BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Marston MS 59 Northwestern Italy, ca. 1400; Netherlands, s. XV 1/2
Cicero, Epistolae ad familiares
1. ff. 1r-185r M. T. Ciceronis Epistolarum liber primus incipit. Marcus
Cicero salutem dicit publio lentulo proconsuli. Ego omni officio ac
potius pietate erga te. ceteris satisfacio omnibus. mihi ipse nunquam
satisfacio...tuosque occulos [sic] etiam si te ueniens in medio foro uidero.
dissaniabor. me ama. Vale. Epistolarum. M. T. C. liber xvj et vltimus ad
Tironem explicit feliciter. Amen.
As compared with D. R. Shackleton Bailey, ed., Cicero: Epistulae ad
familiares, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1977), Marston MS 59 is a complete copy
of all 16 books in the traditional order, with the following differences:
 Absent are leaves 116, 165, 166, the first and last of which would
have contained illumination for the beginnings of Bks. 11 and 15. Missing
text for f. 116 includes end of 10.34, all of 10.35 and beginning of 11.1
("...ita ut sint amplius equitum// moliamur. quia ubi consistamus non
habemus..."); missing text for ff. 165-166 includes 14.11-24 and beginning
of 15.1 ("...cura diligenter. vale. vij. idus quintiles.// populi romani
 Misplaced is a large block of text which runs from within 8.2 to
within 8.9, which is inserted as a whole into letter 9.15: on f. 77v
(8.2.1) Vide modo, inquis. Non// (8.9.3) mihi litteris ostenderis; on f.
88v (9.15.5) nihil est in parietibus// (8.2.1) non me hercules nihil unquam
enim; on f. 94r (8.9.3) Puto etiam, si nullam spem// (9.15.5) aut in tecto
 Peculiarities of the division and order of letters include: 1.2
and 1.3 are written as a single letter; the first sentence of 1.5b ("Hic
quae...scribi oportere") is written as part of 1.5a; 1.9 is written as
three letters; 3.3 and 3.4 are written as a single letter; 8.8 is written
as two letters; 11.28 is written before 11.27; 12.22 and 12.23 are
written together, but with a note by the scribe and a red paragraph mark in text
indicating that there should be a division; 12.25, 12.25a and 12.26 are
written as a single letter; 15.9 is written before 15.7; 16.12 is missing.
 Several letters appear twice in the manuscript: on f. 78r, 2.12
follows 8.9; on ff. 90v-91r, 2.9 follows 8.5; on f. 93v, 2.11 follows 8.8;
on f. 154v, 2.14 follows 13.49; on f. 160v, 12.29 follows 13.77;
 At the beginning of the codex Greek words are written neatly; at f.
83 a different hand appears to begin; at f. 85v and apparently thereafter,
the blank spaces remain unfilled.
 The scribe has often entered variant readings both in margins and
2. f. 185r Epistola. C. fabricij et Emilij cons. Romanorum super
proditione scripta ad regem pirrhum...Consules Romani salutem dicunt
Pirrho regi. [text:] Nos pro tuis iniurijs continuo animo commoti...tu
nisi caues iacebis. Pirrhus rex consulibus et populo romano...restituit
reddiditque. f. 185v blank
Extract from Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae III.8.8: Epistula
Fabricii et Aemilii consulum ad Pyrrhum regem; P. K. Marshall, ed., OCT
(1968) v. 1, pp. 143-44.
Parchment (hairside yellow and speckled), ff. i (paper) + i (modern
parchment) + 182 (early foliation in Arabic numerals 1-185; ff. 116,
165, 166 missing) + i (modern parchment) + i (paper), 263 x 180 (180 x 117) mm.
32 long lines. Single vertical bounding lines, full length; ruled in pale brown
ink or lead (Derolez 13.11). Prickings in upper and lower margins. One
pricking in outer margin, 55 mm. below top line (Derolez 18.3).
I-XI 10, XII 10 (-6, f. 116), XII-XV 10, XVI 10 (-5, 6, ff. 165-166),
XVII 10, XVIII 6 (-6). Catchwords with dots and flourishes on either side and
below, in center of lower margin, verso (Derolez 12.1).
Written in a neat fere-humanistic hand by a single scribe, below top
14 elegant illuminated initials and partial borders at the beginning of each
of the 16 books (the opening pages of Books XII and XV have been excised).
Initials, 5- to 3-line, blue with white filigree or red with gold filigree
on cusped grounds of gold. Most of the illuminated initials filled with
bust-length portraits, presumably of Cicero's correspondents, on red, blue
or diapered ground. Some initials filled with vine scrolls with trilobe
leaves in red with white highlights against gold ground. Partial borders,
scrolling vine with trilobe leaves or acanthus in blue, pink, red and gold
with white highlights and green, red and blue with gold highlights. Small
figures of angels, dressed in green with gold wings in borders or margins,
some playing musical instruments, one holding an open book, one holding
the cloth of Veronica. Other marginal figures include the "Agnus Dei" and
a pelican piercing its breast. The figures are all characterized by white
faces, small angled black eyes, and a preference for green and gold, the
green with contour lines in gold. Plain initials alternate red and blue.
Binding: France [?], s. xix. Red velvet case with a dark green
gold-tooled label: "M. T. Ciceronis Epistolae Ad Familiares MS. in
Membranis." Gilt edges.
The text was copied in Northwestern Italy ca. 1400 and apparently brought to
Northern Europe where according to J. Marrow
(letter on file) the border decoration was added between ca. 1415 and 1431
by the Dutch illuminator called the "Master of the Brno Speculum" (see
Exhib. Cat., The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Painting [New York, 1990]
pp. 58 and 72-74 for the Brno Speculum and another manuscript containing a
miniature by the same artist); it is possible that the "Master of the Brno
Speculum" is identifiable with the "Master of Mary of Guelders" (Berlin,
Preussische Staatsbibliothek, MS germ. qu. 42; Golden Age,
no. 17) or that he was either an associate or a follower of the "Master of
Mary of Guelders." Early provenance unknown. Unidentified bookstamp
consisting of the initials "A. N." enclosed in a double circle, outer
thick and inner thin, f. 1r. Belonged to Edward Craven Hawtrey
(1789-1862; booklabel) who was Headmaster and Provost of Eton College; his
sale (Sotheby and Wilkinson, 1 July 1853, no. 536, to Boone). From the
collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps (no. 24346, written in pencil inside
front cover); sold by W. H. Robinson Ltd. London. Modern note, in pencil,
on front pastedown "A/V/22." Acquired from Dudley M. Colman, through C.
A. Stonehill, in 1954 by Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
secundo folio: eius orationi
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 71, no. 59.
Barbara A. Shailor