Roe Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Roe 1-17, 18a-b, 19-29
  • Dates of Creation
      10th-17th century
  • Language of Material
      Ancient Greek (to 1453), Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin.
  • Physical Description
      30 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Manuscripts collected by Sir Thomas Roe. Of the collection, 27 are Greek, one Hebrew, one Arabic, and one Latin.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Thomas Roe was born in 1580 or 1581, and matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1593, but took no degree. On March 23, 1605 he was knighted, and in 1614 began his official journeys to the East which made him famous. From that year to January 1618 he was Ambassador to Jehngr, the Mogul emperor of Hindustan, and from September 1621 till the summer of 1628 to the Turkish Court. In October 1640 Roe was elected a burgess of the University in Parliament, and died on November 6 1644. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The manuscripts were presented to the Library by Roe in 1628, according to an inscription placed in each manuscript, which records that it was brought from the East and presented to the Public Library [the Bodleian] 'in gratitudinis suae erga Matrem Academiam perpetuum testimonium', but the manuscripts actually arrived with the Barocci Collection about the end of May 1629, see Macray's Annals of the Bodleian, 2nd ed. (1890), pp. 70, 72.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Full descriptions, in Latin, are in Henry O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars prima recensionem codicum Graecorum continens (Oxford, 1853; reprinted with corrections, 1969).

Brief one-line descriptions, with shelfmarks and short titles, are in Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, nos. 247-275.

The illuminated manuscripts in this collection are described in detail in I. Hutter, Corpus der Byzantinischen Miniaturenhandschriften. Oxford Bodleian Library, 4 vols. (Stuttgart, 1977-82).