Italian Paleography


Newberry VAULT folio Case MS 5226
Amati Scipione
Treatise on Political Issues Relating to Italy
Italy, ca. 1640

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This manuscript document is an unpublished political treatise from the mid-seventeenth century, focusing on Italian “considerations of state.” The manuscript was written by Scipione Amati, in an italic hand that is fairly clear with large descenders and ascenders. There is slight water marking around the bottom corner edge of the righthand side. Most of the page edges are quite clean and the manuscript holds together well - it was disbound from a larger manuscript from the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps (Phillipps MS 7557). Amati was trained as a jurisconsult and became a papal protonotary. Amati was also chosen by Paul V as the Japanese ambassador’s interpreter to the Holy See, and he published several political works that he dedicated to the Colonna family - Case MS 5226 was originally part of the Colonna archives.

Amati begins his treatise with the question of whether or not equality is necessary to the Italian princes in order “to render the liberty of Italy most happy and most secure.” He speaks generally of “the reason of the security of states” while also delving into more specific issues related to Italy in the seventeenth century, particularly the role of Spain as a (foreign) power on the peninsula, and whether or not the peace Italy “currently enjoys” can be attributed to Spain. The two pages depicted here offer a series of thoughts on the overall benefits of fortifications, such as the role fortification plays in keeping a state’s enemies at bay, the benefits of natural fortifications such as mountains and the sea (England is “clenched by the rocky and stormy sea, as Transylvania is closed by mountains”), and how that can be replicated with castles, and so on. The more detailed problem Amati is concerned with in this chapter is whether or not Spain should be allowed to fortify the Milanese border, which fits in well with some of his other chapters that question if the Italian powers should depend on Spain or ally themselves together against the Spanish crown. 
-Alexandra Thomas


Corsiva professionale (ca. 1640), di grande modulo, legata, fortemente inclinata a destra.
Da notare: la e che, quando in legamento può scomporsi in due tratti autonomi (327r, r. 11: precetto; 327v, r. 12: fortezze); la t che lega tramite la traversa (327r, r. 13: occulto; 327v, r. 7: potenti); la z in un sol tratto (327r, r. 4: sicurezza).

Selected Bibliography:

Item fully digitized here.