Sententia libri Ethicorum, or Liber super ethicorum aristotelis
(Commentary on the Ethics of Aristotle)
In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northeastern Italy (Venice), c. 1470
The present manuscript is a grand copy of Thomas Aquinas’ commentary on the ethics of Aristotle. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is based upon the lectures he gave at the Lyceum in Athens during the fourth century B.C., and the text is widely considered essential in the development of both medieval and modern philosophy. This pristine manuscript was copied in Northeastern Italy, likely in Venice, during the 1470’s. Leonardo Bellini, one of the most important Venetian illuminator during the latter half of the fifteenth century, probably illuminated this deluxe and carefully written manuscript. There are a handful of beautifully illuminated initials and one striking portrait of the author, Thomas Aquinas. Although over one hundred manuscripts are known of this text, the present example constitutes the only known copy in North America. According to the Schoenberg database, the last recorded public sale of the Liber super ethicorum aristotelis was in the early nineteenth century. This manuscript would make a significant addition to any collection, especially to one focusing on the history of philosophy.