Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures | 06 December 2017

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Lot no.

5

Aristotle, Metaphysica , book VIII, in Latin translation

Unsold

Est: £2000–3000

Aristotle, Metaphysica , book VIII, in Latin translation, decorated manuscript on parchment
[Italy, late thirteenth century or c. 1300]


Single leaf, with double column of 32 lines in a professional early gothic bookhand, capitals touched with hairline penwork, paragraph marks in alternate red or blue, one blue initial with red penwork infill and red and blue penwork extensions filling whole inner border, marginalia in tiny script, nineteenth-century inscription “Biblioth. Th. Weber 1847” from book the leaf was reused in, some staining on two edges from turn-in of leather covering on binding this leaf was reused on, small areas of paper adhering and small holes at edges, scuffs to reverse (but text perfectly legible), trimmed at inner edge (but without affect to text), overall good to fair condition, 225mm. by 180mm.


From the collection of Bernhard Bischoff (1906-1991), and thence to Bernard Rosenthal, purchased after Bischoff’s death, thereafter Quaritch and then the Schøyen collection, their MS. 1829; sold immediately after their sale in Sotheby’s, 10 July 2012, part of lot 27.

The works of Aristotle (384-322 BC.) were described by Cicero as “a river of gold”, and have shaped over two millennia of philosophy and science. That said, with the fall of a unified Roman Empire knowledge of them was lost to the West until their rediscovery in Greek and Arabic translations in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. William of Moerbeke was the first to undertake the translation of Aristotle’s surviving works, perhaps at the behest of Thomas Aquinas, and certainly Aquinas’ use of it popularised the work among the universities of Europe, and set in motion a wave of interest in Aristotle which foreshadowed the Renaissance. The leaf here is from a fine Italian university copy of the text, and contains parts of Metaphysica VII, 3-4.

Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures

Wednesday 06 December 2017, 2.00pm

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street
London
W1S 1PP

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