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Collection Level Description: Roe Manuscripts

Reference: MSS. Roe 1-17, 18a-b, 19-29
Title: Roe Manuscripts
Dates of Creation: 10th-17th cent.
Extent: 30 shelfmarks

Language of Material: Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin

Administrative/Biographical History

Sir Thomas Roe was born in 1580 or 1581, and matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1593, but took no degree. On March 23, 1605 he was knighted, and in 1614 began his official journeys to the East which made him famous. From that year to January 1618 he was Ambassador to Jehângîr, the Mogul emperor of Hindustan, and from September 1621 till the summer of 1628 to the Turkish Court. In October 1640 Roe was elected a burgess of the University in Parliament, and died on November 6 1644. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Scope and Content

Manuscripts collected by Sir Thomas Roe. Of the collection, 27 are Greek, one Hebrew, one Arabic, and one Latin.

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The manuscripts were presented to the Library by Roe in 1628, according to an inscription placed in each manuscript, which records that it was brought from the East and presented to the Public Library [the Bodleian] 'in gratitudinis suae erga Matrem Academiam perpetuum testimonium', but the manuscripts actually arrived with the Barocci Collection about the end of May 1629, see Macray's Annals of the Bodleian, 2nd ed. (1890), pp. 70, 72.

Access Conditions

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Further Information

Finding Aids

Full descriptions, in Latin, are in Henry O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars prima recensionem codicum Graecorum continens (Oxford, 1853; reprinted with corrections, 1969).

Brief one-line descriptions, with shelfmarks and short titles, are in Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, nos. 247-275.

The illuminated manuscripts in this collection are described in detail in I. Hutter, Corpus der Byzantinischen Miniaturenhandschriften. Oxford Bodleian Library, 4 vols. (Stuttgart, 1977-82).

For a more detailed description of the medieval manuscripts in this collectionsee

Access Points

Greek literature

Manuscripts, Arabic

Manuscripts, Greek

Manuscripts, Hebrew

Manuscripts, Latin

Roe | Thomas | 1581-1644 | Sir | Knight and Diplomat

Contact Information
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09 June 2011