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MS 178: Historiae Ecclesiasticae Tripartitae Epitome [incomplete], by Epiphanius Scholasticus, 12th century

Identifier: MS 178


MS 178 contains a copy of a 6th-century Church history by Epiphanius Scholasticus. The work takes the form of twelve books, and became the primary clerical manual for Church history in the medieval west for centuries. The 12-part book is often presented in early print publications/manuscript copies as the work of Cassiodorus. However, it was originally a work of Latin translations of the histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret produced by Cassiodorus's friend and colleague at the monastery of Viviarum. Cassiodorus was (in part) influencial for his promotion of the practice of copying ancient texts, and preserving them through reproduction by monks in his monastery. Epiphanius's translation of ancient Greek works falls within this work. Once he has finished these tranlations, Cassiodorus revised, abridged and organised the text into a single piece on the history of the Church. The final text, the Historiae Ecclesiasticae Tripartitae Epitome as it became known in the medieval world, also contains a translation of the work of Eusibius by Rufinus.
The copy of the Historiae Ecclesiasticae contained in MS 178 contains all twelve books, although the twelfth ends incompletely. The text begins on f. 1r with a short preface:In hoc opere continentur historie ecclesiastice ex socrate sozomeno, et theodorico in unum collecte et nuper de Greco in latinum translate libri duodecim. Prefatio Cassiodori senatoris servi dei...
Liber I begins on f. 1v: Incipit liber primus. Oratio allocutoria sozomeni in theodosium imperatorem. Aiunt antiquis principibus... It ends on f. 25v.
Liber II is contained on ff. 26r-39v.
Liber III is contained on ff. 39v-47v.
Liber IV is contained on ff. 47v-63v.
Liber V: ff. 63v-88v.
Liber VI: ff. 88v-109r
Liber VII: ff. 109r-132r
Liber VIII: ff. 132r-142v
Liber IX: ff. 142v-167v
Liber X: ff. 168r-181r
Liber XI: ff. 181r-188r
Liber XII: ff. 188r-193v. The text ends incompletely and in the middle of a line: 'monens ut omnes pecunias'.
Writing A very good 12th century hand, the initials all unfortunately unfinished.
Illumination The only ornaments are the rubrics and some faint sketches of animals, etc., in the margins made with the stylus.


  • 12th 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.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

Probably an English manuscript. There are no specific indications apart from the script.

Previous title

Title given to the manuscript in Catherine Borland’s catalogue: Cassiodori Historia Tripartita.

Previous reference

D. b. II. 15.

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum

Binding: Modern, lettered 'Cassiodorus P. Hist. Eccles. Libri xii Ex Socrati, Soz. et Theodor. ms.'

Collation: a8-A8, B1 (incomplete) =193.


27.94 cm X 18.42 cm


Secundo folio: regalibus coram
Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 193, 31 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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