It's been a great week for scholars of Cicero, with a couple of key Renaissance manuscripts of his work arriving online at the Heidelberg offshoot of the Vatican digitization programme.

The Roman lawyer, politician and philosopher's celebrated book On Oratory was long thought to be substantially lost until the bishop of Lodi, Italy discovered a nearly complete and somewhat corrupt text of it in his predecessors' library in 1421 or 1422.

Scholars converged on Lodi to copy it, but incredibly this so-called Codex Laudensis got lost by 1428. Perhaps it will show up one day as the world's oldest overdue library book. We are therefore forced to rely on the copies, of which two went to Germany and finally ended in Rome: P and R, or Pal.lat.1469 and Pal.lat.1470 below. Here is the full list of 27 new digitizations:
  1. Pal. lat. 1399 Walter Lud; Johannes de Monteregio; Martin Waldseemüller; Alkindus: Mathematisch-astrologischer Sammelband (Süddeutschland, 1. Viertel 16. Jh.)
  2. Pal. lat. 1401 Beda; Thebit ben Corat; Albumasar; Hali Imrani; Roger Herfordensis; Ps.-Hippokrates; Messahalla; Alkindi; Ps.-Ptolemaeus: Zusammengesetzte Handschrift: astronomische und astrologische Texte (Schlesien (I) , Magdeburg (III), 1. Hälfte 15. Jh. (I) ; um 1200 (II) ; 14. Jh. (III))
  3. Pal. lat. 1402 Guido Bonatus: Liber astronomicus (Deutschland, Anfang 15. Jh.)
  4. Pal. lat. 1403 Johannes de Lineriis; Johannes de Sancto Amando: Sammelhandschrift zur Astronomie und Medizin (Frankreich, 1. Hälfte 14. Jh.)
  5. Pal. lat. 1404 Johannes Pastor Coloniensis: Viaticus astrologiae (Westdeutschland, 2. Hälfte 15. Jh.)
  6. Pal. lat. 1405 Alfonsus rex; Johannes Dank; Adamus; Ps.-Boethius; Wolfram de Bertholdi Villa; Petrus Hispanus-Thydericus: Zusammengesetzte Handschrift (Deutschland (I), 14. Jh. (I) ; 2. Hälfte 13. Jh.(II))
  7. Pal. lat. 1407 Albumasar; Zahel; Alkindus; Guido Bonatus: Astrologische Sammelhandschrift (Deutschland, um 1400)
  8. Pal. lat. 1408 Albumasar; Alkabitius; Hali Imrani: Astrologische Sammelhandschrift (Deutschland, 14. Jh.)
  9. Pal. lat. 1409 Johannes Dank: Astronomische Sammelhandschrift (Deutschland, 2. Hälfte 14. Jh.)
  10. Pal. lat. 1411 Johannes: Tabulae cum canonibus ; Algorismus de minutiis ; De compositione et usu cylndri (Wien, 1. Drittel 15. Jh.)
  11. Pal. lat. 1412 Gerardus ; Johannes a; Johannes ; Alfonso: Astronomische Sammelhandschrift (Paris, 1453/54)
  12. Pal. lat. 1413 Johannes ; Johannes Schwab de Butzbach; Petrus Lufft de Monaco; Johannes Plunderlin de Straubing; Nicolaus Rysch: Astronomische Sammelhandschrift (Bayern und Österreich, 2. Dritttel 15. Jh.)
  13. Pal. lat. 1414 Qabīṣī, Abu-'ṣ-Ṣaqr ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz Ibn-ʿUṯmān /al-; Thebit ben Corat; Johannes ; Robertus Grosseteste; Arzachel; Gerardus ; Robertus ; Māšā'allāh Ibn-Aṯarī: Astrologisch-astronomische Sammelhandschrift (Frankreich (Paris), 13./14. Jh.)
  14. Pal. lat. 1415 Robertus ; Albumasar; Petrus: Sammelhandschrift (14. Jh.)
  15. Pal. lat. 1438 Astronomisch-astrologischer Miszellaneenband mit Inkunabeldruck (Franken, Heidelberg, Ende 14. Jh. - zweites Drittel 15. Jh.)
  16. Pal. lat. 1462 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: De innuentione (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  17. Pal. lat. 1466 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: De Oratore (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  18. Pal. lat. 1467 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Opera (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  19. Pal. lat. 1468 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: De oratore (Italien (Venedig), 15. Jh.)
  20. Pal. lat. 1469 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Opera (Italien, 15. Jh.), the P witness:
  21. Pal. lat. 1470 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: De oratore (Italien, 15. Jh.), the R witness:
  22. Pal. lat. 1473 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Opera (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  23. Pal. lat. 1474 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: De oratore (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  24. Pal. lat. 1477 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Orationes (Italien, Ende 14. Jh.)
  25. Pal. lat. 1478 Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Antonius Luschus; Sicco Polentonus: Orationes (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  26. Pal. lat. 1481 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Orationes (Italien, 15. Jh.)
  27. Pal. lat. 1482 Cicero, Marcus Tullius: Orationes (Italien, 15. Jh.)
Of the other most reliable copies of the Codex Laudensis at the Vatican, the one usually referred to as O, Ott.lat.2057, is already online (see PUL in October), but Vat.lat.3237 is still  on the waiting list. A lesser copy above, Pal.lat.1469, made on paper in Venice, has its own interesting history related by Jeannine Fohlen. This entire group is referred to as the integri.

The only other source of Cicero's oratorical works is the so-called mutili family, of which the oldest representatives are Avranches 238 (A; c. 830–50), Erlangen 380 (olim 848; E; c. 985), and London, Harley 2736 (H; written by Lupus of Ferrierès, c. 830–40).

This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 87. The main Vatican website has been at a standstill since late November. I don't know why.  The only recent news about it was an Osservatore Romano article by Cesare Pasini in November implying there are still some free Canon reproductions left to give you if you donate quick to the fund-raiser.

If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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