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

St John's College MS 85

Constantine the African, Pantegny and Rhazes, Works

Physical Description

Comprising two originally separate MSS
Form: codex
Support: both on vellum (both FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. iii + 184 + v (numbered fols. iv–viii).
Dimensions (leaf): 276 × 197 mm.


The bottom half of fol. v has been cut away.


A modern replacement. Sewn on four thongs. At the front, two modern paper flyleaves and one vellum flyleaf (a former pastedown); at the rear, three medieval vellum flyleaves and two modern paper ones (iv–viii).


Origin: s. xiii2 (MS 1) and xiii med. (MS 2) ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

A contents list (fol. iiiv, s. xvii).

‘Liber Collegij Sanctj Johannis Baptistae Oxon ex dono Johannis Hanlye Literarum Doctoris et Aulae Gloucestrensis Principalis 1618’ (fol. 1, upper margin).

Manuscript 1 = Fols. 1–117


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1ra–2vb:
Incipit: ⟨D⟩omino suo montis cassianensis abbati desiderio reuerentissimo patrum patri […] CONSTANTINUS AFFRICANUS licet indignus suus tamen monachus […] Cum tocius partis sciencie generalitas tres principales habeat partes […] [fol. 1va, the text] ⟨O⟩portet eum qui medicine uult obtinere habitum ut magister ab eo honoretur
Explicit: inter durum et mollem temperata alia est glandosa ||
Constantine the African, Pantegny (for further particulars, see the next item), portions of Prologue-‘Theorica’ 1.2, ‘Theorica’ 2.12–14 only, ed. Omnia opera Ysaac (Lyon, 1515), pt. 2, fols. 1ra–1va / 28, 7vb / 63–8va / 7. Preceded by a contents table for book 1 of the ‘Theorica’. Fols. 1 and 2 are a discarded sheet, originally the outer bifolium of first quire, with approximately the same materials as appear on the substituted leaves 3 + 14. The scribe apparently decided to alter his presentation of the beginning of the text, to delay the appearance of Constantine’s letter to follow the prologue.
2. Fols. 3ra–117va:
Incipit: Cvm tocius artis sciencie generalitas tres principales habeat partes omnes enim seculares […] [fol. 3va, the text] Oportet eum qui medicine uult optinere habitum ut magister ab eo honoretur
Explicit: curamus cum olio uiolato adipe anseris et cera
Final rubric: Explicit liber de regimento sanitatis CONSTANTINI
Constantine the African, Pantegny,

a translation of HALY ABBAS, Kitab al-Maliki, the full ‘Theorica’ and ‘Practica’, book 1 (eTK 0466A, the incipit as on fol. 1, the dedication; and 328, the usual incipit), ed. Omnia opera Isaac, pt. 2, fols. 1ra–65ra. Only seventeen written lines on fol. 117v, the remainder blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: petens (fol. 2)
Secundo Folio: Aut est generis (fol. 4)
Extent: Fols. 117. The leaves at the start of each book have tabs affixed for ease of reference.


12 (originally 1 + 12 of the next) 2–1012 118 (–8, probably blank). Catchwords under the gutter columns, most cut away. All leaves, at least in the first half of each quire, were signed in pencil, a letter for each page (or on occasion, leaf?), the quire designated by an arbitrary sign; in the fragmentary survivals, e usually indicates the third leaf and h the sixth, and, for example, quire 10 is indicated by the infinity sign.


In double columns, each column 180 × 58 mm. , with 8 mm between columns, in 44 lines to the column. No prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink and brown crayon.


Written in textura semiquadrata. Punctuation by medial point and punctus elevatus.


Headings in red (at the start some unfilled).

Seven-line red and blue lombards with flourishing in the same at the heads of books; alternate 2-line red and blue lombards on flourishing of the other colour for chapters.

Book-numbers added in pencil as running titles.


Origin: s. xiii2

Manuscript 2 = Fols. 118–84


Language(s): Latin

3. Fols. 118ra–49rb:
Rubric: Incipiunt uerba ALBUBECII FILII ZACARIE RAZI et est liber diuicionum
Incipit: Uentilata fuit in presencia cuiusdam probi viri rememoracio diuisionis egritudinum
Explicit: medicine que eradicant panum et delent uestigia earum
RHAZES (Abu Bakr Muhammad ben Zakariya al-Razi), Liber divisionum,

among the extensive canon translated by GERARD OF CREMONA (eTK 1684E), ed. Opera parua Abubetri filii Zacharie filii arasi (Lyons, 13 May 1511 and 8 November 1510), pt. ii, fols. 2–77 (the remainder of this volume includes our text 2 above). On the transmission of Rhazes’s text in Latin and the wavery boundaries between his works in MSS, see Lynn Thorndike, ‘Latin Manuscripts of Works by Rasis at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 32 (1958), 54–67.

4. Fols. 149rb–59vb:
Rubric: Incipit liber secundus est antidotiarii
Incipit: Dixi in hoc libro meo medicinas quarum necessitas est inseparabilis et posui illas […] [the text] De tinctura capillorum Confeccio tincture denigrantis capillos summatur Gallarum rubearum
Explicit: et senj de octo in viij. diebus sumat de yeralogodion 3.v
Final rubric: Explicit liber diuicionum Explicit liber diuicionum RASI amen
RHAZES, The ‘antidotarium libri diuisionum’ with its prologue (eTK 0245N, 0445F), ed. Opera parua, pt. ii, fols. 79–88 (the final recipe unparallelled in the printed text).
5. Fols. 159vb–67rb:
Rubric: Incipiunt experimenta RASI
Incipit: Dicit rasis volo in hoc capitulo dicere medicinas que sunt necessarie in doloribus iuncturarum
Explicit: vncia i. pinguedinis uituli vncie ij. pinguedinis aquile \alio aliguille [marg.]/ vncie ij. confice et utere
RHAZES, ‘De egritudinibus / doloribus iuncturarum’ (eTK 1710E), ed. Opera parua, pt. i, fols. 217–34v.
6. Fols. 167rb–9rb:
Rubric: De curis puerorum et primo de sahaphati
Incipit: Sahaphati accidit pueris et forte accidit in facie et capite Et generacio eius
Explicit: quod sic fit accipe cere vncia i. euforbii vncia i. oliui quod sufficit
RHAZES, ‘De egritudinibus puerorum’ (eTK 1368A), ed. Opera parua, pt. i, fols. 234v–9.
7. Fols. 169rb–74va:
Rubric: De experimentis altaris
Incipit: Dixit G quod ignis qui descendit super altare combussit libros regis et cum hiis combussit […] [fol. 169vb, the text] De prima medicina Prima ergo ex eis est medicina quam accepi ab ..taram experimentatore qui erat de ciuitate texich
Explicit: multociens expertis sumus de nihil abscindam tractatum
PS.-GALEN, Experimenta (eTK 0658I), translated by MAGISTER FRANCHIUS, a series of medicines ascribed to great physicians, ending with twenty medicines described as Athenian, ed. in the works of Rhazes (Milan, 1481), Hain 13891, BMC 6:749; and those of Galen (Venice, 1490), Hain 7427 (also Venice, 1515) not available to us.
8. Fol. 174vab:
Incipit: Medicamen subtilians humores et preparans ipsos ad exitum in principiis egritudinis
Explicit: vncie iiij. cum aqua decoctionis in diem apii et fecit
An odd recipe between the two series
9. Fols. 174vb–80ra:
Rubric: Dixit RASIS et iam diximus uel hoc libro nostro et uocamus librum experimentacionis medicinas quas probauimus […] De aptatione medicinarum ut sint sine sapore malo
Incipit: Doctrina RASIS de aptatione medicinarum ut possint sumi sine orribilitate pillule mirabiles que sunt composite
Explicit: misse cum vncia i. camphore et da vncie ij. cum sirupo citoniorum
RHAZES, The ‘Antidotarium’,

ed. Opera parua, pt. i, fols. 268v–78.

10. Fols. 180ra–va:
Incipit: Dixit RASIS de lapide qui generatur in renibus uel uesica breuem sermonem
Explicit: desendet ad iguinem [sic for inguinem] et maxime in desensu lapis per uias urinales
Final rubric: Expliciunt experimenta RASI amen dicant omnia
RHAZES, 'Tractatus de preservatione ab egritudine lapidis’ (eTK 0457K), ed. Opera parua, pt. i, fols. 278–9v.
11. Fols. 180va–4rc:
Incipit: Alhaseh id est puncti rubei qui sunt ut pulicis morsus et fiunt in omnibus membris
Explicit: Folengumisse id est ozimum garifilatum ||
‘Alasef’, an alphabetical dictionary of Arabic medical terms with Latin synonyms eTK 0073J

Variously ascribed to Mesue, Rhazes, or Almansor and translated by GERARD OF CREMONA, breaking off early in the letter ‘F’, ed. as ‘RASIS Sinonyma’, Opera parua, pt. i, fols. 259ra–63rb. The text here is in four columns. The scribe of the remainder stops at fol. 182rb, and the work is continued by another contemporary hand, which simply breaks off. Fol. 184v is blank but bounded and ruled for a text in long lines.

Added texts

(fols. 14v, 34, the lower margins) Notes from Isaac [Israeli],

s. xiv in.

Fols. 184v, v, viv: medical texts in various hands,

s. xiii ex. or xiv in. (two recipes on fol. viv are dated, one 1278, the other 127., the second read ‘1279’ by Coxe).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: radicibus (fol. 119)
Extent: Fols. 67.


12–168 17–1810 198 (–8, probably blank and now a stub after fol. 184). Catchwords under the inner column, several cut away. Most quires originally signed on all leaves in the first half, in brown crayon or rubricator’s red (quire 16 only); the signatures vary among letters, roman numerals, and the full Latin words for the numerals, both cardinal and ordinal.


In double columns, each column 185 × 60 mm. , with 6 mm between columns, in 50 lines to the column. Frequent prickings; bounded and ruled in black and brown ink.


Written in gothic textura semiquadrata. Punctuation by point and occasional punctus elevatus.


Headings in red.

At the heads of the texts, 4-line red and blue lombards with flourishing; at the heads of chapters, alternate 2-line red and blue lombards on flourishing of the other colour.

Chapters broken by alternate red and blue paraphs.


Origin: s. xiii med.

Additional Information

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.


    Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century Now in the British Museum, 8 vols. (London, 1909).
    L. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum, 8 vols. (Stuttgart, 1826–38, repr. Milan, 1948), with Supplement by W. A. Copinger (London, 1895–1902; repr. Milan, 1950).
    Lynn Thorndike, ‘Latin Manuscripts of Works by Rasis at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 32 (1958), 54–67.
    Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre, A Catalogue of Incipits of Medieval Scientific Writings in Latin, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, Mass., 1963).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-04: First online publication

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