Theophrastos: Historia plantarum
Theophrastus (cca 371–cca 287 BC), philosopher of Athens and follower of Aristotle, laid with this work the foundations of a new science, Botany. Both texts in the manuscript are introduced by the preface of the translator, Theodorus Gaza. In the first, Theodorus Gaza dedicates his translation to his patron Pope Nicolas V (1447‒55), while in the other, the Humanist translator discusses problems of translation theory.
The codex was made in the workshop of the Florentine book trader Vespasiano da Bisticci, as we read in the unique contemporaneous note in the manuscript: “Vespasianus librarius florentinus fecit fieri florentie”, that is, “Made on the order of book trader Vespasianus in Florence” (f. Iv). The design of the illumination is an outstanding example of Florentine white vine (bianchi girari).
The decorative note in Turkish language records the donation of 1877: This codex is from among the books that were kept in the imperial library since the time his Majesty, the legislator Chan Suleiman the Magnificent – Donated by the Padishah of the Ottoman Empire, his Majesty II Abdul Hamid to the University of Hungary. 1294 (1877) 25th Rebbi ul evvel. (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. 136
For a detailed codex description see:
Dániel Pócs, Theophrasztosz: A növények természetrajza; A növények okairól, in: Edina Zsupán (ed.), “Az ország díszére”. A Corvina könyvtár budai műhelye, kiállítási katalógus, Budapest, OSZK 2020, Kat.-No F1.
DATA SHEETShelfmark: Cod. Lat. 1.
Keeper location: University Library, Eötvös Loránd University
Content: Historia plantarum – De causis plantarum
Translator: Theodorus Gaza
Writing medium: parchment
Number of sheets: III + 250 fol.
Sheet size: 330 × 225 mm
Place of writing: Florence
Date of writing: 1450/2–1460/1
Scriptor: "The scribe of the Budapest Theophrastos" (cf. Albinia de La Mare, New Research on Humanistic Scribes in Florence, in:Annarosa Garzelli (a cura di), Miniatura Fiorentina del Rinascimento 1440-1525. Un primo censimento, 2 vols, Florence 1985, 395-600 (437, 544, No 78/2). - Rubrics: Ser Benedetto (cf. De la Mare 1985, ibid.)
Illuminator: Maestro della Farsaglia Trivulziana (alias Maestro di Fiesole)
Place of illumination: Florence
Date of illumination: 1450/2–1460/1
Crest: King Matthias' Hungarian and Bohemian royal coat-of-arms; "second" heraldic painter, Buda, late 1480s
Possessor, provenience: King Matthias Hunyadi; Ottoman sultans; it was returned to Hungary as a present of Abdul Hamid, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1877.
Entries: Vespasianus librarius florentinus fecit fieri florentie (f. Iv)
Binding: 19th-century, paper board, red Turkish leather binding. Originally bound in violet velvet; the title on the Buda-style fore-edge reads: THEOPHRASTUS DE PLANTIS
Language of corvina: Latin
Condition: Restored (NSZL, Mária Czigler, 1986)