CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 BC). De Officiis (Book I): TERENTIUS AFER, Publius (185-159 BC). Andria, Eunuchus, in Latin, MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
4° (210 x 140mm). viii + 102 + xi leaves in irregular gatherings, the first viii blank leaves originally from between ff.47 and 48 and the final xi blank leaves originally between ff.99 and 100, 18 to 32 lines written in brown ink in various hands, some sections with rubrics in red, versal initials or text capitals touched red, a few green, two-line initials of red, marginal and interlinear annotations and occasional sketches (a few wormholes, dampstaining to outer corners and edges of upper margins on most folios, rodent damage to edges of first seven folios). Original binding of wooden boards with a brown leather spine, subsequently gilt-stamped for Giovanni Angelo Altemps c.1600 with a fleuron, title and a coronet above a rampant ram (boards with compass trials, doodled and geometric gouging, slight worming, small area of repair to lower joint, lacking clasp and catch).
1. This compilation of texts, of slightly different dates and in a variety of hands, shows every sign of having been made for use as a schoolbook. An early reflection of this use is given by the names listed on the front pastedown, apparently as a record of their matriculation, in an informal cursive 16th-century hand. The watermark most frequently visible has a crown enclosed in a circle and is similar to Roman watermarks of the late 15th to 16th centuries; it is closest to Briquet 4862 used in Rome (1483-4), Udine (1494), Fabriano (1495) and Venice (1498). Such a date would correspond with the added note on the first of the final, largely blank, leaves giving the year as 1500.
2. A prayer written in a 16th-century hand on f.viii verso names 'famulo tuo Christophoro'.
3. Giovanni Angelo, Duke of Altemps (d.1620): inscription Excodicibus Joannis Angeli Ducis ab Altaemps on f.3v and a rampant ram, his armorial charge, beneath a coronet on the spine. The son and heir of Roberto, duca di Gallese, marchese di Soriano and Cornelia Orsini, this man of letters of encyclopedic interests and correspondent of Galileo -- in 1616 he wrote to him to obtain a new telescope -- was a major bibliophile. He had inherited a notable library from his grandfather Cardinal Marco Sittico and he increased it to a total of 2000 manuscripts and 12000 printed books. His most significant addition was the purchase of the library originally assembled by Cardinal Marcello Cervini, later Pope Marcello II, that had been owned by Ascanio Colonna and became available in 1611 after his death. What remained of this library was sold in two sales one in Rome -- D.C. Rossi, 1908 -- and the other Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London 1907, Catalogue of the choicer portion of the library of the Dukes of Altemps removed from Piazza s. Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.
4. Henry Allan: his bookplate -- Henrici Alani -- loose inside upper cover and noted 'Samuel Allan, Liscunnan, Derrock, County Antrim', 'M25' and '205 MS Boethius'.
Boethius, De Consolatione Philosophiae, Bk I, ch.1 and beginning of ch.2 ff.1-3; Cicero, De Officiis, Bk I ff.4-45; various remedies for diseases of the eyes and chest ff.45v-46; recipe for camomile lotion f.47; notes on comedy and tragedy f.48v; Terence, Andria and Eunuchus ff.49-99v; life of Vergil f.100v; Vergil, Aeneid, the four lines of the spurious prologue followed by lines i-xx f.101r&v; verses of a didactic or humourous nature including one on 'scharamella' and one on the weather f.102r&v
The texts of Boethius, Cicero, Terence and Vergil all have interlinear notes written by early studious owners. They often take the form of the medieval Latin equivalent of the classical Latin of the text. Various less appropriate additions range from the incipit of the hymn 'Pange lingua' to various doodled sketches and pen-trials.