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

MS. Savile 55

Summary Catalogue no.: 26123

Nicholas of Cusa, Antonius Barzizius, Heimericus de Campo, Campanus of Novara; Germany (mostly Aachen), c. 1451-5

Physical Description

A composite volume, mainly of theological and mathematical works by Nicholas of Cusa, mostly written at Aachen between 1451 and 1455.
Form: codex
Extent: ii + 110 (30 + + ii
Dimensions (leaf): 285 × 205 mm.
Foliation: 1–24, 25a–f, 26–33, 34a–c, 35–48, 49a–b, 50–59, 60a–b, 61–102 in 19th(?)-century pencil; formerly blank leaves foliated 25b, 25c, etc. in the 20th century.

Collation

1(10), 2(10)–3(10) (part A) | 4(10) (part B) | 5(16) (part C) | 6(12) (part D) | 7(10) (part E) | 8(14) (part F) | 9(16) (part G)

Hand(s)

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.

Binding

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.

History

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).

MS. Savile 55 - part A (fols. 1-25(f))

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r-25(a)r)
Nicholas of Cusa, Idiota de mente
(fol. 1r-v)

List of chapters

Rubric: Inchoant capitula Ydeote de Mente. Capitulum primum
Incipit: Quomodo philosophus ad ydiotam ut proficeret de mentis natura accessit
Explicit: Quo mens nostra sit inmortalis et incorruptabilis
Nicolai de Cusa Opera omnia, V: Idiota de sapientia, de mente, de staticis experimentis, ed. by R. Steiger and L. Baur, with Appendices by R. Klibansky (Hamburg, 1983; being a partial revision of the 1937 Leipzig edition by L. Baur), pp. 83–84, and describing the present MS. at pp. lv–lvi (siglum ‘Sa.’)
(fols. 1v–25ar)

Text

Rubric: Capitulum primum quomodo philosophus ad ydiotam ut de mentis natura accessit
Incipit: Multis ob jubileum Romam mira devotione accurentibus
Explicit: hoc diuturno colloquio miro desiderio incitatas feliciter perduci Amen.
Colophon: In monasterio Vallis Castri seu Caste [Val di Castro, near Ancona] ordinis Camaldunensis ubi sanctus Romualdus capud ordinis sepultus est prope Fabricium in Marchia Anchonitana. Anno Domini. 1450. die 23 Augusti finivi conceptum de mente N. card. sancti Petri ad Vincula.

A copy: this colophon occurs in several MSS.

ed. Steiger and Baur, pp. 85–218. Also printed (with facing German translation) by L. Gabriel, Nikolaus von Kues, Philosophisch-theologischen Schriften, III (Vienna, 1967), pp. 480–609.

Fols. 25a verso – 25f verso are unwritten.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper; watermark, anchor with cross

Layout

Ruled in brown plummet for two columns; fols. 1r–10v with an increasing number of lines, from 35 to 41; thereafter with 35–37 lines. Ruled space 175 × 130 mm. , with 23-5 mm. between columns.

Hand(s)

Hybrid gothic script; each of the three quires by different scribes; fols. 1r–10v written by Petrus de Ercklentz, who in the autumn of 1451 was with Nicholas de Cusa at Aachen (according to Kiblanski in Steiger and Baur, 1983, p. lv); rubrics in more formal script; thereafter more cursive and in darker ink; fols. 11-20 with many looped/cursive forms.

Decoration

Initials in plain red.

History

Origin: 15th century, middle (after August 1450) ; Germany: very probably Aachen, 1451, as part B

MS. Savile 55 - part B (fols. 26-34(b))

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 26r-34(a)r)
Nicholas of Cusa, De staticis experimentis
Incipit: Frequentabat consortium ydeote orator ille Romanus. ut aliquando viri illius conceptus. qui sibi grati erant. audiret.
Explicit: Si me amas diligens esto et vale.
Colophon: (copied from exemplar) 1450. 9a 7bris Fabriani complevi N. cardinali sancti Petri.
Colophon: (scribal) Finivi Aquisgrani [i.e. Aachen] Anno domini 1451 8a sancti Leopardi [i.e. 7 October: the octave of the 30 September feast of St Leopardus, whose relics were at Aachen]
ed. Steiger and Baur, 1983, pp. 221–41 (Baur, 1937, pp. 119–39); Gabriel, pp. 612–47.

Added note: ‘mathematicus de iudicio sortilegorum fuit in duren [i.e. Düren] Anno 1449’ (fol. 33r, lower left margin)

Fols. 34a verso – 35b verso are ruled, otherwise blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper; watermark apparently as part A.

Layout

Ruled in red-brown plummet for two columns of 36–37 lines. Ruled space c. 175 × 130 mm. , c. 25mm. between columns.

Hand(s)

Hybrid gothic script; rubrics written more formally. Same scribe as part A, fols. 21r-25ra.

Decoration

Initials in plain red

History

Origin: September 1451 ; Germany, Aachen

MS. Savile 55 - part C (fols. 35-49(b))

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 35r–46r, 47r–49a verso)
Nicholas of Cusa, Epistolae ad Bohemos
Rubric: [Guide to rubricator:] In Jacobellianos

Added 16th-cent. heading: Contra Jacobellinos in Bohemia

Incipit: Nicolaus miseratione divina tituli sancti Petri ad vincula sacrosancte Romane ecclesie … Voluit divina pietas ut ordinatione sanctissimi et piissimi pontificis nostri Nicolai pape quinti summe pro vestra ac omnium salute vigilantis
Explicit: Ihesu Christi semper benedicti Amen. Datum in civitate nostra Brixiensis … [11 October 1452] … Nicolai divina providentia pape quinti anno sexto.
Nicolai de Cusa Opera omnia, XV.1: Opuscula Bohemica, ed. by S. Nottelmann and I. G. Senger (Hamburg, 2014), pp. 55–98; the present MS. listed at p. xxii no. 17 (siglum ‘Sa’).

Fols. 47–49a should follow fol. 38, which has a 16th/17th-cent. note (by the same hand as fol. 1r, upper margin) ‘hic inserenda sunt tria folia quæ habenetur in fine huius tractatus’; fol. 47 has a corresponding note.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper. Watermark: bull’s head with nostrils and 6-pointed star (type Piccard Ochsenkopf VII.661-2).

Collation

Probably originally two quires of eight leaves, of which the first comprised fols. 35–38 and 47–49a, with 49b left blank, and the second (by a different scribe) comprised fols. 39–46.

Layout

Frame-ruled in grey plummet for two columns of c.37 lines. Ruled space c. 180 × 130 mm. , 20-25 mm. between columns.

Hand(s)

Hybrid gothic, by two scribes (cf. Collation), neater but more cursive than the preceding section.

Decoration

None.

History

Origin: 15th century, middle (after October 1452) ; Germany, Aachen (?)

MS. Savile 55 - part D (fols. 50-60(b))

Contents

Language(s): Latin

4. (fols. 50r–59v)
Antonius Barzizius, Cauteriaria
Rubric: Anthonii Barsizii Canteriaria[sic] Comedia Incipit argumentum
Incipit: (argument) Argument incipit: Salmine consilio datur opera ut amore diu vexati quod optant efficiant
Incipit: (prologue) Cum sepe numero mecum ipse consultarim
Rubric: Canterie comedie actus. Incipit primus Scintilla Salamina
Incipit: (text) Nullam profecto legem duriorem severioremque reperiri posse arbitror
Explicit: statim ut omnia parata sint faxo.
ed. E. Beutler, ‘Die Comoedia Cauteriaria des Antonio Barzizza’, Forschungen und Texte zur frühhumanistischen Komödie, Mitteilungen aus der Hamburger Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, 11 (1927), pp. 155–79; cf. P. Rosso, ‘Tradizione testuale ed aree di diffusione della Cauteriaria di Antonio Barzizza’, Humanistica Lovaniensia, 53 (2004), 1–92. Beutler knew of 16 MSS., to which Rosso added two more; neither knew of the present MS.
5. (fols. 59v–60a recto)

Two short added tales

Incipit: Retulit \Johannes de Musschezele clericus Tornacensis diocesis/ […] se legisse in romanico Francie (?) quod quedam iuvenis mulier nupta cuidam antiquo
Explicit: ipsa die Annunciationis(?) 1454. Aqu(isgrani) Jo. Scoblat. | Ita restavi(?) Ego Iohannes predictus
Incipit: (fol. 60ar) Anno Christi 149[sic] fertur quod in Sittarrt(?) [Sittard, near Aachen] vic(in)i fue(runt) presbiter quidam et faber cui uxor satis lubrica
Explicit: Mathias de Beeck ipsa nocte sancti Mathie [i.e. 24 Feb.] 1455 Aqu(isgrani)

Fols. 60a verso – 60b verso are blank

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper. Watermark: crown (type Piccard Kronen I.327).

Layout

Written in a single column of 36–48 lines; frame-ruled faintly with plummet (?). Ruled space 210 × 145 mm.

Hand(s)

Hybrid gothic script; the rubrics more formally written; the final added texts in two much smaller and more cursive hands.

Decoration

The first three initials in plain red with reserved designs; spaces left for others.

History

Origin: 15th century, middle (before 1454/5) ; Germany

Provenance

In Aachen by 1454/5 when the texts on fols. 59v-60(a)r were added.

MS. Savile 55 - part E (fols. 61-70)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

6. (fols. 61r–68v)
Nicholas of Cusa, De mathematicis complementis (Book I)
Rubric: [Guide to rubricator:] De mathematicis complementis Beatissimo papae Nicolao Quinto N⟨icholaus⟩ cardinalis sancti Petri ad vincula
Incipit: ⟨T⟩anta est potestas summi tui pontificatus Nicolae quinte pater beatissime
Explicit: papam appellant in omnium noticiam deducatur
Colophon: Jo. Scoblant Aqu(isgrani) 1454 Februarii die sancti Mathie [i.e. 24 Feb.]
Nicolai de Cusa Opera omnia, XX: Scripta mathematica (Hamburg, 2010), pp. 83–110; the present MS. briefly described at pp. xxi–xxii. Cf. Nikolaus von Kues, Werke, I, ed. P. Wilpert (Berlin, 1967), pp. 388–405 line 40.
7. (fols. 68v–69r)
Heimericus de Campo, Letter to Dietrich van Xanten, dated 14 January 1454
Rubric: Suo s(ingula)ri amico Magistro Theodorico de Xantis investito de Hasselt generalique domini cardinalis sancti Petri ad vincula commissario. Epistola.
Incipit: Vidi raptim opera de quadracione circuli tam mathematica quam theologica
Explicit: Remitto vobis unum transcriptum manu mea revisum et correctum. optavi id per vos recipi grate. Vale ex Lovanio 14 januarii vester H. de Campo
Pr. from this, the only known copy, by F. Hamann, Das Siegel der Ewigkeit: Universalwissenschaft und Konziliarismus bei Heymericus de Campo, Buchreihe der Cusanus-Gesellschaft, 16 (Aschendorff, 2006), p. 340.
8. (fols. 69r–70v)
Campanus of Novara, De quadratura circuli
Incipit: Aristoteles in eo qui de cathegoriis libro inscribitur sic dicit Quadratura quidem circuli scibilis est
Explicit: tali ac tanto quadrato
Final rubric: Explicit quadratura circuli edita a Campano

Followed by verses:

Incipit: Rem novam mirabilem, quadratura circuli, velud inscriptibilem
Explicit: vere demonstrabilem, nunc in fine seculi.
ed. M. Clagett, Archimedes in the Middle Ages, I (Madison, 1964), pp. 588–606 (with English translation on facing pages), not including the final verses, which are also found in Cambridge, UL, MS. Ee. III. 61 and Erfurt, UB, Dep. Erf. CA. 2° 178.

The text is listed, not mentioning the present MS., in O. Weijers, Le travail intellectuel à la Faculté des arts de Paris: textes et maîtres (ca. 1200–1500), II (Turnhout, 1996), pp. 31–32.

Added in a much paler ink than the preceding text, with a few diagrams, mostly marginal.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper; watermark as part C.

Layout

Frame-ruled in plummet for two columns of c. 35-9 lines. Ruled space c. 180 × 130 mm. with c. 25 mm. between columns.

Hand(s)

Variable hybrid gothic script, perhaps by more than one scribe.

Decoration

Spaces left for initials

Spaces usually not left for the diagrams, which are therefore usually added untidily in margins.

History

Origin: c. 1454 ; Germany, Aachen

Provenance

Fols. 61r-68v written at Aachen by Johannes Scoblant, 1454 (colophon, fol. 68v); fols. 68v-70v probably contemporary additions.

MS. Savile 55 - part F (fols. 71-84)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

9.1. (fols. 71r–83r)
Nicholas of Cusa, De theologicis complementis
Incipit: Scripseram proxime de mathematicis ad pontificem nostrum .N. dignissimum et doctissimum papam
Explicit: sed realiter synonymum. Et exit brevis explanatio complementi theologico … ad laudem dei semper benedicti
Colophon: Deo gratias. per me Jo. Scoblaut 1454 Aprilis die 8 [?or 18]
Nicolai de Cusa Opera omnia, X: Opuscula II.2a., ed. by A. D. Riemann and C. Bormann (Hamburg, 1994), pp. 3–83; the present MS. briefly described at p. xviii (siglum ‘Sa’).

Added note: (fol. 71r) ‘Confer hæc cum illa prodi Theologiæ in Euclidem’

9.2. (fol. 83v–84r)

Epilogue of 13 conclusiones

Rubric: Prima conclusio
Incipit: Linea recta est equabilis circulari
Explicit: inconvertibiliter comprehendentis ydemptite(?) [sic for identitate] communicant

Final note: ‘Hec theologica est omnibus rationabilis dei in qualibet lege nature/figure/gratie discibilis indubitantur presuppositer’

ed. Riemann and Bormann, op. cit., pp. 84–86.

Fol. 84v is blank.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper; watermark as part C

Layout

Frame-ruled in plummet for 2 columns of about 37 lines. Ruled space c. 180 × 130 mm. , c. 25 mm. between columns

Hand(s)

Hybrid gothic script by Jo. Scoblaut; the first word of each chapter in larger and more formal script; spaces left for rubrics.

Decoration

Spaces left for initials.

History

Origin: 1454 ; Germany, Aachen

MS. Savile 55 - part G (fols. 85-100)

Contents

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 85r–100v)
Nicholas of Cusa, De pace fidei
Incipit: ⟨F⟩uit ex hiis que aput Constantinopolim proxime sevissime acta per Turkorum regem divulgabantur
Explicit: ut in pace creator omnium laudetur in secula benedictus
Colophon: 1454 28. Aprilis Aqu⟨isgrani⟩ per Jo. Scoblaut
Nicolai de Cusa Opera Omnia, VII: De pace fidei, Cum epistola ad Ioannem de Segobia, ed. by R. Klibansky (Hamburg, 1970), pp. 3–63.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper; watermark as part C.

Layout

Frame-ruled in plummet for 2 columns of about 37 lines. Ruled space c. 180-5 × 130 mm. , c. 25 mm. between columns

Hand(s)

Hybrid gothic script written by Io. Scoblant; spaces left for rubrics, with cues in the margins.

Decoration

Spaces left for initials.

History

Origin: 1454 ; Germany, Aachen

Additional Information

Record Sources

Description (May 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)

Bibliography

Last Substantive Revision

2021-05-05: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.