Phaeded wrote: ↑
04 Aug 2019, 20:08
Can you be specific in regard to which line(s) in Marziano's description of Vesta you are referring to as "unparalleled"? She merely seems to be the epitome of chastity/virtue, who nevertheless is mother to Ceres and Thetis in Boccaccio.
It's complicated. It is also the subject of an upcoming paper in the Analecta Bollandiana
, but that is several months away at least, probably no sooner than next spring.
If you're ready for some nitty-gritty stuff, here is an explanation I wrote to Franco in March. The only clarifications since are that what I call the "Grandmont manuscript", BnF lat. 17670
(towards the end) also appears to come from Paris itself, so both manuscript sources for Gaucherius's Vita
that include the passage probably originate in Paris or Meulan (Gaucherius' home town), and that the Breviary of 1626 that Becquet and the Acta Sanctorum
mention does not contain the passage, while François de Blois's 1652 French Vie
does contain the passage (or rather knows of it, since he quotes the incipit among the sources at the end).
I don't know how to put the attachments I sent to Franco here, so I'll post them separately in follow up posts. SEE THE NEXT PAGE OF THIS THREAD.
The summary is that a portion of Marziano’s De Vesta
is identical to a portion of the Vita
of Saint Gaucherius of Aureil (Gaucher d’Aureil). This means either that one borrowed from the other, or that both adapted it from a common source. The state of the evidence leads me to think, provisionally, that an adaptor of Gaucherius’ Vita borrowed from Marziano’s text.
What you need to do:
1) Have before you the comparison of Marziano’s De Vesta
and the relevant part of Gaucherius’ Vita
2) Google “fugiendas illecebras”, exactly as written, as a phrase within the quotation marks. This will bring up the two versions of a Vita
of Saint Gaucherius of Aureil that contain the same text as Marziano’s Vesta
3) Read my translation of the two versions compared (VESTA THE VIRGIN), if necessary, to see the subtle differences one makes of the other.
4) Read the introduction to Dom Jean Becquet’s Vita
of Gaucherius, attached.
Also attached is a manuscript image from lat. 14366, which is explained below (our text for comparison begins on line 6; this is just proof, not crucial for you to read).
When Marco and I found Marziano obscure, it was often sufficient to turn to Boccaccio to see what he was alluding to. There is no comparable source; Virgil provides the background to a few of Marziano’s lines, and he apparently invents some things, but Boccaccio provides by far the organization and substance of the major part of his information.
When we came to Vesta, the chapter presented no difficulties at all. Even Paris and Brescia agreed completely. Nevertheless, out of habit I looked at Boccaccio (VIII,3), and was shocked to see that the narrative had nothing in common with Marziano. That is both Marziano and Boccaccio mention Vesta’s fire-symbolism, and virginity, but otherwise share nothing. Marziano’s Vesta is a girl who remained chaste and founded the monastic life for women, the Vestal Virgins of Rome.
I was intrigued by Marziano’s account, and began looking for another source. First Boccaccio again, De mulieribus claris
, but he does not devote a chapter to Vesta (in chapter 43 he gives the account of the famous woman Ilia
(Rhea Silvia) who was forced to become a Vestal, but does not account for the origin of the institution itself). So I began looking at other mythographers, starting with Albericus and the first two Vatican mythographers, Fulgentius, and then all the rest, back to the purely classical accounts.
There was nothing at all in any account or mention of Vesta or the Vestal Virgins that made Vesta a woman who founded the Vestal Virgins. This euhemerism and the accompanying narrative appeared to be completely Marziano’s invention.
I was used to finding a line here or there in Marziano that demonstrated his inventiveness, but to find the major part of a whole chapter completely invented was stunning. So we took it as such and continued with the rest of the work.
Occasionally I went back to Vesta, however, and tried googling phrases phrases in the text to see if any other source used it. Finally I tried “fugiendas illecebras”, which brought up a text I had not seen before. Moreover, even in the Google search results it was clear that the surrounding text was the same as well. I couldn’t believe my eyes – at first I thought someone had printed Marziano’s text in the 17th century! But it was not that; it was just this portion of Vesta, in the life of a 12th century saint.
The only thing to do, therefore, was to research the historiography of the saint. The major source became Dom Jean Becquet, who in 1964 edited the Vita
of Gaucherius from around 1200. Becquet noted that this Vita
was essentially the same as that published in the 17th century by Philippe Labbe and the Bollandists in Acta Sanctorum
, but that in the latter it was divided into six readings for the liturgical feast day of Gaucherius, 9 April. He noted that at the end of the third reading in the Acta Sanctorum
(present also in Labbe’s undivided version), there was a passage describing Gaucherius’ founding of the spiritual life based on contemplative meditation, which was lacking in the earliest 12th century Vita
This passage is of course the same passage as that found in Vesta
Becquet notes that there are two manuscript sources for the Bollandist version, the one divided into six lessons, both of which are from the 17th century. The one that is viewable online contains our passage (lat. 14366; Becquet  27, note 13; in the same note Becquet says that at Grandmont itself Saint Gaucherius’ readings have nothing in common with the Vita
, that is, the readings for the day as found the Acta Sanctorum
; for these mss. see https://archivesetmanuscrits.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cc68706h
(lat. 17670) and https://archivesetmanuscrits.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cc751282
In order to account for why the earliest Vita
lacks the passage (our passage) that shows up in the 17th century manuscripts and the printed versions based on them, Becquet notes that the 12th century manuscript he is currently (1964) editing was probably copied by a monk of the Grandmont monastery, and he surmised that this monk suppressed the passage because he wanted to credit the great saint of Grandmont, Etienne de Muret, with the origin of the contemplative life (Becquet,  29). The Grandmont Vita
is thus a somewhat adapted copy of the original, lost copy of the Vita
from Aureil itself, which was probably written in preparation for Gaucherius’ canonization in 1194.
There seems to be no evidence for Becquet’s speculations about the motives of the Grandmont copyist, as I have not been able to find anything in Etienne de Muret’s historiography that claims our passage for him.
Therefore the state of the question is that Marziano wrote his account of Vesta shortly before 1425, and we have a 1449 copy of it, and that an identical passage, adapted for context, appears in the early 17th century in two manuscripts of the Vita of Saint Gaucherius of Aureil. One of the manuscripts with this passage appears to have been written at Saint Victor in Paris (lat. 14366) while the other comes from Grandmont (lat. 17670) [now 12/04/2019 S. Magloire, Paris].
It remains to get to the bottom of the version published by Labbe in 1657, which is identical to the Acta Sanctorum
version except for the lectionary division. Becquet discusses these on page 26 , second paragraph. Labbe and the Bollandists credit their version to “an ancient legendary of Limoges”, which appears to be that which Becquet calls “un ancien manuscrit de l’Eglise de Limoges”, but of which it appears nothing further is said. This one might the be the crucial piece of evidence, since it seems unlikely that Labbe would have called a 17th century manuscript “ancien” in 1657.
The other manuscript Becquet mentions in the same paragraph, the “cartulaire primitif” which supplied some verses of poetry included in the Acta Sanctorum
version, is available to read, and does not contain a Vita
of Gaucherius (Becquet  27, note 18). See https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k ... checontact
The person to have asked about all of this would have been Jean Becquet himself, but he died in 2003 (1917-2003). The next step is to ask if anyone else working with the Revue Mabillon
has taken over his work, or if anyone is familiar with the dossier on Gaucher d’Aureil. I wrote the editors of that periodical over a month ago, and have received no response. The next step might be to write a short paper laying out the case, and submit it to the Revue
It is possible that both Marziano and the author of the Vita
of Gaucherius used a common source. If so, I have found no hint of such a source, either from word searches or from reading hagiographies about the founders of female monasticism, such as Saint Scholastica (twin sister of Benedict).
If the Grandmont 17th century manuscript 17670 contains the Vesta passage, then we can situate it outside of Paris. But I have not seen it. Latin 14366 was written in Paris, so conceivably the Paris copy of the Tractatus
was itself the source. But this depends upon finding out if Labbe and the Acta Sanctorum
are based exclusively upon those two manuscripts.
But on the speculation that it originated outside of Paris, given the existence of copies of Marziano's Tractatus
, without his name or that title, we know that the manuscript did circulate somewhat. Secondly, one of those manuscripts, the one in Vibo, was found among the books belonging to the recently suppressed monastery of S. Giovanni Tirestì (Capialbi p. 148). We are permitted to think that monks might be interested in this kind of reading, then. Finally, the library of the monastery of Aureil was notable for the number of books by classical authors, according to another paper by Becquet in 1965, which contains a list of the 188 books in the library in the 13th century. 90 of those books, nearly half the library, were classical texts. From my studies of the first two Vatican mythographers (probably contemporary 9th-11th century authors), I learn that the reason these compilations were made in the first place was to provide background for the mythic allusions in classical authors, which are ofter very sketchy. Thus it is reasonable to suppose that mythographic writings like Marziano (anonymous but noble, addressed to a duke) would have a place in libraries with large classical collections, in order to clarify faint and allusive mythological references. If the text was imported from Marziano to the Vita of Gaucherius, it was done before 1563, when the library was dispersed in the disturbances of the Huguenot uprisings.