Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland

© Ronald Black, 2011

Adv. MS 72.1.12


Mackinnon, p.35; Mackechnie, p.149..

16th cent. Vellum. 21 ff. Folio, 30 x 23 cms. Consists chiefly of a treatise on diets and matter ancillary to medicine: cosmology and a calendar. Consists of four layers, all but the third probably written by a single scribe; a fifth, written by him in ?Leinster c.1549, is now Adv.MS.72.1.20. In double columns.


1. Text, ff.1–9, 17–21. Hand 1 of Adv.MS.72.1.20. Average to poor in quality. Frequent rising “d”. Employs even more contractions than is usual in medical manuscripts. The ink has oxidised in places to an indistinct yellow. Rubricated in red. For a photograph of 5v.a (lower half) see CMJ (New Ser.) 6, follg. p.40.

2. Text, ff.10–16. A more formal variety of hand 1, angular in places and seriffed. Uncoloured save for some crimson in first rubric.

3. Ff.3v, 9r, 20v, 21v. Lúcas Ó Maol-tuile. Hand 2 of Adv.MS.72.1.20, q.v. Scribbles, mostly illegible.

4. F.9a. Rev. John Beaton, hand 3 of Adv.MS.72.1.20.

The manuscript was not numbered by Major MacLachlan, perhaps because his no.9 (Adv.MS.72.1.20) was still associated with it. Numbered 8 by Hugh Kerr, whose name or initials appear on most leaves. The layers were formerly bound together by a stout thong, of which traces remain, along with some string; Mackinnon records the third and fourth as loose, and all are now quite separate. In general the manuscript is crumpled, rubbed and stained, leaving some portions difficult or impossible to read. All layers except the third betray the action of rodents at foot. Foliation modern.

Ff.1–5 (first layer)

A gathering from which the second leaf has been removed, leaving a lacuna; traces of text are visible on the stub. Bound by thong. F.1r is particularly severely rubbed and stained, and a portion has been torn from the bottom of the leaf with resulting textual loss. Calendar occupies slightly over half of each page, with anatomical tract written underneath.


1r-5v Calendar. Much astronomical information is given, and some saints’ days. One month per page; March-April missing due to excision of folio. Ruled in red. Hand 3: “Maole”, “Edmond”, etc. (3v).

1r-5v On anatomy. Beg. acephalous 7 tta cuid do r…bh so d’ flichi. First complete section beg. 2r.a, after lacuna: Osa ultimo anatomia sanatur que sunt in profunnda corporis .i. is arna cnamaibh do niter anatomia. Ends “an cliath na laime 7 a .v.” in section beg. De nervis .i. dona feithibh. Authorities cited: Lanfranc, Galen, Henricus, Aliabas (2v.b z), Avicenna, Guido. Further notes in some lower margins have been erased.

Ff.6–9 (second layer)

A gathering from which the last two leaves have been cut, leaving on one of the stubs (9a) traces of continuing text and of a marginal note by hand 4. Bound by a thong.

6r.a1 Continuation from f.21v of commentary on Isaac’s treatise on DIETS. Ends incomplete “7 is moille fhagbus an gaile” in section beg. Pisces fluminum in actione et pacione sunt contrarii marimis. Authorities cited: Mithiseus (6r.a), Hippocrates, Galen, Rufus (7v.a8, 9v.b w), Emisphoridus (7v.b34), Aristotle, Hermeas (9r.b36), Isaac. Hand 3: “that…….that” (9r).

Ff.10–16 (third layer)

Remains of a gathering, now completely unbound. Apparently distinct in origin from the other layers. It is written by hand 2, and is smaller (29 x 22 cms. and under). It is in better general condition, being legible throughout. The last leaf is excised. The scribe makes numerous marginal comments on his text.

10r.a1 St. Thomas Aquinas. DE OPERATIONIBUS OCCULTIS NATURAE. Beg. Quoniam in quibusdam naturalibus corporibus quedam acciones naturales aparent .i. osa fhollus gnimartha nadurdha eigin. Ends “Tairnic ann sin trachtad Shancta Tomás de Quino d’ oibrighthibh folacha na naduire 7 Cormac hUa Duinnshleibhi do chuir a nGaeidhilg iat 7rl-”. Described by Shaw, “Medieval Medico-Philosophical Treatises in the Irish Language”, in Féil-Sgríbhinn Eóin Mhic Néill (ed. Ryan), p.149.

10v.b37 Gualterus Burley. DE POTENTIIS ANIMAE. Beg. Ut dicit Philosophus in secundo de Anima. Adon adeir an Feallsamh annsa .2. lebar don anam. Ends incomplete “is generalta ni is moidi is aithnidh é” in section beg. Sequitur de potencia. Described by Shaw, art. cit., p.153.

Ff.17–21 (fourth layer)

A gathering from which the fourth leaf has been torn out, leaving traces of text on the stub. Now unbound. Action of rodents has caused further textual loss at f.20.

17r.a1 Commentary on Isaac’s treatise on DIETS. Beg. Quoniam inprimis coegit antiquos disputare de naturalis ciborum, adhon ased adeir Ysac annsa lebar so do rinne se dona dietaibh. Above this the scribe comments: “Ihs Emanuel 7 in Dei nomine amen. An tinnsceadal so dop ail lind.” Cf. TCD MS. 1315 (H.2.13), p.190. Lacuna caused by missing leaf from 19v.b z “7 nach fasduiged” (in section beg. Ubi vero sine sapor) to 20r.a1 “mar aderar innus co teit”; next section beg. Constat ex verbis huius nostri libri. Authorities cited: Galen, the Sophists, Hippocrates. Continues 6r.a1. Hand 3: “this…..” (20v); illeg. (21v).

© Ronald Black, 2011