Marcus Tullius Cicero, De amicitia, Cato maior seu de senectute, and Paradoxa ad M. Brutum, intro and chapter one.
This manuscript contains three works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, De amicitia, Cato maior (De senectute), and the introduction to Paradoxa ad M. Brutum, which continues until the end of Paradoxa I. In researching for this asssignment, I found that most Italian manuscripts from 1450-1600 include De amicitia followed by Cato maior seu de senectute.
The manuscript is written in Humanistic script, and as such imitates the half-uncial and Caroline minuscule scripts. As the scribe uses only the letter "V," instead of "U" at the beginning of words, the manuscript cannot be earlier than ca. 1550. In my opinion, the manuscript dates to the second half of the sixteenth century (ca. 1550-ca. 1600). Although no indication exists as to the origin of the manuscript, I believe it may well have been written in Northern Italy, because one of its first owners knew not only Greek and Latin, but also Italian.
There are two different hands at work in the main text of the manuscript, most probably indicating two scribes. The main style is very bold and closely mimics half-uncial. The second handwriting is only present between pages 85 and 91. The main scribe corrected his work by either erasing words or writing on the margins. A subsequent owner of the book also wrote on the margins to correct, note, but also to and to write down his monogram. He wrote in Greek, Latin, and Italian. A more modern owner marked page numbers at the top edge in pencil.
There are many abbreviations throughout the manuscript and punctuation seems to follow that of the Caroline minuscule. The only decorative elements in the manuscript are the calligraphy around titles and initials and the little points designed to highlight certain parts of the text.
The book has a modern binding; it is half-bound with marbled boards. The entire manuscript is written on paper. Some pages are eaten through by bookworms in many places.
There are three types of ink for the main text. The predominant color is a dark brown, written in a firm broad hand. The second scribe uses a light faded brown. The manuscript ends with the first writer using a faded black ink. Highlighted letters are sometimes written in a bright red paint with faded red inked calligraphy. Highlighted letters and words are written with a faded red ink. There are many notes written on the margins of the book; they have a reddish brown or faded brown ink. There are folio numbers on the top edge corner of some of the pages written much later in pencil.
There are 66 folios in the book. Each folio is 27.8 cm wide and 20.7 cm long. There is one column of writing on each page. The columns are 15 cm long and 11 cm wide. The column, on average, measures 0.7 cm from the spine, 3.3 cm from the edge, 2.5 cm from the top, and 3.56 cm from the bottom. The area at the top and at the bottom of the column is almost always the same throughout the entire manuscript. While the area before the column decreases (the manuscript starts out with 1.3 cm from the spine and goes to 0.3 cm) , the one on the edge increases (the manuscript begins with 3 cm and ends with 3.8 cm). There are 25 lines per page. There is no pricking. Penciled ruled lines were used for straight writing; some were erased after the page was complete. The book might have been commissioned for a wealthy person for the text does not use a lot of the manuscript. There are pages that are completely blank, some still have ruled pencil lines.
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Created: June 4, 2003