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

St John's College MS 205

John of Sacro Bosco, Works


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–22v:
Incipit: Omnia que a primeua rerum origine processerunt ratione numerorum formata sunt
Explicit: modus operandi idem est cum predicto et hec de radicum extractione sufficiant
Johannes de Sacro Bosco, Algorismus (Sharpe, no. 865 [306]), ed. James Orchard Halliwell, Rara mathematica (London, 1839), 1–26. An added note of s. xv after the explicit; fols. 23–4v blank, fol. 23 bounded and ruled.
2. Fols. 25–64:
Rubric: Incipit tractatus de spera
Incipit: [an unfilled blank line for a painted incipit] […] de spera quatuor capitulis distinguimus dicantes primo quid sit spera […] [the text] Spera igitur ab euclide sic describitur spera est transitus | [fol. 25v] circumferencie
Explicit: [fol. 63v] in eadem passione dixisse aut deus nature patitur | aut mundana machina dissoluetur
Sacro Bosco, Tractatus de sphera,

ed. ed. Lynn Thorndike, The Sphere of Sacrobosco and Its Commentators (Chicago, 1949), 76–117.

3. Fols. 64–123v:
Incipit: Inuide quid laceras prosunt que carmina cunctis Attenuas que non annichilare uales […]
Incipit: [two unfilled blank lines for a painted incipit] […] est sciencia considerans tempora ex solis et lune motibus et eorum ad inuicem coadequacione
Explicit: nobis huius sic carpere fructum Ecclesie cristi quod nos hinc fructificemus amen
Sacro Bosco, Compotus

With a brief verse introduction, WIC 9540 (also preceding another of our copies, MS 188, item 10) before the usual incipit, ed. ed. Libellus de anni ratione seu ut uocatur uulgo Computus Ecclesiasticus (Paris, 1550), fols. 5–54. There is a mid-text break, the foot of fol. 119v left blank, although the text is continuous.

4. Fol. 124:
Incipit: || nam due ueritati uiciniores poterunt assignari dicciones
Explicit: fesca sacerdos Cum enim racionem dominarentur fore vniuersis Nacionibus terras ||

A rejected duplicate of fol. 122; the verso now has an added Easter table, s. xv.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: nouem
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF)
Extent: ii + 124 + iii (numbered 125, iii–iv)
Dimensions (leaf): 150 × 98 mm.
Dimensions (written): 73 × 44 mm.


1–212 [fol. 24, a booklet boundary] 3–1012 114. One possible signature, on fol. 25 ‘xi’ at the foot. Catchwords, either in or just by the gutter.


In long lines, 17 lines to the page to fol. 48v, 20 lines to the page thereafter. Fairly regular prickings; bounded and ruled in black and brown ink.


Written in gothic textura semiquadrata the first hand perhaps not English; a new scribe appears at fol. 109, at the head of the leaf. Punctuation by point (both scribes).


Unfilled spaces for 6-and 4-line capitals on fols. 1, 25, 64v, as well as blank lines left for rubricated incipits.

Some 2-line blue lombards at chapter openings.

Texts divided by alternate red and blue paraphs.

Headings in red, most unfilled, as are many spaces for capitals and some areas reserved for diagrams.

A number of diagrams: of the planetary spheres fol. 26, of the orbit of the sun fol. 59v, of lunar and solar eclipses fols. 62 and 63 (an unfinished diagram fol. 64), of the zodiac fol. 74v, others fols. 81, 88, and 96v.


A modern replacement. Sewn on six thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf and a vellum flyleaf (a former pastedown); at the rear two vellum flyleaves (a bifolium, the second also a former pastedown) and another marbled leaf (125, iii–iv).

Flyleaf text: fol. 125: an added note on embolisms, s. xv; fol. 125v is blank but has offset from a diagram.


Origin: s. xv ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

A note on money or sums of degrees? (fol. iii, s. xv).

Pen-trials (fol. iiv, upside down; s. xv/xvi).

‘Liber Guillielmi Laud Archiepiscopi Cant amp. Cancellarij Vniuersitatis Oxon’ 1638’ (fol. 1, lower 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.

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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