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les Enluminures

[ORGANON]. PORPHYRY, Isagoge (tr. Boethius); ARISTOTLE, Categoriae (tr. Boethius); Liber peri hermenias (tr. Boethius); ANICIUS MANLIUS SEVERINUS BOETHIUS, Liber de divisione; De topicis differentiis; De categoricis syllogismis; ARISTOTLE, Liber topicorum; De sophisticis elenchis; Priora analytica (tr. Boethius); Posteriora analytica

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
France, Paris, or Normandy(?), c. 1150-1200 and c. 1250-1300

TM 433


173 ff., preceded and followed by modern paper flyleaves, composite manuscript, apparently complete (collation: i14 [8, with an added separate gathering of 6 inserted], ii-vi8, vii-x8, xi6, xii5 [of 6, first leaf of quire cancelled, with no apparent interruption of text sequence], xiii-xiv6, xv8, xvi-xix8, xx-xxii8), first part (ff. 1-54v) written in a very regular 12th century minuscule, remainder of manuscript written in a variety of tight and highly abridged protogothic or gothic bookhands, four written above-top-line, various hands, with at least five distinguishable (hand A, ff. 1-4v and ff. 11-54v; hand B, ff. 55-97; hand C, ff. 98-117v; hand D, ff. 118-172; hand E, ff. 5-10v [inserted in the middle of the first gathering]), in brown or black ink, six different textblocks each ruled to a different pattern of between 29 and 38 lines, prickings still visible, guide letters in the margin, paragraph marks in red, opening initials of pink or brown and pink, one larger decorated initial P in red and brown with face drawn in red in the infill (a tonsured monk?), diagrams in text or in margins (ff. 2, 28, 117v, 130v, 132v, 138), manicula, codex heavily annotated throughout, a number of marginal informal sketches and drawings (cf. ff. 31v [phallus], 45v, 51v, [physician holding a urine bottle], 77, 109 [a mail-clad and spurred warrior with his horse], 115v-116, 126, 127v). Bound in a modern imitation binding of polished brown calf over earlier (15th c.?) beveled wood boards, back sewn on 3 bands (spine sunned), covers blind-tooled with repeated rosettes and double filets forming central lozenge compartments, 15th century French deed as lifted pastedown at end (Parchment a bit cropped at times, affecting only marginal glosses; dampstain affecting legibility of first four leaves; a few smudges or stains; fol. 106 repaired across text; vellum repairs on ff. 11, 74 and 91). Dimensions 200 x 135 mm.

This remarkable composite manuscript provides crucial evidence of the progressive rediscovery of the Aristotelian corpus of logic during the Renaissance of the Twelfth Century through the scholastic movement of the thirteenth century. The early twelfth-century copy of Aristotle’s works of logic is completed with the addition of other texts throughout the thirteenth century, when it was also extensively annotated, to wit the plethora of unstudied marginalia. Most Aristotle manuscripts of such early date are in public collections and rarely appear in private hands.


1. Because the present manuscript is of composite nature, and was likely assembled in the 13th century, it is difficult to determine an exact place of production, since copying spanned over certainly a century. In addition, the question remains as to whether it was copied in a secular scholastic or monastic environment, perhaps both. The first 54 leaves are the earliest, likely copied in the last quarter of the 12th century, probably copied in a monastic environment and bear some comparisons with Cistercian manuscript production, notoriously difficult to localize. The limited decoration would be consistent with the austere requirements of the Cistercian order. This remains a suggestion that only further research and comparison might or might not confirm. The rest of the manuscript appears to have been copied rather in a scholastic environment to judge by the layout, script and abundance of marginal and interlinear notes. Scholastic hands of France and England are often very difficult to distinguish in the 13th century. Nonetheless a number of elements suggest the rest of this composite manuscript was copied and assembled in France, likely Paris or north of Paris.

2. A few dated 13th century inscriptions pepper the margins: “Decanus de arg[entiae] (?) presbytero de amundavillae [ecclesiam] (?) in dominio mandavillis” (fol. 23) [The dean of Argences (?) priest of Mondeville, church in the fiefdom of Mandeville]. Mondeville is a town on the outskirts of Caen, diocese of Bayeux [see Hippeau, Dictionnaire topographique du departement du Calvados (1883), p. 194, with forms such as Amondavilla; Mundavilla, Amundeville etc.]. Mandeville or Mannville is a fiefdom also part of the diocese of Bayeux, généralité of Caen [Hippeau (1883), p. 179, with forms such as Sancta Maria de Magna Villa; Mandevilla etc]. Another inscription in the same hand transcribes the opening of a letter dated 1269 from a dean-presbyter apparently summoning members of a confraternity: “[...] ad diem veneris post ascensionem domini [two names deleted] et omnes fratres de fraternitate sancte marie [contra] (?)michaelium (?) [name deleted] responsimus.” Rather than a monastery or mendicant foundation, might the reference to the “fraternitate” be to a confraternity dedicated to the Virgin Mary? There were many confraternities in Normandy from the 13th century on. Another note on fol. 117v gives the date 1240 and refers to Jerusalem. A note in a 13th c. hand relates to more homely matters, and suggests the manuscript was likely at an early stage in a monastic environment: “Nos recepimus culcit[ra]s n[ost]ras dies martis an[te] festu[m] sancti luce evangeliste” (f. 15) [We received our mattresses on the Tuesday before the Feast of St Luke the Evangelist].

3. A 13th century note refers to a scribe Charles who was paid for the completion of an exemplar or copy. The inscription reads: “Magistri karoli scriptoris pro exemplari summarium (?) .ii. solidi.” (f. 117v). This scribe is not recorded in Bénédictins du Bouveret, Colophons de manuscrits (1965). Other notes below in the same hand provide twice the name “Matheus de bona.” A partially scratched-out note reads: “Iste liber est [...],” no doubt an early 13th century possessor. Other notes with names pepper the manuscript, with for instance the name “Gocelin” (fol. 124) and the name “Baptiste” (f. 148), both clearly French forms. A later note redacted in French (14th c.?) refers to three friends: “A [simon?] tres cher ami, a michil lesbaudi, a [...] de genet salut” (fol. 62). Another note contains some French: “[...] comme il dist quand il vous f[...] paster/pastir (?)” (fol. 107). A very faded plummet note also contains some French (fol. 32v).

4. The manuscript appears to have still been in France in the early 15th century where it received as pastedown a fragmentary deed of 1407, redacted in French (still present in the modern binding as a lifted pastedown) pertaining to the marriage settlement of Joanette, daughter of Jehan, living in “Pouloigny” (likely either Pouligny Saint Martin or Pouligny Notre Dame, in Central France, south of Bourges, near Chateaumeillant).

5. Count Oswald Seilern (1901-1967), his ex libris inside front cover; afterwards Private Collection.


ff. 1-4v; 11-14v, Porphyry, Isagoge (translatio Boethii), incipit, “Cumsit necessarium crisaorie et ad eum quae est...”; explicit, “[...] communitatisque tradictionem. Explicit liber porphirii. Incipit liber predicamentorum aristotelis”;

ed. [Isagoge]. Aristoteles Latinus, I, 6-7 Categoriarum Supplementum. Porphyrii Isagoge... edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, Bruges-Paris, 1966, pp. 5-31. A list of manuscripts is provided pp. XVII-XXII.

Porphyry’s Isagoge (as translated by Boethius) is included in almost all extant manuscripts containing the corpus of Aristotelian and Boethian works on logic known as the logica vetus. At the beginning of the fourth century, the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry wrote a commentary known as the Isagoge on Aristotle’s Categories. The work was to become the standard introduction to logic in schools. A diagram has been added in the outer margin of f. 2 to accompany the Isagoge. It is a schematic representation of Porphyry’s questions on the status of “universals,” the spark that fired scholasticism. A sequence of paired and single circles shows the process of division by which things could be classified, starting at the top with “substantia” then branching into “corporea” and “incorporeal,” with at the base of the tree the term “individua.” The presence of diagrams in university manuscripts is discussed by O. Weijers (1996) in her chapter on page layout and illustrations in university manuscripts: “Mise en page des textes universitaires: les images et les diagrammes” (O. Weijers, 1996, pp. 203-227). On diagrams in manuscripts see also P. Sicard, Diagrammes médiévaux et exégèse visuelle…, Paris-Turnhout, 1993.

ff. 5-10v, Porphyry, Isagoge [inserted second distinct copy], incipit, “Cumsit necessarium grisarorii et ad eam...”; explicit, “[...] et in aliis quid non...” [ends incomplete];

This second distinct copy of Porphyry’s Isagoge, made in the1ate thirteenth or early fourteenth century, is inserted in the middle of the complete earlier twelfth century copy described above, perhaps for comparative purposes.

ff. 14v-25v, Aristotle, Categoriae (translatio Boethii), incipit, “Equivoca dicuntur quorum...”; explicit, “[...] enumerati sunt. Explicit”;

ed. [Categoriae], in Aristoteles Latinus, I, 1-5 Categoriae vel Praedicamenta...edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, Bruges-Paris, 1961, pp. 5-41. A list of extant manuscripts is provided pp. XXIII-XXXVIII.

Aristotle’s Categories laid the foundation for many subsequent philosophical discussions in general. For logic, in particular, it was, during much of the Middle Ages, often the first philosophical text students encountered. According to the count of the texts listed by C. H. Lohr, there are roughly 200 extant Latin commentaries on the Categories written during the Middle Ages. Boethius translated and composed a commentary of the Categories c. 509-511. Boethius’s commentary on the Categories enjoyed considerable diffusion in the Latin West (see O. Lewry, “Boethian Logic in the Medieval West,” in M. Gibson, Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence (1981), pp. 90-134).

ff. 25v-31v, Aristotle, De interpretatione or Liber Peri Hermenias (translatio Boethii), incipit, “Primum oportet constituere quid sit nomen et quid verbum...”; explicit, “[...] non contingit in esse contraria”;

ed. [De interpretatione or Periermenias], in Aristoteles Latinus, II, 1-2 De interpretatione vel Periermenias..., Bruges-Paris, 1965, pp. 5-38.

ff. 31v-38v, Boethius, Liber de divisione, incipit, “Quam magnos studiosis afferat fructus scientia dividendi...”; explicit, “[...] paciebatur diligentissime expressimus”;

ed. Migne, Manlii Severini Boetii Opera omnia, Patrologia Latina (PL), 64, 875-892; other edition, J. Magee, Anicii Manlii Severini Boethii “De divisione liber”, 1998, pp. 1-51.

Like all of Boethius’s writings, De divisione looks both back to Antiquity and ahead to the Middle Ages. It was copied with great frequency for use in the medieval schools, the manuscripts in which it is preserved being outnumbered only, among Boethius’ works, by those of De differentiis topicis and the Consolatio. The wealth of glossed manuscripts suggests that De divisione proved of enduring interest to medieval students from the later tenth century on. The extant manuscript tradition is provided by Magee, 1990, pp. LXVI-LXXV: the Liber de divisione survives in some 197 manuscripts (likely more), seven of which Magee used to reconstitute the text. The editio princeps of De divisione was published in Venice, 1492 (see Gesamtkatalog, 296f, no. 4511).

ff. 38v-53v, Boethius, De topicis differentiis, incipit, “Omnis ratio disserendi quam logicen peripathetici...”; explicit, “[...] a nobis translata conscripsimus expeditum est”; Liber I (ff. 38v-42v); Liber II (ff. 42v-49); Liber III (ff. 49-53v) [missing Book IV, likely never planned];

ed. Migne, Manlii Severini Boetii Opera omnia, Patrologia Latina (PL), 64, 1174-1216; other editions: E. Stump, Boethius’s De topicis differentiis, translated with notes and essays on the text, Ithaca, 1978; D.Z. Nikitas, Boethius, “De topicis differentiis”..., Athens, Paris, Brussels,1990 [Corpus philosophorum medii aevi. Philosophi Byzantini, 5].

Boethius states the aim of this work: he will show which loci (locus, relation) there are and which of them are suited for which syllogisms.

ff. 53v-54v, Boetius, De categoricis syllogismis, incipit, [Multa] grai [graeci] veteres posteris suis...”; explicit, “[...] partes orationis sint consideremus [...]” (missing ending, likely due to change of quire, now wanting; the quire was apparently missing quite on since a 13th c. hand announces the next text in the composite volume in the lower margin of fol. 54v);

ed. [De categoricis syllogismis]. Righi, G. (ed.). A.M.S. Boezio "De syllogismo cathegorico": studio sul 1° libro, Milano, 1984; see also A. P. McKinley, The De syllogismis categoricis and Introductio ad syllogismos categoricos of Boethius (New York, 1930).

ff. 55-97, Aristotle, Liber topicorum, incipit, “Propositum quidem negocii est invenire...”; explicit, “[...] ad quas habundare est difficile continuo. Explicit liber thopicorum deo gratias”;

ed. [Topica]. Aristoteles Latinus V 1-3. Topica...edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, Bruxelles-Paris, 1969, pp. 5-179. A list of manuscripts is provided pp. XI-XXIII.

f. 97v, blank;

ff. 98-117, Aristotle, De sophisticis elenchis, incipit, “De sophisticis autem elenchis et de his qui videntur...”; explicit, “[...] inventis autem multas habere grates. Explicit liber elenchorum aristotelis. Explicit expliciat ludere scriptor eat”; Liber I (ff. 98-108); Liber II (ff. 108-117v);

ed. [De sophisticis elenchis]. Aristoteles Latinus VI 1-3. De sophisticis elenchis... edidit Bernardus G. Dod, Leiden-Bruxelles, 1975, pp. 5-60. A list of manuscripts is provided pp. XV-XXVIII.

ff. 118-149v, Aristotle, Priora analytica, incipit, “Primum opertet dicere esse...”; explicit, “[...] erit unum unius signum. Explicit liber priorum analecticorum aristotelis summi philozophi”;

ed. [Analytica Priora]. Aristoteles Latinus III 1-4. Analytica Priora... edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, Leiden-New-York-Köln, 1998, pp. 5-139. A list of manuscripts is provided pp. XXIII-XXXVII.

ff. 150-172v, Aristotle, Posteriora analytica, incipit, “Omnis doctrina et omnis disciplina intellectiva ex preexistente cognitione...”; explicit, “[...] se habet ad omnem rem”;

ed. [Analytica Posteriora]. Aristoteles Latinus IV 1-4. Analytica Posteriora...ediderunt Laurentius Minio-Paluello et Bernardus G. Dod, Bruges-Paris, 1968, pp. 5-107. A list of manuscripts is provided pp. XV-XXVIII.

The translation found here is that attributed to “Jacobus,” referred to as “Translatio Iacobi” by the editors (Aristoteles Latinus, 1968). This is the only work that is not a Boethian translation. In the mid twelfth century, James of Venice translated the Posterior Analytics from Greek manuscripts found in Constantinople.

ff. 172v-173v, Added notes, pertaining to humors and list of quotations, including Johannes Gagetanus, Isidorus, Abelardus, Scripture and Church Fathers; some pentrials (15th c.).

This codex contains the texts referred to by medieval logicians as the logica vetus (“old logic”) and the logica nova (“new logic”). The “old logic” included essentially Porphyry’s Isagoge, Aristotle’s Categories and De interpretatione (Peri Heremenias), and Boethius’s Liber de divisione; De topicis differentiis. The texts grouped under the appellation “old logic” were those available to logicians until the middle of the twelfth century before the rediscovery of the other Aristotelian works. Indeed, Aristotle’s other logical books traditionally included in the Organon (the name given to the standard collection of Aristotle’s works on logic), namely Topics, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, and Sophistici Elenchi, were progressively introduced into the Latin world circa the middle of the twelfth century and were thus labeled logica nova (“new logic”).

The first section of this manuscript (ff. 1-54v) contains the works of the logica vetus, known through the Middle Ages, while the remaining texts (ff. 55-172v) belong the logica nova, recovered in the course of the twelfth century and here copied through the thirteenth century. The assemblage of these texts in the thirteenth century, copied by different hands, provides clear evidence of the progressive rediscovery and reconstitution of the Aristotelian corpus of logic during the years following the mid twelfth-century Renaissance. The first section is written in a particularly fine hand (probably monastic) and the desire to continue and add to the twelfth-century copy of the logica vetus is interesting because it witnesses the progressive inclusion and assimilation of the rediscovered works and the constitution of a unified corpus of Aristotelian logic.

Boethius’s logical oeuvre contains works of three types, two of which are exemplified in the present manuscript. First, and at the center, there are the Latin translations of the Greek texts, here well represented. Secondly, there are the commentaries that have not made their way into the present manuscript, unless some of the glosses and scholia are in part excerpts from Boethian commentaries (to be studied). And thirdly, there are the Boethian treatises per se, with here represented On Division and On Topical Differences. It should be noted that Boethius’s achievement was remarkable and to quote J. Barnes: “those three types of scholarly production were complementary parts of a unitary whole” (J. Barnes, “Boethius and the Study of Logic,” in Gibson, 1981, p. 75). Almost three centuries after his death, Boethius, his translations, his commentaries, and his own works entered the classroom, with Alcuin of York who studied the rudiments of the old logic and who believed, like Augustine, that logic could be a tool of theology.

Boethius (480–524 or 525) is certainly one of the mostly important late Roman or early medieval authors. Born of a wealthy family, politically well connected, Boethius became a Senator at the age of 25 and later Consul of the Ostrogoths. He was arrested for treason in 524, imprisoned (where he wrote his most famous work, the Consolation of Philosophy), and eventually executed by Theodoric the Great. He left a large corpus of writings, mostly on logic, also on music, including a significant number of translations from the Greek and Latin. Among early medieval authors, he is in large part responsible for the survival of much of Greek writing.

Indeed, Boethius, set out to bring Greek civilization to Rome. He proudly announced his goal: “I shall translate into Latin every work of Aristotle’s that comes into my hands, and I shall write commentaries on all of them: any subtlety of logic, any depth of moral insight, any perception of scientific truth that Aristotle has set down, I shall arrange, translate and illuminate by the light of a commentary...” (Boethius, Second commentary on De interpretatione, in Anicii Manlii Severini Boetii commentarii in librum Aristotelis...recesuit Carolus Meiser, Leipzig, 1880, pp. 79-80). He saw himself not so much as an original logician but as a translator conveying Greek wisdom to Rome: by his efforts, Boethius ensured that the study of Aristotle’s Organon and the discipline of logic was not altogether eclipsed in the West.

This manuscript contains an abundance of contemporary or near-contemporary interlinear and marginal glosses and scholia. The marginalia are most often copied in a very tight and highly abridged script. There are also a fair amount of dry-point glosses, that is glosses and notes that are not written with pen and ink but impressed or scratched into the parchment with a stylus. Depending on the interplay between parchment and stylus, some of the glosses can be read but many of them are extremely difficult to read if they can be read at all. Why a stylus was used for these glosses instead of pen and ink, is not always clear. One reason might be that in contrast to inked glosses, dry-point glosses do not alter the appearance of a manuscript page. Many of them may have been simply private notes. Another type of notes was copied in pale plummet, also rendering legibility difficult: the notes might be legible using ultraviolet or infrared light. A complete study of the glosses found in the present manuscript, and comparison with other scholastic manuscripts of Aristotelian logic would prove quite interesting and would perhaps reveal in what milieu this manuscript was studied and used. There is most certainly still a great deal to discover and decipher in this manuscript, with its profuse marginal and interlinear annotations, added over at least two centuries.


Aristotle. Aristoteles Latinus I, 1-5, Categoriae vel Praedicamenta: translatio Boethii; editio composita; translatio Guillelmi de Moerbeka; Lemmata e Simplicii commentario decerpta; Pseudo-Augustini paraphrasis Themistiana, edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, Bruges-Paris, Desclée de Brouwer and Leiden, Brill, 1961.

Aristotle. Aristoteles latinus II, 1-2, De interpretatione vel Periermenias translatio Boethii; Specimina translationum recentiorum edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello; translatio Guillelmi de Moerbeka edidit Gerardus Verbeke, revisit L. Minio-Paluello, Leiden, Brill, 1965.

Aristotle. Aristoteles Latinus. I, 6-7, Categoriarum supplementa: Porphyrii Isagoge translatio Boethii, et anonymi fragmentum vulgo vocatum “Liber sex principiorum,” edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, adiuvante Bernardo G. Dod, Paris-Brussels, Desclée de Brouwer, 1966.

Aristotle. Aristoteles latinus. IV, 1-4, Analytica Posteriora. Translationes Iacobi, anonymi sive “Ioannis”...ediderunt Laurentius Minio-Paluello et Bernardus G. Dod, Bruges-Paris, 1968.

Aristotle. Aristoteles latinus. V, 1-3, Topica. Translatio Boethii...edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello adjuvante Bernardus G. Dod, Brussels-Paris, 1969.

Aristotle. Aristoteles Latinus VI, 1-3, De sophisticis elenchis translatio Boethii... edidit Bernardus G. Dod, Leiden-Brussels, Brill and Desclée de Brouwer, 1975.

Aristotle. Aristoteles Latinus III, 1-4, Analytica priora... edidit Laurentius Minio-Paluello, Leiden-New York-Köln, 1998.

Asztalos, M. “Boethius as a Transmitter of Greek Logic to the Latin West: The Categories,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 95 (1993), pp. 367-407.

Boethius. Anicii Manlii Severini Boethii “De divisione liber”: critical edition, translation, prolegomena, and commentary by John Magee, Leiden, Brill, 1998.

Boethius. Boethius, “De topicis differentiis” kai ‘oi buzantines metafraseis tôn Manouel ‘Olobôlou kai Prohorou Kudône..., Athens, Paris, Brussels, 1990 [Corpus Philosphorum Medii Aevi – Philosophi Byzantini, 5].

Burnett, C.H., ed. Glosses and Commentaries on Aristotelian Logical texts: the Syriac, Arabic and medieval Latin traditions, London, The Warburg Institute, 1993.

Ebbesen, S. “Medieval Latin Glosses and Commentaries on Aristotelian Logical Texts of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries,” in Burnett, C. (ed.). Glosses and Commentaries on Aristotelian Logical Texts, London, The Warburg Institute, 1993, pp. 129-177.

Gibson, M. (ed.) Boethius. His Life, Thought and Influence, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1981, in particular, O. Lewry, “Boethian Logic in the Medieval West,” pp. 91-134.

Hippeau, C. Dictionnaire topographique du département du Calvados, Paris, 1883.

Isaac, J. Le “Peri hermeneias” en Occident de Boèce à saint Thomas: histoire littéraire d’un traité d’Aristote, Paris, Vrin, 1953.

Lohr, C.H. “Medieval Latin Aristotle Commentaries. Authors G-I,” Traditio 24 (1968), pp. 149-245.

Mohan, G. “Incipits of Logical Writings of the XIIIth-XVth centuries,” Franciscan Studies 12 (1952), pp. 349-489.

Magee, J. “The Text of Boethius’ De divisione,” Vivarium 32 (1994), pp. 1-50.

Migne, J.-P. Manlii Severini Boetii Opera omnia, Patrologiae Latinae, tomus 64, Paris, 1847 [reprint Brepols, 1997].

Newton, L. A. ed. Medieval commentaries on Aristotle’s "Categories," Leiden, Brill, 2008.

Nikitas, D. Z. Boethius, “De topicis differentiis”..., Athens, Paris, Brussels, 1990 [Corpus philosophorum medii aevi. Philosophi Byzantini, 5].

Pini, G. Categories and Logic in Duns Scotus. An Interpretation of Aristotle’s Categories in the Late Thirteenth Century, Leiden-Boston-Köln, Brill, 2002.

Righi, G. (ed.). A.M.S. Boezio "De syllogismo cathegorico": studio sul 1° libro, Milan,1984.

Sorabji, R. Aristotle Transformed: The Ancient Commentators and their Influence, Ithaca, NY, 1990.

Weijers, O. Le maniement du savoir. Pratiques intellectuelles à l’époque des premières universités (XIIIe-XIVe siècles), Turnhout, Brepols, 1996.

Zaluska, Y. L’enluminure et le scriptorium de Cîteaux au XIIe siecle, Brecht and Cîteaux, 1990.

Online resources

Aristotle’s Logic

Boethius and Logic

History of Medieval Logic after Boethius to Late Scholasticism