Description: Chrysoloras (Manuel) Erotemata, decorated manuscript on paper, in Greek, [Italy (?Venice), late fifteenth - early sixteenth century]. 150 x 101 mm., I + 193 leaves, unfoliated, twenty-four quires, collation:16, 28, 38-2, 48, 58, 612, 78, 88, 98, 108, 118, 128, 138, 148, 158, 168, 1710, 188, 198, 208, 218, 228, 238, 248-1, lacking two blank ff. in quire 3 and one blank leaf in final quire, blanks: fols. 9-14, 32, 120, 132-134, 187v, 188-192, text block: 113x70 mm., single column, 14 lines, text written in black ink in a cursive Greek hand, headings and initials of each section in red ink, numerous borders in Greek style with interlaced designs, mostly painted in yellow and red, generally in good condition but browned, water-stained and spotted in places, numerous traces of use, a few early ink stains, some wormholes, affecting text only in first quires, pastedowns and flyleaves copiously annotated in different Greek hands, contemporary, probably Venetian, brown morocco, over wooden boards, covers framed within blind border of fillets and roundels, blind lozenge composed of fillets and roundels, at the centre small floral tool, spine with five raised bands, compartments decorated with blind roundels, traces of ties, purple bookmark, leather turn-ins visible on inside of boards, old repair to the lower corner of rear cover, joints rather cracked, especially lower one (with loss of leather), lower cover somewhat abraded ⁂ An interesting manuscript, containing the Greek Donatus, i.e. the elementary Greek grammar composed by the Cretan philologian Manuel Chrysoloras (c.1350-1415) according to the traditional method of questions and answers, called 'erotematic'. It was the most influential and popular Greek grammatical textbook throughout the Italian Renaissance. The work had a very complex textual transmission, with the simultaneous circulation of the original and longer version, and an abridged text, written between 1417-1418 by Chrysoloras' pupil Guarinus from Verona (1374-1460). Guarinus' epitome enjoyed great success, especially in Italy, determining an inextricable tangle in the tradition of the Erotemata, both in manuscript and in print. Numerous 'contaminated' versions are also recorded. It is generally believed that the most ancient extant copy of the Erotemata in original version is the cod. Vat. Pal. Gr.116 in the Vatican Library. The first printed edition of the grammar appeared in Florence in 1496, but manuscript copies were still widespread in the early sixteenth century. The present manuscript, perhaps produced in Venice and decorated with typical Greek interlaced borders, is of the longer version of the Erotemata, whose text is however supplemented by other grammatical texts. Literature: A. Rollo, "Problemi e prospettive della ricerca su Manuele Crisolora" in R. Maisano - A Rollo (eds.), Manuele Crisolora e il ritorno del greco in Occidente, Napoli 2002, pp. 31-85; L. Thorn-Wickert, Manuel Chrysoloras, Frankfurt a.M. 2006.
Notes: Category: Western And Medieval Manuscripts
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