London. British Library, Add MS 40007

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The British Library, Polonsky Pre-1200 Project
London. British Library
British Library, Add MS 40007
  • Latin
  • Ralph de Diceto, Opuscula ; Letter to William de Longchamp; Abbreviationes Chronicorum (extracts); Letter to John of Poitiers; Ymagines Historiarum (excerpts); Geoffrey of Monmouth, Prophetia Merlini ; Anonymous prophecies
  • This manuscript consists of letters and historical works written by Ralph of Diceto (d. 1199/1200), chronicler, ecclesiastic and dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London. This volume was probably produced in the scriptorium of St Paul's. The prefatory letter to William de Longchamp (d. 1197), chancellor of England and bishop of Ely, is found only in this manuscript, suggesting that it might have been the original copy presented to William de Longchamp (see Sharpe and Willoughby, Medieval Libraries (2015)). The list of writers on f. 35v that ends with Ralph de Diceto states that he finished his historical work in 1195 (see Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts (1979)). Cotton MS Faustina A VIII (from the Augustinian priory of St Mary Overy) and Cotton MS Tiberius A IX (from the Augustinian abbey of Osney) have the same contents, except the prefatory letter to William de Longchamp. Contents: ff. 5r-34v: Ralph de Diceto, Opuscula (Minor Works). It includes Ralph de Diceto's prefatory letter to William de Longchamp, beginning: Willelmo de Longo Campo Rad[ulfus] de Diceto. Sicut a multis accepimus'. (ff. 5r-v); chronological tables of prelates, popes and kings, including historical accounts of the history of Britons, English and Normans, beginning: 'Apostolus ait: omnis anima potestatibus subdita sit sublimioribus'. A life of St Thomas Becket has been inserted between these lists (ff. 12r-15v), beginning: 'Quotiens inter enumeratos, ending: 'ab omnibus reportasse triumphum' (ff. 6r-34v). ff. 35r-35v: Extract from Ralph de Diceto's Abbreviationes Chronicorum (Abbreviations of Chronicles) , related to eminent writers, including Ralph de Diceto himself at the end, beginning: 'De viris illustribus quo tempore scripserint. Trogus Pompeius a tempore Nini regis Assiriorum', ending: 'Radulfus Lundoniensis ecclesie decanus ab incarnatione anno M o C o XLVII librum qui dicitur ymagines hystoriarum inchoavit et perduxit usque ad annum MC [in the margin] XCV'. ff. 35v-36v: Nomina regionum XI (Names of the Eleven Regions), also included in the Abbreviationes Chronicorum of Ralph de Diceto. ff. 36v-37v: Ralph de Diceto, Letter to John of Poitiers, archbishop of Lyons, relating to the omission of Britain in the list of provinces, and his reply. These two letters are followed by extracts from C. Iulius Caesar (b. 100 BC, d. 44 BC), L. Annaeus Florus (fl. early 2nd century), Hugh of Saint-Victor (b. c 1096, d. 1141) and Bede (b. c. 673, d. 735) on the provinces of Gaul (ff. 36v-37v), extracts preceded by a 5-line introduction. ff. 37v-39r: Extract from Ralph de Diceto's Abbreviationes Chronicorum, borrowed from two anonymous compilations: the Commendatio Brittanie (Praise of Britain) , a historical compilation about Britain (ff. 37v-38r), followed by the De mirabilibus Brittanie (Wonders of Britain) (ff. 38v-39r). ff. 39r-39v: Genealogy of Henry II, beginning with Noah, excerpted from Aelred of Rievaulx (b. 1109, d. 1167), De genealogia regum Anglorum (On the genealogy of kings of England). Ralph de Diceto used this genealogy in his Ymagines Historiarum (Images of History). f. 39v: De situ Hibernie (On Ireland); excerpt on the description of Ireland from Henry of Huntingdon (b. 1084, d. 1155), Historia Anglorum (History of the English).Ralph de Diceto included this description in his Ymagines Historiarum. Followed by the genealogy of William the Lion, king of Scotland (imperfect), excerpted from the Ymagines Historiarum (f. 39v). ff. 40r-41v: Geoffrey of Monmouth (d. 1157), Prophetia Merlini (Prophecies of Merlin), excerpted from the Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), Book VII, . f. 41v: Anonymous, Arbor fertilis (The Tree of Fertility) , a prophecy attributed to Merlin Sylvester by the rubric Prophecia Merlini Sylvestris. f. 42r: Anonymous, A prophecy attributed to Merlin Sylvester that was revealed to Edward the Confessor, beginning: 'Prophetia Merlini Silvestris Anglorum Eadwardo regi Sancto nominis huius tertio revelata'. This text was written by a 13th-century cursive hand. Decoration: Puzzle initials in red and blue with pen-flourishing in green and brown, throughout (e. g., ff. 2r, 7r); simple initials in red or blue, with green and brown pen-flourishing and penwork decoration (e. g., ff. 12v, 21r, 23v); small initials in red or blue. Rubrics in red. A human figure added in the margin of the text (f. 21r). Maniculae in the margin (f. 22r).
Public domain in most countries other than the UK
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