IV.1. Spurious Works

A. Lectures on the Apocalypse

The lectures on the Apocalypse are noted in Stegmüller (7426, 7427) and in Penn Szittya’s article, “Domesday Bokes: The Apocalypse in Middle English Literary Culture,” in The Apocalypse in the Middle Ages (p. 383). However, the work is not referenced in Smalley, “Robert Holcot” nor in T. Kaeppeli. The list of manuscripts presented here is that found in Szittya’s article (more information on this work shortly).

1. Leipzig, University ms. 169.
2. Prague, Kapitel, ms. 221.
3. Uppsala, ms. C 104.
4. Vatican, ms. Vat. Lat. 4234.
5. Vatican, Chis. A IV 84.

B. Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon

There is a work on the Proverbs of Solomon published by J. Badius in Paris (1510) that claims (tentatively?) to be by Robert Holcot or Thomas Waleys. The title, etc., is listed below (there is also a second edition published in Paris in 1515).

The work is cited as authentic in: Bede Jarrett, O.P., Social Theories of the Middle Ages, 1200-1500 (London: Frank Cass and Company Ltd., 1926; reprint, N.V. Grafische Industrie Haarlem, 1968). NB: see page 77 of the 1968 edition. See Quétif-Échard, pp. 630-31. There is no mention of this work in T. Kaeppeli.

1. In Proverbia Salomonis Roberti Holcoti seu Thome Gualesii, viri (sive hic sive ille fuerit author) anglicani et ordinis preadicatorii longe doctissimi.  Explanationes locupletissime, plurimum historie et fabulamenti ad morum emendationem complectentes: ut proximo patebit indice, ed. J. Badius (Paris, 1510).
2. In Proverbia Salomonis (Paris, 1515).

C. Commentary on the Song of Songs

If one reads enough literature on Holcot, or does enough Google searches, one eventually finds a reference to a commentary on the Song of Songs by Robert Holcot. The problem is, I have not found a source that actually provides textual information (i.e., that lists a manuscript, incunabula or early modern printing) for this work. Further, the traditionally reliable sources on Holcot’s extant writings do not mention this work.

The origin of this attribution is probably Quétif-Échard’s Scriptores (I, 631) where they have an extremely brief entry “In Cantica Canticorum” which lists an incunabula produced in Venice in 1509 and, cum sequenti. Later sources, such as the Cyclopaedia Bibliographica published in 1859, make reference to Quétif-Échard, but record a slightly expanded title: In cantica canticorum et in septem priora capita ecclesiastici (Venice 1509). I have not found an incunabula or early modern printing with the given title (or any books published under the name Holcot/Holkot in Venice in 1509) in numerous databases or library searches (except the 1509 Venice edition of the Ecclesiasticus commentary noted above). Thus, I am inclined, until further evidence emerges, to list it as spurious (at best), or perhaps non-existent.

D. Tractatus de septem vitiis

The Tractatus de septem vitiis—a work on the seven deadly sins­—is attributed to Holcot in various manuscripts and at least one early modern printing. Smalley notes that a London manuscript (British Museum, Add. 21,429, ff. 244-266v) indicates that the work is by Holcot— and this is not the only instance, as it is found in in at least two other manuscripts (i.e., Herzogenburg, Augustiner-Chorherrenstift, Cod. 16, ff. 202r-217r , and in Cambridge, University Library, ee.II.29, ff. 225-236), and was printed by Regnault Chaudière in Paris in 1517 (attributed to Holcot under the title Heptalogus…de origine diffinitione et remediis peccatorum). Smalley somewhat convincingly argues that the text is modeled after William of Lavicea’s (OFM) Dieta salutis and that, had Holcot written such a text, he would have probably chosen the Dominican William of Peraldus’s Summa de vitiis et virtutibus as an exemplar given the authority of the Dominican’s text and Holcot’s familiarity with the work (Smalley, “Robert Holcot,” 27-28).

Nota bene: This work is listed as authentic in Sharpe 1475, p. 558.  Sharpe (without referencing Smalley) writes that the incipit is close to William of Lanicea (ps. Bonv.) Dieta salutis and references Bloomfield 2301. However, Sharpe did not seem to be aware of Smalley’s work on this text or her argument that it is probably not authentic to Holcot. The best guide here seems to be Smalley, given her work not only with the mss. but also the content (and her familiarity with Holcot’s other works).

E. Imagines Fulgentii moralisatae

In several of the manuscripts containing Holcot’s Moralitates is a text referred to as the Imagines Fulgentii moralisatae. The incipit of the text is listed by R. Lievens as “Refert Fulgentius de ornatu orbis, quod cum Romani multos deos coluissent…” (See R. Lievens, “The ‘Pagan’ Dirc can Delf,” in Paganism in the MIddle Ages: Threat and Fascination (Leuven, 2012), 167-194, here 180. A fine example of this text is found in BNF 590–the explicit of this text, on f. 115r, attributes the text to Robert Holcot. The incipit (f. 99v) is similar to that reported in Lievens. (This ms. also attributes a text Aenigmata Aristotelis Moralisata to Holcot, see below).

1. France, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, lat., ms. 590, ff. 99v-115r

A similar manuscript found in the Bremen state library contains an version of the Moralitates, as well as the Historia septem sapientum, Gesta Romanorum, Declamationes Senecae moralisatae, Aenigmata Aristotelis Moralisata (a text that follows the Imagines in BNF 590) and other texts. See: the Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen, ms. 3, ff. 165ra-167rb.  For an extensive list of such manuscripts, see N.F. Palmer, “Das Exempelwerke der englischen Bettelmönche: Ein Gegenstück zu den Gesta Romanorum,” in Exempel und Exempelsammlungen, ed. W. Haug and B. Wachinger (Fortuna Vitrea 2) (Tübingen 1991), 137-172, here 168-172.

F. Aenigmata Aristotelis moralisata

This text is attributed (falsely) to Holcot in France, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, lat., ms. 590, ff. 115r-119r.  The explicit simply states “per eiusdem,” following the text of the Imagines. According to the manuscript catalogue of the Bremen library, the work is also attributed to Holcot in Bremen, ms. 3, ff. 183ra-186ra (however, this needs to be confirmed in the manuscript).

Finally, related to the discussion of the Imagines and Aenigmata, one should also note two manuscripts: Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg, ms. M II 186, which contains the following texts attributed to Holcot:

Moralitates (ff. 177va-228rb),
Maria quatuor virtutes habuit (ff. 177va-198rb),
Imagines Fulgentii (ff. 198rb-210rb), and
Aenigmata Aristotelis (ff. 210va-213rb).

And, Germany, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Sal., ms. VII, 104, which contains (all available digitally):

Moralitates (ff. 1r-30v),
Imagines Fulgentii moralizatae sive Fulgentius Metaforalis (ff. 30v-48r),
Imagines Fulgentii, sive De imaginibus virtutum (ff. 48r-65r),
Aenigmata Aristotelis moralizata (ff. 65r-70r),
Declamationes Senecae moralizatae (ff. 70r-93v), and
Tabula in libros praecedentes (ff. 93v-99v).

G. Centiloquium

The Centiloquium is a work that has been falsely attributed to William of Ockham (e.g., see C Prantl) and Robert Holcot.  The attribution to Holcot is suggested by Philotheus Boehner in his article “The Medieval Crisis of Logic and the Author of the Centiloquium Attributed to Holcot,” Franciscan Studies 4 (1944), 151-170. As Hester Gelber argues in It Could Have Been Otherwise (p. 81f.), the author of the Centiloquium is probably Arnold of Strelley.

H. Collationes Holcoti

Jeff Witt recently had a chance to see Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, ms. Adv. 18.4.4 in situ. The manuscript is listed in N.F. Palmer as containing a copy of Holcot’s Moralitates. What Jeff found (and we were able to confirm based on the few folios he took pictures of with his cell phone) was not a copy of the Moralitates but a work labelled Collationes Holcoti in the manuscript (on the header to fol. 1 as well as in the colophon). We have not been able to determine definitively what the work actually is (or if it is by Holcot)–that said, here are a few observations.

The text contains 115 collationes (a term often used to designate sermons). It begins with a collation on Wisdom 1:1 (diligite iustitiam) and–based on the table of collations at the end of the work–contains 115 collations on the book of Wisdom.  The table lists the biblical thema that is the focus of each collation and of the ones we checked, they were all from the book of Wisdom.  It is possible, therefore, that this is a work that contains sermons on Wisdom based (loosely?) on Holcot’s commentary on the book of Wisdom. This judgement is largely conjectural at this point (more information will be forthcoming, once we figure out what this text is). Further, it remains unclear if this is a work inspired by Holcot or written by Holcot.


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