Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Catalogue to Part 1


1. VALLA, Laurentius
De elegantia Latinae linguae
[Louvain : Jan Valdener, c. 1478]. fol.
Rhodes 1791.
(References to Rhodes throughout refer to D.E.R. Rhodes, A catalogue of incunabula in all the libraries of Oxford University outside the Bodleian (Oxford, 1981).)
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] A.2.7
Given by Richard Fox, Founder of the College. Fox himself has added the initial Q on folio 10.

The presence of RF (Ricardus Fox) and RE (Ricardus Econiensis) within the initial Q show that Fox first added his personal initials before he was translated to the see of Exeter in 1487. RE, evidently inscribed with a different pen, and arguably at a later date, was added between 1487 and 1492 when he was Bishop of Exeter. J.G. Milne surmises that Fox may well have purchased this book hot from the press - the subject of the book being just what a man with his sights on a place in public service might need (J.G. Milne, The early history of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (Oxford, 1946), p. 40).

The De elegantia is a work on Latinprose style, and we should not be surprised to find it in the library of the College whose Reader of Humanity was to cast out all "barbarity" from this garden of learning.


2. CICERO, Marcus Tullius
Brutus. De oratore
Rome : In domo Petri de Maximo [Conrad Sweynheym & Arnold Pannartz], 12 January 1469. 4o.
Rhodes 578.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.2.1
Wanting leaves 1 and 2. Illuminated.
On the final leaf is inscribed: "Liber Jo. Shirwood sedis apostolice praetorii emptus Romae anno domini 1477."

Illuminated text at beginning of De oratore
Although there is no reference to Fox's ownership or gift in the book (possibly it has been lost with the first two leaves), we must believe that this volume came to the College via Fox, who had inherited Shirwood's library. (For details of Shirwood's library, see P.S. Allen, "Bishop Shirwood of Durham and his library", in English historical review, vol. XXV (1910), pp. 445-456.) John Shirwood was Bishop of Durham, 1494-1501. Fox succeeded him in that see in 1502, and inherited his Latin books.

Cicero's De oratore was one of the texts that Fox's statutes listed as to be taught by the Reader of Humanity to students who had made some progress in their studies.

The illuminated initial shown here at the beginning of the text of the De oratore is one of three in the book. There is red and blue rubrication throughout.

The first printers, copying the style of manuscripts, often left the space for large capitals at the beginning of a book or section blank (or marked with a lower case letter) so that the purchaser could, if he wished, have his books illuminated in the manner of his manuscripts. Less well-off customers would leave the spaces blank; a young man of limited means might try his hand at filling in his own initials, as Fox did in his copy of Valla. Whether Shirwood had this book illuminated, or purchased it second-hand already decorated, we cannot know. Shirwood's library certainly contained other illuminated items (nos. 3-4).

The marginalia are the typical signs of Fox at work on his books. This was obviously a text he had had in his own library and had studied in detail.


3. PLAUTUS, Titus Maccius
Comeodiae / ed. Georgius Merula

Venice : Vindelinus de Spira for Johannes de Colonia, 1472. fol.
Rhodes 1431.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.5.4

Given by Richard Fox.

Bought by John Shirwood in Rome on 15 May, 1481.

The first page of the text is lavishly illuminated. At the foot is a coat of arms that has been tentatively identified with a bishop of the Della Rovere family. Was it this owner who had the Plautus so decorated? 




3a. AUGUSTINUS, Aurelius, Saint

Milan: Johannes Bonus, 21 July 1475. 4o.
Rhodes 203.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.1.16

Given by Richard Fox.

Bought by John Shirwood.

Showing the typical provenance note that Shirwood wrote in the end of his books:

"Liber Jo Shirwood se[dis] ap[ostoli]caeprotonotarii archidia[con]i Richemu[n]diae; emptus ligatus Romae... AugustiA[nn]o Do[mini], 1481."


Epistolae / ed. Joannes Andreae, Bishop of Aleria. 2 vol.

Rome: Conrad Sweynheym & Arnold Pannartz, 13 December 1468. fol.
Rhodes 910.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] E.3.1-2
Fox Jerome
Bought by John Shirwood in Rome, 1476.

Given by Richard Fox.

Volume 1. The first leaf. The style of illumination can be compared with the Plautus (no. 3). The wreath at the bottom of the page is of a similar style but awaits a coat of arms.

Jerome is one of the Fathers to be used in the interpretation of the Scriptures, according to Fox's statutes.


Opera / comm. Christophorus Landinus

Venice : Joannes [de Gregoriis] & socii, 17 May 1483. fol.
Rhodes 942.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.4.8(1)

Given by Richard Fox, 1519.

At the foot of the second leaf:

"Orate pro anima Reverendi in ChristoPatris ac D[omi]ni Ric[ard]i Fox olim Winton[ensis] Ep[iscop]i CollegiiCorporis Christi in universitate oxon[iense] Fundatoris qui hu[n]c libru[m]dedit eidem. 1519."

This inscription is common in most books given by Fox, although the date of the donation rarely appears. This dated example is good evidence of Fox giving to his college books that he expected to be studied. Horace was to be studied on Feast days in the afternoon.

The Horace is bound with:

Venice : Lucas Venetus Dominic F., 2 August 1481. fol.
Rhodes 1487.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.4.8(2)

The book has been rebound since Fox gave the Horace to the library, and it is no longer evident whether the Quintilian was part of Fox's gift. The text was one of those prescribed by Fox in his statutes, but there is no inscription of ownership, nor the usual marks made by Fox on his own books.



Strasburg: Johannes Gruninger, 1 November 1496. fol.
Rhodes 1680.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.5.12(1)

Terence is among the Latin authors to be explicated by the Reader of Humanity on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

John Claymond, the first President, filled some of the gaps in the provision Fox had made.


7. JUVENALIS, Decimus Junius

Venice: Baptista de Blavis, de Alexandria, 19 July 1483. fol.
Rhodes 1056.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.5.5(1)
Given by John Claymond.

On the fly leaf:

"Claymondo debetur. Solui per singuliscontentis in colligatione vjs xd."

Open at the 8th Satire, showing the typical layout of a mediaeval book: text in columns with surrounding commentary.

The marginalia are in the hand of John Claymond.


Epistolae / ed. Joannes Andreae, Bishop of Aleria. 2 vol.
Basle : Nicolaus Kesler, 8 August 1497. fol.
Rhodes 911.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] F.4.6
Given by John Claymond.

On the fly leaf is inscribed:

"Liber Claymondi emptus 4 s."
("Bought by Claymond for 4 shillings.")

Fox had already given his library an edition of this work printed in Rome in 1468.

The inscription at the base of the title page is evidence of the practice of a lending library:

"Orate pro anima Iohannis Claymondialuarii Corporis Christi primi presidis qui vsum huius libri dedit M. Scalateroquam diu manserit in dicto Collegio ut in electione preferantur IohannesGarrattus et Iohannes Claymondus cognati mei dum illic manserint."


Claymond seems to have given use of the book to Thomas Sclater for as long as he remains in the College. The book then seems to have been bought by Claymond for the College as a circulating copy. It does not bear marks of Claymond's own working books. Scalter
Fox's statutes allowed for books that were duplicates or works unworthy to be chained in the library to be circulated.

The woodcut of St. Jerome gives a pleasing picture of his personal trilinguis bibliotheca.

The book retains its original binding in which Claymond bought it.

The woodcut in this item serves as a useful pointer towards Greek and Hebrew books in the Corpus Library.


[Works. Greek]
Florence: Bernardus Nerlius, Nerius Nerlius, Demetrius Damilas, [not before 13 January 1488/9]. fol.
Rhodes 942.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] C.3.5-6

Given by Richard Fox.

Open at the beginning of Book XVI of the Odyssey: Odysseus reveals himself to Telemachus.

This is the first printed Greek edition of Homer. Fox endowed his library with this fine copy: Homer was to be taught on Holy Days, on which days Plato could also be taught.

The first book printed entirely in Greek was the Greek grammar of Constantine Lascaris printed in Milan by Dionigi de Paravicino. It is assumed that the typeface used was designed by Demetrius Damilas, who was resident in Milan at that time. We here see the same Demetrius Damilas printing this Homer in Florence at the expense of the brothers Nerlii.



Florence: in aedibus Philippi Iuntae, 1516. fol.
British Museum STC Italy p. 738
(British Museum, Short title catalogue of books printed in Italy... from 1465 to 1600 now in the British Museum (London, 1958))
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [delta] 6.4(1)


Given by Richard Fox.

This item is bound with:

Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1503. fol.
British Museum STC Italy p. 738
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [delta] 6.4(2)

Only the first work bears the inscription recording Fox's gift. It seems likely that Fox bought it straight off the press for his college library. This Florentine edition is the first Greek edition of the author. The book is not marked with Fox's marginalia, as are other books he gave to the College which had once been part of his own working library. The College still holds a string of early sixteenth century editions, most from the Aldine press, which were given by Fox. None bear much annotation. This is perhaps evidence of Fox buying specifically for the library. We know it was his intention that the library should be endowed with resources for the study of Greek as well as Latin.


Medea. Hippolytus. Alecestis. Andromache

[Florence: Laurentius de Alopa, before 18 June 1485]. 4o.
Rhodes 742.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] B.6.5(1)


The interest of this item is in the Greek typeface. the simple majuscules contrast with the much less readable text of the Aldine fonts based on a cursive script (no.12).


12. GAZA, Theodorus
[Grammatike eisagoge]

Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1495. fol.
Rhodes 812.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] A.3.5

Given by Richard Fox.

Open at the beginning of the Greek text.

Fox is here providing for the study of Greek. The founder's statutes require the Greek lecturer to read Greek grammar or rhetoric to interested students three or four times a week.

Aldus Manutius' main interest as a publisher was the printing of the Greek classics. This rather large font size shows off Aldus' Greek typeface well. He is believed to have based his Greek type design on the cursive hand of Immanuel Rhusotas (M. Davies, Aldus Manutius: printer and publisher of renaissance Venice (London, 1995), p. 14). Unfortunately, the hand of a Greek scribe, with numerous contractions and ligatures, well-suited for speedy note-taking, did not produce a very legible typeface. Compare this typeface with that of the Homer (no.9).


Venice : Aldus Manutius, June and [17] October 1499. fol.
Rhodes 777.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] A.3.11


Bought by John Claymond for the College, 1501. At foot of title page:

"Hic liber emptus fuit Anno Domini 1501 pro collegio Corporis Christi Claimonde preside."

Lincare's translation of Proclus' De sphaera begins with a dedicatory to Alberto Pio, prince of Carpi, wherein Aldus writes that he hopes Linacre

"will soon publish those and his other works on Physics and medicine, so that from that same Britain whence formerly a barbarous and unlearned literature made its way to us, occupying and still holding our Italian citadel, we who are now learning to speak in Latin, and as becomes men of learning, shall receive a knowledge of true science, and, having with British aid put barbarism to flight, win back our citadel. ... Admiring the latinity and eloquence of these men, I have thought it well to subjoin a certain learned and excellent letter, which William Grocyn, a man of exceeding skill and universal learning, even in Greek, not to say Latin, has sent me..."
(Translation taken from M. Burrows, "Linacre's catalogue of Grocyn's books, followed by a memoir of Grocyn", in Collectanea. 2nd series (Oxford, 1890), p. 350.)

The interest of this letter is twofold. It reveals what Aldus considers barbarous - the works of the Schoolmen- and it shows an early link between scholars in Oxford and the printers on the Continent, a link in which we shall see Corpus itself involved.

The study of natural philosophy was not overlooked in the Founder's statutes.


15th century hand on vellum
Ff. 164


Bound with:

De septem disciplinis
Ff. 41

Coxe CCC. 100.
(References to Coxe throughout are to H.O. Coxe, Catalogus codicum mss. qui in collegiis aulisque oxoniensibus hodie adservantur. Pars II (Oxford, 1852))
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ms. 100


On fly leaf: "Liber W. Grocyn".

At base of contents page, fol.2:

"Hic liber emptus fuit abhaeredibus Guilielmi Grocini Anno Domini 1501 [sic] pro collegii CorporisChristi Claimonde praesidi."

One of the Greek manuscripts acquired by the College from the books of Grocyn after his death in 1519.


De physica
On vellum. Illuminated. fol.
15th century hand identified as that of John Thessalus Scutariota
Coxe CCC. 104.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ms. 104


At the base of fol. 1:

"Hic liber emptus fuitab haeredibus Guilielmi Grocini Anno Domini 1521 pro collegio Corporis ChristiClaimonde preside."

This was one of a number of items purchased by the College from William Grocyn's executors. 


13th century manuscript. On vellum

Hebrew text and Gallican text in parallel columns
There is also an interlinear literal Latin translation
Coxe. CCC. 10.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ms. 10


Open at fol. 2, showing the inscription recording Claymond's gift:

"Orate pro anima Joannis Claymondi, prima praesidis hujus collegii Corporis Christi, qui hunc librumdedit eidem."


13th century manuscript. On vellum. 4o.

I Samuel. Hebrew with Vulgate translation in margin
Chronicles. Hebrew with interlinear Latin gloss
Coxe. CCC. 9
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ms. 9


Given by John Claymond.

The margins contain notes with Latin and French renderings of Hebrew words often dependent on traditional Jewish interpretation. (Additional information from slips pasted in library's copy of Coxe from "Catalogue of Anglo-Jewish tercetenary exhibition, 1956".) 

13th century manuscript. On vellum. fol.
Hebrew text and Vulgate in parallel
Coxe. CCC. 11
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ms. 11

In place of the Gallican text are notes and collations bearing a resemblance to the Commentary on the Psalms by the English scholar Nicholas Trevet (1258?-1328). This manuscript was probably his working copy.

Diadochi in primum Elementorum Euclidis libri tres priori. Greek
15th century manuscript. 95 ff.

Coxe. CCC. 97
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ms. 97

 Printers Mark
Open at folio 14, showing the red chalk marks of the printer in Basle in 1533, who has marked off the page endings of the printed edition. Compare the beginning of the text on page 14 of the printed edition (no.20).

Simon Grynaeus borrowed this manuscript from Corpus to provide the publisher of his printed edition with a text.

Grynaeus presented a copy of the printed work to John Claymond (no. 20).


Elements. Greek. With commentary of Proclus on Book I / edited by S. Grynaeus

Basle: Apud I. Hervagium, 1533. fol.
BM STC Germany 1455-1600, p. 288
(British Museum, Short title catalogue of books printed in German-speaking countries... 1455-1600 now in the British Museum (London, 1962.)
Corpus Christi College, Oxford. [phi] F.3.10


Presented by the editor to John Claymond.

Given by John Claymond.

Open at page 14 of Proclus' commentary on Euclid. The text at the beginning matches that marked in the manuscript (no. 19).

The title page shows the editor's inscription.

This item shows Corpus supporting the work of editors and presses on the Continent.


Part 2: A selection of manuscripts from the College's collection



























































































































































































































































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