BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Marston MS 38 Florence, ca. 1450-60
Diogenes Laertius, Lat. tr. Ambrogio Traversari
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1. front flyleaf, recto Alphabetical index of names: Anacarsis
scytha, Anaximander milesius...Zeno cittieus, Zeno eleates. Vite
omnes suprascripte numero Lxxxii insupra [?]. A second hand has
added folio references to each entry. Verso of flyleaf is blank.
2. ff. 1r-179r [Letter, no heading:] Voluenti mihi quedam greca
uolumina uenit ad manus laertii diogenis de philosophis prolixum
opus. Id etsi auctori plus in legendo studii quam inscribendo....
[text, f. 2r:] Laertii Diogenis uitae atque sententie eorum qui
in philosophia claruerunt liber primus incipit. Philosophiam a
barbaris initia sumpsisse plerique autumant. Namque apud persas
clauisse magos...non sunt defuncti celeriorem obitum. Laertii
Diogenis uite atque sententie eorum qui in philosophia claruerunt.
Liber decimus et ultimus explicit. f. 179v ruled, but blank
Diogenes Laertius, Vitae et sententiae philosophorum, translated
into Latin by Ambrogio Traversari and preceded by his dedicatory
letter to Cosimo de' Medici. Notes, corrections, and variant
readings added by the scribe and at least one contemporary hand.
Parchment, ff. ii (contemporary parchment bifolium; i = front
pastedown) + 180 (contemporary foliation, Roman numerals 1-179, with
120 bis) + ii (contemporary parchment bifolium; i excised, ii =
back pastedown), 335 x 230 (205 x 125) mm. 32 long lines. Double
vertical and horizontal bounding lines, full length and full width
(Derolez 13.36). Ruled in hard point on hair side. Prickings in
upper, lower, and outer margins (Derolez 18.1).
I-XVI 10, XVII-XVIII 8, XIX 4. Horizontal catchwords in lower
inner margin near gutter, verso (Derolez 12.4).
Main text written in round humanistic bookhand by a single
scribe; art. 1 added in humanistic cursive by a contemporary hand.
Decorated by the unidentified "Master of the Riccardiana
Lactantius" (Florence, Bibiloteca Riccardiana MS 544), who may
have been the master for the Florentine illuminator Mariano del
Buono and whose work is characterized by well drawn but badly
colored animals. For other manuscripts by the same artist see
Garzelli, Miniatura fiorentina, pp. 200-01. The decoration
consists of a 3/4 border, f. 1r, of intricate white vine-stem
ornament curling around thin gold bars (doubled in inner and
lower margins) on a blue, green and pale pink ground dotted
with white, yellow and blue, and gold balls. Incorporated
into the lower border are a medallion (blank) framed by a laurel
wreath and two narrow gold bands, a stag, and a putto with
multi-colored wings in blue, green and dark red. In the inner
margin are two birds in brown, orange and white. Ten illuminated
initials, 9- to 4-line, gold on blue, green and pale pink
background with white vine-stem ornament. Numerous smaller
initials, 3- to 2-line, gold on blue and pink or green and pink
grounds with white and gold filigree. Headings in black majuscules.
Running headlines, in red, on ff. 1-4 only.
Some worming at beginning of text.
Binding: Italy, s. xv. A hybrid Italo-Greek binding. Sewn
or resewn (the sewing is too tight to determine with certainty) on
five tawed skin, slit straps. Wooden boards which are not flush
at head and tail are grooved on the edges. Beaded Western endbands
Covered in dark brown calf, blind-tooled with a triple cross
made up of gilt annular dots and rope interlace in a central panel
within concentric frames alternately made up of a beaded zigzag
ribbon and feathered rinceau. Similar tools are used on Marston
MSS 39 and 68. Spine: bands outlined and panels diapered with
triple fillets. Traces of four braid-and-pin fastenings, the pins
in the edges of the lower board instead of the upper board as is usual
in Greek bindings. "Diogenes ***" is added on the fore edge; "diogenes
laergi" is written in batarde (see also provenance) on a label under
horn at the head of the upper board, possibly added in northern Europe.
See Walters Art Gallery, Bookbinding, pp. 87-88, no. 197; The
Medieval Book, pp. 66-67, no. 60, with plate of upper board.
Written in Florence ca. 1450-60; a contemporary note on the front
pastedown indicates that Brother Bogart bought the manuscript in 1465
from Ludovicus de Bancis (perhaps to be identified with Ludovico Banchi,
Cosenza, v. 1, p. 380): "Ludouico de bancis. Emi ego frater Bogart hunc
librum a Ludouico de Bancis pro x duc. large 1465 de mense Ianuarij."
The style of batarde script on the horn label on the upper cover suggests
either that the manuscript travelled north to Belgium after it was bound,
or that it was acquired by a Belgian owner (Brother Bogart?) who added
the label. On back pastedown is contemporary inscription "Angelot."
Unidentified inscriptions, s. xix, on front pastedown: "Bibl. Brunnd [?]
Sept. 1849" and "AGl[***]ly". Entry from sale catalogue, in Italian,
pasted inside front cover. "98" in ink on entry and in pencil on front
pastedown; "468" in pencil on rear pastedown. Purchased from Alexander
Simkhovitch in 1955 by Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
secundo folio: Tibi itaque Cosme
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 68, no. 38.
Barbara A. Shailor