As Good as Its Owner? Ciovanm Aunspa and His
Manuscript of Victorinus's Commentary
Hie liber Aurispae est, Siculae regionis alumni.
Nee melior liber est, nee melior dominus.
Convenit atque libra dominus, dominoque libellus:
Instruit hie domimtm, corrigtt ilk librum.
This book is Aurispa's, a son of the Sicilian regio7
The book is not any better than its owner,
nor is its owner better than the book.
And the owner suits the book, the book suits the o
// instructs the owner, he corrects the book.
fith these two neat though hard¬
ly very elegant couplets, the humanist book collector Giovanni Aurispa
(1376-1459) announces his ownership of one of the most interesting medieval
manuscripts in the Columbia collections, Plimpton MS 103. This book contains
the commentaiy on Cicero's De innenlione, written by the fourth-centtny Roman
rhetorician Mariiis Victorinus.
Aurispa lived during the great epoch of classical literature's rediscovery, and he
himself played an important part in this process. His major contribution per-
titins to Greek literature, which before his time was a scarce commodity in the