Italian Paleography


Chicago, Newberry VAULT Case MS folio J 035 .714
Florentine Priorista
Florence, around 1530

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Beginning in the fourteenth century, registers containing the names of those who had held the offices of Priore and Gonfaloniere di Giustizia during the Florentine Republic (1282 – 1532) and the main events that occurred during the time they were employed as such were compiled by the Municipality of Florence.  Originally these registers, known by the name of “Prioristi,” were official, political documents that served the purpose of recording those who governed the city in chronological succession.  With the fall of the Florentine Republic and especially during the second half of the sixteenth century, Prioristi were commissioned by noble Florentine families as proof of the nobility of their ancestry, both for entry into public offices that required it and for admission into the knightly Order of Santo Stefano, a Catholic Tuscan dynastic military order founded by the Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1561.

This Florentine Priorista, dated ca. 1530, is an example of priorista where the list of families follows the chronological criterion of the positions held by the various family members, despite the years of their mandates being added to the manuscript by a later hand.  Families are listed on the basis of their historical Florentine district of residence, starting from Santo Spirito, followed by Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, and San Giovanni.  In the manuscript, each family is identifiable by their colored coat-of-arms, an emblematic element that enhances the historical, political, artistic, and literary value of this document.


Italica professionale ma rigida, caratterizzata dal corpo slanciato delle lettere.
Da notare: le aste alte (b, h, l) di uguale inclinazione, altezza e ampiezza terminate in alto da bottone; l’uso alterntivo di d tonda e diritta (1rB, r. 24: di Daniello di Luigi); la z sovramodulata (1rA, r. 21: Filippozo).

Selected Bibliography:

For the text and manuscript tradition, see: