Skráningarfærsla handrits


AM 674 a 4to

Bókin dýra ; Iceland, 1150-1199

This manuscript is considered to be one of the earliest extant Icelandic vernacular manuscripts. The text, known as Elucidarius, is a translation of a Latin work of the early twelfth century by a monk of English or Irish origin in Regensburg, Southern Germany who went by the name Honorius Augustodunensis. Elucidarius takes the form of a dialogue between a master and a pupil and covers a wide range of theological topics. It achieved wide-spread popularity and was translated into most of the vernacular European languages. It is not clear whether the original translation in Old Norse was Norwegian or Icelandic, but the work is found solely in Icelandic manuscripts, numbering eight in all, all fragmentary. Among them is AM 675 4to, originally part of the codex known as Hauksbók, is one of the most significant.


The Icelandic Elucidarius

AM 676 b 4to is a copy from the seventeeth century. Even though there are, admittedly, a good many mistakes, it is characterized by an attempt to reproduce the original exactly. Both spelling, abbreviations and, to some extent, even the character of the letters, are imitated. AM 676 b 4to was in turn copied in AM 676 a 4to by Einar Eyjólfsson.

Tungumál textans
1.1 (1r-17v)
Enginn titill

Ofst vas ek beÞeɴ af samlere suei|nom minom


gialda GoÞe braut tekeɴ


Konráð Gislason, Brudstykker af den islandske Elucidarius s. 53-68 Text A

Firchow and Grimstad, Elucidarius in Old Norse Translation 1989 s. 3-59

1.2 (18r-v)
Enginn titill

Discipulus Vas christus veɴ at licam


eɴ leidde afstr ein faldan til


Konráð Gislason, Brudstykker af den islandske Elucidarius s. 68-69 Text B

Firchow and Grimstad, Elucidarius in Old Norse Translation 1989 s. 69-71

1.3 (19r-26v)
Enginn titill

ma oc Þvi trua at hann site adomstole


oc mego þeir iam sciot fara


Konráð Gislason, Brudstykker af den islandske Elucidarius s. 69-75 Text C

Firchow and Grimstad, Elucidarius in Old Norse Translation 1989 s. 131-148:3

1.4 (27r-33v)
Enginn titill

cleÞe oc goÞ hús oc at hevra fagran | song


am uir Þelegar oc oumbrøÞe


Konráð Gislason, Brudstykker af den islandske Elucidarius s. 75-81 Text D

Firchow and Grimstad, Elucidarius in Old Norse Translation 1989 s. 148:4-159

Lýsing á handriti



33. 108-120 mm x 174-180 mm.
Tölusetning blaða

Page and line numbers are added by a nineteenth-century hand. The manuscript shows no foliation.


There are three complete and two defective gatherings:

  • I: fols 1-8.
  • II: fols 9-16.
  • III: fols 17-18; two conjugate leaves, which were the outermost leaves of the gathering.
  • IV: fols 19-26.
  • V: fols 27-33. Fols 17+32, 28+31, 29+30 are conjugate, fol. 33 is a single leaf, but was conjugate with a lost leaf at the beginning of the gathering; this leaf was excised only preserving the inner margin.


Written in one column with 17 lines per page. Initials, which are now entirely faded but were perhaps red originally, occur only on fol. 1r of the prologue and on fol. 1v where the dialogue begins.


There are four major lacunae. The first occurs between fols 17 and 18, the second between fols 18 and 19, the third between fols 26 and 27, and the fourth after fol. 33. Several leaves are damaged at the top, with the result that some of the writing is lost on fols 9, 13, 15, 16, 30 and 31. Most of fol. 32 was excised, and fol. 33 lacks its outer part. There are holes in fols 28 and 30; the first, at least, is older than the writing.

Skrifarar og skrift

The handwriting is rather large and very regular.

Spássíugreinar og aðrar viðbætur

There are a few, apparently old, signs in the margins:

  • On fol. 20r:10, left margin, and on fol. 22v:13, left margin, there is an er-sign. In the first instance it may perhaps indicate that there is a mistake in the text.
  • On fol. 24r:10, right margin, a triangular shape is found, possibly intended to make it easier to find the section starting with the joys of the blessed.
  • On fol. 29v:10, left margin, a cross is found.
  • On fol. 6r, above l. 7, and on fol. 11r, above l. 17, the word frahuarf is writrten in a hand which can hardly be later than c. 1400. What it refers to is not clear.

Other marginal notes from later times are quite short and unimportant.

  • At the bottom of fol. 18r there is Bokin heiter lvcidarjus ; it seems to continue Þviat Þ|etta er skr.
  • At the bottom of fol. 7r there is an Ora.
  • On fol. 17r a Svo sertv Þa can be read.
  • Part of the alphabet is written at the bottom of fol. 9r (from a to l) and at the top of fol. 18v (from a to i).
  • Single letters are found on fol. 6v (h) and fol. 14v (apparently three or four d's below each other).
  • Underlining of the text on fols 7v-8v.
  • References to other manuscripts (AM 675 4to and AM 238 XVII 4to) and on fols 17v bottom, 18r top, 18v bottom, 20v bottom and 25v:14, and line numbers in the margins of most pages, all all from the nineteenth century. Jón Helgason ( Jón Helgason 1957 s. viii ) reckons that they were undoubtedly written by Konráð Gíslason.
Some of the leaves are palimpsests, as faint traces of earlier writing can be discerned. This was noticed by Árni Magnússon, who wrote on a slip of paper, inserted between fols 22 and 23: Þetta synest vera | skrifad uppä upp-|skafning.


The manuscript was apparently unbound until 1888, when it was given its present binding.

Uppruni og ferill


Written in Iceland: Kålund dated it to c. 1200 ( Katalog II s. 92 ). ONP, however, quoting (Hægstad 1906 s. 10 and Helle Jensen & Stefán Karlsson (pers. 1983) dates it to the second half of the twelfth century. AM 674 a 4to is thus one of the oldest surviving Icelandic manuscripts written in the vernacular.


Nothing can be said with certainty about the history of the manuscript before it came into Árni Magnúson's possession. On the basis of a letter from Grímur Einarsson, now preserved as AM-slips in AM 676 a 4to, it seems probable that that it belonged to Grímur's father, the lögmaður Einar Eyjólfsson who called it Bókin dýra. For hypotheses on the history of the manuscript, see e.g. ( Jón Helgason 1957 ).

Aðrar upplýsingar


Catalogued 23. ágúst 2005 by EW-J.


The manuscript was restored by Birgitte Dall from 1958 to 15 August 1959.

Myndir af handritinu

  • Plate, neg 34, s.d.
  • Plate, pos 34, from 20. nóvember 2001.
  • Diapositives, pocket no. 49, s.d. (pp. 4, 7, and 8-9).
  • Digital images, CD no. 3, from 3. júní 2004 (p. 4).
  • Black and white prints from 1956.


Titill: The Old Norse Elucidarius
Ritstjóri / Útgefandi: Evelyn Scherabon Firchow
Höfundur: Konráð Gíslason
Titill: Um frum-parta Íslenzkrar túngu í fornöld
Titill: Katalog over Den Arnamagnæanske Håndskriftsamling
Ritstjóri / Útgefandi: Kålund, Kristian
Höfundur: Konráð Gíslason
Titill: Annaler for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie, Brudstykker af den islandske Elucidarius
Umfang: s. 51-172
Titill: The Arna-Magnæan Manuscript 674 a, 4to. Elucidarius,
Ritstjóri / Útgefandi: Jón Helgason
Umfang: IV
Titill: The Arna-Magnæan manuscript 674A, 4to Elucidarius,
Ritstjóri / Útgefandi: Jón Helgason
Umfang: 4
Titill: A Dictionary of Old Norse Prose: Indices
Ritstjóri / Útgefandi: The Arnamagnæan Commision
Titill: Elucidarius in Old Norse Translation,
Ritstjóri / Útgefandi: Firchow, Evelyn Scherabon, Grimstad, Kaaren
Umfang: XXXVI