MS. Douce 85
Summary Catalogue no.: 21659
John of Seville, Epistola Aristotelis ad Alexandrum de regimine sanitatis (recension of Thomas of Cantimpré); Thomas of Cantimpré, de lapidibus; Annals, 413-1553. Germany, c. 1535
Dedicatory matter (see Decoration)
Medical-astrological treatises and notes: prefatory material to art. 2
The version of the text as transmitted in Thomas of Cantimpré, De naturis rerum, I.77.
An inserted fold-out diagram of the four seasons and their corresponding (a) astrological signs, (b) saints’ feast days (Peter Urban, Simphorian, and Clement), and (c) mnemonic verses: ‘Ver petro datur … Festum Clementis est caput hiemis venientis’.
A large fold-out sheet with diagrams concerning human digestion and the production of fluids by men and women.
Short notes, and images, concerning wisdom and foolishness: ‘Imaginis sapientie et stulticie declaratio. Picture concomitantis hec sit interpretatio per modica’, and Ecclesiastes 2:13–14: ‘Vidi qui tantum precederat sapientia stulticia …’; for the images and their inscriptions see Decoration.
A large fold-out sheet with a diagram illustrating the four regions of the body, ‘Caput, Pectus, Venter, Vesica’, with corresponding ailments; at the top is, ‘Epistola Hypocratis brevis quidem sed multum utilis ad regem Antiochum destinata …’, and at the bottom, ‘In hac epistola vera et probata continentur pro vite sanitate conservanda …’.
See Decoration. Fol. 19v blank.
‘Vultus huius seculi sunt subiecti vultibus celestibus, et ideo sapientes qui imagines faciebant …’, and ‘Hec Ptholomeus in Centiloquio To. 9 Nec in hoc commentator Halij nempa …’, above a small woodcut with a shield bearing the initials A and WA in monogram, , with ‘Monogrammos minus’ written above, and below, ‘Nature genitor conserva morte redemptos’
A list of the following four textual items, under the general heading ‘Chronicalia’: ‘Imperatoria, Regia, Ducalia, Provincialia, Aliaque hic per multa et promiscue adiecta’. Fol. 28v blank.
Fols. 32br-32dv blank.
Fols. 43ar-43bv blank.
Fols. 45v, 46ar-46cv blank.
The final note is ‘Pristorum adagium verissimum’ (in red), and ‘Amicus syncerus intelligendo magis necessarius quam ignis et aqua’
Fol. 62r-63v blank, except for wreath with monogram on fol. 63v, see Decoration.
Frame-ruled with a hard point and plummet; typically written with up to 22–24 lines per page. Ruled area typically c. 155-160 × 90-100 mm.
Cursive, written by Sebald Adloff of Wrocław (Breslau). Rubrics in blue and red.
Most of the decoration consists of coloured woodcuts, within or around which inscriptions have been added:
- (fol. 1r) A woodcut of a man holding a blank cartouche, in which is handwritten: ‘Excellentissimo clarissimoue viro domino Christofero Schwe(r)lero pontificii ac cesarii juris doctori etc. Hoc Aristotelis Sanitatis regimen etc. offert in amorisque pignus dat verissim.’ Below is written: ‘Sebaldus Adloff: natione Wratislavia non quidem posthabendus familiarium’.
- (fol. 2r) A woodcut of a scholar holding an open book, with astrolabe, sun, moon, and stars in the background, and frame incorporating the initials SWA; to which is added two inscriptions: ‘Libellulus huius condonatorum physionomiam intuere observaque’ and in red: ‘Amandius precipue amans’
- (fol. 16v) A woodcut depicting a man displaying an image of three male heads, another man lying on the floor in the foreground; in a cartouche above is written ‘Sapientie et stulticie pictura’ and in the margin below is a four-line inscription, ‘Aequalitas servanda omni in re … Christianismus exoptat’.
- (fol. 17r) A small woodcut of two naked boys holding a cartouche, in which is inscribed Ecclesiasticus 30:14 (‘Melius est pauper sanus et fortis …’). Below is ‘Hec sic de bona sanitatis regimine satis superque satis’ and in red, ‘Sequitur nunc huius fit libelluli datorum monogrammos maius’.
- (fol. 17v) A woodcut depicting a large fish with a mast and sail on its back, the sail with the initials ‘S’ and ‘WA’ in monogram, at the top a cartouche in which is written ‘Monogrammatis litteralis significatio hec est’, in the lower margin is ‘S.A.W.’ and ‘Domine deus pater celestis. Non differas periclitanti auxilium oportunum Nam omnis fiducia mea in te est’.
- (fols. 19r, 28r) A woodcut wreath enclosing the initials ‘C S’.
- (fols. 27v, 63v) A woodcut of a wreath with initials ‘S AW’ (as on fols. 17v).
- (fol. 2v) Hand-drawn painted arms (gules, a griffin? argent), above the inscription: ‘Elucet hic magnifica predecessorum moderneque cum hoc Schwerlenorii genealogie virtus preeminentiave’.
- (fol. 31v) The of Arms of the city of Wrocław, as approved by Emperor Charles V in 1530
- (fol. 32ar) Mercury (a man with winged headgear and feet) holding a cartouche with an inscription: ‘Felicia Wratislaviensis Regalis Mercurialisue civitatis intuere hec insignia Anno Christi 1530 Imperiali auctoritate locupletata et adaucta’
Diagrams, fols. 11v, 15r, 18r, see above.
Bound in pasteboards with cloth spine, formerly covered with part of a 16th-century German heraldic MS., which has been removed and is now MS. Douce d. 5, fols. 7–9 (S.C. 21982); offsets of armorials are visible on the covers and inside the front cover. The old flyleaves repurposed from leaves of another book folded in half and turned sideways, so that their old folio numbers, 175 and 176 in ink, are now aligned vertically at the fore-edge.
Provenance and Acquisition
Written by Sebald Adloff for Christoph Schwerler. Adloff’s name (fol. 1r) and initials ‘SWA’ (fol. 2r, 17v, 27v, 61v, 63v) appear several times, as does the name (fol. 1r 2v) and initials (fols. 19r, 28r) of the dedicatee; Adloff also wrote ‘De inventoribus astronomiae’, c.1521 (now Vatican, MS Reg. Lat. MS 1309), and a 13-leaf letter to Anton Fugger (see E. Wunderle, Die mittelalterlichen Handschriften der Studienbibliothek Dillingen (Wiesbaden, 2006), MS XV 62, at pp. 124–26).
Hans Albrecht von Derschau (1755–1824) collector of woodcuts and other prints: Verzeichniß der seltenen Kunst-Sammlungen … des K. Preuß. Hauptmanns Herrn Hans Albrecht von Derschau, III: Manuscripte und Bücher (Nuremberg, 1825), p. 11 no. 67 (‘Mit mehreren kleinen Tractaten von der nämlichen Hand, einem gemalten Portrait und dergleichen Wappen. 168 Bl.’).
19th-century English bookseller’s price-code and price in pencil, apparently using the Greek alphabet for the code, ‘Ο-ο/δ £1–1–’ ([fol. 165r])
Francis Douce, 1757–1834, with his bookplate (fol. ib verso)
Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1834
Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Last Substantive Revision
2021-06-10: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.