Lot 14: Statius (Publius Papinius) Achilleide, Northern Italy, manuscript on paper, late 14th century.
November 15, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Statius (Publius Papinius, 1st century AD) Achilleide, manuscript on paper, [Northern Italy, late fourteen century]. 281 x 200 mm., i + 34 leaves, unfoliated, complete in three quires, collation: 1-212, 310, blanks: fols. 32v, 33, and 34, text block: 169x100 mm., single column, 19 lines, first above top line, ruled in red ink, text written in brown ink in littera umanistica, numerous interlinear glosses and abundant marginal glosses and/or scholia written in light brown ink in hybrida currens script, first capital letter of each capitulum set out, those on fols. 21v, 22v, 26v showing neat ink drawings of human faces, water-stain at the gutter, some stains, a few wormholes to blank lower margin, some pen trials on front flyleaf and last blank leaves, pencil bibliographical notes to front flyleaf, contemporary brown leather over wooden boards, lower cover with lily-shaped metal clasp with a lamb holding the Christian banner, strap missing, author's name and title ('statius achil.') inked on lower cover, both covers stained, some rubbing and worming, spine damaged at extremities. ⁂ A generally well-preserved manuscript in an unrestored and attractive binding. Text: An important and unrecorded fourteenth-century manuscript of the Achilleide, written by Statius in 95-96 C.E., and left unfinished. The Achilleid enjoyed a wide success in late antiquity and commentaries on it were composed in the Carolingian period and early Middle Ages. The manuscript presents as explicit the spurious verse "aura silet puppis currens ad littora venit", which is found in Statius' manuscript tradition starting from the 11th century. On the recto of the last leaf the anonymous scribe has copied the text of the Epitaphium Achillis (see Riese, Anthologia Latina, I, 2, no. 630), which is attested in two other manuscripts dating from the late fourteenth century, respectively in the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence (ms 1223.C) and in the Biblioteca Universitaria in Genoa (ms E.II.8). A further point of interest of the present codex lies in its copious marginalia, glosses and scholia, which offer numerous variant readings. The provenance of this manuscript has an interesting Genoese connection: between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century the manuscript passed through the hands of members of the first families of the Genoa Republic: the D'oria (or Doria), Spinola and Grimaldi families. Among these owners the name of Giovanni Battista Grimaldi is especially noteworthy. In his palace in Genoa he assembled a beautiful library, which included Latin classical texts as well as contemporary vernacular works, and his humanist preceptor Claudio Tolomei (ca. 1492-1556) had an important role in forming the collection. He paid great attention to the bindings of his volumes, and employed the best and most sought after binders such as Niccolò Franzese and Marcantonio Guillery. Grimaldi was a friend of Niccolò Spinola, whose ownership inscription is also to be found in this manuscript: it is therefore possible to hypothesise an exchange of books between these two distinguished Genoese patricians. Provenance: Andreolo D'Oria (fifteenth-century ownership inscription on recto of front flyleaf 'Nobili Domino Andriolo de Auria'; Niccolò Spinola (sixteenth-century ownership inscription on recto of front flyleaf 'Nicolaus Spinula me possidet'; Giovanni Battista Grimaldi (1524-1612; ownership inscription on verso of fol. 33 'Gio: Batt[ist]a Grimaldo'; Alessandro [Grimaldi ?] (ownership inscription on verso of fol. 34 'Alexandro', maybe the son of Giovanni Battista Grimaldi). Literature: P. M. Clogan, "A Preliminary List of Manuscripts of Statius' Achilleid"; Idem, The Medieval Achilleid of Statius edited with Introduction, Variant Readings, and Glosses, Leiden 1968; H. Anderson, The Manuscripts of Statius, Washington, D.C. 2000; A. Hobson, Apollo and Pegasus. An Enquiry into the Formation and Dispersal of a Renaissance Library, Amsterdam 1975.
Notes: Category: Western And Medieval Manuscripts