"²(ff.48-49)+210(ff.50-59)+313(ff.60-72,no.13cancelled)+412(ff.73-84)+511(ff.85-95,lacksno.4)+612(ff.96-108)+712(ff.109-120,misbound)+812(ff.121-132)+912(ff.133-144)+1012(ff.145-156)+1111(ff.157-167,no.12cancelled)+1210(ff.168-177,no.9cancelled)+1312(ff.178-188bis)+1410(ff.189-198,nos.4and9wanting)+1513(ff.199-211,no.8wanting)+166(ff.212-217)+17³(ff.218-220)+18²(ff.221-222)" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 1.


Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, MS 7672-7674 Codex Salmanticensis

  • Latin
  • s. xiii/xiv
  • Irish manuscripts
  • vellum

An important collection of Latin saints’ Lives, all of which except one pertain to saints of Ireland.

Cat. no. 3179
Codex Salmanticensis
Provenance and related aspects
s. xiii/xiv
During much of the 20th century, most scholars who have studied the manuscript and its contents intensively have preferred to date the manuscript to the 14th century, although without offering explicit evidence: 14th century (Ch. Plummer); 14th century, probably earlier part of the century (W. Heist); late 14th century (R. Sharpe). More recent research, however, tends towards an earlier date. Ian Doyle, whose palaeographical work informed articles by William O’Sullivan and Pádraig Ó Riain, suggested that certain features of the script speak in favour of a date in the 13th or early 14th century.
Hands, scribes
“at least two, and I think at least three hands, apart from the correctors. Of the latter, again, there were at least who seem to have worked on the original compilation of the manuscript. One of them seems also to have served as rubricator, for some of the corrections are made in the same red ink with which many of the capitals are filled in” (Heist: xvi); “written [...] by two or three scribes” (Sharpe: 231).
Codicological information
33 cm × 23.3 cm
12 (ff. 48-49) + 210 (ff. 50-59) + 313 (ff. 60-72, no. 13 cancelled) + 412 (ff. 73-84) + 511 (ff. 85-95, lacks no. 4) + 612 (ff. 96-108) + 712 (ff. 109-120, misbound) + 812 (ff. 121-132) + 912 (ff. 133-144) + 1012 (ff. 145-156) + 1111 (ff. 157-167, no. 12 cancelled) + 1210 (ff. 168-177, no. 9 cancelled) + 1312 (ff. 178-188bis) + 1410 (ff. 189-198, nos. 4 and 9 wanting) + 1513 (ff. 199-211, no. 8 wanting) + 166 (ff. 212-217) + 173 (ff. 218-220) + 182 (ff. 221-222) = 175 (total)
Palaeographical information
Category: Gothic scripts
Table of contents

Links to texts use a standardised title for the catalogue and so may or may not reflect what is in the manuscript itself, hence the square brackets. Their appearance comes in three basic varieties, which are signalled through colour coding and the use of icons, , and :

  1. - If a catalogue entry is both available and accessible, a direct link will be made. Such links are blue-ish green and marked by a bookmark icon.
  2. - When a catalogue entry does not exist yet, a desert brown link with a different icon will take you to a page on which relevant information is aggregated, such as relevant publications and other manuscript witnesses if available.
  3. - When a text has been ‘captured’, that is, a catalogue entry exists but is still awaiting publication, the same behaviour applies and a crossed eye icon is added.

The above method of differentiating between links has not been applied yet to texts or citations from texts which are included in the context of other texts, commonly verses.


While it is not a reality yet, CODECS seeks consistency in formatting references to locations of texts and other items of interest in manuscripts. Our preferences may be best explained with some examples:

  • f. 23ra.34: meaning folio 23 recto, first column, line 34
  • f. 96vb.m: meaning folio 96, verso, second column, middle of the page (s = top, m = middle, i = bottom)
    • Note that marg. = marginalia, while m = middle.
  • p. 67b.23: meaning page 67, second column, line 23
The list below has been collated from the table of contents, if available on this page,Progress in this area is being made piecemeal. Full and partial tables of contents are available for a small number of manuscripts. and incoming annotations for individual texts (again, if available).Whenever catalogue entries about texts are annotated with information about particular manuscript witnesses, these manuscripts can be queried for the texts that are linked to them.


Primary sources This section typically includes references to diplomatic editions, facsimiles and photographic reproductions, notably digital image archives, of at least a major portion of the manuscript. For editions of individual texts, see their separate entries.

[dig. img.] “Royal Library of Belgium”, Anne-Marie OʼBrien, and Pádraig Ó Macháin, Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) – Meamrám Páipéar Ríomhaire, Online: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2019–present. URL: <https://www.isos.dias.ie/collection/rlb.html>.
[dig. img.] Belgica, Online: Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, 2012–present. URL: <http://belgica.kbr.be>.
De Smedt, Charles, and Joseph De Backer, Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae ex codice Salmanticensi, Edinburgh and London, 1888.
Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum – scanned copy: <link>
Heist, W. W. [ed.], Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae: ex codice olim Salmanticensi, nunc Bruxellensi. Lives of the saints of Ireland, from the Salamanca manuscript now of Brussels, Subsidia Hagiographica, 28, Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1965.

Secondary sources (select)

Ó Riain, Pádraig, “The O’Donohue Lives of the Salamancan Codex: the earliest collection of Irish saints’ lives?”, in: Sarah Sheehan, Joanne Findon, and Westley Follett (eds), Gablánach in scélaigecht: Celtic studies in honour of Ann Dooley, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013. 38–52.
Szacillo, Judyta Aleksandra, “Irish hagiography and its dating: a study of the O’Donohue group of Irish saints’ lives”, PhD thesis, Queen’s University Belfast, School of History and Anthropology, 2013.  
The so called O'Donohue group of Irish saints' Lives has been defined and tentatively dated to circa 800 by Richard Sharpe in 1991. Sharpe's dating was based mainly on linguistic features and on the reconstruction of editorial work of medieval collectors and scribes of the manuscripts that are still extant. However, there is no scholarly consensus regarding the proposed date. This thesis offers a detailed discussion of a Dumber of datable features that may be found in some of the O'Donohue Lives. The Lives subjected to scrutiny are: the Life of Ailbe of Emly, the Life of Ruadán of Lorrha, the Life of Aed mac Bricc, the Life of Munnu of Taghmon and the Life of Colmán Ela. The contents of these texts have been verified against the information preserved in other Irish medieval sources: annals, genealogies, martyrologies and other saints' Lives that have been assigned secure dates.
 : <link>
Breatnach, Caoimhín, “The significance of the orthography of Irish proper names in the Codex Salmanticensis”, Ériu 55 (2005): 85–101.
Sperber, Ingrid, “Studies in Hiberno-Latin hagiography”, PhD thesis, Uppsala Universitet, Institutionen för lingvistik och filologi, 2004.  
This dissertation deals with a selection of Latin Lives of Irish saints, most of which belong to the so-called ‘O’Donohue Lives’, which have earlier been dated to no later than the mid-ninth century. The present thesis deals partly with the dates not of that group as a whole, but with several of the individual Lives; a couple of Lives which do not belong to the O’Donohue group have been included as well. Most of the Lives discussed here can indeed be assigned to the eighth or ninth century. The texts have been dated mostly by means of an analysis of the contemporary political interests which are displayed in the Lives; the theories on diffusion of cults put forward by P. Ó Riain have also been of use. In close connexion with the question of date, the composition of a number of the Lives has been analysed, and the result shows that such an analysis is a helpful instrument in the study of the history of those texts. Finally, a study of the use of the nominative absolute in the so-called ‘Dublin collection’ of Hiberno-Latin saints’ Lives has been included.
Charles-Edwards, T. M., “The Northern Lectionary: a source for the Codex Salmanticensis?”, in: Jane Cartwright (ed.), Celtic hagiography and saints’ cults, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2003. 148–160.
Ó Riain, Pádraig, “Codex Salmanticensis: a provenance inter Anglos or inter Hibernos?”, in: Toby Barnard, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, and Katharine Simms (eds), ‘A miracle of learning’: studies in manuscripts and Irish learning. Essays in honour of William O’Sullivan, Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998. 91–100.
Sharpe, Richard, Medieval Irish saints’ lives: an introduction to Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.
Lapidge, Michael, and Richard Sharpe, A bibliography of Celtic-Latin literature, 400-1200, Royal Irish Academy Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources, Ancillary Publications, 1, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1985.
Heist, W. W. [ed.], Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae: ex codice olim Salmanticensi, nunc Bruxellensi. Lives of the saints of Ireland, from the Salamanca manuscript now of Brussels, Subsidia Hagiographica, 28, Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1965.
Heist, W. W., “Dermot O'Donohue and the Codex Salmanticensis”, Celtica 5 (1960): 52–63.
Van den Gheyn, Joseph, Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, 13 vols, vol. 5: Histoire — hagiographie, Brussels: Lambertin, 1905.
Belgica: <link> Internet Archive: <link>
146–147 [id. 3179.]
Bindon, S. H., Some notices of manuscripts relating to Ireland [...] in the Burgundian Library at Bruxelles, Dublin, 1847.
Internet Archive: <link>
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
June 2011, last updated: December 2023