ONOSANDER. Libro de optimo imperatore [dedicated to Quintus Verannus, translated from the Greek into Latin by Nicolaus Sagundino], manuscript on paper, [c.1490-1500]
Lot 115
ONOSANDER. Libro de optimo imperatore [dedicated to Quintus Verannus, translated from the Greek into Latin by Nicolaus Sagundino], manuscript on paper, [c.1490-1500]
Sold for £5,250 (US$ 8,988) inc. premium
Lot Details
ONOSANDER
Libro de optimo imperatore [dedicated to Quintus Verannus, translated from the Greek into Latin by Nicolaus Sagundino], manuscript on paper, 30 leaves (3 quires of ten, 28 of text with modern flyleaf at front and back), text in Latin, ruled in brown ink for 31 lines in one column (justification 152 x 105mm.), written in light brown ink in a small and very regular humanistic cursive hand, catchwords throughout, two four-line initial spaces, blindstamp on first and last leaf of text (touching written area), early twentieth century half calf, spine with gilt title "Onosander Latine Ms Saec. XV", paper shelfmark label on upper cover, rubbed, 192 x 140mm., [Italy, perhaps Naples, c.1490-1500]

Footnotes

  • An elegant but unfinished military manuscript, perhaps produced for the Aragonese court in Naples. Onosander (or Onasandros) was a platonic philosopher who dedicated his work on how to be a good general, the Strategikos, to the Roman Veranius, who was a consul in 49 AD. The work considers the sort of morals and social and military qualities and attitudes expected of a virtuous and successful general; his choice of staff, attitude to war, religious duties, military formations, conduct in allied and hostile lands etc.

    Although the rubric of the dedication states "Ad serenissimum Regem Alfonsum Nicolai sagundini traductionem onosandri praefatio", and thus implies that the translation of the text was made either for Alphonso V of Aragon and I of Naples (1385-1458), or for Alphonso II, King of Naples (1448-1495), it is very unlikely that this particular manuscript was made for either of these kings. Nicolaus Sagundino, an Italian philologist, translated several books from the Greek into Latin and lived from 1402 to 1463/64. There is a luxuriously illuminated copy of this text, which is preserved in Valencia at the Biblioteca Històrica [Ms 723; the manuscript is digitized and online =>http://www.europeanaregia.eu/de/handschriften/valencia-universitat-valencia-biblioteca-historica-bh-ms-723/de], was once part of the library of the Aragonese kings in Naples and is dated around 1494-1495. This manuscript has the same dedication formula to king Alfonso as the present one, which suggests that the present manuscript was copied from a codex with this same dedication; which again could imply that it was made in the circle of the scribes close to the Aragonese court in Naples. The copy in the Pierpont Morgan Library (M. 449) has the same dedication, and the script is also located in Naples. The style of the script in our manuscript points to a date of around 1490-1500.

    Contents:

    Fol. 1: Incipit of dedication: "Ad serenissimum regem Alfonsum Nicolai sagundini traductionem onosandri praefatio / [S]uperiore tempore serenisseme Rex cum apud maiestatem tuam. Inclini senati veneti iussu annum ferme in urbe Neapoli peregissem. satis intelligere potui multisque ...", Explicit of dedication: "Eiusque ae et res abste geste autoritate atque amplitudine regia illustrantur et dignitas ac maiestas ipsa rerum gestarum celebritate et gloria decoratur. Sed iam onosandrim ipsum audiamus"
    Fol. 2: Incipit of text: "Onosander ad Q. Verannum de optimo imperatore: eiusque offitio per Nicolaum Sagundinum e greco in latinum traductus. [E]quitandi aut venandi piscandi ..."
    Fol. 28v: text ends: "Verum etiam perpetuande propagandeue sue glorie citra periculum sapiens imperator atque custos et moderator diligentissimus;" text remains unfinished, last two leaves are blank while the quire is complete.

    Provenance:

    1. Rev. Walter Sneyd, Keele Hall, Staffordshire, with his bookplate; sale at Sotheby's, 16 December 1903, lot 565. See Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, nos. 8792 and 186435.
    2. ?George Winter, 1904, his name on a blue paper slip loosely inserted.

    Literature:

    N.R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, vol. 4.
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