MS Varia 131 of the Biblioteca Reale di Torino and Decembrio's Translation of Curtius Rufus




Renaissance humanism; humanist philology; Curtius Rufus; Pier Candido Decembrio; Iñigo d’Avalos; Filippo Maria Visconti


This article offers a new insight on the manuscript Varia 131 of the Biblioteca Reale di Torino, the earliest known copy of Pier Candido Decembrio’s vernacular translation of Curtius Rufus’s Historia Alexandri Magni, which was transcribed in 1438 by the Milanese scribe Thomas Guarimbertus and was corrected by Decembrio himself. This manuscript is notable not only for its sumptuous illumination by the Master of the Vitae imperatorum (probably the finest illuminator in early fifteenth-century Lombardy) or its dedicatee (the Spanish knight Iñigo d’Avalos), but also for being one of the first examples of the use of the humanistic littera antiqua to copy a vernacular text. Because of these unique features, the Turin manuscript is an outstanding testimony of the reputation of the vernacular in the Visconti court.

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