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

MS. Bywater 10

North(?) Italy, Siena(?) 1429–35


Aristotle, De anima,

tr. Andrea Biglia of Milan , with autograph additions and corrections

Language(s): Latin
[Items 1–2 occupy quire I] (fol. i verso)

Verses and rubrics

Rubric: Beatissime virgini Marie f. B. Andr[...] illiceto
Incipit: (verses) Virgo pios oculos mentemque intende benignam
(pr. P. Argelati, Bibliotheca scriptorum Mediolanensium ..., 4 parts in 2 vols. (Milan: 1745), I, pars altera, col. 161 no. XXIII)
Rubric: F. B. Andree mediolanensis noua interpretatio in tribus libris Aristotelis de anima argumentum
(fol. 1r-v)


Incipit: (preface) NESCI|O EQV|IDEM AN HIC UEL OM|NIUM IUSTISSI|MUS AC PULCHER|rimus labor fuerit
Explicit: (preface) eodem auctore cognosci Argumentum explicit
(fols. 2r-59v)[quires II-VII]


Incipit: (text) Quum inter pulcerrimas obtimasque res
Explicit: (text) Denique linguam ut significetur alteri

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: F. B. Andr' (rubric, fol. 2)
Secundo Folio: Quum inter (text, fol. 2)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment.
Dimensions (leaf): 227 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 150 × 90 (not including the vertical bounding lines) mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil, i, 60.


Mostly in quires of 10 leaves: I2 (fols. i-1) | II-VI10 (fols. 2–51), VII8 (fols. 52–59), VIII1 (fol. 60); quires arranged with a fleshside outermost, quires II-VI with catchwords by the main scribe in the middle at the bottom edge on the leaf, between two (or four) dots.


Ruled in drypoint, on the hairside, with 23 lines per page, the top two and bottom two lines extending the full width of the page, between pairs of vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page. 22 lines of text per page.


Written in a fine humanistic bookhand, with fish-hook shaped tall 's'


Headings in very pale red, apparently by the main scribe.

One five-line initial on a gold ground punched with circlet and lozenge tools, with a foliate border incorporating a crude putto and another figure; two exotic birds – one holding a brown squirrel(?) in its beak; two red squirrels(?); and a large butterfly (fol. 2r); one four-line initial, similar but simpler than that on fol. 2r, with a highly-burnished ground, and an exotic bird biting the end of the foliate extension (fol. 19r); and one three-line initial, a simpler version of that on fol. 19r (fol. 41v).

One four-line white vine-stem initial in unusual colours: the initial yellow, on a 'quarterd' ground of blue, green, yellow, and red, with white dots (fol. 1r).


Sewn on three split/double leather thongs, and bound in 18th(?)-century Italian floral-pattern printed paper over pasteboards; the brown marbled paper spine with a paper label inscribed '48. | Andree Mediolanens[is] | In lib. Aristot. | De anima integ: | Pergamena'.


Origin: Italian, North (?), Siena (?); 1429–35

Provenance and Acquisition

Andrea Biglia, of Milan (d. 1435) (?) (on whom see Sabbadini, 'Andrea Biglia'): said to be the original (and only?) MS. of this work, which he composed at the monastery of Lecceto, near Siena, while he was living and teaching in Siena (i.e. between 1429 and his death there in 1435).

Inscribed 'g 54 L [or f ??] 135' (fol. 1r).

Perhaps in the Augustinian convent of San Marco, Milan , by 1745, if this is the MS. seen there by Argelati but his description does not match the present MS. in every respect; a two-line Italian 18th(?)-century inscription at the end of the text has been erased.

Unidentified collection, 18th/19th century: inscribed 'Andra Bil. in lib. de a(n)i(m)a' (fol. i recto).

Inscribed, 18th/19th century: 'Schiepati 179' (fol. 1r).

Unidentified 19th-century Italian collection: inscribed '48.' in the top right corner of fol. i recto (cf. spine label).

Guglielmo Libri (1803–69) , sold at Sotheby's, 28 March 1859 and seven following days, lot 78, bought by Thomas for £6 15s.; 'Libri 78' inscribed in pencil, and erased, in the upper gutter margin of the upper pastedown.

Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872) , his MS. 16240, inscribed 'Phillipps MS | 16240' (fol. i recto) and in pencil on the upper pastedown '16240 Ph'; his sale at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 10 June 1896 and six following days, lot 24, bought by Quaritch for £3 15s.

Quaritch, Rough List no. 164 (October 1896), item 16, at £5 5s, with a cutting from this catalogue pasted to the upper pastedown, and '16' inscribed in pencil and erased, in the top left corner; '806' and the price '£5–5-0' written in pencil and erased in the centre.

Ingram Bywater ; his Elenchus number inscribed in pencil on the upper pastedown: 'By. | 360';

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1915; originally given the shelfmark 'Byw.B.2.4' (inscribed in pencil on the upper pastedown and fol. i recto, and given the Summary catalogue no. 40042, both now obsolete.

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.