A magnificent epic concerning the Second Punic War: Francesco Di Stefano's Renaissance masterpiece for Pope Nicolaus V

Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema

Florence (Italy) — Around 1448

Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema

Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema

Florence (Italy) — Around 1448

  1. This epic about the Second Punic War was rediscovered during the Renaissance

  2. Pope Nicolaus V (1397–1455) owned a richly-decorated codex thereof, of which a fragment survives

  3. The blessed artist of the work was the great Florentine master Francesco Di Stefano (ca. 1422–1457)

Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema

Alternative Titles:
  • Silius Italicus
Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema – Inv. 1791
|Lat. XII, 68 – 4519 – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy) / The State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

These seven grandiose pages attest to the splendor of the manuscript of which they were once a part: one of the most valuable Italian editions of the Punica by Silius Italicus from the 15th century. This epic by the famous ancient Roman poet about the Second Punic War was rediscovered and well-received in the Renaissance. This splendidly furnished edition, illustrated by Francesco Di Stefano, was in the private collection of Pope Nicolaus V. The seven surviving pages present the allegorical figures of Rome and Carthage, portraits of Silius Italicus, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, and Pope Nicolaus V, as well as a depiction of Mars, the god of war.

Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema

These seven grandiose pages attest to the splendor of the manuscript of which they were once a part: one of the most valuable Italian editions of the Punica by Silius Italicus from the 15th century. This epic by the famous ancient Roman poet about the Second Punic War was rediscovered and well-received in the Renaissance. This splendidly furnished edition, illustrated by Francesco Di Stefano, was in the private collection of Pope Nicolaus V. The seven surviving pages present the allegorical figures of Rome and Carthage, portraits of Silius Italicus, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, and Pope Nicolaus V, as well as a depiction of Mars, the god of war.

The Ancient War Epic

In his famous Punica, also known under the title De bello italic, the ancient Roman poet Silius Italicus tells about the Second Punic War. This epic made the author famous. The text, which was rediscovered and adapted in the Renaissance, celebrated the greatness and power of Rome and its heroes.

In the Pope’s Possession

Pope Nicolaus V (1447–55) owned a richly-decorated codex of the Punica. This came along with the rest of Nicolaus V’s significant collection to the Dominican Convent of St. Peter and Paul in Venice. The excessively-decorated and famous manuscript was finally the victim of robbers and thus only seven pages survive today. Nonetheless, these are a grandiose attestation to the overwhelming splendor of the former codex. Today, these pages are stored in two different collections: the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Seven Masterpieces of Renaissance Painting

The Silius Italicus manuscript originated ca. 1448 in Florence. The blessed artist of the work was Francesco Di Stefano, called Il Pesellino, one of the most significant artists of the Florentine Quattrocento. Francesco Di Stefano was influenced by Italy’s greatest masters, Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico, inter alia. The seven surviving pages measuring 33 x 20 cm present gorgeous Renaissance-style depictions in full-page miniatures. Magnificent decorative frames, which imitate marble and other materials, surround the allegorical figures of Rome and Carthage, portraits of Silius Italicus, the generals Hannibal and Scipio Africanus, Pope Nicolaus V, and the god Mars on a war chariot drawn by two horses in a marvelous landscape. They are all presented in profile as elegant figures in colorful garments, each standing in a bright alcove.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Silius Italicus
Size / Format
14 pages / 33.0 x 20.2 cm
Date
Around 1448
Language
Artist / School
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema“

Silius Italicus
Silius Italicus: De Secundo Bello Punico Poema – Inv. 1791
|Lat. XII, 68 – 4519 – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy) / The State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Imageof

Silius Italicus

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2010
Limited Edition
949 copies
Binding
7 loose sheets in case
Commentary
1 volume
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: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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