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

MS. Digby 76

Summary Catalogue no.: 1677

Physical Description

Composite: fols. 1–78b || fols. 79–109 || fols. 110–122


Provenance and Acquisition

The first two parts of the manuscript were owned by John Leland (c. 1506–1552)

They formed one of six volumes bought by John Dee (1527–1608) from Leland's library on 18 May 1556 (fol. 1; cf. John Dee's library catalogue, ed. J. Roberts and A. G. Watson (1990), p. 6), and subsequently DM 113 in Dee's catalogue. The third part of the manuscript (fols. 110–22) may also have been owned by Dee and formed M181 in his catalogue.

Parts 1 and 2 (and perhaps part 3) acquired from Dee by Sir Robert Cotton; bound with part 3 by 1621, when the three parts figure as no. 405 in his catalogue (BL MS. Harley 6018).

Sir Kenelm Digby, 1603–1665, probably directly from Cotton.

Donated by him to the Bodleian, 1634.

MS. Digby 76 – Part 1 (fols. 1–78b)


Language(s): Latin

(fol. iii)

List of contents in the hand of Robert James.

1. (fols. 1r-35v)
Roger Bacon, Communia naturalium (II.1–3)

Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Bacon, ed. R. Steele (1905–40), IV. (1913) 309–84 = MS. 0.

2. (fols. 36r-47v)
Roger Bacon (?), De corporibus coelestibus
Incipit: Habito de corporibus mundi prout mundum absolute constituunt
eTK 0594I

G. E. Mohan, 'Initia operum Franciscalium (XIII-XV s.): D-H', Franciscan Studies 36 (1976), 313–177 (p. 167*)

Unprinted; written in 1266 (fol. 42r); attributed to Bacon by Little, who suggested that was a draft of material for the Compendium Philosophiae or the Opus Minus (Roger Bacon Essays, ed. A. G. Little (Oxford, 1914), p. 406; Little in Fratris Rogeri Bacon Compendium Studii Theologiae,eg. H. Rashdall (Aberdeen, 1911), App. p. 85)

3. (fols. 48r-76r)
Roger Bacon, Communia mathematica (first recension, part II)

In two sections, (a) fols. 48r-64r (b) 65r-76r

Ed. (as MS. D) Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Bacon, ed. R. Steele (1905–40), XVI. (1940) 71–143 (fols. 48r-64r = dist. 1–4), 144–55 (fols. 65r-76r = dist. 5). Steele prints a conflated version including some text uniquely found in the second recension in BL Sloane MS 2156. Fos. 69r-76r also printed and translated in George Molland, 'Roger Bacon's Geometria Speculativa', in Vestigia mathematica: studies in medieval and early modern mathematics in honour of H.L.L. Busard, ed. M. Folkerts and J. P. Hogendijk (1993), pp. 265–303 (at 268–303).

Fols. 65–76 heavily annotated by John Dee.

4. (fols. 77r-78a verso, 78b verso)
Roger Bacon, Commentary on Euclid (?)
Rubric: Titulus autem istius libri secundum auctores est, Incipit liber elementorum seu radicum mathematice Euclidis, ab Euclide Picthagarico compositus, continens 464 proposiciones et proposita que theoreumata vocantur et peticiones et concepciones que singulis libris premittuntur
Explicit: (fol. 78b verso) Sicut Aristoteles docet 3º physicorum

Printed by Molland, 'Roger Bacon's Geometria Speculativa'.

eTK 1574D (this copy only).
(fol. 78b recto)


Physical Description

Secundo Folio: dicit in principio
Form: codex
Support: parchment


(fols. 1–47) 1(6) 2(2) 3(8) 4(4) 5(6) 6(4) 7(6) (6 canc.) | 8(8) 9(4)


(fols. 1–35) 29–35 long lines in more than one hand.

(fols. 36–47) 28–35 long lines, frame-ruling only fols. 41–47.


Origin: 13th century, second half (after 1266) ; Script partly English, partly French (fols. 41v5–42v, 44r-v, 45r-v) in style.

MS. Digby 76 – Part 2 (fols. 79–109)


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 79r-79v9)
Incipit: ||ex probatione naturali & ex probatione geometrica
Explicit: sicut declarat subjecta figura. Explicit.
Ps.-Avicenna, De caelo et mundo

Extracts from chs. vi, vii, v, beginning imperfectly.

Cf. Pseudo-Avicenna Liber celi et mundi, ed. O. Gutman, pp. 138.10–11 (end of ch. vi), 142.1–8 (beginning of ch. vii), 56.14–64.19 (part of ch. v, recension beta).

2. (fols. 79v10–107v6)
Dominicus Gundisalvi, De divisione philosophiae
Incipit: (fol. 79v) Felix prior etas que tot sapientes protulit quibus velut stellis mondi tenebras irradiaiut
Final rubric: (fol. 107v) Explicit liber Gundisalui de diuisione philosophie alii putant quod sit Alpharabii

MS. D. in edition by L. Baur (De divisione philosophiae, herausg., nebst einer Geschichte der philosophischen Einleitung bis zum Ende der Scholastik, 1903)

3. (fols. 107v7–109v)
Commentary on Boethius, De arithmetica (ends imperfectly)
Incipit: Inter omnes prisce actoritatis[sic] viros
Explicit: quartum vero privatio visus et assufationis||

eTK 0768H

Physical Description

Secundo folio lacking
Form: codex
Support: parchment


Written below top line.


Origin: England; 13th century, first half

MS. Digby 76 – Part 3


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 110r-120v)
Thomas Bradwardine, De proportione
Incipit: (prologue) Omnibus huius tractatus uel codicis Bladuordin

Collated as MS. X in Thomas of Bradwardine his Tractatus de proportionibus, ed. and tr. H. L. Crosby (1955), pp. 64–140 (prologue not printed). The text here is incomplete, ending at p. 124 l. 22 'suum relativum latus', this text then adding 'alterius alterius'.

Extensive marginal commentary in places.

Fols. 117–120 palimpsest.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (fol. 111) illam semel
Form: codex
Support: parchment


4-line plain initials in red, fols. 110r-111r.


Origin: Italy ; 14th century, late or 15th century, early

Record Sources

Script dated by Irene Ceccherini, December 2017.

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description adapted (2017) with some corrections from W. D. Macray, Bodleian Library Quarto Catalogues IX: Digby Manuscripts, repr. with addenda by R. W. Hunt and A. G. Watson, 1999.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.