Giovanni da Soncino, Notabilia in grammaticam

  • S. XIV-XV; parchment; mm 277 × 202; ff. I, 30, I’.
  • San Daniele del Friuli, ‘Biblioteca Civica Guarneriana’, 129

This school, better say secondary school, text is likely to be referred to Guarnerio’s education or somehow to his relations with his school teacher, the humanist Giovanni da Spilimbergo (1380 circa-1455), as evidenced by the frequent marginal and interlinear notes of a contemporary or little later period.

Giovanni da Soncino, whose origins were in the neighbourhood of Cremona, was probably a grammar teacher in Bologna during the fifteenth-century central decades (he died at the beginning of the Sixties’ ca.); his work Notabilia in grammaticam, an alphabetically ordered miscellanea of various remarkable aspects of the Latin language concerning verbs, with a particular attention paid to the syntax and the noun classification, and introducing various examples for didactic purposes, was used for teaching to students who had already become familiar with the Latin language fundamentals. It should have had a discrete diffusion, evidenced by the relatively large number of extant copies, mostly of the fifteenth century. At least two of them are kept in the manuscript collections of the Friulian libraries: one is the ms. LXXV kept in the Library of the Chapter of Cividale; the other one is the present codex, which belonged to Guarnerio d’Artegna’s library. Due to its codicological and palaeographical features it can be considered a medieval codex, even though its manufacturing is not datable to that period. The historiated and inhabited initial P on f. 1r (in the loop a teacher before his lecturing desk; the stroke made out of a hugging pair), from which a phytomorphic frieze comes forward to get the top and bottom margins, is an evidence of the fact that the codex was somewhat conceived as a product of a certain level. And also the circumstance that the first reference to this codex is made in the 1461 inventory of the Guarneriana leads to believe that it was purchased after Giovanni da Spilimbergo’s death and therefore that it was one of the codices belonging to the latter’s professional library, teaching tools for grammar and rhetoric in the schools of Friuli and Veneto, perhaps once attended by Guarnerio himself.

f. 1r, incipit of the Notabilia

f. 1r, incipit of the Notabilia

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