SUMMARY: Holed ancient coins drew scholars’ attention from the seventeenth century onwards.
Pierced coins are found all over the Mediterranean and European territory. A large use is attested
in Merovingian Gaule and Early Medieval Europe. The goal of the paper is to study
holed Roman coins starting from pieces found in archaeological contexts in Milan and in Cisalpine
Italy (especially in Roman graves). A sample of 106 Roman perforated coins from recent
numismatic auctions is also considered. Coins were drilled in many different ways: the number,
size and setting of the hole/s can help to understand the use of perforated coins in Roman times.
SUMMARY: A fragmentary codex of Priscian’s Institutiones is extant in Piacenza, Archivio Capitolare
di S. Antonino, Cass. 49, fr. 47. The Institutiones were copied by eight different scribes
working side by side in a scriptorium north of the Alps in the 10th century. The MS margins
contain a rich collection of glosses in part written by the same copyists of the text, in part by
later hands. The codex apparently reached North Italy, where it was bound with dismembered
leaves of a Missal, by the end of the 12th century or thereabouts. The Missal leaves, written in
the Po valley, 11th century, show a text descending from the Sacramentarium Gregorianum
and extended with formulas taken from the Gelasianum.
SUMMARY: Peter Damiani’s Liber qui dicitur ‘Dominus Vobiscum’ (= letter 28) is a discussion
about the lawfulness of mass celebrated by an eremite (solitarius). Damiani examines the liturgical
formulas, their unbroken use by all the Church and their Biblical foundations, which are
explained in detail and supported with logical reasoning. An inspection in the sources of the
letter leads to find that the argument is against the canon law and thus to recognize, beyond
the impressive rhetorical apparatus, that Damiani’s aimed at standing up for the eremits’ liturgical
praxis, which had been prohibited by plenty of canonical texts. Such a concern fits well
with Damiani’s claim of legitimation of the eremitical experience as he expressed in several
SUMMARY: In 1149 or 1150 Guerricus of Igny and the archbishop of Reims Samson of Mauvoisin
put Hugo of Fouilloy up for prior of St Denis of Reims. But Hugo refused the election,
and adduced reasons for his refusal in an apologetic letter addressed to an unidentified domno
H. The letter is transmitted by eight manuscripts, and two of them have been written in Hugo’s
lifetime, probably under his supervision. In all these MSS the letter is copied beside Hugo’s
De claustro animae. A new argument is given for a datation of De claustro, book I and II,
ante 1149. A critical edition of the letter is provided and its style and sources are investigated.
A list of hitherto unknown MS witnesses of the De claustro animae is given at the end.
SUMMARY: An unknown Byzantine lexicon is preserved in a manuscript datable to the end of
the 12th century (Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, C 222 inf. [gr. 886], ff. 207r-208v). The
author appears to have been working in Constantinople during the second half of the 12th century
and shows personal acquaintance with Ioannes Tzetzes. The lexicon includes 751 glosses.
A few lacunae in the text suggest that schedae could have been used to compile the glossary.
Several sources are identifiable, the most frequently found are Aelius Herodianus, Epimerismoi,
and Lexicon Tittmannianum. A selection of unusual and rare glosses is edited and discussed.
SUMMARY: MS Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, 1736, is a composite manuscript collecting
four codicological units. The first one (ff. 1-48) offers Iulianus Pomerius, De vita contemplativa
(late 12th century), followed by a selection of texts connected with the Bologna school of law:
a series of canons on fast, rare constitutions of Frederick I Barbarossa, papal letters, the treatise
De arbitris et iudicibus of the famous jurist Bulgarus. Annotations and texts in verse are added
on the last flyleaf. The MS was in the library of the convent of San Domenico in Bologna
(founded in 1218) during the Middle Ages, and apparently since the early 13th century.
SUMMARY: In the year 1227 an ambassador of the Emperor Frederick II came to Egypt and visited
the pyramids of Ğīza and the ruins of Memphis. The mysterious person was also able to
read an ancient Latin inscription and translated it into Arabic in the presence of distinguished
Muslim scholars. The inscription can perhaps be identified with CIL, III/1, nº 21, later known
to 14th and 15th century Western authors, and included in Latin descriptions of Aegypt (William
of Bodensele, Ludolph of Suchem, Jean Adornes, Felix Faber). The story of Emperor Frederick’s
ambassador is not transmitted by a Western source, but by an Arabic text, the Lights
of the translunar bodies on uncovering the secrets of the pyramids of Ğamāl al-Dīn Abū Ğa‘far
al-Idrīsī (d. 649/1251). The present study examines the historical and cultural context as well
as the diplomatic preparations for the 1228-29 Crusade. For the first time the identity of the
Swabian ambassador is unravelled: he was Berardus, archbishop of Palermo (d. 1252).
SUMMARY: The discovery in the State Archives of Milan of three unknoun documents of the
years 1215, 1219, 1260, concerning both the parish of San Pietro of Brebbia and the archbishop
of Milan, sheds new light on aspects of the history of the lower Verbano, an important
area of the archbishop’s feudal possessions. The first part of the article describes the activity of
the chapter of Brebbia in the late 12th and the 13th century, focusing on economical aspects
and relationships with the local community. The second part examines the actions and competences
of the archbishop’s officials in Brebbia during the 13th century, and provides evidence
for the archbishop’s management of his lands, a topic which is little known due to the lack of
documents. The edition of the three deeds concludes the essay.
SUMMARY: A small manuscript, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 304 (13th cent., ante
1259), written and illustrated by Matthew Paris, transmits a collection of six fortune-telling
texts, known as sortes. The genre of the sortes and its development in time is discussed in the
first part of the article; the second part focuses on the tipology and linguistical features of each
of these tracts. The presence of untranslated or misunderstood Arabic, Hebrew and Romance
terms is especially remarkable and suggests a circulation of these texts in the Mediterranean
area during the Middle Ages. These sortes, officially prohibited, slowly became luxury items,
eventually probably used also as passtimes.
SUMMARY: Unusual scenes concerning Melchisedek, Abraham and John the Baptist, painted
around 1250 by Byzantine painters on the vault of Parma Baptistery, show connections with
themes of an anonymous Latin short poem. The poem appears for the Annunciation Day (25th
March) in Guillaume Durand, Rationale (post 1286), but was first quoted by Bartholomew of
Trento (1244-1246). The text gathers several events of the sacred history in a single liturgical,
providential day: the Incarnation of Christ and his Passion, the creation of Adam, Melchisedek’s
offering and others. The verse helps to understand the pictorial program displayed on the
Baptistery Western wall, since in the 13th century this portion of painting received the light of
the rising sun around 25th March. The origin of the poem, undoubtedly echoing contact with
the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is an open question. But its theme existed in the West in the
12th century, when Honorius Augustodunensis listed most of the holy events mentioned by the
poem in the same connection with the Feast of the Annunciation. For this reason a Western
(Latin) written source can be reasonably supposed behind this part of the Parma decoration.
SUMMARY: Gerardo Tintori, a layman, was the founder of a hospital in the small city of Monza
at the end of the 12th century. Notarial deeds concerning this foundation and the later history
of the hospital are discussed in this article. A few decades after the death of Gerardo (1207)
documents, mentioning him always in connection with his hospital, give him the title of beatus
(1230) and of sanctus (1247). In fact between the 12th and the 13th century a new model of
holiness, deeply rooted in the city social life, became popular in Italy, namely lay persons devoted
to charitable actions and to relief of the poor and the sick. The 14th-century Chronicon
Modoetiense, written by Bonincontro Morigia, includes the first biography of Gerardo and
attributes a great number of miracles to him. Besides, this Chronicon praises highly the veneration
of saint Gerardo.
SUMMARY: Two Petrarch’s letters (Familiares IV 15 and 16) are commonly taken into account
for their autobiographical and apologetic aspects. The present article places them into the debate
about the limits and characteristics of the academic knowledge (represented by the great jurist
Giovanni d’Andrea) and its relationships with the new humanistic culture, with its myths and
its models. Petrarch’s discussion and comparison between St Jerome and St Augustine has to
be considered in this context: the two Fathers stand for two well-defined and basically opposite
ideas of culture. In its Hieronymianus (BHL 3876), a multipurpose work, which is not only a
hagiography or a florilegium, Giovanni d’Andrea shapes an image of St Jerome’s holiness and
lays down methods and areas of its use for different purposes, from popular devotion to theology
and to juridical culture. Attention is focused on the fourth section of the Hieronymianus,
which has a particular importance in the textual history of Jerome’s work.
SUMMARY: After the fall of Pavia (774), the Frankish historians and the Liber Pontificalis transmitted
a totally negative view to the following centuries on the end of the independent Lombard
kingdom, and this visibly influenced the description of king Desiderius and his son
Adelchis in Italian authors, active in Carolingian Italy and in the autonomous Duchy of Benevento
in the 9th and 10th centuries. The survival of Lombard traditions cannot be easily documented;
Desiderius and Adelchis enjoyed a sort of revival in the Novalesa Chronicon (11th
Century), but the reason of it is difficult to trace. Later on, Adelchis was to remain a secondrater;
on the contrary, the figure of his father gradually underwent a change: although his antagonism
to the Papacy was never forgotten, he gained a pious reputation. Several monastic
sources invented legends, where Desiderius was celebrated for his great religious zeal and appeared
as the founder of churches and monasteries, so that in the late Middles Ages noble families,
such as the Visconti, regarded him as a worthy ancestor. But late-medieval genealogists
could also draw material from French chansons de geste, like Aspremont (12th century), where
Desiderius was portrayed as a Christian hero and on friendly terms with Charlemagne. On that
ground the historians of Puglia and the Kingdom of Sicily deeply reshaped the historical memory
of the last Lombard king.