Love, passion, betrayal, war, and doomed heroes: the only version of the Fall of Troy that details the customs, traditions, and habits of the city

History of the City of Troy

Venice (Italy) — 1340 – 1350

History of the City of Troy

History of the City of Troy

Venice (Italy) — 1340 – 1350

  1. Guido delle Colonne, a 13th century author in Messina, wrote one of the most popular accounts of the Trojan War

  2. Colonne’s work was turned into a luxury manuscript in a Venetian atelier ca. 1340–1350 and adorned with 93 miniatures

  3. The colorful manuscript is also adorned with initials of glimmering gold and floral marginalia

Historia Civitatis Troianae

History of the City of Troy

Historiated “S” Initial

Appearing on the first text page of this wonderful specimen of Guido delle Colonne’s famous Trojan epic, this “S” initial shows a warrior king crowned and armed below a crowd of noble lords and ladies. The burnished gold leaf background shines beautifully and immediately attracts the eye of the beholder. This manuscript is distinguished for its depictions of medieval life, and the artist begins doing so even before the reader lays their eyes on the first miniature.

History of the City of Troy

Alternative Titles:
  • Die Geschichte der Stadt Troja
  • Historia Civitatis Troianae
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The codex known as MS 17805 in the Spanish National Library is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful illuminated histories of the Trojan War. Written in Latin by the famous Italian lawyer, poet, and historian Guido delle Colonne, the text is recorded in red and black ink. The events of the text are reflected in colorful and richly detailed miniatures, and are further adorned by historiated initials with burnished gold. The manuscript originated in Venice ca. 1340–1350, and may have come to Spain in the 16th century during the Italian Wars. There are several of works narrating the fall of the city of Troy, but this is the only one detailing the customs, traditions, leisure activities, etc. of the city. The Historia Civitatis Troiane is a unique source about the lost city of Troy whose significance is matched by its beauty.

Historia Civitatis Troiane

Among the intellectual movements to gain steam during the Renaissance was the fascination with myths and histories from antiquity. Few tales have enjoyed such popularity throughout the centuries as that of the Trojan War. Love, passion, rivalries, betrayal, war, and doomed heroes – the tale has it all and was as attractive to medieval audiences as it continues to be for modern ones. One specimen is unique from the rest, because while all tell of the city’s fall, only one details daily life in Troy before its destruction: MS 17805 of the Spanish National Library, also known as the Historia Civitatis Troiane. Written in Latin by the famous Italian lawyer, poet, and historian Guido delle Colonne, the text is recorded in red and black ink, and is illustrated by brightly colored miniatures.

A Gem of the Early Renaissance

Colonne’s work was turned into a luxury manuscript in a Venetian atelier ca. 1340–1350, where it was adorned with 93 miniatures as rich in color as they are in detail, initials illuminated with burnished gold, and even some vegetal decoration in the margins of the text. Although there are other manuscripts with the story of the Fall of Troy, MS 17805 stands above the rest because it is the only one detailing the customs, traditions, leisure activities, etc. of the city. Although the identities of the work’s patron and the masters responsible for it continue to remain a mystery, the illumination was clearly influenced by Paolo Veneciano. This is an outstanding and unique specimen of the early Venetian Renaissance.

Mysterious Journey from Italy to Spain

Buchtel’s famous study of the manuscript has shed some light on the manuscript’s provenance and turbulent history. Although it is not known for certain, it is speculated that the manuscript made its way to Spain during the Italian Wars of the 16th century, when the major powers of Western Europe vied for control of the rich peninsula. He asserts that it was once owned by Alvar Gómez de Castro, and an anagram indicates that it also belonged to the Marqués de Navas. The manuscript was purchased by the Spanish National Library in 1899 as part of the collection of Pascual de Gayangos.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Die Geschichte der Stadt Troja
Historia Civitatis Troianae
Size / Format
296 pages / 33.8 x 24.5 cm
Date
1340 – 1350
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
93 varying-format miniatures
Content
Narration the destruction of Troy by the Greeks
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Historia Civitatis Troianae

History of the City of Troy

The Assault on Troy

As the Trojans slept, Odysseus and his thirty Achaeans emerged from their great horse, killing the guards and opening the city’s gates. This famous act of subterfuge ended the war and resulted in the destruction of Troy. The events are presented here in two miniatures, fine specimens of Venetian illumination that are richly colored and detailed in equal measure.

The assault is launched from the Trojan Horse in the upper register and the army of the Greeks, which had pretended to withdraw by sailing out of sight, has returned, disembarked, and waits to rush in the gates. Below, King Priam is shown kneeling before the altar of Zeus in the palace courtyard just before he is killed by Neoptolemus, son of the famous warrior Achilles.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „History of the City of Troy“

Historia Civitatis Troianae
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
History of the City of Troy – MSS/17805 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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Historia Civitatis Troianae

Publisher
PIAF – Madrid, 2018
Limited Edition
510 copies
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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