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

MS. Holkham misc. 34

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


Caesar, De bello Gallico
Rubric: Incipiunt libri Gaii Cesaris belli Gallici Iulii [Celsi added in a later hand] de narratione temporum

This manuscript belongs to the second family of class alpha

Language(s): Latin
2. (fol. 129r)
Rubric: Versus in laude Cesaris
Incipit: Caesar tantus eras quantus et orbis
(Walther, Alphab. Verz., no. 2287).
Language(s): Latin
3. (fol. 129v)
Martial, Apophoreta,

nos. 190 (Livy), 186 (Vergil), 185 (Vergil, Culex), 188 (Cicero), 191 (Sallust), 192 (Ovid), 195 (Catullus).

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: conficiendas
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: ii (paper) + 130 + ii (paper).
Dimensions (leaf): 280 × 185 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 205–10 × 140 mm.
Foliation: Modern pencil: i-iii, 1–131.


1(8)-4(8), 5(6), 6(8)-10(8), 11(4), 12(8)-16(8), 7(8)(8 canc.)


26 lines; in 1 column


Neat gothic bookhand, by at least three scribes, each responsible for about 40 leaves, the changes from one to another corresponding both to quire-divisions and divisions of the text into Books (at fols. 39r, quire VI, Book IV; and 83r, quire XII, Book VII); the verses on fol. 129r-v are by a fourth scribe.


One fine ink drawing (fol. 93v), depicting a devil playing bagpipes, holding a scroll inscribed 'der nider deren'; another drawing, apparently the same, and an accompanying inscription, has been erased at fol. 31v; and a few other marginal sketches, e.g. a dragon with coiled tail (fol. 107r), a human head (fol. 115r), etc., perhaps not all medieval.


Holkham binding with unusual bands of blind-tooled greek-key patterns; the spine tooled in gilt 'C. J. CÆSAR | DE BELLO | GALLICO || LEGIT | JULIUS CELSUS | CONSTANTINUS | – | M S. VEL. | SÆC. XIV.'


Origin: Dutch (?); 12th century, first half

Provenance and Acquisition

An inscription next to the drawing on fol. 93v reads 'Qui me scribebat florens hoey [the two names over an erasure] habebat Anno domini Mo ccco xlvus feria \iiij/ post translationem beati benedicti abbatis'; 'Abbas gherardus poelgheest venerandus in egmont | Istum cum multis librum reparauit honeste | Inspicis hic lector quo tempore rupta refecit mcccc lxv' (fol. iii verso). Medieval pressmark (?) (fol. 1r, top margin); count of leaves 'c. xxviij' (fol. 128v).

Bookplate of 'THOMAS WILLIAM COKE' (1754–1842) and signed 'Thos. Willm. Coke', both on the upper pastedown (de la Mare and Barker-Benfield, fig. 96); fol. i recto with entensive notes by his friend 'W[illiam]. R[oscoe].' (1753–1831), formerly Norfolk, Holkham Hall, MS. 340.

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.