Disticha Catonis

Book II.11–III.5


Victoria, B.C., University of Victoria Libraries, Ms.Lat.2

Remarks by the Editor

Description produced as part of the course "In the Archives" taught by Prof. Adrienne Williams Boyarin, University of Victoria, 2021.

General Information

Title Disticha Catonis
Shelfmarks MS.Lat.2
Material Parchment
Place of Origin Southern France
Date of Origin 1200–1250
Script, Hands

Script is Gothic textualis but in large parts still Pregothic, as older traits linger in Southern France (script, date, and place of origin determined by email consultation with Erik Kwakkel, March 2021). 

General Remarks

Seven in-situ parchment fragments acting as bookmarks in a fifteenth-century breviary. All cut from one original leaf of Cato's Distichs .

Original Condition

More about the Condition

All strips likely cut from the same leaf that was originally approx. 270 x 140 mm. Reconstruction shows that original leaf was from Cato's Distichs , containing the end of Book II and beginning of Book III. Layout was single column, 32 lines per page.

Current Condition

Extent 7 strips of parchment
Dimensions 136 x 20 mm
More about the Current Condition

Seven parchment fragments in situ as bookmarks in a fifteenth-century breviary. All are 136 mm long but range in width from approx. 10-30 mm. These fragments are in the first 70 folios of the host volume and mark sections of the psalter as well as the end of liturgical calendar. Four contain text; three are blank, all cut from the same original leaf.

Book Decoration and Musical Notation


A two-line high red littera notabilior (H) marks the beginning of Book III, and the first letter of each line is splashed with red; start of each distance is bracketed.


  • Content Item
    • Persons
    • Text Language Latin
    • Title Disticha catonis
    • Content Description

      Digital reconstruction reveals partial leaf was from Cato's Distichs , with line-ends of Book II.11-21 legible on the recto, and significant portions of II.23-31 and III.1-5 legible on the verso.

    • verso



Script suggests Southern France, early thirteenth century.


Host volume can be placed in Northern Italy, acquired by University of Victoria Libraries (via Les Eluminures, TM 98) in 2012. 

Host Volume

Title Ferial Psalter and Breviary
Date of Origin/Publication ca. 1450, with minor additions dated 1493
Place of Origin/Publication Northern Italy (likely Franciscan)
Shelfmark MS.Lat.2
Page/Folio Reference: ff. 9–10, 13–14, 19–20, 33–34, 41–42, 51–52, 63–64

Complete fifteenth-century breviary with psalter and calendar in original wooden boards (stripped of leather covering, exposed sewing supports). 337 paper folios, with one parchment flyleaf and parchment bookmarks sewn into binding. Acquired by University of Victoria Libraries in 2012, purchased from Les Enluminures ( TM 98 ), as a gift of Brian Pollick, spouse of Heather Lindstedt. Manuscript is locally called "Codex Lindstedt" and, in addition to the shelfmark (Lat.2) has the call number BX2033 A2 1455.


  • Adrienne Williams Boyarin, Ravana Eagleheart, James Kendrick, Lynnea Ness, and Merridy Peters. "Medieval Manuscripts and Fragments at the University of Victoria: An Early Grant of Hubert de Burgh, Constantine the African's Translation of Isaac Israeli, and a Mendicant Breviary between Italy and Croatia." Florilegium 33 (2016): 193-232, at 204–07 and 214–27 [regarding provenance of Host volume through study of calendar].