CATULLUS: CARMINA

MS 586
MS Short Title CATULLUS: CARMINA
Text
  1. GAIUS VALERIUS CATULLUS: CARMINA, 114 POEMS.
  2. SAPPHO: ILLE MI PAR ESSE DEO VIDETUR, POEM, TRANSLATION CATULLUS (NO. 51)
  3. CALLIMACHUS: THE LOCK OF BERENICE, POEM, TRANSLATION CATULLUS (NO.66).
  4. BENEVENUTUS DE CAMPEXANTS: POEM ON THE REBIRTH OF CATULLUS
Description MS in Latin on vellum, Padua, Italy, ca. 1475, 60 ff. (complete), 18x12 cm, single column, (11x7 cm), 22-23 lines in a rounded humanistic book script with some Gothic features by Bartolomeo Squara, 81 2-to 3-line initials in olive, blue or purple, 4-line historiated illuminated initial, arms and illuminated border in the style of the Putti Master, and the Master of the London Pliny.
Binding England, 19th c., blindtooled russia gilt, sewn on 5 cords, by Charles Lewis.
Context
Provenance 1. Bartolomeo Squara, Padua (1475-); 2. Francesco Mutatio (16th c.); 3. Saibatini Catalogue ??:96; 4. Abbe Luigi Celotti, Venezia and London (-1821); 5. Sotheby's 26.2.1821:96; 6. Henry Drury, Harrow (1821-1841); 7. Sir Thomas Phillipps, Cheltenham, Ph 3400 (1841 -1872); 8. Katharine, John, Thomas & Alan Fenwick, Cheltenham, (1872-1946); 9. Robinson Bros., London (1946-1979); 10. Sotheby's 11.12.1979:45; 11. Alan Thomas cat. 47(1985):1; 12. Ferrini cat. 2(1989):5.
Commentary

The present MS was probably written by Squara for his own use. It is the only known Catullus in private ownership. There are no Catullus MSS dated before 14th c. In D.F.S. Thomson: Catullus, A Critical Edition, 1978, p. 71, the present MS belongs to his "Y" group of MSS, and may turn out to have important textual implications, since there are lines in the present MS that are missing in the critical edition, and Thomson never saw this MS.

The poetess Sappho of Lesbos (ca 630/612-570 BC) was an innovator both of lyric poetry and of music, and is one of the most famous and controversial female authors ever. She was considered to be on an equal footing with Homer, and in the Anthologia Palatina, ascribed to Plato, she was acclaimed as the 10th Muse. Plutarch credited her with creating the Mixolydian mode of music. Her collected works in 9 books, each in a different metre, did not survive into the medieval period. Today, only 4 poems, including text 2 above, survive intact or substantially complete. The remaining over 120 poems are in fragmentary form on papyri or as quotes by other authors.

Callimachus (ca. 310/305-240 BC) was poet and scholar at Bibliotheca Alexandrina where king Ptolemy II commissioned him to compile the great catalogue of all books in the library, the famous Pinakes (tablets) in 120 volumes, which is lost together with some 90 per cent of his own huge output of reputedly 800 volumes. The Lock of Berenice is the last poem in the Aitia (causes) in 4 books comprising 7000 lines. Through Catullus’ Latin translation it became the model for Alexander Pope’s rape of the Lock (1712). Information mostly from The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature.

Published
Exhibited
Mentioned
Boxing
See also
Place of origin Italy
Dates ca 1475 AD

Location