Trinity College Library (Cambridge), R.16.3
(De naturis rerum)


Produced: England?, 13th century
Current Location: Trinity College Library (Cambridge), Cambridge, England, UK
Manuscript Type: Encyclopedia
Language: Latin
Folios: 154
Author: Alexander Neckam
Illustrated: No
Media: Parchment
Dimensions: Height: 37.5 cm Width: 27 cm
Folio 20v


The De naturis rerum, an encyclopedia by Alexander Neckam. This manuscript includes only Books 1 and 2; the commentary on Ecclesiastes (Books 3, 4 and 5) is omitted.

There is a three page table of the chapter numbers and titles for the two books at the beginning of the manuscript, and each chapter is numbered in the margin. There are two sets of chapter numbers, done at different times, and they do not always match.

This manuscript is designated F on this site.

The chapters on animals are:

  • Birds : folio 15v-27v (chapters 1.23-80)
    • After chapter 34 (Phoenix, folio 18v) there are two extra "chapters" numbered 35 and 36 (folio 19r). These are quotes of poems by Ovid and Claudius Aelianus, included as part of chapter 34 in the Wright edition. This makes Item de phoenice become chapter 37 (Wright 35).
    • Chapter 38 in Wright's edition (the first Item de psittaco) is here combined with chapter 39, making De pavone chapter 40 (Wright 39).
    • Wright's chapter 40 (Item de pavone) is here combined with chapter 40, making chapter 41 (De vulture) match Wright's chapter 41.
  • Fish and marine animals : folio 30v-33v (chapters 2.22-46)
    • Wright's chapter 33 (the second De lucio, et perca, et brenna) is combined with chapter 32 (the first De lucio, et perca, et brenna), so the following chapter numbers here are one less than in Wright.
    • Chapters 33 (De echinis, Wright 34) and 34 (De umbra, Wright 35) are reversed.
  • Animals, serpents and insects : folio 38r- (chapters 2.99-165)
    • The animal section (De animalibus) of this manuscript starts with chapter 97; the Wright edition chapter is 99, so the Wright chapter numbers are 2 greater than here.
    • Wright chapter 111 (De anguibus) is here combined with chapter 108 (De venenosis animalibus in genere, Wright chapter 110).
    • Wright's chapter 112 (De hypnale) is here chapter 109; from this point the Wright chapter numbers are 3 greater.
    • Wright's chapter 137 (De Acteone) is here combined with the Item de cervis chapter.

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Trinity College Library (Cambridge)