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

MS. Hamilton 46

Summary Catalogue no.: 24476

A: Ortolf von Bayrlandt, Hugh of St. Victor, etc.; B: the 'Oxford Boethius', etc.; C: theological collection. Germany, 15th century, middle

Physical Description

Composite: fols. 1–60 || fols. 61–222 || fols. 223–368
Form: codex
Support: paper
Extent: ii + 375 + ii leaves (fols. 81, 285, 318, 319, 326 are doubles, fol. 213 is treble)
Dimensions (leaf): 210 × 145 mm.


Later brown leather quarter covers over original wooden boards, five bands. Latch marks on the upper and lower covers, latch lacking.


Origin: c. 1460/75, with additions from 1481 ; Germany, Western (Ripuarian language area)

Provenance and Acquisition

Dating and localisation based on watermarks and content. All parts were bound together in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, in the same region where they had been produced. See Daniela Mairhofer (2017) p. 208–09.

Medieval provenance not known; not identifiable in the late-fifeenth-century catalogue of the Erfurt Carthusians, or the 1783 catalogue of the Benedictine abbey of St Peter in Erfurt, but later ownership by Bülow (see below) may well suggest Erfurt provenance, and the manuscript may have reached the Carthusians after the catalogue was compiled.

Friedrich Gottlieb Julius von Bülow, 1760-?1831 (?): almost certainly identifiable as 382 in the catalogue of his sale, 1836: 'Tract. de mysteriis ecclesiae, de virtutib. etc. - Apocalypsis. - Quatuor novissima. - BOETIUS De consolat. philosoph.'

Sir William Hamilton, 1788–1856

Presented to the Bodleian Library by his sons and received in 1857.

MS. Hamilton 46 – Part 1 (fols. 1–60)


Fol. 1r, contents list to the whole volume, but not including fols. 1v-13v, followed by verses ('Dat vinum purum septem tibi commoda...') and note 'Gloria patri propter tria. Primo quia nos creavit...'.

Language(s): Latin
1. (fols. 1v-11r)
Ortolf von Baierland, Arzneibuch (excerpts)
Rubric: Excerpta ex libro magistri Ortolffi
Incipit: Vrina rubea et spissa s(ignificat) s(an)g(uineam) c(om)pl(exionem) | Vrina rubea et tenuis s(ignificat) colerica(m) c(om)pl(exionem)
Explicit: Ossa mag(na) xxx digitor(um) xv ped(um) 39 pedita(rum) xv

It retains blocks of the German original, and is interpolated with extracts from other sources, notably the Latin ‘Secretum Secretorum’. German passages are located at 1v, lines 16–20, and 2r, lines 1–21 and 39–42. (Mossmann c. 2003, unpublished description).

Language(s): Latin, German (Northern Central German dialect)
2. (fols. 11v-13v)
Medical and dietary calendar: rules for the months
Incipit: In Januario de optimo vino ieienus bibe, sanguinem non minue
Language(s): Latin
3. (fols. 13v-14v)
Alphabetical index to art. 4.
Rubric: Sequitur registrum \seu tabula alphabetica/ in librum sequentem super Hugonis dydascolicon
Language(s): Latin
4. (fols. 13v-48r)
Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon (excerpts)
Rubric: Excerptum ex dydascolicon hugonis
Language(s): Latin
5. (fol. 48v)

Alphabetical index to the remaining folios of part 1 (fols. 'xxxvi' to 'xlv).

Language(s): Latin
6. (fols. 49r-50r)
Hugh of St-Victor, De meditatione
Incipit: ||nobis ad meritum proximis ad exemplum
Explicit: suo tempore apprehendat

PL 176.993–8, here beginning imperfect at 995B.

Language(s): Latin
7. (fol. 50rv)
Life of St. Catherine of Alexandria, in verse
Incipit: Durch dye Ju(n)ffer kathery(n) moße got gelobet sy(n) gode vnd er czü eren wyl ich my(n) sy(n)ne keren an er lyden vnd leuen vnd da(r) va(n) ku(n)tschafft ⟨geuen⟩ Er dye iu(n)ffer waz geborn waz sye van gode erko(r)n
Explicit: Sye bede(n) vyel gode a/en Sye yrren alle myt eyn ed en yß nicht dan ey(n) got alley(n) des werke syn alle ding dye y(n)ne hayt der werlde ring all

In the hand of a later scribe, this is a German addition between two short, theological pieces; it is in a late 15th century cursive script, in brownish-black ink, and is but poorly legible. It consists of 157 verses of the first part of a lengthy ‘Conversio’ narrative, with the ‘Nativitas’ section added, and is therefore a German text within the ‘Conversio I’ group of Latin verse narratives. This text is in a version not attested in either conspectus of Lives of Catherine of Alexandria: cf. Williams-Krapp, Werner, Die deutschen und niederländischen Legendare des Mittelalters, Texte und Textgeschichte 20 (Tübingen 1986), pp. 425f., and Assion, Peter, ‘Katharina von Alexandrien’, Verfasserlexikon 4 (Berlin and New York 1983), pp. 1055–73. (Mossmann c. 2003, unpublished description).

Language(s): Middle High German (northern central dialect)
8. (fols. 51r-52v)
Medical text
Incipit: Nota bene si aliquis homo perdidit scientiam et sensus
Explicit: cor abile fortificat triste letificat
Language(s): Latin
9. (fol. 53r)
Rubric: De signis mortis corporalis et spiritualis
Incipit: Primum signum mortis corporalis si naros [?infurim] contrahunt
Incipit: Sex sunt deuia que nos a via vite seducunt scilicet obliuio dei
Language(s): Latin
10. (fols. 53r-55r)
Sermon (?)
Incipit: Visus et aspectus aliquarum creaturarum effectum habet in creaturis. Basiliscus enim solo aspectu
Explicit: Istos septem oculus quod agnus occisus habebat conuertat et digerat(?) ad nos per multitudinem miserationum suarum qui venit et regnat deus benedictus in secula amen.

Perhaps cf. München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 28602, fol. 127ra.

Language(s): Latin
11. (fols. 55r-56v)
Incipit: In illa die erit fons patens […] In istis verbis propheta duo facit primo commendat divinam largitatem
Explicit: qui amat ardentius currit velocius

Followed by short texts on the orders of angels ('Angelus est primus...'), on the three arks ('Temporibus tres esse tribus...), , on metals ('Septem sunt nomina metallorum...').

Language(s): Latin
12. (fol. 57r-v)

Various notes and verses: on the Annuciation ('Hec est dies illa dominus quem fecit in ista...'); mnemonic for the order of the gospels ('Purpura cenat...'); on the ages of the world ('Incipiens ab adam quem...', WIC 9182); grades of consanguinity; 'Eusebius dicit in cronica...'; WIC 2058 (Urban V, 'Balsamus et munda'); WIC 11550 (Pius II (?), 'Misticus agnus').

Language(s): Latin
13. (fol. 58r-v)
On the conception of the Virgin Mary
Rubric: De beata virgine maria
Incipit: Qui portum salutis wlt apprehendere dei gentricis creationem et conceptionem dignis obsequiis debet celebrare
Language(s): Latin
14. (fols. 59r-60v)
'Libellus de tribulacione'
Incipit: Quia per multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum dei Actus 14 considerandum est scriptum in presenti libello de tribulacione
Incipit: Adam post peccatum maximam tribulationem passus est de paradiso expulsus

Note at the end: 'Residuum quere in aliis duobus foliis...'.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Made up of two codicological units, fols. 1–14 and fols. 15–60.
Form: codex
Support: paper
Foliation: Fols. 15–60 with early foliation i-xlv.


1 col., c. 39–42 lines . Written space c. 185–195 × 120 mm.




No decoration or rubrication.

MS. Hamilton 46 – Part 2 (fols. 61–222)


1. (fols. 61r-147v, 149r-220r)

Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, with glosses, commentary, and partial German translation. Edition by D. Mairhofer forthcoming, June 2020.

(fols. 62r-147v, 149r-220r)
Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae
Language(s): Latin
(fols. 61r-147v, 149r-220r)
Commentary on Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae
Incipit: Felicitas est summum bonum finale et ultimum primo ethicorum In qua quidem propositione 4 ad presens sunt probanda. Primo quod felicitas sit bonum
Incipit: (fol. 61v) Carmina qui quondam ⟨lib⟩er cuius subiectum(?) est consolacio philosophica diuiditur | ⟨libr⟩os parciales
Language(s): Latin
De consolatione philosophiae (German translation: the 'Erfurter Boethius' or 'Oxforder Boethius')

Translated into German are sporadic sections (fols. 115r–139r) of book 3 (that is p. 1, m. VIII, and p. 9), book 4 as a whole, and book 5, with the translation breaking off at fol. 211r (5. p. 4, 31). (D. Mairhofer, "Bodleian Library, MS. Hamilton 46. 'Der Oxforder Boethius. Edition und Studie'," Oxford German Studies 46 (2017), p. 206 n. 1)

Two Latin colophons within the German text allow us to date the translation to 1465. On fol. 132v we find: In die b(ea)te Margarete [13th July], vere margarite, preciose gemme, que castitate niuea et candida est, expositum uel translatum est istud metrum. d(eo) g(ratias). On fol. 202v, we find: Datum in die solis in die dominica post Michaelem [6th October] anno domini mºccccºlx quinto in Buchen. d(eo) g(ratias). Gaudeat creatura in terra quia semper videtur oculis misericordie adulcissimo creatore. 'Buchen' is likely, given the other place-names to be found in this manuscript, to be one of the three small towns named ‘Buchen’ in the region immediately north and north-west of Siegen. (Mossmann, c. 2003).

Language(s): German
(fol. 148r, inserted leaf, upper half torn off:)
Letter, seeking a loan

An added leaf to allow the addition of a Latin text (on the verso), mentioning ancient gods, probably relating to the Boethius text which surrounds it. On the back of this leaf (on the recto), is preserved part of a letter in German to the anonymous author’s younger brother, asking for a loan. It contains a considerable amount of autobiographical information and mentions the abbey of Flechtdorf, between Paderborn and Siegen, in Westphalia. It is in a very similar hand and style as the Life of Catherine of Alexandria text in the first manuscript above. (Mossmann, c. 2003).

Incipit: waß ich ey(n) monich wo⟨r⟩d(en) wye ich anderß czü dem ewigen leue(n) kome(n) vnd ys my(n) wylle gewest dat ich wolde czü Flechto(r)ff czien in sunte be(ne)dicteß orden vnd was och noch my(n) wylle dar yn han gegeuen so moß ich dar yn
Explicit: dat dü yn eym dage kanst geday(n) vnd wan du by myr werst wold(en) wyr czu hauff rede(n) des vns große not ys p(ro) be dat beste
Language(s): German
2. (fols. 220r, stubbs 1v, 2v, 3rv between 222v-223r)
Life of Peter Denrich (incomplete)

The free space at the bottom of fol. 220r is filled with a text in a hand very similar to that of the Life of Katherine of Alexandria text in the first part above. The text continues into the margin on the left hand side of the leaf. (Mossmann, c. 2003).

Between the large stub of 222v and the pasted-in leaf that is 223 are a series of five small stubs, evidently full leaves that have been roughly cut out. On the verso sides of the first two and all of the third it would appear that the text relating to Peter Denrich continues, judging by the similarity of the hand and the various words that have survived.

Written bottom left to top right across the page.

Language(s): German
3. (fol. 220v)
Hymn to the Virgin (17 strophes)
Incipit: Sublestis prebe
Language(s): Latin
4. (fol. 220v-222r)
Sibellinus Rorbach, Hymn
Incipit: Singen springen der werlde lauff / tempore p(rese)nti / lygen vnd drygen ist er auch / co(n)stat mee me(n)ti
Explicit: Bach der gnaden vnd edel schryn / miser(is) succurre / wa(n) vns der duvel doyt groyß pyn / tu nob(is) occurre ·

Written bottom left to top right across the page. Fol. 220v begins with a Marian Latin hymn, which is followed, after a space, by a six-strophe macaronic hymn. The hymns continue in Latin on fol. 221r and finish on the stub which is 222r. They are written in a 15th century bastard hand, in black ink; the scribe has added some musical staves and melody on 221r. At the end the hymns are signed ‘Sibellin(us) rorbach genit(us) in Sygen’ (fol. 222r). (Mossman, c. 2003).

(macaronic: Latin and German)
Language(s): Latin and German
5. (stubbs 1r, 2r, 4–5 between 222v-223r)

On the recto side of the first stub is a macaronic hymn, in a different, cursive hand to that which transmitted the earlier hymns that are fully extant. Inc: Satiros non vereor / ich armes dulles wicht / ergo crucem mereor / daz ich doch halden licht /. The rest of the text is obviously cut away.

Similarly the recto side of the second stub contains a German hymn, in the same hand: Sicherlich in rüwen / begin ich sere czü gan / vnd gude werk czü buwen. The rest of the text is cut away.

The fourth stub is blank on the recto side but contains a scrap of German verse on the verso side, in a tiny cursive hand: Ach nu ach nu spade vnd layt vns daz wol bedencken · daz myr myt sunden crencken ·

The fifth stub is barely extant, and contains no text.

Language(s): German

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper


Text of Boethius typically long 16 lines per page, with space for interlinear glossing, in a written area of c. 160 × 80 mm.

The German translation written around the Latin text in 'textus inclusus', occupying the remaining space of the page.

The commentary on two columns of c. 54 lines, written space c. 190 × 120 mm.



Musical Notation:

Added neums, fol. 221r


No decoration; rubricated.

MS. Hamilton 46 – Part 3 (fols. 223–368)


Language(s): Latin

(fol. 223r-v)
Alanus ab Insula, De planctu naturae (extract)
Incipit: ||cogeret obliuisci locis fluuialibus emergentes
Explicit: gratiam comparare.
Final rubric: Hec ex alano facta sunt in laudem domini iesu […]

PL 210.440–1

(fol 224r; 224v-225r blank)

Theological notes

Incipit: Nota 4 ducunt nos ad penitentiam
(fol. 225v)

On Joachim of Fiore and Hildegard of Bingen, chiefly extracts from Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum historiale .

Incipit: De abbate Ioachim ut legitur in speculo historiale vincentii parte tercia
Incipit: Sancta hildegardis de tempore muliebri prophetavit in hunc modum
(fol. 226r-281r)
Apocalypse with commentary and glosses (Stegmüller, Bibl. 10151)
Incipit: Apocalipsis Ihesu Christi quam dedit illi Deus palam facere seruis suis
Incipit: Apocalypsis id est revelatio Jesu id est salvatoris
Incipit: Nota tribulatio est speciale donum quo dotantur electi

Interlinear and marginal commentary, including for example commentary on precious and semiprecious stones on fols. 275r-277r (fol. 276v blank).

(fol. 281r)

Prologue to Apocalypse (cf. Stegmüller, Bibl. 834)

Incipit: Iohannes apostolus et ewangelista a christo electus atque dilectus
Explicit: vt nescientibus inquirendi detur occasio et querentibus merces laboris
3. (fol. 281v)
Office of the Dead with commentary (fragment)
Incipit: Parce michi domine nichil enim

The first reading, Job 7.16b-21, with beginning of the responsory 'Redemptor meus vivit'

Incipit: Sancta et salubris est cogitatio pro defunctis ut a peccatis soluantur Machab 12(?) Innocentius. sanguinis Iesus Christi preciosissimus qui in remissionem peccatorum pro multis effusus est non solum ad salutem viventium

cf. Innocent III, De missarum mysteriis (PL 217.891)

Imperfect, followed by the stub of another folio of text; fol. 281v has been inked over.

4. (fols. 282r-319ar)
Giles of Rome, De regimine principum (abbreviation or adaptation)
Incipit: (prologue) Virtus est duplex scilicet infusa et acquisita. Augustinus. Virtus est bona qualitas
Incipit: (text) Anima in sedendo et quiescendo sit prudens. Iustitia est duplex scilicet legalis et equalis. Legalis iustitia est quid generale et quodammodo omnis virtus
Explicit: videlicet bonitas amicitia et sapientia ut consulant recte bene et sapienter
Colophon: Et sic est finis huius operis deo gracias

Fols. 282r-301r, cf. Giles of Rome I.ii.9-I.iii.11; fols. 301r-307v, cf. I.i.1-I.i.12; fols. 307v-319ar, cf. I.iv.1–7, 18, 23; II.ii.5–6, 10, 13; III.ii.17, 18. The prologue does not derive from Giles.

5. (fols. 319av-319br)


(fols. 319av-319ra)
Carmen de presbitero et gallo
Incipit: Multi sunt presbiteri qui ignorant quare
Explicit: plus reddit aromatis bene masticata

Hans Rheinfelder, 'Materialien zu dem mittelalterlichen Gedicht "Multi sunt presbyteri"', Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie (1951), 125–130, here stanzas 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 11, 15, 18, 19, 22.

(fol. 319br)
‘Condiciones boni predicatoris’
Incipit: Gestum compone non protrahe nec celer esto

Five verses; Charland, Artes Praedicandi, p. 100

(fol. 319br)

Verses on the number of Christ's wounds

Incipit: Mente nota tristi tu quot sunt wlnera christi

Three verses

Incipit: Dic homo mortalis fuit unquam passio talis

Three verses

Fol. 319bv blank.

6. (fols. 320r-v, 322r-324v)
⟨John of Garland⟩, De mysteriis ecclesiae (adaptation / extracts)
Rubric: Nota misteria ecclesia
Incipit: Ecclesia est domus dei que in celis construitur ex viuis lapidibus quadratis et rotundis | Petra fundati et basis est petra Christi | Parietes circumstantes populus Iudei et gentiles a Christo informati per 4 partes mundi
Explicit: quod Christus discipulos iussit vigilare et orare

In places varying considerably from Garland's text, in places very close to it; ends at l. 582–3 as ed. F. W. Otto, Commentariii critici in codicis bibliothecae academiae Gissensis (Giessen 1842), pp. 147; cf. fol. 367r below.

7. (fol. 321r-v)

Notes on the Mass, priesthood, etc., including verses (the first two from Ps.-Bernard, Floretus):

Incipit: In cena summum Christus statuit sacramentum | Sub panis specie cum discipulis tribuit se
Incipit: Dant ornamenta tibi presbiter hec documenta
Incipit: Salue saluator mundi rex atque creator
Incipit: O sangwis christi qui fusus amore fuisti
Incipit: (fol. 321v) Nota sex sunt casus duplicandi missam licite
8. (fols. 325r-330r)

On the seven virtues

Incipit: Apprehendent vij mulieres virum unum Ysa iiij ⟨1⟩ Ecce matrimonium amabile honorabile et nobile inter septenarium virtutum
(fol. 326ar)
Rubric: De alio septenario virtutum
Incipit: Sapientia edificavit sibi domum excidit in ea columnas septem Prov. xj ⟨1⟩ Domum conscientie cuiuslibet fidelis et iusti hominis firmat deus septenario virtutum et gratiarum que sunt iste
9. (fols. 330v-332r)

On hospitality

Rubric: Hospitalitas placet deo prodest homini
Incipit: Hospitalitem nolite obliuisci Heb. 13 Nota in veteri et novo testamentis habemus multa exempla inducenda nos ad amorem hospitalitatis
10. (fol. 332v)

On dying

Incipit: Mors peccatorum pessima preciosa autem in conspectu domini mors sanctorum eius. Beati mortui qui in domino moriuntur ideo disce mori. Incipe bene et iuste viuere si vis bene mori.
11. (fols. 333r-364v)
Cordiale quatuor nouissimorum
Rubric: Nota cordialiter cordiale de 4 nouissimis
Incipit: Memorare nouissima tua […] Augustinus in suis meditacionibus Plus vitanda est sola peccati feditas quam quelibet tormentorum immanitas. Bernardus in quoddam sermone In omnibus operibus
Explicit: et intelligerent ac nouissima prouiderent

As pr. [c. 1471] (GW 7469), here abbreviated in places. Secundum novissimorum, fol. 338r; tercium, fol. 348v; quartum, fol. 358v.

12. (fols. 365r-366r)
Rubric: (fol. 365r) De aduentu domini

Extracts from Augustine, Gregory, Bernard.

(fols. 365r-366r)

On the Virgin Mary, the Annunciation and the Incarnation

Incipit: Beata virgo maria offerabatur 3º anno natiuitatis sue in templo et mansit inibi usque ad xiiij
Incipit: Salve festa dies que wlnera nostra coercet
(Chevalier 17928)
Incipit: (fol. 365v) Venit dominus nascens in mundum ut quidam ayunt completis ab adam quinque milibus ducentis viginto octo annis
Incipit: Anselmus 4 modis potest deus hominem facere
(fol. 366v)
Incipit: Iungitur vnda mero confecto sangwine christi

Extracts from John of Garland, De mysteriis, lines 570–5, 607, 595–8, 604–5, 608–15, 620–3, in Otto's edition.

(fol. 367r)
John of Garland, De mysteriis ecclesiae (epilogue)
Rubric: Scribitur de mysterio Allexandro
Incipit: Gemma pudicitiae fuit hic flos philosophiae
Explicit: Lucida, thruibulum redolens, campana sonora.
Final rubric: Hec misteriam scribit de Allexandro Johannes de Garlandeia in Sum⟨m⟩a misteriorum.

Ed. F. W. Otto, Commentariii critici in codicis bibliothecae academiae Gissensis (Giessen 1842), pp. 147–48.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper.
Foliation: Earlier foliation in arabic numerals 1–145, in brown ink, starting from current fol. 224.


Text of the Apocalypse c. 13–14 long lines, with space for interlinear glossing, in a written area of c. 155–60 × 75–85 mm. ; a marginal column of 35 mm. for commentary, the commentary as written also extending into the upper and lower margins.

Fols. 282–368: usually 1 col., c. 43 lines, c. 195 × 115 mm.




No decoration or rubrication.

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description adapted by Tuija Ainonen and Matthew Holford (April and Dec. 2020) from the following sources (with additional description of contents and provenance):
Daniela Mairhofer, "Bodleian Library, MS. Hamilton 46. 'Der Oxforder Boethius. Edition und Studie'," Oxford German Studies 46 (2017) 206–212. [contents, dating]
Unpublished description by Stephen Mossman, c. 2003. [contents, dating]

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2020-12-16: Additional physical description.