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Italian manuscript of Books 1-5 of 'De consolatione philosophiae' by Boethius.

Identifier: Adv.MS.18.5.14

Scope and Contents

The text ends on folio 105 verso; on folios 106-107 recto in the same hand is a note 'Ad sciendum de vita et morte Boetii Notandum ...'; folios 107 verso and 108 are blank.

The text is written in a round Italian gothic hand. There are initials in red and blue, infilled and framed with red and green, at the beginning of each book (folios 1, 15 verso, 35, 63 verso, 87 verso). There are plain initials (some shaded) at the beginning of each section, alternately red and blue; within sections there are alternate blue and red paragraph marks. The first letter of each line in the poetical parts and of each sentence elsewhere is picked out in red. The book number in red and/or blue appears in the upper margin of each recto.

There are English translations of words and sentences in a 16th-century hand between the lines and in the margins as far as the middle of book 3 (folio 56). On the front pastedown and endpapers are two poems in Scots (folio i verso, incipit

'Roys marie most of vertu virginal': 2831.8 in 'The index of Middle English verse'; and folio ii recto, incipit 'O mortall mane plungit in distress': see 'Two poems on the Virgin'), a philosophical work in Latin (folios ii verso-iv recto, incipit 'sequuntur aliquot objectiones non minus ad precedentiam insollertium quam ad augmentationis habitum tendentes'), and the beginnings of an alphabetical list of Latin phrases (folios iv recto-v recto).


  • Creation: Late 15th century.


1 Volumes (ii (vellum) + iii + 108 + ii (vellum) folios.)

Language of Materials



Collation: 1-9¹². Signatures (a, b, c, ...) in the lower margin of the first recto of each gathering. Catchwords in the lower inner margin of the last verso. Folios 1-20 only have been foliated at an early date (possibly by the hand of the English translations). Ruling in ink. 1 column. 21 lines. Ruled area 135 x 75 millimetres.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Paper (watermark gothic P, similar to Picard iv VIII 501 etc., Burgundy, 1480s). Binding of oak boards covered in leather, stamped blind; 2 clasps (lost); 15th century.

Custodial History

The following names of owners appear: Joannes Hammyll (probably the prebendary of Kippen; folios i verso, ii recto, vii recto); Robert Abercromby, by gift from Thomas Drummond (probably the minister of Crieff; folio vi verso); Alexander Zuill (Julius; schoolmaster at Stirling; folio 108 verso); and Johnne Mode (?) (folio v verso). Former pressmark; A.5.14. The manuscript was acquired by the Advocates’ Library before 1776.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


Brown, Carleton and Rossell Hope Robbins. ‘The index of middle English verse’ (New York, 1943).

Cunningham, I C. ‘Two poems on the Virgin’, in ‘Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions’, volume 5, part 5, 19.
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
03 02 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

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