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Historia romana: MS McClean 180

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Historia romana


Author: Diaconus, Paulus
Artist: Inglés, Jorge
Artist: Carrión, Juan de




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, 70 fols. (fol. 70 former pastedown), 380 x 280 mm (232 x 180 mm), two columns, 54 lines, ruled in plummet, catchwords, quire signatures.

BINDING: Contemporary, plain vellum wrapper sewn on seven supports.

fols. 1r-48v Paulus Diaconus, Historia romana in Castilian translation with further material on Medes and Persians (fols. 1r-48v and 49r-60v); notes on the three continents (fol. 60v)
fols. 61r-68v Amonstriamento (historical exempla and moral extracts from Aristotle, Dante and a Castilian princely manual)
fols. 68v-69r Prayers to recite when gathering the herb martegon
fol. 69r Diagram linking metals and planets.

DECORATION: Historiated initial formed of a three-dimensional letter in blue and white on indented gold ground, extending into a full-page border of gold stave with scrolling penwork sprays and painted floral and foliate finials, at centre of lower bar a plain gold shield, supported by two wildmen bearing their own shields and wooden staffs: fol. 1r Paulus Diaconus, Historia romana, [A, 15ll.] Author holding scroll and open book, and standing against a background of hills and a city.

ORNAMENTATION: Sixteen ornamental initials [10-12 ll.] formed of three-dimensional letters (lettres clenchées; Avril, Aniel, Mentré, Saulnier and Zaluska 1982, 134) on indented gold grounds with parted infill of pink and blue highlighted in white or gold (the highlighting in initials on folS. 19r, 35r and 38v is in the form of human faces), accompanied by spraywork extending into partial borders, for book divisions within Historia romana and the start of Amostriamento (fols. 6v, 11r, 15r, 19r, 21r, 26r, 31r, 35r, 38v, 41r, 43r, 44v, 49r, 51v, 54v, 61r); pink, green or blue initials [6-7 ll.] with contrasting penwork decoration, for minor text divisions; guide letters and some underdrawing still visible.


History note: Made for a member of the Menezes family of Andalucia (arms on fol. 1r)

Place(s) associated

  • Segovia

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


15th Century, Mid-Late#
Circa 1442 CE - Circa 1460 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: dimiento ytalia
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 180
Primary reference Number: 93606
Project ID: 492
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 5 January 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Historia romana" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-19 13:32:35

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{{cite web|url= |title=Historia romana |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-19 13:32:35|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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