Latin New Testament

Call Number: 225.52 B5822n Ms Special Collections, Rare Books

Script: miniature Gothic (Littera Bononiensis) with numerous abbreviations used throughout. There are also 270 initials in Red and Blue ink as well.

Date: c. 1250, most likely from Italy (Rome?)

Ownership of manuscript: The manuscript was purchased from a book seller, who provided the following information, not confirmed by any indications of ownership in the manuscript itself. The codex is said to have been contained in the Marconi Library in the 15th century, then the Alfredica Library in the 16th century, the Carteana Library in the 17th century, and the Signet Library (Edinburgh) in the 18th century. However, the book seller was not certain of the libraries or the dates.

78 Vellum leaves (16cm in length) contained in 6 gatherings and no sign of prickings or page numbers

47 lines per page and 2 columns per page except for the last page of the text which only has one column.


The text is mainly in black, but there is also the use of brown. Specifically, the scribe changes from black to brown on page 69. Then, there are numerous changes back and forth between brown and black ink - sometimes in the middle of pages. For example this occurs in the middle of the First Epistle of the Apostle Peter. After that, the ink is black ink for the remainder of the text.

Blue and red inks are used for the initials. Red is the also used to highlight the first letters of sentences throughout the text. This same color red ink is used in certain passages to add on to the script. This 'add-on' always begins with 'Incipit'. This script is very close to that of the original scribe and may be the same hand.

The writing in the margin is extensive throughout the manuscript and there are at least three different inks used, all of which likely represent a different hand. Many notes are in red. However, there is also a significant amount of notes in brown ink as well. Annotation in brown notes consists mainly of Roman numerals. There are two other sets of brown ink (one large and one small) used for notes. These notes seem to be by two other, different hands.

The large notes in Red ink that are found throughout the text represent, in all likelihood, another later hand. These notes are often illegible and sometimes are not even words, but rather a series of repeating letters such as 'x' or 'y'. The style or script of these notes is later than the text itself and seems to be a combination of Gothic and Bastarda (German) elements. The Bastarda seems most prevalent in the 's' and 'h'. In addition, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, there are Red notes with the dot over the 'i' which is a typically later feature more prevalent in the fourteenth century.


There are elaborate patterns of decoration in blue and red ink present throughout the text. This decoration is present on almost every page, but without any regular pattern.


The name of the individual books to the New Testament are usually split on facing pages of the text.

There are 7 pages of notes at the end of the text that seem to be assigned readings for special days (ex. the fasting period).

Quite often the descenders of the letters 'p', 'q', and 'g' are very elaborate when they appear on the last line of the column.

In some places the writing/notes at the top and bottom of the pages appears to have been cut off at some point.

There is also a list of letters with corresponding Arabic numerals on the second to last page of the manuscript (ex. b-8, c-10, d-13). It is unclear what purpose this list serves.

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Created: June 4, 2003