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

MS. Canon. Bibl. Lat. 43

Summary Catalogue no.: 18935

Gospel lectionary, Benedictine use; Germany, late 11th century


Language(s): Latin

Gospel lectionary, Benedictine use
(fols. 1r-86r)

Temporale from Christmas Eve to twenty-four weeks after Trinity Sunday, the five weeks before Christmas, and Trinity

Rubric: In vigilia nativitatis domini. Matheum
Incipit: Cum esset deponsata mater Ihesu Maria
(fols. 87r-98v)

Sanctorale, from St Sylvester to St Thomas the Apostle (31 December – 21 December). Most feasts indicated by name and heavily abbreviated cue only:

Rubric: Incipit breuiarium de sanctis
Incipit: Nat(alis) Siluestri pape. Ev(angelium). Vigil(ate) q(uia) n(escitis)

Original feasts include Walburga, Gangulf, Ulric, Kylian, Affra, Verena, Emmeram, Wenceslas (‘Venezlai’), Gereon, Wolfgang, Pirminus (fol. 97r), Willibrord, and Othmar.

Early additions include Oswald (fol. 92v), Radegund (fol. 93r), and Florinus (fol. 97v).

(fols. 98v–107r)

Common of the saints

(fols. 107v–113r)

Votive masses

(fols. 113r–114v)

Masses for the dead, in some cases with the epistle as well.

Rubric: In agenda mortuorum. Ad Thessalonicenses
Incipit: Fratres. ⟨N⟩olumus vos ignorare de dormientibus
(fol. 115r–v)

Contemporary additions:

Rubric: Super analogium
Rubric: Ad benedictionem palmarum
Rubric: In decollationem sancti Iohannis baptiste

The accounts of the Passion (fols. 30r–46v) with the parts indicated by a, c and t, and with neumes above Christ’s words on the cross from Matthew 27:46 (fol. 34r). Luke 3:1–2 (fol. 85r–v), and the genealogies of Christ from Luke (fol. 5r–v) and Matthew (fol. 94v–95r) also notated.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (19th century(?) paper) + 116 + i (18th century(?) paper)
Dimensions (leaf): 255 × 170 mm.
Foliation: 1–40a, 40b-115 (the flyleaves not foliated)


1(8)-6(8) (fols. 1–47, including 40a, 40b), 7(10) (fols. 48–57), 8(8)-13(8) (fols. 58–105), 14(10) (fols. 106–115). 12th(?)-century quire signatures from ‘iiii’ (fol. 8v) suggest three missing quires at the beginning; xv and xvi written as ‘vx’ and ‘vix’.


Blind-ruled for a single column of 27 lines; the list of ancestors of Christ from Luke in three columns (fol. 5r–v). Ruled space 195 × 115 mm.


Late Caroline bookhand.

Musical Notation:

Occasional neums above the text; the genealogies of Christ (fol. 5r-v, 94v-95r) with notation.


One four-line pen-drawn initial (fol. 1r), with coiling foliate forms and buds in brown ink, and red dots. (Pächt and Alexander i. 47)

A space left blank for one other large initial (fol. 113r).

Other initials throughout in plain red.


Sewn on four bands and bound with 18th/19th-century Italian(?) three-quarter leather over brown paper-covered pasteboards; the spine with a title-piece lettered in gilt capitals ‘Evang. per totum annum MS Sec. X’


Origin: 11th century, late ; German, south-west

Provenance and Acquisition

Van Dijk noted that the sanctorale is very similar to that of the Epistle & Gospel Book, MS. Canon. liturg. 324, which he suggested was from Hirsau Abbey, partly due to the presence of its patron, St Aurelius, whose relics there were elevated by Pope Leo IX in 1049. MS. Canon. Liturg. 324 was later at Moggio, a house of the Hirsau congregation: Felix Heinzer, Klosterreform und mittelalterliche Buchkultur im deutschen Südwesten (2008) 88 n. 16 rejects a direct connection with Hirsau. St Aurelius is included in the present volume (fol. 95v), as is the rare St Pirminus, who was venerated at Strasbourg, Chur, Freiburg, St Gall, and Speyer, supporting an origin in south-western Germany.

Matteo Luigi Canonici, 1727–1805 (uncertain how acquired: not from Trevisan/Soranzo)

Giuseppe Canonici, -1807

Purchased by the Bodleian in 1817. Former Bodleian shelfmark ‘Can Bibl. 43.’ (front pastedown) A list in pencil of some of the saints in the sanctorale is initialled H.C. (front pastedown).

Record Sources

Summary description (Feb. 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Quarto Catalogue (H. O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecæ Bodleianæ pars tertia codices Græcos et Latinos Canonicianos complectens, Quarto Catalogues III, 1854).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-02-17: Description revised for Polonsky German digitization project.