Ɵ Aristotle, Priora Analytica, 1:32, 2:5, in Latin translation of Boethius, manuscript on parchment
[France or England, thirteenth century]
Two leaves, trimmed at top, with remains of single column of 26 lines in tiny early gothic bookhand (textualis prescissa), paragraph mark in red, one 2-line red initial with elaborate blue penwork, recovered from a binding and hence both folded, and with stains and later scrawls, else good condition, 170 by 140mm.; in cloth-covered binding
1. Private American collection, partly dispersed by Quaritch, London, in 1993.
2. Schøyen Collection, London and Oslo, their MS 1786, acquired from Quaritch.
The works of Aristotle (384-322 BC.) were described by Cicero as "a river of gold", but were almost entirely lost to the West at the fall of the Roman Empire. Following the Crusades in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries they were rediscovered in their original Greek and in Arabic translations, and Latin translations swept through the European universities, creating a sea-change in the study of philosophy and the sciences. The Priora Analytica was one of the few exceptions to this, and was available in translation by Boethius from the sixth century onwards, but there is no evidence that it was much used until the later renaissance of interest in Aristotle's works. The text discusses deductive reasoning, and is the earliest known text to discuss logic.
The leaves here have ample margins, underscoring their intended use in an academic setting.