Antwerp Plantin-Moretus Museum MS 16.2 (47 [32]; Salle iii. 68) "Excerptiones de Prisciano" ; the Antwerp-London Glossary [Ker 2, Gneuss 775) (with London, British Library Additional 32246 [164)]

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Rolf H. Bremmer
Kees Dekker


4. Antwerp, Plantin-Moretus Museum MS 16.2

(47 [32]; Salle iii. 68)

"Excerptiones de Prisciano" ; the Antwerp-London Glossary

[Ker 2, Gneuss 775]

(with London, British Library Additional 32246 [164])

HISTORY: A late 10c or early 11c manuscript containing a 10c compilation of Donatus's "Ars maior" and Priscian's "Institutiones grammaticae", known as and entitled 'Excerptiones de Prisciano: existing in two other copies (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale nouv. acq. lat. 586 [ 437] and Chartres, Bibliotheque municipale 56). It was compiled in the tradition of Carolingian adaptations of works of classical grammar (Law 1997: 201-2), presumably by Ælfric-either alone or together with others-whose method of cutting, pasting, and rearranging Latin source texts is clearly at the basis of this work (Porter 2002: 23-29). Ælfric used this adaptation as a basis for his OE "Grammar" (Law 1987; 1997: 203-6; Porter 2002: 31-33). Forster (1917) pointed out that the Plantin-Moretus copy could not have been Ælfric's exemplar; nevertheless, the method of its compilation, the presence of Ælfric's "Colloquy" in the margins, and a collection of OE glosses here that is also found in manuscripts of Ælfric's "Grammar" suggest a connection between the latter work and this manuscript. The manuscript (now divided between Antwerp and London [British Library, Add. 32246 (164)]) was, in all likelihood, written at Abingdon, although Gwara ( 1997) has recently shown connections of the "Abingdon group" with Canterbury. Ker (Cat., p. 3) notes that it is certainly from the same scriptorium as Antwerp, Plantin-Moretus MS 16.8 (Boethius) [5] and Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale 1650 (1520) [18] (a glossed Aldhelm), and may well have formed part of a single 242-folio manuscript. Moreover, a 'Wulfgar' addressed on f. 2 of the original undivided manuscript (now BL Add. 32246, f. 1) can be identified with Wulfgar, abbot of Abingdon between 989 and 1016. [Note: The link among the three manuscripts is the pointed forward-sloping hand which has added notes and commentary in the Boethius, the first layer of glosses in the Aldhelm, and rubrics and glossarial lists in the Priscian (see Ker, Cat., p. 6 and Porter 2002: 8-9).] If the three formed one volume, marginal notes in the two latter manuscripts indicate that the volume was still in England in the 15c. Presumably, it was brought to the continent during the reign either of Mary Tudor or of Edward VI; the Boethius was used by Poelman in his 1562 Antwerp edition; in 1571 he was said to have an edition of Aldhelm "De virginitate" ready though it was never printed (Ladd 1960: 356-57). There is no evidence about the precise whereabouts of the Priscian manuscript until 1592, when it appeared in the catalogue of the Plantin house, at the time owned by Johannes Moretus (1543-1610) (Stein 1886: no. 5). His son Balthasar Moretus (1574-1641) presumably put the manuscript at the disposal of his friend, the famous Antwerp painter Peter Paul Rubens, for which reason it used to be known as "The Rubens Manuscript''. After Rubens's death (1640), his son Albert (1614-1657) handed over the manuscript to Francis Junius, who copied the glossaries into what is now Oxford, Bodleian Library Junius 71 (5182). On account of a letter addressed to 'Ælf (Plantin-Moretus 16.2 f. 48v-49r), the text and glosses were considered to be by Ælfric (at the time no distinction was made between Archbishop Ælfric and Ælfric of Eynsham), but Junius named it 'Glossarium R', on the one hand to commemorate Rubens, its former owner who had been a close friend of his, and on the other hand to distinguish it from another "Ælfric glossary" (now London, British Library Harley 107 [261]). Junius's transcript in Junius 71 was printed by William Somner as an appendix to his Dictionariurn SaxonicoLatino- Anglicurn (1659). By 1650, the manuscript had been returned to the Plantin-Moretus collection, for it occurs in a catalogue of books belonging to Balthasar Moretus II (1615-1674), written around that year. Thereupon the manuscript vanished out of scholars' sight. Thomas Wright (1857) and after him Richard Wiilcker (1884) published the glossary, by then considered lost, from the Junius transcript. However, in 1884 the British Museum acquired 24 leaves of this manuscript from J. M. Sullivan (Ker, Cat. p. 3). By the time, in the 19c, the previous owner, Ludwig Nolte, described it on a sheet in the Antwerp manuscript (f. i), the London leaves were already gone from it (Diimmler 1884: 10, Ker, ibid.). Although E. M. Thompson (1885) and Friedrich Kluge (1887) recognized correspondences between the London leaves and Junius's transcript (cf. Forster 1917: 95), it was not until three years later that Julius Zupitza (1887) established definitively that an Antwerp manuscript mentioned in 1875 by Ferdinand Vanderhaeghen and the London were removed from the manuscript, but it is evident that the presence of Latin-OE glosses (see contents nos. 4b and 5) on what are now the London leaves must have been the reason (for further details of the manuscript's history, see Ladd 1960).

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