Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, francese Z XVIII

[Part 1]

General information

2 frontend papers
LanguageFrench - Italian localisation or influence
Approx. date?1340 to 1360
Date notes'XIVe siècle' (Jung 1996, 291); 'metà del XIV secolo' (Bisson 2008, 83).
Place(s) of productionNorthern Italy
'Italie du Nord' (Jung 1996, 291)
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] E t palamides (et) roy aiaus
First words of last recto folio[f. 142ra] D efermez et de talant
Incipit[f. 1ra] SAlemons nous ensegne (et) dit . / Ese lit hom enson escrit . / Qe nuls rien doit son sen celer . / Ainz le doit hom simostrer . / Qe hom nait proz (et) honor . / Car le firent notri antessor . / Se cil chi trouerent les pars . / Eli grans liures de sept ars . / Si fuissent teu uoirement . / Vesquist le siecles folement / Come bestes eusons uie / Que fust sauoirs ne que folie . /
Explicit[f.142rb] D  es agais son fil ce li dient / Molt le menacent (et) defient / Mes tant ai hore tauailíe / Que listoire aí tot (con)tie / A  i aioste (con)plis / C  e que nous (con)te ditis / Des greiois et des troiens / C  oment ill (con)sorent lor tens / Et com troiens furent en poi(n)e / P  or la biaute de dame elaine / Car rauíen lavoit parís / E  menee atroie ases amís / O  r meuoil taíre et repolser / Nemeuoil plus travailier / A grant ioie (et) agra(n)t anor / Puisons uíure p(ar) maínt iour / En ioie en solaç longuem(en)t / Amen dient Amen dient comunement // Deo gr(ati)s Amen


Condition:Excellent parchment in very good condition. Only a few holes, always outside the writing space. Some folios have been slightly damaged by humidity, but the text is perfectly readable. Sometimes, for instance at f. 1ra for the first 16 lines of the text, the copyist used faint ink.



I-II8(1-16), III10(17-26), IV8(27-34), V-XIV10(35-134), XV8(135-142), cf. Bisson 2008, 82 and Jung 1996, 292.

Quire structure:
Quire marks:
Catchword disposition:verso of the final leaf of the quire, centred under the writing space

Physical description

General illustration:
General decoration:One historiated initial (f. 1ra, 14 ll. high), framed in dark blue and on gilt background. The letter is coloured in pink and light blue with white strokes and circular flourishes, behind it a crowned figure stands with a golden globe in his left hand, and a sceptre with a lily on the top, wearing a tunic and with a long beard. The left margin of the page, and the top and the bottom margins and partly the right margin, are decorated in the typical style of Gonzaga's manuscripts, at the bottom of the page the coat of arms of the family (a tilted shield with gilded and blue horizontal strips). 'La decorazione è dovuta ad un miniatore lombardo che lavorava presso la corte mantovana nel periodo di governo di Guido Gonzaga (1360-1369). Presenta caratteristiche avvicinabili a quelle dei codici marciani Fr. 16, Fr. 19, FR. 22, Str. App. 39).' (Bisson 2008, 185, the first page is reproduced in D'Arcais 1984, fig. 20). Decorated initials (4-5 ll. high) with red geometrical and phytomorphic pen flourishes that sometimes surround and sometimes frame them, often extended in elegant curved lines with blue strokes (es. f. 25vb). Initials usually protrude into the left margin. Small initials (2 ll. high, 3 ll. only in quire IX, cf. Jung 1996, 295) alternatively red and blue. Guiding letters in the left margins and in the intercolumn, paragraph marks hilight lists in the texts (only in the first folios and in the last quire).
Evidence of readership:There is evidence of revision. In some cases the copyists didn't leave blank lines for the rubrics, but a reviser added them in the margins (f. 78va, 84rb, 98rb, 107ra etc.), then in some cases the rubricator added the rubric, e.g. in the right margin (f. 78va) or in the bottom margin of the column (f. 128va). Cf. Jung 1996, 296. At f. 138va the last seven verses of the column have been crossed out in red and seven other verses have been added under the writing space.
Foliations description:19th century foliation, in arabic numerals at the top right corner of the recto of each folio. 'A foglio 152r venne indicato, oltre a 152, il numero 140' (Bisson 2008, 83).

Mise en page

Description 14 vertical lines rule the space for initials in the left margin of each column (the internal ones for the body of the letter, the external ones for its ornamental prolongations). 45-52 ll. per column, but in most cases 50 ll., the number varies quire by quire: "le scribe [for the number of copyists working on this part of the MS, cf. infra] a procédé par cahier" (Jung 1996, 292 with a detailed account of textual issues relating to the mise en page and the quire structure). Verses usually go beyond the right margin of both columns.
Page sampledf. 14v
Page dimensions365 x 250 (mm)
Justification268 x 159 (mm)
66 + 27 + 66mm between columns
Column ruling present in grey (Plummet )
Line ruling present in grey (Plummet )
RubricationRubrics usually precede the decorated initials, though in some cases the rubrics have not been written (es. f. 4va and 63va).
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Libraria
ScriptSouthern textualis (rotunda libraria)
Folio rangeFrom 1ra to 142rb
Date1340 to 1360
Scribe description:
NotesOne hand according to Jung 1996, 291-296, six hands according to Bisson 2008, 84-5 who describes their main features. There is indeed evidence of many hands at work, though one hand, that Bisson incates as A "sostanzialmente dirige il lavoro di stesura del codice: assegna i fascicoli da copiare ai propri collaboratori e su ciascun fascicolo trascrive i versi da cui iniziare" (ibid., 84). Bisson idenfies the fifth hand (ff. 75r-84v) with that of the MS francese Z XIX.


DescriptionAccording to Bisson 2008, 86 "il codice fu esemplato in ambiente lombardo e fu decorato per Guido Gonzaga, al potere dal 1360 al 1369", cf. also Jung 1996, 291 and d'Arcais 1994, 597.
Date1360 to 1369
PlaceMantua (City in Northern Italy)
OwnershipGonzaga, Guido,
DescriptionCan be identified with n. 29 of the 1407 inventory of Gonzaga's library (Troianus. Incipit: Salamons nos ensigne et dit. Et finit: auis uuol tasier. Continet cart. 152), cf. Braghirolli 1880, 509; Bisson 2008, 86 and n. 3.
PlaceMantua (City in Northern Italy)
Ownership, Gonzaga,