MS. Savile 55
Summary Catalogue no.: 26123
Nicholas of Cusa, Antonius Barzizius, Heimericus de Campo, Campanus of Novara; Germany (mostly Aachen), c. 1451-5
By several scribes, including Petrus de Ercklentz, canon of Aachen, and Johannes Scoblant (alias Jean Scoblaut), also of Aachen; parts I and II appear to have been rubricated by the same scribe; part III has no rubrics or coloured initials.
Late 17th century, probably c. 1695/6 (see Provenance). Sewn on five cords laced into pasteboards covered with speckled brown leather, each cover with a blind-tooled single outer filet and a central panel with a fleuron at each corner; the edges of the leaves speckled red; no pastedowns.
Provenance and Acquisition
Iohannes Scoblant, in addition to writing parts E-G, added notes to part D and perhaps assembled the volume in its current form. On him see Acta Cusana. Quellen zur Lebensgeschichte des Nikolaus von Kues, Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 2016, no. 2325, with references; Manuscrits dates conserves en Belgique, III (1978), no. 283
Unidentified owner(s): inscribed ‘43’ (fol. 1r, top left) and ‘31’ (fol. 1r, upper right).
Inscribed with a list of contents by a 16th-cent. English hand (Dee?) (fol. 1r); the placement of the inscription here, rather than on a flyleaf or pastedown, suggests that the volume had no binding at the time.
John Dee (1527–1609), with his marginal annotations, especially in part III; R. J. Roberts and A. G. Watson, John Dee’s library catalogue (London, 1990), no. M145 (superseding M. R. James, Lists of manuscripts formerly owned by Dr. John Dee, Supplement to the Bibliographical Society’s Transactions, 1 (Oxford, 1921), p. 30 Fr. 145). The first item in Dee’s catalogue entry M145 is ‘Alberti Magni Magia naturalis et vera’; as Roberts and Watson note there is no sign that anything is missing from the present volume.
Inscribed with a list of contents by a 17th(?)-cent. English hand (Maitland?), ‘These are some pieces of Cardinal Cusanus’s works, and are printed; Except a short comedy in the midle [sic] of this book’ (fol. 1r).
John Maitland (1616–1682), first duke of Lauderdale; offered in the posthumous sale of his library: Bibliotheca instructissima ex bibliothecis … cui adjicitur Bibliotheca manuscripta Lauderdaliana …, Jo. Bullord in Tom’s Coffeehouse, London, 25 January 169½, lot 35 (reprinted as ‘Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum e bibliotheca D. Joannis ducis de Lauderdale, M.DC.XCII’, in The Bannatyne Miscellany, II (Edinburgh, 1836), pp. 151–58, at 155); the list of contents in the auction catalogue matches the list inscribed on fol. 1r (which was subsequently cropped by the binder).
Stephen Bate (1648/9–1714), rector of Horsmonden (diocese of Rochester) from 1673 until his death [Foster, Alumni Oxon. gives his death as 1724, but theclergydatabase.org.uk as 1714]; received from John Maitland in 1694 and given two years later to his uncle; inscribed, ‘Viro admodum Reverendo Johanni Wallisio S T D et in Academia Oxoniensi professori Saviliano dono dedit Stephanus Bate Rector de Horsmonden in agro Cantiano: E Scriptis Domini Ducis de Lauderdale, Anno 1694’ (fol. 2r; the placement of this inscription suggests that the MS. was not yet bound).
John Wallis (1616–1703), Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University. ‘An Extract of a Letter from Dr. Wallis, of May 4. 1697, Concerning the Cycloeid Known to Cardinal Cusanus, about the Year 1450; and to Carolus Bovillus about the Year 1500’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 19, no. 229 (June 1697), 561–66, describing the present MS. at 563–66 (for a discussion of Wallis’s use of the MS. see R. Klibansky, ‘Nicolas de Cues, Charles de Bovelles et la cycloïde’, in Correspondance du P. Marin Mersenne, religieux Minime, XIV: 1646, ed. C. de Waard and A. Beaulieu (Paris, 1980), pp. 358–62).
Given to the Savile Library in 1696: inscribed ‘Savilianæ Bibliothecæ Mathematicæ Oxoniæ dedit Johannes Wallis 1696’ (fol. ii verso; the placement of this inscription shows that the MS. was bound by this date); ‘MS No. 55’ (fol. ir; cf. spine).
Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Last Substantive Revision
2021-05-05: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.