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

Christ Church MS. 114

Virgil, Eclogues and Georgics; Italy (Ferrara), 1456?


Language(s): Latin

Fol. 1–2: unruled flyleaves, blank except for notes at fol. 1r.

1. Fols 3–16
Incipit: Titire tv patvle recvbans svb tegmine fagi | Siluestrem tenui musam
Explicit: et frugibus umbrae | Ite domum sature uenit hesperus ite capelle
Final rubric: [in capitals] Explicit liber b deo gratias
Virgil, Eclogues

Or, as the colophon suggests, Bucolica; ed. Ribbeck, Opera 1:1–58. On fols 12v-13, a good many lines were not completely written out and have been filled in by a humanist cursive (s. xv2) seen also at MS 113, fol. 158 and at the front flyleaf of this manuscript (see provenance).

2. Fols 16–50v
Incipit: Qvid faciat letas segetes que sydera seruet | Agricola ut facile tenram . . . Quid faciat letas segetes quo sidere terras | Uertere mecenas ulmisque
Explicit: audaxque iuuenta | Tityre te patule cecini sub tegmine fagi
Final rubric: [in capitals] Explicit liber georgicorvm Pvblij Virgilij Maronis Deo gratias
Virgil, Georgics

Ed. Ribbeck, 1:61–208. Preceded by the four-verse summary of Book 1 from Ps.-Ovid, ‘Georgicon argumenta’, ed. Baehrens, 4:444–45, with the remaining quatrains introducing the following books.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Ante leves
Form: codex
Support: Parchment (FSOS).
Extent: Fols: v (numbered fols i-iii, 1–2) + 48 (numbered fols 3–50) + iii (numbered fols 51–53). All flyleaves paper added with added with binding (the very first and very last marbled), except last two at front which are medieval parchment (fols 1, 2).
Dimensions (leaf): 260 × 175 mm.
Dimensions (written): 168 × 108 mm.
(to the bounds, not the line ends)


1–410 58. Catchwords written vertically, often with shell-shaped decoration following, placed between the right tramlines with the feet of the letters sitting on the line closer to the text. Fragmentary signatures, most cut away, each leaf in the first half of each quire given a letter and arabic numeral, with a ‘+’ on the first leaf following the centre. Enough remains to see that in this system the quires were lettered a-e.


In long lines, 32 lines to the page. Some signs of prick-holes in line with the double vertical borders; bounded and ruled in stylus. Single top bounding line, and double vertical borders (the left tramlines reserved for the capital opening each verse), all extending to the edge of the folio; the full ruling sits within the inner bounding line of these double borders.


Written in the same littera antiqua as our MS 113, ie by Matteo Contugi.

Punctuated much more lightly than the preceding manuscript, by occasional point, double point, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus.


Headings in small capitals, and introductions to texts in combinations of small capitals and text style. At the openings of the two texts, ten- and eight-line a bianchi girari initial (fol. 3, 10 line; fol. 16, 8 line), the capital in gold leaf on blue, red, and green, with a dense pattern of three white dots; that at fol. 3 extended into a corner border in the same flower and vine design. These are in the same style as MS 113, fol. 2, and thus are by the artist who also illuminated Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS 79. At the openings of the individual eclogues and the verses at the heads of books of the Georgics (along with a few internal divisions in the books), two-line alternate red and blue Roman square capitals.


The companion to our MS 113, differing in that there are geometrical designs on the spine. Sewn on five thongs. On the spine ‘M.S. Virgilii Bucolic. Georgic. Liber 1456’.


Origin: Italy (Ferrara); 1456?

Provenance and Acquisition

Although undated and unsigned, this manuscript is certainly the companion volume to MS 113 and, indeed, they were once bound as one, as is shown by a couple of factors. First, there is the shape of the opening flyleaf of this manuscript and the closing flyleaf of MS 113 – smaller than the other folios, with shared dimensions (255 × 160mm) – and the placing of the annotations – on the recto of the opening flyleaf here and mainly on the verso of the closing flyleaf in MS 113. This suggests that these flyleaves were originally conjoint and wrapped around all the quires of what are now two codices. Second, there is an overlap in annotations: the script at MS 113, fol. 158 adds text here at fol. 12v-13 and one of the notes at the front flyleaf (reading: ‘Dum tempus habemus operimur bonum | Sola virtus’). The implication of this evidence, however, is that they were bound not in the order that we would expect: rather, it would appear that this manuscript preceded MS 113, so that the order of works was Eclogae, Georgica, Æneid, with the coat-of-arms opening the third item. This may not have been what Contugi himself expected: as is made clear in the two descriptions, each manuscript has leaf signatures beginning with a quire ‘a’. That the two manuscripts, then, were produced as separate fascicules means there can be a scintilla of doubt about the year in which this one was produced, though it should be noted that, for both sections, the parchment is ruled identically, and that the same illuminator was employed. With such similarities, it was unsurprising that the two fascicules were made into one codex. Presumably an eighteenth-century owner (John Moore?) who found the works thus joined together was offended by the order the texts had taken and so had them divided at the point of re-binding. The fact that the title on the spine of this manuscript gives a year of production, when one is not included on its folios, strongly suggests that the parts were still together at the point they received their present bindings and that the date of the colophon in MS 113 was taken to refer to the whole.

There are some other Latin verses and pentrials at fol. 1 (eg a partially erased note ‘..... vadunt ad septimam…’, rubricated, s. xv2, and ‘Sepius at me si me licida [sic] formosae revisas...’, s. xvex), but no further hint to early provenance.

This manuscript was donated to ChCh at the same time as MS 113; the inscription provided there is repeated here in the same hand (that is, by Edward Smallwell), with the succeeding shelfmark: ‘C.2. | D.D. Joannes Moore S.T.P. hujusce Ædis Canonicus, & Sub-Decanus. An. 1766.’; on Moore, see our MS 113, and for the shelfmark, see Appendix IV.

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna and David Rundle, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts, to c. 1600, in Christ Church, Oxford (Oxford, 2017).


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Christ Church Library.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.

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