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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Leuctran orations by Aelius Aristides

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript contains the five <i>Leuctran orations by Aelius Aristides</i> (orr. 11-15 Lenz-Behr). Aristides (b. ca. 118, d. ca. 181 CE), was a Greek rhetor and a leading exponent of the Second Sophistic, a philosophical-literary current developed in Asia Minor during the imperial age, between the end of the 1st and the 4th century CE. The five Leuctran orations represent the imagined debate in the Athenian Assembly over which side to support after Thebes beat Sparta in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BCE, and invited Athens to participate in further campaigns.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was copied between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, and was initially owned by the Byzantine scholar Janus Lascaris (b. 1445?, d. 1535). After the Fall of Constantinople (1453), Lascaris moved to Italy under the protection of Cardinal Bessarion. After the death of the Cardinal, he entered the service of Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, who sent him to Greece in search of manuscripts. Later on, he was the ambassador of France in Venice, where he became a member of the Greek Academy of Aldus Manutius. He also assisted the French king Louis XII in forming the library of Blois.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Matthaeus Devaris (b. 1505, d. 1581), a student of Lascaris, added a <i>pinax</i>, an index of the manuscript.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>A hypothesis introduces the texts; spaces were left for the titles and the first letters of each oration but these were never completed.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Matteo Di Franco</p>

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