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Durham University

Special Collections

DUL MS Cosin V.IV.7 Astrologia & Medica (Eng. & Lat.) s. xv med.

These incomplete draft descriptions of medieval manuscripts in Durham University Library are copyright, and may not be quoted without the permission of the University of Durham Library.

Owing to inconsistencies with the source software, accented characters appear in varying compound forms. This has not yet been rationalized.

13/3/90 AJP revision of AID 13/4/89

Two sections, (A, B), separated by blank paper leaves, s. xvii, identical with the end-leaves, and so perhaps brought together by George Davenport. The two quires of (B) appear to have different origins; they were together when item 19 was added, s. xv ex., at the end of quire 6 and the beginning of quire 7.

English passages in items xx, xx, xx

8 (paper, s. xvii) + 37 + 8 (paper, s. xvii) + 22 + 8 (paper, s. xvii); foliated i-viii, 1-37, ix-xvi, 38-59, xvii-xxiv. Membrane (0.15 or, (B), 0.1 mm.; matt for quires 1-4; quire 6 with hairside outermost, otherwise not readily distinguishable, but probably irregular in quire 7; some natural edges in (A)), c. 175 x 125 mm. First page of (B) unprotected for a period, to judge by soiling and staining. Staining from re-agents used to improve legibility.

Collation of ff. 1-59: (A: ff. 1-37) 16, 28, 36, 48 wants 7 after f. 26, 510; (B: ff. 38-59) 612 wants 4 after f. 40 + 1 leaf (f. 40) after 12; 712 wants 3 after f. 51 and 6 after f. 53. Catchwords on quire 61,3,7,8 (versos of ff. 38, 40, 43 and 44).


No evidence of pricking. Written space c. 125 x 80 mm.; framed in ink or, ff. 15 and 20 (outermost bifolium of quire 3), in red. 25-27 lines.

Written in anglicana, with single-compartment a and, from f. 28v, secretary g, proficiently by one hand, perhaps also responsible for captions to drawings in item 3 in textura, and possibly for signed colophon to item 5, f. 34v, in display textura.

Decoration: text-capitals filled with yellow. Paraphs, double virgules, underlining and line-fillers, ff. 2-37v, in red. Initials: (i) to items 5(b) and 6 and to divisions of items 3-6, 2-line, red; (ii) to items 3 and 4, and cf. I to 5(a), 3-line, red. Diagrams in item 4 include a little yellow wash. Drawings of seven zodiacal signs in item 3 (see below) in ink, tinted in blue, grey, red, buff and green.


1. f.1r-v Somer seith at Hermes seith at e preuyte of euery thyng is water ... ... wiche mylke comith of e blood & ascendith to pe brest as it is forseyd Et totum assimilare potest lapis philosophicus &c.

'A short and apparently complete text describing the function of water and fire in generation and development of man', Singer, MS. Handlist. Somer may be John Somer O.F.M. DATE HIM?

2. added in blank spaces, in darker ink, by another (?) hand:

(a) f. 1v (Aries) Tropicum signum dicitur illud in quo cum sol intrat/ tempus in alium qualitatem convertit ... Taurus. vero signum sequens ... Bipartitum. quidem signum est ... ad subsequentem hyemem spectat;

(b) f. 1v Aries libra sagittarius aquarius Bonus ...;

(c) f. 1v Nota quod mulieres menstruatos (?) habundant ...;

(d) f. 2 foot Ar li de Vena bene fundunt vrna sagitta ...;

(e) f. 2 foot In luna plena non tangatur tua vena ...


(b) the signs of the Zodias arranged in 3 lines, ending Bonus, Malus and Indifferenter respectively.

(c) each of the four weeks of the moon is matched to one of the four humours;

(d) 2 lines;

(e) 3 lines.

3. ff. 2-5v This is the boke of ypocras// In this boke be tokenys for to knowe e planet. sekenes bothe of lyf & of dethe And tymys er of. First seith ypocras A leche shalle take kepe of the moone ... ... This reule is general For all maner Surgery owtward// Here endipb the boke of ypocras of dee & of lyf translat of astronomers e best super Auicennum.

A text apparently also found in London, Royal Coll. of Physicians MS 384 ff. 85-86; Cambridge, Trinity Coll. MS R.14.52 ff. cxliiii-xlv, and Gonville and Caius Coll. MS 336 ff. 98v-101. The last, according to Prof. L. Voigts, apparently being a portion, according to Professor L.Voigts, from at least f.79v, of a commentary on Aegidius, perhaps by Henry Daniel. The Trinity MS is closer verbally to the Caius MS than the copy here.

Seven principal sections, each for a zodiacal sign (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Piscis), and ending with a circle, c. 40 mm. in diameter, containing a tinted drawing of it, with a note of its associated quality and planet.

4. ff. 5v-10v Here be gynnyth the boke and the teching of the golden Table// Maistir Pictagorus. e noble Philosophr wiche at for wisdam & cunnyng trauaylyd all abowte e werld ... ... Of thingis at ben nat soth And stond in dowte &c.

A text also found in Cambridge Gonville & Caius Coll. MS 336; Columbia Univ. MS Plimpton 260; B.L. MS Sloane 3580A; London, University Coll. MS Angl.6; Oxford Bodleian Libr. MS Ashmole 189. An edition is in preparation by Prof. L. Voigts.

Three diagrams: two circular, 96 and 90 mm. in diameter, ff. 8v and 9v, and one rectangular, filling f. 10v.


(a) ff. 11-31 In euery mannys water there be vij principall causis That is to sey the colour. e substaunce e discering[sic] of parties/ e quantite e Content the smelling & the Sauoure ... ... The firste cause is good. The 2de is nau3t. e thrid (is) indefferent. Iam ex[plic]it de vrinis secundum Magistrum Henricum montis Pessulani &c;

(b) ff. 31-34v The Iuse of sambuce & kebulli boylid & drunke ... ... Also a playster made off gleyer of eggis & barly mele with e juse of Malins is good for yen &c. Explicit liber de vrinis Secundum Ypocras Quod Thomas S.

(c) (added in lower margins, by the main hand ?) (i) ff. 29r-30 To breke e stone in amannys bledder Recipe iiij li. of gootis blod ...; (ii) ff. 33v-34 Colirium (?) Recipe toty 3.3. ...; (iii) f. 34v For to expelle snakis eddris or oer wormys ...

(a) lacks one leaf, apart from a stub with traces, after f. 26; Henry of Winchester was chancellor of Montpellier in 1239/40 and writings attributed to him are the earliest evidence of the school of medicine there, see E. Wickersheimer, Dictionnaire Biographique des Mdecins en France au Moyen ge, nouv.d., Suppl., Geneva 1979, p.119;

(b) recipes, not conspicuously connected with urines, e.g A Cure for Akyng of the hed, f. 31;

(c) recipes.

6. ff. 35-37v Forma hominis. Here it is to knowe off the Forme of a man & how many parties he is made of ... ... Whan e mone is in pissibus it is good to do all thingis at longyn to e water. & to wed a wyf & to go be water & lond at the myd day &c.

Includes passages on the properties of the sun and the seven planets.

Correction and Annotation:

Items 4-6 have marginal supplies and sidenotes in English and Latin by the main hand.; marginal additions comprising item 5(c), probably also by the main hand. Latin sidenotes by a similar hand, probably also responsible for item 2 above, s. xv med. Running titles, ff. 12, 16, in italic, s. xvi med. Sidenotes, ff. 18, 31v in secretary, s. xvi2, Latin and English.

Written in England, by a copyist, uniform in spelling, using initial x- for sh-, indicative of Norfolk origin (this manuscript not listed in the Linguistic Atlas of M.E.); display colophon to item 5, f. 34v, signed 'Thomas S'.

Secundo folio see incipit to item 3, but preceding quire(s) presumably once present.


No evidence of pricking. Quire 6: written space c. 125 x 80 mm.; framed in soft brown, with lines for item 19 added; 28- 31 lines, ff. 38-45. Quire 7: framed in ink, 100 mm. wide, with lines for drawings of urine-bottles 83 mm. apart; captions up to c.140 apart.

Written: I, items 7-13 and 16-17, in a small secretary with unlooped d and 8-shaped g, presumably by Simon Whit who signed items 10 and 13 (ff. 42v, 45); II, items 14-15 and 18, in a smaller secretary with secretary g; III, item 20, in anglicana and anglicana formata; IV, item 19 (added), in secretary, neatly or, from f. 49/7, much more currently.

Decoration: in items 7-13 and 16-17 only. Text-capitals lined with red. Paraphs in red. Initials: (i) to division of item 9, 1-line, red; (ii) to items 7, 9 and 12, 2-line, red.


7. ff. 38-39v iesus | Prima [for Vrina] rufa sign[ific]at salutem et bonam dispositionem cordis humani ... ... expulcio materie venenose est signum mortis.| Explicit optimus tractatus de iudicijs vrinarum.

A very common piece: Thorndike & Kibre col.1610, John Ketham, Fasciculus Meddicinae para. 2 (Klebs 573.2).

8. ff. 39v-40 Color vrinarum. Aut sign[ific]at digestionem ... Aut principium digestionis ... ... Niger vt carbo. | Hec Johannes de sancto amando.

On the many works of John de S. Amando (s. xiii), see Wickersheimer, ii,476-7, and Suppl., 179-80.

9. f. 40r-v Prima regula de circulo vrine est hec circulus grossus et spissus in subs[tan]tia remissus ... ... preter naturam significat.

Ten rules for judging urines.

10. ff. 40v-42v Nota quod natura humana mutatur de vna complexione in aliam quandoque per infirmitates ... ... quibus complexionibus valeat eas coaptare. | Explicit bonus processus. Quod Simon Whit.

DESCRIBE One leaf missing between ff. 40 and 41.

11. f. 43 Sanitas est proporcio debita resultans ex commixtione humorum adinuicem ... habebit nonam complexionem in numero et nouam.

Seven lines only.

12. ff. 43-45 Secundum diuersitatem elementorum diuersificantur complexiones hominum ... ... ad lx magis vel minus secundum diuersitatem complexionum.


13. f. 45 th[olome]us [bracketed with 7 lines] Ex sole procedit spiritus vitalis ... Ex venere appetiua. Scripsit Simon Whyt.

On the influences of the seven planets, attributed to Ptolomy.

14. f. 45v

(a) Tabula de iudicijs vrinarum per colores;

(b) (in two tapering triangles, presumably intended to frame a triangular diagram) (i) Medicus considerat de causis longitudinis et breuitatis vite solum in hominibus ...; (ii) Sanitas est temperamentum perficiens res naturales secundum cursum nature ...

(a) A circular diagram, 97 mm. in diameter, well-drawn, comprising three concentric bands, with the title in red in the centre: the outer band divided into 20 segments, each with a legend, alternately black and red, concerning colour, e.g. 'Rufus color vrine vt aurum purum'; the next consisting of drawings of 20 urine-bottles; and the inner band comprising 7 small circles, each containing a legend concerning digestive significances and linked by red lines to two or three bottles. Cf. that in Oxford Bodleian Lib. MS Ashmole 789, f. 364v, see L. MacKinney, Medical Illustrations in Medieval Manuscripts, (Berkeley 1965), pp. 11-12, 212, uncol. fig.6, where the orientation of the legends is shifted anti-clockwise.

15. f. 46

(a) Signorum quedam sunt| Calida et sicca/ Aries Leo Sagittarius/ Ignea sunt Aries leo que Sa. ...;

(b) Nota quod humorem proicit (?) quelibet Planeta Saturnus malencoliam ...;

(c) Hic <pha deleted> Pterolous cum igitur in luna et in venere madimux humor ...;

(d) In io circulo patet quis planeta est masculus quis femininus et quis est domus eius principalis et quis accidentalis ...

(a) Tabulation in 3 columns;

(b) 8 half-lines;

(c) 5 lines;

(d) Circular diagram, 58 mm. in diameter, with introductory paragraph; the circle is divided into 12 segments, one for each zodiacal sign, with 7 (Aries - Libra) associated with a planet (saturnus - luna), and a legend in the outer part of each segment as described above.

16. f. 46v Per hanc figuram scies domus exaltaciones triplicitates ternas et facies planetarum ...

Circular diagram, 89 mm. in diameter, with explanatory paragraph below; the circle, which has at the centre the legend 'Oppositus assumptus inter Arietem et Libram', is divided into 12 segments, one for each zodiacal sign, labelled in the outermost ring either 'Directe oritur' or 'Indirecte oritur', with 7 rings inside the names of the signs, one for each planet, and a figure in each segment of each ring.

17. f. 47 Nota quod sensus communis est quedam vis ... sensus particulares terminantur in sensu communi.

A picture of a head, with note below. The eyes, nose, mouth and left ear are labelled for their senses, with 'Tactus' written three times beside the surface of the head; the dome of the cranium is divided and labelled with faculties (Sensus communis, ymaginacio, cogiticio, estimacio, and virtus mentis).

18. f. 47v Sperma hominis descendit ex omni humore ... ... secundum easdem mutaciones.


19. (added on a blank leaf and a supplementary leaf at the end of quire 6 and in space at the start of item 20, s. xv ex.) ff. 48-50 [C]irca rithmi noticiam videndum est quid sit rithmus ex quot sillabis ... nec fiat vis in cauda vt si dicam.

Incipit not in Bursill-Hall.

20. (quire 7) ff. 50-59v Circulus. 3yf e sercle be grene it betokenyth grete heddache ... Karapos (on mouth of bottle) ... Color aque as a camell skyn (on body of bottle) Medicina. Auence e in e leggis ... ... Glaucus ... Medicina. Take e ius of tansey e redwortys boyle hem in wyne with a lytyll hony. Finis.

Urinary diagnostics and prescriptions. Each page, headed either 'Circulus' or 'Circulus ut antea', has a drawing of a urine-bottle, labelled with a colour, in Latin and English, and with conditions diagnosed in English, and, at the foot of the page, a recipe in English. Much of each page is blank.

Written in England, in part presumably by Simon Whit, see colophons to items 10 and 13, ff. 42v, 45.

Secundo folio appareat in vrina

brown sprinkled calf, with double blind fillets edging sides and vertically c.20 mm. in from spine, and with Hugh Hutchinson's ...--... tool gilt on edges of boards, c. 16xx.