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

St John's College MS. 87


Language(s): Latin

1. (fol. 1)
Incipit: Natus in excelsis tectis cartiginis alte ׀ Romanis ducibus

Five lines of verse, introduced by a blue paraph, apparently Terence’s epitaph.

2. (fols. 1–23)
Incipit: Poeta cum primum animum ad scribendum appulit (.)d sibi negocij credidit
Incipit: (periocha) Sororem falso creditam meritricule genere andrie glicerium viciat pamphilus grauidaque facta…Simo Sosia Dvos istec intro auferte abite sosia ades
Explicit: quod restat Valete plaudite ego calliopius recensui
Terence, Andria

Preceded by the prologue and c. Sulpiciu5 Apollinaris, ‘Periocha’, ed. Robert Kauer and Wallace M. Lindsay, Comoediae, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 1958), unpaginated.

3. (fols. 23v - 47)
Incipit: (prologue) Si quisquam est qui placere se studeat bonis quam plurimis
Incipit: (text) Phedria adolescens Parmeno seruus Qvid ergo faciam Non eam ne nunc quidem cur accersor vltro
Explicit: Ite hac vos valete et plaudite quia ego Calliopius recensui
Terence, Eunuchus

Preceded by the prologue.

4. (fols. 47v - 70v)
Incipit: Ne cui sit vestrum mirum Cur partes seni poeta dederit
Incipit: (periocha) In miliciam proficisci natum cliniam amantem antiphilam compulit durus pater
Incipit: (text) Cre Me Quanquam inter nos nuper noticia admodum est
Explicit: fiat vos valete et plaudite quia ego calliopius recensui
Terence, Heauton timorumenos

Preceded by the prologue and periocha.

5. (fols. 71–92)
Incipit: Postquam poeta sensit scripturam suam obseruari et aduersarios rapere in peiorem
Incipit: (text) Mitio [later] Storax non redijt hac nocte a cena eschinus neque seruulorum quisquam
Explicit: habeat in istuc finem faciat Esch Recte M Plaudite Calliopius recensui
Terence, Adelphoe

Preceded by the prologue.

6. (fols. 92v - 111)
Incipit: Vxorem duxit pamphilus phylumenam cui quondam ignorans virgini vicium obtulit… Prologus Hechira est huic nomen fabule hec cum data est noua
Incipit: (text) Philorcium Syra Per pol quam paucos reperias meretricibus
Explicit: feci imprudens quam sciens ante hunc diem unquam Plaudite Calliopius recensui
Terence, Heyra

Preceded by the periocha and two prologues (no break between them). The top half of fol. 92v is blank.

7. (fols. 111v - 132v)
Incipit: Postquam poeta vetus poeta(m) non potest (r)etrahere a studio et tradere
Incipit: (periocha) Premotis frater abierat peregre demipho relicto athenis antiphone filio Chremes
Incipit: (text) Dauus Geta Amicus meus et populanis Geta heri
Explicit: Iam faxo huc aderit vos valete et plaudite Quia ego calliopius recensui etc.
Final rubric: TERENCIJ AFFRI Comedia Phormio Explicit
Terence, Phormio

Preceded by the prologue and periocha. Fol. iirv is bounded, and fol. iiirv has the top bounding line.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: nupcie
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS)
Extent: i + 134 (numbered fols. 1 – 132, ii, iii) + i (numbered fol. iv, pasted to a vellum stub, part of the original book),
Dimensions (leaf): 274 × 187 mm.


1–16 (8), 17 (8–7, a stub with the modern fol. iv now pasted to it; – 8). Catchwords at the centre of the leaf. All leaves in the first half of each quire were originally signed with a letter and an arabic number, many now cut away; in this system, quires 1 – 16 = a – r.


Writing area 148–152 × 72 mm. presumably in this size so as to facilitate added commentary.

Written in long lines, 25 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded in brown crayon, no rules. Written above top line.


Written in anglicana/secretary heavily influenced by humanistica. Punctuation by point and occasional punctus elevatus and virgula. The same scribe is responsible for our MS 84.


No headings. All of the texts are presented as prose.

At the heads of each play, 4-line champes, often with natural scenes within the gold leaf capital.

Demivinets, with gold leaf and flowers at fols. 1 and 71; a floral border at fol. 92v, elsewhere floral sprays.

Texts and scenes introduced by 3-line blue lombards on red flourishing.

See AT, no. 611 (60).


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, one modern paper flyleaf; at the rear, one modern paper flyleaf (iv, sewn to the stub following iii).


Origin: s. xv med. ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

‘‘Sum Ben’ Jonsonij Liber’’ (fol. 1 margin). Listed among his five MSS by C. H. Herford and Percy Simpson, Ben Jonson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925), 1:262 – 3, along with our MS 192.

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.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2020-11: First online publication

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