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A Recently Discovered Autograph by Philippus de Diversis from 1455: Epistles of St Jerome, St Augustine and others

Zdenka Janeković-Römer orcid id ; Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU, Dubrovnik, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 1.305 Kb

str. 133-178

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A recently discovered autograph by Philippus de Diversis (Filippo de Diversi), codex in which he copied the epistles of St Jerome, St Augustine and others, casts new light upon his life and work. Until now little has been known about Diversi’s life after 1444, yet at this moment we know for certain that in 1455 he was still living in Venice. He was no longer a teacher but worked as a magistrate in Padua. Then, at a fairly advanced age, he copied selected epistles of the church fathers ‘for his own use’, as he describes in the closing part of the text. Under the title Extracts from s. Hieronymus and others, 1455. Holkham Ms. 131. 81 extracts with illuminated borders and initials. Written by Philippus de Diversis de Quartigianis, of Lucca, at Venice, the voluminous text (278 folios) is kept at the rich library of the Earl of Leicester in Holkham Hall in England. The codex contains eighty-one epistles: fifty-one written by St Jerome, seventeen by St Augustine, two by Origen (in Jerome’s translation) and Damascenus, and one by Volusius, Marcellinus, Longinus, Epiphanius (in Jerome’s translation), Pammachius and Oceanus, Paula and Eustochio. The manuscript is written in calligraphic Gothic script, in Latin, illuminated with tendrils and garlands but also human figures at two places —St Jerome, St Augustine, St Ambrose and St George. The borders contain Diversi’s references to certain parts of the text, important topics, comments and comparisons. Judging by the selection and volume of the marginal notes, Diversi’s main focus was on the topic of virginity and marriage in particular, as well as polemical writings dealing with the language, translation and interpretation of the biblical texts. Diveris’s choice of the epistles of Jerome and Augustine may partly be accounted by the thinking and attitudes prevailing at the time. Apparently, the study of the works of the church fathers witnessed a revival in Humanism, as part of the general movement to revive interest in antiquity. Humanists sought models of their own literary genres among the classical Greek and Roman authors but also church fathers, cultivated on the Roman literary and rhetorical tradition. St Jerome and St Augustine were among the most popular church fathers in Humanism and most copies of their works originate from the fifteenth century. Jerome’s figure has been integrated in the Croatian culture in a specific way, for he was considered a native who introduced the Glagolitic script and liturgy in the Croatian language.
The article includes a list of all the epistles copied in the codex, accompanied by bibliographical data.

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