MS. Digby 83
Summary Catalogue no.: 1684
Opusculum de ratione spere; England, 12th century, middle
Astrological compilation in four books.
Extracts, chiefly from the prologue, pr. D. Juste, Les Alchandreana primitifs (Leiden, 2007), pp. 268–71, to illustrate this text's use of Alchandrean texts. Otherwise unprinted; contents summarized in L. Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, I, 707–9; D. Blume et al., Sternbilder des Mittelalters, I (2012), 396–400.
Three other manuscripts are known (for details see Blume et al., Sternbilder, I.397); in addition, MS. Bodl. 614, fols. 17r-34r derives from bk iv of this text.
The text incorporates:
Fine miniatures (drawings, partly coloured), good diagrams, initials. (P&A iii. 196, pl. XIX)
7-line inhabited initial, fol. 1r.
Other initials of varying size (1–10 lines) in plain red and green (e.g. fols. 1–14v, 17r-29r); blue and red with penwork decoration (fols. 15v-16r); blue and red (e.g. fols. 29v-32r); some initials and rubrication unfinished; instructions to the rubricator in the outer margins, often cropped (e.g. fol. 32r-v)
Scientific, astrological, geographical diagrams, some unfinished, fols. 2v-4v, 9v, 10r, 11v-12r, 15r-v, 25r-v, 30v-31r, 36v, 39r. Space left for diagram on fol. 76r.
Astrological miniatures, fols. 44r-49r, 50v-56r, 57r-58v, 62r-66r, 67r (fully described in Blume et al., Sternbilder des Mittelalters, I.400–2)
Provenance and Acquisition
Chronological note, fol. 37r, referring to the year 1417.
Note in French, 15th century, fol. 78r, perhaps referring to the year 1470 ('apres lascencion lan lxx')
'2o fo. greci vero - v s.' (fol. iii verso, 15th century, second half)
'A boke of astronomy' (fol. ii recto, c. 1500)
Notes and scribbles, partly illegible, 16th century, fol. 77r (upsidedown): 'To my very frinde Ind', 'Emkin Highe' (??)
'Roberte Colshill', 16th century, second half (fol. ii recto), with motto (?) 'qui ne ay ne peult' (not in M. P. Siddons, A dictionary of mottoes in England and Wales (2014)). Possibly to be identified with Robert Colshill of St Martin-in-the-Fields, d. c. 1580 (see History of Parliament Online). Pen-trials and notes in the same (?) hand, fol. 77r: 'thinke and thank god' (cf. Siddons, Mottoes 230), 'Elizabeth dei gratia Angl. Franc.', 'Euer lastinge mortall God', 'et habeat corpus eius coram'. In the same (?) hand, fol. 78r, 'Elizabeth dei gratia Angliae Franciae et Hiberniae regina fidei defensor vic. London' salutem precipimus vobis quod exigi fac.'
Thomas Allen, '15' (fol. 1), no. 15 in his catalogue of 1622.
Kenelm Digby; bequeathed to him by Allen in 1632.
Donated by Digby to the Bodleian in 1634.
Last Substantive Revision
2017-07-01: First online publication.