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Peterhouse : Medical texts


<p style='text-align: justify;'>Peterhouse MS 178 contains a compilation of medical and scientific texts written in the 14th century by a single scribe and extensively corrected and annotated by that scribe and other medieval annotators throughout the volume. The manuscript is comprised of two codicological units (ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(3);return false;'>1r-244v</a> and <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(451);return false;'>225r-310v</a>, both written by the same scribe, but prepared with a different mise-en-page in each unit, i.e., in single-column format for ff. 1-244 and in double-column format ff. 225-310. The scribe writes a calligraphic although somewhat error-prone <i>gothic rotunda</i> throughout and he generally adds his corrections in the margin in that same gothic rotunda hand and encloses his corrections within red frames. Rod Thomson, in his catalogue record for Peterhouse MS 178 states that the manuscript was written 'by a single Low Countries scribe', presumably based on a palaeographical assessment of the volume; in addition, as Thomson also points out, the manuscript must have been in England (if it was not written here by a scribe trained in the Low Countries), because there are marginal notes in English in 14th century hands. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>In his <i>Catalogue</i> of the Peterhouse manuscripts, Thomson drew attention to one of the 14th-century annotators, since he noticed similar annotations in three Peterhouse manuscripts, MSS 109, 150 and 178. After careful comparison of these annotations, Thomson cautiously suggested that these marginalia could be by the hand of the former master of Peterhouse, Ralph Holbeche. These annotations are in a 14th century <i>Anglicana</i> script, and Peterhouse MS 178 is the most lightly annotated of the three volumes: see ff. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(92);return false;'>45v</a> ('Nota Elmam'), <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(104);return false;'>51v</a> ('Lok wel'), <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(134);return false;'>66v</a> ('Nota Ryde <i class='delim' style='font-style:normal; color:red'>[</i><i class='unclear' style='font-style:normal;' title='This text imperfectly legible in source'>... ... ...</i><i class='delim' style='font-style:normal; color:red'>]</i>'), <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(251);return false;'>125r</a> ('Scharp lok þis') and <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(341);return false;'>170r</a> ('Lo Robyn'). As Thomson notes, these annotations, and those in Peterhouse MSS 109 and 150 appear to be teaching notes, with their author referring to his students with frequent interjections of 'Lo [name]' or '[name] lok þis'. For more information, readers are encouraged to consult Thomson's <i>Catalogue</i> descriptions of Peterhouse MSS 109 and 150 and in particular that of MS 109, where Thomson describes a note on f. 252v signed 'Rad Holbech' which appears to be in the same hand as the teaching-annotations in that volume and MSS 150 and 178. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>References: <br /><div style='list-style-type: disc;'><div style='display: list-item; margin-left: 20px;'>R. M. Thomson, <i>A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts in the Library of Peterhouse, Cambridge</i> (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016), nos 109, 150, 178</div><div style='display: list-item; margin-left: 20px;'>Venn: ACAD (no number, search 'Holbeche')</div></div><br /></p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Sarah Gilbert<br /> Project Cataloguer for the Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries Project<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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