Skip to content

London » British Library » MS Harley 3941

Library Place London
Library Name British Library
Shelfmark MS Harley 3941
Folio Range Whole MS (265 fols in 2 volumes)
Date IX ex. / X in.
  • Brittany (probably)


  • Letter of Braulio of Zaragoza to Isidore (acephalous) (1r)
  • Letter of Isidore to Braulio of Zaragoza (1r)
  • Isidore, Etymologiae (2r-265v).
Old Breton Materials Yes
Irish / Hiberno-Latin materials No
Connection with Brittany

The MS is partly a palimpsest, the lower text being constituted by sections from a fifth- or sixth-century copy of the Eusebius-Jerome Chronicle (CLA S, §1704; Ganz 2007a). An ex-libris on fol. 265v indicates that this MS was at Jumièges already in the twelfth century. Bischoff (Kat. §2481) did not hesitate to attribute the production of this MS to a Breton scriptorium, around the late ninth century or the first half of the tenth. Indeed, the MS does contain a substantial number of Old Breton glosses pertaining especially to the names of plants and animals, as well as medical and anatomical terms, edited and studied in Lambert 1999: 195–200. It is mostly on account of the presence of these vernacular glosses that Ganz (2007: 30) states that 'the manuscript was originally copied and studied somewhere west of Tours at the end of the ninth century' (although note that Ganz's reference to 'some seven Breton glosses' in Harley 3941 is erroneous, as Lambert has edited no less than thirty-two Old Breton glosses from this MS); it is also worth referring to Ganz 2007: 34, where the author states more explicitly that this MS 'was copied in Brittany.' In view of this manuscript's script and vernacular glosses, it seems very likely that it was written in Brittany.

Number(s) in Bischoff's Katalog 2481
Essential bibliography

Bauer 2008: 136; British Library Digitised Manuscripts; CLA S, 1704 = ELMSS; Fleuriot 1979: 197; Ganz 2007a; Innovating Knowledge; Lambert 1999: 195–200; Lambert 2018: 40; Lemoine 1985: 289; Lemoine 2008: 192; PMSB 302 (§47); Schrijver 2011: 10.

URLs for digital facsimile
Last Updated 2021-06-19 16:39:19
Author Jacopo Bisagni
DHBM Identifier #76
« Previous MSS

London » British Library » MS Harley 3376

Next MSS »

London » British Library » MS Royal 1.A.XVIII


No origin location data is available for this manuscript.