Since the first descriptions of the ostrich, this weird creature – cloven-hoofed like a camel, with a neck sprinkled with hairs and feathers unfit to fly – did not fail to cause astonishment. A hybrid being with undecided limits, one that can be also considered as a kind of crossing point between terrestrial beasts and birds, this animal is as embarrassing to name as to categorize. That the ostrich belongs to two genders gives it a status of its own, and the paper will examine what antique authors say about this – be they historians, geographers, rhetoricians or poets. The paper will then study what aspects of antique thought were kept and reproduced by medieval scholars, authors of moralized bestiaries and doxograph encyclopedists.
This paper is concerned by a series of four epitaphs known as the Sylloge Elnonensis. It shows that, although they were written at or near Reims in the late sixth century, their author cannot be some local. Actually, there are good grounds to believe that this person was trained at Rome. Since the Sylloge is an exceptionnal witness to the early reception of Ausonius, this has consequences on what we know of the circulation of the collections of Ausonius’ works before any manuscript known to us.
Eutharic Cillica became the heir of the Ostrogothic Kingdom by marrying Theoderic the Great’s daughter, Amalasuintha. His ancestry is obscure and historians usually believe that he was chosen because of his Amal forefathers and his ties with the Visigoths. A closer examination of his name and of contemporary sources, however, shows that he probably had an ancestor who lacked Gothic parentage and that he was chosen not in spite of his dubious origins, but due to them, since Theoderic needed a man who would be king only in name, a consors regni who would leave all real power to his daughter Amalasuintha and, in due course, to his grandson, Athalaric.
The sudden rise of lay devotion to the Egyptian hermit Onuphrius in 14th century Tuscany began when Domenico Cavalca, OP (d. 1341), translated part two of the tripartite Peregrinatio Paphnutiana (BHL 6334a) as the Vita di Sant’Onofrio (VSO) as the final addition to book IV of his Vita dei santi padri (VSP). Although present on ff. 123vb-127ra of Rome, Casanatense 422, the only surviving fourteenth-century Pisan manuscript to contain all four books of the VSP, it was omitted by Carlo Delcorno in his recent 2009 edition of this manuscript. Using codicological, philological, and art-historical analysis, I demonstrate Cavalca’s authorship and explain Onuphrius’s presence in the Camposanto fresco.
This paper focuses on the so far unknown Tuscan vernacular translation of Angela of Foligno’s Liber transmitted by the ms. Magl. XXXVIII.122 of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence (= F), dated 1408. The essay is divided into three parts: the first reviews the particularly rich and multifaceted Latin and vernacular manuscript tradition of the Liber; the second deals with the translation transmitted by F, wich is almost complete and quite faithful to the Latin original, comparing it to the other Italian vernacular translations; the third proposes a codicological and paleographic description of F.
This article analyses the glosses on Albertino Mussato’s tragedy Ecerinis by the North Italian magister Bartolino Vavassori, preserved in the manuscript G 111 inf. of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan (dated 1400). The commentary, which mainly aims at describing the contents of the work, its structure and its metrical aspect, makes use of historical and literary sources (e.g. the Paduan chronicle known as Chronicon Marchiae Tarvisinae et Lombardiae, Dante’s Divine Comedy and its Comentum by Benvenuto da Imola) shared with other witnesses of the Ecerinis, whereas it is thought to be independent from Guizzardo da Bologna and Castellano da Bassano’s Commentum on the tragedy. A complete edition of Bartolino’s glosses is provided in the Appendix.
This paper surveys an interesting detail provided by the autograph copy of Boccaccio’s Buccolicum carmen (Firenze, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 1232). On the last page of the codex, Oskar Hecker (who first identified Boccaccio’s hand in this precious booklet) found an isolated Greek phrase, written by the author himself in Latin letters, which can be interpreted as a short proverb. After a reconsideration of the relevant literature, a new reading of this enigmatic phrase and an explanation are proposed. The source has been found in the oral school tradition in Greece, where the dictum (Ἄνθρωπος ἀγράμματος ξύλον ἄκαρπον) has surely spread over the centuries and has been attested (although slightly modified) until today. Boccaccio, who must have heard this motto in Florence from his Greek teacher Leonzio Pilato (1360-1362), recorded it in his copy in order to set it out in writing and memorize it.
The codex Taur. B.V. 33 (Pas. gr. 179) was written by three scribes whose handwriting can be dated in the second half of the XV century. The main copyst is the same who transcribed ff. 218r-284r of Par. gr. 2153, a miscellaneous codex written by a several scribes probably in Mistra in the XV century. Contents of the manuscript and philological data suggest that Taur. B.V. 33 was presumably written in Constantinolple after 1453 in the anti-latin milieu. Finally, in the second half of the XVI century, it was owned and annotated by Gabriel Severos, metropolitan of Philadelphia.
Đorđe Pelinović was the Head of the Abbey of the Virgin of Ratac, one of the most important Benedictine Abbies on the Eastern Adriatic shore, during the period from 1436 to 1463. In complex political circumstances, during the conflicts between the Rulers of Zeta, the Republic of Venice and the Serbian Despots, he succeeded in preserving his Abbey and its properties and in taking care of its restoration, as well as in engaging in lively diplomatic activity within the Zeta and the Republic of Venice territories, respectively.
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