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Homeliae super Vetus Testamentum: MS McClean 116

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Current Location: In storage


Homeliae super Vetus Testamentum


Author: Origen
Translator: Aquileia, Rufinus of




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i paper flyleaf + ii fourteenth-century parchment flyleaves (foliated i-ii, from a large Italian Homilary) + 185 fols. + i paper flyleaf, 390 x 248 mm (269-277 x 162 mm), two columns, 36 lines, ruled in plummet, written above top line, quire marks, running header (fols. 1v–2r only), catchwords

BINDING: fifteenth century, nineteenth-century painted brown paper and brown leather over fifteenth-century thick wooden boards with bevelled fore-edges, yellow and blue endbands, red edges.

fols. 1r – 53v Origen, Homeliae on Genesis (translated by Rufinus, here ascribed to Jerome)
fols. 53v – 58v Rufinus, De benedictionibus patriarcharum, excerpts (here presented as Origen, Omelia septimadecima on Genesis)
fols. 60r – 107r Origen, Homiliae on Exodus (translated by Rufinus), with Capitula (fol. 60r)
fols. 107r – 185r Origen, Homiliae on Leviticus (translated by Rufinus)

DECORATION: Ornamental initials [6-20 ll.] outlined in brown ink, with red, green and occasionally yellow or blue foliate and ornamental motifs, on grounds of segmented colour (red, violet-blue, green, light brown), for Homilies 1-9 on Genesis and 2-3 on Exodus (fols. 1r, 8v, 13v, 18r, 20v, 23v, 25r, 28r, 31v, 63r, 65v); ornamental initials [6-20 ll.] in red, green, violet or blue, frequently with minor decoration, occasionally with more elaborate designs including geometric and foliate motifs in the same or contrasting colours and black, for all other Homilies and the incipit (fol. 1r); alternate red and blue display capitals with minor decoration, for ex libris (fol. 185r); display capitals in red with some green for quotation from Genesis following initial to Homily 1 (fol. 1r); display script in dark brown ink occasionally with reserved lines or highlighting in green, yellow and red for text immediately following initials, to most other Homilies.

fols. i-ii (front parchment flyleaves), red and blue initials [2-3 ll.] with pen flourishing in contrasting colour, including an image of a nimbed figure (Christ?) with a book, drawn in red on fol. ii verso; running headers in red and blue.


History note: Written and illuminated in the Cistercian Abbey of Morimondo, diocese of Milan (recorded along with Fitzwilliam Museum, MS McClean 117 in the twelfth-century library catalogue; Leclercq 1961, 178: Tractatus origenis super genesim. Et de ueteri testamento duo volumina; ex libris on fol. 185r in same colours as those used for ornamental initials: Liber sancta marie de morimundo, with addition in a later hand: mediolanensis dyocesis ordinis cisterciensis No VI, the number VI written over an erasure; further ex-libris on fol. 185v in a thirteenth-century hand: Iste liber est monasterii de morimondo; notes on fol. 58v: Lectae fuerunt hec Homiliae a me D. Cirillo Saluagiani Fauentino in monasterio Morimundi anno 1665 die 6a mensis maij and on fol. 185r after explicit to Homilies on Leviticus: quas ego D. Cirillus Saluagiani Fauentinus trium dierum circulo legi ad emendos concionabiles conceptus. Anno 1665 die 8a maij [22?]; recorded in the seventeenth-century library catalogue (Vatican City, BAV, MS Barb. lat. 3229, fol. 463, reprinted in Leclercq 1961, 182: Homelie Origenis in Pentateucom); number 60 penciled inside upper cover, another number or date on pastedown of lower cover; U. Hoepli, Milan, catalogue no. 83 (1883), no. 101 (cutting from catalogue pasted inside upper cover; Ferrari 1980, 258; Ferrari 1993, 299); bought from him in Milan by Frank McClean (1837-1904) in 1892; his bequest, 1904.

Place(s) associated

  • Morimondo

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


12th Century, second half#
Circa 1170 CE - Circa 1190 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: dies secunda. Studeat ergo
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 116
Primary reference Number: 118817
Project ID: 616
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Homeliae super Vetus Testamentum" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-16 20:34:52

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