Aristotle, Politica, c.1450

Scope and Content

Copy of Aristotle's Politica.

f.i (formerly pasted down) is from Aristotle’s Ethics in the translation of Robert Grosseteste incipit 'Omnis ars et omnis doctrina'.

f.iv signature of Robert Stephens [Robertus Stephanus].

f.1r-76v Aristotle’s Politica in the translation of William of Moerbeke, wanting from book 6, chapter 4 [excepting the first lines] to Book 8, chapter 1 and the opening lines of chapter 2, with marginal and interlineated glosses [to f.28v].

Text in two ruled columns. Two English hands, first to f.36v one by a scribe named Lever (see above colophon f.74v). Spaces left for illuminated capitals but not filled in.

Administrative / Biographical History

Aristotle (384-322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, studing at the academy at Athens under Plato and lecturing there himself. He set up a school at Lyceum where he concentrated on teaching and writing philosophic treatises.

Robert Stephens was sub-prior in 1537 and later became prior of the Cistercian abbey of Deer, Aberdeenshire.

William of Moerbeke (c.1215-1286) was a theologian and scholar. He was asked by Thomas Aquinas to translate the whole of Aristotle's works from Greek into Latin. He was the first to translate Politica in around 1260 and his version became a classic.


Single item

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

In the possession of the library before 1800.

Other Finding Aids

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

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: fifteenth century binding of leather on boards, rebacked and repaired by Cockerell, 1953 [binder's note pasted inside back cover], with part of spine preserved inside front cover. Remains of a central clasp fastening on back cover.Vellum: 19x28cm

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

'Iste liber pertinet ad iacobum bell [James Bell]'. 'Robertus Stephanus deirensis cenobii'.




Further details in N R Ker and A J Piper Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, IV (Paisley to York), Oxford, 1992, p.250.

On the decorative binding cf J B Oldham, English Blind Stamped Bindings, Plate XXVI.