Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, francese Z II

Liber diuersarum Istoriarum in lingua Galicha

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General information

2 frontend papers
Folio notes:The Histoire ancienne begins on the first folio of the second quire and there is a change of hand, also at the beginning of a new quire on f. 117r. The first quire has a table of contents in Latin on f. 1r-1v, followed by some extraneous material largely concerned calendars in French, and also some blank pages. It is conceivable that the first quire is a slightly later addition, but since the table relates closely to the text, which also has an opening rubric in Latin (f. 9r), it seems more likely that the first quire was part of the original manuscript. Although the second scribe's hand is smaller than the first's and he has more lines on the page (43 rather than 40), the text block is the same size and the illustrations also indicate a single project.
LanguageLanguage object (60)
Approx. date1380 to 1391
Date notesOltrogge 1989, 317 gives the date as 1389 to 1394, but since Agnes Gonzaga is identified as an owner, the MS necessarily predates 1391, when she was executed, but postdates her marriage to Francesco Gonzaga in 1380.
Place(s) of productionMantua
Oltrogge 1989, 317
Table of contentsThe table of contents is in Latin. It is not keyed to folio numbers.
First words of second recto foliopardu par sum orguel [et] par son gran outrage’
First words of last recto foliopor cachie & faite por ce si con ie uos di sen uint po]m]pei[us] en iudee
IncipitIncipt Liber diuersarum Istoriarum in lingua Galicha (f. 9 r)
Explicit[et] si len mena olui qua[n]t il sen repaira arome


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:The parchment is mostly in excellent condition. From f.117r, once the second scribe takes over, pricking is generally visible on each folio.



12-1110 1213-2610 

Quire structure:Mainly regular quinions with two quaternions. There is a new hand from f.117r, the beginning of a new quire and immediately after the second quaternion. The first scribe centres the catchwords on the last recto folio of a quire and at least 4 cm below the text; the second scribe places them under the left column, immediately beneath the text. Both scribes decorate the catchwords, though not elaborately.
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (9)
MSCatchwordDisposition object (10)

Physical description

General description:The first quire has a Latin table on f. 1r-1v, and then some extraneous material in French on calendars before the text starts at the beginning of the second quire on f. 9r. It is possible that the original intention was to have a more elaborate and detailed table of contents. The table being in Latin is unusual.
No. of illustrations:52
General illustration:The MS has 10 historiated initials which suggest a segmentation for the text that does not correspond to the segments usually used by modern scholarship. They most notably suggest a subdivision of Rome II (e.g. 193r, 208r and 216r) There is also an elaborated frontispiece on the first page of the text proper (f.9r) and 41 miniatures, usually divided into four panels, illustrating elements of the narrative, following Oltrogge's cycle C. The illustrations are of fine quality: for full details see Oltrogge 1989, 317-20. According to Oltrogge, two artists produced the illustrations: artist 1 executed the frontispiece and sketched all the illustrations; artist 2 was responsible for colouring the historiated initials and illuminations. F. 9r is elaborately decorated in all the margins and the centre column, with faces, birds, and figures emerging from foliate decoration in red, blue and green. The decoration originally continued over the top of the existing page, indicating the MS has been trimmed slightly on rebinding. The opening initial has God enthroned surrounded by 6 medallions. The medallions illustrate elements of the Genesis story to be narrated. There are four reading figures in each corner: the top left hand corner has an angel, but the other three are beasts (top right an eagle, bottom right a lion, bottom left an ox). In the bottom margin an inscription and a coat of arms identify the original owners as Francesco Gonzaga and his first wife Agnes Visconti, whom he had executed for adultery in 1391.
General decoration:Chapters are rubricated. Two-line initials begin each chapter alternating red and blue. Simple, but well-executed pen flourishes extend up and down from the initials by about 10 lines in the opposite colour from the initial.
Evidence of readership:On 123rb there is a very faint correction in the margin, indicating ‘encontre les senators’ should be added before ‘encontre les conceles’. The hand may, however, be the scribe's.
Foliations description:Folio numbers (Arabic) have been added by a modern hand. As noted elsewhere, the two scribes position the catchwords differently on the final verso folio of each quire.

Mise en page

Description 1The codex has a generous bottom margin.
Page sampled12r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions350x260 (mm)
Justification235x170 (mm)
18mm between columns
Column ruling present in Colours object (6) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
Line ruling present in Colours object (6) (RulingMaterials object (3) )
RubricationChapters are rubricated.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (3)
ScriptScript object (6)
Folio rangeFrom 1r to 116v
Date1380 to 1391
Scribe description:A very clear hand. Relatively few abbreviations.

Level of Execution:Execution object (3)
ScriptScript object (6)
Folio rangeFrom 117r to 256r
Date1380 to 1391
Scribe description:The second hand in the MS is smaller and has a single compartment 'a' as opposed to the two compartment 'a' of the first scribe, a more horizontal backwards stroke on his 'd', and uses slightly more abbreviations. The text block is the same size, but scribe 2 writes 43 iines to page as opposed to 40.


DescriptionIn the bottom margin an inscription and a coat of arms identify the original owners as Francesco Gonzaga and his first wife Agnes Visconti, whom he had executed for adultery in 1391.
Date1380 to 1391
PlacePlace object (142)
OwnershipPerson object (96)