Regiomontanus: Epitome Almagesti
The work on the summary of the Almagest was started by the famous astronomer of Vienna, Georg Peuerbach, friend of Johannes Vitez, upon the advice of Cardenal Bessarion. After his premature death, his disciple Regiomontanus concluded the work.
The manuscript is an excellent example of the periodicity of production, so typical of the Corvinas of Buda. The copy was made in the environment of Regiomontanus and Johannes Vitez, around 1470. It cannot be ruled out that the “editor’s” notes on ff. 66v and 135r were personally written by the prelate. The text was copied by two masters with Humanist writing; the Isocrates Corvina originates from the second hand. The astronomical charts and explanations are autographs of court astronomer Marcin Bylica (1435‒1493/94).
The codex was illuminated by Francesco Rosselli ten years later. The moderate iconography of the illumination is similar to the decoration of the Ptolemy Corvina of Vienna. In spite of the fact that the topic of both manuscripts is astronomy, their title-pages can be interpreted as royal laudations. While the Ptolemy Corvina depicts the king, the present manuscript praises the queen and her virtues which is indicated by the profile image on the highlighted part of the title-page and the panthers in the upper-right corner. The two animals are in fact two forms of the same panther, a raging and a tamed one. They symbolize the triumph over sins, particularly that of lust, and allude to the queen’s purity.
The coat of arms of the codex – the queen’s composite coat of arms – is similar to the ones in the other Corvinas of Rosselli ((Beatrice Psalter, Regiomontanus: 63 rules for the tables of the “First Mover”; Origenes: Homilies) and the Matthias Gradual. (Edina Zsupán)
Source: The Corvina Library and the Buda Worskhop: [National Széchényi Library, November 6, 2018 –February 9, 2019] A Guide to the Exhibition; introduction and summary tables: Edina Zsupán; object descriptions: Edina Zsupán, Ferenc Földesi; English translation: Ágnes Latorre, Budapest: NSZL, 2018, p. 40
DATA SHEETShelfmark: Cod. 44
Keeper location: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
Digitized corvina: at the keeper location