Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

illumination from Gordan MS 51

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

MS 44 (olim Gordan MS 57) Italy, s. XVmed

Leonardo Bruni / Epistolae familiares

ff. 1r-144v Epistolae Familiares of Leonardo Bruni. L. Mehus, ed., Leonardi Bruni Arretini Epistolarum Libri VIII (Florence, 1741) for the first reference cited below; F. P. Luiso, Studi su L’epistolario di Leonardo Bruni, Studi Storici 122-124 (Rome, 1980), for references in parentheses. Letters are ordered as in Mehus with the following differences:

Between letter 1.2 (1.4) and 1.3 (1.6) is a letter of Coluccio Salutati to Innocent VIII, beginning: Innocentio pape linus colucius salutatus, post humilem recommendationem et pedum oscula beatorum. Nescio cui magis gratuler sanctissime in christo pater. . . (F. Novati, ed., Epistolario di Coluccio Salutati [Rome, 1904] vol. 4, pp. 105-109, ep. XIV.xv). On f. 123r letter 8.6 (8.13) ends incompletely at: . . . cui tam insensatum indicium sit//. There is no text division between Books 8 and 9. Book 8 continues with letters 9.1-2 (9.2-3), 9.12 (9.13), 9.4-7 (9.5-8), 9.9-10 (9.10-11), 9.3 (9.4), 9.11 (9.12), 9.13 (9.14), and ends in a fragment of a letter not in Mehus from Bruni to Francesco Barbaro beginning: Leonardus aretinus francisco barbaro uiro clarissimo salutem plurimam dicit. Particulam litterarum tuarum legit hodie michi. . . and breaking off on f 144v: . . . Quid est ergo velim mi barbare apud uos perquiri facias an uolumen aliquod huius precopii reperiatur et uideas an illa pars insit qua//(Claudio Griggio, “Due Lettere Inedite del Bruni Al Salutati e a Francesco Barbaro,” Rinascimento 26 [1986] 27-50). The final two leaves of this quire have been cut out.

Parchment, ff. ii (paper bifolium, i=front pastedown) + i (paper) + 144 + ii (paperbifolium, ii=back pastedown), 279 x 188 (180 x 110) mm., modern foliation. 28 lines, ruled with double vertical and horizontal bounding lines in hard point (Derolez 13.36). Pricking in top, bottom and right margins.

I-XIV10, XV6 (-5, 6). Horizontal catchwords in lower far right margin (Derolez 12.3), verso. Remains of quire and leaf signatures ( i. e., m1, m2, m3, etc.).

Written by a single scribe in a humanistic bookhand, above the top line.

Books 1-8 begin with a typical Tuscan 4-line initial, gold with pen-lined branchwork twining around it, on a pink and green white-speckled ground outlined in blue. Red headings introduce each book. No heading or initial at the beginning of Book 9 on f. 127r; it is treated as a continuation of Book 8. 2-line red initials placed between the two vertical bounding lines begin most letters; some sentences begin with black 1-line letters inside these bounding lines. Marginal notations in two fifteenth century hands throughout.

Binding: Late 18th or early 19th c. parchment, brown-stained panel on spine stamped in gold: ARETINI/ EPISTOLARI.

Written in Florence in the mid fifteenth century. Early provenance unknown. According to James Hankins, who describes the text fully in “Bruni Manuscripts in North America: a Handlist,” Nuovi Studi Storici 10 (1991) 55-90, the manuscript has been “attributed to the Florentine scribe Giovanni di Piero da Stia (c. 1406-1474)” by Albinia de la Mare (59). He adds that:

Giovanni, who was probably a pupil of the better-known scribe Antonio di Mario, seems to have had a special connection with Bruni, as is evidenced by the extraordinarily high proportion of his identifiable MSS which are copies of Bruni’s works. His teacher Antonio di Mario wrote the dedication copies of both the works of Bruni dedicated to Cosimo de’ Medici. It seems likely, then, a priori that Giovanni da Stia’s text should be close to the author’s archetype (59-60).

Hankins also notes that the text was “annotated and probably owned by the minor humanist Pietro di Luni who identifies himself in a marginal note” on f. 45v: “Ita est. et testimonium perhibere possum ego P. Lunensis qui tunc temporis ad dictum concilium profectus vidi et miratus sum.”(60) Hankins writes:

Luni was a correspondent of Bruni and is known to have held a variety of posts in the papal curia and the papal states in the early and middle parts of the fifteenth century. . . It may well be. . . that Pietro’s acquaintance with Bruni, documented from 1434, goes back as far as the Council of Constance. Petrus’s other annotations in Gordan 57 and in another manuscript of his preserved in Viterbo show him to be conversant with some of the more esoteric facts of Florentine literary history (60-61).

A two line possessor’s note in upper margin of f. 1r: “Liber Aug[usti]ni [rest erased]. Unidentified inventory number on inside cover may be Phillipps number: 10957. Bought by Howard L. Goodhart from an English dealer in the 1930’s, and given by him to Phyllis Goodhart Gordan (bookplate) and John Dozier Gordan, Jr.; her bequest to Bryn Mawr College in 1995. Bookplate of Bryn Mawr College Library.

secundo folio: recipere

Bibliography: Faye & Bond, p. 399, no. 57. Iter Italicum, vol. 5, p. 351, no. 57.


Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts
Abbreviations Used in Decriptions of Medieval Manuscripts
Full List of Guides to the Collections

Last Update: June 5, 2003