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Codex comprising Parts of the Aurora of Petrus de Riga, 'Incipit Liber Thobie elegiaco metro conscriptus' and various poems, written chiefly in about A.D. 1200 in England

MS. Bodl. 656
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request


(fol. 1). Parts of the Aurora of Petrus de Riga (with no title or author's name), consisting of an elegiac paraphrase of the following books of the Old Testament. There are some marginal notes. The selection of books is the original one, the volume not being imperfect.

  1. Leviticus (beg. 'Vox autem domini');
  2. Numbers (fol. 16);
  3. Deuteronomy (fol. 26v);
  4. Joshua (fol. 30v);
  5. Judges (fol. 34v);
  6. Ruth (fol. 40v);
  7. four books of Kings (fol. 41v);
  8. two books of Maccabees (fol. 66);
  9. 'Recapitulationes hystoriarum', 23 lipogrammatic elegiac distinctiones, but the titles 'sn a', 'sn b', etc., have been misread by the scribe as 'sententia a', etc.: all but the last refer to the Old Testament (fol. 75);
  10. Tobit beg. ('Qui legis hystoriam', fol. 83);
  11. Esther (fol. 91v).

(fol. 96) 'Incipit Liber Thobie elegiaco metro conscriptus' beg. 'Ex agro ueteri'), preceded by the 'Epistola ad Bartholomeum metropolitanum Turonensem archiepiscopum' (1174-1206), in which the author's name occurs as Matthaeus (Vindocinensis): at end 'Exsplicit THOBIAS . Anima auctoris & scriptoris ... requiescant in pace. Amen.'

(fol. 137). Various poems:

  1. An elegiac poem on moral virtue, especially prudentia, magnanimitas, sobrietas, justitia beg. 'Quatuor eximias');
  2. (fol. 144v) Similar verses on the Eucharist beg. 'Tollimur e medio', ends, at the end of a gathering, 'rex super astra sedens', but ten more lines are supplied on an inserted piece of parchment): the rest of the volume is in a hand of the early part of the 13th century;
  3. (fol. 146) A passage from the Poetria Nova of Geoffrey de Vinsauf beg. 'Neustria sub clipeo', ends 'lacrima mundi');
  4. (fols. 146, 151v) Verses on differences of apparently similar words beg.'Ni superes tu qui super es');
  5. (fol. 146) Epitaphs, epigrams, etc., among which are 'Epitaphium regis Henrici' beg. 'Sufficit hic tumulus', Henry 2nd?), 'Epitafium Wintoniensis episcopi', i.e. Godefridus de Lucy (d. 1204), with several other epitaphs on him (partly by 'magister Seron', 'Willelmus Auenant', '... sch. de Leircestria'), and 'Epitaphium Marci prions.'

Throughout the volume a smear of yellowish green paint is used to call attention to a word or passage.


  • Creation: written chiefly in about A.D. 1200 in England


164 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • Latin


MS. Bodl. 656

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. V, no. 27644.

Custodial History

'Hic est liber ecclesie beati Thome martiris de Lyesnes de dono fratris Thome de Sandwyco, quern qui ei abstulerit aut super eo fraudem fecerit, nisi eidem ecclesie pleno satisfecerit Anathema sit Maranatha' (13th century): bp. Godfrey (see above) was a son of the founder of Lesnes or Westwood abbey in Erith, and was himself a benefactor to it.

Physical Facet

On parchment, with some illuminated capitals, etc.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom