Detail map of Reims, Grand Est, France,Greece

A: Reims, Grand Est, France, B: Greece

Codex Pithoeanus, the Earliest Surviving Manuscript of the Fables of Phaedrus

Circa 850 CE

The Roman fabulist Phaedrus (c. 15 BCE- 50 CE), probably a Thracian slave born in Pydna of Macedonia (now Greece), lived in the reigns of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. He was first writer to translate entire books of fables into Latin, retelling in iambic meter the Greek prose fables of Aesop.

The earliest and most important surviving manuscript of Phaedrus is [Fabularum Aesopiarum libri quinque], also called the Codex Pithoeanus, MS M.906 in the Morgan Library & Museum. This manuscript, probably written at Reims, may have been in the library of the Abbey of Fleury. It was later in the library of Pierre Daniel (1530-1603), from which it passed to François Pithou, who gave it to his brother, the lawyer and scholar Pierre Pithou, in 1595.  At the front of the volume, which was bound c. 1600, is a transcription of the five books of Phaedrus's text by Pierre Pithou, which he prepared for the first printed edition of the text which he published in Troyes, 1596. The manuscript then descended through Pithou's family, belonging to Claude le Peletier (bookplate of the Le Peletier de Rosanbo [also spelled Rosambo] family), and then to the Marquis de Rosanbo at Dusmenil near Mantes, from whom the Morgan Library purchased it in 1971.

Reynolds, Texts and Tranmission. A Survey of the Latin Classics (1983) 300-302.
Chauncey E. Finch, "The Morgan Manuscript of Phaedrus," The American Journal of Philology, 92 (1971) 301-307. 

[When I searched for images of this manuscript in July 2019 I was unable to locate any on the web.]

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