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Flores Dictaminis by Pietro della Vigna, mid/late 14th-early 15th century

Identifier: MS 182/ff. 3r-v; 5r-24v

Scope and Contents

This section of the manuscript is headed Flores Dictaminis Petri de Vineis et primo de querimonia Frederici Rubrica and contains the Flores dictaminis by Pietro delle Vigne, also found under the name Summa dictaminis or Ars dictaminis. It is an 'anthology' divided in six books, which contain: the controversial correspondence between Frederic II against the papacy; letters related to military affairs; a section mixing political affairs and literary entertainment; consolation letters sent after a death; templates for common administrative letters; and priviledges and exceptional acts.

It seems likely that the Flores Dictaminis section of the manuscript was originally intended as a self-contained work, to which illuminations were to be added later. This is evident from the fact that the first initial of the text, right at the beginning below the heading on the recto side of what is now the fifth folio of MS 182, is missing. Instead, there is a blank square, measuring 1.8 cm2, in which an illuminated initial might have been inserted.

Similarly, there are smaller blank squares of ca. 1 cm2 in size throughout the text, at the start of each new paragraph, where the initials are also missing and where illuminated initials could have been inserted. In the case of these blank squares, a very small letter has been placed in the margin next to each of them to indicate which letter of the alphabet was to be inserted in each individual square.

Unusually for a manuscript that might have been intended for illumination, the vellum used in its creation appears to be of inferior quality, with stretch marks visible on some folios and uneven edges on others; similarly, the writing is cursive and the scribe in question has made ample use of abbreviations.


  • Creation: mid/late 14th-early 15th century


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


21 folios


Benoît Grévin, 'Les mystères rhétoriques de l'État médiéval. L'écriture du pouvoir en Europe occidentale(XIIIe-XVe siècle)', Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 63th year, vol. 2 (2008), pp. 271-300.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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