Non v'è ignuno a stampa?
For a long time it was thought that there were no printed books in Federico’s library; this idea originated from a statement of Vespasiano da Bisticci: “In this library all the books are superlatively good, and written with the pen, and had there been one printed volume it would have been ashamed in such company. They were beautifully illuminated and written on parchment” (Vespasiano, Lives, p. 104).
In fact, a certain number of volumes in the Indice vecchio were identified in the margin by expressions in Greek characters, ἐγχαραχθεῖσα or ἐγχαραχθένθα, indicating printed books (see Urb. lat. 1761, f. 109r); likewise, in other cases, we find the marginal notes παπ. or πα., meaning that the volume in question was made of papyrus, that is of paper (see Urb. lat. 1761, f. 98r; Michelini Tocci, Agapito, p. 258).
The three incunabula that contain the Repertorium Iuris of Giovanni Bertachini are thus indicated. These constitute the only printed volumes that Federico’s main collection contained (see Urb. lat. 1761, f. 50v: “Ioannis Bertachini Firmani pars prima repertorii Iuris Decisivi ab. A. usq(ue) ad F. In Rubro. (παπ.) - Ioannis Bertachini Firmani Pars II repertorii Iuris Decisivi ab. F. usq(ue) ad P. In Rubro. (παπ.) - Ioannis Bertachini pars III repertorii Iuris Decisivi. In reliquum. In Rubro. (παπ.)”; published in Stornajolo, Cod. Urb. Graeci, pp. CII-CIII, n. 344-346). Two of these volumes were identified at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge under the shelfmarks 19.N.3 e 19.N.4 (see Davies, “Non ve n’è ignuno a stampa”, pp. 69-70, fig. 33; A Catalogue of Western book Illumination, pp. 45-50 nr. 17): they were in the edition printed by Georgius Lauer in Rome on April 5, 1481 (ISTC ib00497000, IGI 1608, BAVIC VcBA 11002810 [Inc. S.22-24, Inc. S.142-144]) offered by the author to Federico, as the initial rubric of the first volume states; on a parchment folio inserted at the beginning of the volume there is also a handwritten note with the request to the duke to receive the books into his library: «Codicibus sacri dux nostra volumina Iuris / Adde hęc quę ponas inferiori loco» (vol. I, 19.N.3, f. IVr). The existence of these volumes in the collection was exceptional, and is due to the particular elegance of the prints, which are so richly illuminated and embellished by the Federico’s ducal coat of arms, that they are considered unique exemplars comparable to the manuscripts themselves (see Peruzzi, La biblioteca di Federico cit., pp. 272-273).
Indice vecchio, Urb. lat. 1761, f. 50v
Scrolling through the Indice vecchio, it is possible to see how in the other cases the aforementioned indications are instead found in a section called “alia bibliotheca”, an expression often used also in marginal notes (“ex alia bibliotheca” or, in Greek characters, ἐξ ἄλλης βιβλιοθήκης or ἐξ ἄλλης β.; see Urb. lat. 1761, ff. 98r, 109r).
Indice vecchio, Urb. lat. 1761, ff. 109r, 98r
The present state of scholarship has not yet clarified the nature of this bibliotheca, which, however, certainly had a different function from the main one: it was perhaps a sort of depository, which possessed volumes that were sometimes incomplete or at any rate of lesser value, made out of paper or printed (on this matter we refer to Michelini Tocci, Agapito, p. 258, passim and Davies, Non v'è ignuno a stampa, pp. 63-78, which offers an appendix of all the printed volumes that have been recorded as such in the Indice vecchio).
It remains certain that Federico wanted to create a purely handwritten library even in the age of the birth of the printing press, even adopting models from printed editions. Several manuscripts which demonstrate the dependence on incunabula serve as examples of this wish.
Urb. lat. 151 is a magnificent manuscript produced for Federico after 1474 (as suggested by the presence of the ducal coat of arms on f. 6r), which contains three works by Sixtus IV. Two of them are preceded by the prefaces that the typographer Johannes Philippus de Lignamine arranged for De sanguine Christi (ff. 1r-2v) and De futuris contingentibus (ff. 147v-148r) in the incunabula printed by Lignamine in 1471 (ISTC is00579000, IGI 9040, BAVIC VcBA 11014308 [Inc.III.12(int.1)]) e nel 1473 (ISTC is00560500, IGI 9031, BAVIC VcBA 11014231 [Stamp.Barb.III.4(int.2)]) respectively.
Urb. lat. 151, f. 1r - Inc.III.12, f. 1r
The dependence on the printed edition is also confirmed by the presence of the typographic register of the incunabulum of 1471 within the manuscript on f. 147r (see Bianca, Francesco Della Rovere, p. 32).
Urb. lat. 151, f. 147r - Inc.III.12, f. 125v
It is therefore certain that incunabula served as a model for the manuscript patronized by the duke and it is very probable that they had been sent as a gift to Federico by Lignamine himself, and were therefore available to the scribe (see Farenga, Le prefazioni alle edizioni romane, p. 139 n. 11).
The Indice vecchio testifies that Federico had a copy of it (Urb. lat. 1761, f. 109v: «Sixti pontificis opus de sanguine christi cum reliquis. In rubro» (ἐγχαρ.); published in Stornajolo, Cod. Urb. Graeci, p. CXLVII n. 14), identified in the exemplar now preserved in the Library of the Universitat de Barcelona and marked Inc. 209 (cfr. Catàleg dels incunables , nr. 670), with original binding; f. [a]3v presents the ducal coat of arms accompanied by the initials “F(edericus) D(ux)” (see Davies, Non v'è ignuno a stampa, p. 70).
The manuscript is thus described in the Indice vecchio: «Sixti IIII Pontificis Maximi De Sanguine Christi Liber. Idem de potentia Dei. Idem de Futuris Contingentibus quae quidem opera Cardinalis tituli S. Petri ad Vincula existens Composuit» (Urb. lat. 1761, f. 30r).
Indice vecchio, Urb. lat. 1761, ff. 109v e 30r
Another example of an incunabulum used as an antigraph for the production of a manuscript is Urb. lat. 337, which contains a miscellaneous collection of works by Lorenzo Valla. The model of this was the editio princeps printed in Venice on October 4, 1481 (ISTC iv00069000; IGI 10099; BAVIC VcBA 11016717 [Stamp.Ross.1373]). In addition to the common characteristics of the readings, there have been detected “errors or characteristics due to almost photographic images of typographic forms” or “clearly caused by misinterpretations of some typographical signs” of the incunabula have been detected (original text: Regoliosi, Le due redazioni, pp. 566 -567; see Laurentii Valle Raudensiane note, pp. 16-17, 129-131; Lo Monaco, L’Edizione dell’Epistola de duobus Tarquiniis, p. 329 n. 22). The dependence on the edition also allows us to limit the period of the making of the manuscript to 1481-1482, year of Federico’s death; on f. 1r, the manuscript shows his ducal coat of arms (post 1474).
Urb. lat. 337, f. 53r - editio princeps della miscellanea valliana (Venezia 1481), f. Ir
Likewise serving as a model for Urb. lat. 349 is the editio princeps of the text, the Latin translation of the Iliad by Lorenzo Valla, printed in Brescia in 1474 by Heinrich von Köln and Stazio Gallio, supported by the Brescia humanist Giustiniano Luzzago (ISTC ih00311000; IGI 4800, 4799 var.). On f. 2r the manuscript presents the ducal coat of arms (post 1474). On f. 313v the scribe Federico Veterani undersigns, stating that he completed the work of copying on November 1, 1480. The dependence of the manuscript on the incunabulum is evident not only by the common readings, but by the fact that just before the colophon at the end of the work (f. 313v), Veterani also copied four couplets present in the subscription of the edition (f. 2d8v: incipit: En Graiis tantum quondam celebratus Homer(us), explicit: Ilias in lucem cultior ecce redit; cfr. Mancini, Vita di Lorenzo Valla, p. 133; Psalidi, Appunti per un’edizione critica, pp. 428, 425; Regoliosi, Le due redazioni, p. 566). By means of these verses, Luzzago praises Valla for having translated the Iliad as well as the Venetian scholar and politician Bernardo Giustiniani (1408-1489), to whom the edition was dedicated, for having allowed its diffusion (his role is specified in the dedicatory letter of Luzzago to Giustiniani placed before the incunabulum). Both in the edition and in the manuscript which depends on it, the translation of the Iliad is attributed entirely to Valla, who actually translated only the first sixteen cantos; his pupil Francesco Griffolini probably completed it around 1461-1462. The text transmitted here is an intermediate phase between the translation begun by Valla and the revision of Griffolini (see Psalidi, Appunti per un’edizione critica, pp. 421-432, in particular pp. 421, 425).
In this pathway, the relation between the manuscripts selected and the printed editions has generally proven to be rich for its various connections, even independent of the relation between model and copy. For further information see the catalographic descriptions of Urb. lat. 250, 264, 337, 491, 899.