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

MS. Holkham Gr. 101

Summary Catalogue no.: Not in SC (late accession)

Diktyon no.: 48169

Alcinous, Maximus of Tyre and Libanius.


Language(s): Greek

1. (fols 1r-70v)
Albinus (Alcinous), Epitome doctrinae Platonicae sive Διδασκαλικός

Ed. J. Whittaker, Alcinoos, Enseignement des doctrines de Platon, Paris, 1990, pp. 1–72.

2. (fols 71r-120r)
Maximus of Tyre, ⟨Dissertationes 30–35⟩

Ed. M. B. Trapp, Maximus Tyrius Dissertationes, Stuttgart-Leipzig, 1994, pp. 245–286. Siglum ‘η (b?)’ in ed. H. Hobein, Maximi Tyrii Philosophumena, Leipzig, 1910, p. xlix, no. 30, and siglum ‘η’ in ed. M. B. Trapp, Maximus Tyrius Dissertationes, p. xxii.: i) fols. 71r-77v; ⟨Dissertatio 30⟩ as 1, ed. Trapp, pp. 245–252; ii) fols 77v-82v: ⟨Dissertatio 31⟩ as 2, ed. Trapp, pp. 252–256; iii) fols 83r-92r: ⟨Dissertatio 32⟩ as 3, ed. Trapp, pp. 256–264; iv) fols 92v-100v: ⟨Dissertatio 33⟩ as 4, ed. Trapp, pp. 265–271; v) fols 100v-108v: ⟨Dissertatio 34⟩ as 5, ed. Trapp, pp. 272–279; vi) fols 108v-117r: ⟨Dissertatio 35⟩ as 6, ed. Trapp, pp. 279–286.

3. (fols 120r-211r)
Libanius, Iuliani epitaphius, ⟨Orat. 18.⟩

Des. mut. καὶ μνησθεὶς δή τινος παλαιοῦ Ῥωμαίων [στρατηγοῦ …, ed. R. Foerster, Libanii opera, vol. 2, Leipzig, 1904, pp. 236–337, section 233. 7.

Fols. ii(v), iii(v), 117v-119v, 208r-209v blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper
Dimensions (leaf): 153 × 133 mm.


1 × 2–1 (i), 1 × 2 (iii), 8 × 8 (64), 1 × 8 (71; 70a and 70b), 17 × 8 (207), 1 × 4–1 (210)


i) fols 1r-117r: 18 lines per page

ii) fols 120r-207v: 16 lines per page.


a) fols 1r-117r; b) 120r-207v.


Decorative head-pieces preceding each sections: (in red ink): fol. 1r, fol. 71r; (in brown ink): fol. 120r


Typical Holkham binding of brown leather, with Coke family ostrich crest in gilt in the centre of the upper cover; Date: early nineteenth century. Rebound by John Jones of Liverpool (worked for Holkham 1816–1823). The spine lettered in gilt: /ALCINOI/ DOGMATA //LIBANII/ EPITAPH// GR. M.S.// 281/. The pasted black leather with the new shelfmark has been detached (can now be found loose between fols i-ii): MS. /HOLKHAM/ Gr. 101/


Origin: 15th century

Provenance and Acquisition

See J. Whittaker, ‘Lost and found: Some manuscripts of the Didaskalikos of Alcinous (Albinus)’, Symbolae Osloenses, 49.1, (1973) 127–139, who examined two possibilities regarding provenance. According to these, MS Holkham Gr. 101 should be identified either with the supposedly lost ‘Ms. 179 de la bibliothèque de la Faculté de médecine de Montpellier in Lyons’, or with a manuscript which used to be in the possession of Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi (1500–1564). For both cases are pros and cons. MS. 179, as recorded in H. Omont, Catalogue général des manuscrits de France. Catalogue des manuscrits grecs des Départements, Paris, 1886, pp. 36–37, contained: ‘Alcinoi Didascalio dogmatum Platonis. In-douze, manuscrit, papier.’ and belonged to the convent of the Augustins déchaussés at Lyons. This description, while it corresponds in size with MS. Holkham Gr. 101, completely disregards however items 2 and 3 of it. Item 2 is written by the same scribe with item 1 and its beginning is the end of the quire which contains item 1, so it constitutes a sequence. It is known that Thomas Coke obtained almost forty MSS (some of them are Greek) of his library from the same source, namely the Augustinians at Lyons (See L. Dorez, Les manuscrits à peinture de la Bibliothèque de Lord Leicester à Holkham Hall. Choix de miniatures et de reliures publié sous les auspices de l Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris, 1908). Thus this scenario becomes more probable, especially if we assume that item 3 which was written by another scribe, was added later, and that it also may come from another -unidentified as yet- source. However, item 2 is not mentioned in the description at all, and this absence might be just incidental, since the cataloguer could have paid less attention to the MS, producing a rather selective or incomplete description. The MS from Rodolfo’s collection, on the other hand, in terms of content seems to have been very close to MS. Holkham Gr. 101, for it contains items 1–3, but differs in size. It possibly derives from the library of Giorgio Valla (1430–1499), whose library passed into the possession of Prince Alberto Pio da Carpi (1475 1530), before ending up in the hands of Rodolfo, Alberto's nephew. It is listed as ‘Alcinous de doctrina Piatonis, Maximi Tirii sermones tres, 21/ Libanii epitaphius Juliani in 8º bamb. con tauole in cor. Sigto 21.’ See J. L. Heiberg, Beiträge zur Geschichte Georg Valla's undseiner Bibliothek XVI. Beiheft zum Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, Leipzig, 1896, p. 119/471. Closer examination of contents reveals that again either the cataloguer was not very attentive in counting Maximus of Tyre Orations/Dissertations, or that the MS in question is not identical to MS. Holkham Gr. 101. The Orations being mentioned are three, but in MS. Holkham Gr. 101 they are six. There is the possibility that the cataloguer has counted collectively all the six Orations as three, but still the difference in dimensions between the two codices makes the situation more complicated, unless again size was given very inaccurately in the entry. Finally, if the fact that in both cases the sequence of authors and works is unique, since it is not to be found in any other surviving MS, there seems likely that one of the two codices could have served as an exemplar to the other, so apparently there is connection between MS. Holkham Gr. 101 and Rodolpho’s –still unidentified– MS.

Ownership Notes: fol. iii(r) in brown ink: signature of Th(oma)s Wil(lia)m Coke.- fol. 1r (in brown faded ink, right, bottom): Θωμας (not Τωμας as in J. Whittaker, ‘Lost and found’, p. 130) Κοκε. Catalogue Numbers: front paste-down (in pencil), fol. i (v): MS. Holkham Gr. 101; fol. ii(r): DIB.20 No 278 281 (= Libr. of the Earl of Leicester, 281).

Record Sources

Description by Dimitrios Skrekas (2020), with the support of the Leventis Foundation, the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, the Yerolemou Trust and the Michael Marks Charitable Trust.


Last Substantive Revision

2020-09-22: New description by D. Skrekas.