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

MS. Douce 127

Summary Catalogue no.: 21701

Psalter; Italy, Sora, near Naples (?); 11th century, end



Fols. i–ii are paper fly-leaves, mostly blank.

1. (fols. 1r–v)

Prayer ‘Comitetvr nos deus domine semper gratia tva et in finem vsque cvstodiat vt quod bono inchoamvs principio miliori exitu consvmemus + + + per dominvm nostrvm hiesvm christvm’, written in alternate lines of red and black capitals on panels of gold; text often indistinct because of flaking.

2. (fols. 2r–131r)

Psalms 1–151 (Roman version), laid out with each verse starting on a new line. The opening words of psalm 1 are missing because of the loss of a leaf after fol. 1. The following text is also missing:

  • – one leaf missing after fol. 25 (missing text 25: 7–26: 3);
  • – three leaves missing after fol. 38 (missing text 36: 37–38);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 40 (missing text 40: 9–41: 3);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 51 (missing text 52);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 65 (missing text 67: 34–68: 9);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 70 (missing text 71: 17–72: 11);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 81 (missing text 79: 6–80: 2);
  • – two leaves missing after fol. 89 (missing text 88: 25–89: 3);
  • – a quire (eight leaves) missing after fol. 92 (missing text 92: 2–101: 26);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 100 (missing text 105: 38–106: 2);
  • – one leaf missing after fol. 104 (missing text 108: 20–109: 1);
  • – two leaves missing after fol. 109 (missing text 117: 8–118: 1);
  • – a quire (eight leaves) missing after fol. 120 (missing text 122: 3–137).

Fols. 16–23 (quire III) are in the wrong order; the correct order is 19, 18, 17, 16, 23, 22, 21, 20.

Psalms are preceded by titles, similar to Salmon’s series I (1959), and numbers in Roman numerals in the original hand. There probably were textual divisions marked by larger initials, all now removed, at psalms 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, 109 and 118. Subdivisions within psalms are not indicated, apart from psalm 118, subdivided into 8-verse units. Punctuated throughout, with punctus used to mark the ends of verses, metrum and minor pauses, though punctus elevatus and punctus flexus are also used, and can occur in any of the three positions. Roman antiphons with music (square notation on three or four black lines) added in the margins in an early 14th-century hand. Other 14th-century (?) additions, some partially erased, include the title of psalm 2 (fol. 2v), antiphons, versicles, responses, cues for psalms, psalm numbers in Roman numerals in the upper margin, and drawings of grotesques (fols. 91r, 92v).

3. (fols. 131r–v)

Pusillus eram described as ‘extranumerum’ in a rubric.

4. (fols. 131v–141r)

Weekly canticles (Roman version), with titles:

  • (1) Confitebor tibi domine (Isaiah 12) (‘Canticum esayæ prophetæ’);
  • (2) Ego dixi (Isaiah 38: 10–21) (‘Canticum ezechiæ regis’);
  • (3) Exvltauit cor meum (1 Samuel 2: 1–11) (‘Canticum anne’);
  • (4) Cantemus domino (Exodus 15: 1–20) (‘Canticum moysi’);
  • (5) Domine audiui (Habakkuk 3) (‘Canticum abbacuc’);
  • (6) Audite celum (Deuteronomy 32: 1–44) (‘Canticum deyteronomii’).

5. (fols. 141r–148r)

Daily canticles, prayers and creeds, with titles:

  • (1) Benedicite omnia opera (‘ymnus trium puerorum’) (fol. 141r);
  • (2) Benedictus dominus deus (‘Canticum Zachariæ prophetæ’) (fol. 142r);
  • (3) Magnificat (‘Canticum Sanctæ Mariæ’) (fol. 142v);
  • (4) Gloria in excelsis (‘ymnus angelorum’) (fol. 143r);
  • (5) Nunc dimittis (‘Canticum symeonis’) (fol. 143v);
  • (6) Apostles’ Creed (‘Credo in deum ...’) (‘Fides apostolorum’) (fol. 143v);
  • (7) Nicene Creed (‘Credo in unum deum ...’) (‘Fides patrum’) (fol. 144r);
  • (8) Te deum laudamus (‘ymnus’) (fol. 145r), imperfect at the end because of the loss of a leaf after fol. 145, ending at ‘... usque in eternum’;
  • (9) Athanasian Creed (Quicumque uult ... ) (fol. 146r), starting imperfectly at ‘absque dubio ...’.

6. (fols. 148v–158v)

Litany, including the Virgin Mary in capitals (fol. 148v), Benedict (first) and Dominic (of Sora (?), last) among ‘monachi et heremite’, and Restituta (of Sora (?) or Naples (?)) among the virgins. Followed by the full text of Pater noster (fol. 152v), twelve ‘capitula’ (fol. 153r), and collects with rubrics ‘oratio’ (fols. 153r–158v), including those to the Virgin Mary (fols. 157r, 158v), Michael, Peter and Benedict (fol. 157r); the text is partly damaged by water (?):

  • (1) Omnipotens et misericors deus clementiam tuam supplicam deprecor ...
  • (2) Liberator animarum mundi redemptor domine deus eterne rex immortalis ...
  • (3) Veniam et pietatem misericordiam et indulgentiam rogo ego peccator piissime deus meus pro omnibus culpis meis ...
  • (4) Immensam pietatem tuam deprecor omnipotens deus qui per os dauid electi pueri tui carmina dulcia nos docuisti ...
  • (5) Tuam domine clemensiam deprecor ut mihi peccatori famulo tuo per hos psalmos ...
  • (6) Domine Deus [omnipotens creator] cel[i et terre exaudi pro]pitius orationem meam. In qua ego peccator magnificensiam tuam rogo ...
  • (7) Omnipotens & misericors deus creator generis humani propitius esto mihi indigno (famulo tuo et) peccatori ...
  • (8) Omnipotens et misericors deus cui omnia subiecta sunt celestia simul et terrena cuique omnes creatura ...
  • (9) Omnipotens sempiterne deus rex regum et dominus dominantium creator omnium ... (‘Oratio sancti hieronimi’)
  • (10) Maiestatem tuam suppliciter deprecor omnipotens et misericors deus ut placabilis et acceptabilis sit tibi hec mea psalmorum modulatio ...
  • (11) Suscipere digneris domine deus omnipotens hos psalmos consecratos quos ego indignus (pec)cator decantaui ...; the text is partly lost because half of fol. 158 is torn off.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: qui non abiit (psalter, fol. 2r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment; paper fly-leaves; many leaves damaged (in most cases the margins are cut off) and repaired with paper; lower margins damaged by water and rodents
Extent: 161 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): c. 228 × 145 mm.
Foliation: modern, in pencil; i–ii + 1–159; medieval in ink in the upper left corner on the versos, 2–190.


(fols. i–ii) fol. i is a paper fly-leaf conjoint with the upper pastedown; fol. ii is a paper fly-leaf | (fols. 1–7) I (8−1) missing 2 | (fols. 8–15) II (8) | (fols. 16–23) III (8) bound in a wrong order | (fols. 24–30) IV (8−1) missing 3 | (fols. 31–38) V (8) | (fols. 39–42) VI (8−4) missing 1–3 and 6 | (fols. 43–50) VII (8) | (fols. 51–57) VIII (8−1) missing 2 | (fols. 58–65) IX (8) | (fols. 66–71) X (8−2) missing 1 and 7 | (fols. 72–79) XI (8) | (fols. 80–86) XII (8−1) missing 3 | (fols. 87–92) XIII (8−2) missing 4–5; a quire is missing after fol. 92 | (fols. 93–100) XIV (8) | (fols. 101–106) XV (8−2) missing 1 and 6 | (fols. 107–112) XVI (8−2) missing 4–5 | (fols. 113–120) XVII (8) a quire is missing after fol. 120 | (fols. 121–144) XVIII–XX (8) | (fols. 145–151) XXI (8−1) missing 2 | (fols. 152–158) XXII (8−1) missing 8 | (fol. 159) paper fly-leaf conjoint with the lower pastedown


Ruled in hard point with pairs of vertical bounding lines, extending the full height of page; written above the top line; 20 lines per page; written space: c. 140–144 × 70–75 mm.


Beneventan minuscule, black and brown ink

Musical Notation:

Roman antiphons with music (square notation on three or four black lines) added in the margins in an early 14th-century hand.


2- to 4-line initials in gold, red, green, yellow, mauve, etc. at the beginnings of psalms and canticles, formed by the bodies of beasts, biting bird and animal heads, coiled tendrils and interlace. The opening words of psalms are written in capitals on gold background.

2- to 3-line gold initials formed by coiled tendrils, outlined in red, at the beginnings of sections of psalm 118 (fols. 110r–119r) and litany (fol. 148v); initial on fol. 152 is cut out.

3-line simple gold initials at the beginnings of collects (fols. 153r–158v).

1-line red (or sometimes black) initials on gold background at the beginnings of verses and periods.

Rubrics in red ink


Red leather over pasteboard, 18th century (?). Five raised bands on spine (previously sewn on four bands), framed by gilt floral borders; gilt floral decorations at the centre of panels between the bands. Green leather label on spine with gilt lettering ‘SACRU. || PSALTE’. Paper label on spine inscribed ‘Arch. F. || d. 10’, covering a fragment of another paper label. Laid paper pastedowns and fly-leaves.


Origin: 11th century, end ; Italian, area of Naples / Sora (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Made for the Benedictine Abbey of the Virgin Mary and St Dominic at Sora, near Naples (?): evidence of the litany (but see van Dijk (1958)).

14th-century liturgical additions in Italian hands.

‘No 118’ in ink, 17th or 18th century (fol. 1v); ‘62’ in ink, 18th century (?) (upper left corner of the upper pastedown).

Francis Douce, 1757–1834, see ODNB: bookplate on the upper pastedown; note dating the manuscript to c. 800 on fol. ii recto.

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1834. Pencil transcription of the text on fol. 1r initialled by E. W. B. Nicholson (1848–1912) (fol. ii v); Douce’s note followed by a pencil note (fol. ii recto), signed by ‘E. S. Ffoulkes’ (1819–1894).

Record Sources

Adapted from Elizabeth Solopova, Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue (Oxford, 2013), pp. 443–7. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.


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Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)


    Select bibliography to 2005:

    Summary catalogue, vol. 4, no. 21701, and vol. 5, pp. xvii–xviii.
    Frere, no. 127.
    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 2: Office Books (typescript, 1957), p. 9
    Halporn, J. W., ‘Two manuscripts in the Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana’, Transactions and proceedings of the American Philological Association 92 (1961), pp. 220–7, at p. 223.
    Barré, H., Prières anciennes de l’occident à la Mère du Sauveur: des origines à saint Anselme (Paris: Lethielleux, 1963), p. 257.
    Pächt and Alexander (1966–73), vol. III, no. 28.
    Lowe, E. A., The Beneventan script: a history of the South Italian minuscule, 2nd edn. (prepared and enl. by Virginia Brown), 2 vols. (Roma: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1980), vol. 1, pp. 76, 177, 183, 212, 213, 215; vol. 2, p. 111.
    The Douce legacy: an exhibition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the bequest of Francis Douce (1757– 1834) (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1984), no. 69.
    Newton, F., The scriptorium and library at Monte Cassino, 1058–1105, Cambridge Studies in Palaeography and Codicology 7 (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), pp. 120 n. 5, 179 and n. 296.
    Augustyn, W., ‘Zur Illustration von Psalterien und Psalmenkommentaren in Italien vom frühen 11. bis zum ausgehenden 13. Jahrhundert’ in Büttner (2004), pp. 165–80, at p. 166 n. 8.
    Gryson (2004), no. 371.
    Brown, V., Terra sancti Benedicti: studies in the paleography, history and liturgy of medieval Southern Italy (Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2005), pp. 13–14, 33 n. 34.
    ——, ‘I libri della Bibbia nell’Italia meridionale longobarda’ in P. Cherubini (ed.), Forme e modelli della tradizione manoscritta della Bibbia (Vatican City: Scuola vaticana di paleografia, diplomaticae archivistica, 2005), pp. 281–307, at p. 284.

Last Substantive Revision

2024-03: Adapt full description from Solopova .