Dysart Memorial Collection Virtual Exhibition - Item 4
Manuscript of Caesar's Commentaries

Dysart Memorial Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts -  Item 4

C. Julius Caesar [Julii Celsi commentaria]

This fifteenth-century manuscript of Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic War and the Civil War is on vellum and has illuminated initials; the gold leaf is in fine condition.  It very clearly illustrates certain practices in manuscript preparation and copying.  Firstly, in the initial preparation the vellum sheets were so arranged that identical sides were always facing, i.e., the hair side faced hair side and the flesh side faced flesh.  Secondly, margin widths were determined and marked by holes pricked with an awl.  These prickings can be seen on some of the leaves.  Thirdly, guidelines were ruled with a stylus and many of these are visible.  The volume has a bookplate "Ex Libris C. S. Ascherson," but originally it belonged to the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, a famous nineteenth-century English collector of manuscripts who was also a publisher and owner of the Middle Hill Press.  It is numbered Phillipps Ms 11904  on the first leaf.  "Thos. Phillipps MiddleHill 1832" is written on the front fly leaf.

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Dysart Memorial Collection Virtual Exhibition