Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

illumination from Gordan MS 51

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

Gordan MS 156 Italy, 1469

Lucan / De bello civili sive pharsalia

ff. 1r-140r [Title:] M. Annaei Lucani Civilis Belli sive Pharsaliae

Liber Primus incipit

Inc: Bella per Emathios plus quam civilia campos/ Iusque datum sceleri canimus populumque potentem:

Expl.: Ad campos epidaure [sic] tuos, ubi solus apertis/ Obsedit muris calcantem moenia Magnus. Finis. Deo Gratias Amen

On f. 140 v the text concludes with four unidentified lines of verse:

Optatos tandem tetigerunt carbasa portus/ Et sedet in tuto littore fessa ratis./ Quo deus emeritas peragam tibi carmine grates./ Quo tibi nunc placido virgo maria sono./ 1469.

Lucan, De Bello Civili; D. R. Shackleton Bailey, ed. (Stuttgart, 1988).

Paper (watermarks: unidentified, perhaps an unusual crown), ff. iii (contemporary paper) + 140 + i (contemporary paper), 293 x 200 (183 x 109) mm, modern foliation. Written in 29 lines, ruled with double vertical bounding lines full length on the left and a single vertical bounding line on the right on both the recto and verso in ink (Derolez 13.21). Prickings visible in the outer margins.

I10 (-1, + f. 1), II--XIII10. Vertical catchwords between two inner bounding lines (Derolez 12.5), verso; horizontal catchword on f. 1v in inner bottom margin.

Written by a single scribe in a neat humanistic bookhand below the top line.

The text is illustrated with three “Topographia”: stylized diagrams of the geography discussed in the poem--the city of Brundusium; the location of battles in Greece; and Asia, Europe and Africa on ff. 23v, 73,r and 118v respectively. These diagrams are very finely drawn in dark brown and red ink with a light brown wash. Each book of the poem begins with an illuminated initial, alternating between blue ink on a ground of decorative red ink penwork highlighted by a brown wash, or red ink on a purple ink penwork ground also washed with brown; on f. 67r, the blue initial is on a purple penwork ground. The initials vary in size from 9-line on f. 13r to 5-line for some of the later books. Chapter headings are in red. Later hands have enthusiastically decorated this text. The upper margin of f. 53v shows a castle, in the same reds and browns as the diagrams, but rendered by a less skilled hand. Other hands have augmented many of the initials with heads of men and women, beasts, etc.; some are finely rendered with color and wash, others much more crudely done.

The first leaf of the text is a 17th century facsimile, the script similar to the original. It begins with a 6-line dark-red ink initial enclosed in a red frame which bears no resemblance to the later initials; on f. 39 a triangular repair written by this same scribe is glued to the original, replacing up to 15 lines of text. The final leaf has been mounted, concealing several lines of text on the verso.

Binding: 19th century brown quarter-calf over lighter brown paper boards. Spine blind tooled. On parchment label on spine in ink: “M. A/ LUCANUS/ COD. MSC./ ITAL./ D 1469”; on small paper label in ink: “Ms.#35”.

Written in Italy in 1469. Front flyleaves contain extensive notes including miscellaneous proverbs and sententiae in Latin and Greek as well as the following: “Frater Pius de Cremona fecit fecit [sic] hunc/ Librum Lucanum meriae seu relinquendum/ Ad monasterium sancte Crucis mantue ordinis minorum fratrum et sepelliri in eodem conventu in capitulo fratris sancti augustini observantie/ Et reliquit Sans Cosas monasterio supra scripto et obiit milesimo 529 die/ 4 semtenbris in eodem Conventu sancte nostre/ Congregationis sancte marie De Populo", "Lucas antiocenus medicus”. On ff. 36r and 46r in ink: “Pius frater”, on f. 51r: “ego Bartolomeus de aribertis scripsi” and again on f. 65v: “ego Bartolomeus de Aribert” Later provenance unknown. On inside front cover: “fol. 1415” and “ETN”. Sotheby’s sale (April 4, 1939, no. 268, in pencil on inside cover) to Howard L. Goodhart (bookplate), and given by him to Phyllis Goodhart Gordan (bookplate) and John Dozier Gordan, Jr. This book is listed neither in DeRicci nor Faye and Bond. Goodhart’s label on spine inexplicably gives this book the same manuscript number as MS 35, another copy of thePharsalia.

secundo folio: Quis deus

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Last Update: June 6, 2003