Item Details

Call Number: MS Hunter 279 (U.5.19)
Title: De Consolatione Philosophiae
Images: [ MS Hunter 279 fol. 31r ] [ MS Hunter 279 fol. 54v detail ]
Associated Websites: Images and caption from English Language manuscripts course material web page.
Date of Creation: Between 998 and 1199
Level of Description: Item
Part of MS Hunter 1-658
Content: Anicii Manlii Torqvati Severini Boethii, De Consolatione Philosophiae.
Boethius' Treatise on the Consolation of Philosophy: (Incomplete.)
Begins (1, 2 recto line 1): luminibus quis inquit has scenicas me
Ends (8, 7 recto line 17): agitis iudicis cuncta ceRNENTIS.
Remarks: After one line's space a XII.-XIII. Cent. hand adds, after the end of the text, a sermon on Rev. vi. 6, which extends to 8, 8 recto line 14. Two other contemporary (?) hands have filled respectively 8, 7 verso (lower margin), 8, 8. (after one line's space), and side margin, and also (in three cols.) 8, 8 verso, while a third (later) hand adds 20 lines of a note on a philological work of S. Chrysostom.
In the marginal writing on the recto of this folio is a reference to Petrus Hispanus.
On iv, 1 recto in a XIV. Cent. hand: boycius de consolacione.
On the verso (in a hand like that on 8, 7 verso and 8 recto): In hoc volumine continentur Tullius de Amicicia . cum glosis . Boethius de consolacione philosophie. | Martianus...
This inscription proves that U.5.18 and 19 originally formed one volume along with U.5.20 (MS Hunter 278-280). Underneath it are some scribbles in Hebrew characters.
Remains of pictures survive on 4, 6 recto and 6, 4 verso. These, and many other leaves, are mutilated.
On 3, 3. in a contemporary hand: david dei gracia Rex scotorum (David I. 1123-53).
Other copies in the Hunterian Mus. Lib. are press marked: U.5.12; V.1.11; V.5.9.
[Formerly Q.5.10; Q.5.73].
Rebound by Douglas Cockerell & Son, May 1954, in brown Hermitage calf. Lettered in gold down spine: "Boethius de Consolatione Philosophiae. MS. II."
English Romanesque art 1066-1200, Arts Council exhibition, Hayward Gallery, 1984: Manuscripts, exhibit 32, p. 102.
Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, with gloss. 255 x 185 mm; 65 ff. c.1120-40. Glasgow, University Library, MS Hunter U.5.19 (279). Unfortunately, this little known manuscript has been sadly mutilated: it originally contained a drawing of Boethius in prison, presumably comparable to the one in the Bodleian manuscript (31), of which only a fragment survives, as well as large capitals at the beginning of each book, but only the D for book 5 still exists. The exhibited drawing (f. 45 v) shows Ulysses reaching safety even as the crew of the ship have been changed into animals by Circe. As Philosophy is explaining that a man who abandons goodness sinks to the level of an animal, she illustrates her meaning with a poem based on the Odyssey recounting how Ulysses is saved by Hermes from Circe's curse:
For her new-come guests she mixes
Cups she has touched with a spell;
In various shapes they are changed...
But the winged Arcadian God
Takes pity on his plight
Saves him from Circe's curse.
The author of the gloss preserved in the manuscript discusses the significance of the Circe myth as an illustration of the principle of the relationship of all physical bodies, which enables one to be turned into another. This illustration is unique among extant Boethius manuscripts and it may well reflect the importance given to this incident by this unknown commentator. The manuscript was apparently in Scotland by the middle of the 12th century, but there are no comparable illustrated books produced there at the time, and its original provenance remains unknown. The Scottish connection could be taken to suggest an origin in northern England and it is quite conceivable that this manuscript was produced in, for example, Durham some time after Bede's Life of St Cuthbert (15, cf. also Mynors, 1939, e.g. no. 68), but there is no firm evidence for such an attribution. C.M.K. Provenance Apparently in Scotland soon after it was written (inscription f. 20: david dei gracia Rex scotorum, 'David by the grace of God King of the Scots' - that is, David I (1123-53).
Commentary: Dr Kylie Murray has argued for a Scottish rather than an English provenance eg that the manuscript contains few Durham characteristics and that its unique illustrations more closely resemble the Kelso Charter. (2015, see bibliography)
Physical Description: Bound volume.
Vellum, 9½ x 6 7/8, ff. 65, originally ff. 66, well written in single cols. of 32 lines, each 6½ x 3, ruled and margined with bodkin, signatures in Roman numerals on the last verso of each quire, all cropped off but the fourth, no catchwords or foliation, coloured pen and ink pictures, diagrams, etc., mostly cut out, illuminated initials, all but one (beg. Bk. V.) cut out, red initials beginning chapters, others touched with gamboge, numerous marginalia, contemporary and later, holed vellum, much mutilated, repaired with modern vellum, fol. sec. luminibus. Cent. XI.-XII.
Binding: Millboards, covered spattered calf, blind-tooled (lines) sides and panelled back (as in U.5.18 and U.5.20), title (gilt) on a few vestiges of the morocco (?) shield: BOETH | CONSOL | II. Cent. XVIII.
[For detailed collation see: John Young and P. Henderson Aitken, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of The Hunterian Museum in The University of Glasgow. (Glasgow, 1908), p. 225.]
Access: Normal conditions
Language: Latin
Material Type: Treatise
Archival History: Gregory Sharpe, sale, 8 April 1771, lot 1467.
Bibliography: Dr Kylie Murray 'Books Beyond the Borders: Fresh Findings on Boethius' Transmission in Twelfth-Century Scotland', Medievalia et Humanistica: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Culture, No 41 (December 2015), Dr Kylie Murray, A newly identified Scottish Boethius manuscript: Rethinking Scotland's intellectual and literary culture in the Middle Ages (British Academy Review, Issue 26, Summer 2015); Fol. 45v reproduced in Compostela and Europe, The Story of Diego Gelmírez, (Skira Editore, Milan, 2010), p262; Jacqueline Beaumont, The Latin tradition of 'De consolatione', in Margaret Gibson (ed.), Boethius: his life, thought and influence (Oxford, 1981), pp 296-297 (pl. IX); Diane Bolton, Illustrations in manuscripts of Boethius' works, ibid, p. 429; English Romanesque art (London, 1984), no. 32, p. 102; N.R. Ker, William Hunter as a collector of medieval manuscripts (Glasgow, 1983), p. 15; Nigel Thorp, The glory of the page (London, 1987), no. 13; John Young & P.H. Aitken, A catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1908), p. 225.
Exhibitions: This manuscript has been exhibited on the following occasions: Edinburgh, 1982, B.21 [?]; 'English Romanesque Art', Hayward Gallery, London, 1984; 'The Glory of the Page', Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. 1988, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Jun.-Aug. 1988, Burrell Collection, Glasgow, Nov. 1988-Jan. 1989.
Accession Number: 2482
See details of how this material was acquired
Repository Code: GB 0247

Names associated with this item:

author: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius c.475-524
exhibition: English Romanesque Art 1984
Exhibition: English Romanesque Art', Hayward Gallery, London, 1984.
exhibition: Glory of the Page 1987-1989
Exhibition of medieval manuscripts from Glasgow University Library: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. …
provenance: David I King of Scotland 1123-1153
subject: John Chrysostom Saint d.407
subject: John XXI Pope d. 1277
Petrus Hispanus, Joannes Petrus, Joao Pedro.
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