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Codex Riccardiano

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The MS Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, N.I. 15/1925 (XV saec.) is related with MS Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Cod. Gaddi 148 (XIII saec.). Both contain translations into italiano volgare of a Latin original, based on the tradition of Mirabilia narratives which have their origins in the manuscripts of the XII century and presumably were penned by Cencio Camerario. The exact positioning of this manuscript is, however, not clear. It is distinguished from all other manuscripts by a frequent use of colloquial language and a huge amount of mistakes, which imply that the author or translator were not very well-educated.

The prototype used, whether an Italian translation, a Latin text, or both, cannot be identified. The quality of the text is quite inconsistent which, on the one hand, might be due to the skills of the translator, and on the other to the reading comprehension skills and education level of the writer. However, since the text is characterised by the individuality of the translator or writer, one cannot rule out that they actively contributed to the composition of the text. The lexical insecurity rather indicates that it was not a translator or writer who was not able to read his original correctly, but an author reproducing the components of a mirabilia narrative from his memory. This assumption results from the comparing of the parallel text passages with the other three surviving Italian Mirabilia manuscripts.

It seems that the author reverts to his imagination in the passages in which he is not able to recall the original version. The following exemplifies this: In the MS Florence, Bibl. Laurenziana, Cod. Gaddi 148 on fol. 41v, lines 17-18 is written: "Et li pavoni foro doi, li quali sonno ne lo Ca[n]taro de Paradiso." Our author writes: "...e lo cierchio intorno ancho ornato fue d'oro cho paglioni d'oro e chon uno bue. Li quali furono due, che chatarono in Paradiso." One might also suppose that he directly used an original which itself was fragmentary.

The parallel reading of these two manuscripts shows that throughout the whole text the author offers numerous interpretations which differ from the Mirabilia tradition. He also does not strictly adhere to the predefined structure of the Latin original or the earlier translation, and redesigns the composition (cf. comparison chart of the two Mirabilia manuscripts from Florence below). At this point, it should be noted that two sheets are missing in this manuscript: sheets 45 and 46. However, concerning grammar, the gap between sheet 44 and sheet 47 is not striking. Probably, these sheets contain further amendments on the biographies of emperors which are completely lacking in MS Gaddi 148.

The MS Riccardiana N.I. 15/1925 in some passages offers more material than the Latin original. The translator or writer integrates some arbitrary components in the narrative by which it appears strongly mythologised, and he elaborates in a folk-like way the mythological elements known from other manuscripts. The author of this manuscript additionally defaces beyond recognition the mythological and historical names and toponyms. This further impedes the identification of monuments (e.g.: description of the Temple of Kybele on fol. 50r - Cibiles and Ciles, in addition she figures as "matre iudeorum" and at the same time as "matre oviedorum").

The syntax of the text is quite erratic, and leaves the impression that the author was not aware of the beginning of a sentence when finishing it, and that he continued with a new sentence without properly ending the previous one. Furthermore, several passages show a lack of concord of number and gender between adjectives and nouns. The pronouns and antecedents often diverge as well.

The spelling in the text also testifies to the low level of education of the writer or translator. Since there are a lot of various forms of spelling within one text, the comment has not been applied. On the one hand, many divergent spellings are to be found several times in the text, on the other hand, the spelling was not established as Italian orthography, but contains many Latin terms. Repetitions were eliminated only in passages in which the writer's slip of the pen was evident.

Due to the atypical lexis, an exact orthographic scrutiny does not appear to make sense. The following remarks may be helpful for the reading:

  1. The lines above the vowels indicating the consonants "m" or "n" were often omitted by the author (examples: "u suo" instead of "un suo"; pote for ponte). Hence, the itemisation of the diacritical "n" and "m" was avoided.
  2. Variant forms of spelling result from an orthographic insecurity with the choice of a morphological form (examples: fue, fo, fu, fie for fu; piedi, piedes (even in on line) for piede/i; grande, grani, gradi for grande/i; submissales, sumisales, sumissales, sumssales for submissales).
  3. Since the continuous corrections and annotations seriously impeded the reading on the internet, so-called "crosses" were added to passages which have badly survived, in order to tag these parts. On some pages, many "crosses" were inserted, since the writer obviously was not able to interpret the prototype at his disposal in an adequately explicit manner.


Comparison chart of MS Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana N.I.15/1925 (XV saec.) und MS Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Cod. Gaddi 148 (XIII saec.)*

Florence, Bibl. Ricc., N.I. 15/1925 folia, lines Florence, Bibl. Laurenz., Cod. Gaddi 148 folia, lines
"I Naumachia ... i libro Faustorum." Fol. 39v, 17-41 - fol. 40r, 1-11. Chapter: De la meta et de lo Castello. De lo Terrebinto de Nero. De lo castiello Adriano. Fol. 41r, 33-34 - fol. 41v, 1-26
Chapter: Dell'Aghusto Fol. 40r, 11-27. Chapter: De lo Agoste. Fol. 41v, 26-34 - fol. 42r, 1-7.
Chapter: Santa Maria Ritonda Fol. 40r, 27-41 - fol. 40v, 1-11. "Nanti lo palazo deAlexandro... oraculo de Iunone." Fol. 42r, 9-27.
Chapter: De Chapitolo. Fol. 40v, 11-41. Chapter: De Capitolio. Fol. 42r, 27-34 - fol. 42v, 1-13.
Chapter: Palati Troiani e Ariani Fol. 40v, 41 - fol. 41r, 1-39 - fol. 41v, 1-34. "Lo palazo de Adriano et Traiano... lo quale loco si dicea Ariston." Fol. 42v, 14-34 - fol. 43r, 1-34 - 43v, 1-7.
"Santa Balbina da gli antichi ... archa Apollnini Espreni." Fol. 41v, 35-38 - fol. 42r, 1-5. Chapter: De Sancta Balbina Fol. 43v, 8-15.
Chapter: Delle gioche del archo. Fol. 42r, 6-20. Chapter: De lo ioco de Circo. Fol. 43v, 16-27.
"Queste chose... tenpio di Scipione." Fol. 42r, 21-30. Chapter: De le cose ke foro in Circo. Fol. 43v, 27-34 - fol. 44r, 1.
"Inanzi li termini di Masimiano... figliuolo di Cromazio." Fol. 42r, 31-38 - fol. 42v, 1-38 - fol. 43r, 1-6. Chapter: De templis Fol. 44r, 2-34 - fol. 44v, 1-9.
"Trastiberio...i migliore parte ch'avemo potuto." Fol. 43r, 7-24. Quando resorse l'olio. Fol. 44v, 10-26.
Chapter: Le luoghora de santi. Fol. 43r, 25-38 - fol. 43v, 1-23. No equivalent.
"Cimiteriu Chalopedii ... nella via Derosti." Fol. 43v, 24-38. Chapter: De le Cimiteria de Roma. Fol. 48v, 22-36 - fol. 49r, 1-3.
"Le mura di Roma... senza Poticho." Fol. 43v, 40-42 - fol. 44r, 1-4. Chapter: De le mure de Roma, De le porte de Roma. Fol. 48r, 15-23.
"Queste sono le principali... porta Levichana." Fol. 44r, 6-19. Chapter: De le porte principale de Roma. Fol. 48r, 23-34 - fol. 48v, 1-3.
Chapter: Marchino, Aurelius, Everius, Masimino, Lo figlio die Masamino, Cladio, Vitorino, Di Urelio, Foriano, Perobus, Charius, Sabino. Fol. 44r, 20-38 - fol. 44v, 1-43 - fol. 47r, 1-12. No equivalent.
"Capus Matuus ... Sanatorius de prubicha." Fol. 47r, 13-15. Chapter: De li campi de Roma. Fol. 47r, 32-34.
Chapter: Vibor di Roma. Fol. 47r, 16-26. Chapter: De le vie de Roma. Fol. 45r, 5-14.
Chapter: De palazio. Fol. 47r, 27-37. Chapter: De lo palazio de Nero. Fol. 41r, 2-10.
Chapter: De Aghuglia. Fol. 47r, 38-45 - fol. 47v, 1-4. "Ad lato... la dicta memoria appare." Fol. 41r, 10-21.
Chapter: De Chantaro Paradiso Santi Petri. Fol. 47v, 6-19. Chapter: De lo Cantaro de Sancto Pietro. Fol. 41r, 21-33.
"Come fue fatta Santa Maria Ritonda... e vincierai." Fol. 47v, 20-42 - fol. 48r, 1-8. Chapter: De Sancta Maria Rotonda. Fol. 45r, 21-34 - fol. 45v, 1-7.
"E fue morto... perfetta ventade." U.a. Chapter Costantino, Chostantino, Ghostantino quando fur batizato, Costantino. Fol. 48r, 9-45 - fol. 48v, 1 No equivalent.!
"Retorneremo e diremo... porta Portuensis." Fol. 48v, 3-17. "citate Lavicana... porta Portuensis." Fol. 48v, 3-19.
Chapter: De treonfale archhibus. Fol. 48v, 18-37. Chapter: De le arcora triumphale de Roma. Fol. 47v, 1-21.
Chapter: I monti di Roma Fol. 47r, 38-41. Chapter: De li monti de Roma. Fol. 47r, 26-28.
Chapter: Li termine di Roma. Fol. 48v, 42-43 - fol. 49r, 1 Chapter: De li termini de Roma. Fol. 47v, 22-25.
Chapter: De perlazo. Fol. 49r, 2-18. Chapter: De le palaza de Roma. Fol. 47v, 26-34 - fol. 48r, 1-8.
Chapter: De chatris. Fol. 49r, 19-25. Chapter: De teatri e Roma. Fol. 48r, 9-15.
Chapter: De pote de Roma. Fol. 49r, 26-30. Chapter: De li ponti de Roma. Fol. 47r, 29-32.
Chapter: Del Primo Cierio. Fol. 49r, 31-35. Chapter: De Primocerio. Fol. 49r, 4-7.
Chapter: De Secodo Cierio. Fol. 49r, 36-39. Chapter: De Secundocerio. Fol. 49r, 8-12.
Chapter: De Perchuratore. Fol. 49v, 1-3. Chapter: De Numenclatore. Fol. 49r, 13-15.
"Primo difensore... la sedia dello inperador." Fol. 49v, 6-7. Chapter: De primo difensore. Fol. 49r, 16-18.
"Rechano...l'onteso," Fol. 49v, 8-10. Chapter: De arcahrio. Fol. 49r, 19-21.
Chapter: De chacielario. Fol. 49v, 11-12. No equivalent.
Chapter: De Seritolano. Fol. 49v, 13-14. No equivalent.
Chapter: Cholonna Antonni. Fol. 49v, 15-16. Chapter: De colopna Antonina. Fol. 45r, 15-16.
Chapter: Del Chuliseio. Fol. 49v, 17. Chapter: De Coliseo. Fol. 45r, 17.
"Colonna Troiano... xlv finestre." Fol. 49v, 18-19. Chapter: De la colopna Adriana. Fol. 45r, 17-18.
Chapter: De Aghuglie. Fol. 49v, 22-25. Chapter: De le Agulie. Fol. 44v, 29-31.
"I roma eranoxi merchatora... Rusticorum." Fol. 49v, 26-29. Chapter: De le Mercatora. Fol. 44v, 32-34 - fol. 45r, 1.
Chapter: De basilico. Fol. 49v, 30-33. Chapter: De le basilike. Fol. 45r, 2-4.
"Chavalli grandi... e foro xx." Fol. 49v, 34-36. Chapter: De li cavalli. Fol. 45r, 13-14.
"E di Roma furono... di rame inorato." Fol. 49v, 37-41 - fol. 50r, 1-10. "Et Agrippa se levao... de rame narato." Fol. 45v, 7-16.
"poi venne Bonifazio... delle loro anime." Fol. 50r, 11-29. Chapter: Quando fo facta ecclesia Sancta Maria Rotunda. Fol. 45v, 17-31.
Chapter: Chome fu fatto belleo Costantino. Fol. 50r, 30-42 - fol. 50v, 1-40 - fol. 51r, 1-7. Chapter: De lo caballo Constantino. Fol. 45v, 32-34 - fol. 46r, 1-34 - fol. 46v, 1-6.
"Gli sanatori... in Aricielli." Fol. 51r, 8-33. Chapter: Quando vide la visione Octabiano in celo. Fol. 46v, 6-30.
"Cavagli di marmo... loro di marmo." Fol. 51r, 34-37 - fol. 51v, 1-36. Chapter: De li caballi marmorei. Fol. 46v, 31-34 - fol. 47r, 1-25.
"Regnio prima... xxxiiii piedes sumisales." Fol. 51v, 37-40 - fol. 52r, 1-39 - fol. 52v, 1-41 - fol. 53r, 1-28. Chapter: De la prima regione de Roma, De la secunda regione de Roma, De la terza regione de Roma, De la quarta regione de Roma, De la quinta regione de Roma, De la sexta regione de Roma, De la septima regione de Roma, De la octava regione de Roma, De la nona regione de Roma, De la decima regione de Roma, De la undecima regione de Roma, De la duodecima regione de Roma, De la tertia decima regione de Roma. Fol. 49r, 22-33 - fol. 49v, 1-34 - fol. 50r, 1-34, fol. 50v, 1-34 - fol. 51r, 1-31 - fol. 51v, 1-35 - fol. 52r, 1-32.
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