Miscellaneous Humanistic Texts

  • S. XV2; parchment; mm 158 × 99; ff. II, 74, II’.
  • Udine, ‘Biblioteca Arcivescovile’, ms. 11

The codex, manufactured under the family Porcia’s patronage, includes only texts legitimating those humanistic culture and studia humanitatis that had a significantly wide spread in Friuli.

A small jewel, this 74-folia humanistic codex that could have been used by a humanist for his readings or by a bibliophile as an enrichment of his collection more than as a school text. Nevertheless the texts contained in this codex deal with education, the humanistic one. It opens (ff. 3r-5r) with Leonardo Bruni’s (1370-1444) prologue to Basil the Great’s (fourth century) homily De utilitate studii, whose Latin version, translated by the same Bruni, follows on ff. 5r-35r under the rubric Magni Basilii de primis adolescentium institutionibus libellus: a text that would be afterwards arisen to a «manifesto of the Christian humanism». Datable to the second half of the fifteenth century for inner reasons, this manuscript was drawn out in a littera antiqua script featuring the antiqua tonda typical in this period for the humanism of the Venetan region and its territory around the Po river. On the lower margin on f. 3r the coats of arm of the Friulian family of Porcia was contemporarily carried out with the codex decoration, and likely also with its binding. A member of this noble family, Fabio, abbot of St. Martin of Fanna in the central decades of the sixteenth century, was the donor of this manuscript to a certain Giovanni Antonio de Egregiis, as it can be read on f. 2v «1531. Fabii comitis Purliliarum monimentum mihi Joanni Antonio de Egregiis». In the following century the family Dolfin was to come by the codex: maybe Giovanni, patriarch of Aquileia from 1657 to 1699, an erudite and refined bibliophile, or directly his nephew Dionisio who not only replaced him on the patriarchal see and inherited his passion for the letters, but got also Giovanni’s library and joined it to his own one, and so established the founding core of the Patriarchal Library of Udine.

 f. 3r, Leonardo Bruni’s Prologue to Basil the Great’s homily

f. 3r, Leonardo Bruni’s Prologue to Basil the Great’s homily

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