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Title: The textual transmission of Cicero's Epistulae ad Brutum, ad Quintum fratrem, and ad Atticum
Author: Rota, Gabriele
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 4359
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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My doctorate is a study of the manuscript transmission of Cicero’s Epistulae ad Atticum: a twenty-book corpus comprising one book Ad M. Brutum, three books Ad Quintum fratrem, sixteen books Ad Atticum and a pseudo-Ciceronian Epistula ad Octauianum. I have made a complete reinspection and partial recollation of the eighty-odd fully extant manuscripts, and reconstructed a new stemma codicum that may be used for both historical and editorial purposes. My thesis consists of four chapters, following the transmission of the corpus of Ad Atticum from the Middle Ages down to the Renaissance and the beginning of printing. In Chapter 1 I discuss the top of the stemma: Petrarch’s (1304–74) rediscovery of these letters in the Chapter Library of Verona in 1345, and the beginning of their dissemination in fifteenth-century Italy, thanks to the Florentine Chancellor Coluccio Salutati (1331–1406) and two humanists of his circle: Niccolò Niccoli (1364–1437) and Leonardo Bruni (c. 1370–1444). Editors of Cicero’s letters believe that the top of the stemma is bipartite, and that bipartition reflects separate strands of mediaeval transmission: I argue against their reconstruction and put forward a new pluripartite stemma. In Chapter 1 I also consider manuscripts independent of the Verona archetype: these witnesses survive only in tiny fragments and scattered readings cited by sixteenth-century critics. In Chapter 2 I study the northern Italian progeny of the Veronese archetype: here too I have significantly improved on the editors’ work, thanks to collation of a larger number of independent manuscripts and a more articulated understanding of the intricate dynamics of contamination affecting this branch. In Chapters 3 and 4 I investigate the Florentine transmission of the corpus of Ad Atticum. In Chapter 3 I study the closer descendants of the copy of the Verona archetype that in 1393 came from Milan to Florence at Salutati’s instigation. In Chapter 4 I focus on the thirty-odd descendants of the manuscript that in 1408 the humanist and Papal secretary Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459) copied for Cosimo de’ Medici (1389–1464). The comprehensive stemmata that I put forward in Chapters 3 and 4 are completely new, since hitherto there has been no systematic attempt to map the genealogy of Salutati’s manuscript.
Supervisor: Oakley, S. P. Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; University of Cambridge ; District 2050 (Brescia–Milan)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Cicero ; Epistolography ; Florence ; Manuscripts ; Palaeography ; Renaissance