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De morali principis institutione

VincentTeaching_edited.jpg

On the moral education of a prince

"Just as the prince excels all others in power, so should he be pre-eminent in wisdom and goodness, especially in order that te latter two may direct the course of power, restrain it and bend it to the work of virtue ... And in these three he ought to be conformed to the Holy Trinity, since power is attributed to the Father, wisdom to the Son, and goodness to the Holy Spirit" (chapter X, 11-14, 22-24). This the central theme of the De morali principis institutione also provides a structure for the treatise itself. Chapters II-IX deal with power, its nature, origin and purpose, what makes it legitimate, and what attitude the prince should take toward it. Chapters X-XVI focus upon the wisdom a prince must excercise in administering his realm. Chapters XVII-XXVII exhort the prince to excel in goodness and guard himself against those vices of the court, especially flattery and slander, which threaten it.

Source: Vincentii Belvacensis, De Morali principis institutione. R. J. Schneider, ed. Turnhout, 1995, XXIV.

List of surviving manuscripts

Key

 

Siglum - The siglum assigned to the manuscript in the critical edition by Robert J. Schneider (1995); I - Additional information on the speculum text as present in the manuscript, or on other texts present in the manuscript, or on material damage; D - Date of the manuscript; P - Country, region or place of production; if available, information on the scribe(s) of the manuscript; O - Medieval and pre-modern owners of the manuscript; L - Hyperlink to digital facsimiles of the manuscript; R - Reference to manuscripts listed in other parts of the inventory, with which this manuscript at the time of its production constituted a set of volumes. Manuscripts that have been collected into a set by a single medieval collector (library) within several decades, are indicated with cf.

10 surviving manuscripts of the De morali principis institutione are known today:

  • Basel, Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität Basel, A.VII.36, ff. 146r-216v

    • Siglum: B

    • I: The ms. lacks the prologue.

    • D: Middle of 15th century.

    • P: Written in Basel for Johannes von Venningen, Bishop of Basel (1458-1478).

    • O: Johannes von Venningen, Bishop of Basel (1458-1478); bequeathed by him to the Cathedral library at Basel; probably since the second quarter of the sixteenth century in the library of the University of Basel.

  • Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Parker Library, 325, ff. 153v-192r

    • Siglum: C

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium and Epistola consolatoria ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii.

    • D: First quarter of 14th century (before 1325).

    • P: Possibly written for John of Stratton, camerarius of Norwich Cathedral.

    • O: John of Stratton, camerarius of Norwich Cathedral; given by him to Norwich Cathedral Priory before 1325; Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-1575); bequeathed to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1574.

    • L: Digital facsimile.

  • Cambridge, Trinity College, 347 (B.15.11), ff. 71r-93r

    • Siglum: T

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium.

    • D: 1430.

    • P: Written in England, by Cornelius Oesterwick, at Blackfriars Oxford for John Courteys, master and regent of Oxford University.

    • O: John Courteys, master and regent of Oxford University; acquired by Trinity College, Cambridge, before 1702.

  • Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Ashburnham 947, ff. 90v-104v

    • Siglum: F

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium and Epistola consolatoria ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii.

    • D: First half of 14th century.

    • P: Italy.

    • O: Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore O.S.B.; an anonymous doctor utriusque iuris; Count Boutourlin; Marchese Giuseppe Pucci of Florence, early nineteenth century; purchased by Guglielmo Libri in 1840; sold to Lord Ashburnham of London in 1847; acquired by the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in 1844.

    • L:

  • The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 72 J 53, ff. 1r-33r

    • Siglum: H

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium and Epistola consolatoria ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii.

    • D: Middle of 15th century.

    • P: England (Oxford?).

    • O: Acquired by Bernard Scheurleer in 1818; purchased from him by the Royal Library.

  • Madrid, Biblioteca nacional de España, 10254 (olim Plut. II. Lt. N, no 7), ff. 45r-64r

    • Siglum: S

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium and Epistola consolatoria ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii. The ms. was formerly joined to another manuscript of 130 folios containing Aegidius Romanus’ De regimine principum, now ms. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University, Houghton Library, f.MS Typ. 195H.

    • D: First half of 14th century.

    • P: Southern France or Catalonia, possibly by a German scribe.

    • O: Acquired by Don Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, Marqués de Santillana (1398-1458) or his son Don Diego Hurtaldo de Mendoza, Duque de Infantado († 1479); obtained by the Duque de Osuña in 1841; purchased by the Spanish Ministry of Education in 1884 and given to the Biblioteca Nacional in 1886.

    • L: Digital facsimile.

  • Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C 398, ff. 89r-119r

    • Siglum: R

    • D: Middle of 15th century (1440-1460).

    • P: England.

    • O: Acquired by Sir John Fortescue before 1461; acquired by Richard Rawlinson, probably after 1720, who bequeathed the ms. to the Bodleian Library in 1756.

    • L: A digital image of fol. 89v, presenting the text of the prologue, is available in the image collection of the Bodleian Library.

  • Oxford, Merton College, 110, ff. 359v-381r

    • Siglum: M

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium and Epistola consolatoria ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii.

    • D: First half of 15th century.

    • P: England, possibly written by a scribe of German origin.

    • O: Acquired by Merton College after 1450 and before 1697.

  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, lat. 13963, ff. 1r-60v

    • Siglum: P

    • I: The ms. lacks the prologue.

    • D: Early 14th century.

    • P: France (Paris); probably illuminated by the Maître de Fauvel who worked in the Parisian bookshop of Geoffroy de Saint Léger, between 1315 and 1320.

    • O: Acquired by the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés O.S.B. at Paris, date unknown; transferred to the Bibliothèque nationale at the end of the eighteenth century.

    • L: One image is available in the Banque d'images of the Bibliothèque nationale.

  • Uppsala, Carolinabiblioteket, C-616, ff. 4r-25v

    • Siglum: U

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent’s De eruditione filiorum nobilium and Epistola consolatoria ad Ludovicum regem de morte filii.

    • D: Second half of 14th century (ca. 1383).

    • P: Northern Germany.

    • O: Dominican priory of Lübeck; sold to the Dominican priory in Stockholm after 1407; property of the Swedish crown by the end of the sixteenth century; given to the University of Uppsala in 1620.

Lost manuscripts

5 further manuscripts are known that are lost today. They belonged to libraries at:

  • Lincoln, Carmelite Priory;

  • London, Black Friars (before 1339);

  • Milan, Dominican Priory of San Eustorgio (before 1481);

  • Oxford, Greyfriars Priory (before 1360);

  • York, Cathedral.

Editions before 1700

  • Rostock, Fratres Domus Horti Viridis ad Sanctum Michaelem, [1477]
    [Vincentius Bellovacensis], De liberali ingenuorum institutione pariter ac educatione.
    1a-34a: De morali principis institutione
    34a-104b: De eruditione filiorum nobilium
    104b-147b: Epistola consolatoria de morte amici
    Digital facsimile of a copy kept by the Staatsbibliothek Preußisscher Kulturbesitz at Berlin: 4° Inc 1990.5

Modern editions and translations

 

Latin text

  • Schneider, R. J. [ed.], Vincent of Beauvais. De morali principis institutione. Introduction and Text, Ph.D. Notre-Dame (Ind.) 1963 (The Mediaeval Institute of the University of Notre-Dame). [superseded by Schneider's 1995 edition]

  • Schneider R. J. [ed.], Vincentii Belvacensis "De morali principis institutione", Turnhout 1995 (Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaeualis 137).

  • Vicente de Beauvais. De la formación moral del príncipe. Edición bilingüe preparada por C. T. Pabón de Acuña. Madrid 2008 (UNED, Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos 680, Autores Medievales & Renacentistas 3).
    [Latin text with Spanish translation]

  • digital edition of the prologue is available in the Bases Textuelles of the former Atelier Vincent de Beauvais at Nancy (Prologues du Speculum Maius).

Translations

  • Nanu, I., Vicente de Beauvais, Tratado sobre la educación moral del príncipe. Introducción, traducción y notas. In: Memorabilia. Boletín de literatura sapiencial 7, 2003.
    [Spanish translation]

  • Vicente de Beauvais. De la formación moral del príncipe. Edición bilingüe preparada por C. T. Pabón de Acuña. Madrid 2008 (UNED, Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos 680, Autores Medievales & Renacentistas 3).
    [Latin text with Spanish translation]

  • Vincent de Beauvais, De l'institution morale du prince. Traduction par Ch. Munier. Paris, 2010 (Sagesses chrétiennes).
    [French translation]

  • Vincent of Beauvais: The Moral Instruction of a Prince (with Pseudo-Cyprian: The Twelve Abuses of the World). Translated by P. Throop. [S.l.] (MedievalMS) 2011, 140 pp.
    [English translation]

For studies on the De morali principis institutione

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