Digby 23 is the name given to a manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library that was bequeathed to Osney Abbey, near Oxford, by Master Henry of Langely (died circa 1263).
This 12th century document contains The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) as well as a copy of the Latin translation of Plato’s Timaeus by Chalcidius. Now the Digby 23 Project makes the entire codex available on line(a) and should be most useful to serious researchers.
Chalcidius (Calcidius) was a fourth century Christian neo-Platonist. At the request of Bishop Hosius of Córdoba he produced one of the earliest Latin versions that we have of part of Plato’s Timaeus, sections 17a-53c(f), based on long lost Greek manuscripts. Chalcidius also gave us a commentary on the text. which was at times more studied than the translation itself. One researcher claims that Chalcidius was possibly Saint Augustine(a).
The oldest known complete manuscript of a number of the dialogues is known as the Clarke Plato (Codex Oxoniensis Clarkianus 39, or Codex Boleianus MS E.D. Clarke 39), which was written, in Greek, in Constantinople in 895(b).
The Digby23 codex contains a 12th century copy of Chalcidius’ Latin translation of Timaeus bound with a copy of The Song of Roland, which is also kept in in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, can now be read online(d).
We had to wait until the 15th century for a full translation, of all the dialogues, also in Latin, to be produced by Marsilio Ficino.