Item Details

Call Number: MS Hunter 47 (T.2.5)
Title: Historia
Images: [ MS Hunter 47 fol. 1r ] [ MS Hunter 47 fol. 120v ] [ MS Hunter 47 fol. 171r detail ]
Date of Creation: Between 1399 and 1599
Level of Description: Item
Part of MS Hunter 1-658
Content: Quinti Curtii, Historia.
Quintus Curtius' History of Alexander the Great. Books III.-XI.
Begins (in an exquisitely floreated page, the first three lines respectively blue, gold, and purple, [f. 1] recto lines 1-6): QVINTI CVRTII DE REBVS GESTIS | ALEXANDRI MAGNI REGIS MA | CEDONVM LIBER TERTIUS | I [exquisitely historiated, gilt initial, a scribe in cap and flowing robe, sits at a desk, in a scriptorium, through the open window of which a tree is seen. The design and draughtsmanship are perfect, and the brown and gold are contrasted with the ultramarine of the panelled setting, which has two scenes from the life of Alexander, the whole enclosed in a brown and gilt floreated border] NTER HAEC | ALEXANDER | ad conducendum.
Ends (19, 7 verso lines 20, 21): post annis Alexandriam translatum est: omnis- | que memoriae ac nominis honos habetur. [Greek characters] [another hand].
Remarks: The illumination of page 1 is, according to Dr. Young, "the most beautiful in the Library." The written part appears laid upon the ornamentation which surrounds it. On the top is a brown and gold medallion of Alexander, in a spiked crown, flanked by cornucopias (light fawn colour) in front of an arched verde antico pediment supported by similar pilasters, whose bases bear bronze inlaid plaques, between which two cherubs, with crimson gilt wings, support a green foliated wreath enclosing a crowned shield whose arms have been defaced utterly. The base is of pink and grey inlaid marble. Down each margin depend bronze trophies, cornucopias, vases, etc., and the background of all is ultramarine. Compared with the Ed. Pr. of Vindelinus Spirensis (Hunt. Mus. Lib. Be. 3, 12), this MS. differs in the following points: The books in the Ed. Pr. are not numbered, consequently the eleventh and last book ends: liber nonus explicit, whereas 18, 7 verso has a marginal note in the same hand as the text: deficit finis decimi et principi | um undecimi libri. At the same time the rubricator forgot that he had begun with Bk. III., for Bk. V. begins: QVINTI CVRTII DE REBVS GESTIS | ALEXANDRI MAGNI REGIS MACE | DONVM LIBER TERTIVS EXPLICIT: | Q [illuminated initial] VAE INTERIM. The lacuna: semiuiui hominis... Interim dum talia, &c., at the end of Book V. and the beginning of Book VI. is left in the MS. as in the Ed. Pr. The Florentine Junta of 1507 (Hunt. Mus. Lib. Bb. 3, 28), fol. 71 verso (after the first lacuna) has: QVINTI LIBRI FINIS DEEST. | ET PRINCIPIUM SEX | TI. Ibi Darii exitus. Hic belli initium inter Macedonas et | Lacedaemonios continebatur | (p)VGNAE DISCRIMEN IMMI | SIT, obtruncatis, while the MS. continues after the lacuna: Interim dum talia fierent: ab Alexandro . bellum or- | tum est inter Macedonas et Lacedemonios. Antipa | ter Macedonice praefectus in hoc bello contra regem | Lacedemoniorum obtinuit: sicut hic exponitur: hoc | pugnae discrimen, etc.
18, 4 recto, lacuna: grecia quidem... Igitur XXX nauibus = f. 143 recto Vindel; f. 154 recto Junta.
18, 6 recto, lacuna: caeteros... sine nominis = f. 145 recto Vindel; f. 156 recto Junta.
18, 7 recto, lacuna: uic | turi sunt... Quousque = f. 145 verso Vindel; f. 157 recto Junta.
18, 7 verso, lacuna: ira retrucidaret... Intuentibus lachrymae = f. 145 verso Vindel; f. 157 recto Junta.
This MS. is described as 'Incunabel, Pergamentdruck,' by H. Schenkl, Bib. Pat. Lat. Brit. iv. 4. p. 18, No. 3110.
[Formerly Q.1.2; Q.1.2].
Treasures of Scottish libraries, Dublin (1964):
Quintus Curtius. History of Alexander the Great.
Glasgow University, Hunterian Library, MS. 47 (T.2.5)
Parchment, 190 ff., 315 x 220 mm. Italy (?Veneto), s. xv/xvi.
Books iii-ix of the History (i-ii are lost), a work modelled on Livy, written in the time of Claudius or Vespasian. The text is written in a round, upright humanistic script, the first folio appearing to hang in front of the quasi-architectural decoration which surrounds it. On a marble base stand two verde antico columns inset with bronze plaques, between the bases of which two putti hold a coat of arms (erased). The pillars support an arched pediment with a medallion of Alexander, flanked by cornucopias. Down each margin hang trophies, vases, etc., in bronze, touched with gold. The background is blue. The initial shows a scribe at work. The style is that which originated in Padua under the influence of Mantegna's romantic revival of the classical world.
Attributed to Rodolfo Brancalupo, Naples, c. 1480 by A,C. de la Mare.
Repaired, January 1953 by D. Cockerell & Son. (Resewn, corners of boards repaired, retacked with Hermitage calf & lettered "Q. Curtii historia MS." Original(?) title label mounted on inside of front board).
Physical Description: Bound volume.
Vellum, 10½ x 8 3/4, ff. 190, written in Italy (in a beautiful Roman hand), in single cols. of 28 lines, each 7 3/4 x 4½, margined and ruled with bodkin, no signatures or foliation, catchwords (vertical), floreated first page, illuminated initials, rubrics, few marginalia, cropped, but clean and otherwise well preserved, fol. sec. diuidit. Cent. XV.-XVI.
Binding: Millboards, covered mottled calf, richly tooled sides and edges, recently re-backed, gilt edges, title (gilt) on original(?) crimson morocco shield: Q. CVRTII | ALEXAND | MAGNVS | MS. Cent. XVII.
[For detailed collation see: John Young and P. Henderson Aitken, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of The Hunterian Museum in The University of Glasgow. (Glasgow, 1908), p. 54.]
Access: Normal conditions
Language: Latin
Material Type: Document
Archival History: Purchased by William Hunter at a book sale, 14.1.1765, lot 370. A partially annotated sale catalogue 'A catalogue of the library of the Right Honourable the Earl of Macclesfield, President of the Royal Society, lately deceased', held at the British Library (S.C.S. 5 (70)), describes the work as 'Quintus Curtius. Liber manuscriptus pulcherrimus in pergameno, foliis deaurat'. Hunter is recorded as paying £15-17-6.
Notes: This manuscript This manuscript has been exhibited on the following occasions: 'Treasures of Scottish Libraries', National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1961; 'Treasures from Scottish libraries', Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1964; 'William Hunter, Book Collector', Glasgow University Library, Apr.-Sep. 1983; 'The Glory of the Page', Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. 1988, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Jun.-Aug. 1988, Burrell Collection, Glasgow, Nov. 1988-Jan. 1989.has been exhibited on the following occasions: 'The Glory of the Page', Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. 1988, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Jun.-Aug. 1988, Burrell Collection, Glasgow, Nov. 1988-Jan. 1989.
Bibliography: J.J.G. Alexander, Notes on some Veneto-Paduan illuminated books of the Renaissance, Arte Veneta, v. 23 (1969) pp. 17-18 (see letter from E. Schröter, 28 July 1979, Special Collections Correspondence);.Jack Baldwin, William Hunter, 1718-1783, book collector: catalogue of an exhibition (Glasgow, 1983), no. 10; A.C. de la Mare, 'The Florentine scribes of Cardinal Giovanni of Aragon', Il libro e il testo (Urbino, 1984), pp. 245-293 (MS 47 noted on p. 278 and p. 290 - MS 47 written by Rodolfo Brancalupo); National Library of Scotland, Treasures of Scottish libraries: catalogue (Edinburgh, 1961); Nigel Thorp, The glory of the page (London, 1987), no. 102; Treasures from Scottish libraries: catalogue of an exhibition held in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (Edinburgh, 1964); John Young & P.H. Aitken, A catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1908), pp 53-54.
Accession Number: 2482
See details of how this material was acquired
Repository Code: GB 0247

Names associated with this item:

author: Quintus Curtius
exhibition: Glory of the Page 1987-1989
Exhibition of medieval manuscripts from Glasgow University Library: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Oct. 1987-Jan. 1988, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb.-Apr. …
exhibition: Treasures from Scottish Libraries 1964
Exhibition, Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1964.
exhibition: Treasures of Scottish Libraries 1961
Exhibition, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1961.
exhibition: William Hunter, Book Collector 1983
Exhibition, Glasgow University Library, 14 april-30 September 1983.
provenance: George Parker 2nd Earl of Macclesfield c 1697-1764
Astronomer and politician. President of the Royal Society, 1752-1764.
scribe: Rodolfo Brancalupo fl.1480
Scribe, Naples.
subject: Alexander III King of Macedonia 356-323 B.C.
Alexander the Great.
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