Fake News in History

Is Roman history fake news? That idea is not new, it turns out. Back in the 16th century it was already being argued that the classical author Sallust was biased and prone to misreporting. Costanzo Felici (1525-1585), an Italian physician, naturalist and historian, took the charges so seriously that he revised Sallust's Historia de coniuratione Catilinae to "restore" the "neglected role" of Cicero.

Of course he overdid it. Anthony Grafton in the Rome Reborn catalog says "Cicero's role in suppressing Catiline, largely dismissed by Sallust himself, was magnified to superhuman proportions". There's presumably more of the story in a paywalled article, 'Constantius Felicius Durantinus and the Renaissance Origins of Anti-Sallustian Criticism' by Patricia Osmond (de Martino).

The dedication copy for Pope Leo X, Vat.lat.3745 has just been digitized by the Vatican Library. Of course it is wonderfully illuminated. Felici's career, but not this book, is summarized in the Treccani.

In all, 31 new manuscripts have been digitized over the past week at the library. The full list:
  1. Vat.lat.2295, Consilia by Baldus de Ubaldis the jurist
  2. Vat.lat.2298,
  3. Vat.lat.2304,
  4. Vat.lat.2452,
  5. Vat.lat.2462,
  6. Vat.lat.2578, Ioannis de Turrecremata (Cardinal Juan de Torquemada): Summa de Ecclesia. NOT: Quesivisti fili carissime de incantatione adiuratione... (15c). See eTK
  7. Vat.lat.2725,
  8. Vat.lat.2994,
  9. Vat.lat.3387,
  10. Vat.lat.3475,
  11. Vat.lat.3540,
  12. Vat.lat.3556,
  13. Vat.lat.3596,
  14. Vat.lat.3620,
  15. Vat.lat.3621,
  16. Vat.lat.3627 (Upgraded to HQ),
  17. Vat.lat.3630 (Upgraded to HQ),
  18. Vat.lat.3633,
  19. Vat.lat.3635,
  20. Vat.lat.3636,
  21. Vat.lat.3640,
  22. Vat.lat.3649,
  23. Vat.lat.3676,
  24. Vat.lat.3684, Exhortatio pro calendarii emendatione by Paul of Middelburg, a Dutch-born 15th century bishop eager for calendar reform. Incipit: Mirum tibi fortasse in debitum ... See eTK Anthony Grafton in Rome Reborn says the Hebrew quotes at the start are Paul detailing the arguments used by contemporary Jews to criticize Christians for observing Easter at the wrong time.
  25. Vat.lat.3686,
  26. Vat.lat.3695,
  27. Vat.lat.3696 (Upgraded to HQ),
  28. Vat.lat.3708,
  29. Vat.lat.3745 (Upgraded to HQ), revised Sallust, above
  30. Vat.lat.3789,
  31. Vat.lat.3798.pt.4,
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 171. Thanks to @gundormr for harvesting. 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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