Seneca, Tragoediae

  • 1399, [Cividale]; parchment; 290 × 215; ff. 228.
  • Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canon. Class. lat. 88

This codex, written in the schools of Cividale towards the end of the end of the fourteenth century, is a significant witness of Seneca’s work circulation in Friuli.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century, after Lovato Lovati’s (1240-1309) discovery of the oldest codex of Seneca’s Tragedies by the abbey of Pomposa, these works were known, appraised and studied along the following decades also thanks to the mediation of Paduan pre-humanists, either Lovati’s contemporary or the following generation. There are significant evidences of these works’ circulation in Friuli between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As it is possible to read in the colophon, the given manuscript, nowadays kept at the Oxford Bodleian Library, is dated to 1399: «Expliciunt Tragedie complete millesimo trecentesimo nonagesimo nono, die octava augusti hora XVa, in scolis reverendissimi artis gramatice doctoris et rhetorice eximii professoris magistri Gentilis de Ravenna» (f. 288r). There are missing both the copyist’s name and a clear indication of the place where it was copied, but that is easily inferable: as a matter of fact, master Gentile Belloli of Ravenna was «artis grammatice professor»/«grammatice et rhetorice professor eximius» at the schools of Cividale since 1397 to his death occurred in 1404. The “eximius” qualification, present in other sources as well, evidences a peculiar appraisal of his teaching activity; and this was evidently also due to the reading of Seneca’s Tragedies, being this manuscript a typical exemplar used for studying purposes. It belonged to the rich library of handwritten works of Matteo Luigi Canonici (1727-1805), Venetian priest and erudite, a conspicuous part thereof was purchased by the Oxford Bodleian Library in 1817.

f. 27

f. 27

f. 228r, detail of the professor master Gentile Belloli’s subscription

f. 228r, detail of the professor master Gentile Belloli’s subscription

Leave a Comment