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Detailed record for Harley 5115

Author Marco Polo translated by Francesco Pipino, Hayton , Geoffrey of Monmouth
Title Miscellany of historical chronicles, including Marco Polo's 'Conditionibus et consuetudinibus orientalium regionum' in the Latin translation of Francesco Pipino (ff. 2-47v), Hayton's 'Flos Historiarum' (ff. 47v-86v), and 'Geoffrey's 'Historia regum Britanniae' (ff. 88-150), preceded by 'De origine Gigantum' (ff. 87-88)
Origin England
Date Last quarter of the 14th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration Large puzzle initials with pen-flourishing extending into the margin in red and blue. Initials in blue with pen-flourishing extending into the margin in red. Rubrics in red. Paraphs in red and blue. Small initials highlighted in red. Added pen-sketch of a coat of arms with mantling and headgear (f. 150v).
Dimensions in mm 320 x 205 (230 x 140) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 152 ( + an unfoliated parchment leaf after f. 150, and 2 modern paper flyleaves at the beginningn and 3 at the end)
Collation Gatherings mostly of 12, with framed horizontal catchwords in the lower right corner of the last verso of each gathering.
Form Parchment codex.
Binding BM/BL in-house. 19th-century; marbled endleaves.
Provenance Robert Grey of Kingston Marlward near Stinsford, Dorset, armiger: his ownership note (f. 108) and other inscriptions (f. 151), one dated 1440-1441, including medical recipes.
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.
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 Marco Polo's text was originally written in French at the end of the 13th century; it was translated into Latin by Francesco Pipino around 1320.
ff. 1, 151 and 152 are medieval parchment leaves with text.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), III (1808) , no. 5115.

Harry L. D. Ward and John A. Herbert, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), 1: Harry L. D. Ward (1883), pp. 245-46.

The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth, 5 vols (Cambridge: Brewer, 1985- ), III (1989): Julia C. Crick, A Summary Catalogue of the Manuscripts, pp. 171-72, no. 105.

The Historia Regum Britannie of Geoffrey of Monmouth, 5 vols (Cambridge: Brewer, 1985- ), IV (1991): Julia C. Crick, Dissemination and Reception in the Later Medieval Ages, pp. xiii, 22, 48, 56, 103, 134, 143, 150, 159-62, 171, 174-75, 201.

Geoffrey of Monmouth: The History of the Kings of Britain. An Edition and Translation of De gestis Britonum [Historia Regum Britanniae], ed. by Michael D. Reeve, transl. by Neil Wright, Arthurian Studies, 69 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2007), p. xli.


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Puzzle initial

f. 47v
Puzzle initial

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