Persius, Satires, a Renaissance scholar’s copy with numerous marginal additions, in Latin verse hexameters, manuscript on paper [Italy (Tuscany, probably Cortona), second half of fifteenth century]
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Persius, Satires, a Renaissance scholars copy with numerous marginal additions, in Latin verse hexameters, manuscript on paper [Italy (Tuscany, probably Cortona), second half of fifteenth century] 18 leaves, wanting a bifolium from beginning (text opens in Satire I, line 60), else complete, collation: i12, ii6 (and these within a single paper bifolium and a folded fourteenth-century parchment leaf recording court judgments combined to form endleaves and an informal first binding), single column of 19 lines in a fine humanist script, calligraphic initials in split penwork bars, rubrics in red, extensively glossed in smaller script with almost all free space employed for this on some pages, watermark that of hills within a circle, close to Briquet 11931 (with some examples found in Tuscan towns of Pisa in 1479 and 1489 and Pistoia in 1483-92), small spots, stains and edges torn and bumped, but overall in good and presentable condition, 220 by 145mm.; the folded over fourteenth-century document was once the original temporary binding of this book (worn on outer pages from handing, and with Explicit liber persii Deo gratia and est finito on back cover), that now set within a near-contemporary limp parchment flap binding (that now loose from text block, traces of glue from modern repair at spine), with plaited cord attached to a wooden button for attachment of flap to front board, number 4 on front cover, lengthy contemporary inscription (mostly smudged and erased) and ornate penwork letter B on back cover, overall in fair condition Provenance: 1. Written for a humanist student of Persius in the second half of the fifteenth century, who then proceeded to fill much of the available space with glosses on the text. Copied from a manuscript, with orthography, abbreviations and textual variants showing this was not copied from the editio princeps of Udalricus Gallus (Rome, c. 1478), nor the editions of Martin Flach (Basel, 1474) or Paulus Ferrariensis (Treviso, 1481). This glossing hand makes reference to the Britannicus printed edition of the text, that produced by Jacobus Britannicus in 1486, and so these additions must have been added after that year. The court document reused as the original temporary binding and now fossilised as endleaves is for cases brought before the court of Cortona, Tuscany, and this is the most likely origin point for the manuscript. 2. By the turn of the next century it appears to have passed to either Christofono bello Guido Carissimo, who added a sixteenth-century ex libris to the head of fol. 19v, or Giovanni da Casetino (probably Casentino, a valley to the immediate north east of Florence) who adds his on fol. 20v. Text: The works of Persius (34-62 AD.; more properly Aulus Persius Flaccus) are notably rare in manuscript. He was a Roman poet and satirist, who was a native of Pisa in Tuscany, and regional pride may explain both the original owners commissioning of this copy and his devoted study and glossing of it. He is recorded as studying in Rome, and while there fell in with a small group of poets, including Lucan. He records that there he also met Seneca, but was not impressed by the man. Due to some flaw of the stomach he died early, at the age of twenty-eight, and it fell to his friend and mentor the Stoic philosopher Cornutus to edit and release his works. He suppressed all but the Satires, and from them expurgated occasional lines, such as one acerbically critiquing Emperor Neros literary tastes. The extant satires themselves look at various aspects of Roman life, bringing biting sarcasm to bear on its pomposity. Book one is set as a dialogue between the poet and an unnamed friend, and examines the moral decline of Romes literature and the literary tastes of the city. It attacks the artificial rhetoric of its poets, their over polished language and their vanities. Book two begins with the birthday of a friend of the poet, and uses it to open discussion on what men wish for, with its characters o
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