CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR: COMMENTARII DE BELLO GALLICO

MS 4517
Text
  1. CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR: COMMENTARII DE BELLO GALLICO
  2. CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR: DE BELLO CIVILI
  3. CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR: DE BELLO ALEXANDRINO. PROBABLY BY AULIUS HIRTIUS
  4. CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR: DE BELLO AFRICANO
  5. CAIUS JULIUS CAESAR: DE BELLO HISPANIENSI
Description MS in Latin on vellum, Milano, Italy, 3rd quarter 15th c., 280 ff. (complete), 35x24 cm, single column, (23x15 cm), 27 lines in an elegant sloping humanist book script, first title and incipit in burnished gold capitals, marginal titles in pink, 16 large white-vine initials in gold and colours by the Ippolita Master, later vellum page-edge tabs at the opening of each text.
Binding Milano, 3rd quarter 15th c., panelled goatskin with triple fillets bounding the zigzag border, blindstamped with rope-work and repeated Agnus Dei, sewn on 4 thongs, 4 brass clasps and repoussé catches, 2 with Agnus Dei, 2 with Virgin and Child.
Context The present MS is attributed to the scribe who wrote the copy of Petrarch's De vita solitaria, made for Count Filippo Borromeo, Chicago: Newberry Lib. Ms f.95, and Servius' commentary on the Vergil written in 1465 for Ippolita, daughter of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milano, Valencia: Bib. Univ., Ms 780.
Provenance 1. Giovanfrancesco Marliani, Milano (ca. 1475); 2. Charles Harry St John Hornby, London, M. 93 (1935-1946); 3. Major J.R. Abbey, London, J.A. 3232 (1946-1947); 4. Sotheby's 18.2.1947:246; 5. Library of William Foyle, Beeleigh Abbey, Maldon, Essex (1947-1963), and heirs (-2000); 6. Christie's 11.7.2000:82. 7. De-accessioned April 2014 to Jorn Günther, Switzerland.
Commentary

The account of the campaigns in Gaul from 58-52 BC, and of the civil war against Pompeius 49-48 BC are the only works of Julius Caesar to survive intact. Although presented here as though they form part of Caesar's account of the civil war, the final 3 works were most likely written by soldiers who took part in the campaigns in Africa, Egypt and Spain between 48 and 45 BC. Aulius Hirtius wrote Book 8 of De bello Gallico, a continuation of Caesar's work.

The white-vine initials of this MS are closely comparable with work in a copy of Servius' commentary on Vergil made for Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milano, between 1476 and 1481, which was the work of 2 artists, Ambrogio da Marliano and the Ippolita Master. It is the white-vine decoration of the opening folio, and the initials of identical forms and technique, painted by the Ippolita Master in Gian Galeazzo's Servius that match the initials of the present MS and enable its attribution to the same illuminator.

Place of origin Italy
Dates 3rd quarter 15c AD

Location