DCL MS. B.II.20Augustine, De mendacio; Contra mendacium; De adulterinis coniugiis; etc.
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Augustine, De mendacio; Contra mendacium; De adulterinis coniugiis; etc.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2mxg94hp73p.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: i+212+i f
Size: 345 mm x 210 mm
(trimmed to the extent of cropping border decoration). Fold-in on fol. 10 extends this to 349 x 214 mm.


Modern pencil foliation.

Secundo folio: omne. Cum et id

I-XVII12, XVIII8 (=12 with leaves 9-12 [doubtless blank] cancelled)

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords (often trimmed off)
Contemporary leaf numbering (mixture of Roman and Arabic numerals) in the first half of each quire, with an “x” on the seventh leaf. Also a contemporary signature (letter) plus leaf number (Roman, aligned sideways) in the first half of each quire (“aI”-“aVI” to “sI”-“sVI”)

Condition of manuscriptParchment: relatively low quality with a glaring H/F contrast, follicle marked H sides, frequent flaws, propensity to curl; original patch on f.206. Arranged FH, HF. Occasional excisions of decoration.

Text-block: 256-260 x 156 mm. Two columns (74 mm). Lines: 44 (space, 6 mm; height of minims, 3 mm).
Pricking: none survives. Ruling: ink and lead. Single verticals flank both columns (two in total in the intercolumnar space); first and last horizontals extended. An extra pair of verticals in the outer margin; an extra pair of horizontals in the upper and lower margins. (Same pattern as DCL MS B.II.19).


Written in Textualis libraria; possibly a single hand. Sentence capitals stroked in red. Very close in style to DCL MS B.II.19 [DCL MS A.I.2; DCL MS B.II.28; DUL Cosin V.i.8]. Citations and references underlined (thinly) in the ink of the text.


Incipits of texts are marked by historiated initials, 3+ lines high, plus border bars on two or three sides, adorned with spiky excresences and sparse trilobate foliage, articulated with gold and silver balls. The border bars for item (a) are on all four sides, forming in effect a full frame, and include a hybrid with its tongue sticking out, and a half-length man playing a viol. The palette is dominated by blue, pink and orange, all sombre, plus gold and silver. Some of the “gold” (which is more bronze in colour) has blackened. There are guide notes, more or less legible, at the foot of the page, defining the subject matter of the historiated initials. These notes, and the subjects of the historiations that were supplied, are as follows:

The incipits to (e), (f), (u), and (x), plus (af)1 and (ag)1, along with principal divisions within certain texts are marked by decorated initials, 2+ lines high, plus extensions, generally confined to a single border. The “I” on f.41v features a complete dragon, the “Q” on f.132r a frontal beast mask amidst ivy leaves, the “L” on f.150v an open mouthed beast head in profile. The neat excision of a section of the margin from f.54 (beside the incipit to (f)) may have removed a grotesque. The incipits to (k) and (u) along with subdivisions within other texts (as noted under Content) are marked by flourished initials, red and blue, 2+ lines high.


Standard Tuckett binding, mid 19th century full brown calf over thick wooden boards (Charles Tuckett, binder to the British Museum, rebound many Durham manuscripts in the 19th century)

Manuscript history

Written in England, Oxford (?), early 14th century.


Inscription: “liber sancti cuthberti de Dunelm. ex procuracione fratris Roberti de Graystan.” plus contents list, contemporary with the making of the book, f.212r (item (aj). Robert Graystones, monk of Durham and author approximately 1304-1333 x 1334.
“.X.”, later 14th century, f.1r, outer margin.
“X. Augustinus de mendacio De communi libraria monachorum dunelm cum alijs” start 15th century, f.1r, top margin, severely cropped.
[Cloister catalogue 206 marked 'In libraria', see note to Chained Library 56. X; see Cat. Vet., p.61 X].

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1r-10v
Original title: De mendacio
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Magna questio est de mendacio
Explicit: sed faciat cum temptacione exitum ut possitis sustinere, et cetera.
Rubric: Incipit liber beati Augustini de mendacio, prius ab eo editus
Language: Latin

One marked subdivision: a 2-line-high initial for “Exceptis igitur”, the start of chapter 2.

(b)     f.10v-21r
Original title: Contra mendacium ad Consentum
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Multa mihi legenda misisti
Explicit: ut uix ad eius terminum quem loco isto fiximus ueniremus
Rubric: Incipit liber beati augustini episcopi contra mendacium
Language: Latin

No marked subdivisions.

(c)     f.21r-33r
Original title: De adulterinis coniugiis
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Prima questio est frater dilectissime pollenti earum quas ad me scribens
Explicit: siue probatioris occasion castitatis
Rubric: Incipit liber primus de adulterinis coniugiis
Language: Latin

Incipit to Book II (f.27v) marked by a 2-line-high decorated initial. No other subdivisions.

(d)     f.33r-v
Original title: Epistola ad comitem Valerium
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Domino illustri et merito prestantissimo atque in Christi dilectione karissimo filio ualerio augustinus in domino salutem
Explicit: ipse suo principio commodius intimabit
Rubric: Epistola beati augustini ad ualerium comitem et quasi prefatio in libro qui sequitur
Language: Latin

Epsitle 200 (preface to (e)). Headed by a decorated initial, plus small border bar, suggesting secondary status.

(e)     f.33v-54v
Original title: De nuptiis et concupiscentia
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Heretici noui dilectissime fili ualeri qui medicinam christi
Explicit: id est saluator possit esse et ipsorum
Rubric: Incipit liber augustini de nuptiis et concupiscencia
Language: Latin

Book II (marked by a decorated initial) starts on f.41v. Some late medieval annotation.

(f)     f.54v-62v
Original title: De bono coniugali
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Quiniam heresis sacrarum uirginum meritum
Explicit: sed propter christum coniuges propter christum patres fuerunt
Rubric: Sentencia de libro retractationum
Language: Latin

No marked subdivisions. Some late medieval annotation.

(g)     f.62v-72v
Original title: De musica
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Satis diu pene atque a deo plane pueriliter
Explicit: uel cordam bis percuterem tam raptim et uelociter.
Rubric: Incipit .vi. liber. musice
Language: Latin

Extract: book VI followed by the start of I.1 only. Text of Book VI is subdivided by paraphs accompanied by contemporary marginal numeration, running 4-11, 14-20, 22-24, 26-32. Modus, the start of I.1 (f.74r) is marked by a 2-line high flourished initial. Names of authorities and other references are underlined in the ink of the text.

(h)     f.74v-77v
Original title: De fide rerum invisibilium
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Sunt qui putant christianum religionem
Explicit: cum ceperunt in litore separari
Rubric: De fide rerum inuisibilium aug’
Language: Latin

“Ego quam miramini” and “Si hanc reginam”, both f.75v, chapter 3 are marked with 2-line-high flourished initials.

(i)     f.77v-79r
Original title: De ratione fidei / De symbolo
Author: Ps.-Augustine (Faustus of Riez)
Incipit: Sicut non nullis scire permissum est apud ueteres simbola
Explicit: remanserit post aquam baptismi deuorandum suscipiat ignis inferni
Language: Latin
Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 2269.1
(j)     f.79v-81r
Original title: De igne purgatorio
Author: Ps.-Augustine (Caesarius of Arles)
Incipit: In lectione apostolica
Explicit: largitate redimamus, prestante domino nostro iesu Christo qui cum patre
Rubric: Augustinus de igne purgatorio
Language: Latin
(k)     f.81r
Original title: Interpretationes hebraicum nominum
Incipit: Aleph interpretatur doctrina. Seth domus
Explicit: ad caput omnium qui est christus peruenitur
Rubric: Interpretationes ebraicarum litterarum
Language: Latin

Headed by a flourished initial. A paraph marks a single subdivision.

(l)     f.81r-91v
Original title: De ordine creaturarum
Author: Ps.-Isidore
Incipit: Uniuersitatis disposito bipharia ratione debet intelligi
Explicit: minas hominum penitus non timemus
Rubric: De ordine creaturarum
Language: Latin

Divided into 14 chapters; chapters 2-4 further subdivided by paraphs. Late medieval annotation on f.87v and 89r (by the hand that annotated f.156r)

Edition: Diaz y Diaz
(m)     f.91v-106v
Original title: De spiritu et littera
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Lectis opusculis que ad te nuper elaboraui
Explicit: Quoniam ex ipso et per ipso et in ipso sunt omnia; ipsi gloria in secula seculorum amen
Rubric: De spiritu et littera a[ugustinus]
Language: Latin

One subdivision, marked by a 2-line-high flourished initial, at “Hiis igitur pertractatis consideratis pro uiribus”

(n)     f.106v-111r
Original title: De cognitione verae vitae (excerpt)
Author: Ps.-Augustine (Honorius of Autun)
Incipit: Sapientia dei que os muti aperiuit
Explicit: sed spiritus sanctus columbae corpus condidit
Rubric: De cognitione uere uite
Language: Latin

Chapters i-xviii (part) only. Two subdivisions marked by flourished initials, 2+ lines high: “F ra’s [sic for ‘gratias’] deo soluimus” and “Magister. Fructum ligno uite”, the first two subsections of chapter ii.

(o)     f.111r-114v
Original title: Sermo 56 (De oratione dominica)
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Beatus apostolus tempora ista quando futurum era tut omnes gentes in deum crederent
Explicit: sed bonum sempiternum permanebit, restante domino nostro iesu christo cui est honor et gloria in secula seculorum amen
Rubric: De oratione dominica
Language: Latin

No marked subdivisions. Lemmata lightly underlined in the ink of the text

(p)     f.114v-121r
Original title: Sermo de symbolo contra Iudaeos paganos et Arianos
Author: Ps.-Augustine (Quodvultdeus)
Incipit: Inter pressuras atque angustias presentis temporis et nostre official seruitutis cogimur
Explicit: quoniam eam uiri sui implet caritas. Ipse est enim qui uiuit et regnat cum deo patre etc.
Rubric: Expositio symboli secundum beatum augustinum
Language: Latin

No marked subdivisions

(q)     f.121r-125r
Original title: Epistola viii
Author: Fulgentius, Saint, Bishop of Ruspa, 468-533
Incipit: [ ]no eximio et in christi caritate plurimum desiderabilii filio donato, augustinus seruorum christi famulus in domino salutem
Explicit: et tres personas in trinitate deo et unam personam duasque naturas in unigenito dei filio domino iesu christo
Rubric: De fide sancte trinitatis
Language: Latin

No marked subdivisions

(r)     f.125r-126r
Original title: Apothegms
Incipit: Cicero. Nulle sunt occultiores insidie quam hec que latent in simulacione officii aut in aliqua necessitudinis nomine
Explicit: Egentissima uita eternam parit calamitatem
Rubric: Sententie quorundam philosophorum
Language: Latin

Series of apothegms attributed to Cicero, Demades, Dyogenes, Epimenedes, Galienus, Hermogenes, Menefranes, Socrates, Solon, Theofrastus, Xenophon, etc. Presented as continuous text with the names etc. underlined, and capitals stroked in red. In addition, a blue paraph flags, ‘xenofon dixit sibi maledicenti, en tu inquit maledixisti, ego conscientia teste didici maledicta contempnere’ , and flourished initials, 2 lines high, flag ‘Fuganda sunt omnibus modis …’ and ‘Stateram ne transilias [id est] ne pretergrediaris iustitiam’. Some of the texts printed in: William of Doncaster, Explicatio aphorismatum philosophicorum, ed. O. Weijers (1976)

(s)     f.125r-126r
Original title:
Author: Cicero, Marcus Tullius
Incipit: Utrum dii nichil agant nichil moliantur omni curatione et administratione rerum uacent
Explicit: a quibus negetur a quibusdam concedatur
Rubric: Cicero de diuinacione
Language: Latin

Extracts. Flourished initials, 2+ lines high, mark “Sompnia et auguria” (f.127r) and “In contrariam partem” (f.128r)

(t)     f.128v-131r
Original title: Proverbia
Author: Publilius, Syrus, active 1st century B.C.
Incipit: Alienum est omne quicquid optando euenit
Explicit: Uir bonus est qui tantum perduxit animum ut non modo uolit peccare, sed etiam non possit
Rubric: Prouerbia senesce
Language: Latin

An alphabetical collection with over 450 entries, most of those from A to N in verse, the remainder prose.

Edition: Duff 1934 p.3-110, this MS noted on p.10-11.
(u)     f.131r-131v
Original title: Verses on Christian morality, observance, etc.
Language: Latin

1. f.131r. Quisquis uult uere domino per cuncta placet / Hunc fugiens mundum totum cor uertat ad illum … [Not in Walther]
2. Sepe mee portas anime circumspice cunctas …
3. Aggere commisso studeat …
4. Oscule [sic] partes tres credunt esse fideles … [Cf. Walther 5297, where the first word is ‘Ecclesie’ – also in Lambeth Palace Library, 238 (Laurence of Durham, s. xiii).]
5. Fol. 131v. Prudens et iustus fortis sis atque modestus … [Not in Walther]
6. Statio quid dextra signat [sic] uel parte sinistra / Uel quid per mediam signetur quid sit ad aram … ducit cum seruos in dextra parte locandos / Olim semirutam proprium funendo cruorem. [?Hildebert of Le Mans, ‘De trina statione sacerdotis’: cf. Walther 15912; PL 171.1280, with extra final line.]
7. Fistula iuncta pari mel habenti plena ueneno … [Walther 6559, cited from Cambridge, Pembroke College 103.]
8. Corde uoluntatis proprie ?quicumque putrescit / Numquam mundatur nisi locus sanguine Christi … [Not in Walther].
9. Qui uult inferni uitare malum regionis … [Not in Walther]
10. Omnia nosco dm’ noui me noscere … [Not in Walther]

(v)     f.132r-146r
Original title: De gratia novi testamenti
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Quinque mihi proposuisti tractandas questiones atque soluendas
Explicit: magistrum nos habere testamur
Rubric: Augustinus de gratia noui testamenti
Language: Latin

Epistle 140. No marked subdivisions

(w)     f.146r-150r
Original title: Epistolae
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Author: Volusianus, approximately 382-437
Language: Latin

Epistles 132, 135 and 137

(x)     f.150v-153r
Original title: De disciplina christiana
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Locutus est ad nos sermo diuinus et depromptus est ad exhortationem nostram
Explicit: recole euangelium quod audisti, ego et pater unum sumus conuerti ad dominum amen
Language: Latin

Text divided into 14 sections by paraphs, and into numbered sections by original reference numbers in the margins.

(y)     f.153r-158v
Original title: De vita christiana
Author: Pelagius
Incipit: Et ego peccator et ultimus insipientior quam ceteris et imperitior uniuersis
Explicit: conferamus absentes
Rubric: Incipit liber sancti augustini de uita christiana ad sororem suam uiduam
Language: Latin

Attributed to Augustine. No marked subsections. Contemporary marginal reference numbers on the first page. On f.158r-v, marginal numeration 1-3 was supplied beside the two listings of “Tria uiduarum genera”. 15/16th century annotation “Nota de processu” beside “Quisquis non iustitie et misericordie opera fecerit …” by the hand that annotated f.87v and 89r.

(z)     f.158v-161r
Original title: De quatuor virtutibus caritatis
Author: Pseudo Augustine
Incipit: Desiderium caritatis uestre a nobis exigit debitum sermonis officium
Explicit: non folia laudis
Rubric: Augustinus de iiiior uirtutibus caritatis
Language: Latin

Sermon 106. Divided into 8 subsections by paraphs and contemporary marginal numbering.

(aa)     f.161r-162r
Original title: Sermo de penitentia animae
Author: Pseudo Augustine
Incipit: Quotquot spiritu dei aguntur hii filii sunt dei
Explicit: de nullo enim iacenti desperandum est de tali suscitatore
Rubric: Augustinus de pugna anime
Language: Latin

Sermon 128 (part, chapters 7-12). Late medieval annotation on f.161v

(ab)     f.162r-165r
Original title: Ps.-Augustine, Sermo de tempore barbarico
Author: Pseudo Augustine (Quodvultdeus)
Incipit: Admonet dominus deus noster non debere negligere nostra peccata
Explicit: ut et ipsi recipient uos in tabernacula eterna
Rubric: De p[e]n[itent]ia agenda
Language: Latin
(ac)     f.165r-167v
Original title: De tribus habitaculis animae
Author: Pseudo Augustine (Patrick of Dublin)
Incipit: Tria sunt sub omnipotentis dei manu habitacula
Explicit: et sine fastidio clamore cordis laudabunt deum omnipotentem benignum et misericordem, cui honor et goria et nunc et per omnia secula seculorum. Amen
Rubric: De gaudio electorum et dampnatorum supplicio
Language: Latin
Edition: Gwynn 1955 102-5
(ad)     f.167v-168r
Original title: Sermo de humilitate et obedientia
Author: Pseudo Augustine (Jeronimus)
Incipit: Nichil sic deo placet quomodo obedientia. Caim maledictus fuit
Explicit: qui habet aures audiendi audiat. In Christo iesu domino nostro amen
Rubric: Augustinus de humilitate et obediencia
Language: Latin
(ae)     f.168r-174v
Original title: De natura boni
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Liber de natura summi boni aduersum manicheos
Explicit: celestem uitam eternamque preponant, te prestante qui uiuis et regnas per omnia secula seculorum amen
Rubric: Incipit liber sancti augustini
Language: Latin
(af)     f.174v-200v
Original title: De peccatorum meritis et remissione et de baptismo parvulorum
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Uenit necessitas que me cogeret
Explicit: nisi id uererer facere defendendo prolixius
Rubric: Sentencia beati augustini episcopi de libro retractationum super libros de baptism pa[r]uulorum ad martellinum
Language: Latin

Books I-II only (Book III is item (ah)). Book II starts on f.189r marked by a decorated initial, 4 lines high, and border bars. Subdivisions at f.190r, f.190v and f.194v are marked by flourished initials, 2+ lines high. Late medieval “Nota”s on f.178v, f.185v, and f.198r.

(ag)     f.200v-207r
Original title: De unico baptismo
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Librum de unico baptismo amicus quidam meus
Explicit: qua detinetur baptismi sacramentum
Rubric: Sentencia beati augustini episcopi de libro retractationum de unico baptism
Language: Latin
(ah)     f.207r-211v
Original title: De peccatorum meritis et remissione et de baptismo parvulorum
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Carissimo filio marcellino augustinus
Explicit: utinam tam perfectus quam tandem aliquando finitus
Rubric: Incipit epistola beati augustini ad marcellinum
Language: Latin

Book III only (Books I-II are item (af)).

(ai)     f.211v
Original title: Retractationes (II.37)
Author: St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)
Incipit: Ad quem scripseram tres libros
Explicit: supra commemoraui. Hic liber sic incipit. Lectis opusculis que ad te nuper elaboraui fili karissime marcelline
Rubric: Sentencia beati augustini episcopi de libro retractationum secundum librum de spiritu et littera quem ipse composuit ad marcellinum
Language: Latin

This relates to item (m)

(aj)     f.212r
Original title: Contemporary ex libris, acquisition note, and content list
Incipit: ¶liber sancti cuthberti de Dunelm. ex procuracione fratris Roberti de Graystan’. Et continentur in eo libri subscripti, videlicet: ¶De mendacio
Explicit: ¶Epistola beati augustini ad marcellinum
Language: Latin

Records items (a)-(c), (f), (g) correctly reported as ‘VI. De musica’, (h)-(j), (l)-(t), (w)-(ae), (af) correctly reported as ‘duo libri’, (ag), (ai).

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.II.20 - Augustine, Shorter works
Digitised in August 2018 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project. Pages with marginalia not visible in the image because they are too far into the gutter: f.64r, f.68r, f.70r, f.71r


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]).

Diaz y Diaz, M.C., Liber de ordine creaturarum. Un anónimo irlandés del siglo vii   OCLC citation (Santiago: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 1972)

Duff, J and Duff, A., edd. Minor Latin Poets   OCLC citation, v.1 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934)

Gwynn, A., Patrick Bishop og Dublin. The writings of Bishop Patrick 1074-1084   OCLC citation, v.1 (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1955)

Stegmüller, Friedrich, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi   OCLC citation, (Madrid: 1950-1980)

Walther, Hans, Carmina medii aevi posterioris latina   OCLC citation, (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1959-86)

Index terms