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

MS. D'Orville 143

Summary Catalogue no.: 17021


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r–3r)
Ps.-Seneca, De paupertate
Rubric: Liber Senece De paupertate cuius est .v.m capitulum
Incipit: Honesta quidem res est paupertas leta
Explicit: magnitudinem animi dant diuicie insolenciam &c
Final rubric: Explicit liber Senece de paupertate &c
Senecae opera. Supplementum, ed. F. Haase (Teubner, 1902), 56–9.
2. (fols. 3r–8r)
Ps.-Seneca, De remediis fortuitorum
Rubric: Liber de Remediis fortuitorum Senece ad Gallionem
Incipit: (prologue) Hunc librum composuit Seneca nobilissimus orator ad Galionem quedam amicum suum
Incipit: (text) Licet cunctorum peotarum carmina gremium tuum semper illustrent
Explicit: quam domi sit ista felicitas rara &c. Amen. Explicit.
Senecae opera. Supplementum, ed. F. Haase (Teubner, 1902), 44–55.
3. (fols. 8r–11r)
Ps.-Seneca, De morum institutione
Rubric: Incipit Liber Senece de Moribus
Incipit: Omne peccatum est actio
Explicit: aliud ore pretendamus. Amen. Explicit opusculum. Amen
Senecae opera. Supplementum, ed. F. Haase (Teubner, 1902), 60–65.

Corresponding to the pr. ed. only as far as §132, ‘Qui nescit tacere, nescit et loqui’ at fol. 11r, line 3; continuing ‘namque inprobi menciuntur idem probi debent, dicere longa vita bonis optabilis est …’, like the 1502 edition of the Liber de moribus humane vite.

4. (fols. 11v–30r)
Seneca, De tranquillitate animi (Dialogi 9)
Rubric: Incipit Liber Senece de tranquilitate anime ad Serenum
Incipit: Inquirenti michi in me quedam vicia apparebant
Explicit: nisi intenta et assidua cura circumeat animum labentem
Final rubric: Explicit liber de Tranquillitate animi ad Serenum Annei Senece.
Dialogorum libri duodecim, ed. L. D. Reynolds, OCT (1977), pp. 207–38
5. (fols. 30v–35v)
Martin of Braga (Ps.-Seneca), Formula uitae honestae
Rubric: Incipit liber Senece de quatuor virtutibus
Incipit: Quatuor virtutum species multorum sapientum sentenciis diffinite sunt
Explicit: deficientem inpingat ignauiam. Amen. Explicit opusculum Amen.
Opera omnia, ed. Barlow (New Haven, 1950), pp. 237–50.
6. (fols. 36r–65v)
Seneca, De breuitate uitae (Dialogi 10)
Rubric: Incipit Liber Senece de Breuitate vite
Incipit: Maior pars mortalium pauline
Explicit: gravis fremitus circumsonat. Amen &c
Final rubric: Explicit liber Senece de breuitate vite
Dialogorum libri duodecim, ed. L. D. Reynolds, OCT (1977), pp. 239–90
7. (fols. 66r–72v)
Excerpts from Seneca
Rubric: Recollecte ex quam pluribus varijs et diversibus Senece libris oratoris excellentissimi Cliuis Anno .1466.o
Incipit: Furencium certa indicia sunt Audax et minax, vultus tristis
Explicit: cum actu lacrimas tuas miscuisti hac. Seneca ad helbiam matrem suam de consolatione. Amen.

18th-century table of contents on front pastedown: 'Excerpta ex variis libris Senecae'. Headings within the text introduce excerpts and paraphrases; the first and last are ‘Hec Seneca de Ira ad nouatum’ (fol. 66r) and ‘Hec Seneca ad Helbiam matrem suam’ (fol. 71v).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Parchment for the outermost and innermost bifolium of each quire, otherwise paper; Watson states that the watermark is probably Briquet no. 5799 (cf. WZIS), used in Utrecht in 1462 and other places in the Low Countries in the 1460s.
Extent: i (paper) + 72 + i (paper)
Dimensions (leaf): 208 × 140 mm.
Foliation: 1–72 in 19th(?)-century ink; i and 73 in modern pencil
Foliation: Former foliation ‘.94.’–‘.168.’, in 15th-century ink, suggests that the volume was originally the second of a pair.


1–6(12); catchwords survive throughout; medieval leaf signatures survive sporadically, including ‘aj’ (fol. 1r), ‘e6’ (fol. 54r), and ‘f6’ (fol. 66r), suggesting that – despite the medieval foliation – the present leaves formed a discrete volume from the beginning.


Ruled in plummet usually for 27 lines (fol. 1 with 28–29 lines). Written above top line. Ruled space c. 130 × 73 mm.


Humanistic-influenced Gothic cursive/hybrida


One six-line initial painted in mauve, with reserved designs, and flourishing in red ink (fol. 1r); four-line initials in plain red with brown flourishing; two-, three-, and four- line initials in red or gray-mauve, with brown flourishing, one with a human face (fol. 30v).


Sewn on five bands and bound in 16th(?)-century red-brown morocco, the covers framed with a gilt roll tool, and fleurons on each corner; the spine densely gilt, with a title in gilt capitals, ‘SENE | OPUS | VARI’ in the edges of the leaves speckled with red and green. The foot of the spine with two printed paper labels, with the former (‘X. 1. | 4. 41.’) and present Bodleian shelfmarks. The Summary Catalogue compared the binding of MS. D'Orville 142.


Origin: 1466 ; Netherlands or Germany (Kleve (?)) (fol. 66r)

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Deus assit’ in the upper margin of fols. 1r, 36r; 15th-century manicula and marginal notes (apparently mainly by the main scribe).

Jacques Philippe D’Orville (1696–1751), classical scholar. Listed in the catalogue of D'Orville's collection by C. J. Strackhoven (18th century, second half), MS. D'Orville 302, fol. 21r, without recording the source of acquisition.

By descent to his son, Jean D'Orville, b. 1734, and a grandson also named Jean D'Orville, who sold the collection to:

Rev. John Cleaver Banks (1765/6–1845)

Purchased from him by the Bodleian in 1804. Former Bodleian shelfmarks: Auct. X. 1. 4. 41 (cf. spine label).

Record Sources

Summary description (March 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-03-16: Revised description for Polonsky German digitization project.