Valerius Maximus, Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri IX

  • 1381, Bologna; parchment; mm 263 × 185; ff. I, 9 + 102, I’.
  • Vatican City, ‘Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana’, Vat. lat. 1918

A manuscript by Valerius Maximus copied by a ‘migrant’ Friulian student, Giovanni of quondam Andrea of Gemona, who was in Bologna to study law or ars notariae.

The work of the Roman writer Valerius Maximus, who lived between the first century B.C. and the first century AD, had a remarkable success, mostly for its rhetoric-moral content: a series of anecdotes about the men of the past organized in nine books and presented as examples of vices and virtues referable to 95 different categories. The fourteenth-century characteristic climate of rediscovery of the Latin classics surely increased the interest in this text which had Petrarch as one of its most illustrious admirers and users. This manuscript of the Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri IX is due to the hand of a man from Gemona, Giovanni quondam Andrea, who declared to have copied it at Bologna, in the colophon on f. 101v: «Valerii Maximi dictorum memorabilium et factorum liber nonus explicit. Ego Iohannes qondam [sic] Andree de Foroiulii de Glemona propriis manibus scripsi Bon(onie)»; this subscription in gothic script is followed by a further note written in a cursive script probably by the same copyist’s hand: «In domo domine Sire quondam Mucilini notarii uxoris, anno Domini 1381». Who was this Giovanni quondam Andrea of Gemona is not given to know, but it is possible to think that, like other fellow-countrymen of his we are better informed about, he was also a ‘migrant’ Friulian student who, in this given case, went to Bologna to study law or ars notariae in that prestigious centre.

 f. 1r: initial with phytomorphic motives

f. 1r: initial with phytomorphic motives

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