Books 

'In youth acquire that which may requite you for the deprivations of old age; and if you are mindful that old age has wisdom for its food, you will so exert yourself in youth, that your old age will not lac\ sustenance. 

See Aristotle 'De Coelo' and 'De Mundo'. 

[References to boo\s from a list of memoranda] 
Book of Pandolfino. 
Library of San Marco. 
Library of Santo Spirito. 
Lactantius of the Daldi. 

Book of Maestro Palago the hospital superintendent. 
Grammar of Lorenzo de' Medici. 
Book of Maso. 

Learn multiplication from the root from Maestro Luca 
My map of the world which Giovanni Benci has. 
Map of the world of Giovanni Benci. 
Country round about Milan in a print. 

 

c.a. 97 v. a 

 

c.a. 120 r. d 

 

Book of Arithmetic 

Pliny 

Bible 

De Re Militari 

First Decade 

Third Decade 

Fourth Decade 

Guido 

Piero Crescendo 

 

II Quadriregio 

Donatus 

Justinus 

Guido 

Dottrinale 

Morgante 

John de Mandeville 

De Onesta Volutta 

Manganello 

 

 

Cronica Desidero On the Preservation of the Health 

Letters of Ovid Ciecho d' Ascoli 

Letters of Filelfo Albertus Magnus 

The Sphere Rhetorica Nova 

The Jests of Poggio Cibaldone 

Of Chiromancy /Esop 

Formulary of Letters Psalms 

Fiore di Virtu On the Immortality of the Soul 

Lives of the Philosophers Burchiello 

Lapidary II Driadeo 

Letters of Filelfo Petrarch c.a. 210 r. a 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 

The existence of this list of books on a page of the Codice Atlantico 
affords fair ground for the supposition that Leonardo was enumerating 
the books which he possessed. 

Marchese Girolamo d'Adda, from whose erudition as displayed in a 
rare tract — Leonardo da Vinci e la sua Libreria — note di tin Bibliofilo, 
Milano 1873 — the notes that follow are mainly derived, has suggested 
that as Leonardo uses the Italian and not the classical form of the 
names of classical authors he may be supposed to be referring to Italian 
translations. I cannot think that this inference necessarily holds, any 
more than it would in the case of a modern writer who might use the 
forms Virgil and Horace in a list of books. There were, however, in 
existence Italian translations of all the classical works mentioned, and 
any of these may have been in Leonardo's possession. D'Adda's wealth 
of bibliographical knowledge causes his descriptions of the various 
works in the list to serve as an 'open sesame' to Leonardo's library. The 
notes that follow fall by contrast under the censure that Leonardo 
invoked on those who make epitomes: — 

BOOK OF ARITHMETIC— Perhaps La nobel opera de arithmetica 
ne la qual se tracta tutte cosse a mercantia pertinente facta per 
Piero Borgi da Veniesia. Venice 1484. The name Maestro Piero dal 
Borgo occurs in Arundel MS. (B.M.) fol. 190 v. (see p. 1181). The 

[ Bibliographical \'otc.<: — continued ] 

two notes that follow refer to a hook, viz. 'to have my book bound 1 
and 'show the book to Serigatto'. 

PLINY — Historia naturale di C. Plinio Secondo tradoeta di lingua 
Lit ma in fiorentina per Christoforo Landino. 1476 Venetiis. 

BIBLE — Earliest Italian version: Biblia volgare historiata. Venecia 
1471. 

DE RE MILITARI— Valturio? Roberti Valturii de re militari libri 
XII 1472. Bologna 1483. 

FIRST, THIRD AND FOURTH DECADES [OF LIVY]— Earliest 
Italian version: Tito Livio volgarizzato. Roma 1476. 

GUIDO — D'Adda suggests Guido da Cauliaco, author of treatise on 
surgery: — Guidonis de Cauliaco Cyrurgia. Venetiis 1498. 

PIERO CRESCENTIO — writer on agriculture: Ruralium commo- 
dorum lib. XII. Petri de Crescenciis 1471. II Libro della Agricul- 
tura di Pietro Crescendo. Florentine 1478. 

QUADRIREGIO — the Four Realms: — Love, Satan, Vices, Virtues — 
poem composed in imitation of the Divina Commedia by Federico 
Frezzi of Foligno. Perugia 1481. Firenze, no date. 

DONATUS — iElius Donatus, author of a short Latin syntax, 'De Octo 
Partibus Orationis'. Many editions in 15th century. 

JUSTINUS — a Roman historian who made an epitome of the general 
history of Trogus Pompeius. 

GUIDO — Richter suggests Guido d'Arezzo: — monk — tenth century — 
inventor of tonic sol-fa musical system. Many Italian libraries 
possess MS. copies of his Micrologus De Disciplina Artis Musics. 

DOTTRINALE — perhaps Doctrinal de Sapience by Guy de Roye, 
Archbishop of Sens. Latin text 1388. French trans. Geneva 1478, 
and many others. 

MORGANTE — II Morgante Maggiore. Romantic epic by Luigi Pulci. 
II Morgante 23 canti. Per Luca Venetiano stampatore 1481. II 
Morgante Maggiore 28 canti, Firenze 1482, and many others. 

 

 

[ Bibliographical Notes: — continued'] 

JOHN DE MANDEVILLE— There were many editions of the 
Travels. Earliest are Le liure appelle Mandeuille 1480, and Tractato 
delle piu maravigliose cosse e piu notabili, che si trovano in le 
parte del mondo vedute ... del cavaler Johanne da Mandavilla 
. . . Mediolani . . . 1480. 

DE ONESTA VOLUTTA— Treatise by II Platina (Bartolomeo 
Sacchi) Opusculum de obsoniis ac honesta voluptate. Rome about 
1473, Venice 1475. 

Trans. Platyne. De Honesta Voluptate e Valetudine. Friuli 1480, 
Venice 1487. 

MANGANELLO [The Mangle?] — A savage satire against women in 
imitation of the Sixth Satire of Juvenal. Author a Milanese of the 
same name. Venice about 1500. 

CRONICA DESIDERO— D'Adda suggests Cronica d'Isidoro: Co- 
mensa la cronica de sancto Isidoro menore, con alchune additione 
caciate del texto ed istorie della Bibia e del libro de Paulo Oroso 
. . . Ascoli 1477, Friuli 1480. 

LETTERS OF OVID — Liber Epistolarum. In Monteregali 1473. Le 
Pistole di Ovidio tradotte in prosa. Napoli, no date. Epistole vol- 
garizzate . . . Bressa 1489. El libro dele Epistole di Ovidio in rime 
volgare per messere Dominico da Monticelli toschano. Bressa 1491. 

LETTERS OF FILELFO— Francesco Filelfo, Italian humanist. Phi- 
lelphi epistolarum liber primus (libri XVI), about 1472. Epistola- 
rum familiarum (libri XXXVII), Venice 1500. 

THE SPHERE— D'Adda suggests a work by Gregorio Dati : Trattato 
della sfera, degli elementi, e del globo terrestre in ottava rima 
Cosenza 1478, or Spaera mundi of Joannis de Sacrobusto. Ferrara 
1472. 

THE JESTS OF POGGIO— Many editions in Latin and Italian from 
1470. 

OF CHIROMANCY— Brunet mentions:— Ex divina philosophorum 
academia coltecta: chyromantica scientia naturalis ad dei laudem 

 

BOOKS 1167 

[ Bibliographical Notes: — con tinned ) 

finit . . . Venetiis, about 1480. Chyromantica scientia naturalis. 
Padue 1484. 

FORMULARY OF LETTERS— Formulario de epistole vulgare 
missive e responsive e altri flori de ornati parlamenti al principe 
Hercule d'Esti duca di Ferrara composto ... da Bartolomio minia- 
tore suo affectionato e fidelissimo servo. Bologna, no date. Venice 
1487. 

FIORE DI VIRTU (Flowers of Virtue)— A collection of moral tales 
and fables composed about 1320. Fiore di virtu che tratta di tutti i 
vitii humani . . . et come si deve acquistare la virtu. Venetia 1474. 

LIVES OF THE PHILOSOPHERS— Perhaps El libro de la vita de 
philosophi ecc. by Diogene Laertio. Venetiis 1480. 

LAPIDARY — Perhaps a translation of the Latin poem De Lapidibus 
of Marbodeus, or of the Mineralium Libri V of Albertus Magnus, 
1476. 

ON THE PRESERVATION OF THE HEALTH— Perhaps Ar- 
naldus de Villanova Regimen Sanitatis, 1480, or Ugo Benzo di 
Siena Tractato utilissimo circa la conservatione de la sanitade. 
Mediolani 1481. 

CIECHO D'ASCOLI — Francesco (diminutive ciecho) Stabili, burnt 
for heresy in 1347 — author of L'Acerba, a speculative philosophical 
poem. 'In questo poema dice trovansi delineate le origini di molti 
trovati moderni, ed in particolare della circulazione del sangue.' 

ALBERTUS MAGNUS— Perhaps Opus De Animalibus Roms, 1478, 
or Liber secretorum de virtutibus herbarum lapidum et animalium, 
Bononias 1478, or Incomenza el libro chiamato della vita ecc. 
Napoli 1478. 

RHETORICA NOVA— Laurencius Guilelmus de Saona :— Rhetorica 
Nova. Cambridge 1478. St. Albans 1480. 

CIBALDONE — Opera de lexcellentissimo physico magistro Cibaldone 
electa fuori de libri autentici di medicina utilissima a conservarsi 
sano. Towards the end of the fifteenth century (Brunet). 

 

n68 BOOKS 

[ Bibliographical Notes: — continued] 

yESOP — Fabulae de Esopo historiate. Venice 1481, 1490. Brescia 1487. 
iEsopi vita et fabulae, latine, cum versione italica et allegoriis Fr. 
Tuppi. Neapoli 1485. 

PSALMS — El Psalterio de David in lingua volgare. Venetiis 1476. 

ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL— Marsilio Ficino. 
Theologia platonica, sive de animarum immortalitate. Florentine 
1482. 

BURCHIELLO — Li Sonetti del Burchiello fiorentino faceto et elo- 
quente in dire cancione e sonetti sfogiati. Bononiae 1475. 

IL DRIADEO — Poem in ottava rima by Luca Pulci, elder brother of 
Luigi. II Driadeo composto in rima octava per Lucio Pulcro. Flor- 
entiae 1478. An edition printed in Florence in 1481 has 'II Driadeo 
compilato per Luigi Pulci', and the title-page of that of 1489 has 
'II Driadeo di Luigi Pulci'. The edition printed in Venice, 1491, has 
'II Driadeo d'amore di Luca Pulci'. One that was printed in Flor- 
ence towards the year 1500 has on the last page 'Qui finisce II 
Driadeo compilato per Luca Pulci, Al Magnifico'. 

PETRARCH — Many editions, commencing with Sonetti, Canzoni et 
Trionphi. Venetiis 1470. 

 

[Notes about boo\s from a page of memoranda] 

The Algebra which is in the possession of the Marliani, written by 
their father. 

A book which treats of Milan and its churches — to be had at the 
last stationer's on the way to Corduso. 

Get Messer Fatio to show you [the book] on Proportions. 

Get the Friar of the Brera to show you the 'De Ponderibus'. 

On Proportions by Alchino, with annotations by Marliano from 
Messer Fatio. 

The book by Giovanni Taverna which Messer Fatio has. 

A treatise on the heavenly bodies by Aristotle translated into Italian. 

Try to see Vitolone which is in the library at Pavia and treats of 
mathematics. 

 

BOOKS [169 

A nephew of Gian Angelo the painter has a hook about water which 
belonged to his father. c.a. 225 r. b 

The Letters of Phalaris 1 {Pistole di Falaride). c.a. 234 r. a 

There is a complete Archimenides in the possession of the brother of 
Monsignor of Sant' Agosta in Rome. The latter is said to have given it 
to his brother who lives in Sardinia. It was formerly in the library of 
the duke of Urbino and was carried off from there in the time of the 
duke Valentino. 2 c.a. 349 v. f 

Ammianus Marcellinus affirms that seven hundred thousand vol- 
umes of books were burnt in the siege of Alexandria in the time of 
Julius Caesar. 3 Tr. 1 a 

Donatus. 

Lapidarius. 

Pliny. 

Abacus. 

Morgante. Tr. 2 a 

Horace 4 has written of the velocity of the heavens. 

Concave mirrors. 

Books from Venice. 

The author of an Italian-Latin Dictionary. 

Knives from Bohemia. 

Vitruvius. 

Meteora. 5 

^pistole di Falaride tradotte dal Latino di Fr. Accolti Aretino in volgare da Bartol. 
Fonzio fiorentino, 1471, is probably the edition here referred to. R. Bentley's Disserta- 
tion on Phalaris (1697) showed the letters to have been written by a sophist or rheto- 
rician (possibly Adrianus of Tyre) several hundred years after the death of Phalaris. 

2 Caesar Borgia, Duke of Valentinois, expelled the Montefeltro dynasty from Urbino 
in the year 1497. The Duke Guidobaldo recovered possession at the beginning of October 
1503, ten days after the sudden death of Pope Alexander VI had shattered the fabric of 
Caesar Borgia's kingdom. 

3 Ammianus Marcellinus: continued the history of the Empire at the point where 
Tacitus left off. A. M. historiarum libri qui extant XIII Rome, 1474. 

4 The reference, according to M. Ravaisson-Mollien, is probably to an Italian of this 
name who was secretary to Pope Nicholas V, wrote poetry and translated Homer. 

5 Meteora. An Italian translation of Aristotle's treatise is referred to in the Codice 
Atlantico. The translation must have been in manuscript. 

 

ii7o BOOKS 

Archimedes: On the centre of gravity. 

Anatomy: Alessandro Benedetto. 1 

The Dante of Niccolo della Croce. 

Philosophy of Aristotle. 

Messer Ottaviano Pallavicino for his Vitruvius. 

Go each Saturday to the hot house and you will see the nudes. 

Blow out a pig's lung and see whether it increases in length and 
breadth, or in breadth and diminishes in length. 

Albertuccio 2 and Marliano 3 : De Calculatione. 

Alberto 4 De ccelo et mundo — from Fra Bernardino. 

From Messer Mafeo 5 — why the Adige rises for seven years and falls 
for seven. f cover i v. 

Avicenna: On liquids. 

Posidonius 6 composed books about the size of the sun. 

f cover 2 r. 

Enquire for Vitruvius at the stationer's. f cover 2 v. 

Of the increase of the Nile, a small work by Aristotie. 

k 52 [3] v. 

Alberto da Imola: Algebra. k 75 [27] v. 

Messer Vincenzo Aliprandio who lives near the inn of the Corso has 
Giacomo Andrea's Vitruvius. k 109 [29-30] v. 

Borges will get the Archimedes of the bishop of Padua for you, and 
Vitellozzo that of Borgo San Sepolcro. l 2 r. 

1 A profound student of the medical science of the Greeks. Died in 1525. (R.-M.) 

2 Albert the Little. Ravaisson-Mollien suggests the reference is to Leon Battista 
Alberti in contradistinction to Albertus Magnus who is mentioned in the following line. 

3 Giovanni Marliano, physician to Gion Galeazzo Sforza. Died 1483. Wrote 'De 
proportione motuum in velocitate'. (R.-M.) 

* Albertus Magnus. 

5 Perhaps Raphael Maffei de Volterra who wrote an attempt at an encyclopaedia. 
(R.-M.) 

6 Stoic philosopher. Works lost. Cicero studied under him. Richter has shown that 
Leonardo must have derived his knowledge from Strabo, who refers to Posidonius ai 
having explained why the sun looked larger when rising or setting, than during the rest 
of its course. 

 

BOOKS 1171 

Archimedes from the bishop of Padua. l 94 v. 

Hermes the philosopher. 1 m cover v. 

Of local movement. 

Suisset, that is the Calculator. 2 

Tisber. 

Angelo Fossombrone. 3 

Alberto. 4 u 8 r. 

Pliny states that wool after having been boiled in vinegar is im- 
penetrable. 

Virgil says that the shield was white and without praises, because 
among the Athenians the true praises, which were such as were con- 
firmed by the mouths of witnesses, formed the subject matter for the 
painters of shields; and these were made of stag bone bound together, 
set crosswise, and made smooth with . . . ms. 2037 Bib. Nat. 7 v. 

Lucretius in the third book of his De Rerum Natura: — the hands, 
the nails, and the teeth were the weapons of ancient man. They used 
also as a standard a bunch of grass tied to a pole. 

Tryphon of Alexandria, who passed his life at Apollonia a city of 
Albania. ms. 2037 Bib. Nat. 8 v. 

Archimedes: 'De Ponderibus' [cited]. b.m. 16 r. and 17 r. 

Euclid [cited]. b.m. 16 v. 

'Ex ludis rerum mathematicarum' [cited as the title of a work by 
Leone Battista Alberti]. b.m. 66 r. 

Roger Bacon done into print. b.m. 71 v. 

Vitolone in San Marco. b.m. 79 r. 

1 This refers to the author of what are known as the Hermetic Books, which con- 
stituted a complete canon of ancient Egyptian religion, arts and science. 

2 Richard Suiseth, Cistercian, called the Calculator, was, according to M. Ravaisson- 
Mollien, a fourteenth-century English mathematician and astronomer who is stated by 
Leibnitz to have introduced mathematics into scholastic philosophy. 

3 Angelo Fossombrone was a fifteenth-century Italian mathematician. 

4 Alberto. The reference is presumably to Albertus Magnus. 

 

u 7 2 BOOKS 

II Vespucci wishes to give me a book of geometry. b.m. 132 v. 

On meeting with Lorenzo de' Medici I shall ask about the treatise 
on water of the bishop of Padua. b.m. 135 r. 

Search in Florence for the Ramondina. b.m. 192 v. 

Take the Ramondina. 1 Leic. 2r. / 

The master Stefano Caponi, the physician, lives at the Piscina, he 
has Euclid: 'De Ponderibus\ Forster in 2 v. 

Nonius Marcellus, Festus Pompeius, Marcus Varro. 2 Forster in 8 r. 

The master Giuliano da Marliano has a fine herbal. He lives oppo- 
site to the Strami, the carpenters. Forster in 37 v. 

1 In the introduction to his edition of the Leicester Manuscript, Gerolamo Calvi 
suggests that these two lines refer to the search for and possession of a copy of one of 
the works of Ramon Lull, the Majorcan philosopher and mystic. This seems to offer a 
probable explanation of lines which otherwise form an enigma. An edition of Lull's 
Ars generalis ultima was printed in Venice in the year 1480, others of his works ap- 
peared in Rome and Barcelona. Leonardo may however have been in quest of one of his 
manuscripts. The so-called 'Lullian method', an attempt to supply a mechanical aid to 
the mind in the acquisition of knowledge by combinations formed by revolving circles, 
was dismissed in a couple of sentences by Francis Bacon: 'Any sciolist may make some 
show and ostentation of learning. Such was the art of Lullius'. The 'doctor illuminatus", 
as he was styled, is to-day a mere name in the history of philosophy, and such interest 
as exists in him centres in his work as poet and mystic. His latest biographer, Professor 
Peers, devotes a chapter each to his romances Blanquerna and Felix and a single page to 
his formidable Ars Generalis. But although the mechanical contrivances associated with 
the 'Lullian method' sufficed deservedly to discredit it, Lull as a thinker broke from the 
restraints of the schoolmen, and as the titles of certain chapters in his treatises serve to 
show, the workings of his curiosity concerning the laws of operation of natural forces 
offer many parallels to the writings of Leonardo. The field of his activities in science 
included geometry, astronomy, physics, chemistry, anthropology, the causes of wind and 
rain, the laws of navigation, and warfare. He was not unlike Roger Bacon in the extraor- 
dinary scope of his scientific interests; the two lines in which Leonardo expresses his 
desire to possess a work of Ramon Lull may be paralleled with the sentence, also in the 
Arundel Manuscript B.M. 71 v, 'Roger Bacon done into print'. Leonardo may very 
probably have owed the first awakening of his interest in the work of both to the fact of 
his association in study with Fra Luca Pacioli, who belonged to the Franciscan order, as 
did also Lull and Bacon, and who was therefore the more likely to have acquaintance 
with their works. 

2 Nonius Marcellus and Sextus Pompeius Festus were Roman Grammarians of about 
the fourth century a.d. Brunet (Manuel du Libraire) mentions an edition of the three 
authors printed at Parma in 1480. 

 

BOOKS [173 

The heirs ot the master Giovanni Ghiringallo possess the works oi 
Pclacano. Forstci in 86 r. 

Speculum of the master Giovanni Francesco. 

Galen: De Utilita. Fogli b 2 r. 

Have a translation made of Avicenna: On the Utilities. 
The book on the science of machines precedes the book: On the 
Utilities. Quaderni 1 13 v. 

See: Concerning Ships by Messer Battista [Alberti], and Frontinus: 
Concerning Aqueducts. 1 Leic. 13 r. 

Theophrastus : Concerning the Flow and Ebb. Concerning Whirl- 
pools, and Concerning Water. Leic. 16 v. 

1 Alberti Leon. Batt. Incipit de re aedificatoria, Florentiae 1485. Book V ch. 12 treats 
of ships and their parts. 

Vitruvius, De Arch., et Frontinus, De Aquaxluctibus, Florentiae 1513. The earliest 
edition of Sextus Julius Frontinus' chief work: De aqua?ductibus urbis Rorrux commen- 
tarius. Its author had been appointed superintendent of the aqueducts at Rome.