London, British Library Cotton Claudius B. iv Illustrated Old English Hexateuch

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A. N. Doane


182. London, British Library Cotton Claudius B. iv

Illustrated Old English Hexateuch

[Ker 142, Gneuss 315]

HISTORY: Large format, extensively illustrated vernacular Hexateuch, including Ælfric's abbreviated version of Joshua (on authorship and text, see 399, "History"). First half of 1 lc; Ker says "s. xi1," Wormald says second quarter of 11c (Wormald 1952: 67, basing date on illustrations). Owned by St. Augustine's in late 15c (catalogue in Dublin, Trinity College 360 [Bernard 285]), f. 3 [as published by James]: "Genesis Anglic' 2° fo. and sylous d.1.G.1"; the inscription must have been on the now lost first leaf and the OE words correspond to the first words on what was then the second folio, now f. lr, '7 sylo us', the St. Augustine's, Canterbury method of keeping track of particular books, followed by the shelfmark, also presumably inscribed on a lost front leaf (see James 1903: lxxxiv and 201, no. 95). In all likelihood the manuscript was produced at Canterbury (Dodwell and Clemoes 1974: 16). A late 12c annotator added late OE (Kentish) notes (ff. 4r-v, 5v, 7v, 8v, 9r-v, lOr-v, 1 lr-v, 12r-v, 14r, 15v, 16v, 17r, 19v, 34v, 40v, 44r, 51r-v, 155v; ed. Crawford 1922: 419-22); plus another not noted by Crawford on f. 8r, 'Efter fyftene wintra; 7 is suster chalmana'. Two similar late 12c hands have added on nearly every page, in available spaces in top and/ or bottom margins and/ or in picture frames, notes mostly consisting of excerpts from Peter Comes tor's "Historia Scholastica" (PL 198.1049-1722; composed between 1169 and 1173) and from Jerome's "De situ et nominibus locorum Hebraicorum" (PL 23.859-928) and "Quaestiones Hebraicae in Genesim" (PL 23.935-1010). Robert Talbot (1505?-1558) (heading in his hand at top off. 53r [Dodwell and Clemoes 1974: 13]) was probably the first private owner of the manuscript after the dissolution of St. Augustine's, Canterbury in 1538 and made a transcript of some material, including two-thirds of the first leaf, in his commonplace book (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 379, 10r-12v, as well as, on f. 13r-v, a word-list drawn from the OE of Genesis 37-38; cf. Graham 2000: 271-83 and figs. 25-26). Cotton probably acquired Claudius after 1603, when he began to style himself "Bruceus" (f. lr; cf. Tite 1994: 6); its location shows that by then the manuscript had lost its first leaf. William Lisle borrowed this manuscript from Cotton and had it out in April 1623 (BL Harley 6018, f. 148v, 'Genesis Sax(onic)e in picturis bound in leather and clasps Foll-M' Lyll of Cambridg'; cf. Graham 2000: 288), and he wrote into Claudius alternative readings from Bodleian Laud Misc. 509 [399]), at that time a Cotton book which Lisle was also borrowing as he worked on A Saxon Treatis concerning the Old and New Testament (1623) (see the "History" of 399). Richard James, Cotton's librarian from about 1625, transcribed several passages from Claudius into a notebook, now Oxford Bodleian Library, James 18, p. 2 (Graham 2000: 284-86). Present binding done by Charles Tuckett, Sr., between 1825 and 1865. After this time, and after or in conjunction with the 1884 refoliation, old f. '154' (new '152') was moved to its present position before old '153' as can be told by the fact that '152' of the continuous-series 1884 foliation has been cancelled and rewritten as '153' to match the present order of leaves.

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