Augustine, De civitate Dei

  • S. XV med.; parchment; mm 368 × 276; ff. 292
  • Vatican City, ‘Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana’, Vat. lat. 436

The codex, made under the patronage of Ludovico Trevisan, patriarch of Aquileia and chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, was assigned to the papal library upon his death.

A manuscript of a certain luxury and humanistic taste. Initials are decorated with rather beautifully drawn ‘bianchi girari’, of a probable Florentine school, made of flower elements and vine stems, filled with non-bright colours, tha surround initials in gold. On f. 1r the decoration consists of a full-page frame: in the bottom Ludovico Trevisan’s coats of arms (Azure, half-cogwheel in the base, fess in the middle with bordure or charged with three six-pointed stars or), mounted by a small bishop cross. The long and very well-known text has been always considered the most important produced by the great theologian of the Antiquity: with masterly skill Augustine therein also reread all the classical culture of his time. And therefore this work was read during the whole humanistic age, too. Spread over the libraries of learned prelates, it did not lack among the books of such a master of medicine, and therefore of philosophy and arts, who became a prelate, as was Trevisan. The volume had been kept at the Vaticana since 1475-1481. Therefore it almost directly passed from Trevisan’s, the patriarch of Aquileia’s heritage, which Paulo II had taken upon himself, to the papal library.

f. 1r, full-page frame decoration, Ludovico Trevisan’s coats of arms below

f. 1r, full-page frame decoration, Ludovico Trevisan’s coats of arms below

f. 152v initial E with white-vine stems

f. 152v initial E with white-vine stems

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