Military Codex of Christopher Columbus


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Illuminated Facsimiles

Military Codex of Christopher Columbus

ALTERNATIVE TITLES – Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis dono datum ab Alexandro PP.VI Christophoro Columbo – Libro d’Ore e Codicillo Militare di Cristoforo Colombo – Book of Hours and Military Codicil of Christopher Columbus – Livre d’Heures et Codicille Militaire de Christophe Colomb – Stundenbuch und der Militär-Kodizill von Christopher Columbus.
CODICOLOGY – Codex on parchment, dimensions 130 x 90 mm, 125 folios (250 pages).
ORIGIN – Spain.
DATING – The manuscript was produced between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century.
PATRONAGE AND OWNERS – According to tradition, this small book of hours was given by Pope Alexander VI, born Rodrigo de Borja (b. 1431, d. 1503), to Christopher Columbus (b. 1451, d. 1506). See in this regard f. 63v, where between the lines of the document known as Codicillo militare di Cristoforo Colombo one reads: «S(anctissi)mus Alexander Papa vi. me hoc deuotissimo precum libello honorarit» (The Most Holy Pope Alexander VI honoured me with this most devout little prayer book). This donation is reiterated in the 18th-century note on the frontispiece of the codex: «Officium B. Mariae Virginis dono datum ab Alexandro PP.VI Christophoro Columbo» (Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, gift given by Pope Alexander VI to Christopher Columbus).
PRESENT REPOSITORY – The codex is today preserved in Rome, in the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana.
GENRE – Christianity, Private devotional books, Chronicles / History / Laws.
CONTENT – The Corsinian ms. 55.K.28 is first and foremost a book of hours, i.e. a compendium of devotional texts for the use of the laity. The heart of each book of hours consists of the Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis (Office of the Virgin), hence the name «book of hours». The manuscript is further characterised by the presence – on f. 63v – of a document written in a different calligraphy from the rest of the codex: the codicil (i.e. a disposition of last will not subject to the formalities of a will) of Christopher Columbus according to military custom. The authorship of the codicil has been debated since the 18th century and even today, the most important scholars of the Columbus papers have not reached a unanimous solution.
STYLE – Renaissance.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles

Anhang; uffiziolo; officiolo


Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document – The facsimile reproduces as close as possible the physical characteristics of the original document, with the aim to substitute it in the scientific research and in the libraries of the bibliophile collectors. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document. The binding might not correspond to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment.
PublisherIstituto della Enciclopedia Italiana – Treccani (Rome, 2007).
Series – Tesori Svelati.
Limited edition – The unique and unrepeatable edition of the facsimile is 750 copies for the whole world, numbered by hand from 1 to 750. Twenty non-selling copies not numbered are reserved for the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.
Certificate of authenticity – The authenticity certificate on the colophon bears the double signature of Francesco Paolo Casavola (President of the Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana from 1998 to 2009) and Giovanni Conso (President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei from 2003 to 2009).
Writing support material – Special aged like-parchment paper.
Binding – Red velvet cover with cornerpieces on both boards and central boss on front board.
Commentary – Italian language commentary volume, size 145 x 235 mm., 307 pages. Essays by Casavola, Francesco Paolo; Gil, Juan; Schettini Piazza, Enrica; Mahn-Lot, Marianne; Manzari, Francesca; Cipriani, Marco; Ursini, Francesco; Guardo, Marco.
Slipcase – The facsimile and the commentary volume are housed in an elegant, leather-bound, double-compartment box.

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