Skip to main content

Anticlaudianus by Alanus de Insulis, 13th century

Identifier: MS 20/ff. 100r-121r


The Anticlaudianus is a poem which illustrates nature's failure in creating the perfect man. Its author is Alanus de Insulis (also known as Alain de Lille, c. 1128 - 1202/03), French theologian and poet. He spent several years teaching in Paris; he was a very prolific author and famous for his wide knowledge.

The text in this manuscript is preceded by the inscription Anticlaudianus Alani de Antiruffino in adifferent hand. Claudian was a Latin poet who lived between the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. In particular, in one of his invectives (speeches whose aim was to criticise and shame certain peoeple), Claudian had harshly debased Rufinus, the powerful praetorian prefect of the court of the Eastern Roman Empire, by claiming that he had been created by the gods of the underworld as the prototype of the evil man, bent on bringing chaos and destruction on earth. By writing about the perfect man, Alain de Lille is wiriting a poem which is the opposite of Claudian's and the opposite of his character Rufinus (hence 'Anticlaudianus' and 'Antirufinus').

Prologues: start on f. 100r. The first prologue begins with the words Cum fulminis impetus vires and ends with studii desudarem. The words Cum fulminis are written in elongated capitals, alternating blue and red. This first prologue is immediately followed by an explanation of the subject of the poem: it begins with Quia in hoc opere agitur and ends with in hoc libro dicitur antiruffinus quasi contrarius Ruffino.

The second prologue (f. 101r) begins with the words Auctoris mendico stilum phalerasque poete and ends with concludat germinis usum. The words Auctoris mendico are written in elongated capitals, alternating blue and red.

Anticlaudianus: starts on f. 101r with the words Ut sibi iuncta magis nature dona resultet and ends with Supplantare novas saltem post fata silebit. Explicit anticlaudianus alani de antiruffino (f. 121r). The explicit is repeated underneath by the same hand that has added the inscription at the beginning.

Book 1: f. 101r.

Book 2: f. 103v.

Book 3: f. 105v.

Book 4: f. 108r.

Book 5: f. 110v.

Book 6: f. 113r.

Book 7: f. 115r.

Book 8: f. 117v.

Book 9: f. 119r.

Writing and Illumination

Both the prologue and the text of the Anticlaudianus begin with a whole line of elongated capitals, red and blue alternately, with filigree ornament.


  • Creation: 13th century


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


22 folios


Gibson, M. T., Shanzer D.R., Palmer, N. "Manuscripts of Alan de Lille, 'Anticlaudinanus' in the British Isles.", Studi Medievali, ser. 3, xxviii, fasc. 2, 1987, pp. 905-1001.
. Talbot, C. “A List of Cistercian Manuscripts in Great Britain.” Traditio, vol. 8, 1952, p. 402. (see p.403)

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379