Iustinus, Marcus Iunianus, sec. III
Justin’s work entitled, Epitoma historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi, was widely used in the Middle Ages (Bischoff, Die südostdeutschen). Two fifteenth-century codices of great interest for the fortune of the illustrated codices of the compendium of Roman history demonstrate the close link between text and images with which the work was characterized. The manuscript Ott. lat. 1417 exhibits ten splendid drawings in the space without text (Ross, An Unrecorded, pp. 180-181) which slavishly explain the content of the work. The miniaturist in fact «... glosses the work by allowing a visual reading ...» (…glossa l’opera consentendo una lettura visiva…; Maddalo, Da glossa a commento, p. 77) as effectively demonstrated by the illustrated events of Gyges and Candaules (f. 5v).
A completely different approach to the illustrative set of the work is demonstrated by another codex from the Ottoboni collection (ms. Ott. lat. 1529), which does not resort to the use of narrative designs but presents initials with figures at the beginning of each of the forty-four books, with portraits of the protagonists of the historical narrative expounded upon in the following pages (Ross, An Illustrated, pp. 261-262). The frontispiece is also absolutely original, as it recapitulates some significant episodes of the first book within the medallions, such as the story of Semiramis, the dream of Astyage or the fable of the Amazons, all of which have great visual impact and narrative value. Sometimes the work of Giustino was inserted into miscellaneous codices of historical content, as evidenced by the illuminated collection of historical texts of ms. Vat. lat. 1860, in which the Epitome was introduced by a precious initial decorated in phytomorphic style to signal the beginning of the new textual division (f. 152r).
Ott. lat. 1417, f. 20r - Ott. lat. 1529, f. 1r
Vat. lat. 1860. f. 152r