Edited by Orietta Da Rold, Takako Kato, Mary Swan and Elaine Treharne

(University of Leicester, 2010; last update 2013)

http://www.le.ac.uk/ee/em1060to1220, ISBN 095323195X

The Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220

Elaine Treharne

London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius A. xv, fols 4-93

London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius A. xv, fols 4-93

The Production and Use of English Manuscripts: 1060 to 1220

© 2010-13 The Production and Use of

English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220 |

Ed. by ODR, TK, MS & ET, ISBN 095323195X |

Back to List of MSS and Descriptions

Religious Prose and Pastoral Texts

Date: s. xiimed


Now bound as part of the composite codex containing Beowulf, Part 1 of Vitellius A. xv contains four textual items from fols 4-59v. Each of the texts is a freely adapted version of earlier English exemplars, the first being the Soliloquia of St. Augustine, attributed in a colophon to King Alfred (Endter 1922). It begins 'Gaderode me þonne kicglas ˥ stuþan sceaftas' and ends imcompletely '[H]ær endiað þa cwidas þe ælfred kining alæs of þære bec þe we hatað ón', with just a few words missing (Ker 1957, p. 279). The texts of all the pieces were damaged in the fire of 1731; the copy by Junius in Oxford Bodleian MS Junius 70 (Madan 1895-1953, 5181) is the best authority for some readings on fol. 5.

Fols 60-86v. A translation of the Gospel of Nicodemus begins acephalously 'hyne cumen hyder to foran' (Hulme 1898, p. 473; see also Cross and Hill 1982). According to Ker 1957, a comparison with CUL Ii. 2. 11 shows that an amount of text equal to more than two pages of the printed text is missing at the beginning.

Fols 86v-93v contain the unique prose debate of Solomon and Saturn, beginning 'Her kið hu saturnus. 7 Saloman. fettode' (Thorpe 1834, p. 95).

Fol. 93v has the opening eleven lines of the Old English Life of St. Quintin (31 October), beginning '[H]it sagð þæt ða geforewritu cyðað...hys gewinnu. 7 hys haligan drohtnunge'. This is discussed briefly by Whatley in Biggs, Hill Szarmach and Whatley 2001.

Manuscript Items:

  1. Item: fols 4r-59v

      Title (B.9.4.1): St Augustine, Soliloquies

      Incipit: (4r) Gaderode me þonne kicglas ˥ stuþan sceaftas

      Explicit: (59v) Hær endiað þa cwidas þe ælfred kining alæs of þære bec þe we hatað on

      Text Language: English

      Note: Ends imperfectly.


  2. Item: fols 60r-86v

      Title (B.8.5.2): Apocrypha: Gospel of Nicodemus

      Incipit: (60r) hyne cumen hyder to foran

      Explicit: (86v) Sig dryhtne lof and deoflum sorh a to worulde. AMEN.

      Text Language: English

      Note: Begins imperfectly at Ch. I.2


  3. Item: fols 86v-93v

      Title (B.5.1): Prose Dialogues: Solomon and Saturn

      Incipit: (86v) Her kið hu saturnus. ˥ Saloman. fettode

      Explicit: (93v) vii hund hlafa ˥ xx hlafa buton morgeme[tt]en ˥ nonmettum.

      Text Language: English


  4. Item: fol. 93v

      Title (B.3.3.33): Anonymous Homilies, Homilies for Specified Occasions, Sanctorale: Saint Quintin

      Incipit: (93v) Hit sagð þæt ða geforewritu cyðað by þara haligra martira lyfe

      Explicit: (93v) þæt he þam heofonlican criste hys gewinnu and his haligan drohtnunge...

      Text Language: English

      Note: Ends imperfectly due to loss of leaves


Physical Description:

Object Description:

Form: Codex


Foliation and/or Pagination: The manuscript has multiple layers of foliation. Unnumbered paper leaves inserted after fols 59 and 93 are included in the foliation 4-95 adopted by Förster 1919. Kiernan 1999 uses the foliation given by Joseph Planta who wrote the numbers on the manuscript when he was the Keeper (Planta 1802), which is still clearly visible. See Kiernan 1997, 'History of the Multiple Foliations', pp. 98-103.


Condition: Each leaf is separately mounted and traced on the mounting paper. Rust marks indicating a former binding with a medial metal clasp are found on fol. 4 and fol. 93.

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