Statius, Thebais, in Latin, manuscript on paper

[Italy, late 15th century]

 Statius, Thebais
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The Thebaid is a Latin Epic poem by Publius Papinius Statius (c. AD 45- c. AD 96) concerning the mythical history of the city of Thebes in central Greece, arranged in twelve books in imitation of Virgil's Aeneid. Probably the most famous story contained in it is that of King Oedipus.

Although written on paper - inexpensive compared to parchment - the paper has been carefully prepared by polishing, and this manuscript was clearly written with greater ambition than the two in the adjacent display cases in this room: it is in a more formal script, and large spaces, several lines deep, were left for decorated initials and coloured headings at the beginning of each book of the text, presumably identifying the text and naming the author.

Given to the College in 1905 by Rev. E.W. Bowell, along with MSS. A.17.24 and A.17.25.

Text kindly provided, especially for this exhibition, by Peter Kidd