Contents, Language & Usage
The manuscript is a miscellany. Most of the contents are related to the world: There are astronomical illustrations with accompanying text, maps, explanation of physical phenomena, and sections on the computus. On other pages, however, there are grammatical notes, and proverbs on others. The sections do not seem structured in any way, so it seems that the scribe collected them as he went along. Apparently, it was the same scribe who filled in later additions to the text. This suggests that the manuscript was actually written by its owner/user and not a commissioned work. He might have owned it for some time and collected items that he found interesting in other manuscripts over lengths of time. From some liturgical formulae and verses in the manuscript, it seems that he was a priest. Another thing pointing at a clerical education is the comparatively good command of the Latin language.
AM 736 b 4to is a good example to illustrate manuscript bilingualism in medieval Iceland. It contains Latin and Old Norse text from its outset (one could say the manuscript was composed bilingually). Not only do Latin and Old Norse stand side by side on the page, the respective text parts also explain and complement each other. At the same time, we see later additions in the manuscript in both languages, meaning that not only had the manuscript been written by and for persons competent in both languages, but it had been used later by at least one other person who could read and spell both Old Norse and Latin. This manuscript alone therefore shows that there was a bilingual nucleus somewhere in medieval Iceland in the fourteenth century, which either persisted over time, or which was paralleled at a later stage elsewhere on the island.