You are in Introduction. Click here to skip the navigation.
British Library
Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
About Simple search Manuscript search Advanced search  Virtual exhibitions Glossaries Contact us  Main
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back

search tips  Search tips



Detailed record for Harley 3595

Part 1 ff. 1-56v 
Author Boethius, Germanicus
Title De arithmetica (ff. 1-48v), Scholia in Germanicum Sangermanensia (f. 49), De musica (imperfect) (ff. 50-56v)
Origin Germany
Date 10th century
Language Latin
Script Caroline minuscule
Decoration Tinted drawing of Perseus holding the head of Medusa (f. 49). Tinted drawing of seven stars, symbolized by portrait busts of women in medallions (f. 49v). Plain initials in brown, a few with purple or green. Various tables and geometric diagrams in brown and red, some with green.
Dimensions in mm 285 x 200 (220 x 150)
Part 2 ff. 57-73v 
Author Euclid (translated by Boethius), and anonymous author(s)
Title Libri duo geometriae (ff. 57-68) and various works on mathematics (ff. 68-73v).
Origin Germany
Date 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 11th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic, written above top line
Decoration Various tables and geometric diagrams in brown. Small initials in red. Rubrics in red. f. 58 is an earlier parchment fragment, probably of the 11th century.
Dimensions in mm 275 x 185 (225 x 135)
Official foliation ff. 73 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1966. The covers of a previous 'Harleian' binding of gold-tooled red leather are pasted inside the present ones.
Provenance Erik Benzelius, the Younger (b. 1675, d. 1743), scholar and theologian, archbishop of Uppsala: inscribed 'E. Benzelius' (f. 1).
Johann Georg Graevius (b. 1632, d. 1703), German classical scholar and critic: sold to Wilhelm in 1703 with the rest of his library (see Wright 1972).
Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine (b. 1658, d. 1716), owner of a library in Düsseldorf: bought the entire Graevius library in 1703 (see Clark 1891; Wright 1972).
Giovanni Giacomo Zamboni (d. 1753), resident in London for the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (c. 1723-1753), friend of Michael Mattaire, the classical scholar and historian of printing: bought the Wilhelm library sometime before 1724 through Johann Büchels (b. 1659, d. 1738) (Wright 1972).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley, '20 die mensis Octobris, A.D. 1725’ (ff. 1, 57).
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes For a detailed list of the contents, see the Harley Catalogue.
ff. 1-56v: Added marginal and interlinear notes, possibly in the same hand as that of Part II: ff. 57-73v.
Ruled in hard point.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 3595.

A. C. Clark, 'The Library of J. G. Graevius', The Classical Review, 5 (1891), 365-372 (p. 371).

Marcel Destombes, 'Un astrolabe carolingien et l'origine de nos chiffres arabes', Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, 58-59 (1962), 3-45 (p. 37).

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), II: 1723-1726, p. 385 n. 6.

Menso Folkerts, 'Boethius' Geometrie II: Ein mathematisches Lehrbuch des Mittelalters (Wiesbaden: F. Steiner, 1970), pp. 4-5, 29, 51-55, 56 n. 5, 63 n. 3, 64 n. 7, 86 n. 29 and n. 31, 87 n. 33, n. 36, and n. 39, 88 n. 45, 106 n. 4, 110, 229, and tables 1, 2, 11.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 70-71, 169, 367.

Oswald Ashton Wentworth Dilke, Mathematics and Measurements (London: Briitsh Musuem, 1987), ill. 14.

Calvin M. Bower, 'Boethius' De Institutione Musica: A Handlist of Manuscripts', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des Études relatives aux manuscrits, 42 (1988), 205-51 (p. 221) [with additional bibliography].

Codices Boethiani : A Conspectus of Manuscripts of the Works of Boethius ed. by M. T. Gibson and Lesley Smith, Warburg Institute Surveys and Texts 25 (London: Warburg Institute, 1995- ), I: Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, no. 129, (pp. 148-49).

Charles Burnett, The Introduction of Arabic Learning into England, The Panizzi Lectures, 1996 (London: British Library, 1997), fig. 5.

Henry Mayr-Harting, Church and Cosmos in Early Ottonian Germany: The View from Cologne (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 240, 242, 248.


Part  1   ff. 1-56v
Boethius, Germanicus De arithmetica (ff. 1-48v), Scholia in Germanicum Sangermanensia (f. 49), De musica (imperfect) (ff. 50-56v)
* * *
Coloured initial

f. 1
Coloured initial

Part  2   ff. 57-73v
Euclid (translated by Boethius), and anonymous author(s) Libri duo geometriae (ff. 57-68) and various works on mathematics (ff. 68-73v).
* * *
Geometric table

f. 62
Geometric table

print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
top Back