London, British Library, Cotton Julius A. ii

Present Location

Julius A. ii

Medieval Provenance

General Information


158, 159




A composite manuscript made up of three units, which now contains six items. Part 1, item 1: fols 1-9, a fragment of Bede's De Temporibus, datable to s. ximed. Part 2, item 2: fols 10- 135, Ælfric's Grammar and Ælfric's Glossary, datable to s. ximed.


Part 3, Item 3, fols 136-37, a prayer beginning 'Æla drihten leof. æla dema god' (Dobbie 1942, p. 94; Grein & Wülcker 1881-98, ii, p. 211). Lines 15-22 on fol. 137 are blank. Item 4, fols 137v-40, Dialogue of Adrian and Ritheus, beginning 'Adrianus cwæð to Ritheus. Saga me hu lange wæs Adam on neorxnaƿange' (Kemble 1848, p. 198; Förster1897, p. 433). Lines 21-22 on fol. 140 are blank. Item 5, fol. 140v, notes on two thieves, Note on Noah's Ark, the church of St. Peter, the temple of Solomon, the world and the number of bones etc. in the human body, beginning 'Her sagað embe þa twegen sceðan' (Napier 1889, p. 5; Förster 1897, p. 433). Item 6, fols 141- 4v, a translation of some of theDistichs of Cato , beginning '[N]e beo þu to slapor. ne to idelgeorn' followed by some apophthegms that are independent of the Distichs (Förster 1897, p. 342), ending imperfectly 'þæt ðe lycað' (Kemble 1848, p. 258). The four items in the third part are datable to s. xiimed.

Digital Surrogate

Manuscript Items
  1. Itemfols 136r-37r


    Title (A.28): A Prayer

    Incipit(136r/1) Æla drihten leof. æla dema god

    Explicit(137r/14) herian heofonas god. haligum reorde. á butan ende. amen

    Text Language: English

    Other versions of the text: Also in London, Lambeth Palace 427, fol. 183v


    Dobbie 1942, pp. 94-96

    Grien and Wülcker 1881-98, ii, p. 211


  2. Itemfols 137v-40r


    Title (B.5.2): Prose Dialogues: Adrian and Ritheus

    Incipit(137v/1) ADRIANVS cwæð to Ritheus. Saga me hu lange wæs Adam on neorxnawange

    Explicit(140r/20) ˥ bið gewiten þrim dagum

    Text Language: English


    Cross and Hill 1982, pp. 35-40, 127-60


  3. Itemfol. 140v


    Title (B.24.12.1): Note on Noah's Ark, etc.

    Incipit(140v/1) Her sagað embe þa twegen sceðan

    Explicit(140v/21) Mana hafað bana twa hundred ˥ nigontine... þritti þusend daga ˥ six hundred

    Text Language: English


    Napier 1889, pp. 5-6

    Förster 1897, pp. 433-34


  4. Itemfols 141r-44v


    Title (B.7.1): Proverbs: Distichs of Cato

    Incipit(141r/1) Ne beo þu to slaþor

    Explicit(144v/22) Gyf ðu wylt habbe æt monigum men þæt ðe lycað

    Text Language: English

    Note: Ends imperfectly


    Cox 1972, pp. 5-17

    Müller 1835, pp. 28-48

Object Description


Form: Codex

Support: Parchment


  • 220 mm x 142 mm (dimensions of fols 2-9 - size of leaves)
  • 198 mm x 100 mm (dimensions of fols 2-9 - size of written space)
  • 224 mm x 151 mm (dimensions of fols 10-135 - size of leaves)
  • 227 mm x 110 mm (dimensions of fols 10-135 - size of written space)
  • c. 203 mm x c. 140 mm (dimensions of fols 136-144 - size of leaves)
  • c. 166 mm x c. 113 mm (dimensions of fols 136-144 - size of written space)

Foliation and/or Pagination:

All three units have been independently foliated on several occasions (Doane 2007, p. 112).


  • Quires:
    • Part 1: folios remounted separately.
    • Part 2: 18 wants 1 and 8 before fol. 10 and fol. 16, 10-15, 2-158 fols 16-127; 168 remounted separately.
    • Part 3: 9 folios mounted separately.


  • Part 1: Ruled in dry point, 36 lines from the hair side, with double bounding lines in each margin. Part 2: Ruled in dry point, 23 lines from the hairs side with double bounding lines in each margin. Part 3: Ruled in dry point, with 22 lines, possibly several leaves at a time with double bounding lines in the outer margin (See also Doane 2007, pp. 13-14).

Hand Description

  • Number of hands: 1
  • Summary: An insular minuscule hand datable to s. ximed copies fols 10-135. This is an upright hand with mixed Caroline and insular letter forms both in Latin and in Old English, and long tags to the left of ascenders. Part three is in a later hand, s. xiimed(see Ker 1957, pp. 201-02).
    • Scope: sole
    • Scribe: Ker 159
    • Script: English Vernacular Minuscule
    • Description: Fols 136-44. A large and well proportioned hand, using thick strokes and forming letters of squarish proportions.
    • Summary of the characteristics of the hand: The special insular letter-forms are retained, but the scribe does not use horned e.
    • d formed as ð.
    • descenders are serifed to the left.
    • Punctuation:
    • hyphens are finely drawn, upward-sloping lines.
    • Abbreviations:
    • Curved macron upward sloping to the right.
    • Litterae Notabiliores:
    • The head of the nota ˥ is wavy.
    • Date: s. xiimed
Decoration Description

In Part 2, large initials in red. Tinted capitals in red. Some capitals are ornamental; of particular interest are 'h' fol. 16r, 'h' fol. 16v, 'm' fol. 20r and 'e' fol. 20r. In Part 3, red, purple, yellow, green and/or blue large capitals, and elaborated line fillers in red.


A probably later hand signed the quires in the centre of the foot of the folio: 'G' at the foot of fol. 24r, 'M' at the foot of fol. 64r, 'N' at 72r, 'O' at fol. 80, 'P' at fol. 88r, 'R' at fol. 104r, 'S' at fol. 112r, 'T' at fol. 120r, 'V' at fol. 128r, 'W' at fol. 132r 'X' at fol. 134. The top of 'E' is visible at the foot of fol. 16r. There is also a 'B' at the bottom right of 133r, a 'C' in the same place on 134r, and a 'D' on 135r.

Binding Description

Nineteenth-century binding.

Additional Information

Administration Information

Manuscript described by Orietta Da Rold with the assistance of Hollie Morgan, Owen Roberson and George Younge (2012).


Digital surrogate: (accessed 18 July 2018)

EM Project facsimile

Doane, Alger Nicolaus, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007), vol. 15  






 Acquired by Sir Thomas Cotton, possibly in three unbound units whose content is catalogued on fol. 14r of London, British Library, Add. 36683. On loan to Henry Spelman around 1615 (London, British Library, Harley 6018, fol. 159r; See Doane 2007, p. 11).


Acquired by the British Museum along with the rest of the Cotton collection.




Cox, R. S., 'The Old English Dicts of Cato', Anglia, 30 (1972), 1-42

Cross, J. E., and Thomas D. Hill, eds, The Prose Solomon and Saturn and Adrian and Ritheus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982)

Doane, Alger Nicolaus, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007), vol. 15

Dobbie, Elliott van Kirk, ed., The Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems, The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, 6 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942)

Förster, Max, 'Zu Adrian und Ritheus', Englische Studien, 23 (1897), 431-36

Gneuss, Helmut, Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A List of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2001), item 336

Grein, C. W. M, and R. P Wülker, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen Poesie, 3 vols (1881-98)

Kemble, John M., ed., The Dialogue of Salomon and Saturnus, Ælfric Society 8 (London: Ælfric Society, 1848)

Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957; repr. 1990), item 159

Laing, Margaret, Catalogue of Sources for a Linguistic Atlas of Early Medieval English (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1993), p. 77

Manuscripts Catalogue (British Library,; accessed in 2010)

Planta, J., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Cottonian Library, Deposited in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1802)

Müller, Ludwig C., Collectanea Anglo-Saxonica Maximam Partem nunc primum edita et Vocabulario Illustrata (Hauniæ: Wahl, 1835; repr. Amsterdam: Rodophi, 1970)

Napier, A. S., 'Altenglische Kleinigkeiten', Anglia, 11 (1889), 1-10

Nehab, J., 'Der altenglische Cato' (unpublished, 1879)

Scragg, Donald, Alexander Rumble, and Kathryn Powell, C11 Database Project (Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies,; accessed in 2009)

Wanley, Humfrey, Antique literature septentrionalis liber alter(Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre, 1705)

    Wright, Thomas, ed., Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies, 2 vols (London: Trübner and Ludgate Hill, 1883-84)