BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Marston MS 164 Northern Italy or Switzerland [?], s. XV 2
Aristotle, Ethica Nicomachea, Lat. tr. Leonardo Bruni
ff. 1r-98r [O]mnis ars omnisque doctrina similiter autem et actus et electio
bonum quoddam appetere videtur. Qua propter bene ostenderunt summum bonum
quod omnia appetunt...si quomodo vnaqueque res publica constituta sit. et
quibus legibus et moribus. deo gracias. amen. expliciunt X. libri
ethicorum. f. 98v-101v ruled, but blank; unidentified quotations in a
contemporary hand on front and back pastedowns
Latin translation of Aristotle's Ethica Nicomachea by Leonardo Bruni
(GKW, v. 2, nos. 2367-80), but lacking Bruni's prefatory and concluding
remarks (Baron, pp. 75-81); the manuscript text is divided into ten books,
not always distinguished by scribe or rubricator, but sometimes indicated
by running headlines; extensive marginalia and interlinear glosses in at
least two hands. There are often references to the commentary of St.
Thomas Aquinas (e.g., ff. 93v-94r) and to Boethius, De consolatione
philosophiae (e.g., f. 95v). A comparison of this manuscript with the
text printed by Johann Mentelin in Strassburg ca. 1469 indicates two
major irregularities in the manuscript, probably as a result of copying from a
defective exemplar. On f. 1v (col. 1, line 4) a block of text, which belongs
on f. 3r, has been misplaced and inserted between syllables of the word
"diui//nus"; the error has been noted by contemporary symbols in the
margins. On f. 39r ca. 40 lines of text are omitted (line 15: "...Tres
igitur supradicte mediocritates sunt omnes // et potenciis et habitibus.
nam potencia..."); the missing passage was copied into the margins of ff.
40v-41r and keyed to the text on f. 40v. For a discussion of this translation
see E. Franceschini, "Leonardo Bruni e il 'Vetus Interpres' dell'Etica a
Nicomaco," Medioevo e Rinascimento: Studi in onore di Bruno Nardi
(Florence, 1955) v. 1, pp. 299-319.
Paper (sized; watermarks: quires I-III similar in design to Briquet
Anneau 689; remainder of manuscript, including end leaves,
similar in type to Piccard Ochsenkopf I.341-55 and Briquet Tete de boeuf
14335), ff. ii (contemporary paper; i = pastedown; ii = flyleaf) + 101
101 = back pastedown), 302 x 220
(218 x 140) mm. Format varies throughout: ff. 1-36, 2 columns, 27 lines;
ff. 37-98, ca. 22-30 long lines. Ruled either in hard point or crudely
in lead; some leaves frame-ruled. Remains of prickings in upper, lower,
and outer margins.
I-VI 12, VII 12 (-12, no loss of text), VIII 14, IX 4 (= ff. 98-102 + rear
pastedown). Remains of quire and leaf signatures in lower
right corner, recto (e.g., a1, a2, etc.). Catchwords for each leaf,
quires I-III, below written space, verso; some erased.
Written in various styles of informal gothic bookhand by multiple scribes
Plain 3- to 1-line letters, of poor quality, headings, and paragraph marks,
in red, sporadically throughout.
The ink on many leaves has seeped through to the other side, thus
rendering portions of text illegible.
Binding: Spain, s. xv. Endleaves and pastedowns sewn with book.
On rear pastedown an undeciphered Hebrew [?] inscription. Sewn on four
double, twisted, tawed skin supports laced into grooves in wooden boards
and wedged. The spine is lined with coarse cloth between supports (Moorish
influence). A strip of parchment extends inside the boards under
the pastedowns. Green and gold, five core [?] endbands are sewn
on tawed skin cores laced into the boards and pegged.
Covered in blue tawed skin with two fastenings, the catches on the
Produced in the second half of the 15th century, perhaps in Northern
Italy or Switzerland. The precise origin of the manuscript is problematic.
The watermarks, style of decorative initials and scripts suggest an area under
German, Italian and French influence. The binding, however, indicates an
early Spanish provenance. The manuscript can probably be
identified with a volume formerly in the Library of the Santa Iglesia del Pilar
and Biblioteca del Cabildo (no. 19.88) in Saragossa. (Cf. also binding
description for Marston MS 265 which definitely came from Saragossa). Purchased
from Enzo Ferrajoli through Nicolas Rauch of Geneva in 1958 by L. C. Witten
(inv. no. 2012), who sold it the same year to Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
secundo folio: [diui]nius
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 82, no. 164.
Barbara A. Shailor