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21-Feb-2020 13:05

His list includes several books that have not survived to the present day; it also omits a few works of his which he either omitted or which he wrote after he finished the Historia.

His list follows, with an English translation given; the title used to describe the work in this article is also given, for easier reference.

Item librum epistularum ad diuersos: quarum de sex aetatibus saeculi una est; de mansionibus filiorum Israel una; una de eo, quod ait Isaias: ‘Et claudentur ibi in carcerem, et post dies multos uisitabantur;’ de ratione bissexti una; de aequinoctio iuxta Anatolium una.

Also a book of epistles to different persons, of which one is of the six ages of the world; one of the mansions of the children of Israel; one on the works of Isaiah, "And they shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited"; one of the reasons of the bissextile or leap-year; and of the equinox, according to Anatolius.

It was purchased on behalf of the Hunterian Museum by William Turner from a Mr Taylor in November 1810 for 3.3s.

Mr Taylor had acquired the manuscript as composition for a debt from Matthew Baillie.

The text is introduced by an initial 'd' in red, green, blue, yellow and purple. The opening words of the preface De natura rerum et ratione temporum... The codex form had replaced the scroll some centuries before Bede was writing, but here the scroll has been used to confer an authoritative sense of antiquity and to provide a larger space for the words than an open book would have done Starting with the smallest units of time, the text describes days, weeks and months before proceeding on to lunar movements and the seasons; solar movements and years are then treated.

This is followed by Bede's 19 Year Cycles, covering the years 1-1253 A. Bede's greatest scientific achievement was the creation of the western calendar, based upon the tables which had originally been conceived by the sixth century Egyptian Dionysius Exiguus.

The major work of this manuscript is Bede's treatise of 725 On the Reckoning of Time.