Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce 303

[Part 1]

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General information

LanguageLanguage object (44)
Approx. date?1275 to 1299
Date notes'Thirteenth century' (Murrell 1927, 89; cf. Micha 1979, p. xx). c. 1285 (Fabry-Tehranci 2011, 50).
Place(s) of productionDouai
'Douai?' (Lancelot-Graal Project).
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] ouri les yex : Mais ie ne vi onq(ue)??s?? entor /
First words of last recto folio[f. 112ra] en lieu (et) en tans. Ensi laissierent ces p(ar)oles . /
Incipit[f. 1ra] CHil qui se / tient (et) iuge / au plus pe- / tit (et) au plus / pecheor de / tous : mande / salus el (com)me(n)- / chement de / ceste estoire : //
Explicit[f. 112va] Si sen taist ore a tant / li contes de toutes ligníes quí de / celydone issirent : Et retorne a v / ne estoire de merlín quil couvient / afine forche aiouster a lestoire del / saint graal por ce que la brance / i est (et) li apartient (et) commenche / me sire robers de borron en tel / maniere (com)me vos porres oir / sil est nus qui le vos die: Or / [f. 112vb] nos consalt diex (et) sainte ma- / rie. A . M . E . N . // E.X.P.L.I.C.I.T:L.E: / C.O.M.M.E.N.C.E. / M.E.N.T:D.E:L.E. / S.T.O.I.R.E:D.EL. / S.A.I.N.T:G.R.A. / A.L:E.T:C.H.I:A. / P.R.E.S:U.I.E.N.T: / L.E.S.T.O.I.R.E: / D.E:M.E.R.L.I.N: / D.I.E.X:N.O.S:M. / A.I.N.T:T.O.U.S: / A:B.O.N.E:F.I.N: / A . M . E . N . //


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Fairly good quality parchment, with a few sewn tears (e.g. ff. 27, 57) and holes avoided by the copyist. The volume has suffered drastic trimming, numerous lower corners are missing, and there is some creasing. The decoration on f. 1r is particularly worn.




Quire structure:14 regular quaternions, with the final folio announcing the 'Estoire de Merlin'.
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (4)

Physical description

No. of illustrations:2
General illustration:On f. 1ra, an illuminated initial (height: 10 lines), depicting the author within a brown-ish 'C' against a blue and gold ground. The corners extend to form a partial bar border incorporating a grotesque and supporting human, animal and hybrid figures in the lower margin. On f. 53ra there is an illuminated miniature with a blue frame and gold ground (height: 13 lines). Instructions to the painter in the margin read: 'Chi doit estre larbre / de vie paint en .iii. / colors'.
General decoration:Major textual divisions are marked by puzzle initials (height: 3 to 9 lines) in red and blue. Paragraphs begin with pen-flourished initials (height: 2 lines), alternating red and blue, with decoration in the opposing colour. Top-line ascenders are sometimes extended and decorated, occasionally forming faces (e.g. f. 75va). Similarly extended and decorated letters function as line-fillers (e.g. f. 11va). Pilcrow signs marking where the final words of paragraphs have been squeezed onto the line below are sometimes extended to form faces (e.g. f. 35va), or accompanied by decorative manicula (e.g. 48va).
Evidence of readership:Nota marks and synoptic headings in a later cursive between ff. 107 and 112.
Foliations description:Modern pencil numbering in the upper corner of recto sides.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampledf. 101r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions268x196 (mm)
Justification203x149 (mm)
18mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (6) (RulingMaterials object (5) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (6) (RulingMaterials object (5) )
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (4)
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 112vb
Date?1275 to 1325
Scribe description:A small and angular hand, displaying the following characteristics: two-compartment 'a' (slightly higher than other small letters and with a closed upper bow),some forked ascenders (or occasionally even looped), 'g' with a notably angular lower lobe, round, tall or trailing 's' in final position, both 'u' and 'v' found in initial position, dotted 'y'. Tironian 'et' is always crossed.