Cicero, Opera Philosophica, c.1480.

Scope and Content

A transcript, in three hands, of the philosophical works of Marcus Tullius Cicero seemingly taken from the editio romana of 1471, with marginalia in the hand of Archibald Whitelaw and others. This copy was probably written in France, after 1471. Ornamented capitals.

Administrative / Biographical History

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) was a Roman philosopher, and a poet, lawyer, rhetorician and politician. His life coincided with the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. He played an important role in the political events of the time and his commentaries are now used as historical sources for the events leading to the end of the Republic. Philosophy was a secondary interest, taken up only when he was deprived of a role on the political scene.

William Guild (1582-1657) was an eminent theologian, becoming principal of King’s College, Aberdeen. He left 150 books from his library to St Andrews University.

Archibald Whitelaw (1415/16-1498) was a cleric, diplomat and classical scholar, serving as royal secretary for 31 years; he held the positions of the archdeaconry of Moray (1463–1467), the archdeaconry of Lothian (1470–1498), and the subdeanery of Glasgow (1482–1498). He was a leading humanist, collecting a fine library of classics. He used many references from them in his celebrated Oratio to Richard III when on a diplomatic mission to negotiate a peace treaty in 1484.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to the library by William Guild when he died in 1657.

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: Parchment on boards. Rebound by Cockerell in 1960 with binder's note pasted inside back cover.Paper: 28.2x37.7cm. Text within ruled columns.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

Inscribed in the volume: Liber Archibaldi quhitelaw Archidiaconi sanctiandr' infra partes laudonie ac subdiaconi glasguen [1482-1498]; signature of Thomas Henryson [Lord Chesters d.1638]; Liber Gulielmi Guild S.T.D.




Further details in N R Ker and A J Piper Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, IV Paisley to York Oxford, 1992, pp.250-2.