ARISTOTLE. In logicam praeludium…

France, 1601-2.


4to, 220x148mm. ff. 180 (errors in pagination), [1]3-12 [2]-[4]16 [5][8]14/18 [9]-[10]14 [11]18 [12]14, last 5 ll. blank (including A12 torn away), 2 preliminary blanks removed, not affecting text. Brown ink, secretary hand, in Latin, approx. 35 lines per full page, drop-head title, marginal sidenotes. Full-page ms diagram to fol.12, two more, smaller, to ff. 108r and 119v. Slight toning, upper outer corner of fol.1 and lower outer corner of fol.101 torn away, affecting couple of words, long clean tear to gutter of fol.12, touching diagram, small faint water stain to upper margin, lower half of last leaf torn away apparently without loss. In very good, clean condition, on good-quality paper, contemporary limp vellum, lacking ties, contemporary ms ‘Logica Aristotelis Stagiritae’ to upper cover, early shelfmark ‘N’ inked to spine, a little soiled. C17 ms ‘J[e]sus Ma[ri]a’, C18 ms ‘cours philosophique’ and ‘s petri mauriacensis congreg[ationis] s mauri cathalogo inscriptus N8 14’ at head of fol.1, ms colophon ‘hodie 3o die Martij anno d[omi]ni 1601 logicam faelicissimo auspicio perfecimus. Ganiolyanus’, his autograph ‘Ganiolye’ to lose paper slip.

A very well-preserved, unsophisticated student notebook – a most interesting witness to the teaching of Aristotle’s ‘Logic’, the earliest formal study of the subject (Stan. Enc. Phil.), in France, c.1600. Such early ms specimens are rare, most dating to the later C17 or C18. The scribe and student signed his surname ‘Ganiolyanus’ and ‘Ganiolye’, i.e., probably after Ganioles, near Parlan, in Auvergne. Considering that the ms was later in the library of the Maurist monastery of St Pierre, in Mauriac, Auvergne, suppressed in 1789, it probably contains a philosophy course delivered in the region, rather than at a distant university. The most obvious institutions teaching Aristotelian logic were local Jesuit colleges, which, in the last quarter of the C16, successfully competed against the more expensive municipal schools. The closest to Ganioles, recorded active c.1600, when many colleges were shut and Jesuits temporarily expelled from towns, was the college at Rodez (Grendler, pp.56, 60). However, on fol.29, the student drew the Jesuit IHS device and another with M; the only French Jesuit College with that initial established before 1601 was Mauriac, allegedly shut in 1595-1605, but most probably still operating surreptitiously. Aristotle’s logic took up the whole first year – of 7 in total, of which 3 of Aristotelian philosophy – of the Upper School, which boys started aged 16-18. This ms commentary surveys the most important points according to Scholastic commentaries by Aquinas and Duns Scotus, also reprised by Jesuit authors. In particular, it goes from the introductory section on the difference between universal and accidental, to commentaries on ‘Categories’, ‘On Interpretation’, ‘Prior Analytics’, ‘Posterior Analytics’, ‘Topics’ and ‘On Sophistical Refutations’ dictated by the lecturer. Examples of ‘syllogismos’, a core concept in Aristotelian logic, include eminently Catholic statements such as ‘nullus hereticus et infidelis est salvandus’ and ‘nulla virtus est vitium’. There are also listed the formulae of medieval logic, used by Petrus Hispanus, to define syllogistic figures: Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Baralipton, Celantes, Dabitis, Fapesmo, Frisesomo, etc (La Nave, p.278ff). The student penned an enthusiastic calligraphic colophon recording the end of his philosophy course on 3 March 1601 (or 1602).

P.F. Grendler, Jesuit Schools and Universities in Europe, 1548–1773 (2019); F. La Nave, ‘Logica e metodo scientifico nelle Contradictiones Logicae di Girolamo Cardano’, Bruniana & Campanelliana, 1 (2006), pp.313-60.
Stock Number: L3859a Categories: ,