London, British Library, Royal MS 13 A XI


Miscellanious collection with computistical and astronomical material

Aratea text: Excerptio Abbonis ex Higino de figuratione signorum; Excerptum de astrologia

Parchment — iiii + 150 + iii fols. — 235 × 150 mm — N. France / Ramsey Abbey(?) — s.XIex-XIIin

Layout: (41 written lines on ff. 1-10, 21 on ff. 11-) Written space: 190 × 105 Nine large initials in green, red and yellow colours with zoomorphic motifs (ff. 1r, 1v, 14v, 22r, 30v, 32v, 104r, 105r, 120r). 44 drawings of the constellations in braun and red ink(105r-112v). The drawings had been made before the text was copied. They are placed on the side of the text-body, usually in the inner half of the page. The figures of the constellations have circles partly matching the place where according to the text stars are. It is possible that the artist misunderstood the model manuscript and mistook the star marking for clothes decoration. One explanatory drawing of methods of calculation of the Computus (f. 33v). Ten diagrams and tables in brown and red ink (ff. 14r, 29v, 114v, 118r, 123r, 127v, 143v, 144r, 144v, 145v).

History: According to modern scholarship the manuscript was written either in Ramsey Abbey or in Northern France in end of the eleventh or beginning of the twelfth century (Borst et al.). It is a sammelhandschrift with several distinctive codicological units: the first unit has quiremarks a-h at the first recto of each quire; ff. 80-103 missing quiremarks - probably a separate production; two quires (ff. 104-119) are according to "Sternbilder des Mittelalters" are marked with Roman numerlas "I" and "II"; the following three quires (ff. 120-137) have quiremakrs o-p-q on the first recto. The end of the manuscript (ff. 138-150) are probably two quires, the second of which has a quiremark "II" on the first recto (f. 146r). — On the later history and acquisition of the manuscript see the Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts .

Selected Bibliography:Borst, Schriften. Vol. 1, pp. 245-246. — Sternbilder des Mittelalters, pp. 333-339. — Lippincott, K. Saxl Project. — de Vyver, A. V. "Les œuvres inédites d’Abbon de Fleury." Revue Bénédictine 47 (1935): 125-169, here 145. — Saxl, Verzeichnis 3,1, pp. 197-98- — Gneuss, H. Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001, no. 483. — Dutis, R. 'Celestial Transmissions: An Iconographical Classification of Constellation Cycles in Manuscripts (8th-15th Centuries).' Scriptorium 59 (2005): 147-202 (pp. 162, n. 85, 192, pls 40d-e). — Liuzza, R. L. 'The Sphere of Life and Death: Time, Medicine and the Visual Imagination.' In Latin Learning and English Lore, II: Studies in Anglo-Saxon Literature for Michael Lapidge. Ed. by Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe and Andy Orchard. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005, pp. 28-52, here pp, 30, 34-35, 38-42, 48n. — Chardonnens, L. Anglo-Saxon Prognostics 900-1100: Study and Texts. Boston: Brill, 2007, pp. 272, 547. — Liuzza, R. L. Anglo-Saxon Prognostics: An Edition and Translation of Texts from London, British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius A.iii. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2011, p. 73.

Codicological Unit 1 (ff. 1-103)

1r-12v Helpericus Altissiodorensis: Liber de computo Incipit […]

12v-13r Dies Egyptiaci De diebus egyptiis Si tenebre ęgiptus graio sermone uocatur … — … mortale periculum est sanguinem minuere.

13r-14r Computus material including Ciclus annalis, De horis mensium and De singulis horis in die quomodo mensurantur cum pedibus with a table of moveable feasts (f. 13r) and an orologium diagram.

14r-22r Bede: De natura rerum Incipiunt duo libelli Bede presbiteri de natura rerum et ratione temporum. Incipit liber primus de quadrifario dei opere Operatio divina que secula creavit et gubernat … — … atque inde affrica a meridie usque ad occidentem excenditur. Explicit liber primus. Marginal annotation on f. 16r: "Quando luna plena est uix stelle uidentur in caelo quia superat tunc lux lune lumen stellarum et si defectus illius fuerit quia tunc accidere solet statim apparent. Similiter si in die fuerit defectus solis omnes eadem hora possunt uideri. Si quando oriuntur truces seui que uenticuta etherem rapiunt scintillas ex ethereo igne et sic uidetur quasi stelle cadant".

22r-28r Bede: De temporibus Incipit secundus de temporibus horis et momentis Tempora momentis horis diebus mensibus annis saeculis ętatibus diuiduntur … — … Reliquum sexte etatis deo soli patet finis. Explicit.

28r-29v Apuleian Sphere Ratio de egris. Pitoris (corrected to: Pitorisis) Necnepso regi salutem. De his que a me ad humane vite (ff. 28v-29r) and two circular diagrams (f. 29v).

30r blank.

30v-103v Bede: De temporum ratione

Codicological Unit 2 (ff. 104-119)

104r-105r Excerptum de astrologia Duo sunt vertices mundi quos appelant polos … — … ad ipsum usque decurrit accipiens.

105r-113r Excerptio Abbonis ex higino de figuratione signorum Abbo of Fleury. Denique ut dicit plinius inter omnia sunt LXXIIta signa … — … secans ad octauam partem cancri redit. Drawings of the constellations.

113r-114r Abbo of Fleury: Sententia Abbonis de differentia circuli et sperae Studiosis astrologię primo sciendum est … — … Si vero nota est aliquis planetarum est.

114r-115v Abbo of Fleury. Denique luna totius zodiaci signa puncta partes studiooso lectori manifestabit … — … similiter in reliquis. Explicit liber arati de signis celestibus. Diagram of the lunar motion on f.114v.

115v-118r De duodecim signis De XII signis cur figurantur sic de ariete Regionem primam celi in qua sol cursum suum dirigit … — … ac si numquam fuissent audita vel scripta penitus omittenda, quae diabolicus error confirmavit sed christus dominus salvator mundi evertit. Diagram of the rising and setting of the sun throughout the year.

118v-119v On the celestial circles and the postiton of the constellations Spera fiat omni parte equalis et rotunda … — … leua manu ipsius serpentis pectus stringens flexuosu.

Codicological Unit 3 (ff. 120-149)

120r-126v Dungal: Epistola ad Carolum Magnum de duplici solis eclipsi anno 810 The middle section of Dunagl's text is replaced with an excerpt from Macrobius' Commentary. According to Stansfield (Alcuins achievement) the text of the letter is closely related to but at some points superior to the copy in Berlin, SB Cod. 1831, ff. 116-117. Additions from Macrobius begin on f. 122v-123 with a diagram.

126v-127r Isidore of Seville: Etymologiae (excerpts from book 3, De eclipse, chapters 58 and 59) Eclipsis solis est quotiens luna trigesima ad eandem lineam

127r-132r Macrobius: Commentarii in Ciceronis Somnium Scipionis (excerpts on astronomical subjects) Unde mundanus dicitur quia mundus proprie celum uocatur.

132r-139v Annalis libellus (cap. 1-19, 22-70) Quot modis soleat annus nominari. Primus modus est de luna qui quinquefarie accipitur Cap. 52 ends abruptly after only five lines of text on the f. 137v only to continue with the new quire on f. 138r by a different hand. Borst, Schriften, pp. 679-772.

139v-140va Versus Dionisii de annis Domini Anni domini notatur in presenti linea MGH Poetae lat. aevi carol., 674 (Strophe 1-2, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 19-25 and additions). Cordoliani, Alfred. ‘Le comput ecclésiastique à l’abbaye du Mont-Cassin au XIe siècle’. Anuario de estudios medievales 3 (1966): 65–89.

140vb-141v Hrabanus Maurus: De computo (excerpt from chapter 6) De notis antiquioribus que notant numerus Tres digiti in sinistra manu, id est auricularis

141v-143r De mensuris et ponderibus Mensurarum in liquidis coclear est pars minima

145r Versus de ciclo Pasche magno Compotus hic alphabeto confectus habetur

145v A short text on the moveable feasts followed by a diagram on the epacts allowing to find the date in the lunar calendar from the solar calendar; it is used in the calculation of the date of Easter.

146r-148v Bede: Epistola ad Wicthedum de aequinoctio vel de paschae celebratione (imperfect at the beginning and at the end) [equi] noctialem sui cursus locum in signifero circulo … — … aut nona kalendarum aprilium die non fuisse, aut ante equinoctium fuisse confirmet Explicit Epistola Bede presbiteri ad Vicredam [!] presbiterum.

149r-v Verses on the seven liberal arts. The last verses have been copied by two different 15th-century hands (f. 149v).

Abreviated Literature:

Borst, SchriftenBorst, Arno. Schriften zur Komputistik im Frankenreich von 721 bis 818. 3 Vols. (MGH: Quellen zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, 21, 1-3) Hannover: Hahn, 2006.
MGH Poetae lat. aevi carol.Monumenta Germaniae historica. Poetae latini aevi carolini
Saxl, Verzeichnis 3,1Saxl, Fritz. Verzeichnis Astrologischer Und Mythologischer Illustrierter Handschriften Des Lateinischen Mittelalters. Vol. 3,1: Handschriften in englischen Bibliotheken. Heidelberg: Winter, 1953.
Sternbilder des MittelaltersBlume, Dieter, Mechthild Haffner, and Wolfgang Metzger. Sternbilder des Mittelalters: der gemalte Himmel zwischen Wissenschaft und Phantasie. Vol. I, 1: Text und Katalog der Handschriften. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012.

(last change: 2018-05-28)
How to quote: Ivana Dobcheva, 'London, British Library, Royal MS 13 A XI - Aratea Digital ' ( last update: 2018-05-28).