Ministero dei Beni delle Attivitą Culturali e del Turismo Direzione Generale Biblioteche e Istituti Culturali

Aldini Stock

Aldini stockThe events that led to the establishment of the fund began  in October 1830 following the decision of Pier Vittorio Aldini to sell, for financial reasons, his collection of manuscripts. Luigi Lanfranchi, then director of Universitaria, aware of the value of the collection, tried in every way to buy it asking financial aid to the viceroy of the Lombard-Venetian kingdom. Thus began a close negotiation with the Austrian Government in October 1840 which led to the granting of an extraordinary contribution to the purchase of the manuscripts in question. Meanwhile Lanfranchi had Aldini himself prepare the catalog of ancient and modern manuscripts in his possession. In October 1840, the collection was then sold to the government of Lombardy by Aldini and transmitted to the Library. The following year Aldini also donated the manuscripts collected by himself after 1831.

If it is fairly easy to identify the codices that the University purchased from Aldini, even considering that some escaped the cataloging done on the sale, it is however extremely difficult to establish the origin of the other manuscripts preserved in the stock. Some of them, progressively numbered by the same hand, come from the San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro church or other religious congregations abolished during Joseph’s reign: they were stored in the Library before the purchase of the Aldini stock.. The other manuscripts were donated by some famous scholars or purchased by the library in the XIX century, as Luigi de Marchi has pointed out in the year 1894 having catalogued 853 codices in the stock.

The stock presents a great variety both in the dating than in its topics. If the earliest manuscripts go back to the XI century including two miscellaneous volumes containing writings by  the Church Fathers, the newer reach out the second half of the XIX century. The subject

is mostly religious: from Bible extracts to missals, breviaries, prayer books, ascetic and hagiographic books; in this area they appear as worthy of special mention:

  • One manuscript made of 81 leaves with the transcription of Enchiridion by Sant’Agostino dating back to XI century (location; Aldini 52)
  • Missale secundum consuetudinem Romanae Curiae written on a double column with illuminated initials dating the XIV century (location: Aldini 327).

There are several musical manuscripts as well, some of them of distinguished value:

  • Miscellanea musicale francese dating back the XV century (location: Aldini 362)
  • Cantate by Alessandro Scarlatti (location: Aldini 423).

Of great interest also the writings of Law and Philosphy among which a copy of Ethica by Aristotele (location: Aldini 557), rich in decorated initials dating back the XV century along with other Aristotele’s texts transcripted in one Miscellanea armena dated between XI and XIV century (location: Aldini 178 - 179).

Numerous manuscripts of historical subject:

  • monographs on individual Italian cities, like the Historia rerum mediolanensium, codex from  the XVI century donated by Giuseppe Robolini to Universitaria in 1836
  • ecclesiastical history writings by Ottavio Ballada like the manuscript from the XVIII century De antiquitate sanctae ticinensis ecclesiae (location: Aldini 177).

Important finally two herbaria: the first, full of colorful illustrations, belongs to the XIV century; the other, from the following century, is actually a small botanical atlas full of reproductions of flowers and herbs realized through the method described by Leonardo da Vinci in the Codice atlantico located in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan.

Among the works not coming from the original Aldini collection but of certain attribution the donation made in 1834 by Defendente Sacchi of a printed edition of the work by Pierre Laromionguière, Leçons de philosophie ou essai sur les facultés de l‘âme, (Parigi, Brunot-Labbe, 1815; location: Aldini 443), rich in additions and corrections handmade by the author, and the one made the previous year by Agostino Reale,professor of law at the Austrian general study of Pavia, regarding the Statuta Mercadantiae mercatorum Papiae (location: Aldini 188), an important codex from  XIII century, crucial for the study of Pavia’s history.

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Biographical note by Pier Vittorio Aldini