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Bern » Burgerbibliothek » MS 167

Library Place Bern
Library Name Burgerbibliothek
Shelfmark MS 167
Folio Range Whole MS (214 fols)
Date IX 3/3
  • Brittany (probably)
  • Loire Valley (?)


  • Astronomical diagram and Isidorian astronomical excerpt (1r-v)
  • Introductory materials on Virgil and his works (1v-6r)
  • Virgil, Bucolica, with scholia (6v-20r)
  • Virgil, Georgica , with introductory materials and scholia (20r-53v)
  • Virgil, Aeneis, with introductory materials and scholia (54r-214v).
Old Breton Materials Yes
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials Yes
Connection with Brittany

This MS is very closely related to Bern, Burgerbibliothek, 172, another Virgilian codex written in a scriptorium of the Loire Valley (possibly Auxerre or Fleury): some of the scholia in Bern 167 may have been copied directly from Bern 172, or the scholia in both manuscripts may have been taken from the same lost exemplar (cf. LF BF093 and BF097). The scholia in question are important: Bern 167 preserves a partial copy of famous scholia to Virgil's works, which might have gone through a stage of transmission or even compilation in Ireland (cf. Daintree 1999; Lambert 1986: 91; Miles 2011: 28–32). As for the place of origin of this MS, while on the one hand some scholars have tentatively placed the writing of Bern 167 in centres of the Loire Valley (typically Fleury or Auxerre, cf. e.g. Savage 1925: 95; Savage 1932: 105, and see LF BF093 for further references; for an ascription to Tours, cf. OHLP 244), on the other hand Bischoff (Kat. §542) did not hesitate to ascribe it to Brittany, apparently on account of its insular abbreviations and numerous Old Breton glosses (nearly ninety, some of which show parallels with Old Irish glosses of the 'Philargyrian' tradition, cf. Lambert 1994: 101; Lambert 2018: 28). Indeed, it must be stressed that numerous insular abbreviations occur throughout the MS, including the strong Breton diagnostic ɔc for contra (cf. e.g. fol. 1va, line 13 from the bottom; cf. Lemoine 2008: 190; for the abbreviations used in this MS, see Lemoine 1985: 30–2). It seems therefore rather likely that Bern 167 was written in a Breton scriptorium in contact with Carolingian centres in the Loire Valley, where Virgilian scholia (some of which may have come from the regiones Scottorum, either directly or through English, Welsh or Breton channels) were copied and studied. In this context, it may be useful to note that Ganz (2007: 34–5) also ascribed the important Virgilian codex Bern, Burgerbibliothek, 165, to Brittany; however, this claim seems unfounded, as in fact that MS was in all likelihood written in the abbey of Saint Martin at Tours (indeed, here '165' could be no more than a simple slip for '167').

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 542
Essential bibliography

Bauer 2008: 65–80; CLH §569 (with abundant bibliography); Daintree 1999; Deuffic 2008: 129 (n. 230); DGVB 4; E-Codices; Hagen 1867: 689–92; Hagen 1875: 234–5; Innovating Knowledge; Kerlouégan 1982b: 317; Lambert 1986: 90–1; Lambert 1994: 100–1; Lambert 2018: 27–8; Lemoine 1985: 24–32, 288; Lemoine 2008: 190; LF BF093; Miles 2011: 28–32; OHLP 244; PMSB 294 (§12); Riché 2004: 20; Savage 1925: 94–5; Savage 1932: 103–5; Schrijver 2011: 9; Smith 1992: 171 (n. 96); Stokes 1879–80: 324–5, 327–38; Thilo / Hagen 1881–7: vol. I, lxi–lxii; Ziolkowski and Putnam 2008: 674–6.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-19 16:23:06
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #20
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