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Detailed record for Royal 6 A VI

Author Aldhelm
Title De laudibus virginitatis, letter to Ehfrid , both with interlinear and marginal glosses
Origin England, S.E. (Canterbury ?)
Date Last quarter of the 10th century
Language Latin with Old English glosses
Script Caroline minuscule
Decoration Large initial in black with zoomorphic and interlace decoration in red and black (f. 5); large initials in green (ff. 13, 36, 78) or red (f. 13v) with incipits in red or green capitals. Numerous smaller initials in red or green. Chapter numbers in red.
Dimensions in mm 280 x 155 (200 x 90/100)
Official foliation ff. 109 (ff. 1-4 are flyleaves from later manuscripts; + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 3 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. White leather with gold-tooling; marbled endpapers.
Provenance Latin and Old English glosses, mostly in a contemporary hand, some in a slightly later hand (ff. 42v-46). Some are the same as glosses found in Royal 5 e xi and Salisbury Cathedral 38, a manuscript from Canterbury (see Ker, 1957).
The Benedictine cathedral priory of Christ Church, Canterbury: lines on the death of Henry of Blois (d. 1171) added in the late 12th century (f. 109v) by a scribe of Christ Church, Canterbury.
4 parchment flyleaves (ff. 1-4) have been taken from three 13th century manuscripts containing the Songs of Solomon and a theological treatise (see Warner and Gilson, 1921).
The Old Royal Library (the English Royal Library): perhaps included in the catalogue of 1666 (see Carley, 2000).
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
Notes Full digital coverage available for this manuscript: see Digitised Manuscripts at
At the end of the De laudibus virginitatis are two hexameters from a metrical proverb on the copyist's labours:
'Tres digiti scribunt totum corpusque laborat
Scribere qui nescit nullum putat esse laborem'
These lines are also found in Harley 3012 which has glosses closely allied to the ones in this manuscript(see Gwara 1993)
Some of the same glosses are also found in Royal 5 E xi and Salisbury Cathedral 38 (see Ker 1957).
The scribe is identified in other Christ Church manuscripts.
F. 107 is a leaf which is missing and has been replaced in a 16th-century hand.
Select bibliography A. S. Napier, Old English Glosses, Anecdota Oxoniensa, Medieval and Modern Series, 4 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900), part xl, pp. 156-63.

George F. Warner and Julius P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King’s Collections, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1921), I, p. 129, IV, pl. 45b.

N. R. Ker, A Catalogue of Manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), no. 254.

T. A. M. Bishop, English Caroline Minuscule (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), p. 7.

Louis Goossens, The Old English Glosses of MS Brussels, Royal Library 1650 (Aldhelm's 'De laudibus virginitatis') (Brussels: Paleis der Academien, 1974), p. 19.

Elzbieta Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 900-1066, Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 2 (London: Harvey Miller, 1976), no. 30 (xi).

Aldhelm, The Prose Works, ed. and trans. by Michael Lapidge and Michael Herren (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1979), pp. 11-19, 51-136, 160-64 [a translation of the text].

Michael Korhammer, 'Mittelalterliche Konstruktionshilfen und Altenglishe Wortstellung', Scriptorium: Revue internationale des études relative aux manuscrits, 34 (1980), 18-58 (pp. 27, 55).

D. R. Howlett, 'Aldhelm and Irish Learning', Bulletin du Cange, 52 (1994), 37-76 (on the text).

Scott Gwara, 'Literary Culture in late Anglo-Saxon England and the Old English and Latin glosses to Aldhelm's Prosa de Virginitate' (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Toronto, 1992), pp. 133-38.

Scott Gwara, 'Unpublished OE Inked Glosses from MSS of Aldhelm's Prosa de Virginitate', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 95.3 (1994), 267-71 (pp. 268-69).

Scott Gwara, 'A record of Anglo-Saxon Pedagogy. Aldhelm's Epistola ad Heahfridum and its gloss', Journal of Medieval Latin, 6 (1996), 84-134 (on the text).

Patrizia Lendinara, Anglo-Saxon Glosses and Glossaries (Ashgate: Variorum, 1999), pp. 22 n. 64; 180 n. 14.

The Libraries of King Henry VIII, ed. by J. P. Carley, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 7 (London: The British Library, 2000), p. xxxvi, n. 48.

Helmut Gneuss, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Tempe: Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001), no. 464.

* * *
Decorated intial and incipit

f. 5
Decorated intial and incipit
Initial and incipit

f. 78
Initial and incipit

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