Boccaccio: De casibus virorum illustrium

If this codex arrived at Buda from Italy as a conscious acquisition, it probably was not for its looks. Contrarily to the Renaissance manuscripts, it still reflects the fashion of an earlier period with Gothic writing, two-column layout and adequate decoration. The Italian or Hungarian humanist who chose it for the royal library, must have done so because of the contents. Boccaccio (1313‒75), known today mainly for his collection of short stories, in the 15‒16th centuries was more famous for On the Fates of Famous Men, his most influential work at that time. Plenty of copies were made of it as well as translations into the early national languages. The work can be regarded as a collection of exemplar lives that illustrate how Fortuna (Fate) intervened in the lives of men from Adam up to the contemporaries including Petrarca. In terms of topic, it fits into the genre of exemplary literature, mirrors for kings and sayings of famous men that could serve for Matthias as examples to follow or discard. Several works of this sort are known from the royal library.
As the title-page was cut out of the volume, it is classified into the Corvina collection because of its leather Corvina binding. (Ferenc Földesi)

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. 200


Shelfmark: Cod. Lat. 425. (Budapest)
Country: Hungary
City: Budapest
Keeper location: National Széchényi Library
Digitized corvina: No digitized content is available.
Author: Giovanni Boccaccio
Content: De casibus illustrium virorum libri IX
Writing medium: parchment
Number of sheets: 97 fol.
Sheet size: 283 × 271 mm
Place of writing: Florence
Date of writing: Dated: September 12, 1422 (f. 95r)
Scriptor: Frater Baptista de civitate Narnie (f. 95r)
Place of illumination: Florence
Date of illumination: 1422
Possessor, provenience: Johann A. Brassicanus (comp. f. 6r margin note); Royal Court Library, Vienna; in line with the Venice Agreement (signed on November 27, 1932), it was returned to National Széchényi Library.
Binding: original gilded leather corvina binding; gauffered, gilded edge (probably in the late 1480s)
Language of corvina: Latin
Condition: NSZL Mrs. László Ballagó, Ildikó Csillag 1989-1990; previous repair in the early 20th century
Hungarian translation(s) of work(s) included in the corvina: Boccaccio művei / [ford. Füsi József, Jékely Zoltán] ; [szerk. Kardos Tibor, Rózsa Zoltán] ; [jegyz. Rózsa Zoltán]; Budapest : Európa, 1975 (Budapest : Kossuth Ny.) [nem biztos, hogy benne van]