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

MS. Bywater 16


(fols. 1r-3v)

Dedicatory letter of Georgius Hermonymus to Philip the Handsome, archduke of Austria

Rubric: Georgius hermonimus Spartanus Illustrissimo. Principi. Et domino philippo Austrie Archiduci
Incipit: Diuina illa humanitas
(pr. from this manuscript by E. Legrand, Bibliographie Hellénique des XVe et XVIe siécles, III, 344–5.
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 4r-23r)
Gennadios Scholarius, De unica via ad salutem hominum (Latin tr. by Georgius Hermonymus)
Rubric: ... his dialogus qui describitur uia salutis hominum que e greco in latinum georgius mermonymus ... traduxit.
Incipit: Interrogatio. Quid est deus. Responsio
Language(s): Latin

Fol. 23v with a full-page illumination.

(fols. 24r-32v)
Gennadios Scholarius, Confessio fidei posterior (Latin tr. by Georgius Hermonymus)
Rubric: Eiusdem patriarche Constantinopolitani libellus secundus de capitulis siue articulis fidei nostre ad eundem
Incipit: Credimus quod deus est creator omnium

fols. 33r-34v and the lower pastedown ruled, otherwise originally blank; fol. 34v with contemporary inscription 'Deus in adiutorium meum intende ...' and scribal(?) colophon(?) (see under Provenance).

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: ⟨sa⟩crificant ita
Form: codex
Support: Parchment.
Extent: i (original? parchment) + 34 (+ original pastedown)
Dimensions (leaf): 140 × 95 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 80 × 55 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i, 1–34.


1(6) (wants 1, 2 and 6), 2(8) (1 canc. and another leaf tipped in), 3(8)-5(8)


Ruled with 16 lines in pale red ink


Written in a gothic bookhand, of the type found in Ghent-Bruges manuscripts executed for Italian patrons (cf. Christopher R. F. de Hamel, 'Reflexions on the Trade in Books of Hours at Ghent and Bruges', in Manuscripts in the Fifty Years After the Invention of Printing, ed. J. B. Trapp (London, 1983), 29–33, pls. 9 & 10).


Headings in red.

Full border with the coat of arms, motto, coronet and supporters of Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria, with the insignia of the Toison d'or (flint, cross of St. Andrew, golden fleece), and the initials 'P' and reversed 'P' joined by a tassled cord, in gold, red, black, and blue, on a purple ground within a gold border (fol. 4r).

A full-page image showing the insignia of the Order on a blue ground within a gold border, here with the intitials 'P P' joined by a multi-coloured cord (fol. 23v).

One four-line initial in gold on a green ground with the insignia only (fol. 1v).


Sewn on four(?) cords and bound in original(?) wood boards with rounded edges, and covered in purple velvet; the original endleaves and pastedowns show evidence of a single clasp at the centre of the fore-edge; the edges of the leaves gilt; the base of the spine with the trace of a paper label.


Origin: Flemish ; 15th century, after 1482, c.1490

Provenance and Acquisition

Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria, apparently the dedication copy to him (see under Decoration); fol. 34v with a scribal(?) note, 'est | Qui vouldra | pr [or pv] | & | Se [or Sc] mest Henr | W'.

Unidentifed French 19th-century owner/bookseller: the upper pastedown inscribed in pencil 'Charles VIII vivait(?) | 1483 | L'ordre de le Toison | d'or institité(?) | 1429'.

Traces of a bookplate on the lower pastedown.

Tregaskis, item 667 in an unidentified catalogue, with a cutting pasted to the upper pastedown, the pastedown also inscribed by them '5 guineas'.

Ingram Bywater ; inscribed in pencil in the upper left corner of the upper pastedown with the Bywater Elenchus number, 'By. | 1400'

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1915, and originally accessioned as 'Byw.N.4.3' (inscribed in pencil on upper pastedown and fol. 1r), and given the Summary catalogue number 40048, both now obsolete.

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (2 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.