The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark B.14.3
Manuscript Title Arator, Historia apostolica
Alternative Title Arator.
James Number 289
Century 9th10th11th
Physical Description 22 [23] lines to a page (with interlinear glosses). Beautifully written: headings etc. in rustic capitals. Initials with birds and monsters: the hand resembles Carolingian minuscule.
Provenance Given by Willmer.

From Christ Church, Canterbury. On f.1 of text is ARATOR DE ACTIBUS APOSTOLORUM PETRI ET PAULI, in small capitals: and the mark [two vertical lines both intercepted about two-thirds of the way down their length by the same horizontal line; each vertical line has a short wavy horizontal line to the right attached about a third of the way down its length]. Also the later class-markD · 11a · Gra XIIIus. On a parchment slip at the beginning is Ericus Benzelius Suevus contuli hunc librum MS. praestantissimum cum impress 1700 . m. Junio. He was Bishop of Linkjöping, and chief Librarian of Upsala. His projected edition of Arator never appeared.

Religious House Canterbury, Kent, Benedictine Cathedral Priory (Christ Church)
Donor Wilmer, George (c.1583-1626), Alumnus Of Trinity (Matric 1598)
Size (cm) 25 x 18
Folio 66 ff.
Material Parchment
Language Latin
Collation a4 | A8-H8 wants 7, 8 blank, quires C-G marked capitals on last leaf, in middle of lower margin.
IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 31/05/2013


The four fly-leaves at the beginning are from a ixth cent. MS. in Lombardic minuscules in double columns of 27 lines. They are from a copy of Ambrose on Ps. cxviii. (P.L. xv. 1342, 1345, 1352).
Hic ergo uenit ad laqueos sed uoluntarius.

ff.1, 2 are continuous, f.2 ends
et iudicio dei damnanda committat. Js enim qui iu-
f.3 nobis colloquia dei.
f.4 ends etiam his qui diligunt aduentum eius. sed hoc ille ait qui poterat dicere.

1. f.1 Arator de actibus Apostolorum Petri et Pauli
A fine initial Q of two dragons united by foliage and scroll-work, and a bird. Colours, scarlet, dark red, dark blue, green.
Opening line in large capitals, green, dark red, dark blue.
The next lines are in rustic capitals, scarlet, dark red, scarlet, green, dark red, black.
(Inc.) Qui meriti florem maturis sensibus ortum.
In the first few leaves the order in which the words are to be combined is indicated by small letters a, b, c, d written over them.

2. f.1b In red rustic capitals
Domino sancto beatissimo atque apostolico et in toto orbe primo omnium sacerdotum papae Vigilio Arator sub-diaconus.
Initial in outline of English character.
Moenibus undosis bellorum incendia cernens
(green and red capitals).
Ends f.2b Si quid ab ore placet laus monitoris erit.
Expl. Epistola.

3. f.2b Inc. capitula (xxiii.)

4. f.3 Finiunt tituli libri I. Incipit his(toriae) apostolicae Aratoris subdiaconi romane aecclesiae liber primus
Vt sceleris ludea sui polluta cruore
(Green and red capitals. Initial in outline: English.)
Lib. I. ends on 33.
Claudit iter bellis qui portam pandit in astris.

5. Capitula to Lib. II. without heading and only 1-3 numbered.
f.34a blank.

6. f.34b Liber II. (this is the only heading)
Initial in outline black and red, English.
Spiritus accensam verbo radiante lucernam.
(Black and red capitals.)
Ends f.64b
Et tenet eternam socialis gratia palmam.
Finit liber secundus Aratoris subdiaconi sancte aecclesiae
Romane historiae Deo gratias.

7. f.64b Beato domino petro adiuuante oblatus est huiuscemodi codex ab aratore subdiacono sanctae ecclesiae romane sancto atque apostolico uiro pape uigilio etc.
Ends. Tertio proconsule basilio v̅c̅. Indictione septima.

8. f.65b Acrostic addressed to St Dunstan (see 0.1.18)
The first and last letters are not inserted.
(0) pater omnipotens digneris ferre donant(I).
(P)remia qui super alta poli quoque segmina necno(N).
Ends unfinished
(R)egmina qui trinum retinet mihi mistica nume(N).
f.66a is blank. On the verso is the Greek alphabet faintly
written, in capitals, including the numeral letters ς etc.
Then in minuscules (xi)
stomen kalos · Stomen meta fouu (στωμεν μετὰ φὠ̑βου).

Throughout the text are interlinear glosses. I seem to detect two hands of nearly contemporary date with each other and with the MS. In the first book there are more copious marginal notes than later on.


Bischoff, B., 'Manoscritti Nonantolani dispersi dell'epoca Carolingia', La Bibliofilia 85 (1983), 99-124, at 114-16.

Bischoff, B., Katalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts (mit Ausnahme der wisigotischen), Teil I: Aachen - Lambeth (Wiesbaden, 1998), no. 837.

Bishop, T. A. M., 'Notes on Cambridge Manuscripts V', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 3 (1959-63), 93-5, at 94.

Bishop, T. A. M., 'Notes on Cambridge Manuscripts VII', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 3 (1959-63), 413-23.

Bishop, T. A. M., English Caroline Minuscule (Oxford, 1971), p. 7.

Dumville, D. N., Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical History of Late Anglo-Saxon England, Studies in Anglo-Saxon History 5 (Woodbridge, 1992), p. 148.

Gneuss, H., Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: a List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100, Medieval and Renaissance Studies 241 (Tempe, AZ, 2001), nos. 175 [s. x/xi, origin Christ Church, Canterbury] and 175.1 [flyleaves 1-4: s. ix1 or ix med., origin Nonantola, provenance England s. xi, provenance after 1100 probably Christ Church, Canterbury]

Gneuss, H. and Lapidge, M., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Biographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Toronto, 2014), nos. 175 and 175.1

James, M. R., The Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover (Cambridge, 1903), pp. lxxxiii, 506.

James, Catalogue, pl. II.

Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), no. 85.

Ker, N. R., Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 3, 2nd edn (London, 1964)

Keynes, S., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Other Items of Related Interest in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, Old English Newsletter Subsidia 18 (Binghampton, NY, 1992), no. 16 + pl. XVI.

Lapidge, M., 'The Study of Latin Texts in Late Anglo-Saxon England: the Evidence of Latin Glosses', in Latin and the Vernacular Languages in Early Medieval Britain, ed. N. Brooks (Leicester, 1982), pp. 99-140, at pp. 116-20

McKinlay, A. P., Arator: the Codices (Cambridge, MA, 1942), no. 67

McKinlay, A. P., 'Latin Commentaries on Arator', Scriptorium 6 (1952), 151-6.

Morgan, N. and Panayatova, S. (eds.) with the assistance of Rebecca Rushforth, Illuminated Manuscripts in Cambridge : A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part 4, The British Isles, 2 vols. (London, 2013), vol 1. no. 23

Ohlgren, T. H., ed., Insular and Anglo-Saxon Illuminated Manuscripts: an Iconographic Catalogue c. A.D. 625 to 1100 (New York, 1986), no. 139.

Temple, E., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 900-1066, Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles 2 (London, 1976), no. 34.

Wieland, G. R., 'The Glossed Manuscript: Classbook or Library Book?', Anglo-Saxon England 14 (1985), 153-73, at 158-9.

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