey: the evidence is complex and not definitive.

In 1846 Jean-Baptiste-François Pitra examined two manuscripts of Cyprian in the possession of Louis Maimbourg of Colmar. The first he described as 'S. Cypriani opera. Codex membr. vetustissimus, caractere unciali interdum merovingico, saec. circ. VIII. Continentur in eo : 1o epistolae ad diversos, quarum VII ad Cornelium, ex quibus duae inscribuntur ad Cornelium pseudo-episcopum. 2o opuscula tria litteris intermixta, nempe ad Quirinum libri tres, de vanitate idolorum, sententiae LXXXVII episc. In fine legitur nota, ipsiusmet celeberrimi Bartholomaei subscriptio : orate pro Bartholomaeo abbate Murbacensi. Textus nitidus, accurate manu coaeva correctus; ex modo recitata subscriptione constat hunc librum ad insignem abbatiae Murbacensis librariam pertinuisse' (A. Souter, 'Further Notes on the John Rylands Library Latin Manuscript No.15 (St. Cyprian)', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 5 (1919) 392-393). This manuscript was subsequently in the sale of Guglielmo Libri, 1859, lot. 298, and is now Manchester, John Rylands University Library, Latin MS 15.

The second manuscript Pitra described as 'S. Cypriani opuscula et epistulae quaedam. Cod. membr. praecedente paulo recentior; caractere unciali carolino eleganter scriptus ... codex cum impresso Pameliano, ut videtur ex notis recentibus margini appositis, fuit collatus'. Binding waste in the manuscript comprised, according to Pitra: (1) a fragment of a Latin-German glossary (2) 'index miscellaneorum misere deperditorum inter quae recensentur plura carmina poetarum christianorum, chronica strictim verbis composita, glosae super canonem ac regulam sancti Benedicti, libellus Plinii secundi' (3) 'versus s. Cypriani de resurrectione carnis' (4) 'versus de resurrectione Domini, tunc de infantibus baptizandis sententiae episcoporum'. (A copy of Pitra's description is fol. iv of our manuscript.) The fourth item was also seen in situ by F. J. Mone (Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters I (1853) 186). This is to be identified with the present manuscript.

The fragments described by Pitra seem to have been removed by Guglielmo Libri (see below) and combined with a fragment removed from the present Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin/Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. theol. lat. oct. 159, to form a separate manuscript, which was lot. 1112 in the Libri sale, 1859; subsequently Thomas Phillipps MS. 18908; afterwards Berlin, MS. Lat. qu. 676; now Krakow, Biblioteka Jagiellońska, 825. The Berlin fragments were described in detail in H. Degering, Neue Erwerbungen der Handschriftenabteilung, II. Die Schenkung Sir Max Waechters 1912, Mitteilungen aus der Königlichen Bibliothek Bd. III (Berlin, 1917), where Pitra's (1)-(4) are items 1-8, and recently in Bischoff, Katalog, nos. 387-8 and 389. Degering believed that all the fragments belonged together and had been removed from John Rylands Latin MS. 15 (Libri 298) - an interpretation repeated at BStK 44(I) and 44(II) - but Pitra's description shows this to be incorrect. That MS. Lat. qu. 676c (Phillipps 18908/1) was originally part of MS. theol. lat. oct. 159 was established by H. Mayer in 1974 (see BStK 59 and Manuscripta Mediaevalia. All the fragments were written at Reichenau in the 9th century.

Our manuscript's explicit evidence of provenance is the damaged (partly excised?) inscription on fol. 2r, ‘Liber ............is . epistole Cypriani’. Bischoff interpreted this as a Reichenau ex libris; there is a resemblance to the late medieval ex libris in some Reichenau manuscripts in the form 'Lib(er) mon. augie maioris' (Karlsruhe Cod. Aug. perg. 181 fol. 1r, Cod. Aug. perg. 57 fol. 1r, etc.), although in those cases 'Liber' is typically abbreviated, and the ex libris is not accompanied by a note of the contents. The volume is perhaps identifiable in a Reichenau booklist of the second half of the ninth century, 'Cyprianus epistolarum volumen I' (Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz I.265 l. 25). It is not identifiable in the earlier booklist (Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz I.246), pace Die Reichenauer Handschriften: Zeugnisse zur Bibliotheksgeschichte, ed. Karl Preisendanz (1917), p. 74. Nor has it been identified in later Reichenau catalogues: the identification of our manuscript with 'Cypriani Expositiones Orationis Dominicae' mentioned in 1688-91 by J. Pregitzer (Die Reichenauer Handschriften, ed. Preisendanz, p. 52) is very doubtful, since Pregitzer probably refers to the present Karlsruhe Cod. Aug. perg. 18.

By the mid 19th century, as we have seen, our manuscript was in the possession of Louis Maimbourg of Colmar (1773-1854), priest and collector. It is possible that he acquired our manuscript, in common with the other Cyprian manuscript in his possession, from Murbach Abbey, and this has indeed frequently been assumed, but there is no positive evidence. As Beate Braun-Niehr suggests in her description of Berlin Ms. theol. lat. oct. 159, Maimbourg may have acquired our manuscript together with the Berlin manuscript during his travels in Switzerland. (It has not been possible to consult M. Schickelé, Le curé L. Maimbourg, 1773-1854 (1912), or Nouveau dictionnaire de biographie alsacienne 25 (1995), 2489f.). The manuscript is not identifiable in the Murbach 'booklist' from the 9th-century, contrary to H. Bloch, 'Ein Karolingischer Bibliotheks-Katalog aus Kloster Murbach', Strassburger Festschrift zur XLVI. Versammlung deutscher Philologen und Schulmänner (1901), 262 and 277. (The more recent edition of the booklist makes no reference to our manuscript: W. Milde, Der Bibliothekskatalog des Klosters Murbach aus dem 9. Jahrhundert, 1968.)

After Maimbourg's death the manuscript passed to his heir, Henri Chauffour (1824-1868): a paper fragment in the manuscript reads '3. M. Henri Chauffour a Colmar' in ink; underneath '424 R' in pencil.

Maimbourg sale, Paris, Salle Silvestre, 6 or 7 March 1858, lot 139: see Archives de bibliophile 1 (1858), 26; the description refers to the manuscript's poor state of conservation and to damp damage in the upper margin. Apparently purchased by:

Guglielmo Libri (1803–69)

His sale at Sotheby's, 28 March 1859 and seven following days, lot 299. The account of the sale in Archives de bibliophile 2 (1859) 218 states explicitly that lots 298-9 were lots 138-139 in the Maimbourg sale.

Bought by the Bodleian. Previous shelfmark Addit. Bodl. T. B. 15.

Record Sources

Description (May 2021) by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-05-27: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.