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

MS. Canon. Misc. 575

Summary Catalogue no.: 20051

John the Deacon, Vita S. Gregorii Papae, etc.; 11th century, end, Austria(?), Carinthia(?)


Language(s): Latin (with an inscription in Greek)

(fol. iiir)

Additions, made in the 12th century at St Paul's, Lavanttal:

Two lists of witnesses:

‘Iste sunt testes quod domn⟨a⟩ R⟨ich⟩g⟨ard⟩ ⟨predium⟩ sui | iuris famulis nomine Acemannum(?) filiis suis | sancto Paulo ⟨tra⟩diderit. Sigifridus comes khecil de ⟨H.⟩ | Adalberto de maltsemplag. Hærtwich et Almar frater eius | De ...lawar’. Engilmar de Rudilndorf’ Uncertain readings are here derived from R. Flotzinger, Choralhandschriften österreichischer Provenienz in der Bodleian Library, Oxford (Vienna, 1991), p. 30.

‘Iste sunt testes predii quod tradidit sancto Paulo fritil homo Odalscalchi | ipsius permissu pro anima patris sui Griffonis. Odalscalc(us). Dietric(us) \de havenarispurk/ | Meginhalm(us). Wisint. Otto. Odalrich. Ekehardus. Heinricus’ Pr. from the St Paul’s Traditionscodex by A. von Jaksch, Monumenta historica ducatus Carinthiae: Geschichtliche Denkmäler des Herzogthumes Kärnten, iii: Die Kärntner Geschichtsquellen 811–1202 (Klagenfurt, 1904), p. 305 no. 775, where it is dated c.1144.

A diagram of the globe with five horizontal zones labelled frigida, temerata, cali, temperata, frigida.

A sketch of a man’s head, with pointed headgear.

(fols. iii verso-135v)
John the Deacon, Vita S. Gregorii Papae
(fol. iii verso)

Full-page miniature (see Decoration)

(fols. 1r–2r)


Rubric: Incipit prefatio Iohannis Diaconi in vita beati Gregorii pape
Incipit: Beatissimo ac felicissimo domino Iohanni sanctę catholicę & apostolicę Romanę ęcclesię pręsul Iohannes ultimus levitarum
Explicit: merear misericorditer libeari. per Ihesum Christum dominum nostrum
Final rubric: Explicit praefatio
(fol. 2r–v)

Capitula list

Rubric: Incipiunt capitula libri primi
Incipit: .i. De genere beati Gregorii
Explicit: xlv. Ubi discretionis eius perfecta qualitas indicatur
Final rubric: Expliciunt capitula libri primi vita beati Gregorii Romani pontificis
(fols. 2v–135v)
Rubric: Incipit textum eisudem
Incipit: Gregorius genere Romanus arte philosophus Gordiani viri clarissimi & beatę Silvię filius
Explicit: verba quę valeo minime denegasse cognoscar.
Final rubric: Explicit liber quartus

There are further capitula lists before Books II (fol. 20r–21r), III (fols. 50r–51r), and IV (fols. 86r–88r).

(fol. 135v)
Palladius of Hellenopolis, Historia Lausiaca (excerpt)
Incipit: Pascho quidam nomine septuagesimum agens ętatis annum in Cythi
Explicit: pacificos habui reliquos dies. Miraculum et exemplum vetus et bonum. Deo gratias.

A passage of about 30 words, originally omitted, is added in the left margin: ‘latenter autem perrixi … patres veneabantur’.

Overall, much like the version in PL, lxxiv, 346–47, and unlike the version ed. by A. Wellhausen, Die lateinische Übersetzung der Historia Lausiaca des Palladius, Texte und Studien, 51 (2003), pp. 573–76.

Extensively abraded and re-inked in the 14th(?) century.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (paper) + 1 + 136 + 1 + i (paper)
Dimensions (leaf): 270-5 × 200 mm.
Foliation: i–iii, 1–137, in 19th-century pencil on every 5th leaf (foliation completed 2021)


1(8)-17(8). The third and six leaves in quires 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 16 are half-sheets, as are the fourth and fifth leaves in quire 14 (i.e. fols. 107-8) and quire 15 (fols. 115-6); the centre of quire 10 is reinforced with a later-medieval parchment strip.


Blind-ruled for 30 lines per page. Ruled space 210 × 135 mm.


Caroline minuscule; incipits in majuscules.

Rustic capitals for rubrics and fol. 122.

Musical Notation:

Adiastematic neumes added above an added marginal antiphon for the feast of St Gregory: ‘Sex strux(it) in sicilia vir clarus monasteria’ (CANTUS 004878) (fol. 122v).

Adiastematic neumes added above two short lines written horizontally on recto of the former back pastedown (fol. 136r), both with the same melody: ‘puer ginitur[sic] nec mater ulla premitur angustia loco antiphon’ (Dreves, Analecta Hymnica, xx (1895), p. 67 no. 42, part of the third stanza), and: ‘Si commeditis de pomis loco positis(?) perennia’ (cf. ibid., stanza 5)


Included by Pächt & Alexander in the volume devoted to the Italian school, but placed at the end, under the heading ‘Manuscripts of doubtful provenance’, stating ‘the hybrid and archaic-looking ornament of the border cannot easily be accounted for in a proper Italian milieu. Possibly the manuscript was made in the borderlands of Italy, Austria, and Dalmatia in some provincial centre’ (Pächt and Alexander, ii, p. 103 no. 1045, and pl. LXXXV).

(fol. iii verso) A full-page partially-coloured drawing, doubtless intended to represent St Gregory, consisting of a drawing of a saint in ecclesiastical garb, including a pallium, holding a book and blessing; the Dextera Dei blesses him from the upper left corner and in the lower left corner a figure kneels at his feet; a wide framing border incorporates pairs of birds, foliage, and the heads of strange horned creatures. Around the figure’s halo is added in Greek majuscules: ‘Ο ΑΓΙΟϹ | Ο ΑΓΙΟϹ | ΓΡΕΓΟΡΙΟϹ ΠΑΠΑ ΡΟ’ (‘O agios O agios Gregorios papa Ro(mae)’). A later hand added ‘S(an)c(tu)s Iohannis’ above the figure, the name subsequently erased. Near the kneeling figure, whose face has been effaced, is another added inscription, subsequently erased: ‘misero d(omi)ne monac(us)(?)’.

Large elaborate vegetal initials, drawn in ink and partially coloured in red, green, and yellow, at the beginning of the preface and each book (fols. 1r, 2v, 21v, 51v, 88r).

Diagrammatic climate map, fol. iii recto.


18th- or early 19th-century Italian binding. Sewn on four double bands laced into pasteboards covered with rough brown (sheepskin?) leather, each covered framed with triple gilt filets; the spine with red leather title-piece lettered in gilt capitals ‘Ioan diacon | Vita beati | Gregorii | Cod. memb. | perantiq.’


Origin: 11th century, end ; Austria(?), Carinthia(?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Benedictine monastery of St. Paul im Lavanttal, Carinthia: with 12th-century copies of two of its documents on fol. iii recto; identifiable as no. 171 in its 1782 booklist: ‘Vita S. Gregorii Papae per Joannem Diaconum auf Pergament, Folio.’ (H. Menhardt, ‘Weitere Nachrichten von Kärntner Klosterbibliotheken’, Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, 44 (1927), 593–611 at 602). Sporadic marginalia.

Matteo Luigi Canonici, 1727–1805

Giuseppe Canonici , -1807

Purchased by the Bodleian in 1817. Former Bodleian shelfmarks: ‘Canon: Miscel: 575’ (fol. ir)

MS. Canon. Misc. 575 - fols. ii, 136 (former pastedowns)


Language(s): Latin

Psalter (fragments) (fol. ii) The central bifolium of a quire, with continuous text: Psalms 68:9–70:3. (fol. 136) Psalms 89:3–10, 94:4–11 (recto) and 95:1–9, 88:48–89:3 (verso).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: the greater part of two bifolia
Dimensions (leaf): at least 180 × c. 155 mm.


Blind-ruled for 17 lines per page. Ruled space c. 155 × 95 mm.


Late Caroline minuscule


Large initials in plain red (now very faded)


Origin: late 11th or early 12th century

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description (June 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Quarto Catalogue (1854).

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (7 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-06-23: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.