The Prose Solomon and Saturn B is written on folios 83v – 90v of this manuscript, in which the tenth-century Nowell Codex was at some point bound together with the twelfth-century Southwick Codex.  The Southwick Codex, now comprising the first 90 folios, begins with the Old English version of Augustine’s Soliloquies, ascribed in this manuscript to King Alfred (fols. 1 – 56).  This is followed by the Old English Gospel of Nicodemus, of which the opening is missing (fols. 57 – 83v).  The end of PSSB falls on the last extant page of the manuscript, which also contains the first few lines of a homily on St. Quintin.  The older portion of the manuscript follows the newer codex, and begins with three Old English prose texts: an acephalous Life of St. Christopher, the Wonders of the East, and The Letter of Alexander to AristotleBeowulf follows, and as now bound the manuscript concludes with Judith, though that poems is missing both its beginning and its ending, and it has been theorized that it once began the manuscript.

The manuscript was badly burnt in a fire in 1731. Sir Robert Cotton had given his extensive collection of manuscripts to the British Library; they had been placed in storage in Ashburnham House awaiting cataloguing and transfer to the British Museum.  In the next century, the leaves of the manuscript were flattened and then placed in paper frames, within which they were then rebound.  Where the margins of the manuscript are burnt away, the paper frames sometimes obscure a letter or two, and in some cases the top edge of the existing letters, though examination of the manuscript with back-lighting can show the obscured letters.

A full description of the manuscript is available via the British Library.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: