J.P.Migne, Patrologia Latina, vol I, cols 32-35(RP)


After the most ancient witness of Cyprian, Lactantius, Hilarius, Eusebius, Rufinus, Jerome, Augustine and Vincent of Lerins concerning the books of Tertullian and their nature and authority, thereafter no vestige of them remains for many centuries, and the obscurity is seen within the much celebrated decree of Pope Gelasius, which dismisses his works without distinction among the apocrypha. Finally summoned from these shadows of apocrypha, it appeared again in the light of day near the propitious times of Charlemagne, when emerging from among the vast chaos of the barbarians the study of letters was renewed. This is stated to have flourished firstly at Lyons, a seat of long-established erudition and Gallic eloquence, not less favoured by the Archbishops of Lyons, Leidradus and Agobard among them. Further Agobard is naturally thought to have held Tertullian beloved before all men, as there exist several manuscript codices bearing his name in the front. These are as follows:

From the Ninth Century

1. 814-840AD

I. Codex #1 of Agobard, of parchment, written throughout in bright and elegant minuscule uncial letters, 204 leaves in quarto, damaged from sheer old age and the margin corroded and cut off due to long-term damp, exists in the Royal Library under number 1622. It can almost no longer be handled without danger, although recently that excellent codex at last with fresh work has been repaired, nor despite unharmed bright sections still on many of the leaves, some words appear which now cannot be made out, in the absence of the margin, or because of the faded writing. On the second folio, under a title in a more recent hand and written in square letters, may be read in an ancient script: BOOK OFFERED TO THE ALTAR OF ST. STEPHEN BY A VOW OF BISHOP AGOBARD. On the verso of the same leaf, THESE ARE 23 BOOKS OF TERTULLIAN. There follows this list: AD NATIONES LIB. I. IT. AD NATIONES LIB. II. DE PRAESCRIPTIONE HERETICORUM LIBER I, DE SCORPIACE: DE TESTIMONIO ANIMAE DE CORONA : DE SPECTACULIS LIS (sic) DE IDOLOLAtria LA (sic) : DE CENSU ANIMAE DE ORATIONE DE CULTU FEMINARUM IT. DE CULTU FOEMINARUM AD UXOREM IT. DE CULTU FOEMINARUM AD UXOREM IT. AD UXOREM DE EXHORTATIONE CASTITATIS DE SPE FIDELIUM DE PARADUSO DE VIRGINIBUS VELANDIS DE CARNE ET ANIMA. In a second column of the same leaf: DE CARNE XPI : DE PATIENTIA : DE PAENITENTIA : DE ANIME SUMMISSIONE : DE SUPERSTITIONE SAECULI : LEGE IN XPO IHY. Later the codex is lacking in the book De Carne Christi, at these words of chapter 10: : item cum praesumant non carnis sed animae nostrae. Nothing exists of the following books, nor any word of the 4 preceding in the above-mentioned list. On the red parchment cover, with gold lines and distinct letters, it reads:


This is in fact the mark of the codex which Gothofried was the first to discuss, from which he published for the first time the two books of the Ad Nationes, and which he offered for a gift with his edition to the royal library.

II. Codex Agobardinus, different from the above, in the library of 'Lugduno-Batava' (?), praised by Havercamp, but not described. See below the praefatio to Havercamp's edition of the Apologeticum, in column 250ff.

From the Tenth Century

III. Circa 900AD, Codex Claudii Puteanii, in a most beautiful character, in elegant uncials. 80 folios in quarto, preserved in the royal library, once no 3971, now labelled 1623, containing only the Apologeticum, which was held and consulted by D. Nic. Le Nourry and Rigalt.

IV. Circa 1000AD. Codex Petri Pithoeii, in a character form assigned by Le Nourry and others. Written in the eleventh century, once from the papers of Pithoeus. Given to the Jesuit college in Troyes, now preserved in the library of the town of Montpellier, parchment, contains all the works of Tertullian. Cf. Haenel. Catalog, p. 245. Rigaltius used it for his edition.

V. From the same time, Codex Harlaeus in elegant characters by no means inferior to the Codex Puteanus, and no more than a century later, thought D. Le Nourry, who accepted it from Achilleus Harlaeus, president of the Paris senate, in which is a mix of good and bad readings.

VI. From the same time. Codex Augustae-Taurinensis (Turin), about which Mabillon was sworn to have offended in Itiner. Italic., tome I, p. 8.

VII. From the same time. Codex Colbertinus (earlier), which was confiscated from Abbot Colbert, by Charles Duchesne, accepted by D. Le Noury, by whom it was considered written around 700AD.

From the Twelfth Century

VIII. After 1050AD. Codex Morbacensis in which is written at the end in a more recent hand: Pray for the Lord Abbot of 'Morbacencum' (?), who is none other than Bartholomaeus de Andelo, in charge of the monastery in 1455 AD. Various readings were recorded carefully by D. Nic. le Nourry and he thought it was written 600-700 years ago.

From the Thirteenth Century

IX. Codex Colbertinus (later), carried of from the town of 'Tutelensi' (?) in 1687 by D. Stephan Baluzio, listed in Colbert library as no 5271, once in Royal library no 3973, now no 1689, not 400 years old in the judgement of D. Le Nourry. Contains in the first part the treatise of Didymus "De Spiritu Sancto", Cyprian's letters and works, and in the latter part the Apologeticum of Tertullian.

From the Fourteenth Century

From 1462-1500, which will be returned to, J. Trithemius saw plenty of codices in the library of the Abbey of Hirsau, and recalled in his book "De scriptoribus ecclesiast.", some by Tertullian. In that place he mentioned that the book "de Exstasi" still existed, which is lost.

In 1481, the day before the ides of January, Angelus Politianus wrote a letter about Tertullian, saying that he only had those books known to us.

X. In 1492 the codex of the Royal library in Paris was produced, once numbered 4313-3, now numbered 2616 on the front, and by no means a large volume. It contains 50 parchment leaves, with a recent character form which is bright and elegant, of the style of the knight Bartholomaeus Chalcus himself, senior grammarian of the duchy of Milan, copied by Hieronymous Waradeus; the text of the excellent notes is agreed to be more recent. After various events and changes of owner, as is evident from the notes affixed to the first folio, it was in the hands of Antonius Faur under number 178.

In the fifteenth century some speeches were ascribed to Tertullian, which Haenel found in the catalogue of the library of Middlehill as no. 2377, and he put them in his library of mss.

Codices of uncertain age

XI. An ancient unknown codex from which the Apologeticus was first copied.

XII, XIII. The Hirsaugiensis and Paterniacensis from which Rhenanus printed the first Tertullianus. Also at present is stored in the town of Schlettstadt, from the library of B. Rhenanus himself, some parchment mss writings of Tertullian. Cf. Haenel. p. 437.

XIV, XV. The Gorziensis and Fuldensis, which Fr. Modius later examined diligently, were used to amend Tertullian greatly.

XVI. We known nothing of the Codex of Gagneus, from which he gave many works of Tertullian.

XVII. The Codex of the British 'caenobii Masburiensis' communicated by John Leland to Gelenius, was clearly important; which held works of Tertullian not preserved to the present day, but lacking others which instead now exist.

XVII - XXIV. The Codices of Pamelius; three of the Vatican collated by order of Cardinal Sirlet for his own use, two of the monasteries of St. Amandus and St. Bavonus in Belgium; one English, which was in the possession of John Clement.

XXV. Codex Bongarsii, which Heraldus used.

XXVI. The Codex which Salmasius said he used to put the finishing touches to his edition of De Pallio.

XXVII, XXVIII. Two parchment codices in the library of 'Lugdunum - Batava', currently nos 324 and 376, which include De Pallio and were used by Havercamp.

In addition we observe variant readings, which F. Ursinus collected from various mss, which after Wouwer were called upon for use by Rigaltius.

XXIX. Codex Vaticanus, containing with the History of the V. Bede many other things among which a fragment of Tertullian 'De exsecrandis diis', first edited in 1630 by J.M. Suaresius, custodian of the Vatican library, and not since, until this edition, Vol. II, column 1114. This Codex, said Suaresius, seemed written in Lombard letters 700 or 800 years ago.

XXX. Codex Ambrosianus, from which Muratorius obtained the last part of the treatise De oratione, definitely ancient according to the same judge, but neither described nor any date assigned.

Two Paris codices are wrongly inscribed with the name of Tertullian, the first preserved in the royal library, no. 1656, the other in the St. Genevieve library no. 694, neither in truth having any scrap of Tertullian.

This page has been accessed by ****** people since 11th December 1999.

Return to the Tertullian Home Page Original Latin About these pages