Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy



14-15th cent.? Vellum. 9 1/8 X 11 3/8 (pp. 23-32 smaller). Ff. 17, bearing a pencilled consecutive pagination, 1-[34], which ignores all chasms and errors in binding. A foliation, in a non-scribal hand and later ink, stands on lower inner margin, running 1-14, pp. 25, 26, 29-32 being omitted from the foliation. The consecutive pagination is used for reference infra, the eariier foliation being indicated within brackets. The MS. is obviously a composite one, consisting of three distinct sections, viz.: (a) pp. 1-22, 33-[34]; (b) fragments of a medical MS., pp. 23-26, 29-32, which are bound in so as to interrupt the sequence of the text of (a), and in chaotic manner, the proper sequence being in the opinion of the present cataloguer, 23, 24, 29-32, 25, 26; (c) a fragment of a second medical or philosophical MS., pp. 27, 28, and the fragment of vellum, which indicates that a leaf has been torn out after p. 28. The vellum of pp. 27, 28 is different in texture, if not in size, from the surrounding leaves of section (b), the sequence of text of which is broken by the insertion of (c). The writing, too, is in single column in (c), in contrast to (a), (b), which are written in double column, There is no subscriptio or indication of date on the sections. A crudely ornate signature (measuring 4 1/2 X 2 1/4), in Roman capitals and later ink, standing on inferior margin. of p. 22 of section (a), "Donncha 0 Conaill," must be that of a former owner; it certainly cannot be attributed to the scribe of this section, whose finely executed geometrical drawings, particulariy the frontispiece, are proof of his undoubted artistic talent. Neither can it be attributed to the later vandal hand, which added capitals, etc., in the spaces left as usual by the scribe, the execution of this work being inferior and the ink and pigments of the poorest quality. It is worthy of note that no ruling of any kind can now be detected on section (a), where the symmetrical lay-out of the text is striking. Traces of ruling in brown are to be seen on (b). Owing to the bound state of the MS., it is impossible to ascertain the composition of the gatherings. It seems clear, however, that pp. 27, 28 form. the conjugate of the lost leaf, of which only a fragment remains. Similarly, pp. 29-32 form a diploma. Chasms in the MS. occur after pp. 26, 30, to judge by the text, and after p. 28. These chasms will be more fully discussed, infra, at their place of incidence. Apart from the natural defects in the vellum, there are several defects other than chasms. In section (a) the outer folios, pp. 1, 2, 33, [34], are defaced and worn to holes, pp. 1, [34] having turned a dark brown colour. What appear to be recent inkstains occur on p. 18. A stain on p. [34] has penetrated to the preceding leaf, which is now bound as pp. 21, 22. Section (b) is badly stained throughout and pp. 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32 are seriously damaged, the superior outer corners having been gnawed by rats or hacked away with a knife, with considerable loss of text. It is clear that these leaves stood together in their original MS. A stain on p. 26, which runs through a natural defect in the vellum to p. 32, establishes the fact (which is supported by textual evidence) that pp. 25, 26 once stood after pp. 31, 32. A tear in pp. 31, 32 is crudely mended with thread. The inferior margins of pp. 29-32 are also damaged. Fragment (c), pp. 27, 28, has a curious excision in the form of a heart near the bottom of the leaf, possibly cut to fit an amulet. The fact that the text excised contained "proeirbeacha" supports this theory. There is scribal rubrication of letters in (c), (b), but not in (a), where the rubrication. and other colouring (see above), with the exception of that used in diagrams, etc., is not the work of the scribe. The quality of the pigment used differentiates original from later rubrication. Scribal jottings on margins are few. The present cataloguer has noted only three, viz., on pp. 17, 28, 31. That on. p. 17 (section a) seems to read, " m(ur) adub(r)um(ar)" (the contracted letters being here given in brackets): it may have been jotted down by the scribe to remind him to insert it on erasure in l. 6 of col. 1. That on p. 28 seems to refer to text; on p. 31 occurs, "In nomine Dei misercordis (sic)." Some idle scribblings of little moment appear in English on the margins, in later ink. Bd. in calf, blind-tooled in an interlaced design. This fine binding appears to date from shortly after 1765, to judge from a letter preserved in the MS. (see [ii] below), which refers to sections (b), (c) as "loose leaves" at the time of writing. The MS. was bought by Thomas Astle in 1763 (see note by Astle on front flyleaf). Acc. to Maura Power, I.T.S., xiv, p. vi, it came into the Marquess of Buckingham's library at Stowe on Astle's death in 1804. Press no. I, xxviii (acc. to O'Conor, Bibl. Mss. Stowensis, p. 135). Formerly in the Ashburnham Collection. "No. XI" occurs on back flyleaf (inverted) and " Bibl. Thom. Astlei Arm. no. 396" on front flyleaf. On same flyleaf is a note signed by Charles Vallancey regarding the medical fragment, beg. p. 23, infra. Bound in with the MS. are two letters:-

[i] Charles Vallancey to Thomas Astle, Esq., State Paper Office, Treasury, dated London, lOth March, 1782, regarding return of this and other MSS. belonging to Astle. A later note now stands on the letter: "Dublin, 20th June, 1785. A copy of this work [the Astronomical Tract, infra] was found in the MSS. closet of St. Patrick's Library with great additions. Another mutilated copy is in possession of Col. Vallancey."

[ii] Dr. James Parsons (author of the Remains of Japhet) to Dr. Astle, dated Red Lyon Square, 6th June, 1765, regarding date of Astronomical Tract (infra) and " the other loose leaves.'' These, appear to be the leaves now bound as pp. 23-32.

It would appear that letter [ii] was sent by Astle to Vallancey for his comments on its contents, and was retumed to Astle under cover of letter [i]. It bears two notes signed by Vallancey.


1 (1), blank, save for eatry: "E M.S.S. Thom. Astle, 1768."

2. Frontispiece, consisting of an astronomical Rotula, with a movable index attached, wtiich is illuminated with red and yellow pigment. It contains the names of the signs of the Zodiac, the planets, the months, and the numeral figures. At the top is a Lunar Calendar and a list of eights and measures. The drawing is executed in a finished manner (see ed. Maura Power, I.T.S., xiv. Frontispiece). This drawing and the contents of this page are absent from the fragmentary copy, 23 F 13, and (op. cit., p. v) from the MS. in Marsh's Library (Z. 2. 2. 1).

3 (2) Astronoimcal Tract in Irish, deriving ultimately from the work of Messahalah. Beg. Gloria Deo prin- cipio .1. gloir da Dia da tossach gan tosach. Ed. from this MS., the following MS. (23 F 13), and Marsh's Library copy, by Maura Power (op. cit.}. Text covers pp. 3 (2)-22, 33-[34], col. a, the last completely legible words of text being ar na nethib fastacha nemcedfad- acha .i. (p. 33, col. b i.). It is incorrect to say, as the editor does, that the text "breaks off here" (ed., p. 158 1. 10, footnote). The text concludes with what appears to be a scribal colophon on p.[34], col. a m., but the writing in this final half-column is illegible. The text contains, in addition to the fine frontispiece (see p. 2, supra), a series of finely executed geometrical drawings, rubricated, purporting to illustrate the written text. Five leaves of extraneous matter are bound in error after p. 22, breaking the sequence of the text of this tract. Cf. 852-856, supra.

23 (12).A Medical Treatise, purporting to be based on the work of Petrus Musantinus (acc. to O'Conor, Bibl. Mss. Stowensis, p. 137, this was the Summula de preparatione ciborum et potuum infirmorum, secundum Musandinum). "[Q]uoniam in arte medicinali plura inueniunt[ur] uocabula obscura singnificationis .i. o atait moran d'focluib dorcha dotuicsina isin leighes nis mo na is na heladnaib ele is imcubaid lind in dorch(urch)udus 7 in [n]eimtuicsin d'foillsiugud andso 7 os etir sin do denam maille co himcubaid tinnsgnum o Tuarusgbail in Leighis do reir Maigistir Petruis Musantini." Beg. Medicina est ciencia. sanorum et egrorum [7] neamutrum [= neu- trorum]. Cf. the initial words of section in Arundel 333, art. 22 (B.M. Cat., p. 250). Text stands on pp. 23,. 24, 29-32, 25, 26 in this order (see Description), and is defective owing to the destruction of the superior outer corners of the MS. Text of p. 25, beg. Et is iat so na cuirp uachtaracha doni oibruigud mesardha nó ainmes- ardha, follows consecutively on p. 32. There is a chasm between pp. 30, 31, which (since pp. 29, 30 form the conjugate of pp. 31, 32) is likely to have been caused by the loss of several leaves. Text breaks off apparently imperfectly with p. 26, which is defaced, and has certainly spent some time as the outer cover of a gathering. Its conjugate is no doubt the leaf numbered 23, 24, since text runs on without break between pp. 24, 29. This suggests the possibility of six folios having been lost between pp. 30, 31, since the normal gathering here is the quinion. On p. 25, col. b, beg. a section, Lilis uero flichidecht roséim, which occurs again in Arundel, 333, art. 20, xvi (B.M. Cat., p. 249). The two MSS. appear, however, to have nothing further in common. Pp. 27, 28 and the following fragment break the sequence of text of the foregoing treatise.

27 (13) Fragment of a Medico-philosophical Treatise, acephalous and defective. Beg. here with a diagram illustrating the interdependence of the various sciences, Logic, Ethics, etc., which occupies p. 27. There is a defect in this leaf (see Description).

28 Definitions, in Latin and Irish, of various disorders. Written as part of the foregoing, but bearing colophon (p. 28 m.): "Almusor adeir na Proeirbeacha so anuas." Beg. Apoplexia est ablacio sensus 7 motus .i. is ed is Apoplexia ann .i. galar oifigech na hincinne.

28 m. A second collection of " proeirbeacha," bearmg colophon (p. 28 i.): "Coilligead adeir so (acht) ? proierb amain." Beg. Omne bonum a sumo Deo prosedit .i. gach uile maith is o Dia tic. A fragment of MS. leaf (following p. 28), which is the conjugate of pp. 27, 28, contains a fragment of a medical text. Its verso bore the conclusion of the text and scribal date, but this is partly torn away, so that the century cannot be now ascertained. There is no means of knowing whether folios are missing between p. 28 and the fragment, since this amounts only to the inferior inner corner of the lost conjugate.

29. Here continues, without a break, text standing on p. 24, supra (see text begmning p. 23, supra).

33 (14). Here continues, without a break, text standing on pp. 2-22, supra, pp. 23-32 having been bound in with the MS. in wrong position.