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

MS. D'Orville 153

Summary Catalogue no.: 17031

Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, with glosses and commentary; Germany (?), c. 1438


Language(s): Latin

(fols. ii recto – verso)
Commentary on an unidentified text
Incipit: Hic autor p(onit) d(iffinitionem) aliquorum nominum et dicit quod sertum est pilleus virginalis floribus herbis compositus
Incipit: (fol. ii verso) Hic autor ponit diffinitionem dicens quod aula dicitur domus comitis
Incipit: Hic autor ponit diffinitionem dicens quod alea dicitur quidam asser quadratus

A reject leaf, the commentary text unfinished and the lemmata not added, with later pen trials in the margins.

The lower part of fol. ii verso with various quotations: the first is: ‘Est vitrum saphirus saphyrus splendida gemma’

(fol. iii recto)

Blank except for: ‘Item Paulus apostolus | Qui in uno offendit est omnium reus’ (cf. James 2:10)

(fol. iii verso)

Blank except for:

Incipit: Item septem sunt que per oculis habere debemus | Primum est brevitas vite nostre | Secundum est certitudo mortis
Explicit: Septem perdicio eterne glorie
Incipit: M(emorandum)(?) Mors tua mors Christi fraus mundi gloria celi | Et dolor inferni sunt memoranda tibi

WIC 11275 (citing MS. Laud Misc. 203, fols. 35v–36r)

(fols. 1r–132v)
Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae
Incipit: Carmina qui quondam studio florente peregi
Explicit: necessitas indicta probitatis cum ante oculos agitis iudicis cuncta cernentis. Amen.
Colophon: Explicit Boecius de consolacione philosophie Anno 38 xxxviij

Doubtless copied from a glossed exemplar, to judge by the very variable width of the column of text.

Bk. 2, fol. 29v; bk. 3, fol. 58r; bk. 4, fol. 93v; bk. 5, fol. 118r.

With selective but sometimes extensive interlinear glossing, and accompanied by a selective commentary, written both in the margin and on inserted sheets.

Fol. 47, which is apparently part of the original volume (the end of quire 3) and not an inserted sheet, was originally blank, with a form(?) letter and other notes added on fol. 47v and commentary added on fol. 47r.

Commentary on Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae
Incipit: (fol. 7r) Quisquis composito serenus euo fatum sub pedibus Istud est quartum metrum huius primi libri quod vocatur volenticum[sic] ab inuentore, tropheicum a pede predominate, pentametrum a numero pedum […] In quo metro Philosophia exortans Boecium ad virtutum constantiam tria facit
Incipit: (fol. 29v) Secundus liber Boecii. Iste est 2us liber Boecii de consolatu philosophie in quo postquam in primo libro inuestigauit morbum Boecii diligenter inquirendo
Incipit: (fol. 58r) Iste est tertius liber Boecii de consolacione philosophiae sic continuatur ad precedentes

No commentary on book 5.

(fol. 133r–v)

Added inscriptions and pen-trials etc., including:

(fol. 133r)

‘Ve t(ibi) tu nigre dicebat cacubus olle’; ‘Aristotoles(?) Appetitus divitiarum cressit[sic] ad infinitum’; ‘Qui scit frenare linguam sensumque domare fortior est e(?) qui vincit viribus orbes’; ‘in quibus estis qui(?) estis’; ‘Morbos multos multa fercula fecerunt’ (Seneca, Epistulae morales); ‘Si hec duo pronomina meum et tuum tollentur(?) […]

(fol. 133v)

Pen-trials etc., including the names ‘Johan’, ‘Willem’(?) and ‘Hoest’, and grammatical notes.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: extulisset ipsum
Form: codex
Support: Paper folded in quarto. The 'original' volume has three watermarks (a) fols. 1-88, letter T(Tau)/St Anthony's cross (cf. Piccard Kreuz I.47-51); (b) fols. 89-124, two-headed heraldic eagle (cf. Briquet 230, Etain, 1429) (c) fols. 125-132, anchor with cross. The inserted sheets apparently have other watermarks, one of which (fol. 26) is quadruped (?dog/fox; perhaps cf. Piccard Vierfüssler VIII.1540, used in 1450)
Extent: i + ii (medieval paper) + 132 (107 + 25) + i (medieval paper) + i (fols. 7, 9, 11, 13-14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 40, 49, 51, 60, 63, 65, 69, 72, 74, 77 are inserted leaves of various sizes)
Dimensions (leaf): 215 × 140-5 mm.
Foliation: 1–132 in 18th(?) century ink; i–iii and 133–134 in 20th-century pencil


The collation of the 'original' volume is 1(8) (fols. 1-6, 8, 10), 2(12-1)(last cancelled?) (fols. 12, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33), 3(12) (fols. 35-9, 41-7), 4(8) (fols. 48, 50, 52-7), 5(12) (fols. 58-9, 61-2, 64, 66-8, 70-1, 73, 75), 6(12) (fols. 76, 78-88), 7(12) (fols. 89-100), 8(12) (fols. 101-112), 9(12) (fols. 113-124), 10(8)(fols. 125-132)


Ruled in plummet for a single column of varying width, usually leaving wide outer and lower margins; typically written with 19–22 lines per page; the written area of the main text usually c. 140-155 × 60-80 mm.


Current cursive script. The main text probably in one hand, the gloss and commentary perhaps in more than one other hand.

Headings in textura.


No colour. Large decorative initials, in plain brown ink, for the first three books (fol. 1r, 29v, 58r); spaces left blank for most other large and small initials.


Sewn on four bands and bound in pasteboards covered with brown paper, with uncoloured parchment spine and brown leather corners; the spine inscribed at the top ‘Boethius | MS.’ and at the bottom ‘D’O.’


Origin: 1438 (colophon, fol. 132v), with roughly contemporary additions ; Germany (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Perhaps from the Orange College of Breda (Collegium Auriacum te Breda), whose books passed, c. 1684, to:

The library of the House of Orange-Nassau: recorded in the 1686 catalogue (The Hague, KB, 78 D 14) and shelflist (of which only an 18th-century copy is known: Merseburg, Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Oranishches Archiv, Rep. 64 R.I No. 15); included in the 1749 auction at The Hague (see A. D. Renting, A. S. Korteweg, et al., The seventeenth-century Orange-Nassau library: the catalogue compiled by Anthonie Smets in 1686, the 1749 auction catalogue, and other contemporary sources (Utrecht, 1993), pp. 510–11 no. 2573); catalogue p. 266 lot 23, bought by:

Pieter de Hondt (1696–1764), printer, publisher, and bookseller of The Hague.

Jacques Philippe d’Orville (1696-1751), classical scholar (on whom see SC, iv, pp. 37–38, and Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, iv, cols. 1043–46); listed in the catalogue of his library, MS. D'Orville 302, fol. 24r; inherited by his son Jean, thence to the latter’s son, also named Jean; sold to:

J. Cleaver Banks:

From whom the collection was purchased almost intact in 1804 by the Bodleian Library. Former Bodleian shelfmarks: ‘X. 1. 5. 6’ (printed on paper label on spine).

Record Sources

Description (June 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. We are grateful to Anne S. Korteweg for information about the provenance of the manuscript. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (2 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-06-11: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.