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Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Shape of the Book: From Roll to Codex, 3rd Century BC- 19th Century AD

The Library on Display
The Shape of the Book: From Roll to Codex
(3rd century BC-19th century AD)

edited by F. Arduini
with an essay by G. Cavallo

February 2008
paperback; 140x200 mm; 96 pp.
64 colour illustrations

isbn 978-88-7461-116-4 English
isbn 978-88-7461-115-7 Italian

EUR 14.00
Following the success of Imaginary Creatures, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana inaugurates “The Shape of the Book: From Roll to Codex” (Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, 15 February–31 July 2008), the second event of the Library on Display project, a series of theme-based exhibitions of Laurentian manuscripts.

Both the exhibition and the catalogue are divided into two sections, the Papyrus Collection and the Manuscript Collection. The first section opens with the famous Sappho ostrakon first published by Medea Norsa (PSI XIII 1300), a potsherd on which a pupil from the 2nd century BC wrote some strophes of an ode possibly dedicated to Aphrodite, and includes waxed wooden tablets, a lead tablet, carbonized papyri, papyrus fragments (of particular interest are several documents from the Zenon Archive, 3rd century BC), and papyrus and parchment rolls and codices.

Differing markedly in terms of format, production, script and decoration, the rolls and codices included in the second section illustrate significant stages in the evolution of the book form through the ages. Several manuscripts document the activity of notable centres of book production during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, from the imperial scriptorium at Constantinople to monasteries and high-quality workshops in Europe and particularly in 15th-century Florence. The section features a codex in Giovanni Boccaccio’s own hand, one of the models of the so-called “Danti del Cento” (a group of 100 manuscripts of Dante’s Divine Comedy produced in the 14th century) and examples of pocket and giant Bibles, ending with a superbly illuminated Persian manuscript and two Oriental scrolls from China and Japan respectively, unusual sights in Italian conservation libraries.

The masterful introductory essay by Guglielmo Cavallo offers an overview of the history of the book from the papyrus roll to the invention of the printing press, a field in which his expertise is virtually unparalleled.

Franca Arduini is Director of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Laurentian Library), Florence.

Guglielmo Cavallo is Professor of Greek Palaeography at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza”. He is one of the world’s leading experts on palaeography and the history of writing.

Table of contents

Preface, by F. Arduini

On rolls, codices and other aspects of ancient and medieval written culture
by G. Cavallo

The papyrus collection (Entries 1–20)
The manuscript collection (Entries 21–40)

Bibliographical references

Index of papyri and manuscripts
P. Flor. I 71
P. Flor. I 93
P. Flor. II 148
PL III/973
PSI I 28
PSI I 103
PSI IV 361
PSI IV 422
PSI IV 428
PSI V 514
PSI IX 1027
PSI X 1164
PSI X 1197
PSI XI 1182
PSI XII 1266
PSI XIV 1371
Acquisti e Doni 153
Acquisti e Doni 777
Acquisti e Doni 794
Acquisti e Doni 801
Acquisti e Doni 821
Ashburnham 125
Edili 125
Edili 182
Orientale 11
Pluteo 2.16
Pluteo 3, capsula I
Pluteo 4.31
Pluteo 5 sin. 6
Pluteo 33.31
Pluteo 46.12
Pluteo 74.7
Pluteo 82.1
Pluteo 90 sup. 125
Redi 28
San Marco 257

Entry authors: E. Antonucci, F. Arduini,
S. Magrini, R. Pintaudi, I.G. Rao.