Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

illumination from Gordan MS 51

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

MS 45 (olim Gordan MS 74) Italy, s. XV2/4

Leonardo Bruni / Epistolae familiares

ff. 1r-161v 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:

On ff. 2v-3v, 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. 55v letter 3.20 (3.29) is mistakenly treated as two letters. The scribe adding the initials has inserted a "Q" in a space left for Greek, expanding "Vale" to "Qvale." the Text breaks between: "Placebit tibi eschinis oratio. Est enim// and on the next line: "[Q]vale subdam tibi unum locum oratorie dictum ab eschine..." The top half of f. 81 has been torn away destroying parts of letters 4.23 (4.30) and 5.1 (5.1). Letter 4.23 breaks off at the bottom of f. 80v: "cui in hac parte integritatis innocentie// and Letter 5.1 begins at tear on f. 81r: //enim et qui sint et quam facile contemnendi... obscura illa subit difficultas// and resumes on the verso: //De significatione igitur huius uerbi controuersia fit... There are no breaks or chapter headings between books.

Parchment, ff. ii (paper bifolium, i = front pastedown) + 161 + ii (paper bifolium, ii = back pastedown), 257 x 176 (180 x 106) mm. from ff. 1-80 and (190 x 124) mm. from ff. 81-161. Modern foliation. Written in 27 lines from ff. 1-80; 28 lines from ff. 81-161; ff. 1-96 ruled with double vertical and horizontal bounding lines in hard point, full length (Derolez 13.36); ff. 97-161 ruled with double vertical and upper horizontal bounding lines (Derolez 13.34). Pricking in right margin.

I-XIV10, XV12, XVI8 (+ f. 161). Traces of quire and leaf signatures on a few leaves. The lower margin (no loss of text) has been cut away from over half of the leaves, but there appear to be no catchwords.

Written by a single scribe above the top line in a humanistic bookhand, which becomes smaller and more cramped towards the end of the text.

The first letter on f. 1r is an elaborate 5-line initial, gold on a rectangular dark blue ground surrounded by finely drawn white-vine branchwork with green infilling, the ground speckled. Initial has been worn. In lower margin of the same page an unidentified coat of arms, somewhat faded, shows a shell over a chevron above a cross. This is a later addition to the decoration and is set into a dark blue diamond with gold penwork flourishes. 2-line alternating red and blue initials begin each letter until f. 162r, where 2-line initials are either added in brown ink or (several times) the space left blank. Marginal notations in two Italian fifteenth-century hands throughout. Lower half of f. 161 has been removed below the end of the final letter, a later repair replaced missing parchment.

Binding: eighteenth-century half-red morocco gilt. On green-stained panels on spine in gold: LEONARD/ BRUNI/ EPISTOLA and MST. IN/ MEMBRANIS

Written in Florence in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. Large and ornate ownership note (?) in seventeenth-century hand in upper margin of f. 1r: "Coquil[le]". Below that in outside margin: "Collegii Sancti Ieronimi de Dola strictioris obseruantiae Cluniacensis 1048" [corrected from 1408]; note on f. ii verso "Burgdieu (Burgus Dolensis) in Berry (Bituricensis) Benedictine Abbey f. 917 Suppv 1623 Dôle (Ille-et-Vilaine) Anc. abb. and évêché." On f. ii recto: Middle Hill stamp of Sir Thomas Phillipps above the manuscript number 1042. Bought by Howard L. Goodhart from Maggs in 1944, and left by him to Phyllis Goodhart Gordan and John Dozier Gordan, Jr.; her bequest to Bryn Mawr College (bookplate) in 1995.

secundo folio: perturbant

Bibliography: Faye & Bond, p. 401, no. 74. Iter Italicum, vol. 5, p. 351 no. 74. James Hankins, "Bruni Manuscripts in North America: a Handlist," Nuovi Studi Storici 10 (1991) 55-90.


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Last Update: June 5, 2003