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

St John's College MS 135

Jacobus de Cessolis, De ludo schaccorum


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–47v
Rubric: Incipit prologus fratris JACOBI DE CESSOLIS \Itali [added s. xvi] / ordinis fratrum predicatorum super libro quem composuit super ludo Schacorum
Incipit: Multorum fratrum ordinis nostri et diuersorum secularium precibus persuasus […]
Rubric: [fol. 1v, the text] Tractatus primus de Causa inuencois [sic for inuencionis] ludi scachorum […]
Incipit: Inter omnia mala signa in homine vnum est quando aliquis non timet deum
Explicit: cui donauit pro modo aliquid ad honorem nobilium dicere det gratiam in presenti ut imperpetuum possumus cum ipso viuere et regnare
Final rubric: Hunc autem libellum ad honorem et solacium nobilium et Maxime ludum sciencium Ego frater JACOBUS DE CESSOLIS ordinis fratrum composui et ad hunc finem perduxi donante illo a quo descendit omne datum optimum et perfectum
Jacobus de Cessolis, De ludo schaccorum

Kaeppeli, no. 2066 (2:311–18, where this MS is noted), ed. Ernst Köpke, Jacobus de Cessolis (Brandenburg, 1879). Fol. 1rv has a contents table for the first tractatus.

2. Fols. 47v–8v
Rubric: Hec moralitas sequens de Scachario est domini Pape INNOCENCIJ TERCIJ
Incipit: ⟨M⟩vndus totus iste Scacharium est Cuius vnus punctus est albus alius vero niger
Explicit: in mundo aut est concupiscencia carnis aut concupiscencia oculorum aut superbia vite

The Moralitas de scaccario attributed by Richard Sharpe to Innocent IV and identified by Warner & Gilson, Cat. Royal, 2. 58, as an extract from John Waleys, Communiloquium siue Summa collationum, I 10. 7.; there are other ascribed copies in our MS 195, fol. 232v; and Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 177, fol. 26v.

3. Fols. 48v–53v
Rubric: Incipit liber METHODIJ Martiris prologus In nomine cristi incipit liber METHODIJ Episcopi ecclesie paterenis et martiris cristi quem de hebreo […]
Incipit: [the text] Sciendum est itaque vobis fratres karissimi quomodo in principio creauit deus celum et terram
Explicit: et impij sine fine penam pacientur vnde nos dominus eripere dignetur Qui viuit cum patre [form ending] Amen
Final rubric: Explicit liber METHODII Martiris
Ps.-METHODIUS, 'Apocalypsis',

cf. the version ed. Ernst Sackur, Sibyllinische Texte und Forschungen (Halle a. S., 1898), 60–96; the version of our MS 128, item 13 has been printed by Charlotte D’Evelyn, ‘The Middle English Metrical Version of the Revelations of Methodius’, PMLA 33 (1918), 135–203 at 192–203. See also Otto Prinz, ‘Eine frühe abendländische Aktualisierung der lateinischen Übersetzung des Pseudo-Methodios’, Deutsches Archiv für Eforschung des Mittelalters 41 (1985), 1–23. This copy, as also those of MSS 128 and 182, appears in Aaron James Perry’s list of copies, Dialogus ..., EETS 167 (1925), p.xli.

Fol. 54rv was originally blank.

Added texts:

a. Fols. 53v–4v
Incipit: ⟨M⟩undus iste totus scacarium quoddam est Cuius vnus punctus albus est et alius niger
Explicit: quia In inferno nulla est redempcio Cauendum est igitur nobis de isto scacario

Item 2 above repeated, s. xv2/4, mixed anglicana/secretary.

b. Fols. 55–7v
An index to a work on government, the household, self, and state, in ten parts.

Another hand like the previous one, s. xv med., writing in an added quire.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: dum sompniasset
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. i + 57 + i (numbered fol. ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160 × 100 mm.


1–510 64 74 (–4, a blank). Catchwords (none at fol. 50v); no signatures.


Water damage to upper corners, with some patching of the vellum and occasional fading of the text (most extreme on fols. 8–41).


In long lines, 30 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded and ruled in pencil.


Written in anglicana formata. Punctuation by medial point, double point, and punctus elevatus.


Headings in red.

Two-line red lombards at textual divisions.

The text broken with red paraphs, and proper names underlined in red.


A modern replacement. Sewn on four thongs. At the front and rear, single modern paper flyleaves.


Origin: s. xiv med. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Liber Collegij Divi Joannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Domini Gulielmi Paddei Militis et Collegii olim Convictoris 1634’ (fol. 2, 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), with correction to identification of item 2 and correction to folio reference for Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 177.


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


    Charlotte D’Evelyn, ‘The Middle English Metrical Version of the Revelations of Methodius’, PMLA 33 (1918), 135–203.
    T. Kaeppeli, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi, 4 vols. (Rome, 1970–93).
    Ernst Köpke (ed.), Jacobus de Cessolis (Brandenburg, 1879).
    Aaron James Perry (ed.), Dialogus inter militem et clericum; Richard FitzRalph's sermon 'Defensio curatorum'; and, Methodius: 'þe bygynnyng of þe world and þe ende of worldes', Early English Texty Society 167 (1925).
    Sir George Warner and Julius Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King's Collections in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1921).
    Otto Prinz, ‘Eine frühe abendländische Aktualisierung der lateinischen Übersetzung des Pseudo-Methodios’, Deutsches Archiv für Eforschung des Mittelalters 41 (1985), 1–23.
    Ernst Sackur (ed.), Sibyllinische Texte und Forshungen (Halle a. S., 1898).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-01: First online publication

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