BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Marston MS 117 England, s. XIII 3/4
Boethius, De topicis differentiis
f. 1r [Title, added by a later hand:] Severini Boetii de differentijs Topicis
libri quatuor. ff. 1v-30v Omnis ratio disserendi quam logicen peripatecici
ueteres appellauerunt in duas distribuitur partes...Quo autem modo de hiis
dialeticis rationibus disputetum [sic] in hiis commentariis quos in
aristotilis topica a nobis translata conscripsimus. expeditum est.
PL 64.1173-1216. For an English translation, notes and essays on the
text see E. Stump, Boethius' De topicis differentiis (Ithaca, N. Y.,
Parchment, ff. 30, 132 x 100 (115 x 78) mm. 26 long lines. Single
or double vertical bounding lines. Ruled in lead. On most leaves a single
pricking in lower margin, 10 mm. below bottom line.
Collation impossible: each leaf trimmed and mounted on stubs.
Written in compact gothic bookhand by a single scribe, below top line.
According to N. Morgan the decoration was executed in a workshop active
between 1250-70, probably at Oxford; for a discussion of the workshop and a
list of manuscripts attributed to it see his Early Gothic
(London, 1988) v. 2, pp. 124-25. One historiated initial, f. 1v, blue with
white filigree and highlights against a square reddish brown ground with
white filigree, showing Boethius as a monk in a blue robe seated on a chair
and holding a scroll inscribed with his name, and a student, dressed in a
red robe and holding a book inscribed with the opening words of the text
proper, both figures against a grey ground with white filigree. Three
illuminated initials, ff. 7v, 16v, 23r, 6- to 4-line (without ascenders or
descenders), blue with white filigree against reddish brown ground with white
filigree or reddish brown against blue ground with white filigree. The
initials are filled with scrolling vines blue or reddish brown with white
highlights, with stylized leaves, ending in dragons' heads against reddish
brown or blue grounds. Descender, f. 16v, in form of a dragon, reddish
brown against blue ground. The style of the initials is similar to Oxford,
Bodleian Library, Bodley 356 (Paecht and Alexander, v. 3, no. 414). Flourished
initials, 2-line, and paragraph marks alternate red and blue.
Binding: Place and date uncertain. Limp vellum case with title, in ink,
on spine: "Topica boetij."
Produced in England, probably at Oxford, between 1250 and 1270 (Morgan,
op. cit.); the manuscript has been drastically trimmed from an original
format that would have accomodated marginal annotations, some of which, in
lead, are partially visible in the margins. Provenance unknown; effaced
inscription [?] on front turn-in. Purchased from C. A. Stonehill (inv. nos.
3192 and 11300) in 1955 by Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, pp. 77-78, no. 117.
Barbara A. Shailor