Item Details

Call Number: MS Hunter 438 (V.5.8)
Images: [ MS Hunter 438 fol. 74r ] [ MS Hunter 438 fol. 82v ]
Associated Websites: Images and caption from English Language manuscripts course material web page.
Date of Creation: Between 1099 and 1299
Level of Description: Item
Part of MS Hunter 1-658
Content: Venerabilis Bedae, Expositio Svper Actvs Apostolorvm.
Venerabilis Bedae (?), Expositio de Nominibvs Locorvm, Vel Civitatvm, Qvae in Libro Actvvm Apostolorvm Legvntvr.
Venerabilis Bedae, Liber Retractionis in Actvs Apostolorvm.
On 11, 2 verso is an elaborately historiated initial P, the upright stroke of which occupies the outer margin, and round which a flying dragon winds its floreated tail while seizing the left foot of an archer, who aims an arrow at another dragon, wingless, with floreated tail which threatens another man, clad like the first in tunic and shoes, who is caught in the interlacing pattern of the nearly circular head of the letter, the interstices in this case being quite filled in.
For Acca (died 740), who was the fifth bishop of Hexham (709-723), see Dict. Nat. Biog. i. 56.
For the Venerable Bede, or Bæda (673-735), the famous historian and scholar, see Dict. Nat. Biog. iv. 98 and S.2.20; T.4.2; T.4.3; V.5.8; and V.5.16.
[Formerly Q.4.3; Q.4.51].
Bède. Oeuvres. Glasgow University, Hunterian MS 438 (V.5.8). Parchemin; 119 f.; 246 x 167 mm., Anglais, XIIe siècle; Reliure: XVIIIe siècle, maroquin pourpre sur carton. Le manuscrit contient l'Expositio Actuum Apostolorum et la Retractatio in Actus Apostolorum de Bède, ainsi qu'un glossaire de noms géographiques, parfois attribué à saint Jérôme, mais qui est probablement de Bède. Le livre est décoré d'initiales ornementales de couleur (rouge, vert et violet) contenant bêtes et monstres. Dans l'édition des oeuvres de Bède (voir ci-dessous), M.L.W. Laistner estime que l'Expositio fut complétée peu après 709 et la Retractatio entre 725 et 731. Environ un tiers des manuscrits qui subsistent furent écrits, comme celui-ci, au XIIe siècle. Bibl.: Young & Aitken, Catalogue, p. 360-361; M.L.W. Laistner, Bedae Venerabilis: Expositio Actuum Apostolorum et Retractatio, Cambridge (Mass.), 1939. (Trésors, Brussels, 1963, pp. 2-3.)
Bede. Commentaries on Acts. Glasgow University, Hunterian Library, MS. 438 (V.5.8) Parchment, 119 ff., 246 x 167 mm. England, s. xii. Bede's reputation in the Middle Ages was primarily as a theologian, ranked next to the Four Doctors of the Latin church. This manuscript contains his Expositio Actuum Apostolorum and Retractatio in Actus Apostolorum, together with the glossary of geographical names sometimes attributed to St Jerome but probably by Bede. The book is written in Caroline minuscule and decorated with coloured ornamental initials (red, green, and violet) containing beasts and monsters. Laistner in his edition of these works estimates that the Expositio was completed soon after 709 and the Retractatio between 725 and 731. About a third of the surviving manuscripts, of which there are about a hundred, were written in the 12th century. References. Young & Aitken, pp. 360-1. M.L.W. Laistner (ed.), Bedae Venerabilis: Expositio Actuum Apostolorum et Retractatio, Cambridge (Mass.), 1939. M.L.W. Laistner & H.H. King, A hand-list of Bede manuscripts, Ithaca (N.Y.), 1943, pp. 21, 23. (Treasures, Dublin, 1964, pp. 5-6.)
Arrangement: List Item Content
Physical Description: Bound volume.
Vellum, 9 3/4 x 6 3/4, ff. 119, originally ff. 120, well written in single cols. of 26 lines, each 7 x 4¼, margined and ruled with bodkin, no catchwords, signatures on last versos, foliation (early XVIII. Cent. and modern), the missing third folio was present at the time of the first foliation, illuminated and historiated initials with and without gestures, coloured ornamental initials (green, red, and violet), rubrics, current capitulations (XIV. Cent.), few marginalia, vellum defective in places, much cropped, worm-holed at the beginning and end, otherwise in good condition and clean, fol. sec. est iuxta. Cent. XII.-XIII.
Binding: Millboards, covered crimson morocco, gilt-tooled inner margins, edges, sides and panelled back, gilt edges, green silk ribbon marker, title (gilt) on green morocco shields: BEDA | IN ACTVS | APOSTOLOR | DESCRIPTIO | SITUS | TERRAE | LIBELLUS | RETRACT. | BEDAE | MSS. | VELLUM. 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. 361.]
Access: Normal conditions
Language: Latin
Material Type: Document
Archival History: Ebenezer Mussell: probably to be identified with Lot 270 in the sale of the library of Ebenezer Mussell in London, 30 May 1766, where the manuscript is described as "Venerab. Bedae Expositio Epistolar. Canonices, or Bede's Exposition of the seven Canonical Epistles"; Margaret Connolly (in 'The 'curious and valuable' library of Ebenezer Mussell' Book Collector, Vol 62, no 1, Spring 2013) ascribes MS Hunter 438 to Mussell (see appendix, no. 6), suggesting that it was sold bound with another Bede manuscript (now MS Hunter 446). John Ratcliffe: Ratcliffe is recorded as purchasing lot 270 for £2.2.0 according to the digitized copy of the Mussell sale catalogue (annotated with prices and buyers' names) at the Houghton Library, Harvard University; possibly to be identified with lot 1592 in Bibliotheca Ratcliffiana (27 March, 1776) where the item is described, among quartos, as ""Bede expositio in epistolas apostoli, a MS on vellum, 2 v m[orocco] g[ilt] l[eaves]"; N. R. Ker (in 'William Hunter as a collector of medieval manuscripts' ([Glasgow]: University of Glasgow Press, [1983]), p. 16) supports the suggestions that MSS Hunter 438 and 446 were sold as one unit at the Mussell sale and suggests that the manuscripts were bound separately by Ratcliffe, commenting that "The two volumes are the same size and look as if they came from the same twelfth-century English scriptorium. The best evidence that that they once formed one thick volume comes from the late medieval chapter headings which appear to be in the same hand throughout. They are in arabic figures in the top right hand corner of each recto and also opposite the point on a page where a new chapter begins. MS 446 ... must have stood first, since it bears Spelman's name on the first leaf and only it is mentioned in two catalogues of Spelman's manuscripts ...". Lot 1592 (i.e. both MS Hunter 428 and 446) purchased by Hunter for £6.16.6 at the Ratcliffe sale according to the annotated BL copy of the Ratcliffe sale catalogue - shelfmark 822.d.6.
Notes: This manuscript has been exhibited on the following occasions: 'Treasures of Scottish Libraries', National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1961; 'Trésors des Bibliothèques d'Ecosse', Brussels, 1963; 'Treasures from Scottish libraries', Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1964; '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; 'The Magic of the Middle Ages, Part 1: Sacred Manuscripts', Glasgow University Library, 21 April-30 July 1994.
Bibliography: National Library of Scotland, Treasures of Scottish libraries: catalogue (Edinburgh, 1961), i, 17; Nigel Thorp, The glory of the page (London, 1987), no. 11; Treasures from Scottish libraries: catalogue of an exhibition held in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (Edinburgh, 1964), no. 15; Trésors des bibliothèques d'Ecosse (Brussels, 1963), no 4; John Young & P.H. Aitken, A catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1908), pp 360-361.
Accession Number: 2482
See details of how this material was acquired
Repository Code: GB 0247

Names associated with this item:

author: Bede The Venerable, Saint 673-735
dedicatee: Acca Bishop of Hexham d.740
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. …
exhibition: Magic of the Middle Ages 1994-1995
Exhibition: The Magic of the Middle Ages: Manuscript Treasures of Glasgow University Library. Part 1: Sacred Manuscripts, Glasgow University Library, 21 April-30 …
exhibition: Treasures from Scottish Libraries 1964
Exhibition, Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1964.
exhibition: Treasures of Scottish Libraries 1961
Exhibition, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1961.
exhibition: Trésors des Bibliothèques d'Ecosse 1963
Exhibition, Brussels, 1963.
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