On running an agricultural business: the ancient Roman text in a splendid Renaissance manuscript from Florence

Columella - De Re Rustica

Florence (Italy) — First half of the 15th century

Columella - De Re Rustica

Columella - De Re Rustica

Florence (Italy) — First half of the 15th century

  1. The twelve-book work by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (4 – ca. 70) was discovered by Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459)

  2. Pope Sixtus IV (1414–84), a great bibliophile, owned this splendid Florentine manuscript of the work

  3. It is adorned by large, historiated initials, refined miniatures, and finely woven frames reminiscent of Insular Illumination

Columella - De Re Rustica

Alternative Titles:
  • De Re Rustica
  • De re rustica di Lucio Giunio Moderato Columella
Columella - De Re Rustica – Ms. E 39 – Biblioteca Vallicelliana (Rome, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Roman Empire may have been carved out by its legions, but it was Rome’s farmers, engineers, and bureaucrats that made it run. Rome itself and other cities were connected to the diligent farmers who grew their food by a massive infrastructure network of paved roads and trade fleets travelling through waters freed from pirates by Roman triremes. The techniques utilized by Roman farmers to feed the Empire are detailed in this precious manuscript.

Columella - De Re Rustica

The Council of Constance (1414–18) was a famous ecumenical council resolving the Western Schism that left European allegiances divided between pope and anti-pope since 1378. Aside from resolving the great religious-political crisis, an important discovery was made in the course of those four years: the complete text of the twelve-book De Re Rustica by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (4 – ca. 70), the most important source on Roman agriculture.

A Roman Farming Manual

On Rural Affairs was found by Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459) and his assistant Bartolomeo di Montepulciano as they explored the libraries of Switzerland and France. The books are divided among the following themes: soils, viticulture, fruits, olive trees, big animals, small animals, fish and fowl, wild animals and bee-keeping, gardens, personnel management, calendars, and household management. The work was reproduced in numerous manuscripts, including the sublime specimen at hand, which originated in the first half of the 15th century, probably in Florence judging by the frontispiece. A coat of arms indicates that this codex was once owned by Pope Sixtus IV (1414–84), a great bibliophile. The beautiful white parchment pages were adorned with large, historiated initials, refined miniatures, and finely woven frames reminiscent of Insular Illumination. The illustrations directly and artfully reflect the content of the text, indicating that the illuminator worked closely with the scribe. A truly magnificent union of Ancient Roman agriculture and Renaissance Florentine illumination!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
De Re Rustica
De re rustica di Lucio Giunio Moderato Columella
Date
First half of the 15th century
Language
Script
Humanistic
Content
"De Re Rustica" and "De Arboribus"

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Columella - De Re Rustica“

Columella - De Re Rustica
Columella - De Re Rustica – Ms. E 39 – Biblioteca Vallicelliana (Rome, Italy)
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Columella - De Re Rustica

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato – Rome, 2005
Limited Edition
530 copies
Commentary
1 volume by Patrizia Formica
Language: Italian
More Information
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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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