The Type-Facsimile of the Codex Mediceus - A Superb Specimen, The Sheets Uncut and Never Sewn

Vergilius Maro, Publius (70-19 B.C.)

P. Vergili Maronis Codex antiquissimus... in Bibliotheca Mediceo-Laurentiana adservatur ...

Florence: typis Mannianis, 1741


Quarto: 24 x 18.5 cm. Engraved frontispiece, half-title, xxxv (including title page), (1), 459, (1).


Engraved title, [1]2, [2]2, [3]1, [4]-[5]4, [6]6, [7]4 ([7]3 is a cancel), [8]1, "B"2, [9]1, [10]1, C4, D4 +1, [E]4, [F]4 ([F]3 is a cancel), [G]-[H]4, [11]1, [I]4, [K]4, [L]4 +1, [M]-[N]4, [O]4 +1, [P]-[Q]4, [R]4 +1, [S]-[T]4, [U]4 +1, [V]-[X]4, [Y]4 +1, [Z]4; [Aa]-[Bb]4, [Cc]4 +1, [Dd]-[Ff]4, [12]1, [Gg]-[Ii]4, [Kk]4 +1, [Ll]4, [Mm]4 ([Mm]3 is a cancel), [Nn]4 ([Nn]3 is a cancel), [Oo]-[Pp]4, [Qq]4 +1, [Rr]-[Tt]4, [Vv]4 +1, [Xx]-[Zz]4; [13]1, [Aaa]-[Eee]4, [Fff]6

A SPECTACULAR COPY still in sheets folded but UNCUT AND NEVER SEWN and in EXCELLENT CONDITION. This copy offers a valuable opportunity to study the printing, composition, proofing, and correcting of this edition. A number of signatures have cancels and, in addition to the cancels, there are a number of single leaves. Because the book is not sewn, it is possible to investigate, among other things, which of the single leaves and cancels were printed together on the same sheet and, since many of the single leaves are printed in red and black, to explore the complexities of and strategies for printing a book in two colors.  Only three signatures (B, C, and D) are signed. The numbering and signings that appear in brackets in my collation are my own.

“The Codex Mediceus of Virgil (Vergil) (Florence, Laur. 39.1 + Vatican lat. 3225, f.76) is a fifth century manuscript preserved in the Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurentiana) in Florence, with a single leaf preserved in the Vatican Library, contains the Ecologues from VI.48, the Georgics, and the Aeneid. A subscription at the end of the Ecologues records that the manuscript was corrected at Rome by Turcius Rufius Apronianus Asterius consul in 494.

“Reynolds states that the manuscript "found its way to Bobbio, and was still there in 1467." Soon thereafter it was taken to the Vatican Library in Rome, and by 1471 it was in the hands of humanist Julius Pomponius Laetus (Pomponio Leto) who wrote emendations in the codex in red ink. The manuscript was first preserved in the Vatican Library, and later purchased by Cosimo de' Medici from the heirs of Cardinal Rodolpho Pio da Carpi, who died in 1564.

“In 1741 the Codex Mediceus was first published in print in an extraordinary typographic reproduction, or typographic facsimile, planned and edited by Vatican librarian and philologist Pier Francesco Foggini. The edition, printed by Manniani in Florence, was printed with types imitating the uncial script of the original, in red and black. By combining different sizes of types, the printer was also able to include the annotations and emendations of Asterius and Laetus. The edition began with an engraved vignette that reproduced a fragment of the manuscript in more literal detail.”(Jeremy Norman, History of Information)

Reynolds, Texts and Transmission. A Survey of the Latin Classics (1983) 433; Updike I, p. 171 and plate 120). Graesse VI/2, p. 341; Dibdin II, p. 551.