Italian Paleography


Chicago, Newberry Library, Wing MS folio ZW 1.469
Giovanni Ravizi,
Milan, 28 november 1469

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The Newberry Library has a notable collection of books and manuscripts about calligraphy, handwriting instruction, and writing masters.  The present manuscript was acquired in 1959 both as a source for the life of its little-known subject, Giovanni Ravizi, identified as the master of a handwriting school in Milan, and also because it offers a good specimen of an expert humanist script (with a few gothic elements) as used in a legal document.  It records a petition (supplicatio) by Ravizi and its resolution.  In the first paragraph, Ravizi asks to be declared innocent of a false accusation of poaching, specifically setting traps for partridges on church-owned land.  He adds that he has no knowledge of the affair, which occurred at Vimercate, a town well outside Milan (though within its duchy), and that he was never properly notified of the charge or of a judgement against him.  The second paragraph is by way of a resolution to the case in which Ravizi is declared innocent and exempt from further claims in the matter.  The response must have been fully successful in restoring his reputation, since another surviving document indicates that Ravizi was named consul of the Milanese Camera of Justice (a civil court on which he had served earlier) in September of the following year.  Among other things, then, this document reveals that a highly responsible government post could be covered by an elementary school teacher.


Umanistica, professionale dal tracciato leggermente spezzato e ibrida di elementi dalla gotica.
Da notare: la d sempre tonda (r. 1: ad); la f e la s che scendono sotto il rigo (r. 3: facta, passato); la u/v iniziale con primo tratto molto sviluppato (r. 1: V(ostra)); le abbreviazioni di rispetto in forma di sigla (r. 1: S(ignoria) V(ostra); r. 6: V(ostra) E(ccellenza)).

Selected Bibliography:

This Newberry manuscript has never been studied, but see: