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

MS. Lat. class. d. 38

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


Aelian, De instruendis aciebus
Rubric: Aeliani de instruendis aciebus (fol. 6v)

The translation by Theodore Gaza as pr.in the edition of E. Silber, Rome, 1487, preceded by a dedicatory letter to Antonio Panormita, 'praeceptor' to king Alfonso I of Naples, as pr. T. de Marinis La Biblioteca Napoletana dei re d'Aragona, Milan, 1952, vol.II p.3. On fol.69v '70 osas blancas 9 y las demas scriptas.'

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: tamen nimirum
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (?post-medieval parchment) + 69 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 250 × 170 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 80 mm.
Foliation: the original leaves with 18th?-cent Spanish? ink foliation, 1–69; the first flyleaf foliated in modern pencil: i


1(10) – 6(10), 7(8), catchwords


20 long lines, below top line


Expert humanistic script


Illuminated initial and border decorated with putti, birds and rabbits (fol.1), two other large illuminated initials (fols. 6v and 8v) and smaller ones at the beginning of each chapter

fol. 1r: full border, interlaced stems with folliage and flowers, putti, birds and rabbits. At the bottom of the page three winged putti support a wreath with arms of Alfonso V of Aragon, I of Naples.


Plain parchment cased-binding; the spine inscribed 'Ælian | de | instr. | acieb. | XV | *"; in a fitted box.


Origin: c. 1455 ; Italian, Naples

Provenance and Acquisition

Arms of King Alfonso V of Aragon, I of Naples (fol. 1: gules three pallets, or surmounted by a crown), inventory 'D' of the Naples library, no. L. 560

Library of the Jesuit Collegium Romanum (suppressed 1870–1873); removed from the library during the suppression by the Society of Jesus (catalogue card Beinecke Library, MS 408, box B1).

W. M. Voynich, London bookdealer, acquired in Rome from the Society of Jesus.

T. de Marinis, Catalogue XII (Florence 1913), no. 2, with pl.; apparently acquired from Voynich.

Sold by Mensing et Fils, 'Collection d'un amateur Suisse', Amsterdam, 22 Nov. 1929, lot 27; and 'Collections Arnold Mettler St. Gall', Amsterdam, 5 April 1935, lot 22.

Cf. T. de Marinis, La biblioteca Napoletana dei re d'Aragona, Milan 1952, II, 3 (wrongly giving Henry Stuart, Cardinal of York (d. 1807) as a previous owner).

Bought, 1955

Record Sources

Typescript description by Bodleian Library staff, revised by Peter Kidd, late 1990s; provenance updated August 2019, ex inf. René Zandbergen.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (4 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2019-08-27: Provenance revised ex inf. Rene Zandbergen (pers. comm.)