BENEDICTUS ARRETINUS (Benedetto Accolti il Vecchio, 1415-1464), De Bello a Christianis contra Barbaros gesto pro Christi sepulchro et Iudea recup[er]andis, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on paper, Florence, 1464
A Florentine humanist manuscript written and illuminated by Pietro Cennini, Florentine poet and artist responsible with his father Bernardo and brother Domenico for the production of the very first incunable, printed in Florence in 1471.
Cennini was a great friend of Bartholomaeus Fontius, the librarian to Mathias Corvinus I, King of Hungary (1443-1490), and it was through this connection that he produced six manuscripts for Corvinus (among which a manuscript of Basilius Magnus, Budapest, OSZK Clmae 415; a volume containing Asconius Pedianus’s commentary on Cicero, OSZK Clmae 427 and a Pliny, London, British Library, Harley 4868). The production of the present manuscript is contemporaneous with its author’s death: Benedetto Accolti il Vecchio was a jurist and a historian, who in 1459 became chancellor of the Florentine republic and died in Florence in 1464. The text, composed in 1432, was written in conjunction with his brother Leonardo and is a history of the First Crusade. It is said to have furnished Torquato Tasso with the inspiration and historical basis for his Jerusalem Delivered.
(1) The manuscript is dated 1464 on f.118v; the two verse colophons on f.119 identify the scribe and illuminator as PIETRO CENNINI (Petrus Cenninius), of Florence. (2) MAURICE BURRUS, no 268. Purchased from Lauria in 1939.
CONTENT AND ILLUMINATION:
Preface, addressed to Pietro Medici, ff.1-3; De Bello a Christianis contra Barbaros [...], Books I-IV, ff.3-118v; verse colophons f.119; blank f.120.
The intricate white-vine initials are typical of Florentine illumination of the period. The initials are on ff.1, 27v, 53v and 85.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION:
218 x 140mm. 120 leaves, COMPLETE, catchwords and original leaf signatures survive, 27 lines, ruled space: 150 x 73mm, headings in red, FOUR ILLUMINATED INITIALS, each opening a book, of which the opening initial extends into the margin (occasional marginal spotting and wormholing). ?17th-century metal binding over old red velvet, two clasps (spine scuffed and rubbed, metal rusted).