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

MS. Bodl. 768

Summary Catalogue no.: 2550


1. (fol. 1)
Ambrose, De uirginibus
Rubric: De uirginitate

In three books

Language(s): Latin
2. (fol. 17v)
Ambrose, De uiduis
Rubric: De uiduis
Language(s): Latin
3. (fol. 26)
Ambrose, De uirginitate
Rubric: De uirginibus
Explicit: Explicit liber quartus
Language(s): Latin
4. (fol. 38)
Ambrose, Exhortatio uirginitatis
Rubric: Exortatio uirginitatis
Incipit: Qui ad conuiuium

Ascribed in a contemporary hand to Augustine

Language(s): Latin
5. (fol. 47v)
Ps.-Ambrose, De lapsu uirginis consecratae
Rubric: De lapsu uirginis consecrate
Language(s): Latin
6. (fol. 52)
Ambrose, De mysteriis
Rubric: De misteriis
Language(s): Latin
7. (fol. 57)
Ambrose, De sacramentis
Rubric: De sacramentis

In six books

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii + 71 leaves
Dimensions (binding): 9.75 × 6.25 in.


Fols 40-41, 45 are torn.


Pächt and Alexander iii. 65



Origin: c. 1100 ; England, Salisbury

Provenance and Acquisition

Salisbury, Wiltshire, Cathedral church of St Mary the Virgin: (MLGB3); see medieval manuscripts removed from Sherborne in 1078(?)

A Salisbury scribe (s. xii) wrote the letters 'D.M.' as a 'nota bene' sign in the margins of Aberdeen UL 216, MS. Bodl. 392, MS. Bodl. 444 (fols. 1-27), MS. Bodl. 756, MS. Bodl. 765, MS. Bodl. 768, MS. Bodl. 835, MS. Fell 1, MS. Fell 4, MS. Rawl. C. 723, Salisbury Cathedral, MSS. 10, 24, 25, 37, 67, 78, 88, 106, 128, 129, 135, 140, 154, 159, 165 (MLGB3); see Teresa Webber, Scribes and Scholars at Salisbury Cathedral c. 1075-c. 1125 (1992), pp. 132-139

Webber (p. 58) observes that 'Salisbury produced the earliest or one of the earliest extant English copies of [...] several opuscula of Ambrose (Oxford, Bodl. Libr., MSS Bodley 698, 768 and 835)'. Webber argues (p. 51 and fn 25) that the selection of texts by Ambrose in MS. Bodley 768, and several other manuscripts, 'appears to be peculiar to English manuscripts' and 'may represent the contents of a common imported exemplar'. This corpus of Ambrose texts is made up of De virginibus, De viduis, De virginitate, Exhortatio virginitatis and De lapsu virginis consecratae

'Liber Bibliothecae Saresburiensis 5' (s. xvii): No. 5 in a set of 7 numbered manuscripts from Salisbury (no. 1 has not been identified). The other 6 manuscripts are: No. 2: MS. Bodl. 756, No. 3: MS. Bodl. 698, No. 4: MS. Bodl. 765, No. 6: MS. Bodl. 516, No. 7: MS. Bodl. 835

Salisbury Cathedral library was raided in the English Civil War, and this manuscript was probably given (as part of the set of 7 manuscripts) to the Bodleian during or soon after the war, but it is not found in Bodleian lists until about 1655

Record Sources

Description adapted (December 2022) 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)


Last Substantive Revision

2022-12-12: Description revised to incorporate all the information in the Summary Catalogue (1922)