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Peterhouse : Cicero, Curtius &c.


<p style='text-align: justify;'>A decorated late 15th-century compilation of historical and philosophical texts, mostly related to Alexander the Great.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Some little is known about the provenance of the manuscript. It was made in Bruges for noted bibliophile Raphael de Marcatellis (c. 1437-1508), Abbot of St. Bavo’s, Ghent. Sometimes styled Raphael of Burgundy, de Marcatellis was part of the extended Burgundian dynasty as one of Philip the Good’s many illegitimate children, and like his father Raphael took a great interest in the commission and collection of illuminated manuscripts. His personal library at St. Bavo’s contained some fifty-seven codices, largely of a scholarly nature, and represents, according to Derolez, the first attempt in the Netherlands “to set up a collection of manuscripts of a markedly humanistic nature” (298). de Marcatellis’ ex libris may be found on f. 158v, and his abbatial coat of arms at ff. 1r and 146r. At some point after the death of de Marcatellis, the manuscript came into the hands of one Algernon Peyton (d. 1667), rector of Doddington and fellow commoner at Peterhouse (elected 1637), who donated the volume to the college in June of 1660 according to an ex dono inscription on f. 1r. It is unclear how the manuscript made the journey from the Netherlands to Cambridgeshire.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>MS 269 also represents a fine example of the interplay between manuscript and print in the later medieval period: the fourth text included here, the Historia Alexandri of Curtius, was copied not from an earlier manuscript, but from the first printed edition by Vindelin de Spira (Venice, 1470/1). It is also worth noting that the first two books of the Historia as found here are in fact not true Curtius, but later supplements. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Marie Turner<br />Peterhouse, Cambridge</p>

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