Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek Vossianus Lat. Q. 106 Riddles of Symphosius and Aldhelm, the OE "Leiden Riddle"

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Rolf H. Bremmer
Kees Dekker


158. Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek,

Vossianus Lat. Q. 106

Riddles of Symphosius and Aldhelm, the OE "Leiden Riddle"

[Ker, App. 19; Gneuss -]

HISTORY: A collection of riddles by Symphosius and Aldhelm, including the OE "Leiden Riddle:' According to both Ker and Parkes (1972: 215) the manuscript dates from the earlier 9c, but de Meyier (1973: 235) says "s. ix/ x''. The manuscript was written in the monastery of St. Benedict at F leury, by two scribes, in caroline minuscule [f. 1 originates from another, early 11 c, manuscript, and used to be pasted on to what is now f. 2]. The manuscript remained in Fleury until 1562 when it passed into the hands of Pierre Daniel (1530-1603), bailiff of Fleury, who procured much of the abbey's library during a period of civil unrest. Daniel added occasional annotations from f. 12v onwards. In the early 17 c, it belonged to the Paris scholar Paul Petau, whose son Alexander sold his father's enormous library to Queen Christina of Sweden in 1650. The Dutch philologist Isaac Vossius, who had concluded this transaction for the Swedish queen, became the next owner of the book after he had received a selection of Christina's library by way of remuneration for her debts to him. After Vossius's death in 1689, the trustees of Leiden University purchased Vossius's library, by then in Windsor, and shipped it to its present location. In November 1864 the Leiden librarian W G. Pluygers tried to improve the legibility of the "Leiden Riddle" on f. 25v by applying a reagent and rubbing, which caused considerable damage to the text.

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