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

MS. Bywater 5


(fols. 1r-31v)
Aristotle, De anima,

tr. Johannes Argyropoulos

With marginal and interlinear annotations by an early reader.

Rubric: Liber Aristotelis de anima a Iohanne Argyropilo bizancio causa magnifici viri Cosme medicis florentini traductus
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 32r-44v)
Ps.-Aristotle, Oeconomica,

tr. Leonardo Bruni

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 32v-36r)


Rubric: Leonardi Aretini prefatio in librum aristotelis qui Economicus dicitur e greco in Latinum versus ad cosmam de medicis feliciter incipit (fol. 32r)

Followed (fols. 36r-44v) by Bruni's commentary:

Rubric: Incipit explanacio in textum Economicorum Leonardi Aretini
(fols. 45r-46r)
Bernardus Silvestris, Epistola rei familiaris
Rubric: Epistola Bernhardi de iubernanda [recte gubernanda] re familiari
Language(s): Latin
(pr. Migne, PL, CLXXXII, cols. 647–51); fol. 46v is partly filled by two theological notes in another 15th-century hand; fols. 47r-48v are blank.
(fols. 49r-112v)
Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics,

tr. Leonardo Bruni

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 49r-50v)


(fol. 51r)

Dedicatory letter to Pope Martin V (pr. H. Baron, Leonardo Bruni Humanistiche-Philosophiche Schriften (Leipzig, 1928), 75.

(fols. 51r-112v)


(fol. 113r-188v)
Aristotle, Politics,

tr. Leonardo Bruni , preceded by the dedicatory letter to Pope Eugene IV (pr. Baron, op. cit., 70–3); fol. 189r-v ruled, otherwise blank.

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 190r-193v)
Table of saints and martyrs, popes, emperors, and events from the year 1 to 1459

Added in another 15th-century hand,they seem to show a mendicant and scholarly interest.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: a parvis
Form: codex
Support: Paper; watermarks: steer's head (two varieties, cf. Briquet, nos. 14874, 14883); steer's head with crown (cf. Briquet, no. 14594).
Extent: iii (modern) + 194 + iii (modern) leaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 300 × 215 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 210 × 135 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i-iii, 1–88a, 88b-196; a previous foliation, in the lower fore-edge corner, numbers the 89th and successive leaves correctly.


Mostly in quires of twelve leaves: I-IV12 (fols. 1–48) | V-XV12 (fols. 49–180), XVI12–2 (11th & 12th leaves cancelled, leaving stubs) (fols. 181–190), XVII4 (fols. 191–194).


Ruled in light drypoint, barely visible except on fol. 189, which has 41 lines in a single column, the single bounding vertical lines extending the full height of the page. 40 lines of text per page.


Written in a neat semi-cursive hand, with


Headings, chapter numbers, running titles, paraphs in red; underlinings, and capitals touched in red, in text 4 and the first few leaves of text 5.

Plain red initials; that on fol. 1r enclosing a repeat design in brown ink.


Sewn on four(?) cords, and bound in 19th/20th-century three-quarter green leather (faded to brown on the spine) and mottled yellow paper over pasteboards (cf. Ms. Bywater 12); the spine with five false raised bands, lettered in gilt 'ARISTOTELIS | DE ANIMA. | OECONOMICA | ETH. NICOM. | POLITICA.' and 'LATINE | MS. | SAEC. XV.' in the second and fourth compartments; the edges of the leaves coloured yellow.


Origin: German ; 15th century, middle, probably before 1459

Provenance and Acquisition

Written in Germany, and since the added table on fols. 190r-193v extend to the year 1459, the main text was presumably written before this date.

Inscribed with marginal notes throughout, mainly in two 15th/16th-century hands.

Ingram Bywater ; the upper pastedown inscribed in pencil with his Elenchus no: 'By. | 359'.

Bequeathed to the Bodleian by Bywater in 1915; originally allocated the Summary catalogue number 40037, now obsolete, and inscribed on the upper pastedown and fol. 1r with the shelfmark 'Byw. A.5.11', also 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.