DCL MS. B.II.6Ambrose, Works
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Works of Ambrose, one of the manuscripts given by William of St Calais to Durham Priory before his death in 1096.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2mw08929946.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: ii+86+i f
Size: 365 mm x 248 mm

Secundo folio: te filii patris

Medieval flyleaf (f.i) a singleton now glued in; I-X8; XI6 (= 8 with leaves 7-8, blank, cancelled)

Signatures: Contemporary signatures (Roman numeral flanked by dots) on final versos, under the right hand text column; they survive on quires I and III-IX

f.1r-78r (items (c)-(k)). Romanesque Caroline Minuscule of Norman type. The hand (identified as William by a colophon in B.II.14) also appears in B.II.14, B.II.35, BL, Cotton Domitian [Liber Vitae], fol.45r-v (names of early Durham monks), and perhaps also B.IV.12, fol.55r, lines 1-9: see Gullick, ‘Scribe of the Carilef Bible’, pp.68-9

f.79r-81r(start of item (l)). Romanesque Caroline Minuscule, compact. The scribe may have taken advantage of blank leaves at the end of quire X to append this item, a short extra quire (XI) being added to complete it.

f.81r, column i, line 7-85r (item (l) end, plus item (m)). Transitional between late Caroline and early ProtoGothic. This hand also appears in B.II.6, B.II.21, B.IV.7, B.IV.12, B.IV.14 and Hunter 100.


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 Normandy or England, Durham, before 1096.


Listed amongst books donated by William of St Calais and in the library catalogues

Inscriptions: Liber BEATI CUTHBERTI De dunelmo , later 12th century, f.1r, top left (by the hand of item (a))
. liber Sancti Cuthberti, 14th century, f.ir, top left.
Pressmark .E., later 14th century; E’, 14th/15th century
Ambrosius de patriarcha Ioseph de communi libraria monachorum dun, early 15th century, f.1r, top right.
Pressmark 2a 2i Q, 15th century, f.1r, top right.
2a 2i Q and contents list (item (b)), 15th/16th century by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham, f.iv.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.ir
Modern title: Contents list
Date: later 12th century
Incipit: Ambrosius de patriarcha ioseph. Ambrosius de xii. Patriarchis
Explicit: Liber sancti Augustini de decem cordis
Rubric: Hec subscripta continentur in hoc uolumine
Language: Latin

Lists items (c)-(l). No initials were supplied. The same hand wrote a Durham ex libris (also without its initial) on f.1r. Folio references were added by the early modern hand responsible for the foliation

(b)     f.iv
Modern title: Contents list
Author: Thomas Swalwell, -1539
Date: 15th/16th century
Incipit: 1 Ambrosius de Ioseph
Language: Latin

Lists items (c)-(m)

(c)     f.1-8r
Original title: De Ioseph patriarcha
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Sanctorum vita ceteris norma uiuendi est
Explicit: Congregamini, et audite Israel patrem uestrum
Rubric: Incipit liber Sancti Ambrosii Episopi De Ioseph Patriarcha
Language: Latin
(d)     f.8r-13v
Original title: De patriarchis
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Primum omnium quantam discimus parentibus referre
Explicit: Ego plantaui, Apollo rigauit
Rubric: Incipit liber sancti ambrosii episcopi de xii patriarchis
Language: Latin

Text ends half-way down f.13v, column 1; the rest of the page left blank.

(e)     f.14r-25v
Original title: De penitentia
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Sivatum finis ille est maximus qui plurimorum spectat
Explicit: et gressus omnes mundi nexu debemus aboluere
Rubric: Incipit Tractatus primus sancti ambrosii episcopi de penitentia
Language: Latin
(f)     f.25v-40v
Original title: De morte fratris
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Deduximus fratres dilectissimi hostiam meam, hostiam incontaminatam
Explicit: ut mortem iam timere nequeamus
Rubric: Sermo ius sancti ambrosii episcopi de morte fratris
Language: Latin
(g)     f.40v-47v
Original title: De bono mortis
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Quoniam superiori libro sermonem aliquem contexuimu
Explicit: nunc est semper, et in Omnia seculorum secula. Amen
Rubric: Incipit liber de bono mortis beati ambrosii episcopi
Language: Latin
(h)     f.47v-53r
Original title: De obitu Valentiniani
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Et si incrementum doloris sit
Explicit: cursum matura resuscitatione compenses. Amen
Rubric: Liber sancti ambrosii de consolation ualentiniani
Language: Latin
(i)     f.53r-61v
Original title: De Paradiso
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Et plantauit deus paradysum in eden secundum orientem et posuit ibi hominem
Explicit: illud intelligi, ut uideatur quod deus id
Rubric: Incipit liber sancti ambrosii episcopi de paradise
Language: Latin

Text stops incomplete, leaving rest of 61 and 62 blank

(j)     f.63r-72r
Original title: De Abraham
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Abraham Libri huius titulus est
Explicit: longeua etate et bona senectute compleuit diem
Rubric: Incipit liber sancti ambrosii episcopi de Abraham patriarcha
Language: Latin

Book I

(k)     f.72r-78r
Original title: De Nabuthae
Author: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, -397
Incipit: Nabuthe hystoria tempore uetus est, usu cotidiana
Explicit: etiam si prime laqueos preuaricationis euaserint
Rubric: Incipit liber sancti ambrosii episcopi de nabutha israelita
Language: Latin
(l)     f.79r-84v
Original title: De decem cordis
Author: Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo
Incipit: Dominus et deus noster misericors et miserator longanimis
Explicit: ut quod hic desideramus, ibi inueniamus amen
Rubric: Augustinus doctor de decem chordis
Language: Latin

Sermon 9

(m)     f.85r
Original title: De Octo dulcitii quaestionibus
Author: Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo
Incipit: Tempus autem quod inter hominis
Explicit: aut certe tolerabilior fiat ipsa dampnatio
Language: Latin

Extract (Book I, chapter 4)

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 Cathedral Library MS. B.II.6 - Ambrose, works
Digitised March 2015 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project


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]).

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)

Index terms