Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. lat. 3363 Boethius’ De consolatione philosophiae

  • Latin
  • s. ix
  • Continental manuscripts
  • vellum

Early ninth-century copy of Boethius’ De consolatione philosophiae, produced in the Loire region, with glosses added at various periods. The earliest of these are broadly contemporary with the manuscript and were probably added on the continent. At the end of the ninth century (or possibly at the beginning of the next), an insular hand provided the majority of the Latin glosses as well as a Brittonic – Welsh, Cornish or Breton – one (ud rocashaas). A link with the Welshman Asser, author of King Alfred's vita, has been suggested, especially because of William of Malmesbury’s account that Asser helped Alfred with his translation of the Consolatio. Another, later stage in the glossing of the manuscript took place in England (Glastonbury?) during the tenth century.

Vat. lat. 3363
Provenance and related aspects
s. ix
(early?) 9th century
Origin, provenance
Origin: France, centralFrance, central

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Fleury, St. Benedict’s monastery
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Loire/Tours region, possibly Fleury.
Later provenance: Wales
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An Insular hand, presumably of the 9th century, added Latin glosses and one Brittonic gloss whose language has been variously defined as Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
Later provenance: EnglandEngland

No description available

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Glastonbury abbey
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By the 10th century, the manuscript had passed to England. See comments elsewhere on this page.
Hands, scribes
Hands indexed:
Annotator 2

Annotator responsible for adding the majority of glosses after the manuscript had passed from Fleury to a new destination. The script used, its Insular abbreviations and the attestation of a Brittonic gloss (ud rocashaas glossing perosa), which Sims-Williams takes to be either Cornish or Breton, have been taken to point to Wales, Cornwall or Brittany.

Annotators 3-4 At least two 10th-century glossators which have been associated with Glastonbury, one of whom has been identified as Dunstan. The glosses have faded and are difficult to read.
Entry reserved for but not yet available from the subject index.

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Codicological information
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.] Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana: digitized manuscripts, Online: Vatican Library. URL: <>.

Secondary sources (select)

Sims-Williams, Patrick, “A new Brittonic gloss on Boethius: ud rocashaas”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 50 (Winter, 2005): 77–86.
Godden, Malcolm, “Alfred, Asser, and Boethius”, in: Katherine OʼBrien OʼKeeffe, and Andy Orchard (eds), Latin learning and English lore: studies in Anglo-Saxon literature for Michael Lapidge, 2 vols, vol. 1, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. 326–348.
Parkes, Malcolm B., “Rædan, areccan, smeagan: how the Anglo-Saxons read”, Anglo-Saxon England 26 (1997): 1–22.
Parkes, Malcolm B., “A note on MS Vatican, Bibl. Apost., lat. 3363”, in: Margaret Gibson (ed.), Boethius: his life, thought and influence, Oxford: Blackwell, 1981. 425–427.
Parkes, Malcolm B., Scribes, scripts and readers: studies in the communication, presentation and dissemination of medieval texts, London: Hambledon Press, 1991.
Includes a reprint of the above.
Smith, Lesley (ed.), Codices Boethiani: a conspectus of manuscripts of the works of Boethius, vol. 3: Italy and the Vatican City, Warburg Institute Surveys & Texts, 28, London: The Warburg Institute, 2001.  
A conspectus of manuscripts containing the works of Boethius
Troncarelli, Fabio, Boethiana aetas: modelli grafici e fortuna manoscritta della ‘Consolatio philosophiae’ tra IX e XII secolo, Biblioteca di scrittura e civiltà, 2, Alessandria: Ed. dell'Orso, 1987.
[id. 133.]
Courcelle, Pierre, La Consolation de philosophie dans la tradition littéraire, antécédents et postérité, Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1967.

External links

C. A., Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
August 2015, last updated: July 2022