DCL MS. B.IV.16Bede, Expositio Apocalypseos; Odo of Cluny, Collationes etc.
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Composite manuscript made up of three parts written in Durham in the early 12th century, containing Bede's Commentary on Apocalypse, Odo of Cluny's Collationes and other works.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2mr494vk26h.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: iii+193+iii f
Size: 264 mm x 170 mm


18th century ink foliation, supplemented by modern pencil: i, [1 – counted but unnumbered], 2-103, 103*-184, 184*-190. A Medieval foliation (fo. 1-71) through much, but not all, of Part (C).

Secundo folio: terre predixit

A composite volume of three parts - (A) f.1-44; (B) f.45-109; (C) f.110-90 - brought together by mid 12th century (Contents list of that date, f.iv, which registers the principal items of each part). The weathering on f.44v of Part (A) attests to a period of independent existence.


Bound in Durham by John Waghorn, 6 October 1727 (cost 1s 4d). Calf over pasteboard, adorned with rolled panel with corner fleurons; golden armorial of Durham Cathedral subsequently applied to the centre of both boards; 5 thin bands; 2 older (?17th century) metal clasp fittings (the upper one complete, the lower lacking the clasp itself), each part stamped with acorns.

Manuscript history

Written in Durham, 12th century.


Inscription: ‘[L]iber Sancti Cvthberti De Dunelmo’, mid 12th century, f.1r, top. The same hand wrote a contents list on f.iv (‘[B]eda in apocalipsin ... [L]ibellus beati martini de quattuor uirtutibus’), registering (A) , (B) (a) and (b), (C) (a), (b) and (c) - (C)(a) being described as ‘[D]icta odonis abbatis’. The list was augmented, late 12th century, with “De ponderibus et mensuris”; in 14th century, the hitherto missing initial letters were supplied (in black ink) for each entry and “li 3” was added to that for (A); in 15th/16th century the entries for (B) were amplified by Thomas Swalwell (“Incarnatione verbi; dialogus eiusdem de trinitate; tractatus de fide; de ponderibus et mensuris; dicta odonis etc.”). (B), item (a) (f.54v) and (C) item (a) (f.111v, 143v, 181v, etc.) were annotated by Thomas of Lund, monk of Durham (approximately 1309-1349 x 50)
“.G. Beda super apocalipsim De communi libraria monachorum dunelm′”, early 15th century, f.1r, top.
1395 cloister catalogue: “Liber Bedae in Apokalipsi. Liber didimi Videntis de Spiritu Sancto. Liber Aucquini de fide sanctae Trinitatis. Liber de ponderibus et mensuris. Liber Odonis abbatis. Sermo Johannis episcopi de Absalone. Libellus beati Martini de quatuor virtutibus. ii fo terrae praedixit \in libraria/.”

Physical description of section of manuscript


Extent: 45 f

I-III8, IV8 (leaves 3 and 6 [f.26, 29] are half sheets), V8, VI5 (= 8 with leaves 5-7 [after f.43] cancelled).

Signatures: Contemporary signatures .i.-.v. on final versos, lower margin centre of quires I-V; also .ii. and .iii. on first rectos, lower margin, left, of quires II-III.

Condition of manuscriptParchment: modest quality, stout, holes and edgecuts; minimal H/F contrast, but some surfaces very rough (e.g. f.24r). Arranged: HF, FH.

Written area: 193 x 128 mm. Lines: 36 (space, 5 mm; height of minims, 2 mm). Pricking: awl; invariably survives in the lower margin, sometimes in the outer and upper. Ruling. Hard point on each H side in quires I-III. Crayon, ink or lead in quires IV-VI. Double verticals flank text-block; first, third, last and antepenultimate horizontals extended.


Written in Protogothic. Numerous minor changes in aspect, the number of hands uncertain. The writing becomes more compact and less florid from quire II onwards; the most obvious disjunctions in style occur on f.13r and f.26v. Up to f.23 (i.e. quires I-III), the diples in the margins flagging lemmata are shaped like a “q” with an open bowl; thereafter (quires IV-VI) they are s-shaped. Occasional corrections by the main scribe(s), e.g. f.7v. One main early 12th century correcting hand (e.g. f.7r, 28v, 31r-v, 33r, etc.), with a second of early 12th century on f.12r, ll.13-14. A short intervention by a 14th century hand on f.16r.


Arabesque initials in red and green, 7-20 lines high, head the Preface (f.1r), Incipit (f.2v), Books II (f.15r) and III (f.27r), and Visio V (f.32v - initially designed as a smaller, plain red letter, then reworked), the first two the largest and finest. Red or green capitals, 6+ lines high, head Visiones II-IV (f.8r, 12r, 14r – the last red embellished with green).

History of section of manuscript

Written in Durham, start of 12th century.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1-43
Original title: Expositio Apocalypseos
Author: Bede, the Venerable, Saint, 673-735
Incipit: Apocalipsis Sancti Iohannis in qua bella et incendia in testina ecclesie
Explicit: lignique uite cuius eos aliquatenus odore famaque aspersi, suis me meritis faciant uisu fructuque potari
Rubric: Incipit prefatio Bede In apocalipsin
Language: Latin

A copy of DCL MS A.IV.28 (though without the preliminary verses) and, like it, having the biblical lemmata augmented from a text of a type akin to that in the Book of Armagh (TCD 52). F. 43v-44v, blank. Jottings added to f.ir, 13th century, mainly very faint, include, “Audere nolenti tecum desiste ?locari | Cras poterit fie[ri]”.

Edited: Bede 2001, this MS noted pp. 32 and 126 (where referred to as ‘MS 24’).

Physical description of section of manuscript


Extent: 66 f

I-III12, IV-VI10

Owing to the splitting of the spine at this point, the outer bifolium of quire II (f.57 and 68) has become two singletons which have been glued to the end of quire I and the start of quire III respectively.

Signatures: The “Tercius” written on f.69r, lower margin by the original scribe is presumably a lone quire signature.

Condition of manuscriptParchment: low quality; prominent follicle marks; both F and H sides often a relatively dark tone; holes and flaws (some sewn up); edgecuts. Arranged HF, FH. Generally worn; a large portion of the lower corner of f.47 lacking, with loss of text (an earlier attempt to secure it with sewing evidently proved inadequate), that of f.48 torn; lower margins of f.83 and f.84 torn. Parchment tabs still attached to f.70 and 95, another formerly attached to f.45.

Written area: 200 x 110 mm. Lines: 33 (space, 6 mm; space between lines, 2.5-3 mm). Pricking: awl; prickings invariably preserved in the upper and lower margins, occasionally in the outer. Ruling: lead. Double verticals flank text-block; first and third horizontals generally extended, last and antepenultimate horizontals often extended.


Written in Protogothic, neat, rectilinear and with the spaciousness of a Romanesque Caroline. Did all the rubrics in red in the same style of script. The same hand wrote Part (C).


Embellished red initials, 5 lines high, head the Prologue and Incipit of (a), the Incipit and Book II of (b), and the Incipit of (e). Plain red initials, 2-3 lines high, head chapters in (b), its Book III (this was originally drawn in black/brown ink, presumably in error, then redone in red), the incipits of (c) and (d), and the two sections of (f).

History of section of manuscript

Written in Durham, earlier 12th century.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.45r-70r
Original title: De spiritu sancto
Author: Didymus, the Blind, approximately 313-approximately 398
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420
Incipit: Cum in babilone uersarer et purpurate meretricis essem colonus et iure quiritum uiuerem, uolui aliquid garrire de spiritu sancto
Explicit: et imperitiam mensuramque nostri non ignorare sermonis
Rubric: Prologus Beati Ieronimi In Librum didimi uidentis de Spiritu sancto
Language: Latin
Language: Greek

Prologue: f.45r Words in Greek were supplied with superscript transcription into Latin letters, copied as part of original transcription; on f.46r these Latin letters recopied in the adjacent margin in 15th century. Annotation (in the form of a “Nota” face) by Thomas of Lund, f.54v. Occasional corrections and annotations, 15th/16th century, in black ink on the first few pages (e.g. f.46r, 47r, 48v). Pointing hands, underlining, bracketing, and “Nota bene hic” in brown ink, 16th century (e.g. f.49r, 50r, 53r, 57r, 60r).

Edited: Jerome (v.2[PL23]), 101-154
(b)     f.70r-95v
Original title: De fide sanctae et indiuiduae trinitatis
Author: Alcuin, 735-804
Incipit: Domino glorioso carolo imperatori augustissimo atque christianissimo
Explicit: ad illud peruenire regnum, cuius nullus est finis
Rubric: Incipit epistola beati alqvini diaconi ad carolum imperatorem de santa trinitate pulcherrime edita
Language: Latin

Dedicatory letter with verses (f.70r-71v) followed by text. Light annotation.

Edited: Alcuin (v.2[PL101]), 11-54
(c)     f.95v-98v
Original title: De trinitate ad Fredegisum quaestiones XXX
Author: Alcuin, 735-804
Incipit: Desiderantissimo filio fridegiso albinus salutem
Explicit: caro dimisit dum emisit in cruce spiritum christus
Rubric: Incipit epistola albini ad fridegisum nobilem
Language: Latin

The incipit proper and its rubric were mishandled, with a duplicate ‘-tate’ where the initial ‘Q’ for Quomodo should have been placed. Int[errogatio] and R[esponsio] written in red throughout.

Edited: Alcuin (v.2[PL101]), 57-64
(d)     f.98v-102v
Original title: Confessio de sancta trinitate
Author: Guitmond, of Aversa, active 11th century
Incipit: Qvotiens deum cogitare uolumus, minus utique uolumus quam debeamus
Explicit: que uere nobis a domino nostro christo iesu per eius corpus et sanguinem concedatur in perhenni seculo amen
Rubric: Prologus
Language: Latin

One Nota mark copied as part of the original transcription, f.102r. One “Nota bene” and underlining by the 16th century hand active in item (B)(a), f.99v.

Edited: Victoris III etc. [PL145], 1495-1502
(e)     f.102v-106v
Original title: De essentia divinitatis
Author: Eucherius, of Lyon, Saint, -449?
Incipit: Omnipotens deus pater, et filius et spiritus sanctus, unus atque trinus
Explicit: et ultionem inimicorum suorum, se manifestum demonstrare
Language: Latin

Often attributed to Augustine of Hippo. Excerpt from Eucherius of Lyon, Formulae spiritalis intelligentiae. No rubrics.

Edited: Augustine [PL 42], 1199-1206
(f)     f.106v-108v
Original title: De ponderibus et mensuris
Author: Isidore, of Seville, Saint, -636
Incipit: Ponderum ac mensurum, uiuat cognoscere modum
Explicit: Coaceruati enim modii triginta, instar collis uidentur, et onus cameli efficiunt
Language: Latin

Extract from Etymologiae. f.109 blank.

Physical description of section of manuscript


Extent: 82 f

I11 (=12 with leaf 1 cancelled or lost [from before f.110]); II-VI12, VII11 (= 12 with leaf 12 [after f.190], excised).

Signatures: Early signatures .i.-.ii., .iiii. and .vj. survive on those quires, final verso, lower margin, centre. Leaf lettering in the first half of quires I-III (the set in quire I now begins with “b”, confirming the original presence of a leaf before f.110).

Condition of manuscriptParchment: modest to low quality, with noticeable contrast in tone between H/F sides, some imperfections and follicle-marked leaves (overall a slightly better quality membrane than that of Part (B)). Arranged HF, FH. The last leaves are additionally weathered, the final one bearing a semi-circular liquid stain, apparently from the base of some receptacle; transferred slicing from the excision of the final leaf of quire VII resulted in a large cut in f.190 and an incision line on f.189.

Written area: 200 x 110-115 mm. Lines: 33 (space, 6 mm; height of minims 2.5 mm). Pricking: awl. Prickings are generally preserved in the upper and lower margins, occasionally in the outer one. Ruling: lead. Double verticals flank the text-block. Horizontals 1, 4, 30, 33 are generally extended.


Written in Protogothic, neat, rectilinear, with the spaciousness of a Romanesque Caroline. The scribe of Part (B). Guide words for rubrics, annotations, etc. by Symeon of Durham, monk of Durham and Cantor (d.1128), e.g. f.147v, f.153r, f.181v, f.187r. See Gullick 1998, no.31.


Red arabesque initials head the Prologue, Incipit and Book II of (a) (10, 10 and 8 lines high respectively), the Incipit of (b) (20 lines high), and the Prologue and Incipit of (c) (3 and 5 lines high). A plain red initial, 5 lines high, heads Book III of (a); plain red initials, 2 lines high, head sections within (a) and (c).

History of section of manuscript

Written in Durham, 12th century (before 1129).

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.110r-185r
Original title: Collationes
Author: Odo, Saint, Abbot of Cluny, approximately 879-942
Incipit: Domino et patri ter pio pontifici, suus ille monachorum infimus, in domino perpetuam salutem. Recolitis domine mi quid dudum iusseratis mihi
Explicit: tantum in futura libertatis gloria, nichil in eisdem dei famulus de seruitute parebit
Rubric: Indicta Sancti Odonis abbatis prologus incipit
Language: Latin

Guide words for rubrics by Symeon of Durham. Some Nota marks and marginal subject titles copied as part of the original transcription; others added by Symeon of Durham. Extensive late medieval annotation by several hands.

Edited: Odo [PL133], 517-638
(b)     f.185r-187r
Original title: Sermo de Absalon
Author: Pseudo-Leo I, Pope, -461
Incipit: Perdidit absalon scelestissimus mentem, perdidit sensum, amsit consilium, insectatur patrem, fugat innocentem
Explicit: qui seculo nouum scelus per patris exitium uoluit intulisse
Rubric: Sermo beati Iohannis episcopi de Absalon ubi Dauid patrem persequitur, et de prelio fugiens obligato gutture ramis arboris interiit
Language: Latin

Translation, attributed to Leo I, of a work attributed to John Chrysostom. Guide words for rubric by Symeon of Durham.

Edited: Leo [PL56], 1151-1154
(c)     f.187r-190v
Original title: Formula vitae honestae
Author: Martin, of Braga, Saint, approximately 515-579 or 580
Incipit: Gloriosissimo atque tranquilliissimo regi mironi, martinus humilis episcopus.
Explicit: Mensura ergo magnanimitatis est, nec timidum esse hominem, nec audacem ...
Rubric: Incipit libellus Beati Martini episcopi de quattuor uirtutibus, Scilicet, prudentia, fortitudine, temperantia, atque iusticia, ad mironem regem
Language: Latin

Text breaks off at the end of Ch. 6 on f.190v (line 12); the remaining 21 lines of the page are blank. Guide wording for the initial rubric by Symeon of Durham. Nota marks, “D.M.”s and “r.D.M.” copied in the margins as part of the original transcription. A couple of later annotations, including an elaborately drawn pointing hand, f.189v.

Cited: Bloomfield, 4457
Edited: Pelagii II [PL72], 21-28

Microfilmed in 1985/86 by the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, St John's Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota. Copies held by them and Durham Cathedral Library.

Digitised material for Durham Cathedral Library MS B.IV.16 - Bede, Expositio Apocalypseos; Odo of Cluny, Collationes etc.
Digitised March 2018 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project


B. Flacci Albini seu Alcuini abbatis et Caroli Magni imperatoris magistri opera omnia juxta editionem Frobenii, abbatis ad sanctum Emmeramum Ratisbonæ, novissime ad prelum revocata et variis monumentis aucta   OCLC citation, PL 100-1, (Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1863)

Sancti Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi opera omnia   OCLC citation, PL 32-47, (Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1841-65)

Bede, Expositio apocalypseos: ad fidem codicum manuscriptorum edidit adnotationibus criticis instruxit prolegomenis muniuit   OCLC citation CCSL 121A (Brepols: Turnhout, 2001).

Bloomfield, M.W., ed., Incipits of Latin works on the virtues and vices 1100-1500 AD including a section of incipits of works on the Pater Noster (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1979)

Catalogi veteres librorum Ecclesiae cathedralis dunelm. Catalogues of the library of Durham cathedral, at various periods, from the conquest to the dissolution, including catalogues of the library of the abbey of Hulne, and of the mss.   OCLC citation, Surtees Society 7, (London: J.B. Nichols and Son, [1838]).

Doutreleau, L., "Étude d’une tradition manuscrite: le “De Spiritu Sancto” de Didyme’" in Kyriakoris: Festschrift Johannes Quasten   OCLC citation, ed. Patrick Granfield and Josef A. Jungman, 2 vols. (Munster: Aschendorff, 1970), v.i, 352-89

Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Stridonensis Presbyteri opera omnia ... accurante ... J.-P. Migne   OCLC citation, PL 22-30, (Paris: J-P Migne, 1845-1864)

Gullick, M., "The hand of Symeon of Durham: further observations on the Durham Martyrology scribe", in D. Rollason (ed.), Symeon ... Historian, pp. 14-31, 358-62 in Rollason, David, ed., Symeon of Durham: historian of Durham and the North (Stamford: Shaun Tyas, 1998), 14-31

Sancti Leonis magni Romani Pontificis Opera omnia, post Paschasii Quesnelli recensionem   OCLC citation, PL 54-56, (Paris: J-P Migne, 1865)

Mynors, R.A.B., Durham Cathedral manuscripts to the end of the twelfth century. Ten plates in colour and forty-seven in monochrome. With an introduction [including a list of all known Durham manuscripts before 1200]   OCLC citation, (Durham: 1939)

Sancti Odonis Abbatis Cluniacensis Secundi opera omnia   OCLC citation, PL 133, (Paris: J-P Migne, 1853)

Pelagii II, Joannis III, Benedicti I Summorum Pontificum opera omnia   OCLC citation, PL 72, (Paris: Garnier Fratres, 1878)

Sparks, H. F. D., "A Celtic Text of the Latin Apocalypse preserved in Two Durham Manuscripts of Bede’s Commentary on the Apocalypse", Journal of Theological Studies ns 5 (1954), 227-231

Victoris III Romani pontificis, Sancti Anselmi Lucensis, Opera omnia: juxta memoratissimas Mabillonii, Canisii, Cardinalis Angelo Maii, Augustini Theineri, editiones ad prelum revocata ; accedunt Willelmi I Anglorum regis cognomine Conquestoris, epistolae, diplomata et leges ; intermiscentur Guitmundi archiepiscopi Aversani intermiscentur Guitmundi archiepiscopi Aversani, s. Anastasii monachi et eremitae, Bartholomaei abbatis majoris Monasterii, Durandi abbatis Troarnensis, Osberni Cantuariensis monachii, Udalrici Cluniacensis, Godefridi Stabulensis, Willelmi Calculi Gemmetricensis monachi, Gaufredi Malaterrae monachi Benedictini, Guillelmi Apuli, Ebrardi Watinensis monachi, Bernardi Comitis Bisuldunensis, Samuelis Marochiani ex Judaeo christiani, scripta quae exstant   OCLC citation, PL 145, (Paris: J-P Migne, 1853)

Index terms