On this page, you can learn more about medieval manuscripts in St John’s that include texts by Classical authors such as Cicero, Sallust, and Terence.
MS 36 contains works by Seneca (d. c. 65 CE). This manuscript was produced in England at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Unusually, this book has little provenance evidence, unlike most other western medieval manuscripts at St John’s.
MS 81 contains copies of two works on rhetoric by Marcus Tullius Cicero (d. 43 BCE): De oratore and Orator. Cicero was a Roman politician and lawyer who was famous for his rhetorical ability. This manuscript was produced in England in the first quarter of the fourteenth century.
MS 84, which was produced in fifteenth-century England, contains two works by the Roman historian and politician Sallust (d. 35 BCE). De coniuratione Catilinae recounts Catiline’s failed conspiracy against the Republic, while De bello Iugurthino, concerns Rome’s war against Jugurtha (112–105 BCE).
MS 87 is one of two medieval copies of Terence’s Comedies in St John’s College Library, the other being MS 117. Terence (d. c. 159 BCE) was a Roman comic playwright. This copy of his Comedies was produced in England in the mid-fifteenth century, and was owned by the Renaissance poet and playwright Ben Jonson.
MS 116 includes a copy of Epistolae ad Lucillium written by the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (d. 65). Commonly known as Letters from a Stoic, this is a collection of 124 letters addressed to Lucilius Junior. MS 116, which breaks off in letter 123, was produced in Italy in the late-fourteenth century.
MS 117 is one of two medieval copies of Terence’s Comedies in St John’s College Library, the other being MS 87. Terence (d. c. 159 BCE), was a Roman comic playwright. This copy of his Comedies was produced in France c.1475. The heads of plays are marked by decorated initials and borders, as shown here.
MS 192 contains copies of Juvenal’s Satires and Horace’s Ars poetica. This manuscript was produced in Italy in the middle of the fifteenth century. MS 192 is one of two manuscripts in St John’s Library that were owned by the English poet and playwright Ben Jonson (see also MS 87).