Treatise on Grammar for Massimiliano Sforza


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Treatise on Grammar for Massimiliano Sforza

Alternative titles
Ianua – Abhandlung über die Grammatik – Grammatica del Donato – Libri per una educazione rinascimentale – Libretto del ABC.
Physical features
Codex on parchment, dimensions 274 x 177 mm, i-54-i’ folios.
Coeval binding (ca. 1476-1499) on leather-covered wooden boards, blind and gold tooling with coats of arms and devices of the Sforza family on both plates, gilt edges.
Made in Italy, at the Milanese court of Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza, also known as Ludovico il Moro (b. 1452, d. 1508). Last decade of the 15th century, between the birth of his son Massimiliano Sforza (b. 1493, d. 1530) and the fall of Ludovico in 1499.
The Treatise on Grammar for Massimiliano Sforza was commissioned by Ludovico Maria Sforza for the education of his son Massimiliano. Together with the Liber Iesus – which Ludovico commissioned on the same occasion – it would have served the young prince to learn the rudiments of the Latin language and the moral, religious and civic virtues indispensable for the education of a future duke.
History of the manuscript
In the 18th century the codex was acquired by the collector Don Carlo Trivulzio (b. 1715, d. 1789), joining the library that the ancient Milanese Trivulzio family had started collecting since the 15th century. On the first pastedown is the ex libris of the Biblioteca Trivulzio. In the early 1930s, folio 3 of the manuscript was stolen, never to be found again. Fortunately, it had recently been photographed, and that photograph, albeit in black and white, formed the irreplaceable basis for reconstructing the original appearance of the lost folio. In 1935 – after the theft of folio 3 – the Comune di Milano acquired the Biblioteca Trivulzio, which became the Biblioteca Trivulziana del Castello Sforzesco. The Treatise on Grammar for Massimiliano Sforza is still preserved there today, under the shelfmark MS Triv 2167.
Treatises / Secular booksLiterature.
Al illustrissimo signor conte de Pavia (f. 2r); Ianua (ff. 3r-42r); Disticha Catonis (ff. 43r-50r); Notabilia grammaticae (ff. 50r-52r); Emuletur Maximilianus patris vestigia (f. 53v). The main section consists of the Ianua, a Latin treatise on Grammar attributed to the Roman grammarian and rhetoric teacher Aelius Donatus, who lived in the 4th century. Donatus was a very influential grammarian of his time and his writings were used as fundamental reference and study tools up to the humanistic age. Among his pupils he had St Jerome of Stridon (b. ca. 345, d. 420) and Tyrannius Rufinus (b. ca. 344, d. 411).
Humanistic minuscule.
Giovanni Battista Lorenzi.
The series of miniatures includes a portrait of Massimiliano Sforza (f. 1v), Massimiliano Sforza on horseback (f. 10v), Massimiliano Sforza at a lesson (f. 13v), Massimiliano Sforza in the garden with some companions (f. 26r), Massimiliano Sforza in allegorical triumph (f. 29r), Massimiliano Sforza at the crossroads between Vice and Virtue choosing Virtue (f. 42v), a master handing a volume to his pupil (f. 43r), a portrait of Ludovico il Moro (f. 54r). Also worth mentioning are the illustrations on folio 3, which was stolen in the 1930s. On the recto was the frontispiece of the manuscript – which depicted a group of youths including Massimiliano Sforza represented in the act of pacifying two quarrelling companions. The scene was set within an arch, at the top of which two putti held a scroll inciting the study of Latin grammar. On the verso of the folio there was a small rounded portrait of Ludovico il Moro at the top of the page, a historiated initial P depicting Massimiliano listening to his master’s explanation, two pages holding the banner of the Count of Pavia (Massimiliano) and a lighted torch, the Sforza ducal shield on the bottom edge.
The illustrative apparatus is due to various artists – Giovan Pietro Birago, Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis (b. 1455, d. 1509), the Master of the Epithalium of Giasone del Maino, the Master of Anna Sforza.
External links
Grafiche in Comune – Biblioteca virtuale della grafica e dell’illustrazione libraria del Comune di Milano (digitised manuscript) – Manus Online – Manuscripts in Italian libraries (detailed description).

Data sheet compiled by Illuminated Facsimiles®



Grammatica Sforza. Grammatica del Donato e Liber Iesus

Distribution – The publisher has released in one edition the facsimiles of MSS Triv. 2163 and Triv. 2167, which are therefore part of the same print run and are sold together – accompanied by a single commentary volume and issued in the same slipcase.
Publisher – Franco Cosimo Panini Editore (Modena, 2016), by concession of the Comune di Milano – Biblioteca Trivulziana del Castello Sforzesco. The facsimile was produced in collaboration with the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana – Treccani.
Series – La Biblioteca Impossibile – authoritative and valuable collection of facsimiles dedicated to the Renaissance, inaugurated in 1995 by Franco Cosimo Panini Editore.
Limited edition – The facsimile is published in a unique limited edition of 699 copies for worldwide distribution. The publisher guarantees that no further copies will be made.
Type of reproduction – Full-size colour reproduction of the entire original document – the facsimile reproduces the original document as it appeared before the loss of folio 3, which has been reconstructed on a documentary basis. The facsimile reproduces the physical characteristics of the original manuscript as closely as possible, with the aim of substituting it in scientific research and in the libraries of bibliophile collectors.
Binding – Brown morocco binding corresponding to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian edited by Jonathan J.G. Alexander, Pier Luigi Mulas, Marzia Pontone.
Slipcase – The triple compartment slipcase contains the two facsimiles of the MSS Triv. 2163 and Triv. 2167 and the commentary volume.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate with the copy number is authenticated by the publisher and the Biblioteca Trivulziana.
ISBN – 978-88-570-1169-1.

Copyright photos Franco Cosimo Panini Editore

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Franco Cosimo Panini Editore