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

MS. Bodl. 691

Summary Catalogue no.: 2740


Augustine, De civitate dei
Rubric: Incipit liber Aurelii Augustini de Civitate Dei adversus paganos

Preceded by the Retractationes

Fols iii-xii comprise ten leaves, and a fragment of an eleventh, of an early 14th-century synopsis of the work, of which synopsis two or three leaves are missing at the beginning

M. B. Parkes notes that in the fourteenth century John Grandison inserted a small quire into the front of the manuscript containing a synoptic table of contents. Grandison numbered each entry in this table and then worked his way through the manuscript, dividing the text into books (Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts [London: Hambledon Press, 1991], p. 67)

A series of notes by Grandison apply sentences in the treatise to English events; see fols 25, 160 ('sic fratres Coneweye et ei adherentes'); 186v ('Bathonia'); 211 ('Nota hic verba pro archiepiscopo de Armachan. contra fratres')

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: xii + 246 leaves
Dimensions (binding): 15.25 × 11.625 in.


There are signs of damp


2 cols


Pächt and Alexander i. 449, pl. XXXVII

Fine initials, fols 72v, 84v, and 92v were added to a manuscript produced in France (late 11th century- early 12th century) by an illuminator in England the middle of the 14th century

A considerable number of the 14th-century capitals contain miniatures (by at least two artists). The most detailed of these is on fol. 1v, offering a representation of the redeemed in Paradise under the outstretched arms of a female figure, the Church, with Christ above and angels round (Summary Catalogue)

Other initials added in the middle of the 14th century in England are lacertine grotesques and the like, in a peculiar style, see fols 1r, 32v, 84v, 118v, 148v, 181v, etc. (Summary Catalogue)


Stamped white sheepskin (c. 1602) on older sewing and boards, worn and mended


Origin: 11th century, end - 12th century, beginning (main manuscript) 14th century, middle (added decoration) ; France, Normandy (main manuscript) ; England (added decoration)

Provenance and Acquisition

Exeter, Devon, Cathedral church of St Peter: "Liber Ecclesie Exoniensis" (s. xiv) (MLGB3)

Notes added by John Grandison, Bishop of Exeter 1327–1369, apparently after the completion of the illumination (Pächt and Alexander iii. 639, pl. LXIV)

Presented by the dean and chapter of Exeter in 1602

Record Sources

Description adapted (February 2023) by Stewart J. Brookes from the Summary Catalogue (1922), with additional reference to published literature as cited. Decoration, localization and date follow Pächt and Alexander (1973)

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (10 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2023-02-16: Description revised to incorporate all the information in the Summary Catalogue (1922), with additional reference to published literature as cited.