Codex Neapolitanus latinus 55,
formerly Vindobonensis 4194 + Neapolitanus VI C.36

Introduction       Bibliography


This 15th century manuscript is held in the National library in Naples.  It is an example of the beta (Hirsau) branch of the Corpus Cluniacense, to which the Apologeticum has been added.

The  manuscript is in two volumes. It was once owned by Frederic III of Aragon 5. The former volume was once known as Vindobonensis 4194 and lived in Vienna, the latter was Codex Neapolitanus VI C. 36 and lived in the Bibliotheca des Museo Nazionale in Naples2. Since 1918 the two have been rejoined and has been in Naples1

In 1534 it was in the possession of the Roman humanist Parrhasius, whose hand is found in corrections throughout the first part.3 [Although see the note by DILLER below, which indicates by 1534 Parrhasius was dead.  How to reconcile this? RP]

The two volumes have the same format, same material, the same hand, and the same subscriptio;2

Antonii Seripandi ex Jani Parrhasii testamento2

This indicates that it passed from Janus Parrhasius to Antonius Seripandus on the former's death.3 This is a notice found in other MSS, according to Aubrey DILLER:4

At the end is the notice found in many Naples codices: Antonii Seripandi ex Jani Parrhasii testamento. Janus Parrhasius of Cosenza in Calabria (1470-1522) lived in Milan from 1499 to 1507 and married the eldest daughter of Demetrius Chalcondyles.82 His library passed from Antonio Seripandi to his brother Card. Gerolamo Seripandi, who left  it to the convent of San Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples.83 

82. F. Lo Parco, Aulo Giano Parrasio (Vasto 1899)
83. Montfaucon, Diarium Italicum (Paris 1702) 310; Fabricius-Harles, Bibl. graeca 5 p. 798 N° 49.

The BMCR review of the Parrhasiana volume states:

The  outlines of this history [of Parrasio's library] are well known: Parrasio left his books to his friend Antonio Seripando, who left them in turn to his brother, Cardinal Girolamo Seripando, who left them to the convent of S. Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples, whose monks were poor stewards of their treasure -- neglecting, selling, and losing them over a period of many years. But Ferreri adds interesting details to the story of the diaspora and presents some new information about the "pious" depredations of Lucas Holst in the seventeenth century on behalf of Cardinal Francesco Barberini.

29 x 22.5 cms. Some of the pages in volume 2 have got out of order, so that the codex begins with 4 folios of De praescriptione which belong between folios 98 and 99.2

The text is written in Italian cursive.3 The codex is not derived from Niccolo Niccoli's copy (Florence, Conventi soppr. J. VI. 11) but like it is copied from a lost intermediate copy of F.7  

Volume I:

The volume begins with some pages which are headed De Jona Propheta; a copy of that spurious work, never exploited by any editor. These are then followed by some citations from Tertullian from Jerome, Augustine and Lactantius, in the hand of Janus Parrhasius. There is then a blank page with the following words on, indicating the price:3

Auli Jani Parrhasii et amicorum in duobus voluminibus aureis emptus quattuor3

The last 5 sheets - the end of Book III and start of Book IV of Adversus Marcionem - are lost. On the last surviving sheet is written Hic desunt sex chartae.3

The loss is of Marc.III, 17:1 to Marc. IV, 5:1, and shows that this was the ancestor of the Leiden ms 5

Volume 2 contains2:

De praescriptionibus haereticorum
Adversus Marcionem lib. IV
Adversus Marcionem lib. V
Adversus Judaeos
Adversus omnes haereses
Adversus Hermogenem

Derived from F 1. The Apologeticum has been added in another hand to the other works of Tertullian in this MS.

Notes from Palla

Incipit (f IIr):

Septimij Florentis Tertulliani de Jona propheta carmen heroicum.


Finis versuum Tertulliani de Jona quos ego Janus parrhasius ex antiquissimo codice longobardis exarato litteris exscripsi quam maxime licuit ex fide.

The end of the verses of Tertullian On Jonah which I, Janus Parrhasius, wrote out as faithfully as possible from a most ancient codex written throughout in Lombardic letters.

The Calabrian humanist, Aulo Giano Parrasio, wrote a copy of De Iona on the guard-leaves of Neapolitanus lat. 55 on ff. IIr-Vv. Next, on f.6r, is chapter 53 on Tertullian from Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, and then on ff. VIv-VIIv, some testimonies about Tertullian from Jerome, Augustine, Lactantius and Isidore.

It has been suggested that the text of De Iona was copied from the Vindobonensis lat. 16, now Neapolitanus lat. 2, a palimpsest manuscript from Bobbio. The lower text of this (s.IV-VII) contains Lucan, Pelagonius, an Old Latin text of the New Testament and NT apocrypha, and Dioscorides. It was rewritten in the VII-VIIIth century. Ff. 1-42 now contain Jerome, Gennadius, Augustine. Then follow various metrical and grammatical items. The Carmen is ff.52v-53v. Grammatical material fills the remainder of the codex (76-159). Parrasio acquired it during his stay in Milan, between 1499 and 1506, and it had the same later history as our codex. Palla however considers that it must in fact derive from another copy, into which readings from other manuscripts have been introduced.

There are 10-11 marginal notes against De Iona.

Parrasio acquired the codex in Naples, as appears from a note on f. VIIIv: Auli Jani Parrhasij et amicorum Neapoli in duobus voluminibus aureis emptus quatuor. (Bought in two volumes by Aulo Giano Parrasio and friends at Naples for 4 gold pieces). Its subsequent history is similar to many others of his books. First he left it by will to his friend Antonio Seripando, as a note on f. 230v (Antonii Seripandi ex Jani Parrhasij testamento / Belonging to Antonio Seripando by the will of Giano Parrasio) shows. It then passed on his death to his brother Girolamo, and he in turn bequeathed it to the convent of S. Giovanni a Carbonara. In 1718 this manuscript, with others, was taken to Vienna and added to the Imperial Library. It was given back in 1919, and remained for some time in store at the Marciana in Venice. In 1923 it came to Naples, where it now is.

Two copies of the De Iona from this manuscript exist: Vaticanus Barberinianus lat. 460 (olim XI 103) and the Vaticanus Barberinianus lat. 467 (olim XI 110). Parrasio spent the last years of his life in Rome, teaching at the invitation of Leo X. After his death his wife also lived there, who may have owned the manuscript. In 1582 a brother of S. Giovanni a Carbonara, Cherubino da Verona, wrote thus (Conserved in Vaticanus latinus 6416 (cfr f. 89r)):

"Ho revisto li doi Tertulliani de la libraria... del Cardinale Seripando, e ne trovo uno imperfettissimo, ove mancano molti libretti, et opusculi; l'altro più perfetto, e de meglior lettura, è corretto per man del Giano Parrasio...: ho pensato raccoglier li quinterni del più perfetto, e compirlo con lo più imperfetto, aspettando il padre Antonio Teatino, acciò con esso pigli parere, se la raccolta mia gli piacerà; et non venen-d'egli qui, queste feste andarò io a trovarlo; et havuto la conclusione, per la strada di Gaeta lo mandare in mano di Vostra Signoria Reverendissima; e con tal occasione mi favorirà in far riverentia all'Illustrissimo et Reverendissimo Cardinale Sirleto, facendoli sapere l'animò mio prontissimo in servirla; et occorrendosi servir d'altra cosa della libraria, avi-sarlo...".

Two Tertullians belonging to Cardinal Seripando are referred to; one with many errors and lacking many opuscula, the other 'perfetto' and corrected by Parrasio. However these need not be our two, since both belonged to and were annotated by Parrasio. In 1570 the convent possessed more than two mss containing work of Tertullian (Gutiérrez, La Biblioteca cit. [8], p. 103). Parrasio himself possessed other Tertullian mss (cfr Manfredini, L'inventario cit. [8], nrr. 108.318.328.359 = Tristano, La biblioteca cit. [2], nrr. 108.309.319.350 -- D. Gutiérrez, La Biblioteca di San Giovanni a Carbonara di Napoli, in "Analecta Augustiniana" 29, 1966, pp. 59-212: 60-85; M. Manfredini, L'inventario della biblioteca del Parrasio, in "Rendiconti della Accademia di Archeologia, Lettere e Belle Arti di Napoli" n.s. 60, 1985-1986, pp. 133-201: 133-41; C. Tristano, La biblioteca di un umanista calabrese: Aulo Giano Parrasio, Manziana s.d. [ma 1988], pp. 200-1) Two other letters make explicit that codices from this convent were lent to Cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto (Mercati, De fatis cit. [8], pp. 122 n. 4 e 172-4; Gutiérrez, La Biblioteca cit. [8], p. 78 -- G. Mercati, De fatis bibliothecae monasterii S. Columbani Bobiensis (prima delle due dissertazioni che fungono da Prolegomena a: M. Tulli Ciceronis De re publica libri e codice rescripto Vaticano Latino 5757 phototypice expressi, Città del Vaticano 1934), pp. 120-33;).

Bibliography for this codex, among others:

* S. Endlicher, Catalogus codicum philologicorum Latinorum Bibliothecae Palatinae Vindobonensis, Vindobonae 1836, pp. 180-3. 

* Tabulae codicum manu scriptorum praeter graecos et orientales in Bibliotheca Palatina Vindobonensi asservatorum. Edidit Academia Caesarea Vindobonensis (voi. Ili, Vindobonae 1869, pp. 197-8).

* E. Martini, Sui codici napoletani restituiti dall'Austria, in "Atti della Reale Accademia di Archeologia, Lettere e Belle Arti di Napoli" n.s. 9, 1926, pp. 155-82, in particolare 178. 

* C. Tristano, La biblioteca di un umanista calabrese: Aulo Giano Parrasio, Manziana s.d. [ma 1988], pp. 200-1. 

The codex is closely related to Neap. VI.C.36, which also passed from Parrasio to Seripando (note of ownership on f.155); the two together form one manuscript, as Kroymann showed (p.6 and 27).


1. René BRAUN, Tertullien : Contre Marcion, Sources Chrétiennes 365 (1990), p20ff. French critical edition, introduction, translation. Checked.

2. Emil KROYMANN, Die Tertullien-Ueberlieferung in Italien, Sitzungsberichte der Philosophisch-Historischen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 138 (1897 or 1898) 3rd booklet (34 pages). also in English translation.  p. 6. Checked.

3. Emil KROYMANN, Die Tertullien-Ueberlieferung in Italien, Sitzungsberichte der Philosophisch-Historischen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 138 (1897 or 1898) 3rd booklet (34 pages). also in English translation.  p. 27. Checked.

4. Aubrey DILLER, The Manuscripts of Pausanias, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 88 (1957), pp.169-188; Reprinted in Dieter HARLFINGER, Griechische Kodikologie und Textüberlieferung, Darmstadt (1980), pp. 501-525.  This excerpt from p.517, notes from p.525.  The MS of Pausanias with the same subscriptio is Naples, Bibl. Naz. codex III Aa 16 bis, paper.  Checked.

5. Pierre PETITMENGIN, Tertullien entre la fin du XIIe et le début du XVIe siècle, in M. CORTESI (ed), Padri Greci e Latini a confronto: Atti del Convegno di studi della Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino.  Firenze: SISMEL (2004).  pp. 63-88.  Checked.

6. Roberto PALLA, Una trascrizione umanistica del Carmen de Iona.  Parrhasiana II.  Atti del II Seminario di Studi su manoscritti Medievali e Umanistici della Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli (Napoli, 20-21 ottobre 2000).  Napoli (2002), p. 65-78.  (= A.I.O.N. Annali dell Istituto Universario Orientale di Napoli. Dipartmento di Studi del Mondon classico e del Mediterraneo antico, Sezione filologico-letteraria 24, 2002).  (Details CTC2002).  On Ms. N, and the Barberini copies.  Checked.  Reference Petitmengin n.69.  

7. Umanesimo e Padri della Chiesa. Manoscritti e incunaboli di testi patristici da Francesco Petrarca al primo Cinquecento, Firenze: Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, a cura di S. Gentile, [Milano] (1997). Checked.  Details Petitmengin 2004 n.43. Contains details of the main Florence Mss. pp.188-191=BML Laur.26,13; pp.223-225= BNC Conv. Soppr. J.VI.10 & 11; pp.236-7=BNC Conv. Soppr. J.VI.9.

This page has been online since 11th December 1999.

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