Fragments of Boethius's De differentiis topicis

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Two manuscript fragments, written in England in the mid-13th century, containing part of the text of Boethius's De topicis differentiis, comprising: Fragment I recto = 'ambiguitatemque adducta...iustus non est' (1174 C 8-1175 A 10). Fragment I verso = 'ut ita orationibus inve...' (1175 B 4-D 5). Fragment II recto = 'aliae vero quas animus...inhaereat' (1176 C 8-1177 B 9). Fragment II verso = '...niantur. Nam saepe...inveniri' (1175 D 5-1176 C 8). References given relate to J.P. Migne Patrologiae Cursus Completus...series (Latina) Prima (Paris, 1844-1864). This is as the fragments are bound, but of course II verso follows directly on I verso, so they are consecutive leaves with a continuous chunk of text apart from the cropping to I. The text is heavily abbreviated and the margins substantial, evidently designed for glosses. The text seems to be considerably different from that given in Migne.

Administrative / Biographical History

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480-[525]) was a Roman statesman and philosopher. Famous for his learning, he enjoyed the confidence of King Theodoric, who sent him on several diplomatic missions. His enemies accused him of disloyalty to the King, whereupon Boethius was imprisoned and later executed. During his imprisonment he wrote his most famous work, 'De consolatione philosophiae'. Previously he had also written works on mathematics, music, theology and logic - one of his original logical treatises was 'De differentiis topicis'.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

[Given by the executors of Neil Ker.]

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The volume into which the fragments are bound is parchment octavo in contemporary limp vellum wrapper with ties (now gone). The first fragment is cropped at the top; 145 x 118 mm; 21 lines, ruling in pencil. Red initial P with blue infilling and flourishes, practically all cut away. The second fragment is complete; 147 x 124 mm; 28 lines; 2-line blue initial Q with red infillings and flourishes. Both include interlinear glosses; marginal notes; red and blue sentence and paragraph markers.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

Bound in the front and end of Leonhartus Lycius (ed), Praecepta vitae honestae (E. Voegelin, Leipzig, 1562). If they were once pasted down there is no visible trace of it and they are perfectly legible. On the fold-back of fragment one is a note in pencil: ' Examined Brit. Mus. Jan 21 1890/M.S. Philosophical Treatise of 13th cent. cut up for binding purposes'. There is also a note by Neil Ker giving a more detailed identification of the contents. Also various numbers/callmarks on the inside of both wrappers.