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PAULUS NICOLETTUS VENETUS, Logica parva [followed by] PAULUS PERGULENSIS, Tractatus de sensu composito et diviso

In Latin, illustrated manuscript on paper
[Italy, Perugia, dated 1475]

TM 73

89 folios, complete, mostly in quires of 10 (i-viii10, ix9[10-1], last folio blank, no text lacking), on paper (watermarks closest to Briquet 11960 “Navire,” Florence, 1480), written in light brown ink in a slanted cursive script on up to 36 lines, text on two columns (justification 170 x 100 mm.) mm), vertical catchwords, rubrics in light red ink, paragraph marks in light red ink, numerous marginal annotations often signaled by red paragraph marks, spaces left for planned initials (often empty), 2 initials painted in red opening the second treatise (f. 87), ONE 5-LINE INITIAL, marking the beginning of the first treatise, in pink and burnished gold with black infill speckled with white on a burnished gold ground with colored acanthus leaves, flowers and burnished gold besants extending in the margin, TWO COLUMN-WIDE COLORED DIAGRAMS IN GREEN AND YELLOW WASH (ff. 3v and 7v). Bound in late sixteenth- or early seventeenth-century hard vellum over cardboard, back sewn on four raised thongs, title gilt “Tract. de comp. et divis.,” first compartment containing black imprint of pontifical arms and pope’s initial GRE XIII [Gregory XIII, 1572-1585], third compartment containing Jesuit initials IHS in a roundel with letters VCG [V. (?) Collegio Germanico], penned early shelfmark in last compartment (782), edges speckled in red and green, later restored pastedowns and flyleaves, overall good condition. Dimensions 230 x160 mm.

Signed and dated by an unrecorded scribe working in the same Augustinian monastery where both Paul of Venice and Paul of Pegula resided, the present manuscript is unrecorded in the modern literature. It combines the two most important treatises on scholastic logic from fifteenth-century Italy in a fresh, attractively written, and illustrated exemplar.


1. Written by the unrecorded scribe Francisci Alexandri de Callio in 1475 in the Abbey of the Hermits of Saint Augustine in Perugia, Italy. The identity of the scribe and place of copy are revealed on f. 86, as follows: “Exaratus codex iste Loyce parve magistri Pauli Veneti. Existensis in ordine heremitarum Beati Augustini manu mei Francisci Alex[andr]i de Callio. In Augusta Perusia .MCCCCLXXV. [1475] tertio decimo k[alendas] martii.” The Convent of the Hermits of Saint Augustine was founded c. 1256-1260 near the Porta San Angelo in Perugia. The script is very close to that in another manuscript in Perugia, Bibl. Communale, MS 1328 (Oddi, Specchio dell’Ordine Minore; on this manuscript, see Bistoni, 1975, pp. 124 and 192-194).

2. Library of the Jesuit Collegii Germanici, their ex-libris penned in upper margin of first folio: “Collegii Germanici Bibl[iotheca] Sup[eriora].” The arms of Pope Gregory XIII and initials IHS found on back seem to point to an early Jesuit ownership.


ff. 1-87, Paulus Venetus, Logica parva; [Prologue] “Conspiciens in circuitu librorum magnitudine[m] studentium tedium in animo constituentem necnon et aliorum nimiam…” ; incipit, [Tractatus primus; De summulis] “[T]erminus est signum orationis constitutium…”; explicit, [Tractatus VIII ; Contre tractatum tertium]: “…dimitto quiescere ut verborum prolisitas [prolixitas] seu scripturae studentis tedium in mente non astruat secundum quod in nostri exordio primitus asserendo promisi. Amen. Laus sit Deo omnipotenti. Amen.”

ff. 86-89v, Paulus Pergulensis, Tractatus de sensu composito et diviso; rubric, Incipit tractus de sensu composito et diviso per nostrum Paulum Pergulem; [Prologue] “Quum [Cum] saepe numero mediocrem juvenibus fructum affere si compositionis et divisionis materiam clarissime intelligerent…”; incipit, “Septem modis commititur fallacia compositionis et divisionis de quibus per ordinem videamus…”; explicit, “Explicit tractatus [de] sensu compositi et diviso per meum Paulum Pergulensem conditi. Amen.”

Written in the monastery of the Hermits of Saint Augustine, the manuscript combines the two most important works of scholastic logic of fifteenth-century Italy, composed by the philosopher Paul of Venice, and his pupil, Paul of Pergula, both members of the religious community where the manuscript was transcribed.

Paul of Venice (born in Udine,1369; died in Padua 15 June 1429) or Paulus Nicolettus Venetus is one of the most important logicians of the Middle Ages. He taught in Padua, Siena (1420-24), and Perugia (1424-28), and lectured in Bologna. Banished from the Republic of Venice in 1420, suspected of aiding the enemies of Venice, he spent the last part of his life in Perugia in the convent of the Hermits of Saint Augustine. He wrote many philosophical and theological treatises (see Perreiah, 1986, for a list of his writings and a guide to the manuscripts). Known for developing a new form of realism, started by Wyclif and his Oxonian followers, including Duns Scotus, in the fourteenth century, Paul of Venice’s is credited with contributions concerning the notion of normal distinction and the analysis of predication.

Written c. 1393-95, the Logica Parva (“The Small Logic”) became an official textbook and remained influential even in the sixteenth century. It is a compilation of doctrines and discussions derived from fourteenth-century English sources which take a compositional view of language. The larger unities of a language, that is the arguments, are seen as combinations of sentences. Sentences are seen as combinations of terms, and these terms are classified into fundamental types. Beyond scholastic circles, the Logica Parva was known to the humanists such as Lorenzo Valla, George of Trebizond, and Marcilio Ficino. Just over 80 manuscripts are recorded, of which the oldest dated copy, 1401, is in Bologna, (Colegio di Spagna, MS 60; see Perreiah, p. xxxiii).

The Logica Parva was the first textbook of scholastic logic to be printed (see Perreiah, 2002, pp. xviii–xix). There are four other manuscripts of Paul of Venice in Perugia which warrant comparison with the present copy (Bibl. Communale MS 45, dated 1468; Bibl. Communale MS 531, XIVth c. (?); Bibl. Communale MS 580; Bibl. Communale MS 1090, dated 1449 [fragment]). The first incunable edition was printed in Venice in 1472 (Goff, P-219; Perreiah, p. xxii). Enormously popular in its time, the, the text was printed ten times between 1472 and 1501 (Goff, P-190 to P-198).

Paul of Pergula’s work De sensu composito et diviso (“On composite and divided sense”) is often associated with the Logica Parva by Paul of Venice. A pupil of Paul of Venice, Paul of Pergula (died 1451) became the first publicly paid lecturer in philosophy in Venice, where he was officially honored in a public ceremony. In 1448, he was offered a bishopric, which he refused, and at the end of his life he accepted the administration of the Church of Saint John Almoner. He translated some works of Aristotle from Greek to Latin and was considered “on a par with the renowned Greek and Latin philosophers” (Brown, pp. vi-vii). Depending on the Logica Parva of Paul of Venice, De sensu composito et diviso should be regarded as a “mosaic of the treasury of logic known at the time” (Brown, p. viii).

Brown records eighteen manuscripts of Paul of Pergula’s work (pp. x-xi). De Ricci cites only one manuscript in North American collections (Census, 2056, Philadelphia, Free Library, MS 168). See, in addition, a manuscript similar to the present one in the Beinecke Library of Yale University, where the two treatises are bound together (Marston MS. 97). The first edition was printed in Pavia, Martinus de Lavalle, 5 November 1488 (Goff P-198).


As in most manuscripts and printed editions, Paul of Venice’s text contains two diagrams, as follows:

f. 3v, Diagram, three squares of opposition: 1) Figure of propositions of existence -in (de inesse); 2) Figure of modal propositions in the divided sense (senso diviso); 3) Figure of modal propositions in the composite sense (senso composito).

f. 7v, Diagram, Tree of Porphyry, with base leaf “homo” and top leaf “S[u]bstantia.” The sub-classes of a “genus” are called “species.” In the middle levels of the diagram, each class is both a “genus” with respect to its sub-classes and a “species” with respect to the higher class to which it belongs. At the base of the tree appear the philosophical “roots” or sources for the distinctions diagrammed above; they are Paul, Peter, Plato, and Socrates.


Bini, Vicenzio. Bibliografia storico-perugina, Perugia, 1823.

Brown, M.A., ed. Paul of Pergula: Logica and Tractatus de sensu composito et diviso, (Franciscan Institute Publications, Text Series no. 13), St. Bonaventure, New York, 1961.

Bistoni, M.G. “Catalogo dei codici del convento di Monteripido conservati nella Biblioteca Communale di Perugia”, in Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 68, 1975, pp. 124 and 192-194

[Bistoni M.G.] Catalogo dei manoscritti in scrittura latina datati o databili per indicazione di anno, di luogo, di copista (III). -Perugia, sec. XIV-XV, Univeristà degli studi di Roma “La Sapienza,” Padova, Bottega d’Erasmo, 1994.

Karger, E. “La supposition matérielle comme supposition significative: Paul de Venise, Paul de Pergula”, in A. Maierù ed., English Logic in Italy in the 14th and 15th Centuries, Naples, Bibliopolis, 1982, pp. 331–341.

Lohr, C.H. “A Note on Manuscripts of Paulus Venetus, Logica,” Manuscripta, 17(1973), pp. 35-36; reprinted in Bulletin de philosophie medievale, 15 (1973), pp. 145-146.

Perreiah, Alan. Paul of Venice: A Bibliographical Guide, Bowling Green (Ohio), Bowling Green State University, 1986.

Perreiah, Alan. Paul of Venice: Logica Parva [English translation], Munich, Philosophia Verlag, 1984.

Perreiah, Alan. Paulus Venetus. Logica Parva: First Critical Edition from the Manuscripts with Introduction and Commentary, Brill, Leiden, 2002.

Online resources

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Paul of Venice