BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Mellon MS 39
Testamentum (Theorica only?), translated into Latin
Rome, unsigned, 29 July 1560
Paper codex in Latin, 4to., 199 x 142, ff. 186 of which the first and last
blanks are used as pastedowns and f. 12-14, 184-186 are also blank, ff.
15-183 correctly foliated 1-169. In the following description unnumbered
leaves at the beginning are cited as (1)-(14); the original foliation 1-169
has been employed for ff. 15-183. No signatures, catchwords at verso of
everyleaf. Collation: (1)^^6, (2-23)^^8, (24)^^4. Written throughout by a
single hand in a good, flowing italic cursive, in brown ink which has
sometimes corroded the paper, single columns 155 x 120, lines to the page
vary, averaging 24, without ruling or bordering lines, occasional diagrams as
on numbered ff. 25r, 30r, 33r, 34r, no color, standard abbreviation. Paper of
at least two types, one with watermark of a fleur-de-lys within a circle,
surmounted by letter "M," similar to Briquet 7121 (but not within a double
circle); the second with a bird (duck or goose?) within a circle, similar to
BINDING: Original binding of limp parchment, traces of two thongs on
fore-edge of each cover; plain back originally labeled "Secreta," also with
modern labeling in old style, "Lull | Testamentum," all executed
calligraphically in brown ink; plain edges.
PROVENANCE: No indication of early ownership; belonged in 1872 to William
Alexander Aytoun, the English writer on alchemy, with his inscription on the
pastedown inside the front cover; Denis Duveen, with his inked number 80;
Mellon MS 86, acquired with the Duveen collection.
f. (1): [Pasted down and blank except for the inscription by Aytoun and
Duveen's number, as noted in the Provenance section above.]
f. (2)r: [An index of contents in the hand of the copyist, ending f. (11)r;
ff. (11)v and (12r-14v) blank.]
f. 1r, 1: In Nomine sanctissime Trinitatis Incipit | Testamentum Domini
Raymundi Lullij | Deus qui gloriose omnipotens existis...
f. 166r, 10: ... exemplum hoc | desumptum ex vetustissimo exempla- | ri 1496
Alexandri VI. Pontificis Maximi | anno iij. | Sequuntur additiones aliqu‘ non
| videntur de huius operis essen- | tia. | Nota ex una sola natura ... [f.
168v, 15:] ... Rome die 29 ju - | [lu]lij [sic] 1560. Feliciter | Nos Deus ad
optata | pervenire permittat | Amen . Amen . | Amen ... [f. 169r, 1:] Item
hic notantur quaedam Apostille ... [Ends f. 169v, 8, not transcribed; the
last three f. blank and unnumbered, the last pasted down.]
[Ramon Lull, Theorica, anonymously translated into Latin and here in
ninety-seven chapters plus slight addenda: TK 410; DWS 244 and following. See
especially Mrs. Singer's revised listing ofthe Theorica in DWS 3, 1143 and
following. It is not certain to which family of the text this version
belongs, as it does not appear to end as do any of the versions cited by Mrs.
SUMMARY: An interesting, rather late copy of one of the alchemical texts most
regularly ascribed to Ramon Lull in manuscripts, originally written in French
and Catalan. MS 39 does not correspond to any of the more common variants of
the text cited in the literature, although its beginning is regular enough.
Compare a German version of a differing Lullian text with a similar title
described in MS 30, above. The two colophons in the present manuscript state
that it is a copy, made at Rome in 1560, of another copy made in 1496 of a
"most ancient" exemplar. During the cataloguing it has not been possible to
identify the beginning of the second Practica portion of this text, which may
be absent. W. A. Aytoun, who owned this MS in 1872, was a well known writer
on alchemy and the translator of the standard life of Dr. John Dee; he also
owned MS 71 of the Mellon collection. For other Lullian alchemies in the
Mellon collection, see especially MSS 8, 12, 19, 97, 109, 126, and 149.