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

St John's College MS 117

Terence, Comedies


Language(s): Latin

1. Fol. 1:
Incipit: Natus in excelsis tectis kartaginis alte
Explicit: Hec quicumque legit sic puto cautus erit

The six-line epitaph of Terence.

2. Fols. 1–32v:
Rubric: TERENCIJ Comici Affri Cartaginen’ Liber primus incipit Argumentum
Incipit: Sororem falso creditam meretricule genere andrie glicerium uiciat pamphilus […] [fol. 1v] Prologus Andrie Poeta cum primum animum ad scribendum appulit […] [fol. 2, the text] Simo senex Sosia seruus Uos istec intro auferte abite sosia ades dum paucis te uolo
Explicit: despondebitur intus transigetur siquid est quod restat Omnes plaudite Calliopius recensui
Final rubric: Publij TERENTIJ afri Explicit Andria feliciter
Terence, Andria

Preceded by C. Sulpicius Apolloniaris’ periocha and the prologue, ed. Robert Kauer and Wallace M. Lindsay (Oxford, 1926), unpaginated. I have transcribed the red omega which appears before the final speech in all the plays ‘Omnes’.

3. Fols. 33–67v:
Rubric: Incipit Eunuchus ada ludis Megalensibus […] Argumentum
Incipit: Meretrix adolescentem cuius mutuo amore tenebatur exclusit […]
Rubric: Prologus
Incipit: | [fol. 33v] Si quisquam est qui placere se studeat bonis quam plurimis […] [fol. 34v, the text] Phedria Parmeno Qvid igitur faciam Non eam ne nunc quidem cum accersor ultro
Explicit: Phe Nichil pretermissum est Gna Ite hac Omnes Vos ualete et plaudite Calliopius recensui
Final rubric: Eunuchus explicit
Terence, Eunuchus

The ‘argumentum’ does not appear in the edition and replaces the periocha.

4. Fols. 68–100:
Rubric: Incipit heauton tumorumenos acta ludis Megalensibus […] Argumentum
Incipit: In miliciam proficisci gnatum cliniam amantem antiphilam compulit […]
Incipit: [fol. 68v, the prologue] Ne cui sit uestrum mirum cur partes seni poeta dederit […] [fol. 69v, the text] Chremes Menedemus Quamquam hec inter nos nuper noticia admodum est
Explicit: Clit Siro ignoscas uolo que mea causa fecit Chre fiat Omnes Vos valete et plaudite calliopius recensui
Final rubric: Explicit Heauton tumorumenon
Terence, Heauton Timorumenos

Preceded by the periocha and prologue. There are textual corrections in the lower margins of fols. 92, 94, and 95.

5. Fols. 100v-130v:
Rubric: Incipit Adelphe acta ludis funebribus […] Argumentum
Incipit: Duos cum haberet demea adolescentulos dat mitioni fratri […] [fol. 101]
Rubric: Prologus Adelphe
Incipit: Postquam poeta sensit scripturam suam ab iniquis obseruari […] [fol. 101v, the text] Mitio actus prius Storax non redijt hac nocte a cena Eschinus neque seruorum quisquam
Explicit: Sino habeat in istac finem faciat Eschi Istuc recte Omnes plaudite calliopius recensui
Final rubric: Explicit Adelphe
Terence, Adelphoe

Preceded by the periocha and prologue.

6. Fols. 131–157:
Rubric: Incipit hechira feliciter acta ludis Romanis […] Argumentum
Incipit: Vxorem duxit pamphilus philumenam cui quondam ignorans […]
Rubric: Prologus
Incipit: | [fol. 131v] Hechira est nomen huic fabule hec cum data est noua […] [fol. 132v, the text] Philotis Sira Per pol quam pauc⟨a⟩s reperias meretricibus fideles amatores syra
Explicit: plus hodie boni fed imprudens quam sciens ante hunc diem umquam Omnes plaudite calliopius recensui
Final rubric: Hechira Explicit
Terence, Hechira

Preceded by the periocha and two prologues.

7. Fols. 157–186v:
Rubric: Incipit phormio acta ludis Romanis […] Argumentum
Incipit: Chremetis frater abierat peregre deimpho relicto athenis […]
Rubric: [fol. 157v] Prologus
Incipit: Postquam poeta uetus poetam non potest retrahere […] [fol. 158v, the text] Dauus actus primus Amicus summus et popularis meus geta heri ad me uenit
Explicit: sed ubi est phedria iudex foster Phor Iam hic faxo aderit Omnes plaudite Calliopius recensui
Final rubric: TERENCII phormo Explicit
Terence, Phormio

Preceded by the periocha and prologue.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: quos hic noster
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS)
Extent: iii + i86 + iii (numbered iv–vi)
Dimensions (leaf): 237 × 160 mm.
Dimensions (written): 134 × 90 mm.


1–168 1710 18–238. Catchwords, a few red-slashed or boxed. There is no catchword at fol. 32v, the end of item 1: this may have been a booklet boundary part of an abandoned intention to produce the individual plays as separate units. Virtually all surviving signatures are fragments, and most have been cut away; although of the form of a letter plus roman numeral indicating the leaf, there are no more than two in any quire, and they appear to identify the two constituent skins of each, rather than the leaves. Rather tentative identifications: quire 6 = 17 = g, 14 = ?o, 18 = s, 20 = v, 21 = x or y, 22 = z.


In long lines, 22 lines to the page. In addition there is a ruled gloss column along the leading edge, 32 mm. wide, with sporadic but substantial contents. No prickings; bounded and ruled in purple ink.


Written in French lettre bâtarde. Punctuation by medial point, with occasional double point, punctus versus, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus.


Red headings and indications of speakers in the plays (three verso-recto openings in the last quire unfilled).

At the heads of the plays, 6-line large champes, with infilled vines and flowers (the last one diapered in blue and gold leaf), with demivinets of vines, leaves, buds and fruits, occasionally a bird.

At the heads of scenes, three-line champes.

Running titles in red give the names of the plays.

See AT, no. 771 (76).


Brown leather over millboards, with a stamped gold fillet, s. xvii. Sewn on five thongs. Inked ‘117’ (partly defaced) on a paper lozenge at the head of the spine, in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns of old paper, on the front one the nail-holes and verdigris from a chain-staple in Watson’s position 6, as well as a College bookplate. At the front, two modern paper flyleaves and one medieval vellum one (waste from the MS, ruled on both sides); at the rear, another medieval vellum flyleaf (waste like the previous one, but this example was formerly a pastedown) and two modern paper flyleaves (iv–vi).


Origin: s. xv 2 ; French

Provenance and Acquisition

'Anno Domini Millesimo CCCClxxvijo (anglicana) and ‘The Book I gyve and Dove with all Laude and Harte Happe what shall quod Hanley’ with mark (fol. iii, bastard secretary, s. xv ex.).

Liber Collegij Sancti Johannis Baptistae Ex dono Guilielmi Laude sacrae Theologiae Doctoris et eiusdem Collegij Socij Anno Domini 1610 (fol. 1, upper margin). Exhibited Laud Exhib, no. 2 (7). The old shelfmark ‘Abac: ij. N. 89/ [beta]’.

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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