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

St John's College MS 24

Justinian, Digest


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 1ra–183rb
Incipit: Soluto matrimonio et queadmodum [sic for quemadmodum] dos petitur Planus libro Dotis\ium/ causa semper et ubique precipua est […] Ulpian Liber xxx. acciones Soluto matrimonio soluit mulieribus dos debet
Explicit: in hostium posteate erat postlimino uersit reuersus
JUSTINIAN, Digestum books 24.3–38 only (including the ‘Infortiatum’)

ed. CJCiv 1:320a–590b. The page was laid out so that a commentary might be provided, but no formal one was ever supplied; rather the margins are loaded with users’ notes on various topics.

Each of the scribes was independent, as is shown not only by variations in page format, decoration, signing, and quiring, but also by the sloppy join at the boundary between the two booklets which comprise the manuscript (between the stints of scribes 2 and 3). At fol. 128v, scribe 2 leaves thirty-four lines blank in the second column, apparently to make a join with the next section. This break corresponds to a point within Digestum 35.2.82 (CJCiv 1:516a), where the tract ‘Tres partes’ has been added to the ‘Inforciatum’ (see CJCiv 1:516 n1). The text is continuous across the blank space and quire boundary and the scribes plainly intended to pass on responsibility for the text at a clear juncture, but scribe 2 did not plan the conclusion of his stint carefully. There is a brief reference to our MS in Hermann U. Kantorowicz, Über die Entstehung des Digestum vulgata (Weimar, 1910), 145 n. 20.

Added texts:

a. Fol. 183vab:
Incipit: Ticius conuenit semel in mundo super aliqua re et cum datus fuit
Explicit: fit pre iudicium parti aduerse et ideo dicendum est quod fit contestatur

A quaestio on civil law, in textura semiquadrata, s. xiii.

b. On a vellum fragment, pasted to the front pastedown

An index of titles by book for the volume. Overall 252 × 26 mm. , in double columns. In the hand of the preceding, also responsible for a good many notes in the volume, e.g. in the margin of fol. 9rb.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: personale
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. v + 183 + iii (numbered fols. vi–viii).
Dimensions (leaf): 350 × 210 mm.


1–88 9–1210 13–158 [fol. 128, a booklet boundary] | 16–2010 216(–6, probably blank). Catchwords, usually beneath the inner column of the last verso, occasionally boxed; possible quire signatures at fols. 1 and 41, the first halves of quires 16–20 signed with an arbitrary sign plus letters a–e (in order a, a-, a, -a, a o).


The full lower margin of the bifolium fols. 149 + 158 cut away.


In double columns; each of the three scribes formats the page differently:

Scribe 1: each column 205–8 × 53–5 mm. with 9 mm between columns, in 47 lines;

Scribe 2: 211 × 53 mm. , 8 mm between columns, in 59 lines;

Scribe 3: 203 × 48 mm. , 13 mm between columns, in 57 lines.

Regular prickings; bounded and ruled in pencil, brownish ink, and brown crayon (the last scribe 3).


All three scribes write gothic textura semiquadrata, scribes 1 (fols. 1–80) and 2 (fols. 81–128) above top line, scribe 3 (fols. 129–83) below it. Punctuation by point, medial point, and punctus elevatus.


Each scribe follows his own decorative scheme:

Scribe 1: titles in red.

At the heads of the books, each ‘planus libro’ introduced by a 2-line red and blue rectilinear rubric.

Sections introduced by alternate red and blue 1- and 2-line lombards.

The texts broken with alternate red and blue paraphs.

Running titles in red give book numbers, with an indication of the topic treated.

Scribe 2: red lombards only, 2-line at the heads of sections, 1-line to break the text; running titles as scribe 1.

Scribe 3: spaces for rubrics unfilled until fol. 143

(quite uniquely ‘Ulpianus’ in blue with red flourishing in the form of scribe 1’s decorative ‘planus libro’, at fol. 164ra).

Alternate 1- and 2-line lombards and paraphs in red and blue to introduce and divide sections.

Running titles in alternate red and blue give the book number.


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, a marbled paper flyleaf, two modern paper flyleaves, and two medieval vellum ones (a bifolium, the first of these, fol. iv, a former pastedown). At the rear, two modern paper flyleaves and a marbled paper one (vi–viii).


Origin: s. xiii2/4 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Iohannes Whyte de Suthwyke in comitatu Suth’t Armiger dedit hunc librum Thome Whyte de London’ Militi ad vsum Colegij per ipsum de nouo erecti in Oxonia Anno 1555’ (fol. 1v, upper margin).

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna, A descriptive catalogue of the western medieval manuscripts of St. John's College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact St John's College Library.


    Hermann U. Kantorowicz, Über die Entstehung des Digestum vulgata (Weimar, 1910), 145 n. 20.
    Paul Kruger et al., Corpus Juris Civilis, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1905).

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust

Last Substantive Revision

2021-09: First online publication

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.