Two English medical manuscripts of the 12th century (each with later additions), bound together probably in the medieval period; the second at least belonged to a monk of Peterborough. Edit




  • 12th century. (Creation)


  • 0.00 linear metres (Whole)
    iv (paper) + 93 + iv (paper) folios.



  • Physical Description

    0.00 linear metresiv (paper) + 93 + iv (paper) folios.155.00 x 225.00 millimetres

  • Dimensions

    155.00 x 225.00 millimetres

  • Scope and Contents

    A. (i) `Macer Floridus, de viribus [so in title, `virtutibus` in explicit] herbarum` by Odo of Meung(?). There are marginal headings throughout and two glosses on folio 1. A slightly later hand has added English equivalents of the plant-names (and also started to list them on folio 93 verso). A contents-list in a court-hand of the 13th century is on folio 39 verso. (Folio 1.)

    (ii) `Liber de virtutibus lapidum,’ i.e. `De lapidibus` by Marbod. (Folio 40.)

    (iii) Medical definitions, incipit `Metafrenum est spacium spinalis medulle a collo`, written in a cursive hand of the 15th century (folio 46 verso).

    B. (i) Treatise on the degrees of medicine, incipit `Rosa frigida in primo sicca in fine secundi` (‘Catalogue of Incipits of Medieval Scientific Writings in Latin’, column 1366). (Folio 48.)

    (ii) `Tractatus de technicis phisicalibus`, in a cursive hand of the 15th century. (Folio 77 verso.)

    (iii) `Alphabetum ad Paternium’ by Galen, without title or preface, incipit `Aes ustum quod alii calence` (cf. ‘Catalogue of Incipits of Medieval Scientific Writings in Latin’, column 504) and ending with the heading of the article `ferula` (folio 79).

    Folio 92 recto blank.

    (iv) Part of the prologue of Pseudo-Soranus, ‘Quaestiones medicinales`; cf. ‘The Salernitan questions’ (Oxford, 1963), page 9. (Folio 92 verso.)

    In the first part the initials are in green, red, and ink (mostly in that sequence; an ink one is omitted on folio 17 verso); some of the green and red ones have extra ornament in the other colour; some are plain, some foliate. The headings are in reddish-purple. In the second part there are plain initials in red and green (not in any regular sequence). There are no headings. In the margins throughout the second part are heads and hands; two female figures are sketched on folio 93, and three concentric circles drawn on folio 93 verso.

  • Arrangement

    Collation: 1⁸, 2-4¹⁰, 5¹⁰ (-9, 10), 6¹⁰ (2 and 9 are half sheets, + 1 after 10), 7¹⁰ (4 and 7 are half sheets), 8¹⁰ (3 and 8 are half sheets), 9¹², 10⁴ (-3). Signatures: in first part signature III (folio 20) and folio-numbering (in 1) and lettering (in 2-4); in second part signatures a-c (folios 48, 59, 69) and folio-numbering (in 6 and 8). Pricking in first part not preserved, in second part with triangular awl. Ruling in ink. 1 column. 31 lines in first part, 33 in second. Text area in first part 180 x 90 millimetres, in second part 175 x 95 millimetres.

  • Bibliography

    Odo of Meung(?). ‘Macer Floridus de viribus herbarum’, edited by L Choulant (Leipzig, 1832).

    Marbod. `De lapidibus`, edited by John M Riddle (Wiesbaden, 1977). The text in this manuscript contains the prologue but has fewer (21) sections than and differs in order from that printed.

    Thorndike, L and P Kibre. ‘Catalogue of Incipits of Medieval Scientific Writings in Latin’ (London, 1963).

    Lawn, B. ‘Salernitan questions’ (Oxford, 1963).

    The manuscript is number 282 in M R James’s list of books in the Matricularium (‘List of books formerly in Peterborough Abbey’, ‘Transactions of the Bibliographical Society’, supplement 5 (1926)). See also ‘Medieval libraries of Great Britain’ by N R Ker (1964), page 151, and supplement, page 107.

  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Vellum. Binding of brown sheepskin, tooled blind, with two clasps, mid 17th century (the visible surfaces of both boards are sheets of a Latin translation of `De natura animalium` by Aristotle, printed in italic, with interlinear and marginal manuscript annotations of the 16th century).

  • 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 belonged to Peterborough Abbey. On folio 92 verso is the inscription `ffrater griffinus gloucester monachus de burgo sti Petri`, ?13th century. On folios 90 verso and 92 verso `Thomas` occurs, on folio 92 verso also `Willelmus`. A contents-list by Sir James Balfour is on folio 1 verso, Denmilne number 4 is on folio i, and Denmilne mark on folio 92 verso. The volume was number 169-172 in the sale of Balfour`s library. Former press-mark: A.5.42. The volume was bought by the Advocates’ Library in 1698.