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L’Arbre des Batailles by Honoré Bonet , 15th century

Identifier: MS 187


This manuscript contains the book L’Arbre des Batailles by Honoré Bonet (c. 1340 – c. 1410), a Benedictine and prior of Salon near Embrun. He studied at the University of Avignon and wrote about philosophy, law, politics, and Heraldry. L’Arbre des Batailles is one of his most important works. It was written around 1382-87 in the form of a scholastic dialogue and deals with war and the laws of war. The work is composed of four sections, and is a vast overview of the laws of war drawing upon historical, philosophical, legal and literary sources. It includes an abridged version of the History of Isreal and of the Catholic Church, a summary of the history of the four kingdoms of Antiquity, and a treatise on legal problems of war. L'Arbre des Batailles was quite popular in the late Middle Ages, in particular as a manual for commanders and rulers.


Introduction: the title on f. 1r reads: Cy commence le livre de larbre des batailles et premierement les rebriches. The text starts on f. 1r with the following words: En cestuy livre aura quatre parties. And ends on f. 6v.

Prologue: the text starts on f. 7r with the following words: A la sainte couronne de France. And ends on f. 7v with the following words: et si aura nom cestuy livre larbre des batailles.

Text: the title on f. 7v reads: La maniere de faire l'arbre des batailles. The text starts on f. 8r with the following words: Mais puis que jay ce fait il me convient. And ends on f. 224r with the following words: et produise a la sienne sainte gloire de paradis. Amen. Cy finist larbre des batailles.


A French hand, with rubrics and plain red capitals, two rough filigree initials.


  • Creation: 15th century

Language of Materials

Middle French

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

There are no marks of local provenance. The initials D.L. are partly erased on the inner cover, and there are two numbers, 276 mss. and 142.

Previous reference

Laing 192.


This manuscript is mentioned and briefly described on p. lxvii of Vol. 1 of Hay, Gilbert, et al. Gilbert of the Haye's Prose Manuscript (A.D.1456). Printed for the Society by W. Blackwood and Sons, 1901.

Physical Facet

Material: Paper.

Binding: Binding.

Collation: a6, b12, c11 (11 cut out), d12—f12, g10, h10, i12—l12, m10, n12—t12, v9=224.


27.46 cm x 20.47 cm


Secundo folio: Si cest chouse

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 224, 27 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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