A handwritten military manual: dedication copy for Charles, Duke of Guise

Caciotti, Ugo. Delle voci, termini ed altre notizie militari.

(Florence, 1632/1639).

4to (160 x 220 mm). Illustrated manuscript in Italian (black ink on paper). (74) pp., single column of 16 lines in a fine bookhand, every page bordered with double rules. First text leaf with a silver-edged frame and one large initial decorated with silver penwork. Title page with a fine penwork portrait of the dedicatee in ornamental armour (after the portrait by Sustermans), in rust-coloured ink, all within a wreath edged in gold and silver. Bound in contemporary full black calfskin, elaborately gilt-tooled.


A dictionary of Florentine military terms, from "Abbattimento" ("l'abbater per battaglia") to "Zagaglia" ("spezie d'arme in asta"), followed by lists of punishable offences, general military guidelines, and commendable actions. A handsome manuscript of the finest quality, produced as a presentation copy for the "Duca di Guisa", Charles de Lorraine, the 4th Duke of Guise (1571-1640). Charles, who had fallen into disfavor with Cardinal Richelieu for siding with Marie de' Medici, had withdrawn to Italy in 1631. His wife and younger children joined him in Florence, where the family was protected by the House of Medici. After Charles's death at Cuna, in 1640, his widow and children (among them Marie, "Mademoiselle de Guise") were permitted to return to France in 1643. Caciotti, the author, served as secretary to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Christina of Lorraine, one of the duke's allies. In the dedication he dates the work's completion to 28 April 1632, and this presentation copy was given to the duke in 1639 (inscription at the foot of the title).

Beneath the dedicatee's realistic portrait, the illustrated title page shows a central banner with the title and presentation inscription, within full borders of humbled and kneeling soldiers, Calvin on the left and Muhammad on the right (representing the armies of the Protestants and Turks). The figures are prostrated beneath their armour and weaponry on either side of the arms of Guise, which are shown beneath a gold and bejewelled crown.

Once water damaged with discolouration to leaves at each end; some areas of the arms on the title page have fallen away due to ink corrosion (the rest is adhered to the next blank leaf so as to stabilise the paper). Ink corrosion has also damaged the frames of the text leaves, frequently loosening the text area on one or more sides. Spine wormed and chipped, a small section lost from top of rear board, otherwise an appealing and presentable dedication manuscript.

Art.-Nr.: BN#47893 Schlagwörter: , , ,