(1) The scribe is very possibly Johannes Nydenna de Confluentia (perhaps Coblenz), who usually signs his works “IO.NY.” (see Alexander and de La Mare, Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J.R. Abbey, 1969, no.43, esp. pl.LV, and in particular compare the occasional use of a capital ‘Q’ with a long trailing tail mid sentence). By 1471, Nydenna was working in Padua, most prominently for Jacopo Zeno (bishop1460-81). The decoration is distinctively that of Padua or neighbouring Venice. Padua was an early centre for humanism, under the patronage of the Cicero scholar, Gasparinus de Bergamo (c.1360-c.1431) and his pupil, Pietro Donato (1380–1447), bishop of Padua, bibliophile, art collector and close associate of Poggio Bracciolini.
(2) Signed “A. Dangalieres”, at the foot of fol.1r; doubtless the French Jesuit scholar Antoine Dangalieres (d.1679), of Grenoble. There is a name “Gaspar” on the first endleaf in same ink as an elaborate signature on fol.1r.
Letter collections are of great importance and have drawn the interest of readers throughout all ages. More polished treatises may be drafted and refined, and are imbued with rhetorical flourishes, but letters often include personal comments and incidental observations. Cyprian’s letters contain a wealth of information on the first centuries of the Church, its constitution, its discipline, and its liturgy, as well as allowing us to grasp at the spirit of a time when religious belief could bring exile or martyrdom. The texts here are also of paramount importance as witnesses to the version of the Old Latin Bible current in the Northern African colonies in the first half of the third century. There are fifty-eight quotations from this version of the Old Testament and eighty-two from the Gospels in this manuscript, as well as over 200 allusions and paraphases.
The text was fundamental for theologians of the Middle Ages and provoked great interest amongst Renaissance scholars. Hartel identifies 431 extant manuscripts (not including the present example). The editio princeps was printed in Rome in 1471, dedicated to Pope Paul II, and was reprinted twice in Italy before the end of the fifteenth century.
This manuscript is most probably a direct descendant of Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana C 131 inf., which was in the library of the humanist bishop of Milan, Francesco Pizzelpasso (d.1443), in the first half of the fifteenth century. The texts here have many variations from the edition of 1471. They comprise the Epistola ad Demetrianum (fols. 5v-13v; Pat. Lat., IV, 544B-564B, Simonetti, CCSL., III A, pp.33–51); Epistola ad Fortunatum (fols.13v-20; Weber, CCSL., III, pp. 183–206); Ad Moysen et Maximum Quarta (fol.23r-24r; Diercks, CCSL., III B, pars III, 1, pp. 177–182); epistola X, opening “Cyprianus martiribus et confessoribus …” (fols.25r-26v; Diercks, CCSL., III B, pars III, 1, pp. 46–55); De ecclesiae catholicae unitate (fols.26v–34v; Bévenot, CCSL., III, pars I, pp. 249–268); De dominica oratione (fols.34v-43v; Moreschini, CCSL., III A, pars II, pp. 90-113); De mortalitate (fols. 44r-50v; Simonetti, CCSL., III A, pars II, pp. 17-32); De opere et elimosinis (fols.50v-58v; Simonetti, CCSL., III A, pars II, pp. 55-72); De pacientia (fols.58v-66r; Moreschini, CCSL., III A, pars II, pp. 118-133); De zelo (fols.66r-71r; Simonetti, CCSL., III A, pars II, pp. 75-86); De disciplina et de habitu virginum (fols.71r-78r; Hartel, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, III, pp. 187-205); De lapsis (fols.78r-89r; Bévenot, CCSL., III, pars I, pp. 221-242); epistola XXX (fols.89r-92r), LX fols.92r-93v), LVII (fols.93v-95v), LIX (fols.95v-104r), LXIII (fols.104r-109v), LV (fols.109v-118r), VI (fols.118r-120r); followed by the treatise De laude martirum (fols.120r-128v; Hartel, CSEL., III, Appendix, pp.26-52); further letters: epistola XXVIII (fols.128v-129v), XI (fols.129v-131v), XXXIX (fols.131v-133r), LVIII (fols.133r-137r), LXXVI (fols.137r-139v), LXXIII (fols.139v-146v), LXXI (fols. 146v-147v), LXX (fols.147v-149r); the treatise Sententie Episcoporum octuaginta octo (fols.149r-156r; Hartel, CSEL., III, pp. 435-461); further letters: LXXIV (fols.156r-160r), XL (fols.160r-160v), XLIX (fols.160v-161v), LII (fols.161v-163r), XLVII (fol.163), XLV (fols.163r-164v), XLIV (fols.164v-165r), LI (fols.165r-165v), XIII (fol.165v-167r), XLIII (fols.167r-169v), LXV (fols.169v-171r), I (fols.171r-172r), LXI (fols.172r-173r), XLVI (fols.173r-173v), LXVI (fols.173v-176r), LIV (fols.176r-177r), LXIX (fols.177r-180v and 180v-182v), LXVII (fols.182v-186r), LXIV (fols.186r-187r), II (fols.187r-188r), XXXII (fol.188), XX (fols.188r-189r), XII (fols.189r-190r), LXXVIII (fols.190), LXXIX (fol.190v), LXXVII (fols.190v-191v), XXXI (fols.191v-194r), LXX (fols.194r-195r), VII (fol.195), V (fols.195v-196r), XIV (fols.196r-197r), IV (fols.197r-199r), LVI (fol.199), III (fols.199v-201r), LXXII (fols.201r-202r), XII (fols.202r-203r), XVI (fols.203r-204r), XV (fols.204r-205r), XVII (fol.205), XVIII (fol.205v-206r), XIX (fol.206), XXVI (fols.206v-207r), XXIV (fol.207), XXV (fols.207v-208r), IX (fol.208), XXIX (fol.208), XXVII (fols.208v-209v), XXIII (fols.209v-210r), XXXVI (fols.210r-211r), XXXIII (fol.211), XXXIV (fols.211v-212v), LXXX (fols.212r-213r); the three treatises connected to Cyprian in error: Adversus Judeos qui insecuti sunt (fols.213r-216v); De aleatore (fols.216v-220r) and the De duobus montibus (fols.220r-224v); the authentic Testimonia ad Quirinum (fols 225r-264v; Bévenot, CCSL., III, pars I, pp.3-179); the Liber de idolarum vanitate (fols.265r-267v; Pat. Lat., IV, col. 563-582A); a final few letters: LIII (fols.267v-268r), XXI (fols.268r-269r), XXII (fols.269r-270r), VIII (fols.270r-271r), XXXV (fol.271), XLI (fols.271r-272r), XLII (fol.272); and the short Vita of Saint Cyprian, opening “Ciprianus religiosus antistes ac testis dei gloriosus…” (fols.272r-279v).
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