The siege of Thebes
- The siege of Thebes
- Lydgate, John, 1370?-1451?
- Dodesham, Stephen
- Former owner:
- Lyle, Robert, active 15th century
- Former owner:
- Lyle, Mariota
- Former owner:
- Swyntoun, John
- Former owner:
- Campbell, Duncan, active 16th century-17th century
- Former owner:
- Breadalbane, John Campbell, Earl of, 1762-1834
Manuscripts, English (Middle)--England
Boston Public Library
Rare Books Department
- Collection (local):
Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts (Collection of Distinction)
- 76 leaves ; parchment, ill. ; 270 x 180 (193 x 114) mm
No known copyright restrictions.
No known restrictions on use.
- Place of origin:
English, Middle (1100-1500)
- Table of Contents:
1. fol. 1-2v: originally blank, now with 16th-century notations and verses (see Bawcutt, pp. 85 ff.): Sum frestynnys fast for fifti 3er ... / ...That mekyll vas of meycht. (Bawcutt nr. 1)
How suld my febill boye for ... (Bawcutt nr. 2, a love complaint by Alexander Scott also found in the Bannatyne Manuscript at the Advocates Library in Edinburgh, a compilation dated 1568)
Grounde the in paciens/Blynd nocht thi consciens ... / ... That thi saule may be/Brought in to ese. (Bawcutt nr. 3, also found in the Bannatyne Manuscript)
Amang the oist of greikis as we hard ... / ... And syne moist cowart cummyn of Achill (Bawcutt nr. 4, from John Bellenden's "Proheme of the History," ca. 1530)
2. fol. 3-74: John Lydgate, The Siege of Thebes. Prologus/ Phebus in ariete/ When phebus passed was the Ram/ myd of Aprille and into the bole cam ... / ... And ioye eternal whan we hens wende/And of my tale thus make I an ende./ Explicit destruccio civitatis Thebas.
3. fol. 74v-76v: originally blank, now with 16th-century notations and verses: The kengis qwosteown wos thys ... / ... of argomentis qwhat that ... (Bawcutt nr. 5, Gower's Confessio Amantis VII.1811-23)
Now lat wa all go loif the lord ... / ... now lat ws all go loif the lord (Bawcutt nr. 6).
Title devised by cataloger based on explicit (74r: Explicit destruccio civitatis Thebas); date of production from Edwards.
Bibliographic record created by BPL staff based on description by Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis.
Origin: Written in England in the 1430s (see Edwards) by the scribe Stephen Dodesham (d. ca. 1482). The hand of Stephen Dodesham has been identified in twenty manuscripts (see Doyle, p. 115), including two other copies of The Siege of Thebes (Beinecke Library MS 661 and Cambridge University Library Add. MS 3137). Although he was late in life a Carthusian at Witham in Somerset and then at Sheen, near London, it seems likely that Dodesham copied the three manuscripts of Thebes previous to taking his vows, when he was working as a lay scribe. The manuscripts were copied at different times from one another, however, based on different exemplars (Doyle, p. 101).
- Notes (ownership):
Provenance: An early owner (possibly the first) has written several inscriptions on fol. 76: "Te deum laudamus te dominum confitemur" twice, and "Pour dieu Remembres Vous de moy/Remembres Vouys de moy pour dieu" Doyle believed this hand to be English (Bawcutt, p. 81). Belonged to the Lyle family at the end of the 15th century, who owned estates near Renfrewshire, just west of Glasgow in Scotland. Inscriptions on fol. 75 mention a "Robert Lyle" and a "Mareota Lylle." Another on that same leaf reads "Memorandum that Robert lylle borruyt a buk/fra marown lylle lade off huston/&Robert lylles hed & xxxv." Bawcutt tentatively identifies this Robert Lyle as Robert, second Lord Lyle (d. 1498/9; Bawcutt, p. 81). Mariota was his daughter, married to Peter Houston. In the 16th century, the manuscript apparently belonged to the Swinton family, whose estate was near Berwick upon Tweed and Norham. The inscription "Ihone Swyntoun/ with my hand finis" is found on fol. 1, but this John Swinton has yet to be identified. Another inscription from the same era on fol. 1 reads "liber Donald." (Bawcutt, p. 83) Belonged to Duncan Campbell, seventh laird of Glenorchy (ca. 1552-1631), inscribed on fol. 74: "This Bwik pertenis to ane Richt honorabill/Sir Duncane Campbell of/Glennorquhay Knycht" (see Bawcutt, pp. 83 ff.). The manuscript remained in the family at their estate at Taymouth Castle, Perthshire, through the 19th century. It is listed as no. 2300 in the handwritten 1863 inventory of books and manuscripts belonging to the Marquess of Breadalbane (National Archives of Scotland, MS GD 112/ 22/ 56). Sold by the family at Sotheby's on 16 June 1941 to L. and P. Robinson.
- Notes (acquisition):
Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased by the BPL from L. and P. Robinson in 1947 (cat. 76, nr. 233).
- Notes (citation):
Bond, W.H. Supplement to the Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, 209
- Notes (object):
Secundo folio: Among the oist ...
Collation: Parchment, fol. ii (early/contemporary parchment) + 76 + ii (early/contemporary parchment) ; i² 1-9⁸ 10⁴ ; modern pencil signatures in lower right corner, first recto of each quire, signed A-I. Catchwords in lower right corner, last verso of each quire, that on fol. 72v possibly added later. Modern arabic pencil foliation, upper outer corner of each page.
Layout: Single column, 33 lines. Bounding and ruling lines in black ink, upper writing line doubled.
Script: Written in a gothica cursiva antiquior formata (Anglicana) by the scribe Stephen Dodesham (see Edwards and Doyle) in black with red rubrics.
Decoration: Two-line initials in colors throughout. Six-line initials in gold and colors with a border of vines and acanthus in gold and colors at the beginning of each part: fol. 1, 3v, 17, 40v.
Binding: Ca. 18th-century calf over boards, spine gilt in compartments, title gilt on black spine labels, "DESTRUCTION/ OF/ THEBES" and "BY/ LYDGATE/ M.S.," decorative head- and tail-bands, board edges gilt, edges green, two paper flyeaves at front and back with Pro Patria watermark, paper pastedowns, original parchment pastedowns and flyleaves retained, two at front and back, final flyleaf shows originally binding was on five split bands, final parchment flyleaf was a pastedown.
- Notes (bibliography):
Bibliography: P.J. Bawcutt, "The Boston Public Library Manuscript of John Lydgate's Siege of Thebes: its Scottish Owners and Inscriptions," Medium Aevum LXX (2001): 80-94; A.S.G. Edwards, "Beinecke Manuscript MS 661 and early fifteenth-century manuscript production," Beinecke Studies in Early Manuscripts: Supplement to Yale University Library Gazette 66 (1991): 181-96; A.I. Doyle, "Stephen Dodesham of Witham and Sheen," P.R. Robinson and R. Zim, eds., Of the Making of Books: Medieval Manuscripts, their Scribes and Readers: Essays Presented to M.B. Parks (London, 1997), 94-115; A.E. Hartung, ed. A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500 (6:2155). Not included in the Early English Text Society edition of 1911.
- Notes (language):
In Middle English.
- Call #:
RARE BKS MS f Med.94
MS 1521 (no longer used)