THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


13 Aesop
Fabulae
Italian manuscript on paper, 60 leaves, northern Italy, early fifteenth century (Lodge 7)
Copied in a humanistic hand in the early fifteenth century, this manuscript is a compilation of fables and moral stories. The first text is a transcription of the earliest known Italian translation of Aesop's Fables. The translation, known as "Esopo volgarizzaro per uno di Siena," was made in the twelfth or thirteenth century, and marks a major step forward in the use of Italian as a literary language. This copy contains frequent and substantial variants from standard critical editions and other manuscript copies; some modern scholars consider it the text from which a major textual tradition of Italian vernacular stories arises. It is the only early Italian manuscript of Aesop in the United States. The volume also includes a group of unidentified moral stories, as well as the Disticha, a compilation of instructions concerning the virtuous life, ascribed by many to Cato the Centor; this copy also presents major variants from other early manuscripts of a work widely known during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Gonzalez Lodge Fund

Collections and Treasures