BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Mellon MS 15
ALCHEMICAL AND MEDICAL MISCELLANY, in Latin and German
Germany, unsigned, about 1475
15.1 Nicolaus. Antidotarium, in Latin and German.
15.2 Nicolaus. Prologus in librum de dosibus medicinarum, in
15.3 Anonymous. Tables of medical weights, in Latin and German.
15.4 Nicolaus (?). Quid pro quo, in Latin.
15.5 Anonymous. Definitions, in Latin.
15.6 Anonymous. Alphabetical lists of substances, in Latin, partly
with German equivalents.
15.7 Anonymous. Brandy-making, and the sixteen virtues of brandy,
15.8 Anonymous. Recipes and procedures, in German.
Codex in Latin and German on paper, folio, 283 x 184, ff. 99 (of an
undetermined number originally, perhaps 110), modern pencil foliation, no
signatures, no catchwords. Collation: (1) lacking, (2-10)^^10, (11)^^10-1.
One column except ff. 83r-96v in 2 columns, 195 x 135 with single bordering
lines in plumbate or blind, 26-31 lines, no headlines; neatly written in a
gothic cursive hand in brown ink, with moderate standard abbreviation. Large
capitals in red at text divisions, sometimes with slight pen ornament, other
capitals stroked red throughout, fancy ascenders on top lines transgressing
the upper rules and stroked red, similar descenders occasionally below the
bottom bordering line, usually not colored; rare correction in the text by
the scribe, usually by overwriting; some additions by old hands in the
margins. Two batches of unidentified paper watermarked with a gothic "P," the
mark plain and smaller in one batch, larger and surmounted by a trefoil in
BINDING: Modern three-quarter binding of light brown buckram, plain brown
niger back and corners, the back with five (false?) raised bands,
gilt-lettered in the second compartment from the top, "ANTIDOTARIUM NICOLAI,
and at the foot of the spine, "AB. 1460." Plain edges.
PROVENANCE: Early ownership unknown; Denis Duveen, with his bookplate and
inked number 107, acquired from Dr. Ernst Weil (bookseller), London; Mellon
MS 118, acquired with the Duveen collection. De Ricci-Bond 29 (118).
f. 1r.1: Blanta dicta est quia albus humores purgat, fleuma- | ticos valet
cephalargicis et oculorum doloribus... [line 4:] ... ist ein punt diese -
[sic] | latwerge blanta ist guet und pungieret die wiszen fuchtikeit | Daz
f. 79v, 2: ... Wan ez genueg sy und salt drin [?] harten Zucker | haben
gestoszen clein in einem mursell stein und wirffden | ingeber uffden zucker
und dan so rolle ez allez in der Pannem | Under ein nander So wirt ez sinwel
undsoweiter. [pen ornament] | [below, in red, the initial ornamented and the
word preceded by a small flower and followed by pen ornaments including a
flower:] Explicit | [remainder blank. F. 80r, blank.]
[15.1: Nicolaus, Antidotarium, in Latin, with an anonymous German
translation not recorded in the literature consulted, incomplete at the
beginning. See TK 490 and Index.]
f. 80v, 1: Et quia sufficienter de dispensacione omnium confectionum | et
emplastrorum... [Ends f. 80v, 20:] ... Electuariorum et emplastrorum et |
pillularum et cetera [pen ornaments] | [remain- der blank.]
[15.2: Nicolaus, Prologus in librum de dosibus medicinarum, TK 1231, etc.]
f. 81r, 1: Disz sint screupelen [several signs used to abbreviate the unit of
weight, one scruple.] | dis sint [signs] dragman [signs, all used to indicate
the dram. Ends f. 81r, 28:] Dis sint die gewicht in der apoteken [pen
ornament] | [f. 81v, 1:] Pondera medecine | Granum ordinarium est 24 grana
[?] ... [Ends f. 82v, 19:] et est pondus Lxxij granorum ordinariorum seu
unciarum i2 granorum vij [pen ornament] | Explicit [pen ornament] |
[15.3: Anonymous, Tables of medical weights, in Latin and German, not
identified, but very possibly related to portions of Nicolaus' De dosibus.]
f. 83r1, 1: [In two columns:] Quoniam ea que sunt Utilia in | curacione et in
veni [sic] non Possunt | tunc summe [?] oportet quid pro quo | Aristologia
rotunda Ruta domestica | Acacia Succus levistici [sic] | [Ends f. 84r2, 24:]
Zinziber piretis [? Then, a pen ornament.]
[15.4: Nicolaus (?), Quidpro quo, TK 1274.]
f. 84v1, 1: Electuaria capiti utilia | [Red lines are drawn from the last
word of the above to four entries in the second column which describe as many
electuaries; the text continues thus to f. 85v1, 3, and its three equivalents
in the second column, as follows:]
Vngenta frigida [sic]Vngentum album
[15.5: Anonymous, Definitions, in Latin, not identified.]
f. 86r, upper margin: [The Latin words "calidum, humidum, siccum, frigidum,"
and beneath them their German equivalents, "Warm, feuecht [sic], drocken
[sic], kalt," are written in a sixteenth-century German gothic cursive hand.]
f. 86r1, 1: Aloe calidum et siccum in tertio gradu | ... [Ends abruptly f.
87v1, 23:] Os de corde cervi Frigidus [?] et siccus | [f. 88r1, 1:] Aloe daz
ist ein Safft | [Ends f. 93r2, 22:] Zandix bli Esch [sic] | Zizania rade
undsoweiter [pen ornament] | [remainder blank, f. 93v blank.]
[15.6: Anonymous, Alphabetical lists of substances, in Latin, partly with
f. 94r, upper margin: [In a similar, but coarser and perhaps somewhat later
cursive:] Wiltu das lebendig | wasser machen |
f. 94r1, 1: [The headings transcribed below are underlined in red.] Wiltu das
lebendig wa- | sser machen So nim einen | firdling, der edlen Salben | [f.
94v2, 14:] Wiltu machen ein | wasser Daz gut ist fur | al vergifft... [f.
95r1, 13:] Dis est ein wasser | der Jugend und ein | tranck der tugend | ...
f. 95v1, 12: [With red underlining] Dis sint Die tugen - | De, Des wassers
[ornament] | [without underlining] Die, erst, tugend- | was do mit Gesprengt,
| vort das blibt wol | smacken, ... [f. 96v1, 1:] Die xvi, tugent | ... [line
5:] und die krafft | Die Der balsam Hatt. | Deo Gracias amen [remainder
[15.7: Anonymous, Brandy-making, and the sixteen virtues of brandy, in
German. This is followed in the manuscript by additional procedures and
recipes in German written almost illegibly in various scrawling cursive hands
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on ff. 97r, 98r-99v, while f. 97v
is blank, ending abruptly due to the absence of at least one additional leaf,
SUMMARY: Because of its inclusiveness and its unrecorded German translations,
and despite its comparatively late date, MS 15 is to be counted an important
collection of the works of Nicolaus, extant in manuscripts from the twelfth
century forward. Perhaps all of the texts in the original portion, through f.
93 as now constituted, belong to the group identified with Nicolaus. The
Latin originals of Antidotarium and Quid pro quo, but not apparently De
dosibus medicinarum, were printed several times in the fifteenth century
beginning in 1471 (Klebs, Incunabula Scientifica et medica, Bruges, 1937, pp.
234-235, no. 703). In addition to the texts by Nicolaus the codex has
interesting lists of substances in Latin and German, as well as an early and
charming tract on the distillation of brandy. The emphasis throughout is on
practical medicine and chemistry, but the virtues of brandy so lovingly
extolled include magical cures of many and diverse ailments. MS 9 of the
collection also has bilingual word lists, a treatise on brandy-making, and
heavy emphasis on medicine.