Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures | 06 December 2017

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Lot no.

38

Prudentius, Psychomachia , in Latin verse, manuscript on parchment [Italy

Sold for £1700

Est: £1000–1500

Prudentius, Psychomachia , in Latin verse, manuscript on parchment [Italy, fourteenth century]

Single leaf, with single column of 35 lines in a rounded Italian gothic bookhand (written space: 165 by 85mm.), initials in main pen beginning each line, heavy grain pattern on one side (this natural to the parchment but causing some discolouration), two marks on reverse from old adhesive and one area of smudging from water damage, small wormholes, but overall good and with wide and clean margins, 201 by 152mm.

Prudentius (or Aurelius Prudentius Clemens) was born in Tarraconensis (now northern Spain) in 348, and served as a lawyer, local governor and then in the court of Emperor Theodosius I. As an author, he was one of a tiny handful who attempted to synthesise Classical knowledge and culture with the newly emergent Christian religion. This poem is his greatest work, and in accordance with its title: ‘the battle of the souls’, pits virtue and vice against each other in the first medieval allegorical work, opening a tradition that would eventually produce the Roman de la Rose and Dante’s Divine Comedy . In this work the figures of Hope, Sobriety, Chastity and Humility battle with Pride, Wrath, Paganism and Avarice, and defeat them. The leaf here contains lines 742-806, discussing Faith’s follower Concord/Peace as an opponent to Discord/Heresy.

Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures

Wednesday 06 December 2017, 2.00pm

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street
London
W1S 1PP

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Saturday 2 December
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