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

MS. Germ. d. 1

Summary Catalogue no.: 30530

Guardbook of fragments: A Der Heilegen Leben; Germany, 15th century. B Guido delle Colonne, Historia destructionis Troiae; Germany, c. 1440

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i + 4 + 2 + i leaves
Foliation: i, 1–7 in late 19th-century pencil; the slip inserted after fol. 6 is not foliated


Two bifolia from one MS., and two cuttings from another.


Late 19th-century brown cloth over pasteboard, the spine lettered in gilt with the shelfmark and ‘15th Cent. Fragments’.


Provenance and Acquisition

‘Part of a series of unreferenced fragments &c. arranged as Palæographical Specimens, which was broken up in 1895’ (see S.C. no. 30479). According to a note inserted after fol. 6, a fragment of ‘J[acob] v[an] Maerlant’s Spiegel Historiael, Pt. I, Bk VI, §4,17–§17,11 [formerly in this volume, was] removed to MS. Dutch b. 2’ on 16 Feb. 1923.

MS. Germ. d. 1 (fols. 1–4)


Der Heiligen Leben

Fragments: St. Nicholas and St. Ambrose.

Language(s): German
(fols. 1r–4r)
St Nicholas
Incipit: ||An das lant do sant Nicolas wont do gingen sie in die kirchen vnd waren gar fro
Explicit: do ward sein vater gar fro vnd danckten paid got vnd sant Nicolaus
(fol. 4r–v)
St Ambrose
Incipit: ⟨S⟩ant Ambrosius der lieb heilge der legt allen seinen fleiß doran das er gotes lop volpracht
Explicit: wie sie in zu nicht prechten und komen auch uber||

Sts Nicholas and Ambrose’s feast-days are 6 and 7 December.

R. Priebsch, Deutsche Handschriften in England, I (Erlangen, 1896), p. 185 no. 183.

W. Williams-Krapp, ‘Studien zu ‘Der Heiligen Leben’’, Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur, 105 (1976), 274–303 at 288 no. 140.

Listed with siglum ‘O2’ in: W. Williams-Krapp, Die deutschen und niederländischen Legendare des Mittelalters: Studien zu ihrer Überlieferungs-, Text- und Wirkungsgeschichte, Texte und Textgeschichte 20 (Tübingen, 1986), p. 224 no. O2; M. Brand, K. Freienhagen-Baumgardt, R. Meyer, and W. Williams-Krapp, Der Heiligen Leben, I: Der Sommerteil, Texte und Textgeschichte, 44 (Tübingen, 1996), p. xxiii; and vol. II: Der Winterteil, Texte und Textgeschichte, 51 (Tübingen, 2004), p. xxi. Text here equivalent to II.283.8-289.21 (St Nicholas), I.3-4.24 (St Ambrose).

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: two bifolia, the first leaf of each (fols. 1 and 2) severely trimmed in the fore-edge margin with loss of text
Dimensions (leaf): 290 × 230 mm.


1⁴: presumably the central two bifolia of a quire


Ruled in ink for two columns of 36 lines. Ruled space 245 × 165 mm. , with c. 20 mm. between columns.


Gothic cursive (bastarda), capitals on the top line often with calligraphic cadels.


A space left blank for a rubric and a 2-line initial.


Origin: 15th century ; Germany

MS. Germ. d. 1 (fols. 5–6)


Guido delle Colonne, Historia destructionis Troiae (cutting of miniatures with text on the reverse)
Language(s): Latin; the miniatures have descriptions in German
Part of Book VII
(fol. 5r)

Miniature with caption

"Wie Paris und sein gesellen mit grossem schall in den tempel kumen und vahen ma⟨n⟩ und frawen auch das gut etc. Vnd Paris underwindt sich Helenen gar zuchtiglich und bringen daz zu den schiffen"
(fol. 5v)
Incipit: ||⟨dispo⟩nimus querere quod magis se prebeat nobis acceptum. Dico quod si laudabile uobis apparet
Explicit: Conflictus ergo fit maximus, ex quo||

Ed. N. E. Griffin (Cambridge, MA, 1936), p. 75.

Start of Book X
(fol. 6r)

Miniature with caption

"Wie die kun⟨i⟩g auß kriechen nach dem als sy alle besamnet warn Achillen schickten in die inselen Delphos zu dem aptgot Apollo umb zu erfaren ob sy fur Troien ziehn solten vud wie es in würd⟨e⟩ ergeen"
(fol. 6v)
Rubric: Liber decimus de Grecis mittentibus aput Delphon pro obtinendo responso
Incipit: Et factum est postquam predicti reges et duces et principes Grecorum
Explicit: neque enim maiores nostri assueti fuerunt aliquid||
(followed by small vestiges of another line)

Ed. Griffin (1936), pp. 90–91.

F. Saxl and H. Meier, Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters, III: Handschriften in englischen Bibliotheken, ed. H. Bober (2 vols, London, 1953), I, p.. 383f., II, Tafel XXVII (Abb. 74).

V. Zapf, ‘Buch von Troja nach Guido de Columnis’, in Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon: Das Mittelalter, V: Epik und Kleinformen, ed. by W. Achnitz (Berlin and Boston 2013), cols. 1275–78, cited at 1276.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: Two single cuttings.
Dimensions (cutting): 186 × 185 mm.
Dimensions (cutting): 190 × 168 mm.



Text in one column, width of the written area c. 120 mm.


Formal cursive with many loopless forms.


Two fine miniatures, executed as ink drawings with colour washes:

(fol. 5r) Paris in armour abducts Helena (they are both identified by captions) away from the temple, in which his men are seizing two other women, and in which is an altar with a statue of a pgan god holding the sun and moon.

(fol. 6r) Achilles in armour (identified by a caption), kneeling at an altar above which is a statue of Apollo (captioned ‘deus Apollo’); behind him a crowd of his men, also in armour, and next to the altar a priest (‘pontifex’), with an open book; a scroll in front of Apollo is inscribed with his words: ‘Achilles Achilles revertere ad Grecos tuos et dic eis infallibile decimo anno eos Troianis esse victores’.

Pächt & Alexander (Pächt and Alexander, i, no. 158) compare the type of illustration to a copy of the same text in Munich (Staatsbiblliothek, Clm 61 and compare the style to the Wurzach Altarpiece, of 1437, signed by Hans Multscher of Ulm (Berlin, Gemäldgalerie).

The beginning of Book X with a 3-line initial in blue with red penwork flourishing.


Origin: c. 1440 ; German, South

Additional Information

Last Substantive Revision

2021-04-21: Andrew Dunning New description by Peter Kidd.