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Walters Ms. W.13, Synonyms of Isidore of Seville

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Shelf mark



Synonyms of Isidore of Seville

Text title


Authority name: Isidore, of Seville, Saint, d. 636


This modest German monastic textbook from the middle of the twelfth century survives in excellent condition in its original binding. Isidore of Seville, who died in 636, was the last of the great Latin fathers, whose works became core to the medieval monastic curriculum. The Synonyma, also known as the Liber lamentationum, starts as a dialogue between Man and Reason, in which Reason tells Man how he can reach eternal joy. The second part is a discussion of vices and virtues. The manuscript contains seventy folios and four decorated or inhabited initials.


Middle of the 12th century CE






Literary -- Prose



The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Heavy, darkened parchment


Foliation: 70

No flyleaves


Formula: 1-8(8), 9(6)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 9(2), 17(3), 25(4), 33(5), 41(6), 49(7), 57(8), 65(9); hair side out


12.9 cm wide by 17.5 cm high

Written surface

9.6 cm wide by 13.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 18

fols. 1v - 70v:
  1. Title: Synonyma
  2. Hand note: Written in late Caroline minuscule script; interlocutors and rubrics mainly in majuscules
  3. Decoration note: Two inhabited initials (7 and 11 lines); two decorated initials (4 and 8 lines); initials drawn in red or black pen with yellow and/or red painted accents; incipits in alternating red and black capitals; rubrics in red; text in black ink
fols. 1v - 2r:
  1. Title: Preamble
  2. Incipit: In nomine Dei summi in subsequenti hoc libro
  3. Decoration note: Inhabited initial on fol. 1v
fols. 2r - 2v:
  1. Title: Preface
  2. Rubric: Incipit prefacio soli loguiorum sancti Ysidori episcopi
  3. Incipit: Venit nuper ad manus meas
fols. 2v - 70v:
  1. Title: Synonyma
  2. Author: Isidore, of Seville, Saint, d. 636
  3. Rubric: Ysidorus archi episcopus hispane, hominis personam lamentatis in se assumit. Incipit liber Ysidori episcopi
  4. Incipit: Anima mea in angustiis est
  5. Decoration note: Inhabited initial on fol. 2v; decorated initials on fols. 30v and 69r


fol. 1v:

  1. W.13, fol. 1v
  2. Title: Inhabited initial "I" with beast heads
  3. Form: Inhabited initial "I," 11 lines
  4. Text: Synonyma: Preamble

fol. 2v:

  1. W.13, fol. 2v
  2. Title: Inhabited initial "A" with beast
  3. Form: Inhabited initial "A," 7 lines
  4. Text: Synonyma

fol. 30v:

  1. W.13, fol. 30v
  2. Title: Decorated initial "Q"
  3. Form: Decorated initial "Q," 8 lines
  4. Text: Synonyma

fol. 69r:

  1. W.13, fol. 69r
  2. Title: Decorated initial "E"
  3. Form: Decorated initial "E," 4 lines
  4. Text: Synonyma


The binding is original.

Romanesque binding of alum-tawed skin over beech boards with a later brass clasp; sewn on two slit, rolled tawed straps; "Synonima Isidorii" written on a rectangular strip of parchment on the upper board with the possible remains of a shelfmark above it; no pastedowns


German monastic institution (ex libris, fol. 2r, "Iste libellus pertinet ad monasterium sanctum in [......]")

Obtained ca. 1860-1865 by Sir Thomas Phillipps, no. 22130 (fol. 1r)

Gruel and Engelmann collection, no. 130 (bookplate on inside upper board)

Henry Walters, Baltimore, by purchase, with bill dated June 9, 1903


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters bequest


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 819, no. 380.


Cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editors: Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Davis, Lisa Fagin; Dutschke, Consuelo; Emery, Doug; Hamburger, Jeffrey; Klemm, Elizabeth; Noel, William; Sciacca, Christine; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.