Manuscript 313

Manuscript 313 is a fifteenth century manuscript from Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy.  It is preserved in the Biblioteca de Universita Bologna. On the first leaf of the manuscript, there is a drawing of a man riding a bird. Drawn in red ink, the bird seems to be pecking at his own chest.  The manuscript is made of mixed material, the first folio being made of parchment and dating from the fifteenth century, while the remaining folios are made of paper, and were added in the sixteenth century.  There is a watermark in the last four folios.  The watermark is an image of a dragon, split in the seam of the pages.  There are 97 leaves that make up the manuscript and five folios.  The measurements are 200 mm by 150 mm.  Because of the dating of the manuscript there are no quires, and therefore no catchwords.  There are no signs of pricking, indicating that a board must have been used for ruling, which was done with a plummet.  There are fifteen rules per leaf.  The layout of the page is unique, and there is one hand that wrote each text, while marginalia and notes seem to have been written in another hand.  The writing was done using either a red or black dry point stylus.  In terms of the Rubrication and Decoration of this manuscript, the paragraphs in the first text are marked by englarged letters colored in red and black ink. Throughout the rest of the manuscript there are sporadic drawings in black and red ink, and there is a blue ink colored drawing in Boccatii’s text.  The degrees of marginalia vary throughout the five texts.  In the first text there are many marginal notes, written in at least two different hands.  The second text has no marginal notes, while the third text has very few marginal notes all written in the same hand.  The fourth text has small hands drawn in the margin, pointing at important information in the text.  In terms of the binding and the covers of the manuscript, it is made of “mezza pelle” or half leather.  The manuscript has been well preserved; however, there are some bites in the paper, possibly from insects, the edges are somewhat frayed, and fragments from other documents have been added to restore the leaves.  At the beginning of the text there are two full pages dedicated to notes.  The manuscript originally belonged to the Bibiotheca of Io. Garzoni Bonon.  Manuscript 313 is a manuscript consisting of five different texts: Giovanni De Bonandrea’s “Brevis Introducto ad Dictamen”, ‘M.T Ciceronis de Amicitia libellus’, ‘Fabula Boccatii de Tancredo principe Salernitano et Gismonda eius filia traducta de vulgari in Latinum per D. Leonardum Aretinum’, ‘Epistola Saphos ad Phaonem Siculum eius amatorem foeliciter incipt’, and ‘Oratio in Laudem Matrimonii’.

The significance of these five texts cannot be overstated.  What I find most interesting is the fact that these five texts have all been bound together in one manuscript.  My thought is that these texts have been bound together due to the nature of what they discuss.  Giovanni de Bonandrea’s text, the “Brevis Introducto ad Dictamen” changes the ways that salutations could be written by creating a category of salutation for those people of “quality” who are being written to, officially titled “On the salutation of persons distinguished by habit”.  This includes notaries, which is interesting as Bonandrea himself was a notary.  The text also comments on the difference and importance between an “open exordium” and “closed exordium” in the captatio, where he discusses the importance of being positive when you will relay bad news later in the letter.  In 1292, Bonandrea was appointed to the chair of rhetoric at the university in Bologna.  He initially lectured on the Rhetorica ad Herrenium, and beginning in 1304 also offered instruction in the ars dictaminis and ars oratoria to the notaries.  After Bonandrea wrote the ad Dictamen, it was used by the professors of rhetoric that followed him, showing the great importance of the text.  The second text in the manuscript, Cicero’s “Little Book of Friendship”, discusses what qualities make a good friend versus those that make a bad friend, the importance of virtue in friendship and how to grieve in the case of lost friends.  The form is that of a “dialogue” between friends, that Cicero has transcribed and commented on.  The name of the third text in the manuscript, when translated from Latin, is “The Story of the Fame of Tancred, Prince of Salerno and Gismonda his Daughter, brought over from common Latin by D. Leonard Arezzo.” This is a story from Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, in which Tancredi the Prince of Salerno slays his daughter’s lover and sends her his heart in a golden cup.  Gismonda then commits suicide by drinking poison from the cup. Ovid’s “Epistle From Sapho to Phaon” is a love letter written from Sapho to Phaon; what is most interesting about this text is that Sapho was a lesbian poet, who is proclaiming her love for Phaon who is a man. The final text is the “Oratio in Laudem Matrimonii”, or the “Oration in Praise of Marriage.”  Knowing the context of these texts, it seems important to note that all of them address many different types of relationships and how to act when you are in them.  While we know that Bonandrea made special attempts to connect Ciceronian rhetoric and the ars dictamen, it is interesting that all of these texts have been bound into one manuscript.


The index that shows which texts can be found in the manuscript. Note that Bonandrea’s text was written in the 14th century, while the rest of the texts were written in the 15th.


The opening leaf of the manuscript.


The first leaf of the Bonandrea text. The drawing depicting a man riding a large bird can be seen at the top of the page.

Leach, Eleanor Winsor. “Absence and Desire in Cicero’s “De Amicitia”” The Classical World 87.2 (1993): 3-20. JSTOR. Web.

Levenstein, Jessica. “Out of Bounds: Passion and the Plague in Boccaccio’s Decameron.” Italica 73.3 (1996): 313-35. JSTOR. Web.

Baca, Albert R. “Ovid’s Epistle from Sappho to Phaon (Heroides 15).” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 102 (1971): 29-38. JSTOR. Web

Camargo, Martin. Ars dictaminis/ ars dictandi. “Between Grammar and Rhetoric: Composition teaching at Oxford and Bologna in the Middle Ages”. Typologie des Sources du Moyen Age Occidental. Turnhout: Brepols 1991


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