Modern foliation and pagination. The manuscript is foliated 1-44 in the middle of the upper margin on the rectos and is paginated 1-86 in the upper left hand corner of the versos and the upper right hand corners of the versos. The originally blank fol. 44 is not paginated.
The manuscript was originally made up of six gatherings of eight leaves apiece, but the two innermost pairs of the fifth gathering are now missing.
The manuscript is written in double columns. The number of lines per column varies from 38-46. Gatherings 3-5 (fols. 17ra-36vb) have majuscules entered in red and blue and rubrics in red. The scribes do not appear to have taken the possibility of rubrics into account either in this part or elsewhere in the manuscript, however. Spaces are left for initials in gatherings 1, 2, and 6 but nowhere filled in.
There is a lacuna between fols 34 and 35. Otherwise the manuscript is complete from Prologue to end.
The first and longest part, fols 1ra-37va, seems to be the work of a single hand, Hand 1. If it were to judge by visual impress alone, we might well conclude from a comparison of the opening and the final pages of this section that we have two different scribes to deal with. On the first pages the script is clear and firm, virtually straight up and down and with few ornamental hair strokes. On the last pages it has a more cursive character, more hair strokes, and a slight lean to the left. Closer paleographic analysis shows that most probably it must all be attributed to one scribe.
The rest of the codex, fols 37vb-43vb is mostly in a second hand, Hand 2, but here and there in his section 6 (or 5?) other scribes have written short passages. It is a firm clear script, but rather smaller than Hand 1 with the consequence of increased numbers of lines to the pages in this part. He uses the same letter forms throughout and, with some exceptions, is consistent in his spelling.
Hand 3 wrote fol. 37vb:1-5.
Hand 4 wrote fol. 38rb:35-39.
Hand 5 wrote fol. 38vb:35.
Hand 6 wrote fol. 41ra:36-45.
Hand 7 wrote fol. 42vb:6-22. The script and spelling is very similar to Hand 2, the letters are smaller at the start but gradually grow more and more like those of Hand 2, who certainly resumes from line 22 - if it is not his work in any case. But there are some discrepancies. It is hard to decide whether this is really a new hand or not.
Hand 8 wrote fol. 43rb:37-40.
Ornamentation or fabulous beasts are introduced in a few places where rubrics are omitted, to fill the small gaps left between chapters. The ornamentation are found on fols. 24va:30 and 24va:37, 25ra:21, 26ra:19, 58a:1, 67a:19. A small fabulous beast is inserted as decoration at 42va:28, and two more occur at 30va:8.
There are a few marginal entries in AM 243 a fol. On the top margin of fol. 1r a seventeenth century hand has written: Speculum and Árni Magnússon has added regale. The note Hallkell er godur piltr is on 13v. At the end of the text on 43v a hand of about the same date as the codex wrote: Þuiad vier Werdum ad taka huilld epter langa mædu . A hand of about 1700 wrote some words below this; they are almost obliterated but one can make out the name Þordr. At the top of the originally blank fol. 44r we find: Þorvardur logmadur Erlendz son aa mik On the same page, 44r, Suerir is written. Lower down on the page there is this entry, hardly written much before 1600: Hier er j þessari Bok Suerrers saga og Hakonar saga og enn er hier Spekulus og hird Sider. It was probably this note in particular which led Árni Magnússon to conclude that 243a was once bound with Sverris saga and Hákonar saga from the cathedral at Skálhollt, i.e. with the manuscript preserved as AM 81a fol., Skálholtsbók yngsta. At the bottom of p. 88 in the codex, the manuscript's final blank page, there is a drawing of an animal with a human head, a crude representation of the manticora, one of the many preternatural creatures described and illustrated in medieval bestiaries. The manticora has a man's head and a lion's body, with a tail that can inflict a deadly sting. Another drawing of a fabulous beast is found in the bottom margin of fol. 41r. Here a lion with eagle's wings is found.
All the leaves have double of holes at the bottom of the inner margin, through which a ribbon of green silk was threaded and attached to the lower pastedown with two sealing-wax seals. The manuscript was rebound in 1886, and again in 1936, but part of the earlier cardboard cover from c. 1770, with the ribbon and seals adhering, was preserved by Kristian Kålund. He labelled it Brudstykke af det gamle bind. and inserted it loose between the last leaf and the new blackboard, where it still remains. The signets show the initials of B. Møllmann and J. C. Kall, two of the five managers of the Árni Magnússon Foundation (Det Arnamagnæanske Legat) in 1772 and trustees of the endowment in 1760. In all probably they sealed the codex in this way when it was issued on loan for use in the preparation of the 1768 Sorø edition (Kongs-skugg-sio).
The manuscript is written in Iceland, most likely in Eyafjörður. Kålund and Finnur Jónsson dated the manuscript to the fifteenth century ( Katalog s. 216. and Finnur Jónsson 1920 s. 26.). Holm-Olsen, however, dated it more precisely to the third quarter of the fifteenth century ( Holm-Olsen 1987 s. 24 ).
At the top of the originally blank fol. 44r the following is written: Þorvardur logmadur Erlendz son aa mik Þorvarður Erlendsson lived c.1466-1513.
In his catalogue of Icelandic parchment manuscripts (AM 435 a 4to), Árni Magnússon informs that he got the codex from the Revd. Þórður Jónsson in 1697, and adds that the manuscript was at one time bound with Sverris saga and Hákonar saga from the cathedral of Skálhollt: Speculum Regale folio komid til min 1697. fra Þorde Jons syni. hefr einn hvern tima fyrrum vered i Volumine med Sverris Sgu ok Hakonar sgu fra Skalholltzkirkiu, sem eru med þeirri smu hende (i.e. AM 81 a fol).
Catalogued 15. maí 2000 by EW-J.