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13th-century manuscript containing theological works by Boethius and St Augustine, and short excerpts of works by Anselm, Eadmer, St Gregory of Tours, St Caesarius of Arles, and Bernard of Clairvaux.

Identifier: Adv.MS.18.5.18

Scope and Contents

13th-century manuscript produced in England containing a selection of theological works from the 'Opuscula sacra' of Boethius, Sermons of St Augustine, and excerpts from Eadmer, Anselm, St Gregory of Tours, St Caesarius of Arles, and Bernard of Clairvaux; as well as two annonymous excerpts, the 'Gesta Salvatoris' and a commentary on Psalm 84.

The manuscript has been dated to the 13th century by Ker, and to the early 14th century by Borland, Römer, and Schenkl.

The work is written in littera textualis throughout, although there are several hands present.

Folio 1 is a half-leaf. On the recto side is the old shelfmark as well as two ex libris inscriptions. On the verso is a table of contents with initials coloured blue, green, and red. Arabic numerals have been added in the margin, but have later been erased. The names of authors have also been added in the margins, possibly in the hand of Sir James Balfour.

The contents of the volume are as follows:

Boethius, 'De trinitate'. Folios 2r-11v.

Boethius, 'Utrum Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus de divinitate substantialiter praedicentur'. Folios 11v-12v.

Boethius, 'Quomodo substantiae in eo quod sint bonae sint cum non sint substantialia bona'. Folios 12v-17r.

Boethius, 'Contra Eutychen et Nestorium'. Folios 17r-37r.

Folio 37v is blank, but has been lined and ruled.

St Augustine, 'De cognitione vere vite'. Incomplete, ends near the end of Chapter XVIII. Folios 38r-55r.

St Augustine, 'De decem cordis' (Sermo 9). Folios 55r-79r.

St Augustine, 'Omelia beati augustini de una trinitate trinaque unitate' (Sermo 52). Folios 79r-93v.

Eadmer, 'Meditatio cuiusdam peccatoris et pauperis Dei de excellentia gloriosissima virginis matris Dei'. Folios 93v-118v.

Anselm, 'De conceptione Sancti Marie'. Folios 118v-141v.

St Augustine, 'Liber Beati Augustini de penitentia' (Sermo 351). Folios 141v-162v.

St Augustine, 'Sermo 393'. Folios 162v-164v.

St Augustine, 'De spiritu et anima'. Incomplete, ends at chapter 33. Folios 164v-203v.

St Gregory of Tours, 'Historia Francorum'. Incomplete, contains only Book 1, Chapters 20-23. Folio 204rv.

St Caesarius of Arles, 'Attonitae mentes opstupuere tortoris...' (Sermons, 1). Incomplete. Folios 204v-205r.

Anonymous, 'Gesta Salvatoris' (The Gospel of Nicodemus). Folios 205r-228r.

Bernard of Clairvaux, 'Inter Babiloniam et Jerusalem nulla est pax ...' (Parabola 2). Folios 228r-234r.

Anonymous, 'Mis[er]ic[o]rdia et revitatis obviaverunt sibi: justitia et pax osculatae sunt'. A commentary on Pslam 84, Verse 11. Folios 234r-238v.

Each folio, recto and verso, has been lined and ruled in plummet. Pricking is occasionally visible for both the horizontal and vertical lines. From folio 204r onwards the ruling is in a different style, and is accompanied by a notable change of hand.

The decoration is not consistent throughout the volume. Incipits and explicits are in red. For the start of each new work there are blue and red deocrated initials with red and blue filigree penwork extending into the margins, but the extent of decoration varies. Larger initials are occasionally stroked with red. Guide initials are infrequently visible in the margins, however, most have been cropped. On folios 55r, 79r, 93v, and 119r there are gold leaf initials on backgrounds of pale lake and blue, with white tracery and conventional centre designs in gold.

There are frequent marginal annotations and textual references, some scribal and some near-contemporary. Folios 165r to 203v have marginal chapter headings and textual references given in red. There are numerous interlineal additions, deletions, and ammendments throughout the volume.

Horizontal catchwords are present on folios 25v and 211v.

There are a few contemporary repairs to the vellum, but these are infrequent.


  • Creation: 13th century.


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1 Volumes ; 21cm x 16.5cm x 6cm

Language of Materials



i-xv + 238 + xvi-xxxii folios. Folios i and xxxii are vellum stubs, possibly early 13th-century. Folios ii - xxxi are 17th-century flyleaves.

Collation as recorded by Catherine Borland:

In gatherings of 12: a-r¹², stv⁸, x¹⁰

Custodial History

Neil Ker suggests that this manuscript is almost certainly from Rochester Cathedral Priory. At the foot of folio 2r is an inscription which reads: 'Radulfi de Eylesburi monachi'. This inscription connects the volume with British Library Royal MS 2 F IV, which was given to Rochester by Ralph of Aylesbury.

The volume also contains the signature, device and Denmilne number of Sir James Balfour. The Denmilne number, 25, is given on the recto side of folio ii, and Balfour’s ex libris inscription is on folio 1r. Balfour’s device of a heart and anchorrrow is present on folio 238v.

The volume was bought by the Library of the Factuly of Advocates from Sir James Balfour’s sale in 1698. There are ownership inscriptions for the Library on folios 1r and folio 2r.

The previous shelfmark assigned to the manuscript by the Library is on the recto of folio ii: 'A.5.32', 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.

Related Materials

British Library: Royal MS 2 F IV


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 230-234. NLS Reference: FR.198a/1.

'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Miscellaneous Manuscripts' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [after 1837]), folio 16. NLS Reference: FR.195.

Ker, N. R. (ed.) 'Medieval Libraries of Great Britiain: A List of Surviving Books' Second edition (London, 1964), pages 160-161.

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 7.

'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), page 101, number 1277; page 135, number 1800.

Physical Description


The binding is of 17th-century soft brown leather with blind-tooled borders. Turn-ins and stitching are visible on the inners of the boards. The volume has been rebacked at some point. The new back has raised bands, as well as gold tooling for the library stamp, shelfmark, and title, which reads: 'BOETHIUS ET AUGUSTINUS'. There are two metal clasps, both intact. The manuscript was boxed in April 1931.

The 17th century paper flyleaves have various watermarks, most of which are cropped and obscured by the binding. The front and back flyleaves appear to have two different sets watermarks. The front flyleaves possibly have a design of a crown, a wreath, a star. The flyleaves to the rear have a mix of designs of crowns and heraldic shields.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
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Repository Details

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

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
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