Manilius (4.16) and the putto as an allegory of death in an epigraphic memento mori of the late 15th century (CIL 11.4426 = II2/14.1809)

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    Abstract

    © 2018 Universita degli Studi di Pavia Facolta di Lettere. All rights reserved. The verse inscription CIL 11.4426 = II2/14.1809, attributed to Tarragona and trans-mitted only through Renaissance sources, is of great interest for its inclusion of a hexameter from Manilius' Astronomica (4.16) and for the description of the sarcophagus's purported iconography. This paper argues that the inscription is in fact a literary invention made around 1490, a conclusion drawn from a new analysis of the inscription's early manuscript tradition, the identification of the source of the iconographic subject, the reception of Manilius in the second half of the 15th century and the study of the text's relationship with two other suspicious inscriptions with the same verse which were copied shordy afterwards. The creation of this epigraphic memento mori provides an exceptional case study of the transmission of texts and ideas between humanists based in Rome and in Catalonia during the last years of the Quattrocento.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)168-188
    JournalAthenaeum
    Volume2018
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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