[MANUSCRIPT] Collection of leaves and fragments from decorated manuscripts, in Latin, written on vellum. Various locations:...
. Various locations: [twelfth and thirteenth century]. A total of 13 leaves (including 4 bifolia), from seven separate manuscripts. These include (1) a cutting from a saint's life, 22 x 13 cm with a large initial "P", 154 mm. in height, in yellow with panels of geometric design inside the ascenders, enclosing an elaborate spray of white-vine decoration terminating in yellow flowers, all on red and blue grounds, text almost entirely erased from around initial, but 22 lines on verso, small area of initial cut out to fit around stitching of book it was bound around, else good condition, Tuscany, mid-twelfth century. (2) fragment of a leaf from a monumental manuscript, 23.5 cm. by 32.5 cm, remains of two columns, 30 lines in brown ink (now faded) in an excellent early Gothic hand, containing excerpts from Joshua 10 and 17, visible under normal light only on recto, Italy, circa 1100; (3) Two bifolia from Geoffrey of Vinsauf's poem Poetria nova, each approximately 29.5 cm by 20.5 cm, with remains of 22 lines of verse in black ink, initials touched in yellow, rubrics, paragraph marks and simple 2-line initials in red, many interlinear glosses, Italy, late thirteenth-century; (4) fragment of a bifolium from the opening of Guido Faba's Summa dictaminis, 28.5 cm by 20.9 cm, double column, 36 lines in brown ink, rubrics and numerous 2-line initials in red, 3-line initials in red or blue with contrasting penwork, space left for 2 larger initials, trimmed on outer vertical edges with some loss to text on each side, Italy, late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century; (5) the lower half of a leaf of Haimo of Halberstadt's, Homiliae de tempore, Homily 17 (both recto and verso), read on the first Sunday after Epiphany, double column, remains of 13 lines in dark brown ink, initials touched in red, Italy, circa 1100; (6) 2 fragments of a manuscript of St. Augustine's Commentary on John, 20 by 15 cm and 13 by 18 cm, double column, remains of 18 lines on larger fragment and 13 on smaller, Italy, first half of twelfth century; (7) fragment of a Lectionary leaf, 29 cm by 21 cm, remains of 20 lines, Italy, fourteenth century. All recovered from bindings and hence somewhat defective.
This is an interesting collection of Romanesque manuscript leaves, and items (3) and (4) are of special interest for the history of rhetoric at the turn of the thirteenth century. The former is an early witness to Geoffrey of Vinsauf's rhetorical manual in verse, the Poetria nova. Little is known about the author, but the manuscript of this text in the Hunter collection in Glasgow (Hunter V.8.13; J. Young & P.H. Aitken, Catalogue of the MSS in the library of the Hunterian Museum, 1908, item 511, pp. 417-19) calls him Galfridus Anglicus and records that he studied at Paris and taught rhetoric at Hampton in Middlesex. This work, his magnum opus, was written around the year 1200, and thus is a rare witness to teaching in England in that period. The text here is from the sections named "Ornaments of style" and "Memory"
Guido Faba wrote the Summa Dictaminis as a practical rhetorical tool for use by secretaries and students of diplomatic who could dip into its many hundreds of examples for aid in composing correspondence. Its author was the accepted master of this subject, who was born in Bologna in 1190, completed a degree there by 1210, and circa 1223 was appointed a professor of dictamen at the Chapel of San Michele di Mercato di Mezzo in Bologna.
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