Pseudo-Aristotle, `Secretum secretorum`, `De excidio Troiae` by Dares Phrygius, and `Historia regum Britannie` by Geoffrey of Monmouth; written by a 13th- or 14th-century hand of uncertain origin. Edit




  • 13th century-14th century. (Creation)


  • 0.00 linear metres (Whole)
    xvi (paper) + 90 + xvi (paper) folios.



  • Physical Description

    0.00 linear metresxvi (paper) + 90 + xvi (paper) folios.170.00 x 255.00 millimetres

  • Dimensions

    170.00 x 255.00 millimetres

  • Scope and Contents

    The contents of the volume are as follows:

    (i) Pseudo-Aristotle, `Secretum secretorum` (edited by R Steele, in ‘Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi’, fascicule V, pages 25-172). This manuscript contains the letter of Philip, a list of chapters, and the text in seven books (the headings for i, iv, and vi are omitted). It is of the common class, omitting all the test passages of Gilson and Steele (cf. ‘Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi’, pages xxv-xxvi); further omissions are of pages 151.23-29 and 171.18-31. However in the list of contents physiognomy appears before justice (cf. ‘Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi’, pages xxv-xxvi) (folio 1).

    (ii) `De excidio Troiae` by Dares Phrygius (ed. F. Meister, Leipzig, 1873). The text is of a version different from that printed by F Meister, but found also in the two closely related manuscripts of Geoffrey of Monmouth (see section (iii) below, and ‘The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth’, page xcvi) (folio 29 verso).

    (iii) `Historia regum Britannie` by Geoffrey of Monmouth, in the `First Variant` version edited by N Wright in ‘The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth’, volume ii (see also volume iii, number 68, and volume iv). Books are not numbered, but ten are marked by initials at §§6, 35, 43, 54, 90, 111, 118, 143, 161 and 177. The `Prophetie Merlini`, §§113.9-117.73, are lost, three folios having been cut out after folio 67, with a note in a 16th-century hand `hie abscinduntur obscure predictiones merlini Vtpote per concilium Tridentinum uitimum condemnate` (folio 40).

    Headings are in red. Initials of each work are in blue and red with red tracery, those of sections are in blue with red tracery.

    Fragments of a 13th-century contents list from a collection of sermons have been used as binding strips; other fragments from the same source are in Adv.MSS.18.2.4 and 18.4.9.

  • Arrangement

    Collation: 1-5¹², 6¹² (-6⁸⁻¹⁰), 7¹², 8¹⁰ (-8¹⁰, probably blank). Catchwords in the lower right-hand margin, parallel to the text. Pricking with a flat awl in the outer margins from first recto to last verso. Ruling in ink (the vertical lines are continued to the foot of the page, and a double horizontal line provided for the catchwords). 2 columns. 35 lines in gathering 1, 36 elsewhere. Ruled (text) area 200 x circa 130 millimetres. Secundo folio: `De co(n)suetudi(n)e s(er)uanda`.

  • Existence and Location of Copies

    Microfilm available: Mf.Sec.MSS.481.

  • Related Materials

    Section (iii), one of only eight complete texts of this version, is closely related to Dublin, Trinity College, MS.E.5.12, and Exeter, Cathedral Library, MS.3514 (see ‘The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth’, volume ii, pages xci-cxv).

    Adv.MS.18.2.4: Sermones de Tempore.

    Adv.MS.18.4.9: Historical and literary works.

  • Bibliography

    Steele, R. ‘Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Baconi’ (Oxford, 1920).

    Phrygius, Dares. `De excidio Troiae`, edited by F Meister (Leipzig, 1873).

    ‘Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth’, volume ii, edited by N Wright (Cambridge, 1988);

    volume iii, `A Summary Catalogue of the Manuscripts`, by J C Crick (1989); and,

    volume iv, ‘Dissemination and Reception in the later Middle Ages’, by J C Crick, (1991).

    ‘Transactions of the Bibliographical Society’, volume ix (1908).

    Watson, A G. ‘Manuscripts of Henry Savile of Banke’ (London, 1969).

  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Vellum. Binding of brown sheepskin, tooled blind, with two brass clasps, circa 1640 (rebacked).

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.

  • Custodial History

    The volume, bound with Adv.MS.18.4.9, belonged to Henry Savile of Banke, 1563-1617, and is 52 (a)-(c) in the catalogue of his library published by J P Gilson in ‘Transactions of the Bibliographical Society’, volume ix, 126 and what follows; cf. also ‘The Manuscripts of Henry Savile of Banke’, page 28. The ex-libris of Sir James Balfour is on folio ii, dated 1629 (Denmilne number 3 on folio i). It was number 13, 15, and 44 in the sale of Balfour`s books in 1698. Former press-mark: A.5.2. The manuscript was bought by the Advocates’ Library in 1698.