Lot 69
  • 69

Franciscan Anthology, including an apparently unique account of the visit of the scribe to the Holy Land in 1382, in Latin and Italian, decorated manuscript on paper [Italy (La Spezia), 1383-1393]

8,000 - 12,000 GBP
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  • paper
146 leaves, 290mm. by 215mm., perhaps with 2 leaves missing from fifth and sixth quires, else complete, collation: i2, ii-iii16, iv12, v-vii10, viii12, ix10, x-xi12, xii14, xiii10, double column, 40-46 lines in brown ink in a number of small late gothic bookhands (at least one that of Franceschinus cimator de Pontrenato, the owner of the volume), capitals struck through diagonally in red, angular 2-line initials in red, twenty-five larger initials (3- to 12-line) in same (some with black or red penwork, and those on fol.23r with decorative cross-hatching infill and penwork tracery), first 2 leaves reattached to volume and innermost and outermost edges of others conserved with modern paper, some discolouration and smudges (only significant one on fol.45v erasing a rubric), else good condition, modern dark red leather over wooden boards



1. Franceschinus (or Franciscus) cimator de Pontrenato, whose ownership inscriptions appear on fol.105v, 121r, 144v, dating parts of the work to October and November 1382; the whole volume is dated on its first endleaf "Moccclxxxxiij die xiij februari". The presence of specifically Franciscan saints' lives and the statutes of a friary in the diocese of Luni, in Liguria, suggest an origin there.

2. Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944) of Lugano; his MS.57.

3. Bergendal MS.21; bought by Joseph Pope from Kraus in November 1981: Bergendal catalogue no.21; Stoneman, 'Guide', p.175; Kristeller, VI, p.456.

Catalogue Note


This large volume includes Latin lives of SS. Francis of Assissi (fol.3r), Anthony of Padua (fol.11r), Clare of Assissi (fol.23r); followed by the Office of St. Clare (fol.31r); the Life of St. Ivo of Brittany (fol.32r), followed by his office and the offices for SS. Ubald of Gubbio, Francis, Terenzio (bishop of Luni in the sixth century) and the Office of Christ's Passion and St. Catherine; a poem on the Day of Judgement in Italian ottava rima (fol.47r); De fide orthodoxa of St. John Damascene (fol.50r); a tract on the calendar (fol.50r); Paul the Deacon's Ab origine mundi (fol.52r); a bestiary (fol.53r) with entries for the dove, vulture and parrot, the lion, monkey, elephant, griffon, whale and crocodile; quotations from various saints' lives (fol.57r); lives of Christ and the Virgin in Italian prose, SS. John the Baptist and John of Vercelli (fol.77r); writings of St. Bridget of Sweden in Italian (fol.79r); a poem on the Sacrament in Italian terza rima (fol.82r); St. Patrick's on Purgatory (fol.87r, the famous account of a journey into the underworld); an account of the dedication of St. Lawrence's cathedral in Genoa in 1118 (fol.92r); the offices of St. Peter, Thomas Aquinas and Bartholomew (fol.94r); a tract on the Mass and the offices of SS. Elizabeth and Othmar (fol.99r); Miracles of the Virgin by Anselm (fol.109r); the story of the Seven Sleepers (fol.121r); the Office of the Virgin (fol.122r); the romance of Barlaam and Josephat (fol.124r); a tract on the dedication of a church (fol.127r); Miracles of St. Andrew (fol.129r); Lunar tables (fol.130r); an account of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (fol.133r); the letter of  the Master of Rhodes' on the birth of the Antichrist (fol.135r); Statutes, Constitutions and Ordinances of the diocese of Luni, dated 1368 (fol.136r); itinerary of a visit to Holy Land by the scribe (fol.144v); indulgences and two large circular lunar tables (145r). 

Of unusual interest in this wide-ranging collection are the itineraries of journeys to the Holy Land on fols.144v and 133r. The second opens with the statement that on 23 February 1382 the scribe Franceschinus left home to visit the holy places of Jerusalem; followed by a long list of dates and places with local observations. We can trace his journey from leaving Rome on 18 March, to Giocca and Venice, past Greece to Damascus, where he made port on 7 May, and Jaffa on 21 May, "qui est prima terra Saracinorum", the city of Jerusalem on 23 May, and on to the River Jordan and Bethlehem. He then lists expenses paid to the Saracens, above those for food and drink (fol. 145r), including the costs of gaining entry to various pilgrimage sites. The first itinerary, naming itself the Peregrinationes terre sancte, lists 124 sites for the pilgrim to visit, including those associated with the life of Christ and his Passion, and the resting places of numerous saints. Many are marked with a small red cross, presumably indicating that Franceschinus had been to these sites. 

These are apparently the only surviving records of this journey, and are of value to the study of long distance travel and knowledge of the East in the Middle Ages.