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[Italy, mid-12th century]
262 x 170mm. 111ff: iii + 17 (of 8, lacking i), 2-138, 145 (of 8, vi-viii cancelled), 18 lines of biblical text written in brown ink in a protogothic bookhand on a drypoint ruling of 18 horizontals, the top and bottom lines to the page-edge the remainder to the bounding verticals of the central text column, short interlinear glosses and up to 40 lines of marginal gloss on either side of the biblical text written in a small protogothic bookhand, all within six verticals, biblical capitals in red, chapter openings in uncials sometimes of alternately red and brown letters (slight thumbing of margins, occasional spotting but generally in extremely good condition). Old, most probably the original boards recovered with later tan goatskin, indentation from a single fore-edge clasp (rebacked with modern brown morocco).


1. Ex libris inscription on f.ii Iste liber est fratrum .... de ....., and a note on f.i that the book was bought for 60 soldi in 1243.

2. James P. R. Lyell (1871-1949), great book collector and founder of the Lyell lectures in Bibliography at Oxford University: his bookplate on the pastedown of the upper cover. A hundred of Lyell's manuscripts were bequeathed to the Bodleian Library


Leaf from a 12th-13th century Italian ?Legendary with the legend of St Stephen and a hymn, f.i (flyleaf from the 13th-century binding); bifolium from a 13th-century Italian commentary on the Song of Songs, ff.ii-iii (flyleaf from the 13th-century binding); Gospel of Luke with the Gloss, ff.1-108v.

Towards the end of the 11th century Anselm of Laon began to compile a gloss made up of extracts from patristic writings that was to be copied alongside the text of the Bible. His followers continued this work and, known as the glossa ordinaria, it became the standard tool of biblical study, superseding all earlier commentaries. The Gloss to the Gospel of Luke may have been written by Gilbert of Auxerre (d.1134).
By around 1130 the Gloss had been completed for all books of the bible and one of the earliest recorded complete sets was in fact taken to Italy; Guido da Castello presented a set that he had presumably acquired when a student in France to Città di Castello in Umbria. Guido became Pope Celestine II in 1143 and died in 1144. The present manuscript seems to be dependent on an exemplum of a similarly early date. Christopher de Hamel (Glossed Books of the Bible, 1984) has pointed out that the page lay-out of northern French glossed books underwent a complete change in the 1160s. From then on the gloss and the biblical texts were written on a single system of ruled lines. The present manuscript follows the earlier type where the biblical text is written in a central column on ruled lines and the gloss in the margins is written in an independent pattern.

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