Codex Laurentianus Mediceus

Codex Laurentianus Mediceus Facsimile Edition

Italy — 5th Century

No luxury manuscript, but committed to the pure text itself: Virgil's major works preserved in the original state of about the year 450 for study purposes and annotated with scholarly notes by humanists

  1. The text of the Georgics, Aeneid, and part of the Eclogues is written in rustic capitals

  2. Corrections in red ink were made by the Italian humanist Julius Pomponius Laetus (1428-98)

  3. It was acquired from the Vatican Library by Cosimo I de' Medici (1519-74), Grand Duke of Tuscany

Codex Laurentianus Mediceus

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Codex Laurentianus Mediceus

The Mediceus Laurentianus or Vergilius Mediceus is a famous manuscript written in Rome ca. 450 containing the most complete surviving text from antiquity of Virgil’s three major works: the * Eclogues *, the Georgics, and the Aeneid. Created with accuracy in mind for the purpose of studying the text rather than as a luxury manuscript, it is one of the most important textual sources concerning the works of Virgil. After passing through the hands of various important humanists including the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I de' Medici, the manuscript came to its current repository, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, ca. 1587.

Codex Laurentianus Mediceus

The individual manuscripts of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, which belonged to the historical basic holdings when the library was opened in 1571, are each referred to as Codex Laurentianus. The Codex Mediceus or Vergilius Mediceus is a Virgil (70-19 BC) manuscript written ca. 450 in rustic capitals preserved in the Laurentian Library, which contains the Georgics, Aeneid, and part of the Eclogues. A note at the end of the Eclogues records that the manuscript was corrected at Rome by Turcius Rufius Apronianus Asterius, who was consul in 494 during the reign of Theodoric the Great.

Form and Content of the Manuscript

Written in all capitals without punctuation or spaces between words, the manuscript contains the entirety of the Georgics and the Aeneid and only lacks the first five of the Eclogues and the beginning of the sixth up to verse 47. It is believed that the manuscript originally consisted of ca. 229 leaves, 220 of which are preserved, which measure 21.5 x 15 cm. The script is rather small in size making the manuscript appear less monumental than others, but this allows for 29 verses per page. It is a sophisticated text meant for private study rather than display, which is emphasized by the corrections made to the text for the sake of accuracy even at the expense of “marring” its appearance.

Coveted by Renaissance Humanists

The manuscript was recorded in Bobbio Abbey in the Emilia-Romagna region in 1467. In 1471, the manuscript found its way into the hands of the Italian humanist Julius Pomponius Laetus (1428-98) who made corrections of his own in red ink. It was first preserved in the Vatican Library, and later purchased by Cosimo I de' Medici (1519-74), the Grand Duke of Tuscany, from the heirs of Cardinal Rodolpho Pio da Carpi (1500-64), a prominent humanist and patron of the arts in his own right. Soon after 1587, it passed into the possession the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, where the parchment codex is kept today. There is also a folio in the Vatican Library listed Cod. Vat. Lat. 3225, f.76.


Alternative Titles
Scilicet P. Virgilii Maronis Bucolicorum pars, Georgicorum libri IV et Aeneidos libri XII
Virgilio mediceo
Il Codice Mediceo di Virgilio
Size / Format
442 pages / 22.0 × 15.0 cm
5th Century
The Bucolics, the Georgics and the Aeneid
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Laurentianus Mediceus – Plut. 39, 1 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy) Facsimile Edition
Typis Regiae Officinae Polygraphicae – Rome, 1931
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Vergili Medicei simillimum publice phototypice impressum. Codex Laurentianus Mediceus

Publisher: Typis Regiae Officinae Polygraphicae – Rome, 1931
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Binding: Vellum binding with brown leather straps and cream leather facings
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
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