The cardinal, his familia and friends : uses of books in cardinal libraries

Raphaële Mouren


The cardinal, his familia and friends : uses of books in cardinal libraries

In mid- 16th-century Rome, cardinals built and enriched libraries; scholars and humanists specialists of Antiquity were part of their familia. Some of these cardinals might take time to study classical authors, with the help of humanists and teachers, and their collections were open to members of the Republic of letters. In their letters, we can learn how these libraries were used inside the palazzi: searching for manuscripts or corrections, daily reading of Aristotle, loaning and copying of books, help in preparing printed editions, meetings and so on … The libraries of palazzi Farnese, Ridolfi, Gaddi, Salviati, the Cancelleria were centers of erudite studies, and knowledge of them is crucial for the study of the history of the Republic of letters and the history of the book at that time. Numerous manuscripts were in Rome in that period: in the Vatican library, which grew up for all the 16th century, but also in the rich libraries of the cardinals. Paolo Cortesi insisted, in his De cardinalatu printed in 1510, that the constitution of a library is a moral duty for cardinals1. Simularly, at the end of the century, cardinal Vallier advised Federico Borromeo, cardinal of Milan, to create a library but also to study ancient languages and authors 2. And, in 1607, cardinal Borromeo created the Biblioteca Ambrosiana3. Here are a few examples of how cardinal libraries were used.


Loan of manuscrits

The works of the Florentine humanist Piero Vettori, who published scholarly editions of numerous texts from Antiquity, provide examples of the various ways in which these cardinal libraries were used. Several powerful churchmen from the Curia lent manuscripts to Vettori.


Roberto Pio

In 1548, in preparing the edition of Aristotle’s Rhetoric with commentary, Vettori was permitted to use a manuscript belonging to the rich library of Rodolfo Pio da Carpi. He again used this collection in 1551, when he published the editio princeps of Clement of Alexandria. Beside the Florentine manuscript from the private Medicis library, the only witness of the Stromata, Vettori used a manuscript containing the Protrepticus and the Paedagogus. This manuscript, belonging to Rodolfo Pio, was loaned by the owner to cardinal Marcello Cervini in Rome, but we don’t know how the text of the manuscript finally made it to Florence : in his dedicatory letter, Vettori did not explain whether he had seen the manuscript or only a collation, a list of interesting variants.


Niccolò Ridolfi

Vettori also had access to the library of cardinal Niccolò Ridolfi through his friend Donato Giannotti, a Florentine who left town after the return of the Medici in 1530, like a lot of fuoriusciti, in particular the powerful families whose representatives in Rome were cardinals Ridolfi, Salviati, and Gaddi. As early as 1536, Vettori was looking for manuscripts in cardinal Ridolfi’s library, presumably manuscripts of Cicero, for his edition printed by the Giunti in Venice. But he was informed that the cardinal, as it seems, had no latin manuscripts, wrote Giannotti in 1536 and again in 15404. In fact, inventories show that the cardinal owned 120 latin manuscripts5. A bit later, in 1545, Vettori borrowed a manuscript of the Nicomachean Ethics from the Ridolfi library, while preparing his edition6. Vettori did not forget to cite and thank cardinal Ridolfi and his exceptional library in his dedicatory letter to ciuibus suis Græcarum artium studiosis. Vettori also used one of the most famous manuscripts in the library, now Parisinus Graecus 1741, containing the Poetics and the Rhetorics of Aristotle, but also the De elocutione of Pseudo-Demetrius Phalereus, edited three times by Vettori from 1542 (the first edition by Aldus Manutius)7. The private cardinal libraries were organized around the life of their owner. In the spring 1546, Vettori needed a manuscript of the Nicomachean Ethics, belonging to the cardinal Ridolfi. But it was impossible, not only to loan it, but just to look at it, since the cardinal was away from Rome. When he was absent, his books were carefully stored in boxes and, until his return, they could not be moved8. Libraries could even be ephemeral. Ugolino Martelli, looking for a manuscript of Longinus's On the Sublimus, wrote about an unnamed library which is certainly the Ridolfi library. He thinks that it will be difficult to obtain the book. The manuscript is in the inventory, but « la libreria è oggi molto più ristretta, né posso così farne a mio modo, come potevo prima ». Cardinal Ridolfi died 9 years earlier, and Martelli, who was the author of the inventory of the library, couldn’t enter it as easily as earlier9.



The Farnese library

Some of these libraries were in fact family libraries, like the Farnese library created by cardinal Alessandro Farnese, later pope Paul III. His grandson cardinal Ranuccio Farnese took care of the collections for a large part of the century, with the help of humanist librarians like Onofrio Panvinio, Annibale Caro, and of course the erudite bibliophile Fulvio Orsini. It was not always easy to gain access to a library, for various reasons. In 1554, cardinal Cervini was looking for manuscripts of Aeschylus in the Farnese library for Piero Vettori, who was preparing an edition of the tragedies. He wrote to Vettori : « Pure per l’absentia sua (of cardinal Farnese) non credo che si potesse cavar di casa »: the owner himself has to agree10.



Giovanni Salviati

Access to a library was granted according to the status of the demander. His correspondant Jacopo Baroncegli, speaking certainly of his patron, cardinal Salviati, explained in a letter, in 1557, that the cardinal had decided not to loan his Greek manuscripts anymore, in particular to other cardinals who asked him his books, but there would certainly be an exception for Vettori :
Quanto s’aspetta al desiderio vostro, circa l’Iliade, io non credo quanto a me che è mancassi mai d’accomodarvene : benche io sappia che vi parra strano, che è non habbia voluto accomodare di nessun libro grecho scritto a mano, alcuni Cardinali che ne l’hanno richiesto : et questo proposito fece, dopo che [ ]’ha visto, che dal Cardinale Santa Fiore, non ha mai per alcuna via potuto cavare, molti libri greci che gl’ha prestato. Ho detto che io non credo ch’è mancassi a V. S. perché io veddi la molta diligentia che e fece usare, perche V. S. havessi quella Poetica d’Aristotile ; che la sa che io scrissi che non vi si trovò (…)11.


Libraries open to readers ?

Is it possible to go in these cardinal libraries as a reader ? We see in the letters that there is no common rule : of course, each owner takes care as he wants of his collection. Cardinal Marcello Cervini thinks that the Farnese manuscript of Aeschylus, which will be so important for the edition, can’t be lent. He proposes another solution, the collation of the manuscript : « Però se vi piacerà che si faccia incontrar con uno stampato, avvisatelo, che si notaranno le differentie de’luoghi diligentemente »12. Vettori accepts, and relate it in the letter to the reader of his edition :
(…) quum audissemus Romæ in bibliotheca Alexandri Farnesii, summi antistitis, atque omni re nobili ac splendido homine digna instructissimi, Aeschyli uolumen inueniri in quo hæ fabula legeretur. Conferendam eam a nobis descriptam, curauimus cum eo exemplari, in quo nobis operam suam fidelem atque eruditam præbuit Guglielmus Sirletus, ut cuncta diligenter notaret quæ aliter illic legerentur13.


The cardinal at work

The Florentine Giovanni Gaddi, dean of clercs of the apostolic chamber, is a friend of Piero Vettori, even if most of the time, he communicates with him through Donato Giannotti14. He is the brother of cardinal Niccolò Gaddi, friend of cardinals Ridolfi and Salviati, and hostile to the Medici family in Florence5. Giannotti helps Vettori in emending his Posteriores castigationes in epistolas quas uocant familiares, using 5 manuscripts belonging to Gaddi16. Piero Vettori had asked him to look for manuscripts in Rome, and Giannotti finds in this library « 3 manuscript books of the Discourses, old enough, and perhaps good, even if they’re not complete », as he writes in october 1540. The books are at Vettori disposal, as proposed by Gaddi, and can be sent in Florence if Vettori needs them17. At last the books have not been sent in Florence, but a real team of humanists begins to work inside the library. Vettori sends his manuscript of the Posteriores castigationes, in which he proposes philological commentaries on the Epistolae familiares, corrections and variants and his friends compare his commentaries with Gaddi’s manuscripts. The commensali of the cardinal, as writes Giannotti to Vettori are Francesco Marsupini, Niccolò Ardinghelli (the secretary of cardinal Farnese and future cardinal), il Thilesio, il Cursio, etc. Around Giovanni Gaddi, there are numerous other erudites, and he was very close to Annibale Caro, Benedetto Varchi, Pietro Aretino and others. In the team which studies and makes collations for Vettori on the manuscripts were Donato Giannotti, Lodovico Fabbri, Molza, Ardinghelli. After the death of Giovanni Gaddi, Giannotti writes to Vettori, in march 1544, that there is in his library a manuscript of Aristotle’s Ethics. Giannotti thinks that Niccolò Ardinghelli, who is now bishop of Fossombrone and apostolic nuncio in France, can helps to obtain it from Luigi Gaddi18.



A specific exemple: cardinal Marcello Cervini

Born in 1501, Marcello Cervini studied Law and Mathematics in Siena and Florence; he also received Greek lessons19. Arriving in Rome in 1524, he became a member of the familia of the young Alessandro Farnese, after the election of pope Paul III. He was well acquainted with the scholars connected with the young cardinal : he made friend with Angelo Colocci, former secretary of Leon X, the humanist and owner of an important library20; and with the Greek Constantine Lascaris. He was apostolic nuncio, then papal legate to Charles V21. In 1529, he was named cardinal and has various other ecclesiastical charges. He was a member of the Inquisition reorganized in 1542, and the representative of the Pope at the council of Trent22. Elected pope in 1555, he died 20 days later23. His brillant ecclesiastical career never eclipsed his real interest in Antiquity and natural history24. Nor was he the only one of his kind, as Gigliola Fragnito has shown in her works25. Comparable figures are cardinal Bernardino Maffei, cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto, in charge of the Vatican library after Cervini himself, a student of ancient christian authors. Cardinal Niccolò Ardinghelli was also a true erudite26. All were part of the scholarly circle close to cardinals Alessandro Farnese ad his brother Ranuccio27. In 1533, Cervini returned a manuscript of Hero to Angelo Colocci, with the translation he had just made from the Greek28. At the end of 1540, Donato Giannotti wrote to Vettori that the cardinal was reading Cicero : as he requested a manuscript from Cesena (biblioteca Malatestiana), Giannotti thought it was because he has not found a good manuscript in Rome29. So Cervini needs good manuscripts : reading Cicero, for example, in one of the numerous printed editions already existing, was not sufficient for him. He wanted to study the text, compare variants; he wanted to verify in old manuscripts to see if what he was reading in print needed correction. He had learned this humanist way of reading texts: the collation of manuscripts with printed books, reading as an effort towards a scientific edition of the text. We know of ancient manuscripts in which we can see this kind of investigation he has done30. Even if Cervini was a good philologist, we know that, for a while, he worked with Antonio della Mirandola, that is Antonio Bernardi, former professor at the University of Bologna, patronized by cardinal Farnese31. Mirandola guided him in the reading on ancient texts. In 1541, Giannotti writes to Vettori that messer Antonio della Mirandola, claiming to be a philosopher but, for Gianotti, just a talker, a chiacchierino, was reading and explaining Aristotles’s Rhetorics in the cardinal’s house every morning32. Lessons of latin and greek given by Vettori at that time for the studio in Florence were also every morning. Nothing original in the choice of the Rhetorics: 16th-century humanists and scholars were very interested by the Rhetoric, and there were a great many editions and commentaries, in Latin and even in Italian translations. Not so easy to read, it was best read in the universities, within the chair of humanities. Cardinal Cervini was studying the text with care every day, but he was also trying to comment and explain it, as Giannotti wrote to Vettori :
(…) egli [il cardinale S. Croce] mi lesse un lungo discorso che egli ha fatto sopra la rhetorica, nel quale egli dichiara la materia et il fine di questa arte : dove egli dimostra che differenza sia tra la rhetorica et la dialettica. Et a certo proposito disputa del nascimento dell’una e dell’altra, et vuole che la dialectica nascesse prima della rhetorica, et una delle ragioni che egli adduce è che egli vuole che i primi ragionamenti tra gli huomini siano stati il domandare et rispondere con poche parole, senza altro artificio che quel che ha porto la materia sola. et quando è avenuto che alcuna non si sia potuto persuadere a semplici parole, allhora è stato necessario usare il parlare continuato e lungo, con qualche artificio per muovere l’animo dell’ascoltante. Et cosí la rhetorica viene a nascere dopo la dialectica. Il fine dell’una et dell’altra vuole che sia la medesima : et cosí la materia, se io mi ricordo bene33.
The cardinal was doing a linear commentary, at least at the beginning of the Rhetorics, a part of the text very difficult for him34. He began with the first sentence, in which Aristotle says that rhetoric is the antistrophé of dialectics. There was then a discussion among commentators on the meaning of antistrophé. In his own commentary, published later, Vettori discusses the question35. The interesting thing is that for Giannotti, the cardinal’s work (aided by Mirandola, who brings up the matter in his own books) was important and had to be reported to Vettori, who was preparing his own edition36: after the discussions in the house of the cardinal in Rome, probably in the cardinal’s library, it was expected that a commentary on this question would be published37. Studying Aristotle every morning is hardly a pastime for the cardinal : Cervini spent a lot of time reading the ancient authors (for exemple Plutarchus or Euclid38), he translated Greek texts into Latin but also Cicero’s De amicitia into italian39. Still, one needs to spend a lot of time on Aristotle to really understand him, as says Giannotti in another letter, speaking of the cardinal of Ravenna, Benedetto Accolti40. Just as the humanists who worked on Vettori’s Cicero commentaries, Cervini served as reader and proofreader of Vettori’s works before publication. In 1541, Vettori sent his annotations on the Res rusticae of Varro, Cato and Columella to Rome to be read41. The book will be dedicated to Cervini, but he was too busy to study it carefully, so he gave the manuscript to the bishop of Bitonto, Sebastiano Delio, former professor of Greek, who was part of the Farnese humanist circle42. But Delio couldn’t read the text either, because of its form, which does not allow him to find in the Latin text what Vettori is commenting on43. Still, he read enough of the work to have a clear idea of Vettori’s choices: the Florentine humanist relies too heavily on the old manuscripts, and does not correct enough44. In fact, that was the most important part of Vettori’s method of editing ancient authors, the correctio ope codicii and not the correctio ope ingenii45. Vettori sent the first folio of proofs of Aristotle’s Politics to Cervini in 155246. Cervini was in charge of collating and seeing if manuscripts in Rome were not too different from Florentine manuscripts47. When the printing was finished, Vettori sent the whole text to Rome, and cardinal Cervini give it to Gabriele Faerno and Guglielmo Sirleto to be read and corrected48. Vettori did the same for his edition of Clement of Alexandria, which was part of the Cervini’s great project of editing the Greek fathers of the church. Cervini give the quires to Sirleto, « (…) accioché lo finisca di legger tutto : et senza perdita di tempo vi mandi li luoghi che gli paiano da notare, come dubii et pericolosi nella Religione »/span>49. Cervini helped Vettori a lot in finding manuscripts for him, obtaining loans or making copies : he sent in Florence Varro/span>50, Vitruvius48, two manuscripts of Cicero in « lettera longobarda »52, probably from the Monte Cassino53; he had copies made of the Bibliotheca of Apollodorus54. He loaned him various books from his own library for the edition of Clement of Alexandria55, one of them borrowing a collation from a manuscript in Rodolfo Pio’s library56.


Copying as a way to enrich cardinalate libraries

Copying was often used as a way of enriching cardinalate libraries, as well as that of the Vatican. Searching for manuscripts was was a constant preoccupation. Long before the opening of the private Medici Library to public, Vettori had access to the manuscripts. He was asked by his roman friends to look for manuscripts or to make verifications. Cervini asked him for the « epistole di S. Ignatio », because he needed to collate from an incomplete manuscript in his own library, from Greece57. Cervini was using an inventory of the Medici Library, and was sure that the manuscript was in Florence, even though Vettori couldn’t find it46. He proposed to send his own manuscript to Florence, asking in fact Vettori to complete the missing text and indicate the variants in the margins. He also asks Vettori to look for manuscripts in the public Medici Library, the San Marco Library46. In 1533, Cervini had gone himself to the two Florentine libraries, in search of the texts of a mathematician and reading the rare manuscript of Hipparcus60.. Cervini borrowed manuscripts from other cardinalate libraries in Rome, the Farnese, Pio, and Niccolo Ridolfi libraries61, he also make copies of manuscripts belonging to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, when in Trento, and of the manuscripts from cardinal Bessarion’s library62. The Greek Antônios Eparchos searched for manuscripts for Cervini in Corfou. Niccolò Ridolfi, whose collection of Greek manuscripts was exceptional, asked for Vettori’s help in 1541, after the death of Francesco Verini, teacher and friend of Vettori in Florence; he asked Vettori to obtain for him a copy of the manuscripts of the commentaries on Aristotle, or even to propose to the heirs of Verini to buy the original manuscripts63.




So we see that cardinal libraries were not created only for glory and magnificence. Some of them were used by their owners alone, while others were open to scholars of all levels of competence. We have seen some testimonies, which admittèdly are quite rare, of the daily use of these libraries inside the luxuous palazzi in the papal Rome.



1. Paolo Cortesi, [De cardinalatu], [Castro Cortesiano], Symeon Nicolai Nardi, 1510. Cit. Gabriella Miggiano, « I cataloghi delle biblioteche cardinalizie », dans Alfredo Serrai, dir., G. Miggiano, éd., Storia della bibliografia, vol. 7, Storia della catalogazione bibliografica, Rome, Bulzoni, 1997 (Il bibliotecario, 4/7), p. 605.
2. Augustini Valerii Cardinalis et Episcopi Veronensis De Occupationibus Diacono S. R. E. Cardinale dignis ad Federicum Cardinalem Borromaeum, [1587], cit. G. Miggiano, op. cit. p. 607.
3.Sur la question des bibliothèques cardinalices et des tentatives d’en faire une catégorie particulière de collections, G. Miggiano, op. cit., p. 603- 609 (spéc. n. 1 p. 604).
4. Donato Giannotti à Piero Vettori, Comiano, 27 septembre 1536, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 65-66, éd. Giannotti 32 lettre 2. « Il reverendissimo Ridolfi non ha libri latini » : Donato Giannotti à Piero Vettori, Rome, 18 décembre 1540, éd. Diaz, p. 71.
5. Roberto Ridolfi, « La biblioteca del cardinale Niccolò Ridolfi », op. cit.
6. Lettres de Donato Giannotti à Piero Vettori, 4 mars, 25 septembre 1544, 7 septembre 1545, éd. Giannotti 32 p. 112-115. Cit. Lucinda Byatt, « Una suprema magnificenza » : Niccolò Ridolfi, a Florentine Cardinal in Sixteenth-Century Rome, thèse pour obtenir le diplôme de docteur de l’Institut universitaire européen, Florence, 1983, vol. 2 p. 173-174.
Voir Pierre Chiron, « Introduction », dans Démétrios, Du style, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1993 (CUF) p. CXIII.
8.Donato Giannotti à Piero Vettori, Rome, 15 mai 1546, éd. Giannotti 32 p. 118-119 : « Il Maiorano ha riscontrato i luoghi che m’havete mandati con un testo della Libreria Vaticana, molto buono, secondo che egli afferma, et ha trovato poca varietà ; et quella poca, che ha trovata, ha notata in su la nota de’ luoghi, come vedete. Il testo del cardinal non s’è potuto vedere, perché le casse de’ libri si sono messe nel luogo dove sogliono stare in absentia nostra et quivi staranno insino al ritorno nostro (…) ».
9.Ugolino Martelli à Piero Vettori, Rome, 15 avril 1559, éd. et comm. Gustavo Costa, « Pietro Vettori, Ugolino Martelli e lo Pseudo Longino », dans Da Longino a Longino : I luoghi del Sublime, éd. Luigi Russo, Palerme, 1987 (Aesthetica, 18), p. 65-79 (part. p. 69-71).
10. Marcello Cervini à Piero Vettori, Rome, 3 mars 1554, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 79 : « Pure per l’absentia sua non credo che si potesse cavar di casa ».
Jacopo Baroncegli à Piero Vettori, Venise, 23 octobre 155[7]. BL, Add. Ms 10263, f. 309.
12.Marcello Cervini à Piero Vettori, Rome, 3 mars 1554, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 79-80v : « Però se vi piacerà ceh si faccia incontrar con uno stampato, avvisatelo, che si notaranno le differentie de’luoghi diligentemente ».
13. « Nous apprîmes qu’il y avait à Rome, dans la bibliothèque d’Alexandre Farnèse (…), un manuscrit d’Eschyle, où se lisait cette pièce [Agamemnon] : nous en avons fait collationner le texte, que nous avions transcrit, avec ce livre, ce en quoi Guglielmo Sirleto nous a fourni son aide fidèle et érudite, en notant soigneusement toutes les variantes »: épître au lecteur de l’édition d’Eschyle, non datée, Ákó÷˜ëïõ ôñáãväßáé Æ (…), Aeschyli tragoediae VII, [Genève], ex officina Henrici Stephani, 1557, f. a2v.
14. Voir la lettre de Giovanni Gaddi à P. Vettori, Rome, 29 janvier 1536, BL, Add. Ms 10277, f. 22 ; Ruberto Rophia à P. Vettori, Rome, 24 octobre 1536, BL, Add. Ms 10277, f. 220, renouvelle de la part du cardinal une invitation à venir le trouver à Rome « 4 o 6 mesi o quel piu o manco che bene vi venisse ». Il lui fait dire que les commensali du cardinal sont Francesco Marsupini, Niccolò Ardinghelli, il Thilesio, il Cursio… Gaddi réunissait autour de lui des érudits, et fut en rapport étroit avec Annibal Caro, Benedetto Varchi, Pietro Aretino. Voir l’article de Vanna Arrighi, DBI, vol. 51, ad uocem.
15. D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, 11 septembre 1540, éd. Diaz, lettre 43 ; 30 septembre 1540, ibid., lettre 45.
16. Voir infra.
Donato Giannotti à Piero Vettori, Rome, 5 octobre 1540, éd. Diaz, p. 63-64.
18. Donato Giannotti à Piero Vettori, Vicence, 4 mars 1544, éd. Diaz p. 105-106.
Marcello Cervini à son père Ricciardo Cervini, Sienne, avril-mai 1520, Archivio di stato, Florence (ASF), Carte cerviniane, filza 49 f. 12, 13, 17, 20, 24, 31 ; 30 janvier 1521 ; ibid. f. 39 : cit. Paola Piacentini Scarcia, « La giovinezza di Marcello Cervini nelle lettere al padre (1519-1524) », dans Filologia umanistica per Gianvito Resta, Vincenzo Fera et Giacomo Ferraú (éd.), vol. 2, Padoue, Antenore, 1997, p. 1437-1438.
20. 1467-1549. Il occupa quelques fonctions à la cour pontificale, et fut évêque de Nocera à la suite de l’helléniste Guarino Favorino. Voir les travaux de Vittorio Fanelli, regroupés dans Ricerche su Angelo Colocci e sulla Roma cinquecentesca, Cité du Vatican, biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, 1979 (Studi e testi, 283), et Rossella Bianchi, « Per la biblioteca di Angelo Colocci », Rinascimento, s. 2, 30, 1990, p. 271-282.
21. En 1540. Voir le portrait de Cervini tel qu’il apparaît dans Marc Dykmans, « Quatre lettres de Marcel Cervini cardinal-légat auprès de Charles Quint en 1540 », Archivum Historiae Pontificiae, 29, 1991, p. 113-171.
22. Voir Hubert Jedin, Storia del concilio di Trento, trad. it. G. Basso, vol. 2, rééd., Brescia, Morcelliana, 1974. Liste de ses charges ecclésiastiques dans Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica (…), vol. 42, Venise, tip. emiliana, 1847, p. 239-240.
Sur M. Cervini, voir l’ouvrage de William V. Hudon, Marcello Cervini : an Ecclesiastical Government in Tridentine Italy, Dekalb, Northern Illinois University Press, 1992, avec une bibliographie (qui ne s’arrête pas sur les intérêts culturels de Cervini) et la recension de P. Piacentini, "Cerviniana", Roma nel Rinascimento, 1995, p. 101-108 ; la dernière mise au point de P. Piacentini, La biblioteca di Marcello II : una ricostruzione dalle carte di Jeanne Bignami Odier : I libri a stampa, Cité du Vatican, biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, (Studi e testi, 404). Je n’ai pas pu consulter l’ouvrage de B. Neri, Marcello II, Alba, 1937.
24.Il en parle longuement avec Vettori dans sa correspondance : l’un et l’autre cherchent à identifier poissons et oiseaux, à faire correspondre les noms latins aux noms italiens, etc. (M. Cervini à P. Vettori, 12 juin, 15 novembre 1550, 9 janvier 1551, 30 janvier, 12 juin 1552, British Library, Londres (BL), Add. Ms 10274, f. 4, 18, 21, 31, 39). Cervini encourageait le travail d’Ippolito Salviani, qui publia en 1554 un Aquatilium animalium historiae : Stanley Morison, "Marcello Cervini, Pope Marcellus II : Bibliography’s Patron Saint", Italia medioevale e umanistica, 5, 1962, p. 301-318 (p. 315). Vettori participa à l’entreprise par l’intermédiaire de Cervini, en aidant l’auteur à se procurer des dessins et peintures de poissons. Les intérêts de Cervini sont beaucoup plus larges, et il possédait et lisait les œuvres latines et italiennes de Bembo, et bien d’autres textes italiens et latins contemporains : Concetta Bianca, "Marcello Cervini e Vittoria Colonna", Lettere italiane, 45, 1993, p. 427-439 (p. 432-435). Il possédait aussi probablement une collection d’antiquités : P. Piacentini, La biblioteca…, op. cit., p. X.
28.Voir les exemples cités par Gigliola Fragnito, "Per lo studio dell’epistolografia volgare del Cinquecento : le lettere di Lodovico Beccadelli", Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 43, 1981, p. 61-87 ; et William Hudon, "Marcellus II, Girolamo Seripando, and the image of the Angelic pope", dans Marjorie Reeves (éd.), Prophetic Rome in the Hight Renaissance Period, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992 (Oxford-Warburg Studies), p. 374-390.
29.Voir l’article de Mario Rosa, Dizionario biografico degli Italiani (DBI), vol. 4, Rome, 1962, ad uocem. Ardinghelli fut secrétaire de Paul III après Cervini.
30.Voir les remarques de Carlo Dionisotti sur le collège cardinalice sous Paul III dans son article, utile sous beaucoup d’aspects pour notre propos : C. Dionisotti, "Chierici e laici", dans id., Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana, Turin, Einaudi, 1967 (saggi 409), p. 47-74 (p. 71). Un autre correspondant de Vettori, le cardinal Guido Ferreri, écrivait à Vettori en latin, et envisagea même de lui écrire une lettre en grec : il y renonça par manque de temps (Guido Ferreri à P. Vettori, Viterbe, 13 octobre 1568, éd. Angelo Maria Bandini, Cl[arorum] Italorum et Germanorum epistolae ad Petrum Victorium, (…), Florentiae, [s. n.], 1758-1760, 4°, tome 2, lettre 7).
31.M. Cervini à A. Colocci, Castigni [Castiglione d’Orcia ?], 20 septembre 1533, BAV, Vat. Lat. 4104, f. 17 et f. 57. D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 4 décembre 1540, BL, Add. Ms 10277, f. 55 : « Mons. Cervini par che studi l’orationi di Marco Tullio et perciò ha fatto venire da Cesena un testo a penna, tanto che io penso che egli habbi tolto se nulla è di buono in queste librerie ; pur vedrò se potrò ancora io haver cosa alcuna » (éd. Ridolfi-Roth n°15). Cervini avait sans doute des informations sur les bibliothèques de Césène par le Florentin Benedetto Varchi, qui avait séjourné dans cette ville (voir plus loin n. 150). Petri Pollidori Frentani de uita et moribus Marcelli II Pontificis Maximi commentarius, Romae, ex typographia Hieronymi Mainardi, 1744, 4°, p. 13-14. Un exemplaire de l’édition de saint Cyprien parue à Lyon, chez Sébastien Gryphe, en 1537, ayant appartenu à Latino Latini, porte la trace d’une collation, identifiée par Latini : « emendauit Marcellus Papa II ex collatione trium codicum Cypriani opera : ubi igitur codex unus, aut plures uariabunt, numeris distinguetur. 1559, XVI Cal. Mai F. Coniecturas Faerni. L. Coniecturas meas. V. Librum Veronensis ecclesiae litteris parne maiusculis mirae antiquitatis. Ex bibliotheca Neapolitana codex mirae uetustatis ab A. Aug. Episcopo Allifano, 1559, obseruatus est (…) » : cit. Giovanni Mercati, "D’alcuni nuovi sussidi per la critica del testo di S. Cipriano", Studi e documenti di storia e diritto, 19, 1898, p. 325. Sur ce texte avaient travaillé plusieurs érudits proches de Cervini et du cercle d’Alexandre Farnèse, Gabriele Faerno, l’évêque Antonio Agustìn, et Latino Latini. Cervini avait aussi travaillé sur les livres ad Quirinum (G. Mercati, op. cit., p. 327).
32.Voir l’article de Paola Zambelli, DBI, vol. 9, Rome, 1967, ad uocem.
33.« [La retorica] è lett[a] in camera del reverendissimo S. Croce da m. Antonio della Mirandola, il quale fa professione del maggior philosopho del mondo ed è uno chiacchierino. Et S. Croce l’ode ogni mattina » : D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 22 janvier 1541, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 64, éd. dans D. Giannotti, Lettere italiane, Furio Diaz (éd.), Milan, Marzorati, 1974 (Scrittori italiani, sezione storica e politica) (= Diaz), lettre 59 (Ridolfi-Roth lettre 22).
34.« Le cardinal m’a lu un long discours qu’il a écrit sur la Rhétorique, dans lequel il expose le sujet et la finalité de cet art : il y démontre la différence entre la rhétorique et la dialectique. Et à propos d’un passage il discute de la naissance de l’une et de l’autre, et veut que la dialectique soit née avant la rhétorique, et une des raisons qu’il avance est qu’il pense que les premiers raisonnements entre les hommes aient été de demander et répondre en peu de paroles, sans autre artifice que celui du sujet lui-même. Et quand il s’est trouvé qu’un homme n’ait pu être persuadé par les simples paroles, alors il a été nécessaire d’utiliser un discours continu et long, avec des artifices pour émouvoir l’âme de l’auditeur. Et c’est ainsi que la rhétorique est née après la dialectique. Il [le cardinal] tient que le but de l’une et de l’autre est le même, comme leur matière, si je me souviens bien » : D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 26 février 1541, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 72-73, éd. Ridolfi-Roth, lettre 27.

« Credo che S. S. Reverendissima habbia in animo di fare come un commento, almeno sopra il proemio, che gli pare molto difficile » : ibid.

36.Vettori, commentant Píôßóôñïöïí, explique d’abord les différentes significations du préfixe Píôß ; il s’appuie ensuite sur l’ensemble de l’œuvre d’Aristote, mais aussi sur Cicéron et sur les commentaires anciens du Stagyrite, comme celui d’Alexandre d’Aphrodise qui explique Píôßóôñïöïí par kóüóôñïöïí : Petri Victorii commentarii in tres libros Aristotelis De arte dicendi, positis ante singulas declarationes Graecis uerbis auctoris, Florentiae, in officina Bernardi Iunctae, 1548.
37.D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 22 janvier 1541, éd. Ridolfi-Roth, lettre 22.
38.« Io vi ho scritto queste cose accioché lo sappiate essendo in su questo studio. Bisogna che consideriate molto bene se queste due arti sono una medesima o se sono differenti : perché, come credo havervi scritto, un certo m. Antonio dalla Mirandola tiene che elle siano una medesima, habbiano una medesima fine, et una medesima materia. Sí che bisogna che voi examiniate molto bene questa questione et che la dichiarate, perché se uscisse fuori scritto alcuno vostra [sopra] la Rhetorica nel quale voi non havessi considerato questa cosa, costoro qua direbbero che voi non l’havessi saputa decidere. Cosí anche considerate bene il nascimento dell’una et dell’altra arte : et ne farete piacere al Cardinale di Santa Croce che mi ha imposto che io ve ne scriva, sanza che e’ mi pare anco necessaria » : ibid. Bernardi et Vettori se rencontrèrent lorsque le premier vint séjourner à Florence avec Alexandre Farnèse en 1551.
39.Sur un manuscrit puisque la première édition d’Euclide dans le texte original est postérieure. L’envie de lire Euclide lui venait sans doute de ses études de mathématiques. Toutefois, comme une grande partie des hommes qui lisaient les textes antiques, il avait des intérêts très larges et étudiait des textes très variés.
40.Ce que relève son biographe en 1744 : Petri Pollidori…, op. cit., p. 13.
41.C’est ce qu’il dit à propos du cardinal de Ravenne, Benedetto Accolti, qui vient de lui montrer un discours : « Et ho sempre creduto che sia vero quello che dite, cioè che in intendere quel philosopho bisogna consumar tutta la sua vita et in luogo dove non s’attenda ad altro, siccome noi veggiamo che hanno fatto quelli che hanno acquistato fama di valenti huomini » : D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 6 mars 1540, éd. Ridolfi-Roth, lettre 28.
42.Petri Victorii Explicationes suarum in Catonem, Varronem et Columellam castigationum, Lugduni, apud S. Gryphium, 1541, 8°, 144 p. ; Marci Catonis ac M. Terentii Varronis De re rustica libri per Petrum Victorium, ad veterum exemplarium fidem, suæ integritati restituti, Lugduni, apud Seb. Gryphium, 1541, 8°, 214, [17] p. d’index et errata. Sur Sebastiano Delio (ca. 148-1544) voir la notice de Lucia Gualdo Rosa, DBI, ad uocem.
43.« (…) massimamente perché voi non l’havete contrassegnate in modo che si possano trovare i luoghi in su gli autori » : D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 3 septembre 1541, éd. Ridolfi-Roth p. 101-102.
44.« (…) ma per quanto egli aveva letto, le approvava molto, et più le approverebbe anchora se voi non dessi tanta fede a questi vostri testi antichi, i quali insino a’tempi di Cicerone erano guasti et cosí bisogna dire che siano questi altri restati delle rovine gottice et langobarde. In somma, egli vuol dire che voi vi fondate troppo in su’ testi antichi. Et questo è tutto il suo iudicio, del quale io non tengo più conto che bisogni, perché, a dirlo qui tra noi, io l’ho per un gran pedante » : ibid.
45.Il oppose, lui, « ope antiqui libri » et « [ope] coniectura » : Petri Victorii variarum lectionum libri…, op. cit., livre 30, chap. 22, cit. Sebastiano Timpanaro, La genesi del metodo del Lachmann, Florence, Le Monnier, 1963, rééd. Padoue, Liviana, 1985, p. 4. n. 3. Vettori cherche à corriger un passage de la Guerre civile de César : « quare quomodo emendari posse putem, declarabo, atque id non tantum iudicium meum secutus, sed uestigia etiam ueteris lectionis ».
46.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Rome, 28 mai 1552, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 37. Ouvrage cité n. 105.
47.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, dal’abatia fuor d’Agobbio, 12 juin 1552, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 39. Cervini, qui a quitté Rome où il a laissé le document, parle par erreur de l’Éthique.
48.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Rome, 29 avril 1553, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 53.
49.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Rome, 15 mars 1550, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 3. Ouvrage cité n. 69. « afin qu’il finisse de le lire en entier, et sans perdre de temps, vous envoie les passages qui lui semblent devoir être notés come douteux et dangereux pour la religion »: M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Montepulciano, 14 juillet 1550, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 7. Le 26 juillet, Cervini écrivait à Sirleto qui l’avait informé avoir relu le texte : BAV, Vat. Lat. 6178, f. 23.
50.Sur lequel Vettori continuait à travailler après son édition (dédicacée à Cervini), citée n. 121. D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 2 avril 1541, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 108, éd. Ridolfi-Roth, lettre 32. En 1538, Cervini et Angelo Colocci avaient fait collationner un texte de Varron avec « l’antico vostro di là » : A. Colocci à P. Vettori, Rome, 3 février 1538, BL, Add. Ms 10265, f. 264-265, éd. Vittorio Fanelli, "Le lettere di Mons. Angelo Colocci nel Museo Britannico di Londra", Rinascimento, 2e s., 6, 1959, p. 107-135, rééd. id., Ricerche su Angelo Colocci e sulla Roma cinquecentesca, Cité du Vatican, biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, 1979 (Studi e testi, 283), p. 45-90, appendice, lettre 1.
51.D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 18 juin 1541, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 111, éd. Ridolfi-Roth, lettre 35. Dès 1536, Vettori faisait chercher des manuscrits – sans doute Cicéron – dans la bibliothèque du cardinal Ridolfi : mais celui-ci ne semblait pas posséder de manuscrits latins (uniquement sans doute des manuscrits grecs) : D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Comiano, 27 septembre 1536, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 65-66, éd. Ridolfi-Roth lettre 2.
52.D. Giannotti à P. Vettori, Rome, 8 janvier 1541, BL, Add. Ms 10267, f. 61-62, éd. Ridolfi-Roth, lettre 21.
53.Les actuels BAV Vat. Lat. 3227 et Ottob. Lat. 1406. D’autres manuscrits de Cervini auraient la même provenance : Francesco Lo Monaco, "Note su codici Cassinesi tra Quattro e Cinquecento", dans Monastica IV : scritti raccolti in memoria del XV centenario della nascita di S. Benedetto (480-1980), Montecassino, Pubblicazioni cassinesi, 1984 (Miscellanea Cassinese, 48) p. 229-254 (p. 232-254).
54.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Rome, 8 novembre 1550, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 17.
55.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Montepulciano, 6 juillet 1550, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 6 : « quel Pedagogo in stampa che ha in margine le nostre corretioni, et l’altro mio in penna con il Protreptico ». Dans le catalogue des manuscrits grecs de la bibliothèque, postérieur semble-t-il à la mort de Cervini, on trouve les manuscrits suivants de Clément d’Alexandrie : n°9 « Clementis Alexandriae admonitiones ad Graecos » ; n°25 « Excerpta quaedam de libris Clementis Alexandr., qui inscribuntur de Strogmatibus » ; dans un autre inventaire apparaissent deux ouvrages, n° II, 116 « Clementis Alexandrini Stromaton in lib. in perg° (…) » (Ottob.94) ; n° II, 128 « Epitome Clementis Alexandrini sine principio » (Ottob. 98 ? ). Les numéros sont ceux de l’édition de R. Devreesse, Les manuscrits grecs de Cervini , op. cit. Vettori renvoya l’imprimé annoté à Cervini par l’intermédiaire de Giovanni Cavalcanti : P. Vettori à V. Borghini, s. d. [après le 6 juillet 1550], Florence, biblioteca Riccardiana, Ricc. 2133, f. 338, éd. Lucia Cesarini Martinelli, Contributo…, op. cit., p. 205.
56.Manuscrit aujourd’hui conservé à Modène avec la bibliothèque. Il apparaît dans plusieurs inventaires de la famille Pio : voir Giovanni Mercati, Codici latini…, op. cit., p. 217 (inventaire 1532-1537), 231 (inventaire après décès – 1564 – des manuscrits grecs du cardinal Rodolfo Pio).
57.Dans le catalogue des manuscrits grecs de Cervini : n° 89 « Ignatii et Policarpi martirum epistolae » ; II, 58 : « Ignatii et Policarpi martirum epistolae in perg° » (Ottob. 348).
58.M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Rome, 7 février 1551, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 23. Le manuscrit du cardinal Cervini lui fut fourni par Antoine Éparque : c’était une copie, dont il ne reçut d’abord que le tiers (P. Batiffol, op. cit., p. 44). Le manuscrit florentin est le Laur. 57, 7, biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, du XIe siècle : Ignace d’Antioche, Lettres, éd. Th. Camelot, Paris, Cerf, 1969 (Sources chrétiennes, 10), p. 14, qui ne cite que ce manuscrit. Un autre manuscrit, du Xe siècle, contient seulement la lettre aux Romains, le Paris. Graec. 1451 (Bibliothèque nationale de France).
59.Berthold L. Ullman et Philip A Stadter, The Public Library of Renaissance Florence : Niccolò Niccoli, Cosimo de’Medici and the Library of San Marco, Padova, Antenore, 1972 (Medioevo e Umanesimo, 10). M. Cervini à P. Vettori, Rome, 21 mai 1552, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 35. M. Cervini à P. Vettori, dal’abatia fuor d’Agobbio, 12 juin 1552, BL, Add. Ms 10274, f. 39.
60.M. Cervini à A. Colocci, Castigni [Castiglione d’Orcia ?], 13 juin et 20 septembre 1533, BAV, Vat. Lat. 4104, f. 23, 17. « in la libraria de Medici ho visto Hipparco sopra Arato »
61. Il lui avait demandé en 1544 s’il avait un manuscrit des commentaires d’Eustathe : N. Ridolfi à M. Cervini, Vicence, 5 mars 1544, ASF, Carte cerviniane, filza 41, f. 123 : cit. L. Byatt, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 175. Le manuscrit fut utilisé par l’éditeur, Niccolò Maiorano, qui le mentionna dans l’épître dédicatoire du dernier volume.
62. Pio Paschini, Un cardinale editore…, op. cit., p. 399, 405.
63. D. Giannotti à Piero Vettori, Rome, 29 déc. 1541, éd. Giannotti 32 p. 104. Cit. L. Byatt, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 173.