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

MS. Canon. Class. Lat. 86

Summary Catalogue no.: 18667


Seneca, Tragedies
Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Fine miniatures.

  • Title Medea
  • Type miniature
  • Subject Medea in a chariot drawn by two dragons. Walled castle with tower; two children giving a robe to crowned Glauce (?); Creon (?) in tower.

Fine borders.

Fine initials (decoration partly unfinished). (Pächt and Alexander ii. 765, pl. LXXIII) 10- to 13-line initials in gold frames, with borders in right margins, decorated with animal figures, acanthus leaves, flowers and gold disks.

fol. 1r

  • Title Herules furens
  • Type initial S
  • Subject Hercules with a club, in lion skin, speaks to an armoured soldier; Juno seated on a bench above.

fol. 21r

  • Title Thyestes
  • Type initial Q
  • Subject Atreus serves Thyestes his two sons at feast.

fol. 38v

  • Title Phoenissae
  • Type initial C
  • Subject Oedipus and Antigone; battle scene in the background; leopard with red collar in the border.

fol. 48v

  • Title Phaedra
  • Type initial I
  • Subject Hunting scene. Death of Hippolytus.

fol. 68r

  • Title Oedipus
  • Type initial I
  • Subject Oedipus, blind; Jocasta, stabbing herself with a dagger; Oedipus (?) kneeling before a statue; griffon.

fol. 84r

  • Title Troades
  • Type initial Q
  • Subject Walled city; scenes showing fates of Trojan women.

fol. 118v

  • Title Medea
  • Type initial D
  • Subject Walled castle; on the wall Medea slaying her child; at the base of the wall crowned Creon (?) and Medea giving a robe to two children.

fol. 118v

  • Title Agamemnon
  • Type initial O
  • Subject Agamemnon returning home with prisoners and a band of warriors. The murder of Agamemnon.

fol. 134r

  • Title Octavia
  • Type initial I
  • Subject Two panels: (1) Nero seated on the throne and Octavia (?) with another woman and soldiers; (2) Octavia in a ship with sailors. Pelican feeding its young with its blood (?) on top of the initial I.

fol. 149v

  • Title Hercules Oetaeus
  • Type initial S
  • Subject Hercules on his funeral pyre gives his bow to Philoctetes; two women watch. Hercules rises to heaven from his funeral pyre.


Origin: 15th century, beginning ; Italian, Lombardy or Verona

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 (10 images from 35mm slides)

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.