'Logica Brevis' by Paulus Nicolettus of Venice

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This small collection contains a handwritten copy of 'Logica Brevis' (also known as 'Logica Parva') by Paul of Venice.The book is in quarto format, written in Latin in a gothic [rotunda] hand and was most likely produced in Italy. The binding is of wooden boards, half covered with stamped pig skin. It includes a large illuminated first initial in red and green ink containing a portrait of [Paul of Venice], other initials are in red. Two rough notes in Latin identify a James de Ricardis of the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Order) and the Convent of [San Giacomo] in Soncino, Lombardy as previous owners of the book. There are some other rough notes in Latin and a few lines of music written in later hands at the beginning of the manuscript. The colophon reads: Here ends the Short Logic in 8 main sections compiled by the most famous master of the sacred page, brother Paul from Venice, 1434, completed by me Brother Antony de Vulpis on the 13th day of August. Amen.

Administrative / Biographical History

Paul of Venice (also known as Paulus Venetus, Paolo Nicoletti or Paulus Nicolettus) was born c.1369 at Udine to Nicoletto di Venezia and his wife Elena. He is known for his work as a philosopher, theologian, realist logician and metaphysician. It is likely that he was educated in Udine and joined the convent of Santo Stefano in Venice as a member of the Augustinian Order in 1383 when he was fourteen. He continued his studies in Venice before moving to the studium generale in Padua in December 1387. It is said that he later studied theology at Oxford in 1390 for three years before returning to finish his studies in philosophy and theology at Padua. He then became a lecturer at the University during the first part of the fifteenth century and completed his bachelor degree in 1403. Between 1403 and 1405 he wrote several works including Conclusiones morales, Conclusiones posteriorum and Conclusiones politicorum. From 1405 to 1410, he focused on physical theory and completed his Expositio super octo libros physicorum in 1409 and was awarded a doctorate c.1408. In 1409 he was appointed Prior General of the Augustinian Order by Pope Gregory XII, but was effectively removed from this post only months later by the new Pope Alexander V. From 1409, Paul also served as an Ambassador for the Republic of Venice and travelled to various countries including Hungary and Germany. Paul continued to write and finished his Lectura super librum de anima c.1420. In 1420, however, Paul was exiled from Venice, possibly owing to his support for Gregory XII rather than the Venice backed Alexander V as well as over other suspicions about his loyalty to Venice. Later, he was one of the theologians called by Pope Martin V to Rome in 1427, to hear the charges against St Bernardino of Siena, although illness probably prevented him from attending. He died on 15 June 1429 and was buried in the Heremitani Convent in Padua.

Arguably Paul of Venice's most famous work, Logica Parva was probably written sometime between 1396 and 1401, with the first finished copy appearing in 1401. It is a work of logic, written in eight sections. In 15th century Italy, it was the most well known logical work and it was copied into over 80 manuscripts and 25 editions. It helped bring the logic studied at Oxford to Italy and was a significant text in the development of logic, science and philosophy during the Renaissance.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Purchased from Messrs. Blackwell, 16 March 1933