BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 285 France, s. XIV/XV
Les dits moraulx des philosophes
1. ff. 1r-80v Cy commancent les diz moraulx des philosophes translatez
de latin en francoys par...guillaume de tignonuille...[text:] Sedechias fu
philosophe le premier par qui de la voulente de dieu...Il respondi soy fier en
cellui dont on a autreffoiz este deceu. Explicit.
2. f. 81r [Table of contents, in a later hand:] Cy ensuyt le table de
ceste present liure nomme les ditz moraulx des philosophes. Les ditz de
sedechias fo. i...Les ditz des plusieurs autres fo. 71. ff. 81v-82v blank
This collection of moralistic sayings, compiled from various authorities, is
the French version of an Arabic work of the 11th century. Guillaume de
Tignonville (d. 1414) composed the French text from a Latin translation
sometime before 1402. The philosophers represented include (in the order of
their appearance): Sedachias, Hermes, Tac, Zalqualquin, Homer, Zalon, Abion,
Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Diogenes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the
Great, Ptolemy, Assaron, Loguion, Onese, Macdarge, Thesile, St. Gregory, Galen.
For a critical edition of three English translations of the text see
C. Buehler, ed., The Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers, EETS 211
Parchment (worn and stained), ff. i (paper) + 80 + ii (contemporary
parchment) + i (paper), 294 x 210 (192 x 138) mm. Written in 29 long lines;
single vertical bounding lines. Ruled carelessly in lead, with guide-lines for
text running through gutter; remains of prickings in upper and lower margins.
I-X^^8. Catchwords near inner bounding line.
Written by a single scribe in an informal batarde, often with calligraphic
flourishes extending into margins.
One miniature on f. 1r, 11-line, Ezekiel, Socrates, and Cicero with
identifying banderoles, in grisaille with light green and ink washes; in a
frame of thin pink and gold bands. Related to a group of manuscripts of
Christine de Pizan made for Philippe le Hardi in 1402-03, including Brussels,
Bib. Roy. MS 10982-83, as well as to a Roman de la Rose, Oxford, Bod. Lib.
Douce 371 (cf. Paecht and Alexander, v. 1, no. 632). The style does not
appear, as stated in the Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 219-21, no. 45, to be
associated with the Master of the Roman Texts and his workshop. One 5-line
initial on f. 1r, pink, with orange and pink ivy on a blue stem against a blue
ground; a pink and gold bar border in inner margin, with ivy terminals, black
ink ivy with gold leaves and gold dots. 2-line initials throughout, gold
against pink and blue grounds with white highlights. Guide-letters and rubrics
Binding: s. xviii-xix. Quarter bound in brown, spattered calf,
gold-tooled. Marbled paper sides.
Written in France, perhaps in Paris, ca. 1400; early provenance unknown.
Under ultra-violet light two layers of notes on f. 80v (now mostly erased)
reveal the name "Edwardus Baytor[n?]". Belonged to Sir Thomas Tempest [of
Stella], Baronet, s. xvii, and to John Borthwick of Crookstan (bookplate),
s. xix. From the collection of Hannah D. Rabinowitz (booklabel). Acquired
from C. A. Stonehill in 1960 as the gift of Edwin J., Frederick W., and
secundo folio: seruiteur
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 50, no. 285.
Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 219-21, no. 45.
Barbara A. Shailor