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Volume / Number: 2 / 271

CLA 271
  • Dublin Ireland Trinity College MS 55 (A. IV. 15)
Script Irish Half-Uncial
Date VII in (601 - 625)
Origin and Provenance

Written in an Irish centre, hardly at Bobbio, despite cursive influences in the script, the manner of denoting an omission, the kind of parchment used, and the similarity to two other Bobbio MSS. Strong doubt has recently been cast on James Ussher’s traditional ownership of the MS, which most likely reached its present home at the time of the Restoration.

CLA Vol. 2
TM Number TM 66357
Support Parchment
Contents Testamentum Novum, Evangelia (Vetus latina, Mt, Mc, Lc, Io fragm.).
Name Codex Usserianus Primus.
Script Commentary

Script is a peculiar angular type of Irish majuscule verging on minuscule, or better, an Irish adaptation of half-uncial: g is remarkable, being a direct descendant of the form found in the sloping uncial marginalia of the fifth and sixth centuries; N has mostly the uncial form with an upward bend of the second stroke; the shafts of tall letters are often looped or else club-shaped; h with shaft inclining to the left occurs; the bows of d and q are very broad; e in ligature has a tiny eye which often contracts to a mere line; ligatures of gn, gr, ri, ti are frequent, and some whole groups are ligatured (aeter); uncial A and G occur. The whole has a slight inclination to the left and has strong similarity to the script of Milan Ambros. C. 26 sup. (Basilius) and D. 23 sup. (Orosius). There is a certain tendency to begin each section with three or more somewhat larger letters—a trick of Irish scribes. The first few words of each section are in red. A number of Latin interlinear glosses written with a stylus in Insular script are seen on foll. 25, 25v, 79, etc.


☛CLA first-edition provenance (‘Written in an Irish centre, presumably at Bobbio, to judge by Roman cursive influences...’ and ‘Its history is unknown till it became the property of James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh 1624–55, with whose library it passed to Trinity College in 1661.’) changed to follow second edition. ☛McGurk, Gospel Books no. 83. ☛P. Ó Néill, ‘The earliest dry-point glosses in Codex Usserianus Primus’ in T. Barnard et al. eds. A miracle of learning: studies in manuscripts and Irish learning: essays in honour of William O’Sullivan. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998, pp. 1–28, with addenda and corrigenda Peritia 14 (2000) pp. 430–1.

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Last modified 19 April 2022