List of ancient and medieval books and texts

Hi everybody

Below is a list of European books and texts from the period appr. 100-1100. I’ve tried to put some stats on most titles, taking some liberties here and there - feel free to comment or supply further books to the list. (Disclaimer: my Danish to English translation skills might be a bit lacking here and there).
(Also, see A&A 136-139 for the classics of philosophy and theology).

The covenant of my troupe is defined by its library which houses “one of Northern Europe’s greatest collection of books” which attracts readers from near and far and is a source of substantial vis income, as it says in the original description of our covenant, which Jeppe (Furion Transsanus in this forum) wrote years ago. For years we have had a list of hermetic books + some of the classics from A&A, but I felt like fleshing out the library with some more titles possibly owned.


  1. Apicius / De re coquinaria, 2th century?
    A list of roman recipes.
    Tractatus: Craft: Cook, qua 8

  2. Suetonius: De vita Caesarum. 121 AD
    On the twelve emperors from Julius Caesar to Domitian.
    Tractatus: Organization lore Roman Empire??? Qua 13

  3. Historia Augusta, second half of 4th century
    On the Roman emperors from Hadrian to Numerianus (117-284 CE).
    Tractatus: Organization lore: Roman Empire??? Qua 11

  4. Didymus the Blind: De Trinitate, second half of 4th century
    On the Holy Trinity
    Tractatus: Theology, qua 7

  5. Didymus the Blind: De Spirito Sancto, second half of 4th century
    On the divinity of the Holy Spirit
    Tractatus: Theology, qua 6

  6. Athanasius of Alexandria: De Spirito Sancto, second half of 4th century
    On the divinity of the Holy Spirit
    Tractatus: Theology, qua 7

  7. Athanasius of Alexandria: Vita S. Antoni, second half of 4th century
    On St. Antony and his life as a monk, including his ascetism in the Egyptian desert and the temptations he successfully avoids succumbing to.
    Tractatus: Church lore, qua 4
    Tractatus: Infernal lore, qua 4??

8 ) Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus: Martyrologium Hieronymianum, appr. 362
Martyrology, martyrs through the calendar year
Tractatus: Church lore, qua 7

  1. Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus: De re Militari, 5th Century
    On military matters in the Roman Empire
    Tractatus: Profession: Battle tactician/army strategist, qua 8

  2. St Gildas: De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, appr. 520
    A description of the Roman conquest of Britain and a scolding of a number of british kings and ecclesiastical notabilities.
    Tractatus: Area lore: England, qua 8.

  3. Isidore af Sevilla: Etymologiae, appr. 600
    Latin encyclopaedia primarily on etymology, but also on cosmology, astronomy, types of rocks, metals, on mathematics, music, geometry and other things. Used as a schoolbook.
    Tractatus: Latin, qua 8
    Summa: Philosophie, level 2, qua 8
    Summa: Artes liberales, level 2, qua 8

  4. Indiculus superstitionum et paganiarum, 8th Century
    List of and condemnation of a number of superstitions and pagan beliefs in Northern Gaul
    Tractatus: Maybe Magic Lore?? / Fairie Lore??

  5. Bede: De temporum ratione, 725
    introduction to the cosmos.
    Tractatus: Philosophiae: 7

  6. De ordine ac positione stellarum in signis, 809
    Astronomical compendium from the court of the Carolingians
    Tractatus: Philosophiae, qua 7

  7. Nennius(?): Historia Brittonum
    On the people that inhabited Britain before the Anglo-saxons.
    Tractatus: Area lore: Britain, qua 6

  8. Emperor Leo IV the Wise: Tactica, appr. 900 (Τακτικά)
    Greek text on byzantine military tactics
    Tractatus: Profession: Battle tactician/army strategist, qua 9

  9. Ekkehard: Waltharius. 920
    Poem about prince Walter of Aquitania and his bethrothed Hildegund, who were Attila’s hostages, but escaped with the treasure of the hunnic king (in latin)
    Tractatus: ???

  10. Chronicle of the Picts, 10th century
    On the origin and kings of the picts (latin)
    Tractatus: Area Lore Scotland. Qua 7

  11. Hrotsvitha af Gandersheim: Paphnutius or the conversion of the Harlot Thaïs, 10th century.
    Drama about the courtisan Thais of Alexandria and the hermit Paphnutius.
    Tractatus: Storytelling??, qua 5

  12. Exeter Book, second half of 10th Century.
    Antology of anglo-saxon poetry, written in english.
    Tractatus: English, qua 9

  13. The Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, 970s
    Beautifully illuminated book with a collection of Benedictitionals (blessings) read by the bishop during mass.
    Tractatus: Theology, qua 11

  14. Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, 11th century
    On the Kings of Scotland 850-995 AD (latin)
    Tractatus: Area Lore Scotland. Qua 8

  15. Annales Cambriae, 1000-tallet
    A collection of annals from Wales covering the period of appr. 500-1000. Primarily Welsh History.
    Tractatus: Area Lore Wales. Qua 9

  16. William le Breton: Legenda Sancti Goeznovii, 1019
    A tale of bishop Goeznovius’ escape to Britanny after the fall of King Arthur and the Saxon invasion af Britain.
    Tractatus: Area lore Brittany??, qua 7

  17. Burchard of Worms: Decretorum libri viginti. 1021
    Canon Law, written for use in Cathedral Schools.
    Summa: Civil & Canon law, level 2, qua 10

  18. John of Fécamp: Libellus de scripturis et verbis patrum, 1018
    Book of Prayers
    Tractatus: Theology, qua 5

  19. Sponsus, appr. 1050
    Dramatic treatment of Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins
    Tractatus: Storytelling??, qua 5

  20. John of Fécamp: Ascetic Works, appr. 1060
    Written for empress widow Agnes af Poitiers. "Liber precum variarum", "De divina contemplatio Christique amore", "De superna Hierusalem," "De institutione viduae," "De vita et moribus virginum", "De eleemosynarum dispensatione"
    Tractatus: Divine lore, qua 7
    Tractatus: Church lore, qua 8

  21. Honorius Augustodunensis: Elucidarium, 1098
    Three books written in the form a socratic dialogue. On God, angels, the fall of angels, the creation of man, his fall and need for redemption, on the divinity of Christ, on the church and eucharist, the Anti-christ, the second coming, judgement day, purgatory, the pains of hell and joys of heaven. Written in easy accessible latin and embellished with many loans from the native folklore of England.
    Summa: Divine lore, level 2, quality 12
    Tractatus: Infernal lore, quality 8
    Tractatus: Fairie lore, quality 6

  22. Honorius Augustodunensis: Imago Mundi, beginning of the 12th Century
    A cosmological and geographical encyclopaedia as well as a Chronicle of world history, Very popular as a school book.
    Tractatus: Area lore: Europe, qua 10
    Tractatus: Area lore: Levant, qua 7
    Summa: Philosophiae, level 2, qua 8

  • Anders

A few observations:

  1. The De Re Coquinaria of Apicius should not be a Tractatus, but a Summa, and of fairly high quality. I've read it, and I'd rate it Level 3-4, Quality 9-10: it's a very comprehensive, well-written treatise on cooking, even if some of the recipes therein would make us modern folks feel a little queasy (like some fish sauce where you, essentially, let the fish rot for a few days...). It was considered one of the "authorities" on the subject in the late roman world.

  2. The military treatises should not, in my opinion, be on the subject: Profession: Battle Tactician or something like that. Ars Magica already suffers from an inflation of Profession: ; instead, whenever something even remotely falls within another ability, that ability should be used. In this case, the De Re Militari is a Tractatus on Leadership. The Tactica could also be about Leadership, or alternatively about Intrigue. If I recall correctly, it's the book that says something like: "never hire franks as mercenaries, unless you do so to boost your superiority and minimize losses -- make sure you can win even if they switch to the other side, because historically, whenever they could turn the tide of battle by switching sides, they have always sold themselves to the enemy". That's Intrigue to me :slight_smile: Something along the same lines could be said about 2) Suetonius: De vita Caesarum (great book!).

  3. Astrology (14) De ordine ac positione stellarum in signis) is Artes Liberales, not Philosophiae!

    1. Hrotsvitha af Gandersheim: Paphnutius or the conversion of the Harlot Thaïs - I don't know it, but maybe it could be about Intrigue, from the way you describe it?
  1. No library can be without the famous Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth (ok, around 1130, but ...)! It's the book that introduce Merlin to Roman word (the original dude was Myrddin, which the author had latinized in "Merdinus" before realizing it was not a bestseller name for Latin speakers -- so he changed the D into an L). That counts as a high Quality Tractatus on Faerie Lore, at least 12, and possibly on Area Lore: Britain too.

  2. As for A&A books, I have to disagree utterly with Euclid's Elementa having a modest Quality 8, or 9 in greek. It's a book phenomenally well-written (particularly for the time) and so "fundamental" that it definitely outclasses anything Aristotle has ever written. Introducing to the west the idea of "theorem" and "proof" from a set of postulates and primitive concepts, it developed geometry in the way that the rest of mathematics would be developed only 2000 years later -- but it also forces upon the reader a way of rigorous, abstract thinking that goes far beyond geometry. My very, very opinionated view, possibly affected by my modern mindset :slight_smile: But I'd make it Quality 14. I'd probably make it a Tractatus on Concentration, too, Quality 8!

  3. Isidore of Seville (11) has written a host of other books beyond Etymologiae, which are probably more interesting to the mystical scholar, including the usual "the rerum natura" on Philosophiae, and a book on the allegorical meaning of numbers (possibly Artes Liberales, but I'd make it Faerie Lore).


I'd like to mention Secretum Secretorum. It was though to be by Aristotle in 1220. I'm working on a podcast episode on it. It's fascinating.

1 Like

Great thread!

How would you all categorise the Cyropaedia by Xenophon, 370 BCE? A summa surely. On Leadership? Intrigue? Both? What else? I have not read it so I have no idea what quality it should have, but as leaders of the ancient world often read this book I'd give it a Level of 5.

What say you?