The Draw of Medieval Latin Grammar

On 20 November 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Old and modern manuscripts were the highlights of this afternoon sale devoted to paper in all its forms.

Late 12th-century manuscript of Priscian’s Institutionum grammaticarum libri, 139 ff of 24 x 15.8 cm. (9.45 x 6.23 in) parchment bound in dark brown sheepskin c. 1820.
Result: €90,170

The Beaussant Lefèvre house’s first live online sale was a success: over 600 people logged in, the auction yielded €603,651 and 99% of the lots found buyers. The first surprise was the result obtained by the approximately 3,440 letters and pieces collected by journalist René Baschet (1860-1949), mainly between 1900 and 1930. Signed by famous literary, artistic and political figures—too numerous to mention all of them here—they fetched €44,450. The second was €91,170 for a 12th-century Latin manuscript of Priscian’s famous sixth-century Institutionum grammaticurum libri—the first modern grammar in the West as well as the largest and most complete preserved Latin treatise of its kind. Written for a small circle of scholars in Constantinople, it became the standard language-training manual for clergymen throughout the medieval West and was therefore widely distributed. This copy boasts interesting examples of late Romanesque illuminations such as painted or pen-drawn dropped capitals and marginalia, including five drawings.

Friday 06 November 2020 - 13:30 - Live
Beaussant Lefèvre
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