Middle XV Century.
National Library Marciana of Venice, Inv. 1791
and Hermitage Museum, Lat. XII, 68 – 4519
x 202 mm.
pages fully illuminated.
Francesco di Stefano “Il Pesellino”.
and unrepeatable edition of 949 numbered
authenticated by notarial deed.
The attraction aroused among Renaissance men Greek and Roman history
made him rediscover and return to read Silius Punic De bello Italico.
The Second Punic War is the subject of this epic, which tells the
greatness of the Romans, exalting the heroic virtues of the Roman
leaders and the power of Rome, subject and initially overwhelmed by
enemies, finally triumphed in the struggle,
which was one of the most epic and deadly in its history.
codex Silius Italicus text appears in the library of Pope Nicholas V
(reign: 1447-1455), whose books are the nucleus of the Vatican Library.
In an inventory of the library of the eminent humanist scholar used the
adjective "prestigious" to refer to this codex.
That manuscript, of great beauty and magnificence , has been identified
as the current Codex Lat.
, 68 -4519- of the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice.
Probably the codex came out of the Roman collection at the time of Paul
II (reign: 1464-1471) and the end of four was already in Venice, in the
Dominican monastery of Saints John and Paul.
The valuable library of the Dominicans of Saints John and Paul of Venice
was one of the first important monastic collections that were received
in the Library of the Serenissima.
The deposit was made for reasons of protection, since the middle
eighteenth century had been verified episodes of theft and dispersion
the lush beauty of the illustrations of famous Silius Italico, this
codex was the victim of a robbery of illuminated pages, which were torn
mercilessly for marketing and quickly purchased by members of the
Russian court .
Today there are seven images preserved in Venice and St. Petersburg.
The miniatures are the work of one of the most prestigious artists of
the Quattrocento Florentine Francesco Di Stefano, also known as Il
In his work we can see influences of Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico, and
despite his short career , due to his early death, his works hang in the
best museums such as the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan
Museum in New York,
the Gardner Museum in Boston and the National Gallery of Art in
With this edition Mediaevalis Orbis, the Hermitage Museum and National
Library Marciana in Venice recover the allegories that adorned the
famous codex and embellish the manuscript again.