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Detailed record for Harley 5660

Author St Basil of Caesarea , Isocrates, Plutarch
Title Basil's 'De legendis libris gentilium' (ff. 1-11v), Isocrates's 'Ad Nicoclem', 'Ad Demonicum' and 'Nicocles' (ff. 13-20, 21-28v, 29-37v), and Plutarch's 'De curiositate' and 'De adulatore et amico' (ff. 39-46, 46v-72v)
Origin Italy, Central (Pistoia)
Date 1st quarter of the 15th century
Language Greek
Script Greek minuscule
Scribe Sozomeno of Pistoia
Decoration Decorated headpiece and initial in red (f. 21). Titles and initials in red.
Dimensions in mm 230 x 145 (170 x 85)
Official foliation ff. ii + 72 (the original upper flyleaves are foliated 1*-2*; + two unfoliated original blanks after f. 72 followed by one leaf formed of two leaves with musical staves sewn together, and one unfoliated modern paper flyleaf at the beginning and the end)
Collation Gatherings of 8 and 10, with horizontal catchwords in the lower right corner of last versos.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1963.
Provenance Mostly written (ff. 1-20v, 29-72v) for his own use by Sozomeno of Pistoia (b. 1387, d. 1458): see de la Mare 1973, Gamillscheg and Harlfinger 1981.
Text on ff. 21-28v supplied by a different hand, also responsible for the added headpiece, initial and title on f. 1*.
The Opera di San Jacopo in Pistoia: inscribed by one notary: Franciscus Luce, 15th-century, 'Ego franciscus luce notarius opere subscripsi' (f. 72v; see Wright 1972).
? John Gibson (fl. 1720-1726), dealer: possibly sold to Edward Harley on 23 June 1726 (see Wright 1976).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes A table of contents in Latin (f. 2* verso).
ff. 1-20 are palimpsest in Latin.
ff. 12 and 38 are blank.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts, in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), III (1808), no. 5660.

E. Maunde Thompson, ‘Catalogue of Classical Manuscripts’, Classical Review, 3 (1889), 149-55, 440-45 (pp. 153 no. 89, 443 no. 143).

Cyril E. Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 368, 369, 460.

Albinia C. de la Mare, The Handwriting of Italian Humanists, I.1: Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Coluccio Salutati, Niccolò Niccoli, Poggio Bracciolini, Bartolomeo Aragazzi of Montepulciano, Sozomeno da Pistoia, Giorgio Antonio Vespucci (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 103 no. 12.

Cyril Ernest Wright, 'Manuscripts of Italian Provenance in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum: Their Sources, Associations and Channels of Acquisition', in Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance. Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller, ed. by Cecil H. Clough (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1976), pp. 462-84 (p. 468).

Repertorium der griechischen Kopisten 800-1600, ed. by Ernst Gamillscheg and Dieter Harlfinger, Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Byzantinistik, 3-1, ed. by Herbert Hunger (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1981- ), I: Handschriften aus Bibliotheken Grossbritanniens, 3 vols, no. 371.

Summary Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts (London: British Library, 1999- ), I, p. 160 [with further bibliography].

* * *
Decorated headpiece and initial

f. 21
Decorated headpiece and initial

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