Wednesday, January 06, 2016


Diva Triformis

Paul Shorey (1857-1934), in his commentary on Horace, Odes 3.22.4, quotes a "quaint old Latin distich," with no indication of its source:
Terret, lustrat, agit Proserpina, Luna, Diana,
Ima, suprema, feras, sceptro, fulgore, sagitta.
One could translate this as follows:
Proserpina, Luna, Diana, frightens, brightens, pursues,
Hell, heaven, beasts, with sceptre, gleam, arrow.
I find the Latin couplet in Thomas Dempster (1579-1625), Antiquitatum Romanarum Corpus Absolutissimum in quo praeter ea quae Ioannes Rosinus delineauerat, Infinita supplentur, mutantur, adduntur (Paris: Le Bouc, 1613), p. 189, first column, section B, where he calls the lines "vulgatos illos, sed ingeniosissimos versus."

But the couplet can be traced back even farther, to a note by Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406) in his manuscript of Cassiodorus' Variae, now in Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Pl. 16 sin. 11. See the edition of Cassiodorus' Variae in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctorum Antiquissimorum Tomus XII (Berlin: Weidmann, 1894), p. cv, where the lines are quoted with superna for suprema.

A variant version occurs in Guido da Pisa (14th century), Expositiones et Glose super Comediam Dantis, ed. Vincenzo Cioffari (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1974), p. 199:
Yma superna silvas sceptro fulgore sagitta
Terret, lustrat, agit Proserpina Luna Dyana.
I don't have access to Walther's Initia Carminum.

Dear Mike,

Walther lists it as no. 8754, printing "sagittis" instead of "sagitta" and giving as a reference Jakob Werner's Beiträge zur Kunde der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, ed. 2, Aarau 1905. I note that this is available on Hathi Trust. [See Werner, p. 138, no. 354 (f.152r of 12th century "Handschrift C. 58/275 der Stadtbibliothek Zürich").]

Walther also cites two 12th and 13th century manuscripts:

Leipzig, 350 (s.XII.) f.94v

Catalogus codicum latinorum Bibliothecae regiae monacensis (Munich 1868 et seq.) 17212 (s.XII/XIII.) f.24v. This is available on Google Books, though you'd have to spend a fair amount of time navigating through the various volumes — I haven't bothered to try.

As ever,

Ian [Jackson]

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