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Detailed record for Harley 585

Author Pseudo-Apuleius, Pseudo-Dioscorides, Sextus Placitus
Title Medical miscellany in Old English, including the translations of the Pseudo-Apuleius's 'Herbarium', imperfect (ff. 1-66v), the Pseudo-Dioscorides's 'De herbis femininis' and 'Curae herbarum' (ff. 66v-101v), Sextus Placitus's 'Liber medicinae ex animalibus' (ff. 106v-114v), and 'Lacnunga' (ff. 130-193)
Origin England
Date Last quarter of the 10th or 1st quarter of the 11th century
Language English and Latin
Script Anglo-Saxon minuscule
Scribe Written by several scribes
Decoration Initials in ink with penwork decoration, some showing zoomorphic features (ff. 30v, 47v, 66v, 73v, 81, 111v, 130, 150v, 174). Chapter numbers in ink with later corrections in red. Titles and rubrics in brown or red. Marginal pen drawings, mainly of snakes (ff. 4, 11v, 17v, 21, 26v, 30v, 46, 48v, 120, 136v).
Dimensions in mm 190 x 115 (140/150 x 70/90)
Official foliation ff. 194 + 1*, 2* (ff. 1*, 2* are original upper flyleaves now bound at the end between ff. 193 and 194, f. 194 is an early modern paper leaf; + 6 unfoliated modern flyleaves at the beginning and 2 at the end).
Collation Gatherings mostly of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1981.
Provenance Barbara Crocker (d. 1655), of Lyneham, near Yealmpton: owned in the 17th century, her pen trials (ff. 1*, 2*; see Ker 1957).
Robert Burscough (b. 1650/51, d. 1709), prebendary of Exeter in 1701, archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1703, rector of Cheriton Bishop in 1705: sold to Humfrey Wanley.
Humfrey Wanley (b. 1672, d. 1726), Anglo-Saxon scholar, palaeographer, and librarian of Robert and Edward Harley, earls of Oxford: owned in the early 18th century, his inscription 'Liber Humphredi Wanley' (f. 1); given by him to Robert Harley.
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 Contents include translations of:
Pseudo-Apuleius, 'Herbarium', imperfect at the beginning (ff. 1-66v);
Pseudo-Dioscorides, 'De herbis femininis' and 'Curae herbarum' (ff. 66v-101v);
'De taxone liber' (ff. 101v-104v);
'De moro' (ff. 104v-106v);
Sextus Placitus, 'Liber medicinae ex animalibus' (ff. 106v-114v);
'Lacnunga' (ff. 130-151v, 157-193), including the poem in Latin 'Lorica of Lodgen' or 'Lorica of Gildas' in Latin (ff. 152-157).
A table of contents (ff. 115-129v).
Marginal 13th-century glosses in Old English, Middle English and Latin.
Select bibliography Edward Bernard, Catalogi librorum manuscriptorum Angliae et Hiberniae, 3 vols (Oxford: Sheldonian, 1697), II, p. 359, no. 9164.

Humfrey Wanley, Antiquae Literaturae Septentrionalis Liber Alter, seu Humphredi Wanleii Librorum Vett. Septentrionalium, qui in Angliae Bibliothecis extant, nec non multorum Vett. Codd. Septentrionalium alibi extantium Catalogus Historico-Criticus, cum totius Thesauri Linguarum Septentrionalium sex Indicibus (Oxford: 1705; reprint Hildesheim: 1970), pp. 304-05.

A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I, no. 585.

Thomas O. Cockayne, Leechdoms, Worthcunning, and Starcraft of Early England: Being a collection of documents, for the most part never before printed, illustrating the history of science in this country before the Norman Conquest, Rerum Britannicarum Medii Ævi Scriptores, 35, 3 vols (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green, 1864-1866), I, p. lxxxiv.

John H. G. Grattan and Charles J. Singer, Anglo-Saxon Magic and Medicine illustrated specially from the Semi-Pagan Text 'Lacnunga', Publications of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, n.s. 3 (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), pp. 206-09, with pls.

Cyril E. Wright, Bald's Leechbook: British Museum Royal Manuscript 12 D. XVII, Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile, 5 (Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1955), pp. 11-12.

Augusto Beccaria, I codici di medicina del periodo presalernitano (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1956), pp. 249-50, no. 75.

Neil R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), pp. 305-06, no. 231.

Cyril E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 88, 119, 343, 382.

Heather L. Stuart, 'A Critical Edition of Some Anglo-Saxon Charms and Incantations' (unpublished doctoral thesis, Flinders University of South Australia, 1974), pp. 268-74.

Linda Ehrsam Voigts, 'One Anglo-Saxon View of the Classical Gods', in Studies in Iconography 3 (1977), 3-16 (p. 13, n. 13, n. 15).

Linda E. Voigts, 'Anglo-Saxon Plant Remedies and the Anglo-Saxons', Isis, 70 (1979), 250-68 (pp. 250, 251, 256).

Hubert J. De Vriend, The Old English Herbarium and Medicina de Quadrupedibus, Early English Text Society, 286 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1984), pp. xxiii-xxviii, pl. III.

The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art 966-1066, ed. by Janet Backhouse, Derek H. Turner, and Leslie Webster (London: British Museum, 1984), no. 163 [exhibition catalogue].

Audrey L. Meaney, 'Variant Versions of Old English Medical Remedies and the Compilation of Bald's 'Leechbook'', Anglo-Saxon England, 13 (1984), p. 245.

Margaret Laing, Catalogue of sources for a linguistic atlas of early medieval English (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1993), p. 89.

Alger N. Doane, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile (Binghamton, NY: 1994-), I, pp. 26-36.

Anglo-Saxon Remedies, Charms, and Prayers from British Library MS Harley 585. The Lacnunga, ed. by Edward Pettit, Mellen Critical Editions and Translations, 6 (Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 2001), I: Introduction, Text, Translation, and Appendices, pp. 133-49, with pls.

Helmut Gneuss, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 241 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001), p. 75, no. 421.

The Leofric Missal I, ed. by Nicholas Orchard, Henry Bradshaw Society, 113 (London: Henry Bradshaw Society, 2002), p. 92.

Maria A. D'Aronco, 'The Old English Pharmacopoeia', AVISTA Forum Journal, 13 (2003), 9-18 (pp. 9, 11).

Maria A. D'Aronco, 'La pratica della medicina nell'Inghilterra anglosassone (secoli IX-XII)', in Medicina e società nel mondo antico: Atti del convegno di Udine (4-5 ottobre 2005), ed. by Arnaldo Marcone, Studi Udinesi sul Mondo Antico, 4 (Florence: Le Monnier, 2006), pp. 233-50 (p. 246).

Maria A. D'Aronco, 'The Transmission of Medical Knowledge in Anglo-Saxon England: the Voices of Manuscripts', in Form and Content of Instruction in Anglo-Saxon England in the Light of Contemporary Manuscript Evidence, Papers presented at the International Conference, Udine, 6-8 April 2006, ed. by Patrizia Lendinara, Loredana Lazzari, and Maria A. D'Aronco, Fédération Internationale des Instituts d'Études Médiévales, Textes et Études du Moyen Âge, 39 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), pp. 35-58 (pp. 39, 50-55 and passim).

Catalogued for the Harley Medical Manuscripts Project [], accessed 13 February 2009.

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Zoomorphic initial

f. 47v
Zoomorphic initial
Decorated initial

f. 57
Decorated initial
Decorated initial

f. 130
Decorated initial
Zoomorphic initial

f. 130
Zoomorphic initial
Text page

f. 161v
Text page

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