TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures


In Latin and Italian, manuscript on paper
[Northern Italy, circa 1425-1450]

TM 81

25 leaves, complete (f. 1 and ff. 24-25, blank), in quires of 12 (i2, ii-iii12), written on paper (watermark on f. 6 close to Briquet), in a highly abbreviated tight rounded Italian semi-cursive script, copied in brown ink, on two columns of up to 32 lines (justification 145 x 115 mm.), some marginal corrections, tighter script fol. 14v-23v, some horizontal annotations or corrections, ruled in brown ink, rubrics in red, paragraph marks in green, some letters touched in yellow, initials in light green, one 3-line high initial (f. 1) in blue with red pen flourishing, manicula pointing to noteworthy parts of text, small drawing of a fish on fol. 21v as a cartouche for marginal annotation, overall in very good condition, first quire cropped a little shorter but with no textual loss; ff. 5-6 small square of paper cut out, with no loss of text. Modern parchment binding over cardboards, smooth spine, edges speckled in red. Dimensions 175 x 165mm.

Rare manuscript of an uncommon text on the virtues and vices (only one other copy is known), mixing Latin prose and Italian verse, by a Franciscan author who is considered a “Christian humanist” and was much influenced by John of Wales.


1. Script and watermarks secure an Italian origin, as the use of Italian verse confirms.


f. 1, blank;

f. 2, [Rubric], De conflictu viciorum. [Prologue], incipit, “Apriti gli ogi vostri o Christiani / E vedereti le extrene batagle / Che fino inseme i forti capitani / Senza arme de ferro e senza maglie / Da l’una parte sun ly ben suprani / Da l’altra sun le cose de travaglie / Ci el peccato e tuti vici vani / Chy possun in ca nostra fato in paglie / E le vertu chi fan che i fati humani / Sun fati si che l’omo al ciel sen sagle / E la superbia el primo canpo prende / E soa posanza nel canpo distende”;

ff. 2-23v, [Rubric] Bellum cum viciis semper est habendum; incipit, “Facturus de conflictu viciorum et virtutus tractatus iste; [Following Rubric] De superbia et de eius natura et prelio vulgariter; Incipit, “Superbia amore sie desordenato / Chel ama se piu chal suo creatore / Non cura chel sia deo despresciato… “; explicit, “ …et accerbitas candida restitutione celebranda est etcaetera”.

f. 23v, [Added paragraph, same hand] “Non aspere quam tu estimo. Non duriter… “

Bloomfield et al. attributes the present work to Johannes Genesius Quaglia de Parma and Fra Zuano de Verona (see Bloomfield, no. 2092). There seem to be very few known manuscripts of the De conflictu viciorum (“On the Battle of Vices”), a kind of Psychomachia opposing such virtues and vices as Superbia (Pride) vs. Humilitas (Humility); Invidia (Envy) vs. Caritas (Charity). Bloomfield identifies only one other manuscript (Florence, Bibl. Naz. Conv. Soppr. B. VIII, 1809, ff. 1-39), and the treatise appears to have remained unpublished. It precedes the passages of Latin prose with Italian macaronic verse, mixing the two languages together.

Johannes of Parma, or Joannes genesius Quaglia/ Joannes Quaia de Parma (died c. 1398), is an Italian friar, who entered the Franciscan order at an early age, studied in England, earned a bachelor of theology (by 7 March 1373), and taught at various studia of the order. He became professor of theology at the University of Bologna, and then returned to Pisa (for an overview of his life and works, see Teetaert, cols. 1431-36). His identity is often confused with others (Wadding, 1906, p. 141, confuses Johannes Genasius with Giovanni Buralli da Parma; Sbaralea, II, 79–80, confuses him with a physician from the University of Bologna; and Quetif–Echard consider him as a Dominican). He is often wrongly identified with another Franciscan Joannes de Parma (Giovanni Buralli da Parma, born, c. 1208, Parma; died c. 1289, Camerino).

Like John of Wales, he is known as a “Christian humanist” on the basis of his Proverbia. His works deal with the sense of man and his supernatural destiny. They are neither particularly widespread in their day nor much studied in modern scholarship. His most popular work, the Rosarium, exists in 29 manuscripts and was written as a guide to live saintly (Pergamo, 1934, pp. 16-17); he likens the sources he has gathered in the work to the smelling of roses which are threatened to be extinguished in between the thorns of errors and sins. He also wrote the following works: De Civitate Christi (in 12 manuscripts, printed in 1501 in Reggio Emilia), Expositio super Patrem Nostrum (4 manuscripts; see Pergamo, 1934, p. 18); Comm. In Hexaemeron, and the Proverbia in versi latini ed italiani (7 manuscripts, see Pergamo, 1934, p. 19) among several questionable attributions. Perhaps most similar to the present work which mixes Latin and Italian, verse and prose, is the Proverbia italiani, composed of two Latin verses, two Italian verses, and a moral sentence extracted from the Bible and the philosophers. A manuscript in Graz (Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. 195), containing many of Johannes of Parma’s writings and copied by his contemporary Bartolomeo di Manuta in 1387, remains an important source on the author (our text not included).


Alençon, Ubald d’. “Un manuscrit inédit de Jean Quaglia de Parma,” in Etudes franciscaines, 11 (1904), pp. 565-567.

Bloomfield, M. W. et al. Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100–1500, Cambridge, The Medieval Academy of America, 1979.

Cortese, Dino. “Giovanni di Genesio Quaia di Parma e la sua attività padovana,” Il Santo 23 (1983) pp. 313-322.

Péano, Pierre. “Jean–Genès de Parme,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et morale, Paris, Beauchesne, 1974, vol. VIII, col. 834-835.

Pergamo B. “I Francescani alla facoltà teologica di Bologna (1364–1500),” in Archivum Franciscarum Historicum, 27, 1934, pp. 3-20.

Stegmüller, F. Repertorium biblicum Medii aevi, collegit, disposuit, edidit Fridericus Stegmüller, Madrid, Instituto Francisco Suárez de Teología, 1951, vol. III, pp. 332-333 (present work not mentioned).

Teetaert, A. “Quaglia, Jean-Genès,” in Dictionnaire de Théologie catholique, Paris, Letouzey, 1937, tome XIII, col. 1431-1436.

Wadding, Luke. Scriptores Ordinis Minorum, quibus accessit Syllabus eorum qui ex eodem Ordine pro fide Christi fortiter occubuerunt... Recensuit Fr. Lucas Vuadingus, Rome, A. Nardecchia, 1906, p. 141-146.

Online resources

and especially the online catalogue

Franciscan Authors: Joannes de Parma (II)

On Graz, UB, Cod. 195, Johannes of Parma’s works