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3: LITERATURE

3.1 SUMERIAN LITERATURE

3.2 BABYLONIAN LITERATURE

3.3 ASSYRIAN LITERATURE

3.4 CLASSICAL GREEK LITERATURE

3.5 CLASSICAL ROMAN LITERATURE

MS 246 , Spain, 2nd half of 12th c,
MS 612 Italy, ca. 1435-40
MS 2106 Italy, ca. 1440
MS 2047 Italy, 1453
MS 586 Italy, ca. 1475
MS 1781 Germany, 1478

3.6 MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE LITERATURE

3.7 MODERN LITERATURE

3. Literature

3.5 Classical Roman Literature

MS 246
APOLLINARIS SIDONIUS: EPISTOLAE ET CARMINA  

MS in Latin on vellum, Leon?, North Spain, 2nd half of 12th c., 132 ff. (complete), 24x17 cm, single column, (20x12 cm), 32-33 lines in Romanesque book script, headings and initial letter on every line in red, 2-line initials in red, 10 large decorated initials in ropework or leafy pattern in colours, 2 large historiated initials in colours.

Binding:France, 17th c. red velvet over wooden boards, sewn on 5 bands.

Provenance: 1. Balthazard de Villars (1557-1627); 2. Lord Mostyn, (until 1920); 3. Sotheby's 13.7.1920:108; 4. Edmund Hunt Dring, Surrey (1920-1928); 5. Edmund Maxwell Dring, Surrey (1928-1989); 6. Quaritch, London. De-accessioned 2008.

MS 246

Commentary: The MS contains the complete works of Sidonius, i.e. all the poems (24 Carmina), and the 147 letters, which is rare. There are 4 major text families, which derive from a lost archetype of the 8th c. The earliest surviving MSS are of the 10th c. In private hands, Sidonius is only recorded in The Schøyen Collection, MS 1650/2 of the 10th c., MS 1650/1 of the 11th c. and MS 246 of the 12th c. Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius (c. 430-480), bishop and saint, Gallo Roman poet, was befriended with the 3 Roman emperors Avitus, Majorian and Anthemius, of his time. Living in Auvergne occupied by the Visigoths in 475, he could observe in his letters the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476, seen from both sides. They are the best and most reliable account of this major event in Roma’s and Europa’s history and culture. The poems of the last major classical Roman author were addressed to friends, and are replete with mythological allusions.

Exhibited: 1. Conference of European National Librarians, Oslo. Sept. 1994. 2. "Preservation for access: Originals and copies". On the occasion of the 1st International Memory of the World Conference, organized by the Norwegian Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Norway, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 3 June - 14 July 1996. 3. Oslo Katedralskole 850 år, Jubileumsutstilling 10. - 14. March 2003.

MS 246MS 246
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MS 612
THE AURISPA CICERO MS 612
  1. MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO: EPISTOLAE AD FAMILIARES
  2. ORIGINAL RECORD OF A LITERARY FESTIVAL ON 29 JUNE 1496 IN THE HOUSE OF CARDINAL D'ESTE
  3. JACOBUS DE VAGNONIBUS: HIS FUIT LARCIBUS DOCTISSIMUS ILLE JACOBUS QUEM PEDEMONTANE PROGENUERE PLAGE. A POEM
  4. JACOBUS DE VAGNONIBUS: EPIGRAMMA AD PREDICTUM DOMINUM FUSCUM
  5. LUDOVICO ARIOSTO: IN DOMINUM PANDOLPHUM ARIOSTUS, A POEM

MS in Latin and Greek on vellum, Firenze, Italy, ca. 1435-40, 156 ff. (complete), 35x25 cm, single column, (24x14 cm), 35 lines in an extremely fine regular round humanistic book script, headings in red capitals, the spaces in text filled with Greek minuscule and capitals, as well as further annotations in autograph by the humanist Giovanni Aurispa, the first owner. 13 illuminated historiated initials by Bartolomeo d'Antonio Varnucci. Texts 2-5: written 29 June 1496 in Italian cursive.

Binding: Italy, ca. 1435-40, wooden boards covered with old vellum, sewn on 6 double thongs.

Provenance: 1. Giovanni Aurispa, MS 355 (1370-1459); 2. Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, Ferrara (1479-1520); 3. Antonio Porunti (16th c.); 4. Laurence Witten (ca. 1950); 5. Philip Hofer, Cambridge, Massachusetts (until 1951); 6. Myron A. Hofer 2nd, Cambridge, Massachusetts (from 1951); 7. Maggs cat. 816(1953):147; 8. Sotheby's 6.12.1988:48; 9. Quaritch, London.

MS 612

Commentary: By a scribe extremely close in style to Johannes Andreae de Colonia, whose scribal annotations derive from the notes in Coluccio Salutati's MS of the same text in Laurenziana Library, Laur. 49,7. Texts 2-5 are unique. Text 5 is possibly by the poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1553). He was a member of Cardinal d'Este's household from 1503. Text 1. Marcus Tullius Cicero’s (106-43 BC) letters to about 90 different family members and friends were written in the period 68-43 BC. Due to their style and historical importance a total of more than 800 letters have survived, and through this voluminous correspondence Cicero is known to us more intimately than anyone else in the ancient world. For Cicero’s letters to his brother Quintus, see MS 1781 text 2.

Exhibited: 1. Conference of European National Librarians, Oslo. Sept. 1994. 2. University of Oslo. Domus Bibliotheca, 6-15 May 1996: European medieval manuscripts from The Schøyen Collection.

MS 612
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MS 2106 MS 2106
DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS: SATIRES

MS in Latin on vellum, Milano, Italy, ca. 1440, 228 ff. (complete), 23x16 cm, single column, (15x9 cm), 29-30 lines in a cursive humanistic book script by 2 scribes, headings in red, 2-line initials in blue or red with contrasting penwork throughout, 3 very large historiated illuminated initials, 2 of them by the Master of the Vitae Imperatorum.

Binding: Milano, Italy, ca. 1440, panelled, blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, sewn on 4 bands, 3 brass catches.

Provenance: 1. Dionigi de Garbagnate, Milano (ca. 1440); 2. Johannis Sordi, Milano (1659); 3. Favio del Core and his descendants, Lugano (-1996) 4. Christie's 3.4.1996:6.

Commentary: The Master of the Vitae Imperatorum was one of the foremost Milanese illuminators of the time, employed at the court of the Visconti. Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 BC-65 AD) was statesman, stoic philosopher and dramatist of the silver age of Roman literature. The Epistula morales ad Lucilium were published in 64, a total of 124 letters dealing with moral issues and discussion how to approach death. The famous correspondence with St Paul, 8 letters from Seneca and 6 letters from St. Paul, had been a frequent companion to the Letters from the early middle ages. The letters are first referred to by St. Jerome in De Viribus Illustribus from 392, and later by St. Augustine as well. If authentic, these letters would have been written 58-64 during St. Paul’s arrest in Roma. Most scholars have considered the correspondence to be apochryphal, but the 1600 year old discussion continues to the present. In a congress entitled "Seneca and the Christians" organized by the Catholic university of Milano in 2006, new evidence for authenticity came forth and 12 out of 14 participants argued for authenticity.

MS 2106MS 2106 binding
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MS 2047
DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS: SATIRES MS 2047

MS in Latin on vellum, Ferrara, Italy, 1453, 66 ff. (-2), 25x18 cm, single column (16x10 cm), 29 lines in a sloping humanistic book script, the first page entirely in capitals, headings and first initials to every line in red, 11 2-to 3-line initials in burnished gold with intertwined white-vine patterns in pale brown infilled with blue, pink, green and bright red, dotted in white and yellow, with partial or full-length white-vine borders with extensions in designs of bezants and flowers with penwork sprays, 4 large, 7-to-8-line, initials with full borders in broad white-vine panels enclosing 12 miniatures.

Binding: England, early 19th c., red morocco gilt, sewn on 5 cords, blue silk endleaves gilt.

Provenance: 1. Private collector, England (early 19th c.); 2. Marquesses of Bute, MS 107, Luton (19th c. - 1983); 3. Sotheby's 13.6.1983:15; 4. The Schiller collection, Paris (1983-1985); 5. Sotheby's 18.6.1991:85; 6. Sam Fogg cat. 16(1995):99.

Commentary: The style of illumination is broadly that of the Bible of Borso d'Este, commissioned in Ferrara in 1455, and illuminated by a number of artists. Luxurious Renaissance MSS of this kind were the particular taste of the princes of the courts in the Italian states. The Satires of Juvenal (ca. 60-140 AD) form a witty ridicule of the vice and dissipation of the Roman Empire in the age of Nero, Domitian and Trajan, and was the last of the great poetry collections of the golden period of Roman literature.

Exhibited: University of Oslo. Domus Bibliotheca, 6-15 May 1996: European medieval manuscripts from The Schøyen Collection.

MS 2047
MS 2047
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MS 586
  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
MS 586
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.

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.

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MS 1781
  1. CICERO (PS): COMMENTARIUM DE PETITIONE CONSULATUS, AD QUINTUS FRATREM
  2. MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO: EPISTOLAE AD QUINTUM FRATREM
  3. MACROBIUS: COMMENTARY ON SOMNIUM SCIPIONIS FROM CICERO'S DE REPUBLICA
  4. MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO: DE REPUBLICA, CLOSING PORTION
  5. PLINIUS SECUNDUS GAIUS CAECILIUS: EPISTOLAE
MS 1781
MS in Latin on vellum, Mainz(?), Rheinland, Germany, 1478, 132 ff. incl. 12 blank ff. (complete), 22x15 cm, single column, (14x10 cm), 45 lines in Gothic cursive book script, spaces left for Greek words, 4 large 4-to 7-line painted initials, 2 in pale green with brown decoration, 2 with partial borders in leafy designs in colours with white tracery.

Binding: England, 1830-1872, brown russia, spine gilt.

Provenance: 1. Walter Clavell, of the Inner Temple, FRS (until 1742); 2. Bibliotheca Selectissima, Messrs Heath, London 29.3.1742:80; 3. Nathaniel Hillier (1742-); 4. Sir Thomas Phillipps, Cheltenham, Ph 2947 (-1872); 5. Katharine, John & Thomas Fenwick, Cheltenham, (1872-1895); 6. Sotheby's 21.3.1895:895; 7. Sotheby's 6.12.1993:55.

Commentary: Text 5 comprises the letters of Pliny the Younger (ca. 61-113) which include the famous letter in which he describes the eruption of Vesuvius. The letters have a complicated history in the Middle Ages. The text was mostly unknown until ca. 1419, when a MS was rediscovered by Guarino of Verona. There were still gaps in the text until Book X reappeared in France ca. 1502. The present MS carefully leaves blank pages for the then unknown book VIII, the first 25 letters of book IX, and all of book X, awaiting the discovery of an exemplar in the future. The scribe thus illustrates some of the enthusiasm and spirit that was the core of the Renaissance. Text 3 and 4: The Somnium Scipionis, the great Neo-Platonist text written in the form of a dream by Scipio Aemilianus, is actually the surviving closing portion of Cicero's lost De republica. In 1820, however, there was discovered a 5th c. palimpsest in the Vatican that contained about 1/3 of the missing portions of the De republica. Colophon: "finis felix 1478 die hieronimi" (on the feast of St. Jerome, 30 September).

Exhibited: 1. Conference of European National Librarians, Oslo. Sept. 1994. 2. The Bibliophile Society of Norway's 75th anniversary. Bibliofilklubben 75 år. Jubileumsutstilling Bok og Samler, Universitetsbliblioteket 27.2 - 26.4.1997.

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