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Manuscript of the late 11th and early 12th century containing: the 'Paradisus' of Heraclides; the 'Historia persecutionis Africanae provinciae sub Geiserico et Hunrico regibus Wandalorum' of Victor Vitensis; 'De corpore et sanguine Domini' of Paschasius Radbertus (attributed to Rabanus Maurus); 'De corpore Domini contra Berengarium' of Guitmund; and two sermons of St Augustine of Hippo.

Identifier: Adv.MS.18.4.3

Scope and Contents

Manuscript of the late 11th and early 12th century, written in England and containing various theological works. The manuscript has been dated to the early 12th century by Borland, Ker, Schenkl, Paul, and Römer. In private correspondence with the National Library of Scotland Michael Gullick has stated that folios 1-122 were written at Durham, probably in the 1090s, but definitely before 1096. He further suggests that folios 123-149 were added to the manuscript sometime in the late 11th or early 12th century by a scribe known in Durham books. The work appears to be written by two contemporary scribes, in their respective sections, in Carolingian minuscule with 33 lines to a page.

The volume is identifiable as the item 'Paradisus' in the list of manuscripts gifted to Durham by Bishop William of St-Calais. This identification was missed by Mynors, but the list of the Bishop's manuscripts has been printed by the Surtees Society and also discussed by Grosjean S.J.

The contents of the manuscript are as follows:

Heraclides, 'Paradisus', or 'Historica Lausiaca'. Folios 1r-52v.

Folio 53 has been lined and ruled on both sides. It is blank on the verso side, with an incomplete penwork circular drawing on the recto side.

Victor Vitensis, 'Historia persecutionis Africanae provinciae sub Geiserico et Hunrico regibus Wandalorum'. Folios 54r-83v.

Paschasius Radbertus, but here wrongly attributed to Rabanus Marus, 'De corpore et sanguine Domini'. Folios 84r-115v.

St Augustine, 'Sermo 52'. Folios 116r-120v.

Folio 121 is blank but has been lined and ruled on both sides. There is evidence of an erased inscription on the verso side.

Folio 122 is blank but has been lined and ruled on both sides. There is a small inscription on the recto side, and an erased inscription on the verso.

Guitmund, 'De corpore Domini contra Berengarium'. Folios 123r-148r.

St Augustine, 'Sermo S. Augustini de sacramento altaris'. Folios 148v-149v.

The decoration consists of initials which are red and blue; however, many of the larger ones have been cut out. Occasionally spaces have been left, possibly intended for line fillers, as well as for larger initials. Rubrics are in red.

Each folio recto and verso has been lined and ruled in drypoint. From folio 128 onwards plummet is used. Prickings marking the horizontal lines are evident on many folios, with those for the vertical lines only occasionally visible. Folios 67-71 have not been trimmed and as a result the pages are larger, with folds and notations in the margins.

Quire signatures in the form of uppercase letters are present in the lower margins, running A-Q, on the following folios: 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 54, 64, 74, 84, 91, 99, 107, 117, 123, 135.


  • Creation: Late 11th century - early 12th century.


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1 Volumes ; 26.2cm x 18.3cm x 7.1cm.

Language of Materials



i-iv + 149 + v-vi folios.

Collation as recorded by Catherine Borland:

In gatherings of 10: a⁴ (flyleaves), b-f¹⁰, g³ (wants 3), hik¹⁰, l⁷ (wants 1), mn⁸, o¹⁰, p⁶ (5 and 6 blank), q¹², r¹⁵.

Collation as recorded by R. A. B. Mynors:

i-v¹⁰, vi⁴, vii-ix¹⁰, i-iii⁸, iv¹⁰, v⁶, a¹², b¹⁶. Leaves wanting after folios 52 and 83.

Custodial History

Folios i-iv contain several inscriptions and marks of ownership.

Borland suggests that the manuscript was possibly in the possession of a monastic house at Chartres based on the contents of folio iv recto, which contains a 13th-century index to a work referring to the rules of a monastic house, beginning 'Prelocut[i]o ad duos monachos Camote[n]ses'. This folio, however, appears to be a flyleaf which was not originally part of the volume. The ruling is of a different style of the rest of the manuscript and further internal evidence suggests that the manuscript was written at Durham, rather than in France.

On the recto of folio ii there are two tables of contents in different hands. The earliest is of the 13th century and reads: 'Lib[er] S. Cuthb[er]ti qui d[icitu]r P[ar]adis[us]'. The 'Liber S. Cutherberti' of this inscription indicates that the volume belonged to Durham Cathedral Priory.

On the verso of folio iv is a 15th-century contents list with a shelfmark which reads: '1ᵃ.7ⁱ.T'. This shelfmark is that of Durham Cathedral, and is repeated at the head of folio 1r. The 'T' of the shelfmark was originally a 'C', altered to 'T' in the 15th century.

In the top right corner of folio 1r is an inscription in a later hand which reads: 'Tho Horsleii'. Mynors suggests this may be Thomas Horsley, of the prebendary of Southwell 1537-1559.

The manuscript was later in the possession of Sir James Balfour. On the recto of folio ii is a table of contents in his hand, with an insciption which reads: 'Ex libris Jacobi Balfourii Kynardiae Mil. Baronet. Leonis Arm. Regis 1649.' Balfour's device is also present on folio 149v and the number '30 Denmilne' is recorded on the paste-down on the inner side of the front board.

On the verso of folio iv a later owner, probably 16th century, has added an account of Heraclides.

The manuscript was bought by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates from the sale of Sir James Balfour's books in 1698.

There are ownership inscriptions for the Library on the rectos of folio i and folio 1.

The previous shelfmark assigned to the manuscript by the Library is on the verso of folio i: 'A.5.48', since superseded.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


Borland, C. R. 'Catalogue of Mediaeval Manuscripts in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh', 4 Volumes. (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh, 1906-1908). Volume I, folios 214-218. NLS Reference: FR.198a/1.

'A catalogue of curious manuscripts, being historical, political, theological, juridical, physical, and philosophical, with some poets and orators, their writings, ancient and modern. Collected by Sir James Balfour of Kinaird Knight-Baronet, and Lyon King at Arms, kept in his Famous Study of Denmilne: and now exposed to sale.' (Edinburgh, 1698), page 13.

Browne, A. C. "Bishop of St. Carilef's book donations to Durham Cathedral Priory", Scriptorium, Volume 42, Number 2 (1988), pages 140-155.

Cunningham, I. C. 'Sir James Balfour's Manuscript Collection: The 1698 Catalogue and other sources', in 'Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions', Volume VI, Part 6 (2004), pages 191-255.

'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Miscellaneous Manuscripts' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [after 1837]), folio 9. NLS Reference: FR.195.

Grosjean S. J., P. 'Codicum Hagiographicorum Latinorum Bibliothecarum Edinburgensium', Analecta Bollandiana, Tomus XLVII (1929), pages 31-38.

Ker, N. R. (ed.) 'Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books' Second edition (London, 1964), page 72.

Mynors, R. A. B. 'Durham Cathedral manuscripts to the end of the Twelfth Century' (Oxford, 1939), page 51, number 60.

Paul, B. (ed.) 'Pascasius Radbertus De Corpore et Sanguine Domini', Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis XVI (Turnhout, 1969), page XVI.

Piper, A. J. 'The Libraries of the Monks of Durham', in M .B. Parkes and A. G. Watson (eds.) 'Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts and Libraries. Essays presented to N.R. Ker' (London, 1978), pages 213-249.

Raine, J. 'Catalogi Veteres Librorum Ecclesiae Cathedralis Dunelm', Surtees Society (London, 1838).

Römer, F. 'Die Handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke des heiligen Augustinus: Band II/2 Grossbritannien und Irland: Verzeichnis nach Bibliotheken' (Wien, 1972), page 115.

Schenkl, H. 'Bibliotheca Patrum Latinorum Britannica: Zweites Bandes dritte Abtheilung, die schottischen Bibliotheken (Wien, 1896), page 4.

'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), page 100, number 1269; page 135, number 1799.

Turner, C. H. 'The Earliest List of Durham MSS.', Theological Studies, XIX (1918), pages 121-132.

Williman, D. and K. Corsano. 'Medieval Latin Manuscripts in Scotland: Some Provenances', in 'Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions', Volume VI, Part 5 (Sessions 1995-6, 1997-7) (Edinburgh, 2002), pages 178-190.

Physical Description


The binding is of soft brown leather, 17th century. The front and back boards have blind-tooled bar borders. There are two metal clasps, one of which is broken. The spine has raised bands and blind tooling. There is gold tooling for the shelfmark and title which reads: 'HERACLIDIS VITAE SANCTORUM ETC.'.

The inner boards are each lined with a manuscript, probably of the 15th century. Folios v and vi are paper flyleaves. Folio vi has a pot watermark.

The three edges of the leaves are coloured with red, except for a section running from folio 67 to 71 which appears to have been folded over at some point.

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Repository Details

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

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