CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43BC). Epistolae ad Familiares, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
328 x 198mm. i + 179 leaves: 110, 29(of 10, lacking ii), 39(of 10, lacking i), 49(of 10, lacking ii), 59(of 10, lacking ii), 68(of 10, lacking v and vi), 79(of 10, lacking viii), 89(of 10, lacking x), 910, 109(of 10, lacking i), 119(of 10, lacking iv), 1210, 139(of 10, lacking i), 14-1910, horizontal catchwords in inner lower margin, some cropped, 34 lines written in dark brown ink in an upright humanistic bookhand between two pairs of verticals and 35 horizontals ruled in blind, justification: 225 x 115mm, headings, side-notes, nota-bene marks and hands, and other marginalia in pink, title on opening folio in highly burnished gold capitals, SIX LARGE WHITE-VINE INITIALS AND BORDERS INHABITED BY PUTTI, the initials with staves of burnished gold against a ground of blue and with the entwined stems infilled with pink and green, similar two-line initials throughout, the opening folio with a full-page border with music-making putti, a duck and a medallion with a green-bodied harpy among the scrolling vine tendrils (slight smudging to large initials, ff.2, 4, 8 and 15 creased, spots or stains on ff.3-7 and 13-15, a few wormholes in final eight leaves, small pentrial in outer margin of many folios). CONTEMPORARY PANELLED GOATSKIN tooled in blind with ropework border and inner panel, central section to a geometric design, some annular dots and disks in painted gold, upper and lower covers with four small star-shaped brass bosses, brass studs securing remains of clasp straps on upper cover, lower cover with round brass catches with beaded edges, spine in six compartments tooled to a diapered and dotted design (lacking clasps, some scratches, rebacked retaining original spine with traces of old paper label with title, corners restored). Brown morocco box.
1. Angelus da Spoleto, 1442: the Latin colophon on f.179 names him as the commissioner of the manuscript -- Finit feliciter transcriptus .... pro d. angelo spoletano litera[rum] ap[osto]lica[rum] scriptore & absolutus fuit 1442 v non aprilis florentie in ede carmelita[rum].
2. Federigo Malaspina (d.1580): Mr A. Van de Put provided this identity for Cockerell as the bearer of the roughly drawn coat of arms on the first endleaf. It shows Malaspina impaling Cibò over Medici; Federigo was married to Elena Cibo, natural daughter of Innocenzo Cibo, Archbishop of Genoa.
3. Inscriptions on the lower pastedown include 'Ego Clemens filius revere[n]dis cardinalis'.
4. Cardinal Antonio Saverio Gentili (1681-1753): his erased library stamp on f.2. His library passed to the Principe del Drago and later to Marchese Campana.
5. Marchese Campana: his sale Sotheby's 20 June 1860, lot 143, when it was said to have belonged to the Medici Pope Leo X (1513-21).
6. Sir Thomas Phillipps: purchased by him in 1860 and his label and inscriptions, Phillipps 15727 MHC, inside upper cover and on front endleaf, then lot 204 in the ninth Phillipps sale, Sotheby's 7 June 1898.
7. Rev. P. Hateley Waddell: his sale Sotheby's 27 July 1920, lot 372, purchased by Ascherson
8. C.S. Ascherson: his bookplate inside front cover annotated with date of Hateley Waddell sale and his collation written in pencil on front endleaf
9. Sir Sydney Cockerell (1867-1962): purchased by him from Quaritch in 1945. His record of purchase and results of his 'provenancing' written in his own hand on front endleaf. Letters in response to his enquiries on early ownership are kept with the manuscript, along with his notes and printed extracts. His sale Sotheby's 3 April 1957, lot 12.
The explicit on folio 179 is followed by a colophon in pink capitals
reading: Finit feliciter transcriptus p[er] me Dominicu[m] Cassii De Narnia pro D. Angelo Spoletano litera[rum] ap[osto]lica[rum] scriptore & absolutus fuit 1442 v non. Aprilis Florentie in ede carmelita[rum] t[em]p[or]e Eugenii quarti tunc Flore[n]tie residentis. Sta guiglardo &.c. This is the only manuscript signed by the scribe Domenicus Cassii de Narnia, and is the basis upon which almost fifty manuscripts have been attributed to him. The colophon is also provided in Greek and this has been identified by Dieter Harlfinger as the work of the famous scribe Johannes Scutariotes: A.C. de la Mare, 'New Research on humanistic scribes in Florence' in A. Garzelli, Miniature fiorentina del rinascimento 1440-1525, (1985), p.492. Johannes Scutariotes also wrote the Greek in the text, his attention having been drawn to each space left by Domenicus for a word or phrase in Greek by a small letter 'g' in the margin. The date given in the Greek colophon -- 3 June -- no doubt reflects the delay in completion between the tasks of the two scribes.
The patron, a 'writer of apostolic letters', Angelo da Spoleto was presumably part of the Curia accompanying Eugene IV at the Council of Reunion 1439-1443. Sir Sydney Cockerell interpreted the final exhortation 'Sta guiglardo', the equivalent of sta gagliardo, as 'Keep your pecker up'; in the 1957 sale catalogue it was rendered as 'Be of good heart'.
Cicero, Epistolae ad Familiares ff.1-179, lacking 11 folios with the ends of Books I-X and the openings (with illuminated initials) of Books II-XI: Book I f.1, Book II f.12, Book III f.20, Book IV f.30, Book V f.39, Book VI f.51, Book VII f.62, Book VIII f.73, Book IX f.83, Book X f.95, Book XI f.111, Book XII f.121v, Book XIII f.134, Book XIV f.155, Book XV f.160, Book XVI f.171v
Cicero's correspondence with friends and intimates, written between 62 and 43BC and the most vivid and accessible of his writings to survive, were rediscovered by the humanist Chancellor of Florence Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406) with great rejoicing. A 9th-century copy of the text was found for him in the monastery of Lorsch; he had it copied at Milan and almost all Italian renaissance manuscripts of this text are in some way descended from that copy. Professor de la Mare has observed that the sidenotes in the present manuscript are also in the hand of Domenico di Casii and were apparently copied by him from the exemplar he was following for Cicero's text. She has pointed out that many of them have exactly the flavour of Salutati's comments ('Venuste dict[um]' on f.31 and 'Facete dict[u]m' on f.167v), and suggests that this manuscript records a copy of the Epistolae that was annotated by the Florentine chancellor.
Professor de la Mare has identified the illumination of this manuscript as the youthful work of Joacchinus de Gigantibus of Rothemburg. This prolific, and itinerant, artist had a career that stretched from the 1440s to 1480s and from Naples to Tuscany and the present manuscript is fundamental to dating his early activity in Florence: A.C. de la Mare, L. Hellinga, 'The first book printed in Florence: the Expositio Symboli of Rufinus', Transactions of the Cambridge Biographical Society, 7 (1978), pp.186-7, 210-11 (citing the present mansucript).
The large initials and borders are as follows:
f.1 nine-line white-vine initial E with a putto standing on a mask and reaching up to hold the nodes of vine-stem, full-page border with music-making putti, a duck and a green-bodied harpy in a medallion surrounded by a laurel wreath
folios 121v, 134, 155, 160 and 171v with eight- to nine-line white-vine initials containing a single putto, music-making, climbing or balancing on vine stems or in one case (f.134) loosing an arrow, all with part borders into the left margin