The James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Shelfmark O.2.48
Manuscript Title


Alternative Title


James Number 1152
Century 14th
Physical Description

26 lines to a page. The paper is very thick and soft and much worn at the edges, especially in the middle of the volume.


Part of the Gale collection, given to T.C.C. by Roger Gale in 1738. K. 15. No. 385. Possibly German.

Second Folio Nomen herbe
Donor Gale, Roger (1672-1744), Antiquary
Size (cm) 22.5 x 16
Folio 273 ff.
Material Paper
Language Latin

In quires of twelve, with not a few mutilations. The collation is almost impossible on account of the character and condition of the paper.

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Online Since 06/10/2015


The flyleaf is part of a leaf of a large Bible in double columns, of cent. x.; it contains part of Gen. xliii. 1 Apuleii (?) Herbarium.
Text begins 1
Precantacio omnium herbarum ad singulas
-minuente luna medicamenta inponis.
Precatio siue conspiracio omnium herbarum.
Veneris ad herbam que tibi necessaria luerit
-ramozato . mirialam · cabanie.
(Rubric illegible)
Cesari augusto prestantissimo omnium
-cum uolueris ut sic uberis.
Finit prologus siue coniectura herbe betonice.
Incip. nomina eiusdem.
f.2 Nomen herbe betonice
There is an enormous number of coloured drawings in the book, roughly done, but seemingly after good models, and possibly in the case of a fair number of the plants, from nature. Probably the whole number is between 800 and 1000. The large majority are merely pictures of the plants, but some are figure-compositions.
On f.4b (Herb. quinquefolium). A seated figure holds a cup of wine and a flagon. A man on R. with two javelins approaches. Buildings with dove-tail battlements on R. and L.
f.5b. Doctor by a building touches leg of patient on L.
f.15b. Mutilated picture of a scene in a dispensary.
f.19a. Doctor with cup. Man on L. with a pain in his stomach, attendant on R.
f.19b. (Dittany). Doctor with cup and flagon. Man on R. with serpent at his feet.
f.20a. Hunting scene.
f.21b. Herb Paeony brought to a sick man.
f.22, (23)b. A man riding to R.; a crowd of figures accost him.
f.24b. Medicine being dispensed.
ff.25b, 26a. Scenes with doctors and patients.
ff.27b, 28b, 29b, 30a, 35a. Similar scenes.
f.38a. Dog pulling up male mandrake.
[f.39b Dioscorides, De herbis feminis.]
f.47a. Three men with spears and dog approaching female mandrake.
f.53b. Milking a goat.
ff.55b, 56a (Herba Salomonis). Monk and woman. Man holding
up a herb towards two demoniacs on R. Devils fly upward out
of their mouths.
f.64a. Scenes with epileptics.
f.64b. Full page. A City.
f.65a. Galienus et eius discipuli. Full page. He is throned
between four armed men. Below are two disciples writing.
f.65b. Full page: a city.
f.66a. Ypocrates et eius discipuli. Full page. He is throned:
three figures on each side, two with scrolls: under the footstool
is an agonised figure supporting it.
ff.88, 89. Four figure-compositions, (1) 2 women and a man.
(2) Man in agitated movement: man with spear.
(3) Man and woman, (4) woman and man with scroll.
f.93a. Christ and the Virgin conversing: very rough.
f.93b. Two scenes, patient and doctor: 3 people sit under a herb,
ff.97, 99, 100, 101, 103. Scenes with patients.
f.134a. Man fighting a snake.
f.134b. Three people in a ship.
The text of the Herbal ends abruptly on f.250b with the herb forobos.
Then follows a tract on beasts and birds, with rough drawings, de lepore. [Sextus Placitus, Liber medicine ex animalibus...]
Rex egipciorum octauiano augusto · salutem · plurimis exemplis expertus sum victoriam tuam et prudenciam.
There are pictures of
Hare, Fox, Goat, Boar, Bear, Wolf, Lion, Bull, a sort of human-headed serpent not named (f.255), Elephant, Dog, Ass, Mule, Horse, Ram, Wild Goat, Youth and Maid, Cat, Grillus, Weasel, Mouse, Eagle, Vulture, Hawk, Crane, Cock, Partridge, Goose, Swallow, Dove, Crow, Hen, Hoopoe, Stork, Pie, Owls (4), Blackbird, Heron?, Parrot (cut out), Swan, another cut out, Peacock, Marmot?, Cocodrillus (a bird), Ostrich, Leopard, Deer, Unicorn, Dragon/Griffin. The two last are on the last leaf, which is much mutilated.


Gourevitch, D.,'La conception galénique de la maladie', La revue du praticien, 51 (2001), 1995-2000

Morgan, N., and S. Panayotova, et al., eds., Illuminated Manuscripts in Cambridge: A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part One, The Low Countries, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, 2 vols. (London, 2009) , vol. 1, no. 84

Morrison, E., Book of Beasts: the bestiary in the medieval world (Los Angeles, 2019), pp.139-40

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