PAUL of Venice. Logica parva [dated and signed by the German scribe Peter Wickerau], 1440
Lot 114
PAUL of Venice. Logica parva [dated and signed by the German scribe Peter Wickerau], 1440
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 29,396) inc. premium
Lot Details
PAUL of Venice
Logica parva, [signed and dated by the German scribe Peter Wickerau], manuscript on paper, 106 leaves (including modern flyleaf at front and back), collating I-VII12, VIII-IX10, text in Latin, ruled in plummet for 33 lines in one column, justification 152 x 80mm., written in brown ink in a Textualis Libraria in several campaigns, catchwords throughout, modern pencil foliation in upper right (omitting fol. 91 and including flyleaves), an earlier ink foliation in the lower margins (starting with no. 243) suggests that the text once belonged to a larger volume, headlines supplied in a larger characteristic style, fol. 1-73v with versals touched in yellow (other decoration not executed), rubrics, paragraph marks, two-line initials in red and a six-line penwork initial from fol. 74 (quire 7), ONE ILLUMINATED INITIAL "C" at the beginning, another illuminated initial "O" planned but not executed, three diagrams on fol. 5v-6, waterstaining in lower margins from fol. 92 to end and in fols. 62-66, slight flaking to initial, blindstamp on first and last leaf, eighteenth century red half morocco, gilt lettered "M. Pauli de Venet./Logica/Ms 1440" on morocco spine label, paper shelfmark and light staining on upper cover, 206 x 140mm., Isle of Crete, Chania, 12 November 1440



    Paul of Venice (Udine, 1369 - Padua, 15 June 1429) is one of the most important logicians of the Middle Ages. He taught in Padua, Siena and Perugia, and lectured in Bologna. Banished from the Republic of Venice in 1420, suspected of aiding the enemies of Venice, he spent the last part of his life in Perugia in the convent of the Hermits of Saint Augustine. Written c.1393-95, the Logica Parva became an official textbook and remained influential as late as the sixteenth century. It is a compilation of doctrines and discussions derived from fourteenth century English Wycliffite and Oxonian sources, and takes a compositional view of language. Just over 80 manuscripts are recorded, of which the oldest dated copy, 1401, is in Bologna (Colegio di Spagna, MS 60; see Perreiah, p. xxxiii). The present manuscript, written only about ten years after the author's death, bears witness to the "international" network of monastic culture in the first half of the fifteenth century, where a German monk adopts the Italian style of writing to employ it in a philosophical manuscript that he completes in Crete. The Venetian style of the illumination on the first leaf, together with the style of the writing, could suggest either that the convent in Chania had established a scriptorium of their own (with illuminators) by the first half of the fifteenth century, or, less likely, that Peter Wickerau took the manuscript back to Venice or the Veneto for it to be decorated there.


    Fol. 1: Incipit (Prologue): "Conspiciens incircuitu librorum Magnitudinem studentis tedium constituentem in animo ..."
    Fol. 104: Explicit (Tractatus VIII): "...dimitto cognoscere ut verborum prolixitas seu scripture studentis tedium in mente non astruat secundum quod in nostri exordio primitus asserendo promisi. Amen amen."
    Colophon: "Explicit loica compilata per eximium arcium sacre quem theologie professorem magistrum paulum de Veneciis ordinis fratrem heremitarum Sancti Augustini. Scriptus et completus per me petrum Wickerau almanice nacionis. Anno in carnationis prolis Virginis Millesimo quadringentesimo quadragesimo die duodecima novembris in insula crethe in urbe Chanee dum oci osus ibidem degerem." The colophon is followed by a few lines of a Greek text in red which have been transcribed into Roman letters: "Atonaige maian ..", and a later hand has added below "Letare germannia claro felix germine".


    1. The scribe Peter Wickerau has signed his name boldly in red on several leaves (fols. 76v, 78v, 80v, 98, 101v), and states in the colophon that he wrote it in Chania on the Island of Crete. Although he describes himself as German, Wickerau seems to have adopted - not completely successfully - the Italian style of a Rotunda, and we might assume that he had lived in Italy for some time.. It seems likely that he was a member of either the Franciscan or the Dominican order in Venice or the Veneto - hence the Venetian style of the initial - as both convents had established monasteries in Chania during the Venetian period in Crete. He apparently spent some time in Chania, and either took the completed manuscript back to Venice himself, or left it at the convent in Chania to be returned later. The ownership entry below the colophon has been erased.
    2. Rev. Walter Sneyd, Keele Hall, Staffordshire, with his bookplate ("Gualteri Sneyd"). Sneyd started collecting medieval manuscripts in about 1870, and his collection was sold at Sotheby's on 16 December 1903 (this manuscript not recorded in Schoenberg's Database of Manuscripts).
    3. Purchased from the London Bookseller Bertram Dobell, 1904, his name a loosely inserted blue paper slip ("42365. Dobell, 1904 £1-12-0").


    Alan Perreiah, Paul of Venice: A Bibliographical Guide, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 1986.
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