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

MS. Canon. Class. Lat. 257

Summary Catalogue no.: 18838


Cicero, Somnium Scipionis (with glosses)
Language(s): Latin
Macrobius, Commentary on Cicero, Somnium Scipionis (with glosses)
Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Fine miniatures.

  • Type miniature
  • Subject Three scenes. Scipio, with a sword and long cloak, and King Masinissa, in a crown, long robe and cloak, stand next to one another conversing. King Masinissa looks up at a semicircular diagram, showing the heavenly spheres. Scipio and King Masinissa seated on a long decorated seat, conversing.

fol. 1v

  • Type miniature
  • Subject Scipio asleep in bed, his sword placed by his side, supports with one hand a circle of spheres. In the centre of the circle are Rome and Carthage, surrounded by the Milky Way. Against it are three sets of figures, showing Scipio embracing his father; speaking to his grandfather, Scipio Africanus; and conversing with both of them together.

fol. 3r

  • Type miniature
  • Subject Macrobius writing at desk, next to an open cupboard with books, lying flat on shelves. On the desk is a circular stand with two open books.

Good borders.

Good diagrams.

Good historiated initials.

fol. 1r

  • Type initial M
  • Subject Macrobius, holding open book.
  • Type initial C
  • Subject Head-and-shoulders portrait of a young man.
Rewritten inscription as written 'in alma urbe in 1383', fol. 36v. (Pächt and Alexander ii. 128, pl. XII)


Origin: 1383 ; Italian, Bologna

Provenance and Acquisition

Matteo Luigi Canonici, 1727–1805

Giuseppe Canonici , -1807

Purchased by the Bodleian in 1817

Record Sources

Summary description abbreviated from the Quarto Catalogue (H. O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecæ Bodleianæ pars tertia codices Græcos et Latinos Canonicianos complectens, Quarto Catalogues III, 1854). Decoration, localization and date follow Pächt and Alexander (1970).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (6 images from 35mm slides)


    Printed descriptions:

    A. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries (1984), no. 194

Last Substantive Revision

2018-10-14: Mitch Fraas Provenance and acquisition information added using https://github.com/littlegustv/oxfordupdates/blob/master/test_case_for_oxford_prov.rb in collaboration with the Mapping Manuscript Migrations project.