The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark B.16.3
Manuscript Title

Hrabanus Maurus, De laudibus sanctae crucis

Alternative Title

Rabanus De Laude Crucis.

James Number 379
Century 10th
Physical Description

35 and 47 lines on a page. In a beautiful English hand, where not in rustic capitals.


Given by Whitgift.

On the recto of the frontispiece are the names Willyam Porter (early xvi) andLiber Gilberti Bourne (xvi) in purple ink: also his motto - doce me domine facere voluntatem tuam. On the last fly-leaf is (xv) T. Glowcestr.

The probability is that the book comes from Canterbury, but I cannot identify it with certainty in any Catalogue. [Ker (1964) rejects Canterbury]

Second Folio Sedis apostolice or MUSA CITA
Donor Whitgift, John (1530/31?–1604), Archbishop of Canterbury, Master of Trinity
Size (cm) 42.5 x 34
Folio 45 ff.
Material Parchment
Language Latin

18-58 66 (6 a slip).

IIIF Manifest URL
Online Since 29/09/2018


At the top of the first page is this cryptogram

At the top of the frontispiece in a large early xiiith cent hand
Hoc uolumen continet Rabanum de laude crucis

(added in xiii, xiv) et appreciatur in II marcis

On f.1b is a frontispiece of great interest: the painting of it is not of the English style of the period, but in a style recalling Italian work: the draperies in broad smooth folds, not crinkled, and the colours also broad and smooth.
Outer frame light purple, narrow white band inside, enclosing green frame with red lettering and gold (fluid gold) corners. Within, three tiled domes, the central one green the others red. Four columns support them. Those on R. and L. are green with alternate bands of fluted and spiral work. At the top a red band with gold capitals and blue and green palmettos above. The two central columns are purple with spiral bands, and similar caps. The back-ground of the R. and L. divisions is black, that of C. blue- green above and brown below. Across the spring of the arches runs a rod supporting four curtains which are turned round the pillars. They are (from L.) blue, pale lilac, green, and red.
In the L. arch are two DIACONI tonsured, in long yellowish sleeved tunics over white, black shoes with crossed strings and the openings bordered with white dots. They point to R.
In the C. sits GREGORIVS (PAPA erased) beardless with large gold nimbus, facing R. in green robe over white. He is on a seat with arches, red gold and blue, with blue and white cushion: brown footstool. His shoes resemble those of the deacons. He takes a gold book from the hand of Rabanus.
In the R. arch HRABANUS, old with short grey beard, and tonsure (resembling St Peter), in brown chasuble-like garment over blue-green, gives to Gregory a gold book on which is written (later) HIC UENIT.
Behind him is another deacon.

On the frame has been an inscription in red capitals, now a good deal damaged.
On the upper frame is written in black


f.2(1) Sedis apostolicae princeps lux aurea romae.
See P.L. cvii. 139.
The 'imago Imperatoris' (l.c. 141) is not in this MS.
f.1b Hortatur nos lex diuina
Expl. Prologus.
f.2 The first diagram
f.2b Capitula
f.3a blank.
f.3b The second diagram, containing a figure of Christ with cross-nimbus, and loin cloth of blue-green, standing with outstretched arms
The other diagrams which contain figures are
f.6b One with two red six-winged seraphs, and two angels with two wings (Fig. iv)
f.17b One with the Lamb, with seven horns and cross-nimbus surrounded by the Evangelistic creatures, each holding a gold label inscribed with the opening words of his Gospel (Fig. xv)
f.30b One with a figure of Rabanus in brown hooded garment over blue adoring the cross (Fig. xxviii)
f.31b Inc. Prefatio libri secundi
Mos apud ueteres fuit ut gemino stilo.
Ends f.44(45b) per cuncta sonabit secula.


Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Trinity College Library: Poems on the Cross, with a new kind of blue, Library Blog (2018)

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'A microfilm of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Bibliothéque municipale, MS 82, a copy of Amalarius' De ecclesiasticis officiis supposed to be written (in part) by the same scribe as B.16.3, is kept under the shelf-mark M/F 739.

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