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Roe Manuscripts


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Manuscripts collected by Sir Thomas Roe. Of the collection, 27 are Greek (chiefly theological), one (no. 257) Hebrew, one (no. 272) Arabic, and one (no. 266) Latin: no. 18 is now two volumes.


  • Creation: 10th-17th century


3.30 Linear metres (30 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • Greek, Ancient (to 1453)
  • Hebrew
  • Arabic
  • Latin

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Roe 1, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Roe 1-17, 18a-b, 19-29

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13432


Manuscripts collected by Sir Thomas Roe.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Thomas Roe was born in 1580 or 1581, and matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1593, but took no degree. On March 23, 1604/5 he was knighted, and in 1614 began his official journeys to the East which made him famous. From that year to January 1617/8 he was Ambassador to Jehângîr, the Mogul emperor of Hindustan, and from September 1621 till the summer of 1628 to the Turkish Court. In October 1640 Roe was elected a burgess of the University in Parliament, and died on November 6 1644. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Other Finding Aids

Full descriptions, in Latin, are in Henry O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars prima recensionem codicum Graecorum continens (Oxford, 1853; reprinted with corrections, 1969), Roe 1-29.

Other Finding Aids

The illuminated manuscripts in this collection are described in detail in I. Hutter, Corpus der Byzantinischen Miniaturenhandschriften. Oxford Bodleian Library, 4 vols. (Stuttgart, 1977-1982).

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. II, nos. 247-275.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The manuscripts were presented to the Library by Roe in 1628, according to an inscription placed in each manuscript, which records that it was brought from the East and presented to the Public Library [the Bodleian] 'in gratitudinis suae erga Matrem Academiam perpetuum testimonium', but the manuscripts actually arrived with the Barocci Collection about the end of May 1629, see Macray's Annals of the Bodleian, 2nd ed. (1890), pp. 70, 72. 242 coins were also given by Roe's widow in 1644 by his desire.

Related Materials

There are two old catalogues in manuscript, one by Patrick Young (Junius, d. 1652) in no. MS. Smith 34, at fol. 87, apparently made in 1629, and one by Dr. Peter Turner, made about 1630 but wanting the account of ten of the volumes, in AA. 1 Med. Seld. Roe gave no. MS. Bodl. OR. 130 in 1620, and Roe no. 20 in 1630. Roe's was the first collection to be kept apart and separately numbered as a collection.

Roe Manuscripts
Collection Level Description by Emily Tarrant; EAD version 2020 by Alice Whichelow
EAD version 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom