3. ARISTOTLE. [Organon.] Composite manuscript on vellum, containing: PORPHYRY. Isagoge; ARISTOTLE. Categoriae, Liber peri hermenias [De interpretatione]; BOETHIUS, Anicius Manlius Severinus. Liber de divisione, De differentiis topicis; ARISTOTLE. Liber topicorum, De sophisticis elenchi, Priora analytica, Posterioria analytica, in Latin. France: mid- and late 12th century and early 13th century].
Decorated manuscript on vellum. 173 ll., complete. Collation: 114 2-68; 7-108 116 125 (of 6, f. 12/1 blank removed); 13-146 158; 16-198; 20-228. Detailed contents: Porphyry, Isagoge ff.1-4 and 11-14v (ff. 5-10v a second copy inserted in the middle of the first gathering); Aristotle, Categoriae ff. 14v-25v; Aristotle, Liber Peri hermenias ff. 25v-31v; Boethius, Liber de divisione ff. 31v-38v; Boethius, De differentiis topicis, books I-III, ff. 38v-53v; Boethius, De syllogismus categoricis, opening sections only, ff. 53v-54v; Aristotle, Liber topicorum ff. 55-97 [a blank leaf, the pair to ff.55, has been removed from the end of this section but there is no gap in either this text or the following]; Aristotle, De sophisticis elenchis ff. 98-117v; Aristotle, Priora analytica, in the Chartres recension ff. 118-149v; Aristotle, Posteriora analytica ff. 150-172v; notes on humors and brief quotations, additions in a 15th-century hand, ff.172v-173v.
Six discrete text blocks (200 x 135 mm. and smaller), each ruled in a different pattern of between 29 and 38 lines, written in dark brown or black ink in different small proto-gothic or gothic bookhands. Opening initials of pale red or brown and red, diagrams in text on ff.132v and 138 and in margin of f.3, extensive marginalia in various hands, ranging from detailed explanatory text and diagrams to informal marginal sketches. Modern blindstamped calf over 15th-century bevelled wooden boards, 15th-century French manuscript deed on vellum (written on recto of a folded folio leaf), formerly used as pastedown, at end.
Condition: a few wormholes in first leaves, rubbed or stained with some loss to text of ff. 1 and 2, f.106 with repair crossing text, vellum repairs to lower corner of f. 11, outer margin of f. 74 and lower margin of f. 91.
Provenance: The individual text blocks are all in French hands, and several of the annotations are in French, providing evidence that the collected manuscript remained in France. Many of the marginalia are seim-effaced A few are dated to the mid-13th century (1240 and 1269). Some of the annotations are unrelated to the text, transcribing for example, the opening of a letter, or recording the receipt of a mattress, but one note, on f. 117v, records payment to a scribe and may relate to the manuscript's production (Mag[ist]ri karoli scriptoris p[ro] exemplari… ii sol[idi]). -- The manuscript deed that was used as a pastedown, dated 1407 and relating to a marriage settlement of Johanette, daughter of Jehan, living at "Poulorgny," suggests that the manuscript was still in France when it was rebound in the fifteenth century. -- Count Oswald Seilern (1901-1967, booklabel, sale Christies London, 26 March 2003, lot 3).
A remarkable composite manuscript, consisting of a compendium of discretely produced manuscripts, originally from more than one codex, that were assembled in the 13th century to provide the entire corpus of works that make up the Aristotelian Organon ("The Instrument"). Organon was the name given by his followers to Aristotle's six works on philosophical logic, accompanied by Porphyry's introduction (Isagoge) and the commentaries by Boethius, through whose Latin translation the works were rediscovered and disseminated throughout medieval Europe. This corpus became the basis for the study of logic and the determining influence on scholastic thought. the assemblage of all of these texts in this thirteenth-century volume provides valuable evidence of the revival of interest in and circulation of the fundamental texts of Antiquity during the in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The composite nature of the manuscript mirrors the incremental rediscovery of the Aristotelian corpus during the "Renaissance of the twelfth century": the first section contains the works subsequently known as the logica vetus, written in a particularly fine and elegant hand, apparently in southern France in the middle of the 12th century. The quality of the penmanship in this section may have been the inspired the addition of the other texts and possibly ensured the preservation of the volume as a whole. The remaining texts contain the other logical texts of Aristotle, which became known as the logica nova, as they were only recovered in the course of the 12th century. It is not clear whether these other texts were added in a single campaign at a later date, although this seems unlikely, but it is evident that some attempt was made to give them a more uniform look by the addition of the pink-red initials and occasional paragraph marks.
The annotations and marginalia attest to the manuscript's extensive use by various readers from the 13th century and later. Precise clues as to provenance are scarce, most names being illegible or incomplete. The notes include erudite explanatory text and logical diagrams, including one, in a 13th-century hand, which schematically depicts Porphyry's questions on the status of "universals" (the problem that brought forth scholasticism), as well as frivolous sketches: at the foot of f.51v is a labeled sketch of a physician holding a urine bottle, and in the outer margin of f.109 a knight astride his horse.
Medieval Aristotle manuscripts of this quality and early date appear rarely on the market.
est. $200000 – £250000