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

MS. Lyell 67

Speculum humanae saluationis


Language(s): Latin

Speculum humanae saluationis
(fol. 1ra)
Incipit: Incipit prohemium cuiusdam nove compilacionis / Cuius nomen et titulus est speculum humane salvacionis
Explicit: (fol. 2rb) Si sciunt historias possunt ex ipso prohemio predicare.

Follows without a break.

Incipit: Qui ad iusticiam erudivit multos
Explicit: (fol. 2vb) Proximos edificet et me gratum tibi faciat / Et sequitur Prohemium huius libri in sesto[sic] sancti Gregorii.
Cap. i
Incipit: (fol. 4r) Incipit speculum humane salvacionis / In quo patet casus hominis et modus reparacionis
Rubric: (fol. 94v) De septem gaudiis beate virginis
Explicit: Qui cum patre et spiritu sancto est in perpetuum benedictus amen.

Ed. (without the Preface) by J. Lutz and P. Perdrizet, Speculum humanae salvationis 1, Mulhouse, 1907, pp. 2–99. The chapters are not numbered in our MS. In cap. vi the text of 1. 75–100 and 51–75 has been transposed (fol. 15r, 15v), but not the drawings. Because of lost leaves the following sections are missing: cap. vii 1. 1–50; viii 1. 51–100; ix 1. 1–50; xix 1. 1–50; XLV (De septem gaudiis) 1. 105–56. The text generally has the readings of Lutz and Perdrizet’s MS. M (Munich clm. 9491 from Niederaltaich, dated 1646 but possibly their best text) but also has peculiarities of its own, e.g. in 1. 95–100 of cap. iv (fol. 11v), and an additional line at the end of cap. ix (fol. 18v).

The text is accompanied by the usual series of pen drawings, some of which have touches of red. The headings, and the legends on the scrolls often found in the drawings, are written by the scribe, and the drawings, with crude figures but effective drapery, appear to be in the same ink as the text. E. Breitenbach knew our MS. as Göttweig 147; it is MS. 25 in his study of the illustrations: Speculum Humanae Salvationis, eine typengeschichtliche Untersuchung (Studien zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, 272), Strassbourg, 1930, p. 8. Its cycle of drawings belongs to his Kreis 11, which is based on his no. 296 (MS. Maihingen 1. 2. lat. fol. 23r). He says that the drawings of Göttweig 240 and 223 (his nos. 26 and 27) derive closely from our MS., and that Göttweig 240, copied at Göttweig in the early 15th cent., is in fact a direct copy of it (op. cit., p. 72).

There are two further drawings by the same artist:

a. (fol. 3r)

Of St. Dorothy, who wears a jewelled crown and stands on a church (or chapel). With her right hand she holds a basket of flowers in a fold of her gown, in her left hand she holds a spray of flowers (roses?). Beside her on a pedestal (?) kneels a priest, praying; from his hands comes a scroll with the words: ‘Ora pro me dominum sancta Dorothea ut tecum regnare’. Above the drawing is written: ‘S. Dorothea virgo Christi pia’.

Fol. 3v is blank.

b. (on the end pastedown, which may originally have been part of the last quire)

Of the martyrdom of St. Erasmus. The bearded saint lies on his back, naked apart from a mitre and a pair of drawers. His fingers and toes are pierced with nails and his intestines are being wound on to a winch by two men, one full face, the other with his back turned. A devil, perched on the winch, claws at the soul of St. Erasmus, which is being carried away by an angel in a roundel. Pächt-Alexander 1, no. 145, pl. xi (fol. 3r).

The front pastedown (fol. i) is a fragment in two hands (items (i) e, (ii) a–d are in the second hand) of a parchment bifolium from a 12th-cent Epistolary, the leaves of which probably originally measured c. 240 × 180 mm. ( 190 × 135 mm. ):

(i). (first leaf)
a. (recto: fol. 1v, upper half)
Deut. xxviii. 5–10
Rubric: Iohannis ante por⟨tam latinam.⟩ 1. Ysaie prophete
Incipit: Hec dicit dominus deus creans te Iacob
Is. xliii. 1–7 (ends on verso);
c. (verso: fol. i, upper half)
Rubric: Basilidis et sociorum eius. Le Pet.
Incipit: Hec est gratia, si propter conscientiam
I Peter ii. 19–21;
Rubric: Iohannis et Pauli. 1. ap Ioh.
Incipit: In diebus illis. Audivi vocem de celo dicentem mihi. Hii sunt due olive
Apoc. x. 8; xi. 4–6;
Rubric: Beati Udalrici … ii Sapientie
Incipit: Ecce sacerdos magnus qui in vita sua suffulsit domum
Ecclus. 1. i–beg. 3
(ii). (second leaf, heavily cut on one side)
a. (recto: fol. i, lower half)

No heading

Incipit: Beatus vir qui in lingua sua
Ecclus. xxv. 11–16
Rubric: Hermetis et Augustini
Incipit: In diebus illis. Vidi ostium apertu⟨m. Post hec vidi tur⟩ba magna quam dinumerare
Explicit: in die omnium sanctorum
apparently Apoc. iv. 1; vii. 9 with addition at end;
Rubric: In ex⟨altatione S. Crucis⟩
Incipit: Fratres. Verbum crucis pere⟨untibus⟩ quidem stulticia est
I Cor. i. 18–25 (ends on verso)
d. (verso: fol. 1v, lower half)
Rubric: ⟨Ma⟩thei apostoli. L. Ezechielis prophete
Incipit: ⟨Et vidi⟩ et ecce ventus turbinis veniebat
Ez. i. 4–mid-10.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper; watermark, a mount, close to Briquet no. 11681
Extent: i+94 leaves (fol. i is a pastedown, now detached),
Dimensions (leaf): 290 × 210 mm.


1¹² (1 missing), 2¹² (5, 8, and 9 missing), 3¹⁴, 4¹² (3 missing), 5¹²–6¹²,7¹⁴,8¹⁴ (11, 13, and 14 missing); quires numbered with roman numerals in scroll either at the beginning or the end;
Secundo Folio: Ita maria


ruling in ink; preface, frame ruling, 2 cols., c. 54–6 lines

text, 1 col., generally of 25 long ruled lines, with wider frame for picture above


Written probably in Bohemia in the late 14th cent, in a cursive hand.


Plain red initials, frequently omitted, especially from fol. 62 on.

Pen drawings. (Pächt and Alexander i. 145, pl. XI)


Original binding of wooden boards covered in white leather, very worn, with traces of five bosses on each cover, and of two clasps on leather straps. There are remains of a 19th-cent.(?) paper title at the top of the spine.


Origin: 14th century, late ; Bohemian, Prague

Provenance and Acquisition

On the upper cover, in a contemporary hand, is written in capitals: ‘Liber Ecclē. Wissegraden’, i.e. of the famous collegiate church of SS. Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad in Prague, founded c. 1068 by Count Wratislaw II; it was destroyed, and its canons scattered, in 1420 during the Hussite wars, but was rebuilt later; see A. Frind, Die Kirchengesch. Böhmens, 1864.

Our MS. was probably at the Abbey of Göttweig in Austria by the early 15th cent., when MS. Göttweig 240 was copied from it (see above). It has Göttweig shelf marks: ‘⟨1⟩36’ (damaged); ‘R. 20’; ‘147’ in red, all on spine. It is briefly described in Österreichische Kunsttopographie i (Bezirk Krems), 1907, p. 501, no. 9. MS. Vorau 259, a 14th-cent. Antiphoner in four vols., which also came from Vyšehrad, was brought to Vienna after the church was destroyed and sold there cheaply in 1435; see P. Buberl, Die ilium. Hss. in Steiermark 1 (Beschr. Verz. ilium. Hss. in Oesterreich iv), 1911, no. 265, esp. pp. 205, 214–15.

Lot 254, with illustration of part of fol. 90, in Sotheby’s sale 3 July 1933; bought by W. H. Robinson; see their Cat. 47 (1933), no. 71; 50 (1934), no. 7; 59 (1936), no. 84; Lyell bought it from Robinson in October 1939.

James P. R. Lyell, 1871–1948

Chosen as one of the hundred manuscripts bequeathed to the Bodleian by Lyell in 1948.

Record Sources

Description adapted from A. de la Mare, Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts Bequeathed to the Bodleian Library Oxford by James P. R. Lyell (1971); with additions by Andrew Dunning.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (8 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2020-12-16: Andrew Dunning Revised from description by Albinia de la Mare.