EXTENSIVE C16 ANNOTATIONS
ARISTOTLE, ODONIS, Geraldus, ed. Sententia et expositio cum questionibus […] super libros Ethicorum Aristoteles. [with]
ARISTOTLE, BURLAEUS, Gualtherus, ed. Expositio […] super decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis.
Venice, Per Simonem de Luere, Impensis domini Andree Torresani de Asula, 14 Jul 1500; 4 Sep 1500.
Folio in 8s. 2 works in 1, ff. (x) 192; (xiv) 170. Gothic letter, double column. First t-p and second last verso a little soiled, small worm hole on first and last few ll., slight yellowing, couple of ll. dusty, outer edge just trimmed affecting first or last letters of ms. notes in a few places, small oil stain at foot of F7-G4, scattered ink smudges to few ll., occasional mainly marginal spots and minor repaired tears. Very good, clean copies, on high-quality paper, in late C18 quarter vellum over marbled boards, morocco labels, possibly later eps. Ms. ‘Conradus Suffan 1563 Æ.V.R.P.’, ‘Sum M[o]n[ast]erij B.M.V. In Brunnbach’ (C17), ‘Dono accepi à Petro Pistore Scriba conventus Aulae Mergentheimensis Anno 1563 die Conceptionis Mariae’ and C19 ‘F.[ürstlich] Loev.[enstein] Ros.[embergische] Canzlei Bibliothek’ stamp to first t-p, extensive contemporary C16 annotations throughout, C16 ms. ‘Sum ex bibliotheca Danielis Suffani’ and ‘Iam Biblioth: Brunnbach’.
Very good, clean copies of the second editions of these important commentaries to Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’—with extensive C16 annotations. The Franciscan theologian Geraldus Odonis (1285-1349) was papal legate for John XXII, on whose behalf he negotiated policies against the heretical Patarenes in Hungary and Bosnia, peace between the English and Scottish kings, and the thorny question of the saints’ ‘visio beatifica’ (the complete vision of God). His commentary to ‘Ethics’, which includes Robertus Grosseteste’s Latin translation, was first printed in 1482. It reassesses, through Christian theology, dozens of questions raised in Aristotle’s milestone—from the definition of ethics (the philosophy of human behaviour and moral value) to the nature and understanding of moral virtues, friendship, happiness, justice and pleasure, and the importance of education and good laws for society and the commonwealth. The early annotator was a theologian and probably a monk, as he highlighted passages on the ethics of ‘solitary’ life, including the ‘vita monastica’. Interesting glosses are those on the nature of happiness, on the ethical value of ‘banausus’ (an artisan but also, as here, musician and stage actor) and the vice of ‘banausia’, on the ethics of justice in the case of debtors’ ‘involuntary commutation’ (e.g., poisoning, blinding, death, slander) as payment for what they owe, on incontinence, bestiality, and friendship. He occasionally erased incorrect words and sentences, or integrated the text with variants from another edition. The second commentary in this sammelband is the work of Walter Burley (c.1275-1344/5), an English scholastic philosopher trained at Oxford and the Sorbonne, with a specialisation in logic and a critic of William of Ockham. He translated some works of Aristotle into English by request of his patron Richard de Bury, later bishop of Durham and Lord Treasurer. His commentary on ‘Ethics’, first published in 1481, is one of three dozen he wrote on Aristotle’s works. In the preface, the editor, Simon de Luere, explained the detailed organisation of the editing, layout, reference sidenotes (to Averroe), paratexts and content, shedding fascinating light on the painstaking work required to turn complex ms. commentaries into printed sheets for easy consultation. The annotator glossed this work as copiously as the first, in sections such as those on the role of education for children, the soul, moral virtues and the logic of vice or wrong-doing, types of justice, and kinds of government (with a note on Taprobana, ‘insula Indiae’, based on Solinus).
In 1563, this copy was in the library of Conradus Suffan (d. c.1568) from Röttingen, in Baden-Württemberg, registered at Jena c.1556 and later a Benedictine and Cistercian. It was donated to him in the same year by Petrus Pistorius from a nearby monastery of Mergentheim. ‘Scriba’ could mean he was either a scribe or copyist or that his surname was Schreiber. Circa 1600, it was in the library of the Cistercian monastery of Bronnbach, Wertheim, before it was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, and this copy likely lost.
I: Goff O29; HC 11969*; BMC V 576; GW M02767.
II: Only Free Library of Philadelphia, Illinois and Newberry copies recorded in the US.
Goff B1301; HC(Add) 4144*; BMC V 576; GW 5779.