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  • Musa, Antonius
Mid 13th Century
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About this work


Written in a rounded gothic hand, 36/37 lines to a page. Some headings in red, and some capitals and paragraph marks in alternate red-blue, blue-red.


1. f. 1r Precatio terrae matris, abbreviated and corrupted

Incipit: 'Dea sancta tellus regenerationis per que [sic] de cuncta gerensa [sic] generasti...'

Explicit: '...hoc michi es quod te suplex rogo'.

2. ff. 1r-3v Precatio omnium herbarum, abbreviated and corrupted

Incipit: 'V[o]s potestates omnes herbas. Or[o] [e]xoro magestatemque [sic] uos quas parens tellus...'

Explicit: '...attussicos. Cxxxvi.'

3. ff. 3v-6r Antonius Musa, De herba vettonica

Incipit: 'Caesari augusto prestantissimo...'

Explicit: '...mire dolorem lenire experti afirmant'.

4. ff. 6v-37r Pseudo-Apuleius, Herbarius

Incipit: 'Paucas uires herbarum et curationes corporis...'

Explicit: 'Herbarium apulei platonici quem [sic] accept a chironi. Macistro Achilis. Et Ascolapio. Explicit feliciter.'

5. ff. 37v-38v Anonymous, De taxone

Incipit: 'Non modo studiosus set etiam capecem mutuo inter uos congnouissem marcelline...'

Explicit: ' modice subsiccet et initiat sibi in cor pur [sic] purgabitur'.

6. ff. 38v-46v and 76r-149v Sextus Placitus, De medicina ex animalibus

Incipit (f. 39r) 'De cervo et ad omnes homines cornus ceruinus habetuim...'

Explicit: 'Explicit liber de uirtutibus herbarum peccudum et quorundam alliorum animalium etc.'.

7. ff. 46v-68v 'Curae herbarum, interpolated within the Sextus Placitus herbal

Incipit: 'Nomen herbe licanis stefanotice. Folia habet oblonga...'

Explicit: 'Paralyticus enim eam tonsam herbam cum lac bubulum et storacem calamitem statim eum liberabit. Expliciunt cure herbarum feliciter.'

8. ff. 68v-75r Receipts, interpolated within Sextus Placitus herbal

Begins: 'Ad cauculum de perna uteri quod appelatur uertebra...'

Ends: ' distilationem [sic] urine'.

9. ff. 150r-151r Relation of a cure of a friend of the scribe

Begins: 'Conquestus est michi G. abustusus religiosus qui erat amicus meus...'.

10. ff. 151v-152v Tables of Roman and Arabic numerals from 1 to 1,000,000.

Initials: On fol. 1 are two illuminated historiated initials. The first a D, showing a seated bearded figure in a purple robe and blue over-dress, holding a red book [Hippocrates? Asklepius?]: below this another similar initial U showing three plants in a bowl [?]. In the upper corners, one on each side, a Sun and a Moon. On fol. 75v is a full page illustration in colours of three standing male figures, one of which is a nude boy: they appear on a filed of flowers, with three trees in the background. Charles Singer has suggested that this is probably a Christian version of the Presentation to Apuleius of the 'Herbarius' by Aesculapius and Chiron.

The MS. is illustrated by 159 coloured, and 44 uncoloured drawings of plants and animals. In a few cases there are blank spaces where the illustrations have been omitted.


Clark, Willene B. and McMunn, Meradith T. Beasts and birds of the Middle Ages: the bestiary and its legacy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), p. 573.

Collins, Minta. Medieval Herbals: The Illustrative Traditions (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), pp. 156-162, et passim

Kristeller, Paul Oskar; Cranz, Ferdinand Edward and Brown, Virginia. Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries, vols. 4-5 (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1980), p. 128


Mid 13th Century

Physical description

1 volume 152 ll. folio. 34 1/2 x 24 cm. On vellum. 17th century vellum binding. Some corners repaired: ff. 1 and 150r somewhat rubbed.


Acquisition note

Purchased at a Hoepli Sale at Milan 13 June 1930, Lot 143.

Biographical note

This MS. would seem to belong to 'Classis Alpha' in the division of Pseudo-Apuleian MSS. made by Howald and Sigerist in their edition (Corpus medicorum Latinorum Vol. IV. 1927) as it contains the 'Imprecationes' and the work by Sextus Placitus. In our MS. the latter seems to be greatly expanded, though the section on birds is omitted: but there is added a considerable amount of text on insects. The text of the 'Imprecationes' seems very corrupt, and this applies also to the re-written version at the end of the volume (ff. 147v-149). From the arrangement of the text on fol. 37v, it would seem that the compiler of this MS. includes the 'De taxone' as part of this work by Sextus Placitus: and he also appears to include the Letter to Octavius from 'Idpartus rex aegyptiorum' which precedes the work on the badger.

The 'Herbarius' was first printed at Rome in 1481, and the work by Antonius Musa was included in the Bâle 'Collectio de re medica' 1528, edited by Albanus Torinus.

For Sextus Placitus, cf. entry for MS.748.

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Finding aids

Database description transcribed from S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973).

Location of duplicates

This material has been digitised and can be freely accessed online through the Wellcome Library catalogue.

Ownership note

Owned in the 17th century by Marco Cremosano (1611-1704), historian and antiquarian from Milan, Italy, his ownershipt note 'Marci Cremosani' in black ink on upper flyleaf.


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