Durham University Library Cosin MS V.ii.5Theological miscellany
Held by: Durham University Library: Cosin Manuscripts

Manuscript codex made up of eight separate sections, all produced at about the same date, and to very similar patterns, particularly in the case of (A-C) and (G); brought together very soon afterwards, probably with a further section now missing from the end. Theological treatises written in England in the first half of the 14th century, owned by Durham Priory and subsequently by George Davenport, by whom it was given to Bishop Cosin's Library around 1670.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2mvq27zn44h.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: iii+196+iii f.
Size: 243 mm x 165 mm


Foliated i-ii, 1-198, by A I Doyle in 1952. Foliation (14th century) on f. 21-60 (21-32 in ink, 36-60 in soft brown); 12 separate 17th century paginations in pencil, by George Davenport, starting afresh at items 1, 3-8, 11-14 and 16.

Secundo folio: omne plane

(f.i-ii); (A: f.1-14) 114; (B: f.15-40) 212, 314; (C: f.41-58) 48, 510; (D: f.59-100) 6-812, 96; (E: f.101-132) 10-1112, 128; (F: f.133-166) 13-1412, 1510; (G: f.167-184) 168, 1710; (H: f.185-196) 1812; 192 (2, f.198, only a broad stub).

Catchwords: Catchwords on quires 4, 6-8, 10-11, 13-14, 16, i.e. at all points where a text continues from one quire to the next, except quire 2 (f.26v).
Signatures: Quires 2-3 signed c and r, with arabic numerals, in soft brown. Rectos in the first half of quires 1, 5-7, 11 (?) and 16-17 numbered in roman; quire 6 in arabic; quire 16, with circles, in soft brown, on quire 1 to be read from the fore-edge; rectos of quires 15 and 18 lettered similarly.

Written space 188 or (D)-(E) 192-195 or (F) 197 or (G) 190 or (H) 200 x 115 120 or (H) 136 mm; ruling in brown, generally fainter in (D), and sharper in (G). 41 or (D, F) 42 or (E) 43-44 long lines, or (H) 50, two columns.


Written in excellent round anglicana, by at least two hands, (A)-(C), (E)-(H), and (D); perhaps (E) and (F) by a third and a fourth. Wording for rubrics in (B)-(C) entered in margins in ink, very fine and small, and similar to corrections and marginal notes. Rubrics not provided in (D), (E) and (G).

Scriptural quotations in (F) underlined in red. Text capitals touched with red in (F), (H). Paraphs, red or blue, generally alternating. Initials: (i) to item (10) propositions and item (11) nights 1-2, 1 line, blue with red flourishing; (ii) to (A)-(G) chapters, etc., 2 , or most in (D), 3 line, blue with red foliate infilling and flourishing, or (A)-(C), (G) alternately red with mauve foliate infilling and flourishing; (iii) to openings of items (1)-(6), 12-14 and 16, 3 (items (4), (12)), 4 (item (16)), or 5 line, bipartite red and blue, with red foliate infilling and extension, and flourishing, and, except item (12), a "J-border" or (items (2), (4), (6), (13)-(14) and (16) part of it, the inner plain blue and the outer composed of alternately red and blue sections c. 15 mm high with brace bracket or (item (1) saw edge forms. Running titles in (A) only, perhaps in the same hand and ink as contents-list on f.iv.

Corrections and annotationWords in Greek in capitals in a different ink from the main scribe's, f.130r. Neat early corrections, some by the main scribes, similar to marginal notes for rubrics, over erasure (e.g. f.47r), and by interlinear (e.g. f.66r) and marginal (e.g. f.147r, 154r, 181r) additions. Early marginal annotation, by several hands, formally written, particularly in (A), (C), (G), (H), also lightly and minutely in (C), (F), (G) including “Nota pro fratribus minoribus” against a passage on evangelical poverty (f.163v), where a slightly later note contests their standpoint. Distinctive hand pointer with long finger, (15th century?), f.109v.

Bound in Durham: covers of 17th century calf bear the Durham binder Hugh Hutchinson's rolls A and D, and his tool no. 2. Spine replaced late 20th century, 1 clasp. Rusty holes in first few leaves, as from nails of clasps, at two points on fore-edge and also at centre of top and foot.

Manuscript history

Written in England, mid 14th century.


Inscription: “.Iohannes. de Insula”, earlier 14th century, f.39r, otherwise blank. Durham Cathedral MS A.II.9, a glossed psalter, was “ex dono Johannis de Insula militis” and MSS C.I.4 and 9, of a set of civil law, were “trium puerorum de Insula scilicet Henrici, Ricardi et Johannis fratrum”, in each case earlier 14th century; the family may have been the De Lisles, but Insula can refer to Holy Island or a part of County Durham.
The top of f.i cut away, presumably to remove ex libris, perhaps of Durham Cathedral Priory.
Inscription: “Liber dompni Thome lawson monachi Ecclesie Cathedralis dunelm ex dono venerabilis patris Magistri Thome Castell Prioris eiusdem”, early 16th century, f.iiv “Geo. Davenport. | 1663” in window of front pastedown; notes by him, f.iiv, 82r, 184v; also continuation of list of contents started by another early 17th century hand, f.iiv. Ex-libris and shelf-numbers by Thomas Rud on f.1r.

SECTION: (front leaves)
Manuscript contents
Language: Latin

Blank former pastedown, with adhering fragment of Latin 7+ lines, approximately 25 x 80 mm in cursive, 14th century, (upside-down). On verso, mid 14th century list of contents, by same or similar hand to the following texts, with 20-25 mm cut off top no doubt with ex-libris inscription (1½ lines); originally no entry for items [7-9], but [8 and 9] inserted marginally in smaller similar hand and [7] added late 14th century; last entry, “Quidam tractatus de Scaccario”, cancelled by (post-medieval graphite) pencil, not now in the volume, though Cosin MS V.iii.15 is a mid 14th century copy of J. de Cessolis, but in a different hand and decoration and of somewhat smaller dimensions, separately bound since mid 17th century.

Language: Latin

Recto blank. On verso ex-libris of Thomas Lawson, monk of Durham, early 16th century above 17th century list of contents with no entry for final item deleted in list f.iv above; entries numbered 1-5 with ascription of 5 and list of 6-13 by Davenport, who appended a reference to T. James' catalogue of Cambridge manuscripts for item 1.

Manuscript contents
(1)     f.1r-11v
Original title: Speculum spiritualis amicitiae
Author: Thomas of Frakaham
Incipit: Primum quid sit amicicia arbitror disserendum non videamur inaniter pingere
Explicit: ut pro innumerabilibus peccatis meis apud iustum iudicem et misericordem intercedat Explicit speculum amicicie
Language: Latin

Compilation from Aelred of Rievaulx.

Edited: Hoste, collated as MS C.
Cited: Bloomfield, 4218 (supplemented in Newhauser & Bejczy)
(2)     f.11v-14r
Original title: Speculum humilitatis
Author: Thomas of Frakaham
Incipit: Incipit speculum humilitatis. Dominus noster Iesus Christus dicit discipulis suis in euangelio. Nolite in sublime tolli
Explicit: humilitatem exhibuit beatus saluator Christus Iesus. qui cum patre et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat in secula seculorum. Amen. Explicit speculum humilitatis
Language: Latin

The same pair of texts occurs in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 424 (13th century), Lambeth MS 431 (from Llanthony, 13th century) and Seville, Bibl. Colombiana 7.2.1 (13th/14th century). f.14v ruled but blank.

Edited: Talbot, collated as MS D

Manuscript contents
(3)     f.15r-27r
Original title: De anima
Author: Cassiodorus, Senator, approximately 487-approximately 580
Incipit: Capitulum primum. Quid amici requisierunt. Cum iam suscepti operis optato fine gauderem meque xijcim voluminibus iactatum
Explicit: Omnia vergunt nihilominus in ruinam. que maiestatis tue pietate fuerint segregata. Explicit liber magni Aurelij Cassiodori Senatoris de anima.
Language: Latin

Ending at xviii, line 29 in edition this copy (miscited as V.II.4) belongs in Class I, probably I(a), but has no clear affiliation to any copies collated for the apparatus. The text did not have a very wide English or Norman circulation. f 21-32 (only) have arabic folio numbers added, 21-32, and marginal letters, a-d, in the same ink on each leaf, 14th century, for indexing items 3 and 4.

(4)     f.27v-38v
Original title: De spiritu et anima
Author: Pseudo-Augustine
Incipit: Incipit liber sancti Augustini de spiritu et anima. Quoniam dictum est mihi vt me ipsum cognoscam sustinere non possum ut me ipsum habeam incognitum
Explicit: vt quicquid supra illud est; aliud non sit quam racio. Explicit liber sancti Augustini de spiritu et anima.
Language: Latin

Chapters i-xxxiii; in this copy some chapters are amalgamated, and xviii and xxii are divided in two. f.39-40 ruled, but originally blank; f.40v reference to Pitsaeus concerning next item, added by George Davenport.

Cited: Bloomfield, 4935 (supplemented in Newhauser & Bejczy)
Cited: Römer, II/2, 113

Manuscript contents
(5)     f.41r-57r
Original title: De venenis
Author: Malachias Hibernicus
Incipit: Incipit tractatus de veneno. Racio veneni potissime conuenit peccato .s. prioritate originis. generalitate infectionis et difficultate cure
Explicit: ponitur in sepulcro cum eo viua. Et hoc habet illa pro magno omnibus aliis derelictis Explicit
Language: Latin

Divided into sixteen chapters, of which cap xi is here (f.48v) divided in two, so producing seventeen chapters; there are substantial divergences in this copy, e.g. cap xi/xii ends “Cycada est auicula que quodammodo est pennata. anglice greshopper” (f.51r-v). f.57v-58v originally blank, with only f.58v ruled; note on Hugh of St Victor “floruit anno 1130”, by Davenport, f.58v.

Cited: Bloomfield, 5102 (supplemented in Newhauser & Bejczy)

Manuscript contents
(6)     f.59r-82r
Original title: Didascalicon
Author: Hugh, of Saint-Victor, 1096?-1141
Incipit: De origine artium. Primum capitulum. Omnium expetendorum prima est sapiencia in qua perfecti boni forma consistit
Explicit: amorem scientie eam legit. et sic secunda pars quoque finem accipit. Explicit.
Language: Latin

The closest parallel seems to be Aberdeen University MS 241, from St Paul's, London.

(7)     f.82r-86r
Original title: De potentiis anime
Author: Burley, Walter, 1275-1345?
Incipit: De anima secundum rem diuersas videntur philosofi sententias protulisse Plato dicit animam
Explicit: ad minus substantia prima simplex que deus est. Explicit.
Language: Latin

Differs from other texts of this work leading the cataloguers to question this identification. “Tractatus compendiosus de anima et eius potenciis”, added end of 14th century to list of contents, f.iv. “Burlaeus de potentiis animae”, added by George Davenport, f.82r.

(8)     f.86r-87v
Original title: De unitate
Author: Gundissalinus, Dominicus, active 12th century
Incipit: Unitas est qua vnaqueque res dicitur esse siue simplex siue composita
Explicit: Unitas igitur est qua vnaqueque res vna est et est id quod est.
Language: Latin

A space left for words “si divisibilis”, presumably on account of defect in exemplar, f.86v line 21. Bodleian MS Auct.F.5.28 contains this work and the next one.

(9)     f.87v-88r
Original title: De ortu scientiarum
Author: Fārābī
Gundissalinus, Dominicus, active 12th century
Incipit: Scias nihil esse nisi substantiam et accidens et creatorem substantie et accidentis benedictum
Explicit: In hac complentur scientie disciplinales que dicuntur scientie dematrices quatuor vt iam manifestum est
Language: Latin

Book i,1-4

Edited: Alfarabi 1916
(10)     f.88r-89v
Original title: Liber xxiv philosophorum
Incipit: Congregatis 24 philosophis solum remansit eis in questione quid est deus
Explicit: et claritatem in re generat in se ullam et hoc est quod dicit. Expliciunt 24 propositiones philosophorum cum commento de essentia diuina.
Language: Latin

The final sentence is substantially different to the edition, as it is in one other English copy (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS McClean 169 f.262v-263v), written by Robert Emylton, 15th century monk of Durham. Hudry lists 26 manuscripts, of which six, grouped by common descent, have commentary I (p.lxxiii) and only those two this sentence (p.xxxii).

Edited: Hudry, 207-214
Cited: M T. d'Alverny, "Hermetica philosophica" appendix i, Kristeller 1960, 151-4
(11)     f.89v-98v
Original title: De septem noctibus
Incipit: Incipit tractatus compendiosus de septem noctibus. Solet rerum qualitas ex tempore notari. Vt abraham in feruore fidei existens angelos in meridie uidit
Explicit: qui est deus uiuorum et non motuorum et qui habitat lucem inaccessibilem. dominus deus omnipotens cui est honor et gloria in secula seculorum Amen.
Language: Latin

The only other copy traced is in the mid 14th century Ramsey abbey library catalogue, (CBMLC 4, B67.80), followed by a long list of anonymous texts, possibly in the same volume. The incipit alone is in Bodleain e mus.222, (a 13th century manuscript located at Darley Augustinian abbey, Derbyshire in the 14th century), f.139v, lines 6-10, the following lines being apparently another item. f.99-100 originally blank, with 99r and 100r ruled; citation of T. James' catalogue of Oxford and Cambridge manuscripts, concerning the next item, added by George Davenport, f.100v.

Manuscript contents
(12)     f.101r-132r
Modern title: Bestiary
Incipit: Leo Fortissimus bestiarum ad nullius pauebit occursum. Bestiarum uocabulum proprie
Explicit: ab adam vsque nunc; in filios inobediencie debachatur
Language: Latin

Bestiary, without illustrations. The much enlarged Physiologus that circulated in England from the twelfth century, from the second family in McCulloch's categorisation (p.34-38). The arrangement is as in James' edition, ), with the end of the penultimate chapter on Supplementary pl. 16, the last chapter on Supp. pl. 10 (recte 1); as usual, it has sections beginning “Quocienscumque” and “Omnibus animantibus” (f.107v) after canis, and reads “aspido delone” (f.121r) for Aspidochelone. f.132v blank.

Cited: Bloomfield, 2932 (supplemented in Newhauser & Bejczy)

Manuscript contents
(13)     f.133r-166r
Original title: De victoria Christi contra Antichristum
Author: Hugo, de Novo Castro, active 1320
Incipit: Incipit prologus in libello qui intitulatur victoria Iesu Christi contra Antichristum. Non sum propheta neque filius prophete. Amos .7. Idcirco ne fingam me in hoc opusculo ... per ordinem pretermittuntur. Capitula primi libri .1. De interpretatione nominis antichristi
Explicit: ab igne in eterno Antichristo in membris eius peruersis nos liberet qui est benedictus in secula seculorum amen. Epilogus libri. De orto igitur sacre scripture canonice originalium ... nec forte apparentem probabilitatem. sed forte ficticiam falsitatem. Explicit.
Language: Latin

This copy, in two books (35 and 34 chapters respectively), lacks the opening sentences of the prologue, “Humilis ille propheta ...”, and the last words of the epilogue with a following capitulum impertinens; these are found in a mid 14th century English copy, B.L. MS Add. 36984, and also in the editio princeps (Nuremberg 1471), in both of which the ascription is to Hugh de Novo Castro, often taken to be Newcastle-upon-Tyne or Neufchâtel in Lorraine, although there is also some evidence pointing to a Germanic background. The dating of the work in ii, 26 is A.D. 1315 in the copy here and B.L. MS Add. 36984, but 1319 in the editio princeps and other continental copies. f.166v ruled but blank.

Edited: Heynck

Manuscript contents
(14)     f.167r-183r
Original title: Breviloquium de virtutibus antiquorum principum et philosophorum
Author: John, of Wales, active 13th century
Incipit: Quoniam misericordia et veritas custodiunt Regem
Explicit: quo vis ire ego via. quo vis ire ego veritas vbi vis manere ego vita. Amen.
Language: Latin

Entered as "Libellus de 4 uirtutibus cardinalibus" in list of contents, f.iv. f.183v-184v originally blank; f.184v is ruled, with a note, added by George Davenport, of entry by T. James [Ecloga ... p.96] for a copy of the next item in “S. Benedicti num. 371”, [i.e. Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 217].

Edited: Swanson, 113 (misidentified as Durham Cathedral V.II.5)
Cited: Bloomfield, 4971 (supplemented in Newhauser & Bejczy)
(15)     f.178v
Modern title: Couplet
Date: added, mid 15th century
Incipit: Est homo res fragilis qui durat tempore paruo | Est ergo simul flori qui nascitur aruo.
Language: Latin

Added, upside-down, in lower margin.

Cited: Walther, 5691

Manuscript contents
(16)     f.185r-195r
Original title: Pictor in carmine
Author: Adam II, Abbot of Dore, active 1216-1226
Incipit: Colloquium gabrielis et virginis de incarnacione domini. Dixit deus serpenti de Muliere
Explicit: Vt crucis ascensor latronum fit quasi censor Sic compos sedii agnos discernit ab edis.
Language: Latin

Attributed to Adam of Dore or sometimes Bernard of Morlaas. The Prologue is absent, the Tabula of subjects (f.185-189) is as printed, p.151-166, except that the rubrics to ix and lxxxiv are omitted, and sections cxxix and cxxx are reversed, though not in the text, while in both list and text the first part of rubric xxxiv is lacking, and there is no error in rubric lx. This copy is an abbreviation without annotation, consisting of the rubric for each NT antitype followed by the first couplet of each OT type; an older abbreviation in Cambridge UL MS Kk.5.10 (Kk.5.16: James 1951, p.143), which belonged to Durham Cathedral Priory by the sixteenth century, is different and appears to consist of each NT antitype followed by the rubric and one couplet, rarely the first, of each OT type. This manuscript shares very closely variants with Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 217 (from Worcester Cathedral Priory), possibly derived from a common witness. f.195v-197v blank, with f.196v ruled.

Cited: James 1951, 143-144, misdescribed as “from the Cathedral Library”, and wrongly “has everything except the preface”.
Edited: Sharpe 1997, p.10
Edited: Baker 1991, p.95-98 as type 31a

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

Digitised material for Durham University Library. Cosin Manuscript V.ii.5 - Theological miscellany; Speculum amicitiae etc.
Digitised November 2015 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated Project


Alfarabi, Über den Ursprung der Wissenschaften (De ortu scientiarum) : Eine mittelalterliche Einleitungsschrift in die Philosophie Wissenschaften   OCLC citation, ed. Baeumker, C., Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters, Bd. 19, Heft 3, (Münster: Aschendorff, 1916)

Baker, D. F., Pictor in Carmine uel Adaptatio Rerum Gestarum in Veteri Testamento ad Nouum: a critical edition   OCLC citation (D. Phil. thesis, University of Toronto. 1991)

Bloomfield, Morton W., Guyot, Bertrand-Georges, Howard, Donald R. and Kabealo, Thyra B., Incipits of Latin works on the virtues and vices, 1100-1500 A.D. Including a section of incipits of works on the Pater noster   OCLC citation (Cambridge, Mass.: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1979)

Magni Aurelii Cassiodori: Variarum libri XII   OCLC citation, ed. Fridh, Å and Halporn, J. W., Corpus Christianorum 96 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1973)

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., Index scriptorum latinorum medii aevi Hispanorum   OCLC citation (Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 1958-59)

English Benedictine libraries: the shorter catalogues   OCLC citation, ed. Sharpe, R., Corpus of British medieval library catalogues 4 (London: British Library, 1996)

Heynck, V., "Der Skotist Hugo de Novo Castro O.F.M.", Franziskanische Studien 43 (1961), 244-66

Hoste, A., "Le Speculum spiritualis amicitiae compilation du xii siècle de deux traités d'Aelred de Rievaulx par Thomas de Frakaham", Studia monastica 3 (1961), ii, 291-323

James, M. R., The Bestiary, being a reproduction in full of the manuscript Ii.4.26 in the University Library, Cambridge, with supplementary plates from other manuscripts of English origin, and a preliminary study of the Latin Bestiary as current in England   OCLC citation, (Oxford: Roxburghe Club, 1928)

James, M. R., "Pictor in carmine", Archaeologia 94, (1951), 141-166

Liber viginti quattuor philosophorum   OCLC citation, ed. Hudry, F., Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio mediaevalis 143a (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997)

Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum i   OCLC citation, ed. Kristeller, P. O. (Washington, 1960)

McCulloch, F., Mediaeval Latin and French Bestiaries   OCLC citation, (Chapel Hill, NC: 1962)

Newhauser, R. and Bejzcy, I., A supplement to Morton W. Bloomfield et al. Incipits of Latin works on the virtues and vices, 1100-1500 A.D.   OCLC citation (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008)

Römer, F., Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke des heiligen Augustinus. 2.2, Grossbritannien und Irland. Verzeichnis nach Bibliotheken   OCLC citation (Wien: Böhlaus, 1972)

Sharpe, Richard, A handlist of the Latin writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540   OCLC citation, (Turnhout: Brepols, 1997)

Swanson, J., John of Wales. A study of the works and ideas of a thirteenth-century friar   OCLC citation (Cambridge: CUP, 1989)

Talbot, C. H., "The Speculum humilitatis attributed to Ailred of Rievaulx", Studia Monastica 1 (1959), 121-136

Walther, H., Carmina medii aevi posterioris latina 1. Initia carminum ac versuum medii aevi posterioris latinorum: alphabetisches Verzeichnis der Versanfänge mittellateinischer Dichtungen   OCLC citation (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1959-69)

Index terms